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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!

Before he was the King of Broadway, Mel Brooks reigned in Hollywood with his unique brand of antic humor. And from his very first film, 1968’s The Producers, writer/director Brooks made sure that music was an integral part of his mise en scene. One of his most frequent collaborators in that pursuit was John Morris, who was able to translate Brooks’ zaniest ideas into fresh and vibrant film music. Upon the release of Brooks’ Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety, Asylum Records released Mel Brooks’ Greatest Hits, doubling as both that movie’s soundtrack (with five tracks, including the title song) and a compendium of the greatest Brooksongs. And, indeed, many cinematic favorites are here. From The Producers, you’ll hear both the showstopping “Springtime for Hitler” (“It’s springtime for Hitler and Germany/Winter for Poland and France!”) and “Prisoners of Love,” led by Kenneth Mars’ deranged Franz Liebkind. Brooks’ 1970 The Twelve Chairs is one of his most artful and low-key films, and from the Russian satire comes “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst” and an excerpt from Morris’ score. Not one but two now-immortal films arrived from the prolific filmmaker in 1974. Blazing Saddles offered more memorable moments in the form of Frankie Laine’s title song and Madeline Kahn’s delicious “I’m Tired,” while Young Frankenstein served up a pre-Taco remake of Irving Berlin’s dazzling “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The LP concludes with selections from Silent Movie, the 1976 slapstick homage to a film era gone by.

All three titles arrive in stores on February 21 from Wounded Bird, and you’ll find pre-order links just below!

Blood Sweat and Tears, In Concert (CBS LP 22006, 1976 – reissued Wounded Bird WOU 139, 2012)

CD 1

  1. Spinning Wheel
  2. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
  3. Lucretia MacEvil
  4. And When I Die
  5. One Room Country Shack
  6. And When I Die (Reprise)
  7. I Can Recall Spain

CD 2

  1. Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)
  2. Unit Seven
  3. Life
  4. Mean Ole World
  5. Ride Captain Ride
  6. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

Mel Brooks and John Morris, Mel Brooks’ Greatest Hits (Asylum LP 5E-501, 1978 – reissued Wounded Bird WOU 5501, 2012)

  1. High Anxiety: Main Title (High Anxiety)
  2. High Anxiety (High Anxiety)
  3. Anxious Theme (High Anxiety)
  4. If You Love Me, Tell Me Loud (High Anxiety)
  5. High Anxiety: End Title (High Anxiety)
  6. Springtime for Hitler (The Producers)
  7. Prisoners of Love (The Producers)
  8. Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst (The Twelve Chairs)
  9. Vorobyaninov’s Theme (The Walk Through Russia) (The Twelve Chairs)
  10. Blazing Saddles (Blazing Saddles)
  11. The French Mistake (Blazing Saddles)
  12. I’m Tired (Blazing Saddles)
  13. Young Frankenstein: Main Title (Young Frankenstein)
  14. Puttin’ on the Ritz (Young Frankenstein)
  15. Burt Reynolds’ House (Silent Movie)
  16. Silent Movie March (Silent Movie)

Phil Everly, Star Spangled Springer (RCA LP APL1-0092, 1973 – reissued Wounded Bird WOU 192, 2012)

  1. The Air That I Breathe
  2. Sweet Grass County
  3. God Bless Older Ladies (For They Made Rock and Roll)
  4. It Pleases Me to Please You
  5. Lady Anne
  6. Red, White and Bleu
  7. Our Song
  8. Poisonberry Pie
  9. La Divorce
  10. Snowflake Bombardier

Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2012 at 09:20

One Response

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  1. I guess the BS&T live set is exactly the same that was reissued as “Live And Improvised” in 1991. So nothing new. But that 2-record set is simply AMAZING; to my ears (it’s a matter of taste I know) it’s the best thing I ever heard from BS&T, their musicianship is astonishing, they swing like hell, Clayton-Thomas is just incredible, their best vocalist in my opinion.
    I strongly suggest anyone who wants to know about BS&T to start from here…


    February 7, 2012 at 10:31

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