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Archive for March 8th, 2012

Soundtrackus Maximus: “Ben-Hur” Gets Five-Disc Expansion by FSM

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UPDATE: After selling through its initial pressing of 2,000 in two weeks, Film Score Monthly has pressed another 2,000. As label head Lukas Kendall cheekily explained, “I NEED THE MONEY!”

Original post: One of Hollywood’s greatest film scores and one of the catalogue world’s greatest soundtrack labels have finally, excitedly joined forces to produce a definitive box set edition of the Oscar-winning soundtrack William Wyler’s classic Ben-Hur.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Ben-Hur, released in 1959 (and recently released on Blu-Ray), was Hollywood’s second adaptation (after a 1925 silent film) of the novel of the same name by Lew Wallace. Charlton Heston, no stranger to massive, timeless roles, plays the titular Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy prince and prominent Jewish merchant betrayed by his friend Messala (Stephen Boyd), the charismatic leader of a Roman garrison in Jerusalem. Having lost his fortune and his freedom, Ben-Hur must rely on his human strength and his faith in the divine to survive, culminating in an adventurous tale that travels from the galley of a Roman flagship to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Film Score Monthly’s latest title – their 246th, leaving four to go before the label signs off – is an exhaustively thorough, five-disc edition of Miklós Rózsa’s lush, romantic, heroic score, not only one of the best written for a Hollywood epic but the longest score ever penned for a film, with over three hours of music written. No stranger to sprawling epics like Ben-Hur, having scored The Four FeathersThe Thief of Baghdad andQuo Vadis? in the decade’s before the film’s 1959 release, Rózsa drew heavily on years of research of ancient Greco-Roman musical styles while retaining a modern, thematic feel. From the film’s sweeping love themes to its boisterous chariot race fanfares, the score to Ben-Hur has more than earned its place in film music history.

This five-disc set includes all the music heard in the film, lovingly preserved from the original six-track master recordings, as well as bonus material well beyond Rhino’s lavish box set presentation of the score in 1996. (Doug Schwartz, who participated in the mastering on that set, assisted assemblers Mike Matessino and Neil S. Bulk in the same capacity on this release.) As a special treat, all three of the official re-recording LPs, conducted by Carlos Savina and Erich Kloss and released on the MGM and Lion labels, are also included in the set, one of which makes its debut on CD. Liner notes by Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald, part of which are included in the set’s 28-page booklet but are included in full online, extensively cover the making of the film and score in addition to providing track-by-track commentary and preserving the liner notes of the original LPs.

Ben-Hur, one of the crown jewels of Hollywood music and now one of the final crown jewels of Film Score Monthly’s decades-long history, is limited to 2,000 copies and is yours to order after the jump.

Miklós Rózsa, Ben-Hur: Complete Soundtrack Collection (Film Score Monthly Vol. 15, No. 1, 2012 – original film released 1959)

Disc 1: Original score

  1. Overture
  2. Anno Domini
  3. Star of Bethlehem/Adoration of the Magi
  4. Shofar Call
  5. Fanfare to Prelude/Prelude/Marcia Romana
  6. Spirit and Sword
  7. Salute for Messala
  8. Friendship
  9. The House of Hur
  10. Conflict
  11. Esther
  12. The Unknown Future (Outtake)
  13. Love Theme/Ring for Freedom
  14. Salute for Gratus
  15. Gratus’ Entry to Jerusalem
  16. Arrest (Outtake)
  17. Reminiscences
  18. Condemned (Outtake)
  19. Escape (Outtake)
  20. Vengeance
  21. The Prison—Part One/The Prison—Part Two (Partial Outtake)
  22. The Desert/Exhaustion/The Prince of Peace/Roman Galley
  23. Salute for Arrius
  24. Quintus Arrius
  25. Roman Fleet (Partial Outtake)
  26. The Galley
  27. Rest
  28. Battle Preparations/The Pirate Fleet/Attack!/Ramming Speed/Battle/Rescue
  29. Roman Sails
  30. The Rowers
  31. Victory Parade
  32. Victory Finale

