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Archive for February 2012

In Memoriam: Hey, Hey, It’s Davy Jones!

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UPDATE 2/29/12: Today at The Second Disc, we join music fans all over the world in mourning the loss of Davy Jones, who died this morning at the age of 66.  The worlds of music, stage and screen all lost an icon with the passing of the actor, singer, comedian and beloved Monkee.  Davy brought a little of the British Invasion to the California band, as well as lot of talent, sweetness, heart and chutzpah. 

New York DJ Cousin Brucie Morrow took the airwaves on Sirius/XM satellite radio early this evening to celebrate Jones’ life even as an outpouring of affection arrived on Twitter and Facebook.  Peter Noone, a.k.a. Herman of Herman’s Hermits, told Morrow that his friend Davy was “the Danny Kaye of rock and roll” and an all-around entertainer: “A great English working class guy” despite his great success.  Lou Christie concurred, describing Jones as a “great entertainer,” while Tommy James praised his longtime friend’s “great mind,” remembering just how much “fun [it was] to be with [him].”

We’re remembering Davy today by re-posting this August 1, 2011 announcement of Jones’ recently-reissued solo debut.  Friday Music has promised that Jones’ 1971 Bell Records LP (containing the hit “Rainy Jane”) will soon be on the way, joining a spate of Monkees releases from the Rhino label including box sets dedicated to The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees, Head, and Instant Replay.  Please join us in recognizing the legacy of Davy Jones by leaving your own memories below in our comments area.  Rest in peace, Mr. Jones.

It’s the return of the artist formerly known as David Jones!  No, not Mr. Bowie, but rather Davy Jones of The Monkees, who recently hit the road with his old bandmates for a successful tour.  Way back in March, we passed on hints from Friday Music that a reissue of Jones’ 1965 Colpix Records solo album was in the cards.  Now, the label has confirmed to that David Jones: The Deluxe Edition will hit stores on September 27, containing the original LP plus two rare single bonus tracks.

While David Jones is an artifact of the singer’s pre-Monkees career, Jones had already been a ten-plus year veteran of the business we call show when he recorded the album!  He began his career in his native England on programs such as the famed soap opera Coronation Street, which still runs today.  Shortly after that stint, Jones was cast in the West End production of Lionel Bart’s much-honored musical Oliver!.  It wasn’t long before Jones was being dispatched to America.  Oliver! was making its American premiere under the auspices of legendary producer David Merrick on a pre-Broadway tour of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto.  Michael Goodman was originally cast in the role of the Artful Dodger, and when Merrick made the decision to record the show’s Broadway Cast Album in Los Angeles, Goodman preserved his performance.  (The score had proven so popular from the London incarnation that the producer didn’t wish to lose any more sales to the London Cast Album.)  However, Goodman wasn’t working out, and Merrick replaced him with the then-David Jones.  So while Jones didn’t get the chance to immortalize his “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything” and more, he did receive a Tony Award nomination for his work in the musical which opened on January 6, 1963. 

Little did Jones know what would happen next!  Hit the jump to find out!  And you’ll also find a track listing with discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 29, 2012 at 19:02

Good Lovin’: Felix Cavaliere Teams with Todd Rundgren, Laura Nyro, Leslie West, Dino Danelli On Bearsville Reissue

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The union of singer/songwriter Felix Cavaliere and producer Todd Rundgren might have seemed like a marriage made in heaven, with Cavaliere having specialized in blue-eyed soul with The Rascals, and the wunderkind Rundgren no slouch in that field, either. But in fact, it was more like a shotgun wedding.  You can hear for yourself, as Cavaliere’s Rundgren-produced, self-titled 1974 album for Bearsville Records has just been coupled with its follow-up, Destiny (1975) on a stellar new two-for-one release from Edsel.

