The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for November 21st, 2011

Reissue Theory: The Andrea True Connection

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. Today, we honor a recently deceased disco queen by telling the story of her unusual brush with chart success.

Word crept out last night that former disco diva and adult film actress Andrea True passed away earlier this month. At Second Disc HQ, it certainly prompted a few spins of her signature hit “More, More, More,” one of disco’s most senseless earworms. It also prompted a bit of a reassessment of her most unusual pair of careers.

True, born Andrea Marie Truden in 1943, was just another teenage girl seeking fame on the movie screen in 1960s New York. But fame was, as always, fleeting. Outside of minor roles (including an extra role on The Way We Were), Truden had little luck. Desperate, she began working in the burgeoning adult film industry (under various names, including Inger Kissin, Andrea Travis and Catherine Warren) and found both recognition and modest salaries.

Her biggest break came in a surprising place: Jamaica. True was hired by a realtor to shoot commercials when a failed political coup left her stuck on the island, unable to leave as long as there was money in her pocket. Rather than waste her time or money doing nothing, she made a bold move: she called a friend, producer Gregg Diamond (of Bionic Boogie fame) to her side to record some music with local talent under the moniker The Andrea True Connection. Diamond came with a half-finished song that packed a few catchy choruses and instrumental breaks, to which True set some simple lyrics. The last piece of the puzzle, though, was disco legend Tom Moulton, who took the finished master (which was allowed out of Jamaica) and mixed it into a pristine, dance floor-filling single. Buddah Records was happy to release the song, “More, More, More,” as a single to discos in the winter of 1976, but its height on Billboard‘s Hot Dance Club Play chart (where it reached No. 2) led the label to release the song as a commercial single. It made the Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic, peaking at No. 4 in America.

An album was inevitable, and More, More, More was exactly what you’d expect: passable disco-pop with risqué enough lyrics for an X-rated starlet to sing with conviction. The album peaked in the middle ranges of both the black album charts and pop charts. Follow up singles “Party Line,” “N.Y., You Got Me Dancing” and “What’s Your Name, What’s Your Number” were all Top 10 dance hits, but none had the crossover appeal of “More,” and sophomore album White Witch was a flop. (In 1980, True recorded a punk-rock album, War Machine, which was never released in the States.)

True briefly returned to adult films, but her age combined with the increasing popularity of the genre on video instead of theaters made work slight. A goiter on her vocal cords canned any chances of singing again, but True made do as an astrologer and drug counsellor in Florida. (It certainly didn’t hurt that her co-writing credit on “More, More, More” bought in a royalty check here and there, especially when Canadian sibling act Len sampled the hypnotic instrumental break of the song for their own “Steal My Sunshine,” which climbed to the Top 10 in the U.S.)

For our Reissue Theory, we’ve envisioned a release of both Andrea True Connection albums on one disc, neither of which have appeared on the format. All the tracks, some of which stretch out to ten minutes (your standard disco jams, indeed!), would be included in their entirety. For disco fanatics, it would do exactly what True told VH-1 she wanted her music to: give people pleasure. (Surely there was a wink in there!)

Read our theoretical track list and enjoy some of the music of The Andrea True Connection after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 21, 2011 at 13:24

Concord Collates “Charlie Brown Christmas”

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Christmas time is here! Okay, maybe not yet, but that’s not stopping Concord Music Group from releasing another set of holiday-ready discs from the Peanuts universe today.

The Charlie Brown Collection is a four-disc set featuring some of the best seasonal music written for Charles M. Schultz’s boy named Charlie Brown. Of course, much of that musical credit goes to Vince Guaraldi, the composer of 17 Charlie Brown television specials, including the iconic A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. Guaraldi was selected by producer Lee Mendelsohn to score a Peanuts documentary after hearing the pianist’s Grammy-winning “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” in a taxicab. Not only did Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas add several jazzy compositions to the holiday canon (including the gorgeous “Christmas Time is Here”), but it also introduced the world to “Linus and Lucy,” to this day the musical shorthand for the whole Peanuts universe.

