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Archive for January 24th, 2012

Review: A Real Gone January – Bill Medley, Jody Miller and The Tymes

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Among the first releases of 2012 from newbie label Real Gone Music is a two-on-one collection offering the compact disc debut of Bill Medley’s 100% and Soft and Soulful.  But those titles are apt to describe the entire Real Gone line-up for January, as the young label has given 100% to make available a wide variety of music: soft and soulful, yes, but also jazzy, twangy, and folky.  There’s something for everyone in this array of once-neglected titles.

As 1968 began, The Righteous Brothers were still an ongoing concern.  But the split of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield couldn’t have seemed too far off, at least judging from the March release of their LP Standards.  The LP was composed entirely of solo tracks, six by bass-baritone Medley and five by tenor Hatfield.  Later that year, a live LP was entitled One for the Road, and the solo Righteous Brothers were off and running.  Real Gone has brought together Medley’s first two solo albums for MGM Records, 100% and Soft and Soulful, on one CD (RGM-0016).

1968’s 100% marked a tentative beginning for the singer as a solo act, and he hadn’t severed all ties to his former “brother,” even announcing on his recording of “Let the Good Times Roll” that “Bob Hatfield’s in town!”  Always an accomplished producer, Medley took the controls himself, with arrangements provided by Bill Baker. The Medley/Baker team had previously taken the Righteous Brothers’ reins after the duo parted ways with Phil Spector, and even aped Spector’s Wagnerian style on the majestic “Soul and Inspiration.”

It’s odd, then, that Medley seemed a bit tentative about the musical direction he should pursue on 100%.  There’s Bill Medley, the finger-snapping, supper-club swinger of “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” and “That’s Life.”  There’s Bill Medley, the Broadway balladeer of “Who Can I Turn To” and the ubiquitous “The Impossible Dream.”  Most familiar is Bill Medley, the blue-eyed soul man of George Fischoff and Tony Powers’ “Run to My Loving Arms,” the rocking “Show Me” and the full-throttle “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”  The album’s strongest track is, ironically, “I Can’t Make It Alone,” a Carole King/Gerry Goffin collaboration also recorded by Bobby Hatfield in his first year of freedom.  (Hatfield’s version is still unreleased to this day; paging Real Gone Music?)  Medley’s vocal proves that he certainly could make it alone, though this terrific performance was outdone by the unlikeliest of performers, the trouser-splitting British star P.J. Proby!  Though the song was specifically written for The Righteous Brothers, Proby cut the original in 1966, and tapped arranger Jack Nitzsche to repeat the magic he’d created on songs like the Spector-produced “Just Once in My Life.”  Although Medley scored a small hit with his rendition, Proby out-Righteous’d the Brothers.  A bigger hit for him was 100%‘s  “Brown-Eyed Woman.”  It was eritten by the same all-time great team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had already penned the Righteous Brothers’ two No. 1 hits (“Soul and Inspiration” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”).

Hit the jump to explore Medley’s Soft and Soulful, plus new reissues from Jody Miller and The Tymes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 24, 2012 at 15:23

Reissues on Target: Retail-Exclusive Expansions Available for Adele, Blake Shelton

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If you’re in the U.S. and are heading to Target after work for a few household items, you might want to keep an eye out for two recent hit albums, both newly expanded in sets exclusive to the retail chain.

First up, a familiar expansion of last year’s biggest album, 21, by British soul singer Adele. Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past year, you know that the 21-year-old Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist has had a precedent-shattering year with this record. In an age where it’s a surprise if albums go platinum (meaning, of course, a million units shipped), 21 has gone six times platinum, has spent 46 weeks in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 as of this writing (it’s been out for 47 weeks) and has been the No. 1 album in the country for 16 nonconsecutive weeks, a feat most recently matched by the soundtrack to Titanic in 1997 and 1998. And singles “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” spent a combined 12 weeks atop Billboard‘s Hot 100.

A Target-exclusive deluxe edition was in fact already released alongside the initial pressing of the album, featuring four live bonus tracks (including a duet of country group Lady Antebellum’s hit “Need You Now” with Darius Rucker, onetime lead singer of Hootie and The Blowfish and now a country star in his own right). But it wasn’t long before copies were impossible to come by; so, with the 54th Grammy Awards fast approaching in February (where Adele and 21 are nominated for six trophies), the store has ordered up a second pressing of the deluxe edition.

