The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 20th, 2012

Intrada Rescues “White Fang” from the Wild

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Intrada’s latest releases were supposed to be a double shot of Disney, but changes in the label’s schedule have yielded just one new title for this week: the first release of the multifaceted score to 1991’s live-action Disney flick White Fang.

Based on Jack London’s novel of the same name, White Fang told the tale of a Yukon explorer (Ethan Hawke) and the wolfdog he befriends. The acclaimed film’s music was conducted primarily by two very different composers: an orchestral old hand in Basil Pouledoris, and a synthesizer-based upstart in Hans Zimmer. Both mens’ works appeared in the finished film, with slightly more emphasis on Pouledoris.

But because Intrada knows how to treat soundtrack fans, they’ve included both over two discs. Both scores receive their premiere releases in this set, sourced from the original analog (for Pouledoris) and digital (for Zimmer) masters kept in perfect condition in Disney’s fabled vaults.

Order your copy now, after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 20, 2012 at 16:15

Never Too Much: New Luther Vandross Compilation Highlights Album Cuts and Rarities

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If you miss the smooth, soulful voice of Luther Vandross – and, perhaps, wish to dig deeper than his greatest hits – a new compilation from Epic Records and Legacy Recordings might have you covered.

On April 17, just three days before what would have been the singer’s 61st birthday, the label will release Hidden Gems, a compilation of album cuts and non-LP tracks intended to showcase one of the greatest male voices in contemporary R&B history.

The 15-track compilation, compiled and produced by Vandross’ niece Seveda Williams and cousin Brenda Shields, spans Luther’s entire career, from “You Stopped Loving Me” off debut album Never Too Much, to “Once Were Lovers” and a cover of “Buy Me a Rose,” a song made famous by Kenny Rogers, from posthumous Grammy-winning album Dance with My Father. In addition to Luther’s own compositions, there are some impressive covers, including versions of “The Impossible Dream” from the Broadway hit Man of La Mancha, Little Anthony and The Imperials’ “Goin’ Out of My Head” and the Lieber-Stoller-co-written “I (Who Have Nothing),” sung as a duet with R&B singer Martha Wash.

While it’s not chock full of obscurities if you’ve tracked down Luther’s albums – “I’d Rather” was a sizable Adult Contemporary hit and received a substantial amount of radio play – there are a few harder-to-find cuts on the disc, notably a song from the 1997 compilation One Night with You: The Best of Love, Volume 2, two early-’90s soundtrack songs and a Japanese bonus track from the artist’s penultimate, self-titled album on J Records in 2001.

The package features liner notes by Vandross’ good friend and collaborator Fonzi Thornton, and makes for a great next step in your Luther collection. Check out the track list after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 20, 2012 at 15:41

I Want You To Want Me: Cheap Trick “Complete Epic Albums” Box Offers Remastered Classics, U.S. CD Debuts

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“ELO kiddies, ELO kiddies, whatcha gonna do when the lights start shining?” went the musical question in the first song on Cheap Trick’s very first album.  But one question, naturally, leads to another.  Was the song title simply saying a British ‘elo in a cheeky salute?  Or was it alluding to ELO, a.k.a. Electric Light Orchestra, the orchestral rock outfit founded by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood?  Why the heck does the song sound more like Gary Glitter than those Brummies?  And where did the boys from Illinois soak up all of those British influences anyway?

You’ll find plenty of questions, as well as deliciously satisfying answers, in the handy 13-album/14-CD cube helpfully entitled Cheap Trick: The Complete Epic Albums Collection (Epic/Legacy 88697 94193 2, 2012).  Produced by Bruce Dickinson and mastered by Vic Anesini, this exclusive box set available from Sony’s PopMarket brings together the formidable 1977-1990 catalogue of one of America’s most electrifying rock bands.  A full five albums (One on One, Standing on the Edge, The Doctor, Lap of Luxury and Busted) have been newly remastered expressly for this set, while Found All the Parts makes its U.S. CD debut and the “Authorized Version” of the Todd Rundgren-produced Next Position Please has its worldwide CD premiere.  In addition, five albums have bonus tracks mirroring their most recent Legacy reissues, and the acclaimed At Budokan is presented in its complete 2-CD form.  Indeed, this is a comprehensive anthology suitable for both longtime Cheap Trick fans as well as for new fans looking to build a library in one fell swoop.

Once Rick Neilsen and Tom Petersson lit The Fuse in the late 1960s, the stage was set for Cheap Trick.  The Fuse didn’t burn for long, though, and the Chicago duo reunited to Philadelphia where they became Sick Men of Europe (presumably by way of South Street).  Returning to Illinois in 1973, Neilsen and Petersson added drummer Bun E. Carlos and singer Randy “Xeno” Hogan to their band, finally becoming Cheap Trick.  Hogan didn’t do the Trick, however, and was replaced in short order by Robin Zander.  From 1975 onward, the band toured relentlessly, and in 1976 Cheap Trick was rewarded with an Epic Records recording contract.  Producer Jack Douglas was tasked with the chore of bringing to record the band’s singular brand of rock: crunchy riffs on top of bright pop melodies, enlivened by eccentric, often dark humor and a subversive lyrical outlook.  The result, 1977’s Cheap Trick, failed to chart in the U.S. but became a major seller in Japan, priming the band for worldwide success.

The quartet’s second album, 1978’s In Color, dented the charts at No. 73 but smoothed out the rough edges of the ’77 debut with a somewhat quieter, even more melodic approach.  The magic finally arrived with Heaven Tonight (1978).  Like In Color, it was produced by Tom Werman, but this time out, he found Cheap Trick’s sweet spot.  Werman didn’t discourage the hook-filled songs inspired by the best of the British Invasion, but they were interpreted via a loud, tough and current sound.  “Surrender” from Heaven Tonight became Cheap Trick’s first Top 100 single, and a calling card for the group.  Heaven Tonight may be a great power pop album, but the emphasis is on the power.  Another band that mastered the heavy-yet-light balance was The Move, and Cheap Trick made explicit its devotion to the quirky rock of Roy Wood with a cover of his “California Man.”

And the fans surrendered to 1979’s At Budokan, on which the aggressive playing is rewarded by the audience’s palpable fervor.  The original Top 5-charting release was expanded by Legacy in 1998 from 10 tracks to the concert’s full 19 by incorporating material first aired on 1994’s Budokan II, and that 1998 set is the version included here.  (A whopping 3-CD/1-DVD set from 2008 expanded the original album further with a second concert included.)  Werman returned for the next studio effort, Dream Police, on which the production was as elaborate as At Budokan was raw.  Then, in 1980, Cheap Trick released the four-track EP Found All the Parts, freeing from the band’s vaults three new compositions and a cover of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper.”  This EP acknowledged the clear Beatles influence on the band, and this box set marks its very first time on American CD in its original form.  So for All Shook Up, released later that year, Cheap Trick went to the source: none other than George Martin.  Since his legendary run with the Fabs, Martin had produced a string of successful albums for America as well as albums by a crop of artists running the gamut from Neil Sedaka to Jeff Beck.  Now, his imprimatur was bestowed on Neilsen and co., and although the album might have been crushed under the weight of its lofty expectations, it’s far more than a mere footnote in the group’s discography.

Hit the jump for much, much more on these Midwestern rock heroes and the new box set, including order link and album listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 20, 2012 at 10:06