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Archive for January 10th, 2012

Goin’ Back to New Orleans: Rounder Anticipates Mardi Gras With New Collection

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Laissez les bons temps rouler!  Each year, the good times do indeed roll in New Orleans, Louisiana, when the city throws the biggest Mardi Gras bash in the country.  Though carnival season is celebrated around the world, the revelry in New Orleans surely has one of the richest legacies, and a major part of that legacy is, of course, its music.  Rounder Records, founded in 1970 and now part of the Concord Music Group, has built a solid foundation of Cajun and carnival favorites in its impressive roots-music catalogue.  Twelve songs have been culled from the vaults of both Rounder and sister label Specialty Records for a new 12-track collection ins stores today, Meet Me at Mardi Gras.  With New Orleans’ Mardi Gras just a little over a month away (Tuesday, February 21 is the date!), the time is right for this instant party disc.

The twelve tracks date from the 1950s to the present day, blending both the familiar and the lesser-known.  The Soul Rebels’ 2011 sing-along “Say Na Hey” opens the album and is the most recent cut on the collection, juxtaposing some scorching electric guitar with the expected brass.  Another modern slant on the classic sound is present in the form of the New Orleans’ Nightcrawlers’ “Funky Liza,” their take on the traditional brass band favorite “Li’l Liza Jane.”  Chuck Carbo of The Spiders closes out the set with “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On,” a bit of carnival fun.

Vintage R&B sides take their place alongside these “future classics.”  Perennial “Bad Boy” Larry Williams is heard on his smoking 1957 reading of “Jockamo,” before the Dixie Cups reinvigorated the tune as “Iko-Iko.”  Also from the Specialty catalogue comes the classic jazz of Joe Liggins’ “Goin’ Back to New Orleans.”  One of the fathers of New Orleans piano, Professor Longhair, is represented with two songs.  He’s heard on a 1960s take of his own “Go to the Mardi Gras,” while Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias do the honors on the Professor’s “Tipitina” from their 1990 album I’m Back…at Carnival Time.  Al Johnson’s original 1960 recording of “Carnival Time” adds more authentic flavor.

Cajun music still thrives today in the French-speaking churches south and west of New Orleans, but holds a special place in Mardi Gras tradition.  “Mardi Gras Mambo,” originally recorded by Art Neville’s Hawkettes, is heard here in a rendition by Zachary Richard.  Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys contribute “La Danse de Mardi Gras,” a song central to Cajun dance festivities at Mardi Gras time.

Rounder’s Scott Billington has compiled the disc, and provides liner notes as well.  Meet Me at the Mardi Gras is in stores today from Rounder Records.  Hit the jump for an order link and the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 10, 2012 at 13:30

Pulp on Fire: Early U.K. Albums Expanded for February Release

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Yesterday’s announcement of the lineup for the three-day Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April was met with typical fanfare associated with major festival announcements. And why not? A veritable who’s who of rising stars and legends across a wide swath of genres will be performing, including Radiohead, The Black Keys, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Bon Iver, Madness, Squeeze, The Shins, ex-Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, the newly-reunited At the Drive-In, James, Florence and The Machine, Girl Talk and several dozen other excellent acts.

Another major name on the bill: Pulp, beloved Britpop outfit, who recently reunited last year to perform a clutch of festival dates in Europe. Their Coachella set is their first major performance of the year, and a great sign to all who were awaiting their moves for the new year. But not only are Jarvis Cocker and company hitting the road, they’re revisiting their early catalogue next month with reissues of their first three albums on the Fire Records label.

Before Cocker and band were gathered into the burgeoning Britpop scene in the mid-’90s, alongside guitar-heavy bands like Oasis, Blur and Radiohead, they had spent a tempestuous decade signed to Fire, discouraged by the lack of solidarity with their label and absence of commercial success. (The band’s personal nadir may have been the dark and dreary Freaks, recorded in one week in 1987, after which the band nearly split.) Eventually, the single “My Legendary Girlfriend” gained some press attention in 1991, and the eventual move up to the majors with the release of His ‘n’ Hers (1994) on Island Records was their major commercial breakthrough.

Fire’s forthcoming expansions of It (1984), Freaks and Separations (1991) include a host of non-LP singles and B-sides (in the case of Freaks, the bonus material takes up an entire extra disc). In addition, It and Separations include previously unreleased material.