But that’s not all! A modern country performer and television star gets expanded with an ’80s twist after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 24, 2012 at 14:50

You’ve Got a Friend in Intrada: Randy Newman’s “Toy Story 3” Arrives on CD

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Toy Story 3 certainly had its fair amount of accomplishments.  It was highest-grossing film of 2010 (domestic and worldwide), the all-time box office champ among animated features, and in the Top 10 highest-grossing films of all time.  It reaped five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and took two of the gold statues home.  It became the first film to be released theatrically in 7.1 surround sound.  But one thing Toy Story 3 didn’t have was a proper soundtrack album on CD.  Following an unfortunate pattern established with Michael Giacchino’s Academy Award-winning score to Up, Randy Newman’s score to Toy Story 3 was relegated to the domain of digital downloads.  (With Giacchino’s Cars 2 in 2011, compact discs were back.)  Yet there was a silver lining when independent soundtrack specialist label Intrada struck up a partnership last year with Walt Disney Records, kicking it off with a CD presentation of Up.   Now, we’re happy to announce that Newman’s Toy Story 3, featuring the Oscar-winning song “We Belong Together” as performed by its composer/lyricist, is finally available on CD and begins shipping today from Intrada’s online store.  (Longtime readers might recall Mike at Second Disc HQ wishing upon a star for its CD release way back in August!)

The transformation of Randy Newman (the man behind such witheringly brilliant songs as “Rednecks” and “Sail Away”) into a family-friendly Disney Legend seems to have surprised many, including the esteemed Mr. Newman himself.  But Newman has always had a tender side, and even his most acerbic works have been imbued with great humanity and even compassion for those wronged by society.  This side of the composer blossomed most fully when he plunged himself into the family business of film scoring with 1981’s Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow’s sprawling novel.  (Newman had previously dabbled with soundtrack scoring for the television series Peyton Place as well as Norman Lear’s 1971 Cold Turkey.)  Newman received Oscar nominations both for his score and the song “One More Hour.” He truly was off and running.  In his film soundtracks, Newman frequently taps into the same strong vein of Americana that informed pop album masterworks like Good Old Boys and Sail Away.  It was perhaps inevitable that his rich and varied orchestral palette would take him to Main Street, U.S.A., or The Walt Disney Company.  He netted two more Oscar nods for 1995’s Toy Story, beginning a fruitful association with Disney and/or Pixar, through James and the Giant Peach, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Cars and The Princess and the Frog.

Hit the jump for much more on Toy Story 3, including the full track listing and pre-order link, as well as news on Intrada’s other January 24 release! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 24, 2012 at 11:24

Movin’, Kickin’, Groovin’: A Barry White Classic Expanded by Hip-o Select

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Hip-o Select turns its focus away from Motown for some more satin soul from the inimitable Barry White, with a nicely-expanded release of his 1976 LP Let the Music Play.

By the time the title track from the album – an underrated plea for music to soothe the pain of a lost love over some of the lushest strings from The Love Unlimited Orchestra – was released as a single in late 1975, White was virtually his own brand. He’d recently come off a triplet of Top 10 singles in 1974 and 1975 with the dazzling “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “What Am I Gonna Do with You,” and would enjoy platinum sales of his first greatest hits record in ’75.

Although Let the Music Play lacked a distinct pop hit single – the title track hit No. 4 on the R&B charts, and follow-ups “You See the Trouble with Me” (co-written by guitarist Ray Parker, Jr.) and “Baby, We Better Try to Get It Together” were modest-to-very-good tunes on the same chart – it’s been unfairly overlooked as a whole until recently, with the retooling of “Let the Music Play” as a European dancehall cut in 2000 and the discovery of some great alternate material for the song on the great BW box set Unlimited in 2009.

In fact, Hip-o Select’s remastered and expanded edition of the album features five bonus versions of that very song, including the aforementioned Funkstar Deluxe Mix from 2000, the alternate version, both sides of the original single (an edit and an instrumental) and a new mix by longtime Select collaborator John Morales, reimagining the tune as a vintage 12″ single version.

Let the Music Play is available to order now and will start shipping around February 3. It hits stores, appropriately enough, this Valentine’s Day, February 14. Hit the jump to check out the full specs!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 24, 2012 at 10:49

Posted in Barry White, News, Reissues

Last Train to Clarksville: Limited Quantity Remains of Monkees “Greatest Hits” on Orange Vinyl

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Monkee Alert!

In 1969, the band itself was coming apart at the seams, and its television program had been cancelled a year earlier.  But Colgems Records had a solution to reignite interest in the zany music makers: release the first-ever Monkees hits collection!  That LP was The Monkees Greatest Hits, a 14-track album that lives up to its promise: “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Daydream Believer,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” and so on.  The Monkees Greatest Hits soon became one of the most sought-after albums in the Monkees’ catalogue, and it’s never been reissued on CD in its original form, having been superseded by numerous other compilations.

