The Second Disc

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Archive for May 25th, 2012

Have You Checked The Children? “When a Stranger Calls” Joins Fifties Double Feature On CD

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Though a holiday weekend is soon to kick off here in the U.S., the Kritzerland label isn’t resting on its laurels.  The soundtrack specialists have just announced two new releases featuring three wild (and wildly different) film scores.

One of the most successful thrillers of 1979, When a Stranger Calls, featured the second ever film score by Dana Kaproff (Cagney and Lacey, The Bionic Woman, Falcon Crest).  Kritzerland released Kaproff’s first (1977’s Empire of the Ants) so it’s only appropriate that the label brings this long-awaited suspense classic to CD, as well.  With a venerable cast including Colleen Dewhurst, Carol Kane, Charles Durning and Rachel Roberts, When a Stranger Calls had one question on everyone’s lips that year: “Have you checked the children?”  Its tense score is as chilling today as it was in 1979. You’ll want to hear for yourself.  Just don’t play this one in the dark!

When a Stranger Calls is joined by a two-for-one CD of I Married a Monster from Outer Space and The Atomic City!  A 1958 low-budget sci-fi flick starring Tom Tryon and Gloria Talbott, I Married a Monster has the distinction of carrying no music credit at all despite the presence of quite a bit of a memorable music!  Why?  The film was made during a musicians’ union strike, and so the studio was forced to go outside the United States to re-record selections from its publishing library.  And so, voila!  Straight from the Paramount vaults is a score composed by Victor Young, Hugo Friedhofer, Aaron Copland, Franz Waxman, Walter Scharf, Lyn Murray, Nathan Van Cleave, Roy Webb and more!  Joining this altogether fascinating “original score” is 1952’s The Atomic City, composed by Leith Stevens, who is also represented on I Married a Monster from Outer Space!  Gene Barry, Lydia Clarke and Nancy Gates starred in this low-budget thriller that was just a cut above, even earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Story and Screenplay!

These world premiere releases are scheduled to ship directly from Kritzerland the first week of July, but pre-orders from the label most often arrive an average of four weeks’ early!  Both When a Stranger Calls and I Married a Monster from Outer Space/The Atomic City are strictly limited editions of 1,000 copies each.  Hit the jump for pre-order links, track listings and the full press releases from Kritzerland! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 25, 2012 at 10:43

Martinis and Bikinis, with a Side of T-Bone: Sam Phillips’ 1994 Classic Coming to CD and Vinyl

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How to describe the career trajectory of Sam Phillips?  Leslie Ann Phillips first made a splash in the music world recording contemporary Christian pop in 1983, took the name “Sam,” moved to the mainstream in the late 1980s with then-husband T Bone Burnett at the production helm, and even threatened Bruce Willis as an onscreen nemesis (albeit a mute one!) in Die Hard with a Vengeance!  Sam Phillips continues to write and record today, focusing her efforts on a digital subscription service of new music as well as on composing for the new ABC Family television series Bunheads.  The gang at Omnivore Recordings, however, is turning the clock back for an expanded edition of Phillips’ 1994 Martinis & Bikinis.  Her third outing for Virgin Records following 1989’s aptly-titled The Indescribable Wow and 1991’s Cruel Inventions, Martinis & Bikinis has never been released on vinyl till now.  Both the vinyl and CD editions will be bolstered by four bonus tracks.

Like her past efforts for Virgin as well as her final release as Leslie Phillips, Martinis & Bikinis was produced by T Bone Burnett.  Van Dyke Parks brought his singular talents as an arranger, and a team of musicians was enlisted to join Phillips including R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, John Zorn) and Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley’s TCB Band).

Martinis & Bikinis was hailed by critics upon its release for steadfastly maintaining Phillips’ own voice and love of Beatles-influenced pop.  In the New York Times, Alec Foege praised the “haunting arrangements” and “melodic phrases quoted from Beatles hits,” and concluded that “what’s surprising is that such gorgeous tunes aren’t topping the charts.”  (That love of The Beatles’ pure songcraft extended to a cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” which closed the original album.)  Phillips went on to score a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal for the album’s “Circle of Fire.”

Hit the jump for more details on Omnivore’s new reissue! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 25, 2012 at 09:49