The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 17th, 2012

Welcome to New York: Kid Creole Side Project Rediscovered by Hot Shot Records

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In the early-to-mid-1980s, August Darnell was one of the more esoteric dance music makers in the industry, touring with a comical, colorful, big band and Latin-inspired combo as Kid Creole and The Coconuts. The group was, somewhat improbably, a briefly successful outfit, earning three U.K. Top 10 hits in 1982, appearing on Saturday Night Live and collaborating with everyone from Barry Manilow to Prince.

But Creole was far from the only musical shapeshifting personality that Darnell had invented for himself – and one of the most obscure is ripe for rediscovery as part of U.K. label Hot Shot Records‘ new product lineup. Darnell’s 1983 venture as “Elbow Bones and The Racketeers” is now available to order as a greatly expanded CD.

Elbow Bones wasn’t honestly too far off from Kid Creole, with several of the members of The Coconuts contributing their talents to this set as well. This time out, though, the Latin influences were toned down somewhat in favor of a more vibrant, jiving big band beat. Lead single “New York at Dawn” was another U.K. Top 40 hit for Darnell, as well as a Top 30 hit on Billboard‘s Dance charts.

Cherry Red’s remastered and expanded version of the album – one of its first releases on CD outside of Japan – features a new interview with Darnell in the liner notes as well as six bonus tracks, including dance remixes and a rare, Japan-only single A-side. “Happy Times” await you after the jump!

Elbow Bones and The Racketeers, New York at Dawn: Expanded Edition (Hot Shot Records HSR-003 (U.K.), 2012)

  1. A Night in New York
  2.  Other Guys
  3. Happy Times
  4. Our Love Will Always Stand
  5. Happy Birthday, Baby
  6. Mama’s in Love Again
  7. I Got You
  8. I Call It Like I See It
  9. I Belong to You
  10. You Got Me High
  11. A Night in New York (12” Version)
  12. Happy Birthday, Baby (Extended Version)
  13. Happy Times (Extended Version)
  14. I Wanna Remind You
  15. A Night in New York (Single Version)
  16. Happy Birthday, Baby (Single Version)

Tracks 1-10 released as EMI America LP ST-17103, 1983
Tracks 11 and 13 released as EMI America 12″ A-side 7812, 1983
Track 12 released as EMI America 12″ A-side 12EA 168 (U.K.), 1984
Track 14 released as Toshiba-EMI single A-side EYS-17448 (JP), 1984
Track 15 released as EMI America single A-side B-8184, 1983
Track 16 released as EMI America single A-side EA 168 (U.K.), 1984

Written by Mike Duquette

February 17, 2012 at 12:24

Elvis Costello is Stealing Our Job (UPDATED 2/17)

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UPDATE 2/17: Hey, remember this whole uproar? The CD, DVD and CD/DVD editions of this pseudo-nightmarish box can now be pre-ordered on their own, with a release date of April 3.

Original post (11/29/2011): Man, Elvis Costello is a pretty awesome guy. He’s had a pretty good handle on his own already-solid back catalogue, giving it a good solid two run-throughs (unfortunately, two out of three, which still ain’t bad, as they say). His revival of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook Tour, to be chronicled in a new super-deluxe box set and CD/DVD package, was a welcome surprise that mixed some nostalgia with up-to-date live fun. And then there’s that above video, which doesn’t fail to put a smile on my face.

But not everyone smiles for Mr. Costello! Our dear readers were rightfully upset at the crazy-even-for-a-super-deluxe-box $200+ price point, which included CDs, DVDs, books, vinyl, posters and other usual trinkets. But who would listen, other than us? Well, it turns out Elvis himself was!

In a typically sardonic announcement on his website, he not only urged that fans hold off on buying the mega box (indicating, as had been reported, that its contents would be available separately in 2012), but suggested that fans instead spend their hard-earned money on Universal U.K.’s “vastly superior” Louis Armstrong box set.

While we’re happy that Elvis is cognizant of how much these deluxe boxes put on fans’ wallets, we hope he keeps the reissue reporting to a minimum. After all, I couldn’t write or play “Accidents Will Happen” competently. (I won’t dare speak for Joe, though!)

Read the full text of the statement after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 17, 2012 at 11:50

Goin’ For High Coin: Harpers Bizarre’s “Anything Goes” Returns in Expanded Mono Edition

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In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking!  Now heaven knows, anything goes…Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose!  Anything goes!

When Cole Porter wrote “Anything Goes” in 1934, could he have had any idea that his commentary would prove just as relevant more than thirty years later, and indeed, even today?  In 1967, three years after the esteemed songsmith’s passing, the members of Harpers Bizarre unleashed their second album onto the world, choosing Porter’s song for its title track.  In the year of the Summer of Love, producer Lenny Waronker’s “subversive choirboys”  made waves by reaching back, with the album cover trumpeting “ANYTHING GOES: Including ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo!”  That latter-named Mack Gordon/Harry Warren standard – Billboard‘s first-ever gold disc in Glenn Miller’s rendition – was recent compared to “Anything Goes,” having been written in 1941.  Well, now was then, and then is Now, with Now Sounds’ just-released Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition of Anything Goes (CRNOW 31)!

For their sophomore effort, the members of Harpers Bizarre looked to reprise the success of their first album but with some crucial differences.  For starters, two original band compositions were included, both from Dick Scoppettone and Ted Templeman: “Hey, You in the Crowd” and “Virginia City.”  Van Dyke Parks, whose “Come to the Sunshine” both opened and set the tone for Harpers’ debut LP Feelin’ Groovy, instead closed Anything Goes with “High Coin.”  One of Parks’ most-covered and most adaptable songs, it’s also been performed by singers as diverse as Bobby Vee and Jackie DeShannon.  In reissue producer Steve Stanley’s new liner notes, Lenny Waronker recalls Parks actually singing on the track, too: “Van Dyke and Ted really did the vocals because I think Dick was off in the service.  I love that song, and it’s how I was introduced to Van Dyke.”  Waronker couldn’t believe that Parks was a member of the younger generation when he composed the song: “It sounds like it comes from another time!”  Harpers Bizarre’s otherworldly vocals lend a memorable new dimension to the song.

That look at nostalgia through the somewhat ironic eyes of youth served Harpers Bizarre well.  In addition to the title track (piano by Van Dyke Parks and arrangement by Harry Nilsson’s close collaborator Perry Botkin Jr.!), Cole Porter’s songbook was also tapped for “Two Little Babes in the Wood,” not one of the urbane composer’s most famous songs.  The 1924 tune was written by Porter for The Greenwich Village Follies of 1924 and has likely received its widest airing to date on Anything Goes!  Porter himself is even heard on the album via a vintage recording, warbling his own “Anything Goes” on the introductory track’s mock radio broadcast and on a later reprise!  More recent, but still belonging to another generation, was Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Pocketful of Miracles,” written for Frank Capra’s 1961 film of the same name.  Frank Sinatra was slated to star in the film when he clashed with the studio over the script; Glenn Ford took over, but Sinatra still popularized his pallies’ jaunty, Academy Award-nominated song.  Even Edith Piaf was paid homage via a cover of her 1959 chanson “Milord.”

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

Written by Joe Marchese

February 17, 2012 at 10:22