The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 2012

Just The Way He Is: Starbucks Brews Billy Joel “Opus Collection”

with 4 comments

Though Billy Joel retired from the business of writing and recording new pop music in 1993 following his River of Dreams, and has largely kept his word in the ensuing almost-twenty years, the music legend has hardly lowered his profile.  Since River of Dreams, Joel, now 62, has written an album’s worth of classical compositions, overseen a hit Broadway musical, staged lucrative tours and issued numerous live albums and career-overview collections.  As recently as last week, Joel’s catalogue was celebrated by the contestants on television’s American Idol.  Starbucks Entertainment is the latest partner of Joel’s to jump into the fray with the release of an Opus Collection entry devoted to the superstar.  Previous artists in the series have included Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and John Lennon, putting the Long Island boy in splendid company, indeed.

Over sixteen tracks, Billy Joel: Opus Collection draws on eight of the artist’s Columbia Records releases, from 1973’s breakthrough Piano Man to 1993’s River of Dreams.  Typical of these collections, the disc is aimed at casual fans (read: there’s nothing new here) and completists, but isn’t a strict “greatest hits” compilation either, blending key favorites with successful singles.  Five tracks, or nearly one-third of the disc, hail from 1977’s best-selling The Stranger, including “She’s Always a Woman,” “Vienna,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.”  Represented by two tracks apiece are 1973’s sophomore effort Piano Man, 1976’s Turnstiles, 1978’s jazz-inflected 52nd Street and 1989’s Storm Front.  Rounding out the set are songs from Glass Houses (1980), An Innocent Man (1983) and River of Dreams (1993).  Among the all-time Joel favorites here are “New York State of Mind,” “My Life” and “Honesty.”  1971’s debut Cold Spring Harbor, 1974’s Streetlife Serenade, 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, and 1986’s The Bridge are Joel’s only studio albums overlooked on this anthology.

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

Written by Joe Marchese

March 30, 2012 at 14:03

Shining Like a “Ruby”: Kaiser Chiefs to Release New Compilation

leave a comment »

Indie rockers the Kaiser Chiefs are set to release their first career-spanning collectionSouvenir: The Singles 2004-2012, this summer.

The Leeds-based quintet formed in 1996 under the name Parva, and released one album on Beggars Banquet’s short-lived Mantra label. After their label shuttered, they rebuilt from the ground up, writing new, New Wave and punk-inspired songs under the Kaiser Chiefs moniker (named for the South African football club). Their buzzworthy live sets got them a deal with B-Unique Records (distributed by Universal Music on both sides of the Atlantic), and favorable reviews from the NME led to commercial and critical acclaim, including an Ivor Novello Award for Best Album and BRIT Award and Mercury Prize nominations. While critical marks have not been as consistently high for subsequent albums, the band continue to attract a devoted live following, as well as a healthy collaboration with notable rock producers, including Stephen Street, Mark Ronson and Tony Visconti. And their biggest hit, the U.K. No. 1 “Ruby,” was a hit for U.S. fans when it was included in the popular Guitar Hero series of video games.

The single-disc, 16-track set collates all the singles from the Leeds band’s four albums for B-Unique. Their native Top 10 hits, including “Ruby,” “Oh My God,” “I Predict a Riot,” “Never Miss a Beat” and “Every Day I Love You Less and Less,” are all here. There’s also a new track, “Listen to Your Head,” which the group has added to live setlists for awhile now, and for U.K.-based collectors, there’s also “On the Run,” a track released on Start the Revolution Without Me, the band’s fourth album in the United States, released only about a month ago. (This material, plus more, was released in 2011 as The Future is Medieval in England.)

Souvenir is out on June 4 in the U.K. and a day later in the U.S.; the full track list is after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 30, 2012 at 11:18

Bowie, McCartney, Joplin, Springsteen, Clash, Davis, Small Faces, More Lead Record Store Day Pack

with one comment

We’re just three weeks away from Record Store Day on April 21, and following individual announcements from fantastic labels like Omnivore Recordings, Concord Records, Sundazed Music and Rhino/Warner Bros., we can finally reveal the full line-up of RSD-related goodies!

These limited editions, available at independent music retailers across the U.S. and even internationally, are primarily vinyl releases in various formats (7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, etc.) and range from replicas of classic albums to EPs and singles premiering exclusive content.  Some of our favorite artists here at TSD HQ are represented, including David Bowie, James Brown, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Lee Hazlewood, Janis Joplin, Buck Owens, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Bruce Springsteen, and even the “odd couple” pairing of Neil Young and Rick James as members of Motown’s The Mynah Birds!  All told, there’s plenty for fans of rock, pop and jazz on offer this year!

