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Archive for March 5th, 2012

Review: Mark Lindsay, “The Complete Columbia Singles”

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There’ll be joy and there’ll be laughter/Something big is what I’m after now…

As frontman, songwriter and saxophonist of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mark Lindsay had experienced his fair share of joy and laughter, but as 1969 rolled around, the band behind such garage-pop anthems as “Kicks,” “Just like Me” and “Hungry” was beginning to fracture.  Jack Gold, head of A&R at Columbia Records, however, saw something big in Mark Lindsay’s future.  According to the singer, Gold had stumbled on him in the studio goofing around with Johnny Mathis’ “Chances Are” and felt the time was right to launch Lindsay on a solo career as an adult vocalist.  But Lindsay balked at Gold’s suggestions of material, covers of then-contemporary songs that Columbia proffered to a stable of singers including Mathis, Andy Williams and Robert Goulet.  Lindsay envisioned ballad-oriented original songs as his calling card, and Gold agreed.  The fruits of their labors at 45 RPM have been compiled by Real Gone Music as Mark Lindsay’s The Complete Columbia Singles (RGM-0027, 2012), a companion to 2010’s same-titled collection for Paul Revere and the Raiders on the now-defunct Collectors’ Choice label.

Although Real Gone is still a new kid on the block, this collection ranks hands-down as one of its finest and most consistently enjoyable releases to date.  There’s a palpable joy in rediscovering these long-unheard sides from a talented singer who took on a very different vocal character for his solo recordings.  Gone is the snarling punk of many Raiders records, but Lindsay even reinvents himself track by track here,  adapting to the unique sound demanded by composers like Jerry Fuller, Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb.  The Complete Columbia Singles makes for pure pop gold.

Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” was initially planned to feature on Lindsay’s first solo single, but the April 9, 1969 recording was shelved, and two Jimmy Webb songs recorded the same day were instead selected to launch Lindsay’s solo career.  In retrospect, “Reason to Believe” was probably a bit over-arranged, but you can hear it for yourself; the recording makes its debut here.  As for the Webb songs, “First Hymn from Grand Terrace” b/w “The Old Man at the Fair” couldn’t get past No. 81 on the pop charts, but that’s no reflection on their quality.  Al Capps arranged Jerry Fuller’s production in a suitably baroque style, and Webb was at his most impressionistic.  On “First Hymn,” Lindsay sings, “There was a hill we climbed and a nursery rhyme went flying across the waving grass/Like silver bells against the curtain that the sky had made/And so, we played.”  But the songs’ lack of a traditional verse/chorus structure might have impeded their chances at chart success.  Neither song has been much heralded over the years, either.  Richard Harris recorded “First Hymn” as a segment of the 9+-minute “Hymns from the Grand Terrace” suite on his The Yard Goes On Forever LP, while folk singer Judy Mayhan recorded the only cover of “Old Man” to this writer’s knowledge.

Mark Lindsay’s second single was just the ticket, however.  Kenny Young’s song “Arizona” still sounds like a hit today, with its big hook, spot-on vocal and forceful production by Fuller of an arrangement by Brill Building stalwart Artie Butler.  Lindsay was rewarded with a Top 10 hit, although following it up wasn’t easy.  J. Kelly’s song “Miss America” was the first attempt to replicate the success of “Arizona,” though Butler and Fuller took a page from the Webb playbook with the song’s prominent horns and string orchestration.  Lindsay considered the song “preachy,” however, so his next single hewed much closer to “Arizona.”  And “Silver Bird,” also by Kenny Young, may have been too close for comfort, with a similar-sounding brass arrangement and anthemic chorus.  Still, it reached a respectable No. 25 and was even adapted for a Yamaha motorcycle commercial!

Hit the jump for much more of Mark! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 5, 2012 at 15:27

World Party Dig Deep on New Box Set

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Acclaimed British alt-rocker Karl Wallinger will release the first-ever box set for his long-running project, World Party, next month.

Arkeology collates 70 unreleased tracks, featuring B-sides, live cuts, demos, outtakes and other ephemera across five discs. The set will be uniquely packaged with a 142–page “Any Year Diary,” featuring liner notes, rare photos and memorabilia from Wallinger’s archives as well as a day calendar for fans to use however they please. “The reason it’s all inside an any-year diary is because I just got so sick of the CD packaging,” Wallinger said in a statement. “I’m glad the whole CD format is dying, but I really didn’t want to put something out that was only digital.”

In two years with Mike Scott’s band The Waterboys, Wallinger made a name for himself as a unique guitarist and arranger. After leaving The Waterboys, Wallinger’s World Party cut their first record, 1986’s Private Revolution in his home. While Wallinger is the only official member of the group, those early albums saw him collaborate with other members of The Waterboys (minus Scott) as well as a then-unknown Irish vocalist named Sinead O’Connor. World Party have enjoyed moderate but sustained chart success in the U.S., including the Top 40 hit “Ship of Fools” and the modern rock hits “Put the Message in the Box” and “Way Down Now.” Wallinger’s 1997 song “She’s the One” was later covered by British pop icon Robbie Williams, whose version hit No. 1 in the U.K. and won several major British music awards.

