The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 13th, 2012

The “Empire” Strikes Back: La-La Land Expands Classic Tiomkin Soundtrack Album

leave a comment »

And the next 200 starts today. La-La Land Records has announced their latest release, partnering with Sony Music for a long-in-development expansion of Dimitri Tiomkin’s score to The Fall of the Roman Empire.

The epic, Samuel Bronston production, which starred Alec Guinness and Christopher Plummer as Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus during the last days of the Roman empire, is notable for three unique traits: its standing among its contemporary sword-and-sandal epics for its intelligent tone and acting alongside its epic scale, its incredible financial failure and its score by Dimitri Tiomkin. The soundtrack, written for a grandiose orchestra with cathedral organ, is typically multifaceted and brash, and earned a Golden Globe (as well as an Oscar nomination) for Tiomkin’s efforts.

La-La Land’s limited edition, set to 2,500 units, is a bit unique in that it’s not the full and complete score (the masters of which have been difficult, if not impossible, to locate). Instead, the label remasters the original Columbia Records soundtrack LP from the original stereo tapes, and includes an additional eight bonus cues in mono. It’s yours to order after the jump. (And don’t forget about LLL’s next release on March 27…!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 13, 2012 at 17:44

Love in Action: Todd Rundgren Goes “Back to the Bars,” To “Mink Hollow” and Beyond

leave a comment »

Welcome back to our Rundgren Round-Up, spotlighting the final installments in Edsel’s series of the complete Bearsville Todd Rundgren and Utopia reissues!

On 1978’s Back to the Bars, Todd Rundgren was in gentle, intimate mode, feeding off audiences in New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland eager to hear his most accessible tunes on a “retrospective” tour.  For this look back at a near-decade’s worth of music making, Rundgren enlisted the classic Utopia line-up of Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and Roger Powell, as well as many special guests including Moogy Klingman, Spencer Davis, John Siegler, Ralph Schuckett, Daryl Hall, John Oates and Stevie Nicks!  These two discs (originally two LPs, reissued on two CDs) reveal the dream set list for many of the fans that still flock to Rundgren’s concerts.  With no slight intended to Rundgren’s more adventurous (and ultimately quite rewarding) work, the pop classics on these two discs haven’t aged a day.

There’s nothing “Cliché” about Rundgren’s performances on Back to the Bars, as no two are alike thanks to his famously freewheeling vibe while performing live.  Utopia shines on the infectious “Love in Action” (with Powell clearly enjoying his wild synth solo) and neo-Philly soul of “Real Man”  There’s plenty of soul, too, on “Sometimes I Don’t Know What to Feel” as well as a jazzy, impassioned reading of “The Last Ride.”  On “The Range War,” Rundgren veers into country-and-western territory with a twangy vocal as Spencer Davis accompanies on harmonica.

You might believe you can fly when you hear the heartfelt and simple rendition of Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s tender “Never Never Land” from Broadway’s Peter Pan, which segues into the hard-rocking “Black Maria,” offbeat “Zen Archer” and “just plain foolish” medley, in the artist’s words.  Here, Rundgren and his band tackle Curtis Mayfield (“I’m So Proud”), Smokey Robinson (“Ooh Baby Baby”), Thom Bell (“La La Means I Love You”) and finally “I Saw the Light.”  Looking back in 2012, the latter song has earned its place among those other acknowledged classics.  The album concludes with an all-star jam on “Hello, It’s Me” (what else?) welcoming Rick Derringer, Hall and Oates, Stevie Nicks (!) and others to the stage.  There are no real spotlights, but it’s a fun valedictory nonetheless.   Following the song, Rundgren comments, “We don’t stop here…” and Todd’s voice trails away to the fade!  Though the album did stop there, there’s no doubt the audience would have been more than happy to spend the night (whether or not you think they should)…

There’s plenty more after the jump, including track listings with discography, and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 13, 2012 at 12:27

Contest: Win Meat Loaf’s “Hell in a Handbasket”

leave a comment »

The weather is warming up around Second Disc HQ, and as our way of celebrating, we’re giving away a “hot” disc from our friends at Legacy Recordings.

