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Archive for June 1st, 2012

Voodoo Child (Slight Return): Full Slate of Jimi Hendrix Releases Due in July on Blu-Ray, DVD, CD, Vinyl

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Believe it or not, Jimi Hendrix would have turned 70 this year. Though the groundbreaking guitarist died at just 27 years old in the fall of 1970, he continues to leave behind an invaluable legacy.  You don’t have to wait till what would have been his 70th birthday on November 27 to enjoy the latest releases in the partnership between Experience Hendrix and Sony’s Legacy Recordings.  The original documentary film Jimi Plays Berkeley, derived from the two concerts Hendrix performed at the Berkeley, California’s Berkeley Community Theatre on Saturday, May 30, 1970, will make its Blu-Ray debut on July 10 along.  A new DVD edition is also due the same date.  Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass) joined Hendrix for these incendiary shows.  Alongside Jimi Plays Berkeley will be the Blu-Ray premiere of the documentary Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, and a new audio release on both CD and audiophile-quality 12-inch vinyl, Jimi Plays Berkeley (The Second Set).

The expanded and remastered Jimi Plays Berkeley film has been made from a new, digitally-restored transfer from the original 16mm negative.  More than fifteen minutes of previously unseen footage includes performances of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Machine Gun” and “Hear My Train A-Comin'” not featured in the original 1971 film release directed by Peter Pilafian.

Jimi Plays Berkeley features a 5.1 surround stereo soundtrack mixed by original Jimi Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and commentary from Abe Jacob, the audio engineer who recorded the Berkeley concerts in 1970.  Jacob has had one of the most renowned careers in sound engineering for both rock-and-roll and the Broadway stage, having pioneered modern theatrical sound design in productions including the original Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin and A Chorus Line.

Jimi Plays Berkeley includes an audio-only presentation of the complete second set mixed in 5.1 surround sound.  With 67 minutes of music, the second set concert recordings include such classics as “Stone Free,” “Hey Joe,” “Foxey Lady,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”  John McDermott has also contributed an essay on the film’s genesis.

That second set from May 30, 1970 also forms the basis of Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Berkeley (The Second Set).  It will be released on CD as well as on 12-inch vinyl as a double-LP set. The vinyl release is an all-analog recording cut by Bernie Grundman from the master tapes and struck by Quality Record Pressings (QRP) on 200-gram vinyl.  This second set was last released on CD in 2003 by Experience Hendrix and MCA.

Hit the jump for more, including news on the Blu-Ray premiere of Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 1, 2012 at 15:06

Surf’s Up: Jan and Dean Celebrate “Silver Summer” On New Reissue

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On Tuesday, June 5, The Beach Boys release their long-awaited new studio album, That’s Why God Made the Radio.  Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re counting down to its release.  We’re kicking off our mini-celebration of the California legends with a look at a duo intertwined with The Beach Boys’ history, Jan and Dean!

With The Beach Boys currently touring their acclaimed 50th Anniversary reunion concerts, the time has never been better to revisit the entire surf-and-sun legacy of these California pioneers.  And few artists play a bigger role in The Beach Boys’ story than Jan Berry and Dean Torrence.  Los Angeles natives, Jan and Dean began scoring hits in 1959, with Berry taking the role of producer, arranger and songwriter.  The multi-hyphenate Jan was an inspiration to Brian Wilson, just two years younger, but Brian, in turn, inspired Jan when Berry “caught the wave” of surf music.  Berry and Wilson collaborated on roughly a dozen songs including the No. 1 “Surf City” (1963) as well as “Drag City” (No. 10, 1964) and “Dead Man’s Curve” (No. 8, 1964).  Jan and Dean recreated The Beach Boys’ magic formula on “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” (No. 3, 1964) without Brian’s participation.  These enduring hits were at the center of Jan and Dean’s 1985 album Silver Summer: 25th Anniversary Album, just reissued by Fuel 2000 Records as Surf’s Up.

Between 1958 and 1966, Jan and Dean charted 26 hit records.  As the surf craze receded, Jan and Dean had continued to diversify their sound with increasingly sophisticated productions and even comedy/music hybrid records such as Jan and Dean Meet Batman.  On April 12, 1966, everything changed when Jan Berry sustained severe head injuries in a car accident not far from Dead Man’s Curve, the almost 90-degree turn in Beverly Hills about which the duo had eerily implored, “You won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve!”  Despite brain damage and partial paralysis, Berry remarkably persevered.  He returned to the studio just one year later, and in 1976, he and Torrence had their first proper live appearance as guests of surf revival group Papa Doo Run Run.  The duo returned to touring despite Torrence’s success as a graphic artist; he even designed the famous Beach Boys logo that the group still uses today.    A 1978 CBS-TV film, Deadman’s Curve, was produced with the duo’s participation and helped to cement the Jan and Dean legend.

Firmly entrenched on the live “oldies circuit,” the duo even made sporadic returns to the recording studio in the ensuing years.  Dean also recorded a number of projects with his old friend, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and Berry finally recorded a solo album, 1997’s Second Wave.  Jan Berry passed away in 2004 at the age of 62; Torrence still performs from time to time with the Surf City All-Stars and oversees reissues of the team’s extensive back catalogue.  (In 1996, Sundazed issued the previously unreleased Save for a Rainy Day, the entirely Torrence-produced album recorded under the Jan and Dean name in the wake of Berry’s accident; in 2010, Rhino Handmade finally released Carnival of Sound, Jan Berry’s own post-accident psychedelic opus.)

Hit the jump for details on Silver Summer, including track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 1, 2012 at 12:44

Review: Various Artists, “From the Vaults of Ric and Ron Records”

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It’s rare that three labels team up for one project, but rare is From the Vaults of Ric & Ron Records: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 1958-1962.  Not only is this 10-record set rare in terms of quantity (a worldwide limited edition of 1,500) but it’s rare in quality, too.  Rounder Records is the force behind this excavation of the vaults of New Orleans’ independent Ric and Ron labels, and the set is being distributed in the U.S. by the Numero Group and in the U.K. by Ace Records.  The Numero Group has made a name for itself with its unique compilations of some of the rarest regional rock, soul and pop on the planet, and Ace is, of course, the reissue specialist that’s one of our favorite labels here at Second Disc HQ.  This new set of ten 45 RPM records is an essential document of New Orleans during the period (1958-1962) when rhythm-and-blues was finding its footing.  The music on Ric and Ron might not have gotten national exposure, but it’s time for the labels’ underrated artists to be rediscovered.  Eighteen of the twenty tracks in this set are previously unreleased, and the compilation will not be available digitally or on CD for the time being.

Ric and its sister label Ron were founded in 1958 by Joe Ruffino, based in New Orleans. Though the labels were only active for a short period, some of New Orleans’ greatest talents passed through the company’s doors, and the labels’ musical legacy is strong.  In addition to the artists heard on the new box set, Ric and Ron also served as a musical home to Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, and Joe Jones. It was Jones who provided Ric with its biggest hit, “You Talk Too Much”, which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1960. The now-legendary Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas recorded her first single “(You Can Have My Husband but) Don’t Mess with My Man” for the Ron label.

What will you hear on this box set?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 1, 2012 at 10:15

Posted in Box Sets, Compilations, Reissues

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