The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 21st, 2012

Unsung No More: Funky Town Grooves Expands the Ray Parker, Jr. Catalogue

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If you’ve watched the critically-acclaimed TV One series Unsung, which acts as a more in-depth Where Are They Now?/Behind the Music-type program for R&B artists including Alexander O’Neal, Sheila E., DeBarge and Atlantic Starr, you know that Ray Parker, Jr. is far more than just the man behind the iconic theme to “Ghostbusters.”

The singer/songwriter/producer/guitarist has a ridiculously long list of great session and production work, and managed to walk away from the major labels before he was pushed out due to age or declining commercial fortunes. Based on interviews conducted on the show, he actually seems like a really nice guy who is both happy with his past successes and where he is in the present.

Now, thanks to the efforts of Funky Town Grooves, you can enhance the revelations of the Unsung episode with some musical education. Four of Parker’s albums, including two with his band Raydio, are being remastered and expanded for a May release.

After the jump, check out what’s coming from the label, and the bonus tracks that abound!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 21, 2012 at 12:46

Higher Ground: Audio Fidelity Reissues Vintage Stevie Wonder, James Taylor on 24K Gold CD

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For its April 3 release slate, the Audio Fidelity label is returning to the catalogues of two tried-and-true artists and label favorites.

Having tackled James Taylor’s second, fourth and fifth albums, Audio Fidelity fills the gap in Taylor’s Warner Bros. catalogue with the release of the singer/songwriter’s third LP, 1971’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.  Similarly, the label has given the remastered 24K Gold CD treatment to four of the five albums from Wonder’s “golden era” at Motown (1972-1976) and now Is turning its attention to the fifth of those records, 1973’s Innervisions.

After the breakthrough success of Taylor’s Sweet Baby James and its single “Fire and Rain,” the artist scored another major success with the April 1971 release of Mud Slide Slim.  Containing his only Billboard No. 1 hit, “You’ve Got a Friend,” the album itself made it all the way up the chart to No. 2…and was held off from the top spot, ironically, by Carole King’s Tapestry.  That album not only featured Carole King’s own version of her song “You’ve Got a Friend,” but prominently featured the participation of, you guessed it, James Taylor!  But there’s much more to Mud Slide Slim than just “You’ve Got a Friend.”  The album, produced by Peter Asher, also introduced another Top 40 hit, “Long Ago and Far Away,” and the much-covered ballad “You Can Close Your Eyes.”  Taylor’s longtime friend and guitarist Danny Kortchmar supplied one of the album’s tracks, “Machine Gun Kelly.”  Kortchmar joined Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Joni Mitchell, Kate Taylor and Carole King among the album’s key personnel.  When the Grammy Awards rolled around, both King and Taylor were rewarded with trophies for “You’ve Got a Friend.”  For Audio Fidelity’s edition, Steve Hoffman has handled the remastering chores.

Hit the jump to explore Innervisions.  You’ll also find pre-order links and track listings for both titles. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 21, 2012 at 10:05