Released in Australia last fall and in stores in the U.S. today, Hell in a Handbasket is the 12th and latest album by rock icon Meat Loaf. Produced by Meat Loaf’s longtime lead guitarist Paul Crook, the disc features 12 new recordings (including a cover of The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin'”) and guest appearances by Public Enemy’s Chuck D (who co-wrote “Mad Mad World/The Good God is a Woman and She Don’t Like Ugly”) as well as Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, country singer Trace Adkins and rapper/producer Lil Jon. McGrath and Jon were Meat Loaf’s Celebrity Apprentice partners, and together all three guests lend their talents to lead single “Stand in the Storm.”

How can you win? Simple! We have a trivia question for you music geeks out there to answer:

In 2006, Meat Loaf performed the Jim Steinman-penned “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” for his album Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose. Name the first performer to record this song.

Send an e-mail to theseconddisc (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject head “Meat Loaf” and include your answer in the body of the message. We will be accepting winners until midnight tonight – a quick and easy contest for you, dear readers. Good luck!

Written by Mike Duquette

March 13, 2012 at 12:00

Review: Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin, “Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968”

with 4 comments

Journey back with me to 1968, will you?  Your time machine is courtesy Owsley “Bear” Stanley, visionary sound engineer and renowned LSD chemist.  But you don’t need any lysergic acid to enjoy the music contained on the little silver disc known as Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (Columbia/Legacy 88697 96409 2, 2012), billed as the first release from Bear’s Sonic Journals.  That said, a little Southern Comfort probably wouldn’t hurt.  (Or a toke or two, as per the suggestion of Stanley’s son Starfinder in the sleeve notes.)  But the music as heard at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom nearly 44 years ago just might be mind-altering enough.  It captures Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company holding court two months before their breakup.  Like all good things, neither Joplin’s Big Brother line-up nor the Carousel lasted, but the band’s fiery blend of blues and rock – a combination of the two, if you will – sounds no less exciting today than it must have that Sunday night in June ’68.

This is music too big to be contained by an iPod.  As per Bear’s specific instructions, the best way to enjoy the perfect storm that is Live at the Carousel Ballroom is to push your right and left speakers close together.  This will enable you to hear the music via a “single point sound system” (as it would have been heard from the audience at the Carousel) rather than hearing Janis’ vocals and Dave Getz’s drums on the left and everything else – Sam Andrew and James Gurley’s guitars, Peter Albin’s bass – on the right.  Trust me; for full tilt musical pyrotechnics, you’ll want to crank up the stereo rather than listening through earbuds or your laptop speakers!  And play it loud.  The sound here is warm, natural and immediate.

Every track from Side One of 1968’s Columbia studio debut Cheap Thrills is given a live airing: the originals “Combination of the Two” and “I Need a Man to Love,” the theatrical classic “Summertime” and of course, the hit “Piece of My Heart.” (“Ball and Chain” from Cheap Thrills also appears.) The band reached back to its debut album for “Light is Faster than Sound,” “Call on Me,” “Down on Me” and “Coo Coo,” the latter of which was originally a single release before being added to the Columbia reissue of the original Mainstream pressing of the LP.  “Call on Me” is actually heard twice here, once as a bonus track from the June 22 show, and its inclusion serves as a reminder that Big Brother could, and did, attack a song from multiple perspectives.  The performance offers musical and vocal variations from the version in the main set.

Read all about it, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 13, 2012 at 10:21

Posted in Features, Janis Joplin, News, Reissues, Reviews

Tagged with

Release Round-Up: Week of March 12

leave a comment »

Earl Van Dyke, The Motown Sound: The Complete Albums & More (Hip-o Select/Motown)

Two discs of classic instrumentals and rare single sides from Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers – their first and some of their only recordings to be credited just to them.

Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (Columbia/Legacy)

From the archives of late engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, an unreleased show featuring Joplin and band at the legendary San Francisco venue.

The Doors, L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions (Elektra/Rhino)

A three-sided double album (the last side being a laser etching) featuring all the bonus material from the bonus disc in this year’s deluxe edition of L.A. Woman.

Electric Light Orchestra, Electric Light Orchestra: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

A features-packed expansion of ELO’s debut LP, including the original quadrophonic album mix on a bonus DVD, is available in England!

Dio, Holy Diver Last in Line / Sacred Heart: Deluxe Editions (UMC)

Two-disc expansions of the first three Dio albums out now in the U.K., featuring live cuts galore.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, A Singer and His Songs: The Very Best of Gilbert O’Sullivan (Union Square Music/Salvo)

With the new catalogue agreement, a new U.K. compilation.