Without further ado, hit the jump for our exhaustive list of RSD releases related to the catalogue artists we celebrate each and every day here at The Second Disc.  For those in need of a checklist, you can find a downloadable PDF here of the complete list, and this official Record Store Day list also includes all of the releases of a more recent vintage.  Sound off below on which title you are most eagerly awaiting, and thanks for supporting your local independent record retailer! Read the rest of this entry »

Uncanned: Legendary Krautrock Band to Release Box of Unreleased Songs

leave a comment »

Notable German rockers Can are releasing 30 unreleased tracks in a new box set coming this June from Mute Records.

The Lost Tapes, co-curated by founding band member Irmin Schmidt, draws from over 30 hours of uncovered tapes that lay hidden in the band’s studio in Weilerswist, discovered when the studio and all its possessions was sold to the German Rock N Pop Museum. Best of all for collectors, the tracks, spanning through the band’s classic period from 1968 to 1977, are all entirely unreleased. These aren’t outtakes or alternate arrangements, but music that has never been heard, commissioned for unreleased soundtracks or cut from albums due to space.

With artists from David Bowie and Public Image Ltd. to The Fall and The Flaming Lips citing Can as an influence, this set is going to be one to check out when it streets on June 18. In the meantime, check out the first track from the box below and hit the jump for the full track list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 29, 2012 at 16:41

Posted in Box Sets, Can, News

My Huckleberry Friend: El Records Offers Variations on Mancini’s “Moon River and Me”

with one comment

Quick – think of your favorite Blake Edwards movie.  Okay, now be honest: when conjuring up an image of one of Edwards’ signature comic set pieces, didn’t you automatically start hearing a famous theme?  If you did, chances are it was composed by Henry Mancini.  Edwards and Mancini worked hand in hand for some 30 projects over a 35-year period, from 1958’s groundbreaking television series Peter Gunn through 1993’s Son of the Pink Panther, Edwards’ final motion picture.  One of the most cherished of the Mancini/Edwards pairings came on 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  With the Academy Award-winning ballad “Moon River” as its immortal centerpiece, Tiffany’s offered Mancini in his most tuneful mode, embracing dramatic cues, swinging cocktail music, brash big band jazz and even a cha-cha-cha.  The varied compositions perfectly captured the spirit of the romantic comedy based on Truman Capote’s novella and starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.  As with most of Mancini’s film work, his score to Breakfast at Tiffany’s was re-recorded for a home listening experience for RCA Victor’s original soundtrack album.  Now, a bit more of Mancini’s original score is available thanks to the U.K.’s Cherry Red-affiliated El Records label and its release today of Moon River and Me (coincidentally also the title of Andy Williams’ autobiography, Williams being the American singer most associated with the Academy Award-winning song penned by Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the film).

Moon River and Me features seventeen recordings from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Though this doesn’t represent the entirety of the original score, it offers music not present on the 12-track RCA Victor re-recording.  These tracks include the original main title, Audrey Hepburn’s vocal rendition of “Moon River” and other previously-unavailable cues like the moody “Paul the Spy,” wistful “Running Home” and alternately slinky and animated “Next Morning.”  All of these are presented in generally good sound and make a welcome companion to the RCA Victor soundtrack album.  (Presentations such as this are possible due to current United Kingdom copyright law which finds music more than 50 years old to be in the public domain.)

There’s more on Moon River and Me, too, including variations on that famed song.  Hit the jump to read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 29, 2012 at 13:54

ZTT Uncovers Buried Digital Treasure

leave a comment »

ZTT Records has taken to iTunes to uncover their latest vault find: a reissue of Ca$h, the 1988 album by dance-rock outfit Nasty Rox Inc.

The U.K. quintet, featuring CJ Mackintosh of short-lived dance legends M|A|R|R|S, were one of the most prominent U.K. bands to mix house/club music with straightforward rock. Their single “Escape from New York” was described by the NME as “the aural equivalent of ‘[The] Towering Inferno,” and they ended up as the support act for a British tour with funk legend James Brown.

The album, which hasn’t been released since its initial pressing in 1988, features three bonus tracks: the 12″ B-side “Escape from New York 2” (which appeeared on original cassette reissues of Ca$h) plus two unreleased bonus cuts.