Disc 2: Original score, continued

  1. Fertility Dance
  2. Arrius’ Party
  3. Nostalgia/Farewell to Rome
  4. A Barren Coast (Outtake)
  5. Judea/Balthazar
  6. Balthazar’s World
  7. Homecoming
  8. Memories/Hatred
  9. Lepers
  10. Return/Promise
  11. Sorrow and Intermission
  12. Entr’Acte
  13. Panem et Circenses (Version I)
  14. Circus Fanfares Nos. 1-4
  15. Panem et Circenses (Version II)
  16. New Fanfare for Circus Parade (Parade of the Charioteers)
  17. Circus Fanfare No. 6 (Fanfare for Start of Race)
  18. Panem et Circenses (Version III)
  19. Circus Fanfare No. 7 (Ben-Hur Crowned)
  20. Bitter Triumph
  21. Aftermath
  22. Valley of Lepers/The Search
  23. The Uncleans
  24. Road of Sorrow
  25. The Mount/The Sermon
  26. Frustration
  27. Valley of the Dead/Tirzah Saved
  28. The Procession to Calvary/The Bearing of the Cross/Recognition
  29. Aftermath (Crucifixion)
  30. Golgotha
  31. Shadow of a Storm (Outtake)
  32. The Miracle/Finale

Disc 3: Savina LP and Act I Alternates

  1. Prelude
  2. Adoration of the Magi
  3. Roman March
  4. Friendship
  5. Love Theme of Ben-Hur
  6. The Burning Desert
  7. The Rowing of the Galley Slaves
  8. Naval Battle
  9. Return to Judea
  10. Victory Parade
  11. The Mother’s Love
  12. The Lepers’ Search for the Christ
  13. The Procession to Calvary
  14. The Miracle and Finale
  15. Star of Bethlehem (Alternate Chorus)
  16. Adoration of the Magi (Alternate Chorus)
  17. Prelude (Alternate Take)
  18. Spirit and Sword (Alternate I)
  19. Revenge (Outtake)
  20. The Desert/Exhaustion/The Prince of Peace/Roman Galley (Alternate Sequence)
  21. Roman Fleet (Alternate)
  22. The Galley (Alternate)
  23. Rest (Alternate)
  24. Battle Preparations—Part Two (Alternate)
  25. Roman Sails (Alternate)
  26. Victory Parade (Short Version)
  27. Fertility Dance (Orchestra Only)
  28. Arrius’ Party (Long Version)
  29. Judea (Alternate)
  30. Homecoming (Alternate)
  31. Sorrow (Alternate I)
  32. Intermission (Alternate I)

Disc 4: First Kloss LP and Act II alternates

  1. Prelude
  2. The Adoration of the Magi
  3. Roman March
  4. Friendship
  5. Love Theme of Ben-Hur
  6. The Burning Desert
  7. The Rowing of the Galley Slaves
  8. Naval Battle
  9. Return to Judea
  10. Victory Parade
  11. The Mother’s Love
  12. The Lepers’ Search for the Christ
  13. The Procession to Calvary
  14. The Miracle and Finale
  15. Entr’Acte (Alternate)
  16. Panem et Circenses (Complete Version)
  17. Circus Parade (Parade of the Charioteers) (Film Edit)
  18. Aftermath (Alternate I)
  19. The Search (Alternate)
  20. Road of Sorrow (Alternate)
  21. The Sermon (Alternate I)
  22. Valley of the Dead/Tirzah Saved (Alternate)
  23. The Procession to Calvary/The Bearing of the Cross/Recognition (Alternate Sequence)
  24. Aftermath (Alternate II)
  25. Golgotha (Alternate I)
  26. The Miracle/Finale
  27. Entr’Acte (Original Version)