Felix Cavaliere recalled in liner notes penned especially for this reissue by Paul Myers that his loftier ideas met with opposition from Mo Ostin of Warner Bros. Records, then Bearsville’s distributor.  Ostin wasn’t much interested in Cavaliere’s rock opera based on Dune, or a politically-minded album like The Rascals’ Freedom Suite.  Instead, Ostin and Bearsville’s Albert Grossman were looking for pop singles, and turned to Bearsville house producer Rundgren, hot off Grand Funk Railroad’s smash We’re an American Band.  But the former Rascal felt that Rundgren “was very much concerned with his own, personal work…[and] I had just a lot of trouble trying to understand his attitude towards the product that we were doing.”  Rundgren diplomatically told Myers that he and Cavaliere “sort of got along personally.”  It couldn’t have helped matters that Rundgren was brought a partially-completed LP and instructed to work his magic.  And so Utopia stalwarts John Siegler (bass) and Kevin Ellman (drums) were overdubbed on nearly every track, and Todd himself played guitar on four songs.

Cavaliere co-wrote every track on his debut with Carman Moore, but many of its tracks bear the same signature as his collaborations in the Rascals with Eddie Brigati.   The album’s opening “High Price to Pay” would have put Rascals fans at ease with its catchy chorus and up-tempo groove, and “Everlasting Love” again recalls that classic sound with a brass section, though it’s a tougher sound than in the past.  Prominent backing vocals are supplied courtesy Cissy Houston and Judy Clay, among others.  Big pop ballad “Long Times Gone” even suggests a distant cousin of “How Can I Be Sure” in its melody and arrangement.

Cavaliere stretched his muscles elsewhere on the surprisingly cohesive album, though.  The Latin funk of “Summer in El Barrio” pleasingly blends brass and smoking guitar with Cavaliere’s soulful lead and the female chorus, while the twangy “I’ve Got a Solution” might betray a rootsy Bearsville influence.  Rundgren’s touch is most pronounced on “Funky Friday,” a bright pop song with his distinct guitar flourishes (“The one thing I’ve got to do/Is get funky with you!”) as well as on the spacey jam of “I’m Free.”  It likely reflects more on the marketplace than on the material that neither of the album’s two singles released by Bearsville saw chart action; Felix Cavaliere remains an overlooked gem.

Hit the jump to reveal your Destiny! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 29, 2012 at 14:06

The Road to Utopia: M. Frog and Roger Powell of Rundgren’s Classic Band, Reissued

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Bearsville is back!  Even as Edsel Records has been tackling Todd Rundgren’s catalogue, both solo and with Utopia, the enterprising label hasn’t stopped there.  This month has brought two releases related to the Rundgren mystique but still capable of standing on their own considerable merits.  Roger Powell may be the most well-known of Utopia’s keyboard/synthesizer players, but he was actually preceded in the band by Jean Yves “M. Frog” Labat.  Both Labat and Powell recorded solo albums at Bearsville, and so the former’s M. Frog and the latter’s Air Pocket have been joined together on one disc by Edsel.

Though it comes first on the new CD, Roger Powell’s Air Pocket arrived in 1980, seven years after M. Frog’s solo album.  Like much of Utopia’s best work, Air Pocket is atmospheric, shimmering, ethereal, and futuristic.  Largely self-created by Powell, it does feature some special guests, such as John Holbrook (rhythm guitar and also the album’s engineer), Mark Styles (RMI keyboard computer), Clive Pozar (drums) and a certain Mr. Rundgren (E-bow guitar solo).

The first side of the original LP betrayed the pop influence of the changing Utopia, with fully developed songs still true to Powell’s spacey synthesizer sound; the second side emphasized more esoteric instrumental compositions.  Each and every track was written entirely by the artist, who also produced this unique effort.  Of the more accessible tracks, “Windows” is a very Utopia-like soft rock song with prominent harmonies (one could easily hear Todd having contributed) and oblique lyrics that lend an air of mystery.  “Emergency Splash-Down” boasts a harder-edged, jagged melody (“Warning light flashes/Emergency splashdown/It’s every man for himself now!”).  Rundgren makes his presence known via a subtle but recognizable guitar solo to the brief “Morning Chorus.”

Though there’s a coherence of sound among the album’s ten tracks, each song also has enough dynamics to keep the album interesting.  “March of the Dragonslayers” is a rather playful cut, though it doesn’t sound medieval at all, despite its title!  (Another title just begging to be a prog-rock song, “Dragons ‘n Griffins,” appears a couple of tracks later!)  Its B-side, a then-modern update of the surf-rock hit “Pipeline,” has been appended to this reissue.

