The Second Disc

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Archive for June 5th, 2012

Once Is Just Not Enough: The Dynamic Superiors’ Motown Disco Classics Arrive on CD

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The old adage that “good things come to those who wait” certainly applied to The Dynamic Superiors.  Founded in Washington, DC in 1963, the vocal quintet didn’t receive their first major recording contract until 1974; their previous experience on record had been a lone single for New York’s Sue Records.  That major contract was with Motown Records, no longer the Sound of Young America but still a vital force in popular music.  SoulMusic Records reissued the first two albums by The Dynamic Superiors on CD in 2010, and has recently tackled the group’s third and fourth albums on the Motown label.  The reissue of You Name It (1976) and Give and Take (1977) now means that The Dynamic Superiors’ entire Motown output is available on CD.

Tony Washington (lead vocal), George Spann (first tenor), George Peterback, Jr. (second tenor), Michael McCalpin (baritone), and Maurice Washington (bass) were spotted by Motown’s Ewart Abner following an Atlantic City concert.  Once signed to Motown, the group was paired with Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who produced The Dynamic Superiors in 1975 and wrote all but one of its tracks.  That album yielded the hits “Shoe Shoe Shine” and “Leave It Alone,” and sophomore album Pure Pleasure included “Nobody’s Gonna Change Me” and “Deception.”  Ashford and Simpson returned for Pure Pleasure, and even included a cover of their “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

Hit the jump to explore the two recently-reissued long-players, plus complete track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 5, 2012 at 14:39

Cherry Red Round-Up: Kenny, KC, Carly and More Get New Expansions

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Our friends at Cherry Red Group have had a stellar amount of new reissues in the past month, and we figured now was as good a time as any to highlight some of our favorites across the board.

The Lemon label has issued an expanded edition of Keep the Fire, the 1979 soft-rock classic by Kenny Loggins. While the singer-songwriter had put out two albums since the disbandment of Loggins & Messina, it was only recently that he started his ascendancy as one of the go-to pop writers and performers of the age; previous album Nightwatch featured Top 5 hit “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Stevie Nicks, and earlier in 1979 saw “What a Fool Believes,” written with Michael McDonald for McDonald’s Doobie Brothers, reach the top of the Billboard charts. Loggins and McDonald teamed up again for Keep the Fire‘s lead single, “This is It,” which reached No. 11 and won Loggins a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Strong guests bolster the album, with Michael Brecker contributing saxophone work and underrated album cut “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong” featuring sweet vocal harmonies from Michael Jackson. Lemon’s expanded disc features two live tracks of undetermined origin and a “clean version” of “This is It.”

One of Big Break Records’ newest titles harkens back to the days of disco and the unstoppable dance rhythms of KC and The Sunshine Band. Harry Wayne Casey, Richard Finch and their irrepressibly-produced band had a triple platinum hit with their self-titled sophomore album for T.K. Records in 1975, buoyed by No. 1 hits “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s the Way (I Like It).” (The effervescent “Boogie Shoes” was a Top 40 hit when included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack LP two years later.) Bonus cuts include the original single mixes of “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s the Way (I Like It)” as well as a 1994 mix of the former by veteran disco man Tom Moulton.

It’s on to the ’80s and ’90s with some big hits and intriguing obscurities after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 5, 2012 at 13:26

Catch A Wave! Special Review: The Beach Boys’ “That’s Why God Made The Radio”

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In Part One of our special two-part series, we recalled the ups and downs of The Beach Boys and the band’s chief musical architect, Brian Wilson.  Today, in Part Two, we turn the spotlight over to That’s Why God Made the Radio, the new album in stores today from America’s Band!

Brian Wilson is still a cork on the ocean floating over the raging sea.  But is that a whiff of contentment I hear running through The Beach Boys’ “reunion” album, That’s Why God Made the Radio?  Despite the ups and downs survived by Wilson and The Beach Boys over the years, the emphasis in the band’s 50th anniversary year is on the ups.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  This all-new collection of songs has been produced by Brian Wilson, recorded by Joe Thomas and executive-produced by Mike Love, for those keeping score of such credits.  And Wilson’s stamp is all over the new album, with rock’s ultimate survivor doing what he does best: writing and singing with The Beach Boys.  At its peak moments, That’s Why God Made the Radio surpasses all expectations, building on the legacy of a group for whom many felt history had closed the book.

“Old friends have gone, they’ve gone their separate ways,” Brian Wilson matter-of-factly sings in the album closer, “Summer’s Gone.”  But it’s a valedictory moment when he confirms that “dreams hold on for those who still have more to say.”  The greatest gift of That’s Why God Made the Radio is the knowledge that Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, along with longtime cohorts Bruce Johnston and David Marks, still have plenty to say.  (While longtime Beach Boy Johnston is prominent on vocals, the recently-returned Marks offers strong guitar throughout.)  This won’t be a complete surprise to those who have followed Brian Wilson’s solo career.

