The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for January 11th, 2012

Love Hangover, Redux: Hip-O Select Plans Deluxe Edition of “Diana Ross”

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And now Hip-o Select unveils its first new catalogue set of the New Year: a deluxe edition of Diana Ross’ legendary 1976 self-titled album.

Ross’ first studio LP in three years, following 1973’s Last Time I Saw Him, was produced by Michael Masser, who’d rose to prominence with his work on Last Time – writing the title track – as well as Motown stalwarts Hal Davis and Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. The leadoff single had been released the previous year, a sweet, irresistible song from Ross’ starring role in Mahogany (1975), directed by Motown head Berry Gordy himself. The parenthetically titled “Do You Know Where You’re Going To,” written by Masser with legendary songwriter Gerry Goffin, was a deserved chart-topper.

But it was far from the only gem on the record. Another single, the proto-disco “Love Hangover,” became another No. 1 hit. Beautiful tracks like “One Love in My Lifetime,” “I Thought It Took a Little Time (But Today I Fell in Love)” and a cover of the beloved Charlie Chaplin theme “Smile” pepper the album, giving it a feel that’s light but never slight.

In the tradition of previous expanded editions of solo Diana albums, Diana Ross features the original remastered album with a sweet batch of bonus tracks across two discs. Notable highlights include original single masters, the ultra-rare “Coming Home,” released on a Japanese flexidisc for Coca-Cola; a cover of Elton John’s stellar “Harmony” along with two unreleased tracks from the album sessions, and alternate takes of nearly every track on the original album.

Diana Ross is yours to order today, which you can do so after the jump while perusing the set’s track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 11, 2012 at 13:13

Posted in Diana Ross, News, Reissues

Wouldn’t It Be Good? Universal U.K. Expands Nik Kershaw’s Debut LP

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A pleasant surprise is coming from Universal’s catalogue arm across the pond: an expanded edition of Nik Kershaw’s excellent debut album Human Racing.

Released in 1984, Human Racing gave the young Bristol-born, Suffolk-raised guitarist a big break after years of jobbing in local bands. Aided by a set of teen magazine-ready good looks and an ear for intricately arranged, vaguely theatrical pop tunes, the second single from Human Racing, the excellent “Wouldn’t It Be Good,” became a Top 5 smash in Europe. Upon a second issue, debut single “I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” became his biggest hit, peaking at No. 2 in England. His arty videography – who could forget the chroma-key suit he wore in the “Wouldn’t It Be Good” clip? – helped his repertoire make a moderate dent in the American charts, though amazingly, none of his works broke the Top 40 in the States. (His success would continue in the U.K. through the ’80s and ’90s, though, with another smash hit with sophomore album The Riddle, a performance at London’s Wembley Stadium during Live Aid in 1985 and successful collaborations with The Hollies, Chesney Hawkes and Elton John.)

As was customary for a British pop act with many singles, there were plenty of B-sides and dance mixes from the start of Kershaw’s career. (Many of these were outlined in a somewhat prescient Reissue Theory post from July of 2010!) This expanded edition of the album features a bonus disc with 12 bonus tracks, including an unreleased remix of album cut “Bogart,” and will feature new liner notes from Kershaw himself. (The artist took to Twitter recently to praise the quality of the new remastering as well, calling it “FAB-U-LOUS!”)

This new set is out in the U.K. on February 20. Hit the jump to see the track list (courtesy of and place your order on Amazon U.K.!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 11, 2012 at 10:43

Posted in News, Nik Kershaw, Reissues

Review: Alex Chilton, “Free Again: The 1970 Sessions”

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What makes a cult hero most?  Alex Chilton ascended to that lofty rank as the leader of Big Star, a band whose negligible commercial impact is only matched by its considerable influence over an entire generation of musicians.  When Chilton’s Paul McCartney met Chris Bell’s John Lennon (or vice versa?), they formed a brief but potent team as singers and songwriters.  What resulted was the exuberant power pop of the optimistically-titled No. 1 Record as recorded by Big Star: Chilton, Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel.  Bell departed after that one, shining album, having successfully synthesized the sounds of London, Memphis and Los Angeles into something shimmering and original.  Big Star itself imploded after just two more increasingly off-center LPs, and Chilton seemed to retreat, off to battle his personal demons.  Not one of the group’s three records had troubled the charts, quite a comedown for the man who had taught us how to “Cry Like a Baby” and whose baby wrote him “The Letter.”

Alex Chilton, who died in 2010, lived long enough to see his work reappraised by a new generation.  The Replacements name-checked him in song, and the Big Star catalogue appeared on CD from Fantasy, making it a bit easier for the albums to be circulated around college campuses everywhere: “Hey, have you heard this Big Star?”  That ‘70s Show selected a Big Star tune as its theme.  Chilton even re-formed the band in 1993.  As so often happens, the faithful became curious about Chilton’s past.  The Box Tops LPs were reissued on CD by Sundazed.  And in 1996, a missing link between The Box Tops and Big Star arrived in the form of 1970, on the Ardent label.  This compilation premiered an entire album’s worth of unheard compositions by the Box Tops’ moonlighting singer, in sessions at the future birthplace of Big Star, Ardent Studios.  1970 is the foundation of the latest release from Omnivore Recordings and Ace Records (OVCD-13).  Free Again: The “1970” Sessions expands that long out-of-print album from 13 tracks to 20, dramatically resequences it, and makes a strong case that Alex Chilton’s embryonic songwriting talents were as prodigious as his deeply soulful vocals.  (Free Again is also available as a 12-track LP, and the first 1,500 copies of that LP have been pressed on clear vinyl.)

Hit the jump to explore the 20 tracks found on Free Again! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 11, 2012 at 09:51