The box will be released April 10 (Super Deluxe Edition reports the box is likely to be delayed in the U.K.) and can be ordered now. The as-yet un-annotated track list follows below.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 5, 2012 at 15:13

Posted in Box Sets, News, World Party

One Step Beyond: New Compilation Honors Nutty Band’s Ska Roots

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Madness’ “Our House” is just one of those songs that’s impossible to forget. From that opening hook to the singalong chorus, you can recognize “Our House” from a mile away – even if you don’t know Madness was, first and foremost, a ska outfit.

And if you didn’t know that, there’s a new compilation coming from Salvo Records to fill in the gaps for you. Forever Young: The Ska Collection focuses on the tunes that made Madness a staple of the 2 Tone movement in the late 1970s as well as the tracks that pay homage to those roots in the present day.

The London septet, along with bands like The Beat and The Specials, were cornerstones of the 2 Tone ska movement, which combined elements of ska along with traditional reggae, punk and New Wave. The band’s first single, U.K. Top 20 hit “The Prince,” was in fact released on 2 Tone Records, founded by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers.

In addition to featuring singles and album cuts from their Stiff Records discography from 1979’s One Step Beyond… to 1984’s Keep Moving, as well as subsequent studio albums Wonderful (1999) and The Liberty of Norton Folgate (2009), the compilation includes two previously unreleased covers: one of Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam,” and a version of Edvard Grieg’s classical “In the Hall of the Mountain King” recorded during The Dangermen Sessions, Vol. 1 in 2004.

This is, of course, the latest in a long line of catalogue activity for Madness from USM/Salvo, including reissues and a box set over the past few years.

The new disc, which also features a fold-out poster and new interviews with saxophonist Lee Thompson and guitarist Chris “Chrissy Boy” Foreman, is out on April 2. A pre-order link and track list follow after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 5, 2012 at 13:07

Posted in Compilations, Madness, News

The Knack (And How to Get It): Omnivore Offers Knack EP, Rare Buck Owens Coloring Book For Record Store Day

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We’re less than two months away from Record Store Day, and with that means the promise of major limited edition releases from many of the labels you read about each day here at The Second Disc.  Los Angeles’ Omnivore Recordings, one of our favorite new labels of 2011, is leading the pack with its announcement of two unique titles to be made available on April 21 for Record Store Day.  The more unusual of the two is, believe it or not, a coloring book!  Yes, Omnivore is offering a 2,500-copy limited edition of an actual 1970 Buck Owens coloring book, complete with a colorful flexi-disc containing four songs!  (A digital download card will also be included to bring the package into the 21st century!)  And that’s not all.  Omnivore will also issue a 10-inch “authorized bootleg” EP from power pop legends The Knack.  Live in Los Angeles: 1978 chronicles the band before “My Sharona” vaulted them to the big time one year later.  (The song is, however, heard on the EP!)  Befitting the spirit of Record Store Day, both titles are vinyl-only releases.

Buck Owens, pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound and Hee-Haw television personality, planned to release his official coloring book back in 1970.  In the “better late than never” department, it finally sees wide release for the first time on Record Store Day.  The package consists of a coloring book from Owens’ original stock plus a newly-pressed flexi-disc (available in red, white or blue).  The coloring book tells the story of Buck and his Buckaroos, with the grand finale a concert performance that can be heard on the flexi-disc.  “Act Naturally,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and “Crying Time” are all mentioned in the coloring book and can be played by you, the reader!  All four songs come from Owens’ White House performance on September 9, 1968 before President Lyndon B. Johnson.  A digital download card also contains all four songs.  The original Live at the White House LP was issued on September 5, 1972 and hasn’t yet seen reissue on CD…until now.  Omnivore will, later this year, issue that seminal recording along with some very special bonus tracks: a previously unissued set recorded by Owens for the astronauts of Apollo 16 in 1972.  The label cheekily notes that these tracks have “never before been heard on planet Earth!”

Hit the jump to get the Knack! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 5, 2012 at 11:04

Colourbox, in a Box

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In honor of their 30th anniversary this year, 4AD and Beggar’s Archive will release a four-disc box set compiling the work of British electronic music pioneers Colourbox.

Formed by brothers Steven and Martyn Young (the latter of whom compiled this set), Colourbox stood apart, sonically, from fellow labelmates This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance, relying on a wide palette featuring reggae rhythms and sample-heavy riffs.

Not much has been heard from the group since their 1987 split, which happened at a most inconvenient time: their most successful commercial venture, a collaboration with dream-pop duo A.R. Kane under the moniker M|A|R|R|S (the supergroup’s sole single, “Pump Up the Volume,” topped the British charts and went to No. 13 in America).

The four-disc box includes everything the group commercially released – a 1983 EP and a 1985 LP (both self-titled), a bonus EP included with initial copies of the aforementioned album, and two discs of single sides – and is appended by an unreleased rough mix of album track “Arena” and a cadre of live tracks recorded for the BBC.

The whole set is available May 22 and can be ordered from 4AD and Amazon. Hit the jump to find the full track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 5, 2012 at 10:39