The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 7th, 2012

Anyone Who Had a Heart: Shelby Lynne’s Dusty Springfield Tribute, Reissued

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When I Am Shelby Lynne appeared on the Mercury label in 2000, its eponymous singer finally hit on an approach that synthesized her varied influences (country, soul, R&B, rock-and-roll) into a relevant and contemporary whole. Lynne picked up the Best New Artist Grammy, despite having released her first album in 1989, and the album’s title indicated that, finally, the artist knew who she was, and was ready to share her music with the world. Fast-forward eight years, and a number of albums later, and many were surprised to find Lynne releasing Just a Little Lovin’, a countrified tribute to the British chanteuse Dusty Springfield. Journalists and fans alike frequently have invoked the late, great soul goddess when assessing the work of singers like Duffy, Amy Winehouse and even Adele, but the influence of Springfield wasn’t readily apparent in Lynne’s body of work. Yet she transformed what could have been a hackneyed homage into a deeply felt tribute both to Springfield’s indomitable spirit and the timeless songs that figure in her legacy, written by names like Randy Newman, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Upon the album’s release, audiophile guide The Absolute Sound ranked the original CD as one of the best-sounding, while Stereophile ranked it the magazine’s Recording of the Month. Now, Just a Little Lovin’ is reappearing on Hybrid Stereo SACD (playable on all CD players) and 200-gram vinyl LP from Analogue Productions, improving what was already a pristine quality recording.

To craft the album, Lynne teamed with producer Phil Ramone. In his days running New York’s A&R Studios, Ramone became a close ally of Bacharach, and actually engineered the session that yielded Springfield’s “The Look of Love” for the film Casino Royale. Lynne had considered tackling the Springfield songbook for a number of years, and credited her friend Barry Manilow with providing the initial encouragement. Lynne and Ramone reinvented the songs, eschewing the elaborate orchestrations of the original recordings in favor of spare, stripped-down arrangements of guitar, keyboard, drum and bass. Ramone recorded Lynne at Capitol Studios with a microphone once used by Frank Sinatra, and though Lynne could be sensual and sultry in Springfield’s mode, the new treatments rendered them wholly unique. Because of this approach, the singer was free to tackle such all-time staples as “The Look of Love,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” and “I Only Want to Be with You.”

We’ve got more after the jump, including pre-order links with sound samples!

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Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2012 at 13:56

High Anxiety: Wounded Bird Offers Blood, Sweat and Tears, Phil Everly, and…Mel Brooks?!?

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No need to suffer from high anxiety (it’s always the same)! Chances are that Wounded Bird Records might make you so very happy with a trio of new releases slated for February 21. Phil Everly’s 1973 solo offering for RCA Records, Star Spangled Springer, has never before been available on CD despite contributions from Warren Zevon and Duane Eddy, and so Wounded Bird’s reissue will undoubtedly fill a gap in more than a few Everly Brothers collections. It’s joined by the 2-CD release of Blood, Sweat and Tears’ In Concert, a 1976 double LP originally released overseas (and retitled Live and Improvised for a long-out-of-print 1991 CD presentation). Finally, pass the beans. Mel Brooks’ Greatest Hits, a combination of compilation LP and soundtrack for Brooks’ 1977 film High Anxiety, makes its CD premiere offering selections from Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and all of Brooks’ earliest and most beloved flicks.

When Phil Everly released Star Spangled Springer in 1973, he was still performing with brother Don as part of The Everly Brothers, a point the original LP liner notes took pains to emphasize. (“I’m taking this opportunity…to dispell [sic] any rumor that denies the continuance of the Everly Brothers.”) It wasn’t long, however, before the brothers split acrimoniously, and Don, too, was left to fly solo. The album’s lead-off track, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood’s “The Air That I Breathe,” actually predates The Hollies’ smash hit version. Phil Everly was the first to cover the song, introduced on Hammond’s 1972 album It Never Rains in Southern California. Every other song on the album was written, or co-written, by Phil. Warren Zevon’s participation stemmed from his role in the Everly Brothers’ band, both as a keyboardist and an arranger. Duane Eddy contributed memorable guitar licks to the album’s closer, “Snowflake Bombardier.” The Wounded Bird release is the first time Star Spangled Springer has been revisited in the compact disc era.

Blood, Sweat and Tears’ In Concert was drawn from performances at four different venues during the group’s 1975 tour: New York, New York; Ottawa, Canada; Monterey, California; and Boston, Massachusetts. It celebrated lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas’ return to the band after a sabbatical between 1972 and 1975. Drummer/album producer Bobby Colomby chose to emphasize the band’s jazz fusion side for the sprawling set, although most of the band’s hits were present, including “And When I Die,” “Spinning Wheel” and “You Make Me So Very Happy.” BS&T was touring behind New City, Clayton-Thomas’ return, and from that album included Allen Toussaint’s “Life,” John Lee Hooker’s “One Room Country Shack” and a reworking of Blues Image’s “Ride, Captain, Ride.” The group even reached back to its Al Kooper-helmed debut for “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” and covered fusion pioneer Chick Corea with “(I Can Recall) Spain.” (An aside: founding members Kooper and Colomby had a major falling out, leading Kooper to quip in his autobiography, “If they can live with ‘Lucretia MacEvil’ and their Las Vegas desecration of ‘God Bless The Child,’ then God bless them.”) Only one more album for Columbia Records would follow (1976’s More Than Ever) after which Bobby Colomby departed the ranks. For 1977’s Brand New Day on the ABC label, Colomby served as co-producer with Roy Halee. After just one more album with an even more altered line-up, 1980’s Nuclear Blues, Blood, Sweat and Tears would basically hang up their studio shoes. That wasn’t an auspicious end to a band that initially showed such tremendous promise, but nonetheless, In Concert preserves some fine instrumental interplay looking back on a strong legacy.

Hit the jump for the full track listings of Star Spangled Springer and In Concert, plus – Bialystock and Bloom are back!

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Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2012 at 09:20

Release Round-Up: Week of February 7

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Queen, The Works / A Kind of Magic / The Miracle / Innuendo / Made in Heaven: Deluxe Editions (Hollywood)

The last five deluxe reissues of the Queen catalogue, which began last year for the 40th anniversary, are now available domestically (they came out in the U.K. in November). So if you’ve missed these, now’s the chance to get them without importing ’em.

Big Country, The Crossing: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMC)

From the U.K., one of the most criminally underrated albums of the ’80s, expanded with B-sides and a bonus disc of rare and unreleased demos.

Pet Shop Boys, Format: B-Sides and Bonus Tracks 1996-2009 (Parlophone)

Two discs of PSB B-sides from 1996 to 2009, a sequel to 1995’s Alternative, which served the same purpose for the band’s early flipsides.

Tony Bennett, Isn’t It Romantic? (Concord)

Bennett’s Improv-era material compiled for lovers, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Todd Rundgren, A Cappella + Nearly Human + 2nd Wind (Edsel)

Two ’80s and a ’90s album on two discs from the U.K. label.

Goldfrapp, The Singles (Astralwerks)

The great dance-pop duo closes out their major-label contract with a compilation of singles and the by-now requisite pair of new tracks.

John Williams/The London Symphony Orchestra, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Classical)

A reissue of the original, single-disc soundtrack (with one bonus track from the double-disc Ultimate Edition reissue) to tie in with the 3-D re-release of the film this Friday.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 7, 2012 at 08:03