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Archive for March 19th, 2012

Before You Know It You’ll Be on Your Knees: Edsel Releases Philip Bailey Two-Fer

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It’s always a treat at The Second Disc when a title or project we imagined in a Reissue Theory post comes to fruition in some way. Today, we have one from U.K. label Edsel that almost – almost – captures the essence of a set we envisioned: a two-for-one reissue of two albums by R&B singer Philip Bailey.

Known as the sweet-toned vocalist for Earth, Wind & Fire – who could forget those high notes in “September“? – Bailey didn’t strike out on his own until 1983’s Continuation (reissued a few years ago by Funky Town Grooves). But it was the following year’s Chinese Wall that really made a splash, thanks to the killer jam and U.K. No. 1 hit “Easy Lover,” featuring vocals, drumming and production from Bailey’s friend Phil Collins. (Collins would enlist EWF’s Phoenix Horns for nearly all of his solo work in the ’80s, as well as several songs for Genesis in the early ’80s.)

While our Reissue Theory look at Chinese Wall had bonus tracks, Edsel’s has none. What they do have, however, is Bailey’s third pop album for Columbia Records, 1986’s Inside Out. (Bailey would record two gospel albums for Word Records, as well as one album for Earth, Wind & Fire in the interim.) While Inside Out failed to reach the commercial highs of Chinese Wall, it enjoyed a great roster of guest collaborators, including production work from Phil Collins and CHIC’s Nile Rodgers as well as jazz producer George Duke, guitar work from Jeff Beck and Ray Parker, Jr. and typically tight rhythm work from session legends Paulinho da Costa, Nathan East and others. Best of all, Inside Out comes with one bonus track: a five-minute dub mix of the single “State of the Heart.”

The set includes all original lyrics and album credits, as well as new liner notes by R&B historian Tony Rounce. As with several other recent soulful Edsel two-fers, this set will be available in the U.K. March 26 and in the U.S. one week later. Hit the jump to check it all out!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 19, 2012 at 17:52

The People Tree: Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse and Hugo Friedhofer Classics Reissued by Kritzerland

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Barbarians, Man, God, The Devil… Kritzerland’s latest two reissues sure aren’t shying away from big subjects!  The label began accepting pre-orders today for one never-before-on-CD cast recording and one first-time soundtrack pairing.  Both titles are sure to send your temperatures rising!  Two Golden Age film scores from Hugo Friedhofer, a Kritzerland favorite, are brought together for the first time on one CD with The Barbarian and the Geisha/Violent Saturday, while the legendary team of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse (Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) were the men behind 1972’s London musical The Good Old Bad Old Days.

The partnership of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse dated back to 1961 and the premiere of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, co-written by the pair, directed by and starring Newley.  Yielding the instant standard “What Kind of Fool Am I?,” Stop the World completed Newley’s transformation into an international star of stage, screen and the concert stage.  Newley and Bricusse followed Stop the World with The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, another allegorical musical with a fantastic score, this time introducing “Who Can I Turn To?” and “Feeling Good” to the standard repertoire.  Newley and Bricusse also found time to co-write “Goldfinger” with John Barry and work individually, although when Bricusse alone wrote the score to 20th Century Fox’s Doctor Dolittle, Newley was on hand as an actor in the film!  Following their Academy Award-nominated work on Willy Wonka, Newley and Bricusse returned to the stage with The Good Old Bad Old Days.

Bricusse described it as “a modest little saga about Man, Life, Death, God and The Devil, with the history of the world thrown in.”  It tells of Bubba (Newley), who tries to persuade God not to destroy the world, and makes the case for humanity by presenting a pageant of mankind through the ages (including scenes of The Mayflower, The French Revolution, The American Civil War, etc.).  When New York producer James Nederlander declined to continue with the musical, it looked like it might never get off the ground, but reigning West End impresario Bernard Delfont stepped in and booked the production for a tour followed by a London opening in December 1972.  Though it only ran for 309 performances at Delfont’s Prince of Wales Theatre, it left behind a memorable and enjoyable score highlighted by “The People Tree,” also recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. on the heels of his success with “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka!  (Davis covered a number of songs from the score, including “I Do Not Love You,” “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Musical World. “)

