The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 19th, 2012

R.I.P. Levon Helm (1940-2012)

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American popular music has lost another one of the greats with today’s passing of singer/drummer Levon Helm, 71.  Though few groups would have the audacity to name themselves The Band, that’s exactly what Helm, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel did. The former Hawks crystallized the sound that spawned a thousand imitators, returning rock to its most stripped-down American roots.  The Band backed Bob Dylan, was admired by The Beatles, and epitomized the burgeoning back-to-basics “Americana” as an antidote to the bigger and bigger progressive rock  “FM” sounds of the day.  Prominently featured on immortal songs like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Weight,” Helm’s voice is part of the fabric of American music.  On albums like The Band, Stage Fright and Music from Big Pink, The Band stepped out of Dylan’s shadow and forged a niche in pop and rock that the group will forever occupy.  He continued the tradition with his own well-regarded solo albums and as the host of live Midnight Rambles in his Woodstock home.  Please join us below in sharing your memories of Levon Helm, a musician’s musician.

Written by Joe Marchese

April 19, 2012 at 15:42

Posted in Levon Helm, News, The Band

Woo-Hoo! Blur Mega Box Set Coming This Summer

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While Blur frontman Damon Albarn has been less than positive about the future of the band following this year’s reunion tour, EMI’s catalogue team would like you to think otherwise with an upcoming high profile reissue campaign collecting the band’s discography.

Blur 21, to be released July 30 in the U.K. in celebration of the anniversary of the group’s debut album Leisure (1991), collates all of the influential Britpop band’s albums, from Leisure to Think Tank (2003), pairs each with a bonus disc of non-LP B-sides and rare cuts, mixes in four discs of almost entirely unreleased demos and studio sessions from every era of the band’s existence (including their early, pre-Blur days under the name Seymour), adds three DVDs of live and hard-to-find promotional content and throws in a collectible 7″ single and hardbound book of liner notes. (Take note, audiophiles – LeisureModern Life is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994), The Great Escape (1995), and the band’s 1997 self-titled album are all newly remastered.)

Obviously, this is one of the more heavy-duty box sets to expect at this point in 2012, but more casual fans have got some goodies to look forward to as well: EMI is releasing the studio albums and their respective bonus discs as new double-disc sets around the same time. (The demos and video content will remain box-only, though.) A box set of audiophile vinyl reissues of the seven studio albums is also forthcoming.

Hit the jump for an exhaustive look at the contents of Blur 21.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 19, 2012 at 14:34

Posted in Blur, Box Sets, News, Reissues