A little of Air Pocket might go a long way for listeners less inclined to Utopia’s more far-out explorations, but the album is positively conservative compared to Jean Yves “M. Frog” Labat’s self-titled release, previously available on CD only in Japan.  Like Powell, Labat self-produced his debut effort, but Rundgren was on hand to mix the album.   (In case you’re wondering, Bearsville impresario Albert Grossman had suggested “Maestro Frog” as Labat’s moniker, but only the initial stuck!)  John Holbrook was heavily involved in M. Frog’s album, as well, but he was hardly the only member of the Bearsville family to contribute.  John Simon and Paul Butterfield make appearances, as do Garth Hudson and Rick Danko on “Welcome Home” and Rundgren on both “Suckling-Pigs Game” and “Hey Little Lady.”  In addition to his short-lived tenure as a member of Utopia, Labat also repaid the favor to Rundgren by playing EMS synthesizer on Todd’s 1973 solo album A Wizard, A True Star.

Hit the jump for much, much more including track listing with discography and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 29, 2012 at 10:07

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot! La-La Land Celebrates 200th Release in Latest Batch

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While there’s a month to go before La-La Land releases the expanded soundtrack to Hook, they’ve got three great releases available to buy today – including their 200th title!

First up is a reissue of Jerry Fielding’s score to the cult classic The Mechanic, with Charles Bronson as the efficient hitman who takes the son of a recent contracted kill under his wing. Save a few audio tweaks, title changes and changes in sequence, this disc features the same material from Intrada’s long out-of-print 2007 release of the score, and the 1,200-unit pressing is intended to connect more fans who missed out the first time with the soundtrack.

Next, it’s Jennifer 8, a 1992 thriller starring Andy Garcia as an L.A. cop investigating a string of brutal murders in a small California town. Christopher Young, who wrote scores for the Nightmare on Elm StreetHellraiser and Spider-Man series, expands his score – one that put him in the upper tier of film composers – for this set, but the real treat is a bonus disc featuring an unreleased original score from composer Maurice Jarre, who composed a good portion of music for the film before being replaced by Young. The double-disc set is limited to 2,000 units.

The 200th release is hurdling your way after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 17:27

To Japan and Back: New David Sylvian Compilation Available in the U.K.

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If all you know of David Sylvian is his excellent work in the New Wave band Japan, some would say you have a lot to learn. Fortunately, a new compilation from EMI U.K. is here to help.

A Victim of Stars 1982-2012 collates the best works of the erstwhile Japan frontman, from their biggest hit single “Ghosts” to the present day, with a new single, “Where’s Your Gravity?” Along the way, there are a host of intriguing collaborations with some of the best avant-garde rockers in the business, from keyboardist Ryuchi Sakamoto to guitarist Robert Fripp.

While Sylvian’s last major compilation, 2000’s Everything and Nothing, featured a bevy of outtakes from his then-most recent album, Dead Bees on a Cake (1999), the few rarities here come from non-LP singles and other ephemera throughout the early portion of Sylvian’s solo career. However, in addition to his material recorded for Virgin, EMI has licensed several tracks from Sylvian’s recent albums on his independent labe, Samadhisound.

The double-disc set, released this Monday, is available to buy now and can be previewed after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 16:17

Pantera’s Second Album Gets More “Vulgar” in May

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As previously reported, Pantera’s blistering Vulgar Display of Power is getting the deluxe treatment from Rhino for its 20th anniversary.

From the iconic album cover image of a face in mid-punch, it was clear that Pantera’s second album for ATCO Records was going to be something different. With tracks like “Mouth for War,” “Walk” and “F—ing Hostile,” the last of which was famously used as theme and background music on MTV’s Headbangers BallVulgar Display is rightfully known as a classic of heavy metal – an cathartic juggernaut of power and volume unlike few others before or since.

Slated for reissue May 15, the remastered and expanded album includes one bonus track, a long-lost outtake called “Piss” that was recently discovered by drummer Vinnie Paul. In addition, the set comes with a DVD that includes the band’s performance at the 1992 Monsters of Rock Festival in Italy and three music videos.

Hit the jump for the full scoop and keep your eyes peeled here for a pre-order link.

Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power: Deluxe Edition (Rhino, 2012)

Disc 1: Original LP plus bonus track (originally released as ATCO 7 91758-2, 1992)

  1. Mouth for War
  2. A New Level
  3. Walk
  4. Fucking Hostile
  5. This Love
  6. Rise
  7. No Good (Attack the Radical)
  8. Live in a Hole
  9. Regular People (Conceit)
  10. By Demons Be Driven
  11. Hollow
  12. Piss *

Disc 2: DVD – Live at the Monsters of Rock Festival, Reggio Emilia, Italy – 9/12/1992 and bonus material

  1. Mouth for War
  2. Domination/Hollow
  3. Rise
  4. This Love
  5. Cowboys from Hell
  6. Mouth for War (promo video)
  7. This Love (promo video)
  8. Walk (promo video)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 12:37

Posted in News, Pantera, Reissues

Review: Pink Floyd, “The Wall: Immersion Box Set”

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By the way, which one’s Pink?

A record executive poses that wry musical question of Pink Floyd in “Have a Cigar,” a brief, humorous respite on the band’s elegiac 1975 album Wish You Were Here.  The ever-ambitious group would actually answer that wry question with The Wall, 1979’s sprawling double album.  The psychedelic Dark Side of the Moon and reflective Wish You Were Here both invited listeners to create their own stories in service of the albums’ impressionistic concepts, largely dealing with isolation and absence.  The Wall found primary songwriter Roger Waters making his concepts more explicit than ever before in telling the tale of Pink, who endures a traumatic childhood (including a deceased father, an overpowering mother and torment at the hands of his classmates) and builds bricks in his own personal wall with each painful event. Pink overcomes this to become a rock star, but finds life no easier as an adult, and continues building his wall as each relationship crumbles. Only after an unsettling, violent onstage performance does Pink look inward.  He places himself at the center of a hellish trial and finds the inner strength to tear down his wall.

We may never know to what degree Waters was working out his own demons in song, but The Wall has remained potent onstage, on film and on record in the ensuing years.  It now receives its most grandiose treatment yet via the latest of Pink Floyd’s Immersion box sets.  The 6-CD/1-DVD The Wall: Immersion (EMI/Capitol 5099902943923) follows the format of the DSOTM and WYWH sets, meaning that it’s equal parts revelatory and head-scratching.

At the box set’s centerpiece (and also available as a stand-alone 2-CD set and part of a 3-CD Experience Edition) is James Guthrie’s remastering of the original album on two compact discs.  Guthrie’s remastering is again exceptional, bringing out the details in the band’s intricate playing as well as the production of Bob Ezrin, Roger Waters and David Gilmour.  What the Immersion box lacks as compared to the two previous sets is any kind of high-resolution mix on DVD or Blu-Ray, and that is the box’s most significant loss.  The surround mixes included on DSOTM and WYWH offered the chance to hear these albums in a completely new light, indeed more “immersive” than ever before.  Although a surround mix is reportedly in the works for The Wall (and any audio DVD or Blu-Ray release would likely include a high-resolution PCM Stereo track, as well), the lack of one here makes the Immersion Box Set less than definitive.

Of course, the music of The Wall is as haunting, narcissistic, exploratory and bold as you remember.  Although the libretto by Waters is more concrete (no pun intended) than in the past, the album’s style is a clear continuation of the sound explored on previous albums.  There’s the familiar Floyd brew of sound effects (chirping birds, crying babies, crowd noises, etc.), brief dialogue snippets, fragmentary songs and big stadium-ready rock anthems.  It’s always been among The Wall’s most striking attributes that the concept of building the wall onstage is inherent to the album itself.  The very first notes of “In the Flesh” serve as a theatrical Overture and the foundation of the concert framework itself, with Pink inviting (or taunting?) the audience to hear his tale.  From the outset, The Wall invites comparison, too, with another famous rock opera, Pete Townshend and The Who’s Tommy.  Both Pink and Tommy are confronted with the difficult reality of life in post-WWII London, and both have to confront the consequences of their parents’ own failings.  Waters has said that he wrote The Wall about the loss of his own father, but over time, the album has resonated as a meditation on war and loss in general.  A dark worldview permeates The Wall as Waters uses each tool in his songwriter’s artillery to bring these characters to life.  “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” is ironically titled, as Pink recalls “there were certain teachers who would hurt the children in any way they could…even as it was well known [that] when they got home at night, their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives.” Yet Waters’ vocal doesn’t betray a hint of sentimentality or even sympathy for those he describes.