After the jump: more on The Good Old Bad Old Days, plus a Hugo Friedhofer double feature!  We’ve got track listings, pre-order links and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 19, 2012 at 13:48

Near, Far, Wherever You Are: “Titanic” Soundtrack to Be Reissued This Spring

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A hundred years ago, it was the largest maritime disaster in history. Fifteen years ago, it was the highest-grossing film of all time and the last massive soundtrack on the pop charts. Now, Sony Classical brings the soundtrack to James Cameron’s Titanic back to the surface in a major way with two collector’s editions of the popular album.

On paper, Titanic would have been your average romantic tearjerker: lower-class boy woos upper-class girl to the displeasure of her wealthy suitor. But that simple story was set against the real-life backdrop of the April 15, 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, the world’s largest luxury ocean liner touted for its unsinkability. In total, 1,517 people did not survive the ship’s collision with an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.

A story that grandiose earned its stripes as a filmmaking epic when James Cameron, the creator of the Terminator series and The Abyss, tackled a $200 million film adaptation. Despite the major financial stake, three hour-plus running time and cast led by relative unknowns Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Titanic was a dizzying success. It grossed $1.8 billion worldwide, made stars out of its cast and won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director – a tie for the most statuettes won in a single night.

The film’s stirring score was composed by noted composer James Horner. Though Horner had a rocky past with Cameron thanks to the high-pressure scoring of Aliens in 1986, his evocative melodies, colored with wordless solo vocals, were lauded by critics.

Coupled with a bombastic end title single, “My Heart Will Go On,” written by Horner and lyricist Will Jennings and recorded by Canadian megastar Celine Dion, the Titanic soundtrack was as much a smash as the film it came from. Altogether, the album was certified diamond in the U.S. with over 11 million units shipped; it topped the charts for 16 consecutive weeks and won a total of four Oscars and Golden Globes (one of each award for the score and one for “My Heart Will Go On,” respectively). “My Heart Will Go On” would win four Grammys of its own, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Now, to tie in to the 100th anniversary of the sinking and subsequent 3-D theatrical reissue, Sony Classical will release two expanded editions of the soundtrack next month. Does the Heart of the Ocean (musically speaking, anyway) lurk within these sets? Find out after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 19, 2012 at 12:40

Keep On Dancing: Elvis, Dusty, The Wicked Pickett All Appear on “Memphis Boys”

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Just last year, Ace Records’ Kent imprint issued a definitive 3-CD survey of Fame Studios, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama home of many of the greatest soul records ever committed to vinyl.  Over in Tennessee, however, another joyful noise was arriving courtesy of the musicians at Memphis, Tennessee’s American Studios.  Ace is celebrating the multifaceted sounds of Chips Moman and Don Crews’ American Studios with the new Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios, a 24-track tribute featuring such visitors to Memphis as Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, B.J. Thomas, Solomon Burke and a certain King named Elvis.  While it’s one hell of a listen on its own merits, Memphis Boys also serves as the soundtrack to Roben Jones’ 2011 book of the same name.

Though the artists in front of the microphones inevitably bear more famous names, Memphis Boys introduces you to the work of the session men who created the sound: guitarists Reggie Young and Mike Leech, bassist Tommy Cogbill, drummer Gene Chrisman, keyboardists Bobby Emmons and Bobby Woods.  Between 1964 and 1972, these men held court at 827 Thomas Street, creating the “Memphis Soul Stew” immortalized in song by saxophone giant King Curtis in 1967 and preserved as this compilation’s perfect opening shot.  Curtis was just one of the many Atlantic Records artists who set up shop at American, including the great Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Arthur Conley and Dusty Springfield, represented here by (what else?) “Son of a Preacher Man.”  Though Springfield, a notorious perfectionist, re-cut her vocals in New York City, she likely wouldn’t have been able to dig so deeply without having soaked up the atmosphere at American while the tracks were recorded.

