The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 3rd, 2012

You Just Can’t Walk Away: The Dells Come “One Step Closer” On New Reissue

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It can be fairly said that no group in popular music has had a run quite like that of The Dells.  The mighty Chicago group, founded in 1952, can boast a line-up of five – Mickey McGill, Verne Allison, Marvin Junior, Chuck Barksdale and Johnny Carter – that didn’t change between 1960 and 2009, the year of Carter’s passing!  Such longevity has meant that The Dells have prospered through numerous musical trends, only altering the instrumentation around their velvet vocals.  Cherry Red’s SoulMusic label recently reissued two of The Dells’ seventies classics, They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, But We Did It and Love Connection, in expanded form, and the label has now just turned its attention to another never-on-CD Dells classic, 1984’s One Step Closer.

Rather than the swirling strings that surrounded them on those two Philadelphia-produced LPs, One Step Closer immersed The Dells in a world of then-current synthesizers and drum machines.  It was originally released on the CBS-distributed Private I label, and followed stints at Vee-Jay (where the doo-wop standard “Oh, What a Nite” debuted), Chess (Top 10 Pop hit “Stay in My Corner”), Mercury (the two Norman Harris-produced Philly soul albums), ABC and 20th Century.    Private I seemed a good match for The Dells, as it was already home to soul survivors like The Chi-Lites and The Staple Singers.  The group was paired with the hitmaking production team of Chuck Jackson (not the “Any Day Now” singer) and Marvin Yancy, who had launched the career of Natalie Cole with the smash “This Will Be.”  (Cole and Yancy later married, though the union was short-lived.)  In Lewis Dene’s excellent liner notes for SoulMusic’s new reissue, bass Chuck Barksdale recalls of One Step Closer that “it was the first time we had used what I call synthetic music, but the song was strong enough to make the track happen.”  Indeed, the title track is instantly infectious, while other songs on the LP met the group’s usual high standard.  The ballad “You Just Can’t Walk Away,” the album’s leadoff single, showed off Marvin Junior’s silky vocals in what amounts to an updated version of the kind of song Teddy Pendergrass might have recorded.  The younger artist owed a great vocal debt to Marvin Junior, and the resemblance is immediately evident on the track.

You’ll find more after the jump, including the track listing with discography, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 3, 2012 at 14:22

Posted in News, Reissues, The Dells

Men of Colours: More Icehouse Expansions Coming from Universal Australia

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Following up on last year’s successful expanded reissue of Australian band Icehouse’s debut LP Flowers, as well as a new compilation, frontman Iva Davies will again partner with Universal Music Group’s Australian arm to put the band’s catalogue back into print, as well as release new expanded editions of two of the group’s most beloved works.

Davies’ Diva Records and Universal will release expansions of the remainder of the group’s back catalogue (Primitive Man (1982), Sidewalk (1984), Measure for Measure (1986), Man of Colours (1987), Code Blue (1990), Big Wheel (1993) and The Berlin Tapes (1995)) on CD this month. While most of them are just new pressings of the last round of expanded remasters released in 2002 through Warner Music, Primitive Man and Man of Colours will receive bonus DVDs to mark the records’ 30th and 25th anniversaries, respectively.

And what wise choices those two are for expansion: both albums are the most successful of Icehouse’s work in their native land, reaching No. 3 and No. 1, respectively, on the Australian charts. Two of the band’s biggest hits come from each album as well; there’s 1982’s “Great Southern Land,” a beloved tribute to the band’s native country, and 1987’s “Electric Blue,” co-written with John Oates and not only a chart-topping single in Australia but a Top 10 hit in America, the band’s biggest song on those shores.

All discs in the program are appended with B-sides, remixes and non-LP songs, and the DVDs for Primitive Man and Man of Colours feature archival live footage from around the world. Additionally, Universal will reissue Colours on red, yellow and blue vinyl.

All discs will be released in Australia on July 13 and are expected to ship in America around July 24. All reissues, as well as several bundles, are available on the band’s official site; Amazon links are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 3, 2012 at 12:29

Posted in Icehouse, News, Reissues

Review: Jellyfish, “Live at Bogart’s”

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When Jellyfish’s Live at Bogart’s was recorded on February 21, 1991, did anybody realize that neither the band nor the venue were long for this world?  On December 2, 1993, The Los Angeles Times lamented the closure of the Long Beach, California club, calling it a “mighty blow” to the local music community.  Yet Bogart’s actually outlasted the first iteration of the band that hailed from miles up north in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Andy Sturmer (drums/vocals), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (keyboards/vocals) and Jason Falkner (guitars/vocals) – aided live by Chris Manning (bass/vocals) – called it a day following the tour in support of its 1990 album Bellybutton.  Andy and Roger soldiered on as Jellyfish with 1993’s Spilt Milk, but the group that had burned so brightly soon faded away.  Jellyfish disbanded just one year later, leaving behind a two-album legacy that was great in influence if small in size.  Omnivore Recordings won’t let us forget just how exciting the group could be, though, on the newly-unleashed Live at Bogart’s (OVCD-25).  Even if both the band and the venue are now things of the past, the music is as present as today.

1991 was the year of Pearl Jam’s debut and Nirvana’s breakthrough Nevermind, but where songwriters Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning were concerned, it might as well have been the year of Badfinger, Cheap Trick, Big Star and The Beach Boys.  Their tight, hour-long set at Bogart’s, leaning heavily on the Bellybutton repertoire, certainly recalled those forebears more so than any of their contemporaries.  High-energy, amped-up power pop was the order of the evening, with the songs calling out for handclaps, harmonies alternately recalling The Beach Boys or Queen, and melodies that might have crackled out of an AM radio years earlier, albeit with a post-punk attack. Jellyfish paid tribute to those past pioneers with a twist, and it’s that sense of the unexpected that makes Live at Bogart’s so engaging, even as the sound threatens to jump right out of your speakers!

Hit the jump for much more on Bogart’s! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 3, 2012 at 10:02

Posted in Jellyfish, Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of July 3

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Jellyfish, Live at Bogart’s (Omnivore)

A fine 1991 gig from the criminally underrated power pop band, captured on CD and three sides of vinyl.

Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (Audio Fidelity)

The Bard’s first compilation gets the 24K gold disc treatment.

Elton John, Classic Album Selection (Universal U.K.)

Elton fans have a neat little budget compilation of studio albums to look forward to (from 1970’s self-titled album to 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player).

Small Faces, Odgens’ Nut Gone Flake: Deluxe Edition (Snapper Music)

A triple-disc expansion of the seminal 1968 album, featuring mono and stereo mixes as well as an assortment of treasures from the vault.

Ray Parker, Jr. and Raydio, Two Places in the Same Time A Woman Needs LoveThe Other Woman / Woman Out of Control: Expanded Editions (Funkytowngrooves)

Raydio’s last two albums, and the “Ghostbusters” hitmaker’s first two solo efforts (including the excellent, undeservedly-forgotten hit “The Other Woman”), newly remastered and expanded.

The Searchers, Hearts in Their Eyes: Celebrating 50 Years of Harmony and Jangle (Sanctuary/Universal)

From Liverpool’s other ’60s hitmakers, a four-disc set of hits and rarities.

Bronski Beat, The Age of Consent/Hundreds and Thousands / Communards, Commundards Red/Storm Paris: Deluxe Editions (Edsel)

Jimmy Somerville’s one album with the Bronski Beat and subsequent two with his own group the Communards get the double-disc expansion treatment in the U.K. from Demon Music Group.

George McCrae, Rock Your Baby: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

A disco classic gets the usual expanded treatment from BBR.