Don’t get too comfortably numb…just hit the jump to continue reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 28, 2012 at 10:07

Posted in Box Sets, Features, News, Pink Floyd, Reissues, Reviews

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Intrada Spotlights “Undiscovered” Scores

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Intrada’s two newest archival soundtrack releases take listeners from the deepest reaches of Arthurian legend to space (the final frontier).

First up, it’s an unlimited, expanded pressing of Cliff Eidelman’s score to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The sixth Trek film has several notable “lasts” to its credit: the last to feature the original series’ cast its entirety (1995’s Generations and the 2009 series reboot featured several of the major players), the second and last film in the series by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer and the last Trek project series creator Gene Roddenberry saw to completion (he died days after viewing a pre-release assembly of the film).

The film presents an unthinkable event: the Klingon Empire, affected by a major ecological disaster, brokers an uneasy truce with the Federation. Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise discover a plot to unravel the secret peace talks, and race against time to stop the traitors. Eidelman’s dark, dramatic score marks one of the most interesting departures for the series, and this double-disc set presents both the complete original film score, with two alternate cues and two cues composed for the film’s theatrical trailers (Trek VI is the only film in the series to have music written exclusively for a trailer), as well as a remaster of the original soundtrack album.

But there’s more – an Arthurian adaptation with an interesting score history is also after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 09:12

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Release Round-Up: Week of February 28

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Pink Floyd, The Wall: Experience and Immersion Editions (Capitol/EMI)

The latest Pink Floyd box, featuring live tracks and demos from the vault will make you lose your marbles! (Editor’s note: I am so sorry for typing that.)

The Ventures, The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull“Surfing” (The) Ventures in Space The Fabulous Ventures Walk, Don’t Run Vol. 2 (Sundazed)

Five classic Ventures albums, remastered in stereo on CD and vinyl.

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Live at the US Festival 1983 (Shout! Factory)

The first two CD sets in Shout! Factory’s new series of live sets from the infamous California festival.

Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin’ (Analogue)

Country singer Lynne’s 2008 tribute album to Dusty Springfield gets an SACD and audiophile vinyl reissue.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 28, 2012 at 08:23

Hip-o Select Spotlights The Funk Brothers on “That Motown Sound”

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Sure, now The Funk Brothers, Motown Records’ legendary in-house band, are notable names to pop and soul aficionados, thanks in large part to 2002’s Standing in the Shadows of Motown documentary and its Grammy-winning soundtrack. But for nearly the entire golden age of the Detroit label, the group was kept away from the spotlight. Hip-o Select’s newest title collects, for the first time on CD, the sole exception to that rule.

In 1965, Motown quietly released That Motown Sound, an album credited to Earl Van Dyke and The Soul Brothers. It’s not hard to guess who makes up the group (though label founder Berry Gordy insisted on the name change from “funk” to “soul”), and the familiar hit songs played on the album, including “Come See About Me,” “My Girl” and “Money (That’s What I Want)” are in fact the original backing tracks with new keyboard overdubs by Van Dyke, the band’s main keyboardist.

Van Dyke and the band were recording more sides even while laying down some of the most notable grooves in pop history. Some, including “Soul Stomp” and “The Flick,” were released as singles on Motown’s Soul imprint; many were left in the fabled vaults. A 1970 live album, The Earl of Funk, saw the band run through live covers of Motown hits as well as tracks by Ben E. King, Jimmy Webb, The Meters and Sly and The Family Stone.

The Funk Brothers moniker would be largely unused by the end of the decade (although Marvin Gaye credited them by name for the first time on 1971’s What’s Going On), and Van Dyke passed away in 1992 at the age of 62. But the legacy lives on like never before in this new, two-disc set, featuring both complete Van Dyke albums in stereo, all the non-LP sides and nine unreleased tracks. The set, housed in a digipak, also boasts new liner notes by Allan Slutsky, who penned the original Standing in the Shadows of Motown book and produced the documentary of the same name.

You can pre-order the set after the jump (the shipping date is listed as March 6), and get a look at the track list as well.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2012 at 18:15