The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 1st, 2012

Short Takes: Musicians Talking About Their Reissues

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It’s rare when musicians do any amount of press on reissues, usually because they’ve got bigger things to worry about or are deceased. So the notion that some of the people behind three major catalogue campaigns have all had something notable to say in the past few days is certainly worth the attention of any catalogue fan:

  • Johnny Marr gave an extensive interview with The Onion‘s AV Club about his memories of The Smiths as filtered through the assemblage and release of Rhino’s The Smiths Complete box. While he expressed regret that “monitor mixes and instrumental versions and slightly different versions of songs” weren’t included on the box (owing to “some kind of legal issue there that I never want to talk about”), he said working on the box bought back a lot of memories – all of them good. “I can only speak for myself, and say that I don’t have any negative thoughts about the times back then or the times now, or the people in it,” he said.
  • A rare interview with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine for Pitchfork sheds some light on one of the strangest catalogue stories of the last few years. It turns out the saga of the MBV remasters was even lengthier than Slicing Up Eyeballs’ vigil, stretching for more than a decade. The problems, Shields says, stemmed with not only negotiating a deal with Sony U.K. to his liking (in which he maintains control of the master recordings), but the tapes themselves went missing. And Shields thinks Sony might have hidden them on purpose. “Only after I started threatening to get Scotland Yard involved did they magically, suddenly reappear,” he said. “The true story is as yet to be determined, but we’ll fight that one out in the near future.” But fear not – relations are seemingly good enough for Shields to promise vinyl remasters “probably in a few months.”)
  • Doing press for the release of Martin Scorsese’s Living in the Material World, a new documentary on George Harrison (and companion outtakes disc, released today), the former Beatle’s widow Olivia promises more material will emerge from the vaults someday. “There is some music that possibly will come out, some more early tapes, demos, nice things, nice performances of George,” she said, also suggesting a “nice idea” of allowing other notable musicians the opportunity to finish some of his unused song sketches.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 1, 2012 at 16:29

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living on Cherry Red’s El Label

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The English-speaking world was let in on a secret when, early in 1968, it was revealed that Belgian songwriter/actor Jacques Brel was Alive and Well and Living in Paris.  The musical revue opened at New York’s Village Gate and counted among its cast Mort Shuman, the Brill Building-era composer of “Viva Las Vegas,” “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me,” all co-written with Doc Pomus.  Shuman had become enchanted with Brel’s hauntingly dramatic music, and in addition to performing in the show, he and Eric Blau fashioned English translations of his stark chansons.  They didn’t shy away from the lyrical subjects that set Brel’s songs apart.  Very little was taboo for Brel, whose songs often lacked sentimentality and addressed death, whores, opium dens, homosexuality, abuse and venereal disease.  Yet those songs caught on.  The musical ran in New York for over four years and spawned a film version, while the profile of Brel’s songs remained high.  Even before the play opened, Scott Walker had popularized a number of his works with the Shuman lyrics, but Walker wasn’t the first or the last to perform Brel’s songs in English.  Others have included David Bowie, Sting, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Judy Collins and one Terry Jacks, who made a smash hit out of Brel’s “Seasons in the Sun” in 1974.

The Cherry Red Group’s El Records label is offering a chance to hear some of Brel’s earliest compositions on the new release The Ballad of Jacques Brel.  This 28-track collection covers the period between 1958 and 1961 when Brel’s star was in the ascendant; in 1959, aged 30, he had even topped the bill at the Paris Olympia.  The centerpiece of El’s collection is the 1961 album No. 5, later reissued after one of its most famous songs as “Marieke.”   In addition to “Marieke” (later recorded in English by Judy Collins, among others), No. 5 introduced “Le Moribond,” the tale of a dying man’s farewell to his family and friends.  In a Rod McKuen translation first recorded by The Kingston Trio, “Le Moribond” became “Seasons in the Sun,” perhaps still Brel’s most famous song.

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

Written by Joe Marchese

May 1, 2012 at 14:02

Lenny Kravitz to Expand and Reissue “Mama Said”

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More than two decades after its release, Lenny Kravitz is planning a deluxe edition of his sophomore album, 1991’s Mama Said.

The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter has been noted more for his film work lately than his musical career, with solid supporting turns in Precious (2010) and the smash hit The Hunger Games (2012). But Mama Said continued to solidify Kravitz as a unique persona with a bright future ahead of him, the groundwork of which was laid with his 1989 debut, Let Love Rule.

Kravitz’s second album was his first to reach the Top 40 in America, and gave him the highest charting single of his career, the sublime “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.” But, he told Billboard, the album reflects “a crazy time” in his life, one that saw the then-27-year-old musician coping with fame and family (daughter Zoë, mothered by actress Lisa Bonet, was born in 1988; the pair would divorce within years of Mama Said‘s release). “It was a lot to deal with,” he said. “I ended up kind of going into hibernation, ’cause at that point I went through a pretty serious depression. I just let all these feelings out onto the songs. It was very cathartic for me.”

In addition to those original songs, the double-disc reissue features six non-LP B-sides and 15 unreleased tracks, including rough demos, unreleased remixes of “It Ain’t Over” and several unheard songs, including a funk-based tune, “Riding on the Wings of My Lord,” and the instrumental “Framed, Lying, Crying.”

The deluxe Mama Said is out June 5. The track list is after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 1, 2012 at 11:59

Release Round-Up: Week of May 1

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George Harrison, Living in the Material World / Early Takes Vol. 1 (Hip-O/UMe)

The big release in the U.S. today: Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the esteemed Beatle on DVD and Blu-Ray, and a 10-track disc of entirely unreleased demos and outtakes.

The Beach Boys, 50th Anniversary Collection ‘ZinePak (Capitol/EMI)

A new compilation/mini-booklet, available exclusively at Walmart stores in America, that features classic Beach Boys singles alongside the first-ever album appearance of the band’s new recording of “Do It Again.”

Greg Phillinganes, Pulse: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

The famous session keyboardist’s 1984 solo album, featuring the Michael Jackson outtake “Behind the Mask,” gets expanded and re-released in the U.K. by Big Break.

Lee Hazlewood, The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes, & Backsides (1968-1971) (Light in the Attic)

Released on vinyl for Record Store Day, this compilation of solo tracks from the “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” writer/producer gets a CD release today.

The Ad-Libs, The Complete Blue Cat Recordings / Mel McDaniel, Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On — His Original Capitol Hits / Eddie Rabbitt, 13 Original #1 Hits / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 30 — Academy of Music, New York City, NY 3/25 & 3/28/72 and Dick’s Picks Vol. 31 – 8/4-5 Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, PA 8/6/74, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ (Real Gone)

A diverse offering from the fine folks at Real Gone, including two reissues of classic Dead shows.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, We Salute You (Warner Bros.)

In honor of their recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, the Chili Peppers release this digital-only EP of B-side and non-LP covers of their fellow inductees.