The Second Disc

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Archive for March 1st, 2012

Reissue Theory: Van Halen, “The Best of 1978-1984”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. As Van Halen prepares to take Second Disc HQ by storm, we reflect on a compilation that almost was, and how it could’ve been done, TSD-style…

Van Halen are mere hours away from their second show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, part of their latest tour in support of their first album in 13 years (and first with lead vocalist David Lee Roth since 1984), A Different Kind of Truth. It’s the second tour since 2007 to feature Roth alongside Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Alex Van Halen at the drum set and Eddie’s son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass – and boy, is it irrationally exciting to be prepping to see these guys in 2012. VH still puts on a hell of a live show, and all reports indicate Eddie hasn’t been as on point in concert in many years.

Naturally, Second Disc HQ has been ringing with Diamond Dave-era cuts in preparation for tonight’s show, and it certainly brought to mind what there might still be to do with the band’s lengthy catalogue on Warner Bros. Records from 1978 to 2000. The Roth albums were remastered in 2000, and two compilations (1996’s The Best of Volume 1, featuring two new songs with Roth, and the double-disc The Best of Both Worlds (2004), featuring three new tracks with second vocalist Sammy Hagar) have been released to date.

A third compilation was planned several years ago, though, and while its worthiness would be incredibly easy to call into question, if done well it would have been a great collectible in the wake of A Different Kind of Truth. Get ready to dance the night away after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2012 at 15:29

Posted in Compilations, Features, Van Halen

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Come Rain or Shine: Legendary Diana Ross Concert Debuts on DVD

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Time and taste have been kind to Diana Ross, recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. From the moment The Supremes broke into the national consciousness, it was clear there was something special about that pretty lead singer with the unmistakable voice.

And believe it or not, nothing can stop her – not even the elements, as a classic 1983 live event, bowing on DVD this spring from Shout! Factory, is quick to prove.

On July 21, 1983, Miss Ross – at the time, two years into a recording contract with RCA, after decades with Motown – came to New York City to perform a show in Central Park to raise money for a new playground. The show, recorded under the title Diana Ross: For One and For All for the Showtime cable network, was going to be like any other, featuring plenty of classic cuts from her years with The Supremes and as a solo artist on Motown alongside current hits like “Muscles” and “Mirror, Mirror.” But high winds and rain soon posed a major problem for Ross and the concertgoers. Diana became a stunning embodiment of “the show must go on” that night, refusing to vacate the stage until absolutely necessary and making good on a spontaneous promise to perform the next day. That sunny set was punctuated by covers of hits by Stevie Wonder (“Ribbon in the Sky”) and “Muscles” writer Michael Jackson (“Beat It”) in addition to performances of “Upside Down,” “Endless Love” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

The first official DVD edition of this concert – which will be commemorated on public television stations starting this month with encore broadcasts of the original Showtime special – features the complete footage from both concerts as well as a new commentary by Steve Binder, who directed the special as well as countless other legendary music programs for film and television (The T.A.M.I. Show, Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special). Regardless of the weather outside, any fan of Ross will want to pick this disc up when it’s released on May 15. Hit the jump to check out both setlists and keep your eyes peeled for an order link when one’s available.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2012 at 14:39

Posted in Diana Ross, DVD, News

Flyin’ the Flannel, Again: Reunited fIREHOSE to Reissue Two Albums

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California alt-rock legends fIREHOSE are reuniting for a tour this spring, and to celebrate, Legacy is releasing their last two albums on one set with rare and unreleased bonus tracks.

fIREHOSE was the musical progression for bassist/singer Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley of The Minutemen, after that band’s guitarist and longtime friend, D. Boon, was killed in a car accident in 1986. Watt and Hurley were all but ready to cease playing altogether, but were convinced otherwise by an unlikely source: a 21-year-old fan named Ed Crawford, who’d made a pilgrimage to meet the duo from his native Ohio to the band’s native San Pedro district of Los Angeles. Crawford’s enthusiasm inspired Watt and Hurley profoundly, and they formed a new ensemble with the young man (taking their name from one of Bob Dylan’s cards in the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” promo clip).

After three records on the independent SST label and a successful spot opening for their friends Sonic Youth on tour, fIREHOSE were signed to Columbia Records, where their final albums, 1991’s Flyin’ the Flannel and 1993’s Mr. Machinery Operator, were released. With A-list production from Paul Q. Kolderie (who’s produced LPs for Radiohead, The Lemonheads, Uncle Tupelo and Hole) on Flannel and Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis on Machinery, both albums deserve a reappraisal in the greater context of the hardcore punk scene in the days before grunge broke through to the mainstream.

And with “lowFLOWS”: The Columbia Anthology ’91-’93, the band is poised to do just that. The double-disc set features both of the band’s final albums expanded with promo-only single mixes, live material, non-LP tracks and four unreleased recordings.

The set is out on April 3, two days before the band kicks off a 16-day reunion tour that culminates with an appearance at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California on the 20th. Hit the jump to make it yours and check out the track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2012 at 13:42

Wes Montgomery’s Lost Recordings Discovered On “Indiana Avenue”

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Though Wes Montgomery died in 1968 aged just 45, the Indiana-born jazz guitarist made such an impression that his body of work has influenced an entire generation of guitar players, from George Benson to Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix and everyone in between.  In a period of roughly ten years, Montgomery had three distinct periods at different labels: Riverside (1959-1964), Verve (1964-1966) and A&M (1967-1968), the latter two under the aegis of producer Creed Taylor.  Maverick producer Taylor moved Montgomery away from his pure jazz roots to the vanguard of the “mod jazz” movement, or crossover jazz-pop-soul, often with a full orchestra at his disposal.  But Montgomery’s technique, with radical use of octaves (playing the same note on two strings, one octave apart) and chord melodies as well as the inclination to play with his thumb rather than a pick, made his sound one of the most recognizable in all jazz.