Disc 5: Second Kloss LP and additional alternates and bonus tracks

  1. Overture
  2. Star of Bethlehem
  3. Gratus’ Entry Into Jerusalem
  4. The House of Hur
  5. Messala’s Revenge
  6. Fertility Dance
  7. Farewell to Rome
  8. Arrius’ Party
  9. Parade of the Charioteers
  10. Bread and Circus March
  11. Death of Messala
  12. Memories
  13. Sermon on the Mount
  14. Valley of the Dead
  15. Golgotha
  16. The Christ Theme from Ben-Hur (Alleluia)
  17. Star of Bethlehem/Adoration of the Magi (Orchestra Only)
  18. Star of Bethlehem (Chorus Only—Alternate Version)
  19. Adoration of the Magi (Chorus Only—Alternate II)
  20. Adoration of the Magi (Chorus Only—Alternate III)
  21. Spirit and Sword (Alternate II)
  22. Gratus’ Entry to Jerusalem (Long Version)
  23. Revenge (Alternate)
  24. Arrius’ Party (Fragments)
  25. Sorrow (Alternate II)
  26. Intermission (Alternate II)
  27. Entr’Acte (Original Version—Alternate Ttake)
  28. Aftermath (Alternate III)
  29. Aftermath (Alternate IV)
  30. The Sermon (Alternate II)
  31. The Sermon (Alternate III)
  32. The Sermon (Alternate IV)
  33. The Sermon (Alternate V)
  34. Golgotha (Alternate II)
  35. Miracle (Alternate II)
  36. Finale (Chorus Only—Alternate I)
  37. Finale (Chorus Only—Alternate I)
  38. Finale (chorus only—alternate I)
  39. Love Theme (Demo)
  40. Harun al Rozsad
  41. Quo Vadis Prelude (with Chimes)/Drums (Appian Way)

Portions of this set were previously released as Rhino R2 72197, 1996.
Disc 3, Tracks 1-14 released as MGM LP S1-E1, 1959. Recorded by Carlos Savina and The Symphony Orchestra of Rome and Singers of the Roman Basilicas.
Disc 4, Tracks 1-14 released as Lion LP S-70123, 1959. Recorded by Erich Kloss and The Frankenland State Orchestra. Previously unreleased on CD.
Disc 5, Tracks 1-16 released as MGM LP SE-3900, 1961. Recorded by Erich Kloss and The Frankenland State Orchestra.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 8, 2012 at 14:19

Eight More ICON Sets for You to Briefly Consider

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What you will see after the jump are eight more of Universal’s generic ICON titles, released this past Tuesday. There are two country acts, two Motown acts, two Motown compilations, one from Dean Martin and one from pop/rock band Fall Out Boy. A stranger collection you’ll rarely find. I’d give a halfhearted recommendation to the Motown ones if you want to spend a little money on someone who has the distinct displeasure of never having heard any Motown song, ever. If you have more money to spend, though, get a box set or something. You won’t regret it. Trust me.

Follow the jump for order links (the single-disc Motown Classics did not appear on Amazon; we’ve used a Barnes & Noble link instead.)

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Carefree Highway: Rhino Offers Rare “Moments” With Gordon Lightfoot

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Gordon Lightfoot’s stands at Toronto’s Massey Hall have become a cherished tradition over the past forty years, with the Canadian troubadour having taken the stage more times than any other artist in the Hall’s 117 year history. Last May 25, 2011, Lightfoot performed his 150th concert there, and as he prepares for this year’s stand in November, Rhino Records is reminding fans of his rich legacy there with the April 17 release of Massey Hall Moments – All Live. Why not just plain Live? Lightfoot has stressed that the recordings, selected from performances between 1998 and 2001, “have not been technically altered and are authentic live mixes” with each song heard exactly as the audience would have heard it.