In the years following 1998’s Imagination, produced with Joe Thomas, Wilson teamed with a group of young musicians who could brilliantly recreate the sound of the mid-1960s Wrecking Crew productions with a modern energy.  That vital aggregation had much to do with Wilson’s autobiographical concept album That Lucky Old Sun, which prefigures some of the more personal songs on That’s Why God Made the Radio.  For the new album and current tour, many of those same members of The Brian Wilson Band are present: Scott Bennett, Probyn Gregory, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko, Nelson Bragg, Paul Mertens, and especially Jeffrey Foskett, whose prominent falsetto colors many of the group’s harmonies.  They have marshaled their forces with Joe Thomas and the Mike Love/Bruce Johnston Beach Boys group including guitarist Scott Totten and drummer John Cowsill.  The album’s production bears Thomas’ influence; it isn’t as explicitly pastiche-oriented as Lucky Old Sun, but it’s not merely a slick, glossy update, either.  Brian Wilson’s favorite instruments are all accounted for: flute, tack piano, accordion, trombone, saxophone, vibes and harpischord are just a few of the tools in Wilson’s arsenal.  The polished production brings all of these “pet sounds” to the fore.

A gentle tropical breeze wafts through many of these songs, but purists shouldn’t forget that sun, surf and sand have been an integral part of the band’s DNA since the very beginning.  The acknowledgment of those nostalgic themes doesn’t take anything away from the “coming of age” of Pet Sounds and the avant-garde beauty of SMiLE, nor the stripped-down rock of the early 1970s or even the lo-fi, off-kilter pop of Beach Boys Love You.  All of these are colors of “America’s band,” and indeed the new album is filled with allusions to the band’s past and present.

Grab some good vibrations after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 5, 2012 at 10:05

Posted in Brian Wilson, News, Reviews, The Beach Boys

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Release Round-Up: Week of June 5

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The Beatles, Yellow Submarine (Blu-Ray) (Apple/EMI)

Take a trip back to Pepperland with the Fab Four’s animated film, now available as a feature-laden Blu-Ray Disc. The 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack remix album is also added to the Beatles remaster canon. (Keep a close eye on our giveaway; we’re announcing a winner very soon!)

Paul Simon, Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition (Legacy)

A man walks down the street, sees many configurations of the Graceland reissue (namely a CD/DVD featuring newly released outtakes and the new documentary Under African Skies – also separately available on DVD and Blu-Ray – and a four-disc box set which adds an entire 1987 concert from the Graceland tour on DVD) and gets pretty darn excited.

David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

Ziggy falls to earth once again, albeit just as a newly-remastered CD with no bonus content; the bonuses are on the LP/DVD combo, which features out-of-print and unreleased surround mixes.

Jerry Goldsmith, Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Limited Edition (La-La Land Records)

Available to order later today (around 4 p.m. EST), this three-disc edition is the definitive word on Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic score for the first Trek film, with the complete score, alternate and rejected cues, the original LP program and many other audio treasures. (If you haven’t yet, do check out the first part of our interview with the set’s co-producer Mike Matessino, and check back for part two later this week!)

Michael Jackson, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (CD Single) (Epic/Legacy)

Available only at Walmart stores in the U.S., this CD single, backed with the unreleased demo “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round,” kicks off the Bad 25 campaign.

Maroon 5, Songs About Jane: 10th Anniversary Edition (A&M/Octone)

Weeks away from the release of their fourth studio album, a double-disc version of Maroon 5’s first breakthrough album, featuring demos and unlockable video content, is now available.

Sugar, Beaster: Deluxe Edition (Edsel)

The latest in the Sugar reissue campaign (seminal debut Copper Blue was reissued last week) is an expansion of the band’s second release, an EP, with a bonus DVD of performance clips.

Heart, Strange Euphoria (Epic/Legacy)

A 3 CD/1 DVD box chronicling the highs of Ann and Nancy Wilson’s lengthy careers, with hits and rarities in equal measure.

Lenny Kravitz, Mama Said: 21st Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI)

Kravitz’s sophomore album, featuring hit single “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” expanded with non-LP B-sides, live material and archival demos.

America, Perspective / In Concert, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Close Up the Honky Tonks, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Are You Ready! (BGO)

Some hidden gems from some of the best ’70s and ’80s rockers, all of which are either rare or new to CD.

Kylie Minogue, The Best of Kylie Minogue (EMI Catalogue)

A simple, compact collection of Kylie hits. A special edition features a DVD of music videos.

Black Sabbath, Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath (Sanctuary U.K.)

A bare-bones Sabbath compilation.

The Association, The Complete Warner Bros. and Valiant Singles Collection (Now Sounds)

Every last one of The Association’s singles for the Valiant and Warner Bros. labels are collected on two CDs!  Watch for full coverage of this collection soon!