While the Charlie Brown Christmas set has been reissued more times than can be imagined – pull up a chair and enjoy this great article about that very phenomenon – Concord has put together a modest set for this collection. The first two discs follow the original CD programs of A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Boy Named Charlie Brown, keeping the bonus tracks included with each disc but ignoring subsequent archival material. The third disc is 2010’s Peanuts Portraits compilation, a hodgepodge of rare and unreleased Guaraldi originals, while the fourth disc, 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas, is a 2005 set that featured tributes to the music from the likes of David Benoit, Brian McKnight, Dave Koz, Chaka Khan, Vanessa Williams and more.

If you don’t own any of these sets (and are okay without the full bonus tracks from A Charlie Brown Christmas, as was originally re-released in 2006), the $30 price tag for four discs might be right up your alley. With a relatively light offering for holiday reissues this year, The Charlie Brown Collection might be the one to make your spirits bright.

After the jump, check out the full track breakdown and Amazon order links.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 21, 2011 at 11:45

Soulful and Seductive: Grateful Dead, Glen Campbell, The Roches, Bill Medley, Maynard Ferguson Kick Off Real Gone 2012

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Are you ready to get gone, Real Gone, with the new kids on the reissue block?  The label founded by Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana is following its debut slate (reviews to come!) with an eclectic group of releases for January 2012 that will start the New Year off right!  One batch of titles is due January 24, with the remaining releases arriving the following week.

Few artists have had a career as legendary as that of Glen Campbell, and few have been as brave in the face of tragedy.  Campbell recently revealed an Alzheimer’s diagnosis but committed to remaining on tour in support of his farewell studio album, the justly-acclaimed Ghost on the Canvas.  That album musically and lyrically looked back to Campbell’s past triumphs, and many of them can be revisited on Real Gone’s CD debut of Campbell’s 1975 Live in JapanLike Leon Russell’s live album of the same title (recently revived by the Omnivore label), Campbell’s live set never received a domestic release…until now!  On January 24, Real Gone will reissue the 13-track album in a replica of its lavish original gatefold package.  Campbell’s set includes both his familiar hits (“Galveston,” a medley including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Honey, Come Back” and “Gentle on My Mind”) and well-chosen cover versions (“The Way We Were,” “Try to Remember,” even “My Way”).  Though budget label collections proliferate of late-era live material from the artist, Live in Japan is a rare CD of live Campbell in his prime and shouldn’t be missed!

Few could have expected Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield to disband The Righteous Brothers after their string of titanic hits in the mid-1960s, but that’s exactly what happened in 1968.  Though Hatfield initially attempted to carry on the Righteous name with another vocalist, Medley took the solo route.  (The original duo would reunite in 1974.)  After the Righteous split, Medley remained at MGM Records, parent of the Brothers’ then-label Verve.  Medley released four albums (one of which was issued in two variations) at MGM and recorded two more that remain unissued to this day.  The first two Medley LPs for MGM, Bill Medley 100% and Soft & Soulful, are arriving on one CD from Real Gone.   Among the blue-eyed soul hits included on these two LPs are “Brown-Eyed Woman” by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (No. 43), “Peace Brother Peace” (No. 48), and the ironically-titled “I Can’t Make It Alone” by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.  “I Can’t Make It Alone” recreates the Spector Wall of Sound with a stunning arrangement and vocal, disproving its own title!  Burt Bacharach enthusiasts will also enjoy Medley’s take on the Bacharach/Bob Hilliard co-write “Any Day Now,” and Medley even takes on the deathless “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha.