The discovery of unheard Montgomery material has been a rare one, so the upcoming release from Resonance Records is a significant one.  Echoes of Indiana Avenue is being touted by the label as the first album of previously unheard Montgomery music in over 25 years, and its tracks emanate from Indianapolis, Indiana, circa 1957 and 1958, when Montgomery was on the cusp of his breakthrough.  Echoes of Indiana Avenue arrives next Tuesday, March 6, which would have been Montgomery’s 88th birthday.

What will you find in this Montgomery treasure chest?  Just hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 1, 2012 at 11:35

Take a Bow: Warner U.K. Preps Madonna Albums Box, Vinyl Reissues

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As the calendar turns over into March, Madonna fans are predictably going into overdrive thanks to the release of MDNA, her latest studio album, on the 26th. It’s going to be her first effort not distributed by Warner Bros.; she left the label to sign an all-encompassing deal with Live Nation in 2007, and while Warner distributed her live Sticky & Sweet Tour set in 2010, Universal’s Interscope Records will distribute MDNA.

Her rich back catalogue is very much in Warner Music’s archives, though; 2009 saw the career-spanning compilation Celebration, but there has been no catalogue activity since then – until now. Rhino U.K. is re-releasing some of Madonna’s works on CD and vinyl the same day that MDNA hits stores.

For vinyl collectors, five albums – 1983’s self-titled album, 1984’s Like a Virgin, 1986’s True Blue, 1989’s Like a Prayer and 1992’s Erotica – are being released on the format. All the original artwork is replicated, including the original True Blue poster, and all the sets will be single-LP affairs save for the double-vinyl Erotica.

And then there’s The Complete Studio Albums 1983-2008, which collates 11 of Madonna’s Warner albums from those 25 years with the label. It’s difficult to think of any of it as “complete,” as there’s plenty of discs that could have bore inclusion into the box (remix album You Can Dance (1987), 1990’s I’m Breathless, featuring music from and inspired by the film Dick Tracy – which she co-starred in – as well as smash hit “Vogue”). The only bonus tracks present in the set are the remixes from the remastered editions of MadonnaLike a Virgin and True Blue released in 2001.

Still, if you’re a U.K. Madonna fan who wants to dive headfirst after a compilation or two, this is hard to beat. Pre-order the box here and hit the jump for a full breakdown. (Kudos to Super Deluxe Edition for their reportage.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2012 at 09:52

Un homme et une Femme: Classic Francis Lai Score Reissued, Plus Billy May, Maurice Chevalier and More

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Johnny Mathis, Robert Goulet and Engelbert Humperdinck sang it.  Ella Fitzgerald sang it.  Claudine Longet even sang it in its original French!  The song was “A Man and a Woman,” or “Un Homme et une Femme,” from the 1966 film of the same name.  The Francis Lai composition was a favorite of pop singers and jazz musicians alike, and was quite ubiquitous; as Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel asks, “Is there a person anywhere in the world who was around in the 1960s and 1970s who could not instantly recognize the theme from A Man and a Woman? Doubtful, unless you were living under a rock in a cave in Siberia, and even then you’d probably have heard it.”  Well, Kimmel has good reason to hope that you’ve savored the melody of “A Man and a Woman” as much as we have here at Second Disc HQ.  As the first of its latest pair of soundtrack releases now available for pre-order, the label’s new edition of A Man and a Woman is the first-ever “complete” and official version of the soundtrack on CD.  Three previous issues of the original French soundtrack have been released in mono, none from the original masters.  Kritzerland’s edition not only rights this, presenting the French album in stereo from the first generation album master, but also includes the English language version of the soundtrack, as well.

But that’s not all.  The second of Kritzerland’s new releases brings together two very different comedies,  one by a rather well-known composer and another by a composer who deserves to be rather well-known!  Billy May’s biggest legacy may be that of his work as one of Frank Sinatra’s most renowned arrangers; it was May who wrote the arrangement for “Come Fly with Me,” among so many other classic songs.  But May also had a fantastic career in film scoring and television, and one such example is his score to 1957’s The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown.  The Jane Russell-starring comedy offered May his first opportunity to write a film score, and his deliciously sly sense of musical humor is very much in evidence.  A Breath of Scandal came three years later, a somewhat more classy comedy starring Angela Lansbury, Sophia Loren, Maurice Chevalier and John Gavin in an adaptation of a play by Ferenc Molnar (whose Liliom provided the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel).  Alessandro Cicognini was one of Italy’s most respected film composers, and he provided scores for directors ranging from Vittorio De Sica to David Lean.  Cicognini’s soundtrack includes waltzes, romantic ballads and even songs performed by Maurice Chevalier; who could ask for more?  Both soundtracks are freshly remastered from original Imperial Records album masters, with Nightgown in mono and Scandal in stereo.

Both A Man and a Woman and The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown are limited editions of 1,000 copies, and can be pre-ordered now from Kritzerland.  Hit the jump for much more, including the full press releases, pre-order links and track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 1, 2012 at 08:48