Friday Music and Rhino have teamed up to bring the original Greatest Hits back as a 180-gram vinyl release, and as if that wasn’t enough, Rhino has exclusively offered a small allotment (just 500 copies) on limited edition orange vinyl.  Greatest Hits has been flying out the door, and only a small percentage of that number is still available, but it can be yours now if you pre-order at this link!  The price is $19.98, which is actually less than the standard (black vinyl) version’s retail price of $24.98 at

The album has been lavishly repackaged, and you’ll even find a rare stereo mix of a Neil Diamond-penned tune on this vinyl gem.  The orange-vinyl edition begins shipping on March 6, while the standard version is available now.  Hit the jump for the details via Friday Music’s full statement on this exciting release, plus the track listing!  And stay tuned for more news on Friday’s ongoing Monkees celebration! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 24, 2012 at 10:37

A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop-a-lop-bam-boom! “Here’s Little Richard” Returns in April

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When compiling our reissue review on Rolling Stone‘s greatest albums of all time last year, it was a bit of a surprise at Second Disc HQ to learn, for all the reissues of Little Richard’s classic Here’s Little Richard on the market, that few of them were particularly archival-oriented. That’s about to change this year, though, with an expanded reissue of the iconic album by Concord Music Group in April.

Richard Penniman was no stranger to performing and recording when he released his first single for Specialty toward the end of 1955; he had cut tracks for RCA and Peacock in the years before. But his first 45 for Art Rupe’s label, a full-tilt boogie-blues jam called “Tutti Frutti,” was not the work of a merely contented jobber. In three takes over 15 minutes, Richard created what is now seen as perhaps the first quintessential rock and roll song, with the iconic, nonsense-syllable intro; the high, keening vocal take and a down ‘n’ dirty fistful of piano keys. “Tutti Frutti” peaked at No. 2 on the R&B singles chart and was a No. 17 crossover pop hit; follow-up “Long Tall Sally” did even better, reaching No. 6 pop and No. 1 R&B. (“Slippin’ and Slidin'” and the powerhouse single “Rip It Up”/”Ready Teddy” were additional Top 10 singles on the R&B charts.)

While Richard would record one more album for Specialty with its own share of hits (“Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Keep A-Knockin'”) before walking away from rock for gospel music (and spending a career careening between both genres). But he really didn’t need to say much more about secular music: Here’s Little Richard made him an unquestionable legend.

This new release of Here’s Little Richard is augmented with a nice smattering of bonus content, some familiar (demos of “Baby” and “All Night Long,” first heard on the great Specialty Sessions box set released by Ace Records in 1989) and some brand-new (a never-before-heard interview with Specialty founder Rupe and two “screen test” clips of “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally”). The disc is augmented with new liner notes by R&B musicologist Lee Hildebrand and the original LP’s liner notes.

Here’s Little Richard bops back into your life on April 17. Hit the jump for the full specs and keep an eye on this post when a pre-order page is ready!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 24, 2012 at 09:53

Release Round-Up: Week of January 24

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The Doors, L.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary Edition (Reprise/Rhino) / Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman (Eagle Rock/Rhino)

The Doors’ final album with Jim Morrison, memorialized in both a double-disc set with unreleased alternates and outtakes and a DVD/Blu-Ray documentary.

Various Artists, 2012 Grammy Nominees (Universal Republic)

And the nominees are…on this disc.

Various Artists, Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International (Shangri-La/Fontana)

Four, count ’em, four discs of artists past and present covering the Bard.

Glen Campbell, Live in Japan / Bill Medley, 100%/Soft & Soulful / Maggie & Terrie Roche, Seductive Reasoning / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volumes 32 & 33 / Jody Miller, The Complete Epic Hits (Real Gone)

The latest from Real Gone is all over the place in a most excellent way!

Kirk Franklin, The Essential Kirk Franklin (Fo Yo Soul/Verity/Legacy)

The modern gospel legend compiles his greatest hits, Legacy-style, on two discs.

Public Image Ltd., First Issue / Paris Au Printemps / The Flowers of Romance / Live in Tokyo / This is What You Want…This is What You Get / Album / Happy? / 9 / The Greatest Hits, So Far / That Which is Not / John Lydon, Psycho’s Path (Virgin/EMI U.K.)

Recently remastered in Japan, the PiL catalogue is given the remastered treatment in the U.K. (these should be available on domestic shores soon, if not now).

Adele, 21: Target Deluxe Edition (XL Recordings) / Blake Shelton, Red River Blue: Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros.)

Two recent hit albums get some deluxe treatment from American retailer Target. Check back later for a full post on these ones.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 24, 2012 at 08:05