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Archive for April 11th, 2012

Information Society: In Praise of Passions Just Like Mine and Other Uber-Fan Sites

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Today bought a major dark cloud over the days of Morrissey and The Smiths fans everywhere, even more so than the reissue of Viva Hate. Passions Just Like Mine, the long-running discography/videography/gigography for Manchester’s favorite singer/songwriter, has closed up shop.

In a statement, the site’s founder, Stephane, announced a desire to pursue “a few other personal projects in mind (unrelated to Morrissey)” but was still taking suggestions as to “what to do with the body.” (The body of the site is currently gone,  as Stephane “could not deal with the site just stagnating there, slowly becoming incomplete.“)

As a fan, I’m going to miss PJLM’s exhaustive comprehension to its subject – as you can guess, such a quality is endearing around these parts – not necessarily out of my love for Moz or The Smiths (although I cherish both) but particularly because I love websites that keep such musical flames alive. Were it not for the devotion of fans and the usability of HTML, I’d never known there were at least two versions of Duran Duran’s Rio I’d want to acquire. My Tears for Fears Reissue Theory post wouldn’t have been the same. Sure, sometimes you get lucky on Wikipedia, but it’s hard to beat a well-crafted, singularly obsessive music site.

So in tribute to Stephane and his work, we ask you, our readers: what are your favorite sites obsessively devoted to music? It can be one artist, a few, a whole label, whichever. We want you to pay tribute to them, because we’re lucky to have them all in our lives.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2012 at 17:10

I Second That Emotion: Thelma Jones’ Columbia Debut Reissued On Big Break Label

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Trivia time: name the singer who recorded the original version of “The House That Jack Built.”

If you guessed Thelma Jones, you go to the head of the soul music class!  While at the small Barry Records label, it was Jones who introduced the song later made famous by Aretha Franklin, but for reasons lost to time, the singer was never able to turn her solid-gold pipes into chart success.  Her discography isn’t very deep, but a career highlight of the North Carolina native can now be reappraised thanks to the team at the Cherry Red-affiliated Big Break Records label.  Thelma Jones was the eponymous 1978 Columbia Records debut of the artist and her only full-length album until 2006.  It’s been in expanded in a deluxe edition with three bonus tracks and is available now from BBR.

With a musical education rooted in the church, Jones was mentored by Big Maybelle.  Among other accomplishments, Maybelle was the R&B singer and pianist who introduced “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” two years before Jerry Lee Lewis immortalized the song.  Jones was equally comfortable with searing gospel and silky smooth soul, but none of her sides for Hy Weiss’ Barry label took off.  Jones was signed in the early 1970s to Atlantic Records, even recording at Muscle Shoals, but that association was short-lived, and Columbia Records picked up the slack by signing Jones in 1975.  After a Muscle Shoals session produced a debut single, “Salty Tears” b/w “You’re the Song (That I Can’t Stop Singing)” produced by Brad Shapiro (Millie Jackson, Gwen McCrae), Jones was assigned to Bert deCoteaux, who had created chart magic with The Main Ingredient.  With deCoteaux at the helm, Jones showed off all sides of her voice on this impressive debut.

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2012 at 14:40

Posted in News, Reissues, Thelma Jones

By Grabthar’s Hammer! “Galaxy Quest” Score Unearthed from Vaults

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With all the Star Trek soundtrack love expressed in the reissue world lately, it’s awesome to report the premiere release of the score to the best Trek satire there ever was. The soundtrack to the excellent 1999 comedy Galaxy Quest is making its commercial debut from La-La Land Records.

Galaxy Quest is the tale of a group of struggling actors known for playing the crew of a short-lived cult favorite show of the same name. Tim Allen is the William Shatner-esque captain, Sigourney Weaver the bombshell computer officer, Alan Rickman the Shakespearean actor doomed to play the big-headed, non-human science officer and Tony Shaloub the calm, collected engineer. (Add Daryl Mitchell as a precocious kid pilot all grown up, and Sam Rockwell as a hapless actor known for playing a crew member killed off in an early episode, and you’ve got your basic Trek-esque full house.) While piloting a routine mission to a sci-fi convention, they’re intercepted by a real group of aliens, who take the show for historical fact and enlist them to save their planet from a very real crisis.

The deft blend of traditional sci-fi pomp, grandiose action and light-hearted comedy comes courtesy of one David Newman, hardly a stranger to a smorgasbord of musical styles, as the son of legendary 20th Century-Fox composer Alfred (and cousin of Disney/Pixar composer/pop legend Randy). While he released a good amount of the score as a promotional CD not long after the film’s release, this is the first time the score is making its debut anywhere, with even more music than what was on that promo disc.

With a 3,000 unit pressing, it shouldn’t take a blueprint of the NSEA Protector starship to tell you this is going to be a hot commodity among soundtrack fans. Order it now, after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2012 at 12:56

Posted in News, Soundtracks

Nothing But Everything But the Girl: U.K. Pop Duo Expands First Four Albums

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Fans of U.K. sophisti-pop duo Everything But the Girl are justified in saying they miss them. They’re even justified in saying they miss Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, who haven’t performed under the EBTG moniker since 2000, the same way the deserts miss the rain.

