The Second Disc

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Archive for January 25th, 2012

Reissue Theory: Whitney Houston, “Whitney”

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We remember Whitney Houston (1963-2012) and her timeless legacy of song.  We’re sharing this feature, originally published on January 25, in her memory, and will return with a tribute to this musical legend, gone too soon.

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable album and the reissues they could someday see. Today’s entry: a 25th anniversary spotlight on one of the best dance-pop albums of any era, and a tribute to a powerhouse R&B voice. In a word: Whitney.

Around this time in 2010, right when The Second Disc was starting out, one of the most surprising reissues from a major label was Arista/Legacy’s 25th anniversary edition of the self-titled 1985 debut by Whitney Houston. Though she had a rich musical legacy in her blood – her mom, Cissy, was a prominent gospel singer, Dionne Warwick was her cousin and Aretha Franklin was her godmother – the 21-year-old’s sudden rise to fame was something of a surprise to much of the public. (It was less so to Arista Records head Clive Davis, a consistent champion for her throughout her storied career.) Whitney Houston topped the charts for weeks, earned four Grammy nominations (with one win) and took three singles – ballads “Saving All My Love for You” and “Greatest Love of All” as well as uptempo smash “How Will I Know” – to No. 1.

It seemed like a tough album to top – which makes it all the more impressive that it did, hands down.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2012 at 17:16

Short Takes: “Meet Glen Campbell” and “Matter of Time” Reissued, A Rare Earth Curio and More From Impulse!

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  • The legendary Glen Campbell has seen a number of his classic albums reissued this year by labels including BGO, Real Gone Music and New Haven.  Our friends at Rockbeat Records have lined up the next Campbell release, revisiting his 1985 LP for the Atlantic label, It’s Just a Matter of Time.  Produced by Harold Shedd, the album found Campbell revisiting some of his past triumphs.  Longtime collaborator and friend Jimmy Webb contributed three songs: the oft-covered “Do What You Gotta Do,” “Shattered,” and “Cowboy Hall of Fame.”  Al DeLory, the producer of Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” was enlisted to conduct the latter.  Bergen White, another familiar face, arranged four songs, and Webb provided the arrangements not only for his own songs but for two others on the LP.  It’s Just a Matter of Time was the third of Campbell’s Atlantic records, following Old Home Town (1982) and Letter to Home (1984).  Rockbeat’s reissue, with the original 10-track lineup, arrives on January 31.  But that’s not all for the legendary guitar-picker.  Hit the jump for news of Glen’s next reissue, plus you’ll also rediscover a Motown lost treasure and peruse the latest jazz reissues from the legendary Impulse! label! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 25, 2012 at 15:01

Cherry Red Sets Off “Love Bomb” with Reissue of The Tubes’ Final Capitol LP

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It’s no “She’s a Beauty,” but Tubes fans might be excited to know that the band’s final album for Capitol, 1985’s Love Bomb, is coming to CD with bonus tracks from Cherry Red Records.

The Tubes were well known in the late ’70s for their no-holds-barred live shows and sly songwriting, with a mind to skewer an increasingly saturated media landscape. As the 1980s dawned, however, The Tubes unexpectedly made moves to turn into a leaner, meaner, rock band. Two albums were cut with producer David Foster, The Completion Backward Principle (1981) and Outside Inside (1983), the latter of which featured Top 10 hit “She’s a Beauty” (written by Foster, lead singer Fee Waybill and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and featuring much of Toto as guest performers).

After a commercially-nonexistent solo album, Waybill and the rest of The Tubes reconvened with producer Todd Rundgren, who helmed their 1979 effort Remote Control, on an album that attempted to jell all parties’ styles up to that point, with elements of The Tubes’ early and later years peeking through alongside some Utopia-inspired work. Unfortunately, audiences and critics were not impressed. To make matters worse, Capitol dropped them just as they were about to embark on a tour. Waybill left the band in 1986, finding success as a songwriter for others (often partnering with Richard Marx), but rejoined the band in 1993.

