The Second Disc

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Archive for May 8th, 2012

No More Wire Hangers! Henry Mancini’s “Mommie Dearest” Joins Christopher Komeda’s “Rosemary’s Baby” On CD (UPDATED)

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and La-La Land Records is celebrating with a couple of releases celebrating some, ahem, very unusual mothers.  No, the world premiere of the soundtrack to Psycho isn’t among the duo, but this pair just might be the next best thing.  On May 8, the label will issue Henry Mancini’s score to 1981’s cult campfest Mommie Dearest and Christopher (Krzysztof)  Komeda’s score to 1968’s horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, both from the vaults of Paramount Pictures.

Almost two years before the publication of Christina Crawford’s 1978 bestseller Mommie Dearest, and one year before Joan Crawford’s death, the legendary actress told her friend and future biographer Charlotte Chandler that her daughter Christina was “using my name strictly to make money.” She continued, “I suppose she doesn’t think that I’m going to leave her enough or that I’m going to disappear soon enough.” Referring to her adoption of Christina, she resignedly sighed, “No good deed goes unpunished.”  Christina Crawford had announced plans for her tell-all book during Joan Crawford’s lifetime, and when the memoir finally hit stores following the actress’ death, readers couldn’t get enough of it.  Naturally, Hollywood came calling, and the image of Joan Crawford was perhaps redefined forever thanks to Faye Dunaway’s go-for-broke performance in the sensationalistic film.  Her New York Times obituary stated that “Miss Crawford was a quintessential superstar—an epitome of timeless glamour who personified for decades the dreams and disappointments of American women.”  But Mommie Dearest, both the novel and the film, painted her as an abusive, violent and self-absorbed shrew prone to attacks over the presence of wire hangers in her daughter’s closet.

Though the film was not a critical success – Roger Ebert opined, “I can’t imagine who would want to subject themselves to this movie” – it fascinated the public, much as the book had.  But one well-received aspect of director Frank Perry’s over-the-top adaptation was Henry Mancini’s lush score, recalling the glamorous Hollywood setting while staying true to the film’s more chilling (if rather over-dramatic) aspects.  La-La Land’s 51-minute soundtrack album (the very first for Mommie Dearest) features the score as heard in the film plus outtakes, source cues and alternate tracks.  Jeff Bond recounts the lurid story behind the movie in his new liner notes.  Whether you believe Mommie Dearest is a vicious attack on a screen icon, a story that needed to be told, or simply a deliciously entertaining “popcorn” flick, Mancini’s melodic score stands on its own.  La-La Land’s Mommie Dearest is a limited edition of 2,000 copies.  This has been a good year for Mancini fans (and it’s only May), with this long-awaited title following Kritzerland’s recent, sold-out CD reissue of the maestro’s score to another Paramount Picture, The Molly Maguires!

Hit the jump to visit Rosemary’s Baby! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 8, 2012 at 17:02

A Brief Note on MusicTAP

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On a typical day, longtime readers of The Second Disc would do well (if you aren’t already) to check out Matt Rowe’s excellent MusicTAP site. It’s harder to imagine a bigger music fan than Matt, who’s got a knack for posting great, thought-provoking pieces on favorite albums, artists and genres and is a valuable asset to any music enthusiast’s online conversations. It’s safe to say that without his spirit, there might have never have been the impetus to start The Second Disc, so for that, we thank him.

It’s also why we want to let you know that, if you point your browser toward the site, you’re not getting anything for a reason. Matt’s been hacked! Not cool, Internet. Rest assured, though, he’ll be up and running before long – and you can, if you’re not already, keep abreast of TAP on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 8, 2012 at 16:25

Review: Shorty Long, “The Complete Motown Stereo Masters”

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Frederick Long’s nickname “Shorty” was ironic considering his surname, but the diminutive pianist, songwriter and vocalist was indeed a mere 5’1”.  Yet Shorty was Long on talent.  Harvey Fuqua brought Long to Motown with him from Tri-Phi, and Long was eventually selected by Berry Gordy to inaugurate the new Soul label, designed to showcase the funkier side of the Sound of Young America.  That single arrived in 1964, but Gordy didn’t release a Long solo album until 1968, just one year before the artist died at the age of 29 in a boating accident.  Here Comes…Shorty Long: The Complete Motown Stereo Masters, the latest release in Ace Records’ ongoing series of vintage Motown platters, serves up Long’s two solo albums (1968’s Here Comes The Judge and 1969’s The Prime of Shorty Long) plus two bonus tracks on one CD (Kent/Ace CDTOP 369) and offers ample evidence of a singular, if short-lived, talent.  If you like your Motown off the beaten path, you’re in the right place.