But all is not lost, thanks to the tireless efforts of Demon/Edsel (arguably the hardest-working U.K. reissue label in the game right now), who are working with Thorn and Watt in expanding the band’s first four albums (originally released on Blanco Y Negro Records) with a heaping helping of rare and unreleased material.

The expanded, two-disc editions of Eden (1984), Love Not Money (1985), Baby the Stars Shine Bright (1986) and Idlewild (1988), repackaged in casebound, book-style packaging with new liner notes from the duo and all original lyrics, will also feature bonus discs littered with excellent treats for hardcore fans, including single-only A and B-sides – many of them awesome covers of standards by Jimmy Webb, Irving Berlin and others, and most of which haven’t been in print for years – a total of 20 unreleased demos, live performances recorded by the BBC and other rarities, like the alternate version of Idlewild‘s “Apron Strings” that appeared in the John Hughes film She’s Having a Baby.

It remains to be seen if Demon will expand the remainder of the band’s catalogue, which would of course cover well beyond the band’s worldwide smash “Missing.” But for now, there’s plenty to look forward to when these four sets arrive in U.K. shops May 28. Hit the jump for the full rundown.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2012 at 09:50

Get It On: Marc Bolan Goes Super Deluxe with T. Rex “Electric Warrior,” 2-CD, 1-CD Versions Also Available [UPDATED]

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Before David Bowie was Ziggy Stardust, Marc Bolan was the Electric Warrior. A major turning point in the glam-rock revolution of the U.K., the Electric Warrior album (1971) effectively buried the psychedelic folk rock of Tyrannosaurus Rex and immortalized the trashy hard rock of T. Rex. True, one successful single (“Ride a White Swan”) and eponymous album had already introduced the T. Rex name in 1970, and the single “Hot Love” first boasted the expanded band line-up of Bolan, Mickey Finn, Steve Currie and Bill Legend. But Electric Warrior (preceded by its first single, “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”) crystallized the sleazy bubblegum and rock-and-roll spirit of Bolan’s band, capturing what was simultaneously a ferocious attack on and celebration of the three-minute pop single. Although rights rest with Warner Music Group in the U.S., Universal controls the T. Rex catalogue in the U.K., and so on May 1 April 23, Polydor will reissue Electric Warrior as a 2-CD/1-DVD deluxe box set. The box’s various contents (more below) might qualify for the “Super Deluxe “appellation, but the price it currently bears is somewhat less than the norm for such packages, at £30.47 or $48.52 in American currency as of this writing.  In addition, a 2-CD Deluxe Edition, 1-CD remaster and vinyl LP will also be available.

Formed by elfin guitarist Marc Bolan and percussionist Steve Peregrine Took in 1968, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s brand of acoustic hippie folk met with moderate success on the British charts. But following a less than well-received American tour in 1969, Took became disillusioned and departed the band. Took was replaced by Mickey Finn, and 1970’s A Beard of Stars again met with fair success, hitting No. 21 in the United Kingdom. Then Bolan hit on the idea of shortening the band name to T. Rex. When “Ride a White Swan,” a Bolan song produced by Tony Visconti, climbed to No. 2 with its harder fuzz guitar-infused sound, the chameleonic Bolan knew which direction to take the newly-christened duo. Some consider “White Swan” the birth of glam, with its theatrically mannered vocals married to a crunchy Chuck Berry riff. The simply titled T. Rex album went to No. 13, and what was once a duo became a full band, with Steve Currie on bass and Bill Legend on drums. That group recorded “Hot Love,” and with its six weeks at No. 1 in the U.K., glam rock was in full swing.

For Electric Warrior, the Bolan/Finn/Legend/Currie team was joined once again by Tony Visconti and crucially by vocalists Flo and Eddie, a.k.a. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, former Turtles as well as Mothers of Invention. Visconti adorned the debauched rock-and-roll with strings and Ian McDonald and Burt Collins were brought in on saxophone and flugelhorn, respectively. Sessions took place internationally, in London, Los Angeles and New York. Despite its title, Electric Warrior actually has a diversified palette of sound, from earth-shattering rock to the modernized R&B and the pop perfection of “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” The subdued orchestrations of Visconti, combined with the ethereal backing vocals of Flo and Eddie, added a pivotally posh touch to the album.

Electric Warrior hit No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart and eventually became one of the year’s best sellers. The band had a more difficult time cracking America, though “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” (originally titled just “Get It On” in the U.K.) did make the Top 10 singles chart, and remains popular on oldies/classic rock radio today. The album itself squeaked into the Top 40 at a respectable No. 32. Marc Bolan would go on to more phenomenal success in his native England – T. Rextacy, as it were – before his untimely death in a car accident in 1977.

Hit the jump to find out just what’s on the multiple new editions of Electric Warrior!

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Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2012 at 09:38

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, T Rex