The album is yours to buy on iTunes in the U.S. and the U.K.!

Nasty Rox Inc., Ca$h (originally released as ZTT Records 1, 1988)

  1. 9th Wonder
  2. 10th Wonder
  3. Say It Mean It
  4. Escape from New York
  5. Blow
  6. Wooba Wubbaa I
  7. Nobby’s One
  8. Nasty Rox Inc.
  9. Wooba Wubbaa II
  10. Escape from New York 2 (12″ B-side – ZTT NROX 1 (U.K.), 1988)
  11. What It Is (previously unreleased)
  12. Praise the Lord (previously unreleased)

Written by Mike Duquette

March 29, 2012 at 13:09

In Case You Missed It: Join the (Music) Club!

with 5 comments

If you’re a British compilation hunter or fan of imports, it’s tough to go wrong with Demon Music Group’s Music Club Deluxe label. The relatively inexpensive double-disc sets the label turns out might look simple or quickly assembled, but they’re in fact often packed with a few rarities for your buck.

In recent weeks, Music Club Deluxe has issued a half-dozen compilations, all for ’80s pop/rock artists. You likely know their hits, but there are some great album cuts, B-sides and remixes to go around for each. Hit the jump and we’ll run through them all.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Road to Tarkio: Brewer and Shipley’s Debut “Down in L.A.” Remastered and Expanded By Now Sounds

with 2 comments

Oklahoma-born Michael Brewer and Ohio native Tom Shipley found fame on Missouri’s mythical Tarkio Road, thousands of miles away from Hollywood’s La Brea Avenue and the headquarters of A&M Records.  But before they took one pivotal toke over the line into stardom, Brewer and Shipley recorded an album for Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’ label that couldn’t have been recorded at any other time and place than Los Angeles, circa 1967-1968.  Down in L.A. was almost entirely written by Brewer and Shipley, either individually or collectively, and recorded at such landmark studios as United/Western Recorders and Sunset Sound.  The names dotting the album’s personnel list are about as lustrous as you could possibly find at the time: Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon on drums, Joe Osborn and Lyle Ritz on bass, Leon Russell on piano, keyboard and organ.  These Wrecking Crew vets supported Brewer and Shipley in creating an album that stands as a lost treasure of the California folk-rock genre.  Thanks to the fine folks at Now Sounds, Down in L.A. has made its long-awaited CD release.

Brewer and Shipley first bonded over their mutual love of folk music, playing the coffeehouse circuit alongside countless other young troubadours in the early 1960s.  Brewer was the first of the duo to answer California’s siren call, teaming with songwriter Tom Mastin as Mastin & Brewer.  That twosome made vital connections with members of The Mothers of Invention and Buffalo Springfield, but Mastin’s personal demons brought the partnership to an abrupt halt.  Brewer’s brother Keith deputized for Mastin, but the real magic happened when Brewer and Shipley brought their voices together.  Shipley, an acquaintance of Brewer’s, had independently made his way to the Golden State and reconnected with his old friend.  Reissue producer Steve Stanley’s copious liner notes inform us that Brewer received an offer to join The Association in early 1967 as a replacement for the departing Jules (Gary) Alexander.  Brewer declined the offer, preferring to continue developing a professional bond with Shipley.  Shortly thereafter, Brewer and Shipley were signed as staff songwriters to A&M Records’ Good Sam Music publishing division.  At Good Sam, they placed songs with artists as diverse as Bobby Rydell, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and even Noel “The Windmills of Your Mind” Harrison.  But it wasn’t long before A&M gave them the green light to proceed with the album that became Down in L.A. under the production auspices of Allen Stanton and Jerry Riopelle.

Hit the jump to join us Down in L.A.! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 29, 2012 at 09:52

All Around the World, Or the Myth of “Graceland” Revisited: 25th Anniversary Box Set Due in June

with 19 comments

Paul Simon was back.  With a vengeance.

The sixties wunderkind and one-half of Simon and Garfunkel had greeted the 1980s uneasily.  The film One-Trick Pony, for which he served as writer, star and composer in 1980, was tepidly-received.  An underperforming LP (Hearts and Bones) followed in 1983, his first solo album since 1965 not to hit the Billboard Top 10.  It peaked at No. 35.  Simon’s biggest success of the first half of the decade was a headline-making reunion concert with his old friend Art.  As 1986 opened, Simon was barely 45 years old…how terribly strange.  And he had much, much more to say.  It took a trip to South Africa to recharge Paul Simon’s batteries.  In the rich musical tapestry of that country, the singer/songwriter reconnected with his own roots, creating what may be his most enduring solo musical statement.