This expanded album includes two bonus tracks: the original edit of lead single “Piece by Piece” and its B-side, a combination of both parts of the two-part album cut “Night People.” Love Bomb detonates once more on February 20 and can be ordered after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2012 at 14:30

(Don’t) Keep It Down: Hot Shot Expands ‘Til Tuesday’s Debut (UPDATED 1/27)

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As promised, new U.K. reissue label Hot Shot Records is releasing an expanded edition of Voices Carry the 1985 debut album by pop group ‘Til Tuesday, and it’s now available to order.

The album was the culmination of three years of hard work from the Boston-based band, comprised of Aimee Mann (vocals/bass), Robert Holmes (vocals/guitar), Joey Pesce (keyboards) and Michael Hausman (drums). In 1983, six months after forming, the band earned local acclaim for their song “Love in a Vacuum,” which became a staple on WBCN-FM after the band won the station’s annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble.

But even after signing with Epic Records and working with producer Mike Thorne (producer of works for Soft Cell, Bronski Beat and John Cale), label brass was not convinced that they had a hit on their hands with “Voices Carry,” a song written by Mann about her breakup with Hausman (though initially disguised as written about a woman!). While Cyndi Lauper reportedly wanted to cover the tune with the original lyrics, ‘Til Tuesday kept it for themselves and the rest was history.

Bolstered by a captivating video that won the band an MTV Video Music Award – who could forget Mann belting out her vocals in the middle of a crowded audience in Carnegie Hall? – “Voices Carry” leapt to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album peaked at No. 19. Subsequent singles “Looking Over My Shoulder” and “Love in a Vacuum” failed to catch on with a national audience, though, and ‘Til Tuesday would split up in 1990 after two more critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing. Burgeoning songwriter Mann, of course, became a major force in her own right, embarking on a well-received (and Oscar and Grammy-nominated) solo career and marrying another great singer-songwriter, Michael Penn. (Interestingly, Hausman manages both of them.)

Hot Shot’s reissue features new liner notes featuring interviews with Robert Holmes and Mike Thorne and the original single mixes of “Voices Carry,” “Looking Over My Shoulder” and “Love in a Vacuum.” (UPDATE: the disc will also include “Are You Serious?” – the B-side to “Voices Carry” that appeared on original CD copies as a bonus track.) The set will be available on February 27 but can be ordered now.

Hit the jump to peruse the track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2012 at 13:53

Posted in 'Til Tuesday, News, Reissues

“The Visitors,” Revisited: Final ABBA Album Expanded with Unreleased Demos

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announced a deluxe edition of the group’s eighth and final studio album, 1981’s The Visitors.

The Visitors saw ABBA tackling decidedly darker territory than anyone could have dared to expect from the squeaky-clean Swedish quartet. The group convened in studio barely a month after songwriter Benny Andersson and co-lead singer Frida Lyngstad divorced (the other half of the group, Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog, had divorced a year earlier), and sessions could be predictably tense. Adding to the tension on a technical level was the decision to record the album digitally (one of the first to be made as such), a transition that required a lot of work for longtime engineer Michael Tretow.

But the album earned critical points for its slightly darker subject matter and complex musical arrangements; Billboard called it the band’s “first true masterpiece.” And the album sold well across the world, if not to the tune of its predecessors. (In the U.S., it peaked at No. 29 and had a moderate hit in “When All is Said and Done.” “One of Us” was a Top 10 hit in several markets across the globe.) But it would prove to be the band’s swan song; after a singles compilation in 1982, there would be no more performances – in studio or in concert – from the group.

Now, three decades later, The Visitors touches down once more in a double-disc CD/DVD set in the style of the latest ABBA reissue campaign. The original album is bolstered with seven additional songs: one non-LP B-side (“Should I Laugh or Cry”), the two then-new cuts from 1982’s The Singles – The First Ten Years (“The Day Before You Came” and “Under Attack”), their single B-sides (“Cassandra” and “You Owe Me One”) and “I Am the City,” a Visitors outtake unearthed in 1993 for a compilation.

But the biggest boon for collectors is the final bonus track, “From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel,” a collection of demo excerpts from the making of the album. This marks one of the few times since the band’s dissolution that entirely unreleased, unheard material has been unearthed from the vaults. (The last occurence was in a 23-minute track on ABBA’s Thank You for the Music box set in 1994.)

