The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for November 10th, 2011

Cherry Pop Laces Up Dancing Shoes with Compilation of Rare ’80s, Motown Mixes

with one comment

Cherry Pop Records has a major treat next week for British club junkies of the ’80s: a double-disc set of rare and unreleased remixes by noted engineer Phil Harding.

If you’re a British pop junkie who came of age in the ’80s, you’re doubtlessly familiar with three names: Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman. The trio of producers hit it big with Hi-NRG pop, all clean beats and shimmering synths, from Bananarama’s “Venus” to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” All told, the trio racked up over 100 Top 40 hits in their native country – an impressive number in any year.

But one lesser-known name is arguably just as essential to the team and their famed PWL Studios: Phil Harding. A mixing engineer who’d worked with everyone from The Clash to Matt Bianco by 1984, the importance of Harding’s engineering skills was obvious from his work on the first major SAW hit, Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”

Harding, who’d later work with Depeche Mode, Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys, wrote his own account of his work in the record industry, PWL – From the Factory Floor, in 2009, releasing it in a limited run through Cherry Red’s book arm. Now, as a greatly expanded edition of that book arrives in U.K. shops, Cherry Pop has produced a double-disc set of some of Harding’s rarest mixes for U.K. acts and legacy groups.

There’s no shortage of hits on Phil Harding Club Mixes of the ’80s, including remixes of “You Spin Me Round,” ABC’s “When Smokey Sings” and cuts by Five Star, Holly Johnson and Godley & Creme. But the nectar for collectors is multitudinous: four unreleased tracks and mixes by Rick Astley, including an unused 12″ mix of “Never Gonna Give You Up,” are included. Jimmy Ruffin, elder brother of Temptations member David and solo artist in his own right (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”), has two latter-day tracks on here, only one of which has ever been released, and never on CD until this set.

Most humorously for Motown fans is the inclusion of three of Harding’s then-contemporary remixes of classic Motown singles, including The Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” (While the breakbeat-heavy mixes can’t hold much of a candle to the originals, their quirky charm and collectibility doubtlessly appeal themselves to someone out there!)

The set and the expanded book (both of which can be ordered together through Cherry Pop) are out Monday, November 14 in U.K. shops. Hit the jump for a full track breakdown!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 10, 2011 at 17:38

Universal Europe Offers “Complete Masters” For Armstrong, Fitzgerald, Bechet, Parker, Holiday

with 5 comments

If you’ve ever been looking to build a solid jazz library without spending too much coin, look no further.  The European arm of Universal Music Group, through its EmArcy and Decca labels, has announced a series of Complete Masters boxes that offer considerable bang for your buck!  The Complete Masters slate kicks off with five box sets devoted to Louis Armstrong (1925-1945, 14 discs), Ella Fitzgerald (1935-1955, 14 discs), Billie Holiday (1933-1959, 15 discs), Sidney Bechet (American Masters 1931-1953, 14 discs) and Charlie Parker (1941-1954, 13 discs).  Based on the time periods, it seems that a great deal of licensing has been done by Universal to create these all-encompassing packages.  Alas, complete and verified track listings have not yet been released.

Information is most readily available as to the Billie Holiday box, which will take in her recordings for the Columbia, Commodore, Decca and Verve labels over its 14 CDs.  At a price of roughly £27 GBP from Amazon U.K. (or $40 USD, at the time of this writing) vs. $101.36 as an import from, ordering from a European retailer is a no-brainer.  Holiday tragically died in 1959 aged just 44, so this set represents the entirety of her released body of work.  (Alternate takes which have surfaced on numerous box sets including Legacy’s comprehensive Lady Day have not been included.)  One report indicates that four tracks recorded circa 1957 may be missing from the box set, so although we currently don’t have an explanation, it’s hard to argue with fourteen discs from this influential singer for 40 bucks.  No less an eminence than Frank Sinatra said of Holiday not long before her death, “It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years.”

Another important influence to musicians of every genre is trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).  Satchmo has been feted in recent months with a new career-spanning box set (also from Universal) as well as acclaimed biographies by Terry Teachout and Ricky Riccardi that anyone reading this should seek out.  The man described by his friend Bing Crosby as “the beginning and end of music in America” recorded for numerous labels during his long career, and as this set spans the period between 1925 and 1945, it should take in recordings from OKeh, Columbia, Vocalion, Victor and Decca across its 14 CDs.

One of Armstrong’s favorite collaborators was Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), with whom he recorded both for Decca and Verve.  Fitzgerald had a lengthy career, with her discography ranging from 1935 to 1989.  The Complete Masters box set concerns itself with the singer’s first twenty years as a recording artist, from 1935 to 1955.  During this time, she was signed to the Decca label where she broke new ground in vocal jazz interpretation.  This box set takes listeners up until Fitzgerald’s signing with Norman Granz and his Verve label; that collaboration of manager and artist would influence Fitzgerald mightily through the rest of her career.

Hit the jump on the details of the Complete Masters sets for two overwhelming instrumental heroes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 10, 2011 at 13:36

The Wonderful World of Elvis: Follow That Dream Offers New Releases For Fall and Winter

with 2 comments

Since its establishment in 1999, the Follow That Dream label has been a collector’s dream for fans of Elvis Presley.  Taking its name from Presley’s 1962 film of the same name, Follow That Dream has operated as an authorized “bootleg series,” reissuing Elvis titles of varying origins (soundtracks, studio albums, live gigs) in expanded editions with an emphasis on previously unreleased session material, alternate takes and unheard performances.  These titles are available exclusively through international fan clubs and the official website.

Adding to its roster of roughly 100 releases, Follow That Dream has announced six new titles to bring 2011 to a close.  October’s trio was due to begin shipping on or around October 31, while the remaining titles are set for early December shipment.  Leading off the October pack is an expanded CD edition of He Touched Me in FTD’s Classic Albums series.  The Grammy Award-winning 1972 album was the third and arguably the finest of Presley’s studio gospel albums.  The deluxe edition’s 2 CDs include the original LP master and 27 tracks of session outtakes, as well as a 12-page booklet with all relevant historical data and illustrations.  It’s joined by Forty Eight Hours to Memphis in the FTD live series.  Memphis was recorded live onstage in Richmond, Virginia on March 18, 1974, and is derived from “what must have been a professional 16-track multi- track recording,” with “absolutely great sound,” according to the label.   It is, however, heard in mono.  The 16-page booklet contains photos from the performance on March 18, as well as new liner notes. It comes in a 7-inch digipak format.  The third October release is a vinyl-only title.  Guitar Man is an “album that never was,” released as a limited edition special 2-disc 180-gram vinyl set.  Its four sides and 25 performances were remastered from the original analogue U.S. tapes.  This is not the 1981 posthumous album produced by Felton Jarvis, but a different release with songs such as “Guitar Man,” “Big Boss Man,” “Just Call Me Lonesome” and “Come What May.”  Guitar Man was previously released on CD by Follow That Dream and was itself an expanded version of the RCA Victor CD compilation Tomorrow is a Long Time.  The new LP is abridged from the original FTD compact disc edition.

Hit the jump for info on the December slate, plus full track listings for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 10, 2011 at 10:35