The Second Disc

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Archive for November 11th, 2011

Judas Priest Unfurls “Wings of Destiny” with Repressings of Early Albums

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Rock legends Judas Priest have long been known for their killer blend of metal on the Columbia label in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But two albums predating that contract – both of which are once again about to be independently reissued on CD – were fans’ real first taste of the Priest.

In 1974, Judas Priest, a hungry upstart rock band from Birmingham, had been together for about five years. A year before, the band’s lineup had started to crystallize: lead guitarist K.K. Downing and bassist Ian Hill, in the group since 1970, were joined by drummer John Hinch (their fifth percussionist) and vocalist Rob Halford, a brother of Hill’s girlfriend who’d replaced founding member Al Atkins in 1973. Just as the band was about to enter the studio, the band’s label, Gull Records, suggested another member, second guitarist Glenn Tipton. (Halford, Downing, Tipton and Hill would provide the nucleus of the band for nearly its entire existence; all but Downing, who retired this year, are still members.)

The shifting landscape of the band could have been an early sign of trouble for the group’s debut, 1974’s Rocka Rolla. Plagued by poor recording quality and difficulties with Black Sabbath producer Roger Bain, who the band claims exerted too much control over the song selection on the album, their debut was met with critical and commercial indifference.

Sophomore disc Sad Wings of Destiny fared slightly better: Hinch was replaced by Alan Moore, who’d drummed with the group in 1970, and the group, now co-producing their own work, picked tracks that were or would become live staples, including “Victim of Changes” and “The Ripper.” Of course, it would take a jump to CBS to ensure Priest their greatest successes anywhere.

Both albums were released on CD by Repertoire Records in Europe in the 1990s (Rocka Rolla featured a bonus cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust”) and are being reissued again, this time in digipaks. For those who’ve not let their curiosity get the best of them yet, these releases are highly recommended. (That goes for sound quality, too – Repertoire’s masters are arguably the best representation of the albums on compact disc.)

Both are out November 22 and can be ordered after the jump.

Judas Priest, Rocka Rolla (originally released as Gull GULP 1005 (U.K.)/IMP 7001 (U.S.), 1974 – reissued Repertoire 1052372, 2011)

  1. One for the Road
  2. Rocka Rolla
  3. Winter
  4. Deep Freeze
  5. Winter Retreat
  6. Cheater
  7. Never Satisfied
  8. Run of the Mill
  9. Dying to Meet You/Hero, Hero
  10. Caviar and Meths
  11. Diamonds and Rust (bonus track)

Judas Priest, Sad Wings of Destiny (originally released as Gull GULP 1015 (U.K.)/Janus JXS 7019 (U.S.), 1976 – reissued Repertoire 1052362, 2011)

  1. Victim of Changes
  2. The Ripper
  3. Dreamer Deceiver
  4. Deceiver
  5. Prelude
  6. Tyrant
  7. Genocide
  8. Epitaph
  9. Island of Domination

Written by Mike Duquette

November 11, 2011 at 12:15

Posted in Judas Priest, News, Reissues

Weekend Wround-Up – Holiday Edition: Dean Martin, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and The Muppets!

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  • Dean Martin only recorded two Christmas albums in his career, one for Capitol (1959’s A Winter Romance) and one for Reprise (1966’s The Dean Martin Christmas Album).  Yet every year, Martin’s holiday catalogue from both labels is usually reconfigured for a new release, often with songs added (singles, alternate takes, remixes), dropped or otherwise altered.  2011 is no exception, so completists might want to be on the lookout for this year’s edition of My Kind of Christmas on the Hip-o Records label.  This release follows the 2009 collection of the same name but replaces the artwork and substitutes a posthumous Scarlett Johansson duet of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in place of the Martin original.  My Kind of Christmas follows the 2004 and 2006 iterations of Christmas with Dino, the 2010 A Very Cool Christmas (repackaging and renaming the Reprise album), 1998’s Making Spirits Bright, and scores of other similar collections drawing on the material from both labels, including Rat Pack-themed anthologies.  “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” isn’t Martin’s first artificial holiday duet; Martina McBride joined Dean on the 2006 Christmas with Dino for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
  • Among this year’s rather slim crop of new Christmas offerings, one of the more interesting albums is Seasons Greetings: A Jersey Boys Christmas (Rhino R2 528586).  Members of various companies of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys have teamed up for this album of seasonal favorites, including Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young, who originated the role of Frankie Valli in New York.  The Four Seasons’ original member and producer Bob Gaudio has produced the album, with many (though not all) of the arrangements in classic Seasons style.  If you’re planning to take a chance on this fun collection, however, you might want to pick it up at Target.  The retail giant is offering a special edition with three bonus tracks: the brief interlude “Time Tunnel” (“Deck the Halls”) and two songs from the original 1962 Four Seasons’ Greetings LP performed by the actual Four Seasons. “Merry Christmas Medley (We Wish You a Merry Christmas/Angels from the Realms of Glory/Hark the Herald Angels Sing/It Came Upon a Midnight Clear)” and “What Child is This.”

Hit the jump to play the music and light the lights with the Muppets! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 11, 2011 at 10:09