Over on the country side of town, Real Gone is anthologizing the Complete Epic Hits of country-pop crossover artist Jody Miller, best known for “Queen of the House,” her 1965 answer to Roger Miller’s  “King of the Road.” In 1970, Miller switched from Capitol to Epic Records where she teamed with famed producer Billy Sherrill.  A full 25 of their collaborations appear on this 69-minute compilation. You might recognize the Top 10 hits “He’s So Fine,” “There’s a Party Goin’ On,” “Darlin’ You Can Always Come Back Home” and “Good News.” Jody Miller has consulted on this release, and has supplied rare photographs for the booklet.

The favorite sisters of Park Ridge, New Jersey – The Roches! – next receive the Real Gone treatment.  Seductive Reasoning is the 1975 Columbia Records album by sisters Maggie and Terre Roche.  The first release from the Roche family, it was also the sisters’ only LP as a duo; Suzzy Roche joined shortly thereafter.  Seductive Reasoning features the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and, on one track, production and backing vocals from Paul Simon.  He was returning the Roches’ favor, as the sisters performed on his own Columbia LP There Goes Rhymin’ Simon!   On The Roches’ website, Suzzy writes of this lost classic, “This album was made through 1974-75. The songs are a result of the years before that. It is a perfect document of the time. But beyond that it is an expression that remains vital and relevant today. If you love music you will love this record. If you love poetry you will love this record. It has already done time in music business jail and now it is (re-)released — thank God. Enjoy — it’s a classic!”  Maggie Roche contributes notes and photos from her own archive.

Hit the jump for The Grateful Dead and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 21, 2011 at 09:52

Release Round-Up: Week of November 21

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Another Monday release date, ostensibly to get the jump on an abbreviated week with the Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday! And it’s another big week, to be sure.

The Rolling Stones, Some Girls: Deluxe Edition (Rolling Stones/UMe)

Whether you think it’s the last truly great Stones album or not, it’s hard to deny that this is the biggest of the deluxe releases this week. (That super-deluxe edition, with a bonus DVD and vinyl, doesn’t disprove the notion, either.)

Bob Seger, Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets (Capitol)

Seger’s Greatest Hits (1994) was the biggest selling catalogue album of the last decade. So it stands to reason that this two-disc set, boasting more than a few rare and unreleased classics, would do just as well, right?

Michael Jackson, Immortal (Epic)

Not only Michael’s greatest hits, but his best material, remixed and reimagined for the new Cirque du Soleil show. Shameless plug: a full review from me will be up, courtesy of our friends at Popblerd, later today. But I can tell you this – if you love Michael, and remember how much fun it was to lose yourself in Michael’s music, this one’s for you.

Rush, Sectors 1-3 (Mercury/UMe)

Three box sets of Rush’s entire discography for Mercury, from 1976 to 1987. Fifteen albums, five per box, with one of the albums in each box also included as a surround-sound DVD. (That part’s still kind of confusing to me, too.)

The Kinks, The Kinks in Mono (Sanctuary U.K.)

Ten discs of mono Kinks, includes their first seven albums and three discs of EP and single material. And I didn’t make a single Kinks “K” joke in there at all!

Lady Gaga, Born This Way: The Collection (Streamline/Kon Live/Interscope)

My pick for the best mainstream pop album of the year (although it’s quite further down the list of overall albums) is expanded with a new remix album and live DVD (also available separately, because Gaga is good to her little monsters like that).

The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 34-36 (Real Gone)

More reissued gems from our new friends at Real Gone: the last three volumes of Dick’s Picks, originally released in 2005.

Warren Zevon, Bad Luck in Dancing School (Friday Music)

Long out of print, Zevon’s 1980 album is remastered and reissued on compact disc.

Styx, Pieces of Eight (Vinyl) (Friday Music)

All you renegades and blue collar men will love this vinyl reissue of the 1978 classic.

Ed Ames, Christmas with Ed Ames/Christmas is the Warmest Time of Year / David Rose, The David Rose Christmas Album (Real Gone)

Three adult contemporary classic holiday albums presented on two CDs.

Written by Mike Duquette

November 21, 2011 at 08:55