The DVD features a host of live performances and promotional appearances on British, Scandinavian and American television, the original music video for “When All is Said and Done” and television commercials for The Visitors and The Singles – The First Ten Years.

This deluxe edition is available April 23

ABBA, The Visitors: Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC, 2012)

Disc 1: Expanded album

  1. The Visitors
  2. Head Over Heels
  3. When All is Said and Done
  4. Soldiers
  5. I Let the Music Speak
  6. One of Us
  7. Two for the Price of One
  8. Slipping Through My Fingers
  9. Like An Angel Passing Through My Room
  10. Should I Laugh or Cry
  11. I Am the City
  12. You Owe Me One
  13. Cassandra
  14. Under Attack
  15. The Day Before You Came
  16. From a Twinkling Star to a Passing Angel (Demos)

Disc 2: DVD

  1. Two for the Price of One (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA)
  2. Slipping Through My Fingers (Dick Cavett Meets ABBA)
  3. When All is Said and Done (Original Promo Clip)
  4. ABBA in London, November 1982 (The Late Late Breakfast Show, BBC)
  5. ABBA In Stockholm, November 1982 (Nöjesmaskinen, SVT)
  6. The Visitors TV commercial (U.K.)
  7. The Visitors TV commercial (Australia)
  8. The Singles – The First Ten Years TV commercial (UK)
  9. The Singles – The First Ten Years TV commercial (Australia)
  10. International Sleeve Gallery

Disc 1, Tracks 1-9 released as Polar POLS 342, 1981
Disc 1, Track 10 was the B-side to “One of Us” – Polar POS 1291, 1981
Disc 1, Track 11 from More ABBA Gold: More ABBA Hits (Polydor/Polar 519 353-2, 1993)
Disc 1, Tracks 12 and 14 released as Polar single POS 1321, 1982
Disc 1, Tracks 13 and 15 released as Polar single POS 1318, 1982
Disc 1, Tracks 14-15 also released on The Singles – The First Ten Years (Polar POLMD 400/401, 1982)
Disc 1, Track 16 previously unreleased

Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2012 at 12:19

Posted in ABBA, News, Reissues

From “Blonde” to “Blue”: Bob Dylan, Miles Davis Classics Coming on SACD and LP

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Any label president would have killed to have Bob Dylan or Miles Davis on his company’s roster, but Columbia Records’ legendary Goddard Lieberson had the good fortune to have had both of these groundbreaking artists making their most important music on the red label under its watchful eye logo.  Since the advent of the compact disc era, there’s been no shortage of reissued music from these giants, and it’s already clear that 2012 will continue the steady flow.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has announced two new campaigns dedicated to Mr. Davis and Mr. Dylan.  Both of these seminal musicians will see a number of their most beloved albums reissued as both audiophile-quality vinyl and hybrid Super Audio CDs (SACDs) sometime in 2012.  (Release dates aren’t yet concrete.)  None of these numbered, limited-edition releases contain surround mixes, and the albums are presented in their original sequences only, with no bonus tracks appended.  All albums are in stereo unless otherwise noted, and as hybrid SACDs, the discs can be played on all CD players.

The jazz trumpeter’s Mobile Fidelity series takes in highlights from his first decade-plus at Columbia, beginning with his label debut, 1957’s Round About Midnight.  1958’s Milestones appears in mono, capturing the quintet of Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.  Kind of Blue (1959, with Davis joined by Adderley, Coltrane, Chambers, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb) has been reissued multiple times on SACD, but has been remastered from the original master tapes for this issue.   Sketches of Spain, from 1960, teamed Davis with noted arranger and orchestrator Gil Evans and his 18-piece orchestra; Mobile Fidelity promises that the new edition “digs deep to eradicate a dryness that many critics have found as an anathema to its overall enjoyment.”  1966’s live album Four and More was one of Davis’ final standards-based projects, recorded in New York in 1964 with Ron Carter, Tony Williams, George Coleman and Herbie Hancock.  Finally, 1969’s In a Silent Way is a departure from the other titles as Davis’ first excursion into fusion.  Williams and Hancock return, and the album also features John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland.

Hit the jump to explore Bob Dylan’s Mobile Fidelity line-up, and also to find track listings for all releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 25, 2012 at 09:58