The original multi-platinum album, with sales of 14+ million copies, picked up Grammy Awards for Album of the Year (in 1987) and Song of the Year for the title track (in 1988).  “You Can Call Me Al” dominated radio airplay and its music video made Simon a familiar face to the MTV generation.  Simon was able to synthesize the street-corner symphonies of his youth (early influences The Everly Brothers even guest on the title song!) with an ethnic sound foreign to many American listeners’ ears, and still spin commercial gold without sacrificing authenticity.  Last year, we reported on plans for a deluxe box set commemorating Graceland, as well as director Joe Berlinger’s documentary about the seminal album.  Now it can be revealed that a panoply of Graceland 25th Anniversary editions will arrive from Legacy Recordings on June 5.

Paul Simon’s pilgrimage to South Africa wasn’t without controversy.  Though Simon collaborated with many of the country’s finest musicians, a number of international observers chastised his decision to break the United Nations’ cultural boycott on the country, imposed because of its practice of apartheid.  25 years after Simon’s first visit, he returned to South Africa with filmmaker Joe Berlinger, and performed in front of a small audience with performers like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Hugh Masekela.  Berlinger’s resulting documentary film Under African Skies has garnered considerable acclaim at SXSW 2012, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.  Even as it continues on the festival circuit, the film will play limited theatrical engagement in New York and Los Angeles beginning May 11th.  The documentary chronicles Simon’s journey making the album as well as his trip back and the concert.  It includes interviews with anti-apartheid activists as well as musical figures such as Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, David Byrne and Peter Gabriel.

Under African Skies is just one part of the ongoing Graceland celebration slated for 2012.  The joyful and provocative Graceland was quietly reissued in a remastered edition in 2011 alongside the Songwriter anthology, a 2-CD set personally curated by Simon.  Graceland will soon get the full deluxe treatment, however.  It will arrive from Legacy on June 5 as a 2-CD/2-DVD box set, a CD/DVD set, a vinyl edition and limited edition bundle.  The documentary will be available as an individual Blu-Ray disc, as well.

Graceland marked the crossroads of classic American pop and explosive world music.  Hit the jump for the full details on each of its 25th anniversary editions including track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2012 at 12:30

Paul McCartney, Little Richard, Dave Brubeck Due From Concord on Record Store Day

with 11 comments

What do Paul McCartney, Dave Brubeck and Little Richard have in common?  All three will be recipients of exclusive, limited edition Record Store Day releases from our friends at Concord Records.  Since its founding in 2007, Record Store Day has become an institution at many independent shops, and has even gone global with the participation of international retailers.

As previously reported, a 7-inch vinyl single from Paul McCartney will prove a highlight of Concord’s roster and kick off the reissue program for the Archive Collection release of 1971’s Ram.  “Another Day” b/w “Oh Woman, Oh Why” was recorded in 1970 during the Ram sessions. It was the first single of McCartney’s solo career, and kicked it off in high style, selling over a million copies worldwide. It was a No. 1 hit in France and Australia, in the U.K. it reached No. 2, and in the U.S., it peaked at a none-too-shabby No. 5.

Tying in with another expanded reissue from Concord is a special RSD-exclusive 12-inch red vinyl LP of Little Richard’s 1957 Specialty album Here’s Little Richard.  This special pressing of the original album classic includes familiar hits from the piano-pounding rocker including “Tutti Frutti,” “Rip It Up,” “Slipin’ & Slidin’,” and “Jenny Jenny.”  It has been remastered from the original analog tapes.

Rounding out Concord’s reissue trio for Record Store Day is a 1952 recording from The Dave Brubeck Octet.  Originally released on the Fantasy label, Distinctive Rhythm Instrumentals offers eight tracks from personnel including Brubeck (piano), Bill Smith (clarinet/baritone saxophone), Paul Desmond (alto saxophone), David Van Kriedt (tenor saxophone), Dick Collins (trumpet), Bob Collins (trombone), Ron Crotty (bass), and Cal Tjader (drums).  These highly experimental jazz recordings can be yours on 10-inch red vinyl.

Hit the jump for more, including the details of Concord’s more modern-skewing releases, plus track listings for each of the reissued titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2012 at 10:06