The Second Disc

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Archive for January 4th, 2012

Compilation Watch: New Best-Ofs by Goldfrapp, Martina McBride Coming in 2012

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Here’s some more upcoming releases to shake the malaise off the new release schedule: two very different compilations from two very excellent ladies in the dance and country genres.

Her name isn’t mentioned as often as Faith Hill or Shania Twain, but Martina McBride was one of a treasured few country starlets who enjoyed a contemporary pop crossover or two. Her first big moment outside of Nashville came in 1997 with the adult contemporary ballad “Valentine” with pianist Jim Brickman; it charted in the Top 5 of Billboard‘s AC chart and in the country Top 10 as well. 2003 saw two singles, the upbeat “This One’s for the Girls” and the heart-tugging “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” dominate the AC charts at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, as well as crossing over into the general Top 40. With 19 Top 10 singles on the country charts, she’s no slouch in her own genre, either.

After releasing last year’s Eleven on a new label, Repbulic Nashville, McBride’s Hits and More closes out her longtime association with RCA Nashville. The 20-track set includes all her greatest hits, plus two new tracks and one rarity, “Being Myself,” from a 2004 EP sold exclusively at Target department stores.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Goldfrapp, not a solo act but a duet anchored between singer Alison Goldfrapp and keyboardist Will Gregory. (Liner note geeks take heed: Gregory first rose to prominence as the saxophone player for Tears for Fears!) Their glam-tinged electronic dance-pop music has won them a bevy of critical plaudits, including four Grammy nominations and an Ivor Novello Award for British songwriting. Goldfrapp’s The Singles also marks the end of their contract with Mute, and will feature 12 singles and two new tracks, “Yellow Halo” and “Melancholy Sky.”

Hits and More is out January 17, while The Singles arrives February 6. (Thanks to the incandescent Vinny Vero for pointing us in the direction of the latter!) Hit the jump to check them out!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 4, 2012 at 16:15

Not Pulling Your Chain: Captain Beefheart’s Unreleased “Bat Chain Puller” Coming From Zappa Records

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Though Frank Zappa had much to say as a musician and a social commentator throughout his lifetime, the keepers of the flame over at are a little more understated.  But the team led by Zappa’s widow, Gail, continues to offer a number of exciting projects relating to the Zappa legacy.  One of the most unusual is on the way: the first-ever release of avant-garde wizard Captain Beefheart’s original Bat Chain Puller.  A lost 1976 album produced by Zappa, portions were re-recorded in later years, but the original LP has never materialized, until now.  Accepting pre-orders for the CD to arrive the week of January 15, the official Zappa store only says this, in typically succinct fashion: “Here’s to the Good Captain.  We rest our case.”  For those who’d like the case stated just a little bit more, though, read on.

The album entitled Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) was the tenth and third-to-last studio album of Captain Beefheart (a.k.a. Don Van Vliet) and the Magic Band, released in 1978 on the Warner Bros. label.  But that effort (lauded by Ned Raggett of as “manna from heaven for those feeling Beefheart had lost his way [on the albums that preceded it]”) wasn’t the album originally intended to bear the Bat Chain Puller name.

The original circa-1976 album was recorded by Beefheart with the 1975 touring Magic Band line-up, minus Elliot Ingber and Bruce Fowler: John French (drums), John Thomas (keyboards), Moris Tepper (guitar) and Denny Walley (guitar).  Intended for Frank Zappa’s Warner-distributed DiscReet label in the U.S., a rough mix was provided to Virgin Records’ U.K. offices, reportedly to solicit interest in the album for release abroad.  When a legal conflict between album producer (and on-again, off-again Beefheart associate) Zappa and his controversial manager Herb Cohen reached boiling point, Beefheart’s tapes got lost in the shuffle.  The Captain retooled and re-recorded some of the tracks for the 1978 Shiny Beast, and indeed, for his next two albums.  But the Shiny Beast re-recordings utilized a different band, and were produced by Captain Beefheart with Pete Johnson.  The original Zappa-produced recordings became much-bootlegged, thanks to the leak of the early mix.  At least five unique bootleg versions of the LP are catalogued at the Captain Beefheart Radar Station.

Tracks from the original Bat Chain Puller on Shiny Beast include “The Floppy Boot Stomp”, “Harry Irene”, “Bat Chain Puller”, “Owed t’Alex” and “Apes-Ma.”  1980’s Doc at the Radar Station offered “A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond”, “Brickbats” and “Flavor Bud Living,” while Beefheart’s 1982 swansong Ice Cream for Crow presented “’81’ Poop Hatch” and “The Thousandth and Tenth Day of the Human Totem Pole.”  At least three songs possibly planned for the original LP, “Seam Crooked Sam,” “Odd Jobs,” and “Hobo-Ism,” hadn’t been released in any form in Beefheart’s lifetime.

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 4, 2012 at 10:06