Charles S. Cutts, President and CEO of the Massey Hall corporation, stated in the press release, “The contribution that Mr. Lightfoot has made to Toronto is immense and it’s only fitting that he would share some of these moments with the rest of the world with the release of Massey Hall Moments – All Live. Great halls need great performances from the greatest performers. Gordon Lightfoot is part of the Massey Hall legacy and we’re proud to welcome him back year after year. We always look forward to it. Welcome home Gordon!” This new set is also a timely reminder of Lightfoot’s contribution as a songwriter, featuring many of his most beloved compositions like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Early Morning Rain,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway” and, of course, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” On Thursday, June 14, 2012, Lightfoot will be feted in New York City when he is inducted into the prestigious Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City alongside luminaries Bob Seger, Don Schlitz, Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones and Jim Steinman.

Hit the jump for more on Massey Hall Moments – All Live including the full track listing with performance dates!

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Written by Joe Marchese

March 8, 2012 at 13:17

Warner Waxes Nostalgic for Record Store Day

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Believe it or not, Record Store Day is almost upon us. (It’s April 21 – just over a month away!) We’ve been anxiously awaiting word from the labels on what’s coming out this year, and it looks like Warner Music Group is one of the first to the scene.

While there’s not much in the way of unreleased goodies on the catalogue side of things – there are certainly plenty new or unearthed songs from current acts, which you can read about here – there are a couple of vintage and contemporary classics bowing or reappearing on LP, and as catalogue enthusiasts it would be the right thing to pass the news along to you.

Interestingly, there seem to be a repeat in the mix: Eric Clapton’s Blues box set, which we covered last year, is down to under 1,000 copies, having sold at RSD’s Black Friday event in November.

But everything else old is looking pretty new otherwise. What will Warner offer?

  • There’s going to be a neat 3 CD/1 DVD box set from Wilco and Billy Bragg commemorating the 1998 album Mermaid Avenue. The acclaimed disc featured new musical compositions from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and British alt-rocker Bragg, featuring unpublished lyrics by folk legend Woody Guthrie. The box will feature a remaster of the original album, 2000’s Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, a previously-unreleased third disc of material and the 1999 documentary Man in the Sand, chronicling these sessions.
  • Commemorating a decade of metal group Disturbed, Warner will release The Collection, a box set of all of their albums – The Sickness (2000) and the No. 1 albums Believe (2002), Ten Thousand Fists (2005), Indestructible (2008) and Asylum (2010) – on 140-gram vinyl with specially-designed artwork. This box is limited to 2,500 copies.
  • Fleetwood Mac’s classic, self-titled 1975 album will be pressed as a special limited edition vinyl, following a similar reissue for Rumours last year. The album that introduced Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham to the group featured hits in “Rihannon,” “Say You Love Me” and more. The discs, cut at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the original analog tapes, will be mastered at 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM.
  • Metallica’s Beyond Magnetic EP – consisting of four outtakes from 2008’s Death Magnetic – was released digitally last year and now gets its first release on silver vinyl.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit Stadium Arcadium (2009) is being remastered for vinyl by Steve Hoffman, in honor of the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Finally, arguably the best gem of Warner’s “Side by Side” 7″ single series (pairing an original hit with a new or rare cover) would be a gold-colored 45 featuring, for the first time together, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin’s versions of “Respect.”

Again, keep it tuned in here as more RSD reports come in, and save your pennies, because April 21 is here before you know it!

Reissue Theory: Tears for Fears, “Big Ideas: The Singles 1982-1993”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. In honor of a recent milestone for one of the ’80s’ best synthpop bands, we present the idea of something their catalogue doesn’t have but could totally need: a box set.

Our friends at Slicing Up Eyeballs reminded us yesterday that March 7, 1983 was the day that Phonogram Records (and Mercury in the U.S.) released The Hurting, the debut album by British synth-rockers Tears for Fears. Anchored by singer/guitarist Roland Orzabal and singer/bassist Curt Smith, a pair of boyhood friends from the small English town of Bath, TFF would gain major worldwide success by the middle of the decade and enjoy a brief, deserved critical resurgence in the early 2000s for their early hits, as utilized in film and television projects.

