The Second Disc

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Archive for June 26th, 2012

Don’t Cry For Julie Covington: Baroque-Pop “Beautiful Changes” Remastered and Reissued

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Before Elaine Paige, before Patti LuPone, there was Julie Covington.  The singer/actress was the first to sing the role of Evita in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical, introducing “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” on the 1976 concept album and scoring a No. 1 single in the U.K. the following year with the song.  Musical theatre aficionados might also know Covington from her roles in Godspell and Guys and Dolls or even another concept album, War of the Worlds.  But Covington also recorded some enthralling pop music, including an elaborately-produced collection in 1971 called The Beautiful Changes.  The album has been unavailable in the CD format since a 1999 reissue went out of print, but the Cherry Tree label has revived and resuscitated this captivating piece of early-seventies baroque pop.

The opening lyric of the original LP went, “With just a word, a single sign of care, with just a touch, I could have been beguiled/But circumstances never smiled, because the magic wasn’t there.”  The magic actually was there for Covington, though, from a very young age.  Covington found her niche on the stage while attending school, and as early as 1966 met a young musical director named Pete Atkin, who would play a pivotal role in The Beautiful Changes.  So would Clive James, a director who worked with Covington in a 1968 production of Strictly for Kicks.  After performing everything from Shakespeare to Kurt Weill in various venues around the United Kingdom, Covington made a name for herself as both an actress and a singer.  She sang with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and on David Frost’s television program.  In 1971, the same year EMI’s Columbia label would release The Beautiful Changes, Covington starred in the West End production of Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell.

For her debut solo album, Covington joined her friends, the team of Atkin and James, as well as producer Don Paul.  Covington had already recorded two privately-pressed LPs of the songwriters’ work, and Paul was taken with her demo of the song “The Magic Wasn’t There.”  Paul negotiated for EMI to release an album of almost entirely Atkin/James compositions sung by Covington, and so The Beautiful Changes was born.  Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the elaborately-arranged album was designed to show off all sides of the vocalist’s talent.  Though the lyrics are frequently impressionistic, the singer’s emotion brings out their many colors.  Along the way, the album touches on numerous styles.

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

Written by Joe Marchese

June 26, 2012 at 12:11

Back on the Block: Jennifer Lopez Planning New Hits Set

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Singer, actress, model, mogul – Jennifer Lopez has done all of these things in a surprisingly short span of time. And now, she’s taking a look back at part of her career with her first ever greatest hits compilationDance Again…The Hits, to be released in July.

From her early days as one of the “Fly Girls” dancing on FOX’s In Living Color, Jennifer Lopez had quite the personality and the following. The Bronx-born performer gained critical and commercial acclaim with early film roles opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight (1998) and her Golden Globe-nominated turn as the late Tejano pop sensation Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in 1997’s Selena. From there, she balanced films with a stellar pop music career, earning eight Top 10 hits (including four No. 1s) between 1999 and 2011 – all the while staying in the public eye with some high profile relationships (rapper Sean Combs, actor Ben Affleck, singer Marc Anthony) and fashion moments (a perfume line – and that infamous dress) to boot.

While the late 2000s saw her star power cool significantly, Lopez recently made an impressive comeback, joining the judges’ table on American Idol in 2010 and releasing the expertly-timed LP Love? the following year. Singles “On the Floor” and Dance Again‘s title track  – the pair of which have been heard or seen on YouTube more than 600 million times – have bought her voice back to dance clubs everywhere. And once again, it looks like the 42-year-old entertainer isn’t going anywhere.

Dance Again…The Hits, to be released July 24 on Lopez’s former label Epic, will be available as a standard edition and a deluxe set with three additional hits and a bonus DVD of music videos. Hit the jump to check out the track list, which is chock full of radio remixes for the most discerning of J.Lo fans.

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 26, 2012 at 10:36

Release Round-Up: Week of June 26

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The Beat, I Just Can’t Stop It Wha’ppen? Special Beat Service: Deluxe Editions (Edsel)

The Beat’s discography is expanded in the U.K. by Edsel in fashionable 2 CD/1 DVD editions. (Don’t forget: a similar five-disc box is coming out from Shout! Factory in the U.S. next month.)

The Miracles, Renaissance Do It Baby (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The first two post-Smokey LPs by The Miracles on one CD.

The Electric Prunes, The Complete Reprise Singles / The New Christy Minstrels, A Retrospective 1962-1970 / The Tokens, It’s a Happening World: Deluxe Edition / Timi Yuro, The Complete Liberty Singles / Rita Pavone, The International Teen-Age Sensation (Real Gone)

A veritable ’60s bonanza from our pals at Real Gone, including some international rarities, an expanded Tokens LP and some singles compilations.

Deniece Williams, NiecyI’m So Proud: Expanded Editions / KC and The Sunshine Band, KC and The Sunshine Band: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

U.K. label Big Break’s offerings today: expanded editions of Deniece’s last two pre-Footloose LPs and the disco band’s breakthrough disc.

Teena Marie, Emerald City Naked to the World: Expanded Editions (Soul Music)

Two high points in Lady T’s late-’80s work for Epic, newly expanded from Cherry Red’s Soul Music label.