Each reissue will be available in the U.K. on February 13. Hit the jump to check out the track lists!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 10, 2012 at 11:34

Posted in News, Pulp, Reissues

Andy Gibb’s Greatest Hits Reprised, and Flashback with Iron Butterfly

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Two long out-of-print greatest hits collections are back in print today thanks to the fine folks at Rhino Records.  Iron Butterfly’s Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly arrived on the Atco label in 1971 and brought together 11 tracks from the hard rock pioneers’ first four albums.  Andy Gibb’s 1991 Greatest Hits, originally on the Polydor label, differed from the 1980 RSO Records hits compilation, and offered 12 prime pop cuts from the youngest of the Brothers Gibb.

Although Rhino’s Light and Heavy: The Best of Iron Butterfly upped the number of tracks to 21 for the compact disc era, Evolution was the original LP worn out by fans of the “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” rockers.  Its 11 songs are all drawn from Heavy (1968), In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), Ball (1969) and Metamorphosis (1970).  The calling card of the band, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is heard in its edited single version.  Together with Rhino Handmade’ s lavish 2-CD Fillmore East 1968 (watch for a review coming soon!), the all-killer, no-filler Evolution is a great reminder of one of the first bands to synthesize strains of hard rock, acid rock and psychedelia into a successful whole.  The group’s personnel, alas, wasn’t as consistent as its sound, dogged by line-up changes almost from the start.  Evolution is a fine opportunity, though, to remember guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt, who died on January 2 at the age of 63.  He can be heard on the tracks culled from Metamorphosis.  Doug Ingle’s organ and vocals tie the disparate tracks together: the garage fury of “Unconscious Power,” the pop of “Flowers and Beads,” the prog rock-anticipating instrumental force of “Iron Butterfly Theme,” the acid psychedelia of “Belda-Beast” and the folk-rock of “Slower than Guns.”  Evolution is a particular bargain courtesy the budget Rhino Flashback line; you’ll likely find it for around five bucks!

Hit the jump for the scoop on the re-release from Andy Gibb, plus order links and track listings for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 10, 2012 at 10:12

Release Round-Up: Week of January 10

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A slow week, but enough substantial releases to make this our first Round-Up of 2012!

Alex Chilton, Free Again: The 1970 Sessions (Omnivore Recordings)

After The Box Tops, before Big Star, the late, great Chilton finds his voice as a writer. A review from Joe is forthcoming!

Jellyfish, Bellybutton / Spilt Milk (Omnivore Recordings)

Brand-new vinyl remasters of the only two albums by the perennially underrated power pop band.

Andy Gibb, Greatest Hits / Iron Butterfly, Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly (Rhino Flashback)

From Rhino’s budget arm, two great, long-out-of-print compilations get their due on CD! (Check back very soon for a full breakdown from Joe!)

Various artists, ICON (UMe)

Another round of ’em.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 10, 2012 at 09:31

Intrada Releases Two Fists of Kamen for 2012

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After a healthy and innovative year for film score reissues, Intrada starts off the new year with a bang – or better yet, a swift roundhouse kick: two heretofore-unreleased late-’80s action scores by the excellent Michael Kamen.

The first one is a very familiar title to pop-culture junkies and cult-classic geeks: the score to Road House. The 1989 action flick starred Patrick Swayze in his first post-Dirty Dancing project as Dalton, a strangely complex, widely-renowned bouncer with a degree in philosophy from New York University. He ventures to Jasper, Missouri at the urging of a club owner to provide his unique skill set to the town’s new bar, The Double Deuce, along the way saving the very town from an unscrupulous businessman (Ben Gazzara) who will stop at nothing to control every last inch of Jasper.

The film’s cult status has long been cemented, thanks to affectionate tributes from cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (writer/star Michael J. Nelson somewhat jokingly called Road House “the single finest American film”) and director Kevin Smith (who provided a commentary track for the film’s DVD release). The late Kamen, by then a notable name for his work on the scores to Edge of Darkness and Lethal Weapon (and, in a month’s time, would see another score, to the James Bond film Licence to Kill, hit theaters), blended his signature orchestral action style with atmospheric themes for the small Midwestern town that houses the action. Intrada’s long-in-development release is sourced from all the existing session master tapes, long thought lost but recently rediscovered in the MGM vaults. (One reel, which would have held two short cues from the film, was never recovered, but the remaining tapes yielded several unused cues.)

Later that year, Kamen was tapped for another quirky action film to score: Renegades. The film reunited Young Guns co-stars Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips as a disgraced undercover cop and his Sioux partner who team up to recover a Native American spear from a gang of thugs. Again, Kamen tempers his lengthy action cues with local color, employing a smaller ensemble with a focus on themes and motifs inspired by the culture of the film. This disc presents the complete score with unheard passages, all newly mastered from the original session elements.

Both releases are a fitting tribute to an underrated composer, and can be yours to order after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 10, 2012 at 09:08