The TFF catalogue has been generally well served on CD in the past decade or so. In 1996, after Orzabal (who had parted ways with Smith in the early ’90s) left Mercury for Epic, their parent company PolyGram issued a great B-sides compilation, Saturnine Martial and Lunatic; three years later, the Orzabal/Smith albums – The HurtingSongs from the Big Chair (1985) and The Seeds of Love (1989) – were remastered and expanded. Big Chair received a double-disc expansion in 2006, and the sole Epic album, 1995’s Raoul and the Kings of Spain, received a great expansion by Cherry Pop Records in 2009. (That’s not even counting the many compilations released by Polygram and later Universal Music Group.)

But one catalogue accolade has eluded them for years: a proper, career-spanning box set.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 8, 2012 at 11:19

Ooh Wah, Ooh Wah, Cool Cool Kitty: Grateful Dead, Ad Libs, Eddie Rabbitt Coming From Real Gone Music

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Yee-haw!  Real Gone Music has announced its late April/early May slate of releases, and you can count on plenty of country plus helping heapings of R&B, pop and, well, The Grateful Dead!  On April 17, the label will release the Complete Hit Singles As and Bs from soul legend Little Willie John as well as a vintage Complete Hit Singles As and Bs collection for “Cowboy” Copas.  Then on May 1 comes The Complete Blue Cat Recordings of The Ad Libs, straight from the vaults of Leiber and Stoller’s Red Bird Records, plus two more reissued installments of The Grateful Dead’s Dick Picks.  Rounding out this group are hits collections for 1970s country superstars Eddie Rabbitt and Mel McDaniel.

Little Willie John (born William Edward John) died at the age of 30 inside a state penitentiary, serving time for a manslaughter conviction.  But before that sad ending, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer scored a series of hit records for Cincinnati’s King Records between 1955 and 1961.  King, of course, later was the home to James Brown, who learned a few tricks from John as an opening act and later paid homage to him with the Little Willie John…and a Few Nice Things album.  Real Gone Music’s comprehensive The Complete Hit Singles As and Bs boasts 32 tracks over 2 CDs including all of John’s chart hits plus their B-sides.  His first recording, a cover of Titus Turner’s “All Around the World” is joined by the original version of “Need Your Love So Bad,” and of course, “Fever,” later immortalized by Peggy Lee.  Bill Dahl provides new liner notes for this exciting compilation, and draws on comments by Lamont Dozier, who spent time alongside John’s sister Mable at Detroit’s Hitsville USA, Motown!

Following the same format is a collection dedicated to Lloyd Estel “Cowboy” Copas spanning the years 1946-1963.  Real Gone sheds some much-deserved light on this country pioneer who is perhaps best known for having perished in the same plane crash that took the life of Patsy Cline.  The label reveals that Copas actually had fourteen hits during his lifetime versus Cline’s nine!  The 2-CD Complete Hit Singles As and Bs contains 30 tracks including those rarely-heard flipsides.  Colin Escott (co-writer of Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet) supplies the liner notes, writing of Copas that “his records were so personable and so unlike any others from that day and time. Not honky tonk, not bluegrass, not Western swing, not hillbilly, not pop crossover, they could be labeled Cowboy Copas records.”

We jump a number of years in the country-and-western vein for two new anthologies dedicated to Mel McDaniel and Eddie Rabbitt, respectively.   The late Mel McDaniel scored a string of 41 hits during the 1970s and 1980s, and 21 of those appear on Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On — His Original Capitol Hits.  In addition to the title track, you’ll hear rollicking McDaniel favorites like “Louisiana Saturday Night” and “Big Ole Brew.”  Another light on the Capitol roster was Eddie Rabbitt, another bona fide country superstar in those decades.  Real Gone’s 13 # 1 Hits not only draws on Rabbitt’s Capitol period, but also his work for Elektra/Warner and RCA.  Featured songs include the smash “I Love a Rainy Night” plus “Drivin’ My Life Away,” “Every Which Way But Loose” and the chart-topping duet with Juice (“Angel of the Morning”) Newton, “Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers).”

Hit the jump for The Ad Libs, The Grateful Dead and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 8, 2012 at 09:53