The anthology doesn’t include every track recorded at Motown by Shorty, but rather his complete stereo masters as issued on the Soul imprint.  That means you’ll find two full LPs here, plus the stereo debut of a track first unearthed in 2010 in mono, and a new stereo mix of one single side.  Shorty is best known for the percolating “Function at the Junction.”  That irresistible invitation to the dance (co-written with Eddie Holland and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier) appeared as a single in 1966 before finding a home on the Here Comes the Judge LP.  “Don’t Mess with My Weekend” continues the party-time groove, as does “Night Fo’ Last,” on which the H-D-H team tried to recapture the “Function” magic.  It’s heard here in both instrumental and vocal renditions.

Meet you for that function after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 8, 2012 at 13:23

What Kind of Love: Ike Turner’s Sixties “Studio Productions” Compiled By Ace

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Though some credit him with creating the very first rock and roll song (1951’s “Rocket 88,” credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats), Ike Turner’s tumultuous personal life has long taken priority in the public eye over his groundbreaking musical achievements.  Yet Turner, in addition to maintaining a grueling schedule on the road with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, turned out a prodigious amount of studio material on a variety of labels.  The latest addition to Ace Records’ Producers Series, Ike Turner: Studio Productions – New Orleans and Los Angeles, 1963-1965, explores in depth a brief but fruitful period in Turner’s overlooked career.  Naturally, Tina Turner appears, but the emphasis is on Turner’s other singers including The Ikettes, Jimmy Thomas, Stacy Johnson and Bobby John.  Nearly half of this head-spinning anthology of raw rhythm and blues is previously unreleased, including stripped-down tracks, never-before-heard songs, unreleased versions and alternate takes. You’ll also hear rare 45s not issued on CD in longer versions.  In short, this is a treasure trove of rough-and-tumble rock and roll and R&B.

The electrifying Ike and Tina Turner Revue was well-known on the Chitlin Circuit and also on the teenage club circuit, as rock and roll ascended to the forefront of popular culture.  But pop success largely eluded Ike Turner.  Ace’s collection, produced and annotated by Brian Nevill, picks up Turner’s story in 1963, by which time the songwriter, producer and performer had notched a couple of hit singles on the Sue label as Ike and Tina Turner, and more for The Ikettes on Atco.  Turner signed with Modern Records and set up shop in New Orleans for sessions at the legendary Cosimo Matassa’s studios.  The restless Turner recorded a variety of performers, some issued on Modern, others on labels founded by Ike and some leased out to other imprints altogether.  The liner notes by Nevill provide the background on these songs, the history of which has often been muddled due to Turner’s re-recordings, reissues of the same song under a different name or artist, and issues on various labels.  Thankfully, the Ace team has been straightening out the prolific Turner’s catalogue for years, and this release is just the latest result of their efforts.

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

Written by Joe Marchese

May 8, 2012 at 10:15

Release Round-Up: Week of May 8

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Barenaked Ladies, Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before! (Rhino)

A single-disc compilation of mostly unreleased odds and ends from the BNL catalogue.

Bill Withers, Just as I Am: 40th Anniversary Edition (Big Break)

A remaster of Withers’ breakthrough 1971 album, featuring the immortal “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands.”

Phil Collins, …But Seriously (Audio Fidelity)

Collins’ 1989 solo album, featuring hits “Another Day in Paradise” and “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” has been mastered for a 24K gold disc.

Various Artists, Da Doo Ron Ron: More from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace)

The legendary songwriting team penned classic cuts for Phil Spector’s stable of hitmakers – some of which are on this disc – but they also wrote tracks for Jay & The Americans, The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, Lesley Gore and other neat hidden gems on this compilation.

Mariah Carey, The Essential Mariah Carey (Columbia/Legacy)

Although we’d reported this was a straight reissue of Mariah’s double-disc Greatest Hits (2001), it’s actually ever so slightly different, boasting vintage remixes of “Emotions,” “Anytime You Need a Friend” and “The Roof (Back in Time).” Plan accordingly!

Julie Andrews & Carol Burnett, The CBS Television Specials: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live at Lincoln Center / Liza Minelli, Legends of Broadway: Live at the Winter Garden (Masterworks)

From Masterworks, a handful of Broadway legends’ classic concerts brought back to CD.

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything / Loveless / EPs 1988-1991 (Sony U.K.)

Can it be? Remastered editions of the MBV discography, including the first-ever CD compilation of the band’s B-sides and EPs, are available after years and years of development and release date shifts.