Studio owner Chips Moman produced one-third of the tracks on Memphis Boys, including Merilee Rush’s smash “Angel of the Morning.”  It’s probably the song most associated with American alongside The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” produced by Dan Penn and also featured here.  Moman too was in charge of The Gentrys’ “Keep on Dancing,” the studio’s first major hit and a ridiculously catchy song that was as simple as some of American’s later masterpieces were sophisticated.  Another Moman monument is Joe Simon’s dark “Nine Pound Steel.”  The slow-burning tale of a prisoner, written by Penn (“Dark End of the Street”) and Wayne Carson Thompson (“The Letter”), is a far cry from Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.”  The Memphis boys were equally adept at brassy funk (Arthur Conley’s “Funky Street”), sweet pop (Sandy Posey’s “Born a Woman”) and just about every style in between.  Other than the obvious top-notch musicianship, the common thread here is the sheer humanity in each of the tracks, or shall we just call it soul?

There’s plenty more soul after the jump, friends! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 19, 2012 at 11:02

Sam & Dave & Edsel: U.K. Label Reissues Stax Duo’s Early Albums

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Next to Aretha Franklin, they were the most successful R&B act of the ’60s. They were two of the most prominent architects of the iconic Stax sound. And their success can be traced back to the most fortuitous bathroom break in history. Next week, U.K. reissue label Edsel will honor the discography of Sam Moore and Dave Prater – known simply as Sam & Dave – with a pair of reissues that collates just about their entire Stax/Atlantic tenure.

Moore and Prater were gospel-raised singers who met on the club circuit in the early ’60s. From the beginning, their R&B works – a mixture of church-inspired call-and-response with the grooves of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson – were something special. In the summer of 1964, after regional success on Roulette Records and other labels, Jerry Wexler signed the duo to Atlantic Records. However, the mogul promptly loaned them to Memphis-based Stax Records, which Atlantic distributed, believing their fiery style would be best suited for the rousing session players on the label (including house band Booker T. & The MG’s, horn section The Mar-Keys and producers Jim Stewart, Isaac Hayes and David Porter).

Sam & Dave’s third Stax single, “You Don’t Know Like I Know,” was their first of 10 consecutive Top 20 R&B singles. But their fourth single, “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” would bring them near-unprecedented pop crossover success. Legend has it Hayes and Porter wrote the song after Hayes called for Prater to come out of the bathroom to continue recording. Prater’s response became the iconic, controversial title. (Stax quickly re-pressed the single, changing the title to “Hold On, I’m A-Comin'” to dilute any sexual innuendo.)

The duo followed up with an impressive array of singles, including the sublime “When Something is Wrong with My Baby,” the No. 2 pop hit “Soul Man” (later spun into a major hit by The Blues Brothers, the Stax-influenced alter egos of Saturday Night Live stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) and “I Thank You.” Three of the group’s four Stax/Atlantic albums were Top 10 on the R&B charts. (There would be more singles for Atlantic through 1972 and one more proper studio album for Sam & Dave on United Artists in 1975; they would split up in 1981.)

Edsel’s two new titles, available on March 26 in the U.K., combine two albums apiece with plenty of bonus material. The first set, Hold On, I’m Comin’ & Double Dynamite…Plus, combines those first two LPs for Stax with three non-LP sides. While almost all of the albums are presented in stereo, “You Don’t Know Like I Know” will be presented in its original mono mix with more unique overdubs.

Then there’s the two-disc Soul Men & I Thank You…Plus, a two-disc set featuring the duo’s last Stax and Atlantic LPs, four non-LP singles (including “I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down,” later a hit for Elvis Costello & The Attractions in 1980) and one B-side. Both sets feature new liner notes by writer Tony Rounce and, together, make for an essential cornerstone of your soul music collection.

Hit the jump to check everything out!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 19, 2012 at 10:15

Posted in News, Reissues, Sam & Dave