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Archive for June 22nd, 2012

Of Weasels, Hot Rats and Lumpy Gravy: Some Zappa Reissue Questions Answered

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Ever since news broke of Universal’s upcoming series of Frank Zappa reissues, there have been as many questions as answers regarding this hotly-anticipated catalogue campaign.  Although the first thirteen titles, chronologically representing 1966’s Freak Out! through 1971’s Just Another Band From L.A., don’t arrive until July 31, a trickle of information has already been released by Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow and the representative of the Zappa Family Trust.

Gail Zappa has taken to answering some burning questions on the “GZ Sez” area of, and we’re happy to pass on this information to you!  Responding to Bruce White’s email of June 11 inquiring whether the Universal releases would be remastered or otherwise differ from past issues, Gail confirmed that “the digital masters were all re-transferred by the Vaultmeister and about a third of the titles were reMastered [sic] from the original analog source.  So the happy answer is, you betcha!!  Each one is carefully labelled with the information you are looking for.  Watch the skies.”

In response to Jess R. Hernandez’ email, Gail revealed more details including a tantalizing teaser about Hot Rats.  Frank Zappa’s 1969 album was remixed by its artist in 1987, and his remixed edition offered significantly different versions of such compositions as “Willie the Pimp,” “The Gumbo Variations” and “Little Umbrellas.”   Hernandez’ questions and Gail Zappa’s responses follow:

Q: The Hot Rats CD has always been a 1987 re-mix, not the original 1969 mix. Is this new CD the `69 mix, or the `87 re-mix?  I prefer either.

A:  Technically none of the above – this is the 2008 Bernie Grundman re-master – which mostly resembles the original 1969 mix.  You will love it.

Q: Is the packaging faithful to the LPs?

A:  Absolutely.  And even more faithful to the requirements established by the original Barking Pumpkin releases.

Q: Should I sell or junk my `95 Ryko CDs, or keep `em as collector’s items?

A:  I would keep them for the moment – but you decide.  None of the new releases are “sourced” from the Ryko releases and although many represent the digital masters mostly as you have come to understand them, many do not!  Each package will identify the actual source so you will be able to plan your collection accordingly.  We think everything sounds better but I am sure you will let us know.

Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re particularly thrilled that Gail Zappa has twice acknowledged that original source information will be included and clearly marked on each disc.  Hit the jump for more, including the full list of reissues plus pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 22, 2012 at 13:10

Posted in Frank Zappa, News, Reissues

Linkage: Catalogue Encounters from Around the Internet

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While The Second Disc tries to be your No. 1 source for cool news and views on stuff around the catalogue music scene, it can’t hurt to give it up for others that are doing great things in the same field. Here’s a little catch-up on some nice things in that area:

  • The Quietus has a lengthy interview with Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt on their career and the great new reissues that are out now. The pair have some nice things to say about Edsel – things that are hard to argue with among most catalogue fans this year!
  • Our friend and sometime contributor Eric Luecking at Record Racks has a nice review of Harmless’ Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Mixes box set. (RR is also giving away some music prizes this summer, having just finished a giveaway for the new Norah Jones album; this is good a time as any to remind you that we’re giving away a Graceland box, too!)
  • One of our own commenters, Snaporaz d’Uzine, has just started a neat little Facebook page for people to share their ideas for albums worthy of reissues. Go on and give it a like; we can say from experience that you really never know who’s reading sites like ours…!

Written by Mike Duquette

June 22, 2012 at 12:26

Dinah Shore, Songs of James Taylor Feature on Upcoming Masterworks Broadway Reissues

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After a brief sabbatical, Masterworks Broadway has taken another dive into its vaults, with its first round of disc-on-demand/digital reissues since February.  The label was hardly idle, however, delivering releases from Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett, and Liza Minnelli as deluxe CDs in the ensuing months, and preparing the new Broadway Cast Recording of Evita.  This summer, however, Masterworks will turn its attention to two classic recordings from the 1950s and one with a more contemporary bent, from 1978.  All three releases will be available from and, with one title coming in each month of July, August and September to keep the summer blues at bay!

1978’s Working was conceived by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked) as a revue-like celebration of the American Everyman, and Schwartz called upon a diverse team of composers and lyricists to bring a diverse array of real-life characters to life.  Though Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon declined to participate, James Taylor signed up, as did Micki Grant, Craig Carnelia, Susan Birkenhead and Mary Rodgers.  Schwartz himself contributed four songs.   Working only ran for a total of 24 performances on Broadway, but it racked up six Tony Award nominations (including for actors Rex Everhart and Steven Boockvor), and continues to be revised and revived today largely on the strength of its exceptional score.  That score is being reissued by Masterworks Broadway on July 10 when the original Columbia Records cast recording returns to print as a digital download or CD-R.  Unlike many of the other titles reissued in this program by Masterworks, Working has already been on a physical, pressed CD, thanks to a 2001 reissue from producer Bruce Kimmel on the now-defunct Fynsworth Alley label.  That expanded edition is long out-of-print, however, making the return of Working a most welcome one.  For more on this one-of-a-kind musical, check out our special Reissue Theory column dedicated to the musical!

Hit the jump to meet Mrs. Sally Adams, and sing The Desert Song! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 22, 2012 at 10:05