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Archive for July 6th, 2012

Don’t Save It for Later: Shout! Factory’s “The English Beat Live at The US Festival” Detailed

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When we reported on the dueling reissue campaigns by Edsel and Shout! Factory over the catalogue of The (English) Beat, it was pretty clear that each had its own distinct advantages. Shout! Factory’s The Complete Beat box set lacked some of the bonus content and all of the video footage in Edsel’s 2CD/1DVD expansions of each of the ska band’s three albums. On the other hand, they were going to include The Beat in its burgeoning series of live shows from the fabled US Festival. Now, we have some details of that release to pass along to you.

The Beat were the only band in the two-year history of Steve Wozniak’s brilliant, failed outdoor festival to play a set for both festivals in 1982 and 1983. Both times, they played alongside several legends of the post-punk and New Wave scene, including The Ramones, The Clash, The Police, The Talking Heads, INXS, Wall of Voodoo and Men at Work. While the band wasn’t long for this world after that second date, wrapping things up with the great What is Beat? compilation later that year, they put in two spirited performances that deservedly rank toward the top of the heap during both festivals.

It was a question, of course, as to which one of the performances was getting a release from the label, ever since the set was confirmed for inclusion with online orders of The Complete Beat. The answer? Both. The Beat’s US Festival package – the first official live release from the band – will feature both shows on CD and DVD; nine tracks from the 1982 show and seven from the 1983 stand will be featured on the CD, a fitting highlights disc. The DVD, however, will feature both sets in their entirety. That’s a 12-song set in 1982 and 14 cuts the following year.

And, happily, the package won’t be reserved exclusively for anyone who bought Shout! Factory’s box set; it’ll be released on its own this September 18. Hit the jump for a full breakdown of the package, and keep an eye on this post when Amazon links go live!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 6, 2012 at 12:24

Friday Feature: “JAWS”

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It wouldn’t be summer without cold beers, meat on your barbecue, kids splashing in swimming pools…or a 25-foot-long, three-ton great white shark intent on devouring your local bustling summer community.

Okay, that last one’s a stretch in literal practice, but the 1975 blockbuster film JAWS, based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel, is a summertime staple, in fact kicking off the notion of huge crowd-pleasing flicks grabbing for audience members as the temperature heats up. The movie was an out-of-nowhere success for all involved, namely its director, a 29-year-old prodigy named Steven Spielberg.

With the film due to make a major comeback, debuting on Blu-Ray on August 14 with an assortment of great extras, now seems as good a time as any to revive our Friday Feature column with a look back at how JAWS defied all odds to become one of the most critically and commercially successful events of its time – and how a gripping soundtrack helped make that possible.

This shark’ll swallow ya whole, after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 6, 2012 at 11:34

I Feel Good (All Over): Dance All Weekend Long with Kent’s “Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender”

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Though we’ve come to expect delightful and deeply soulful compilations from Ace’s Kent label, one of Kent’s latest is a particular trip: a trip, in fact, to the Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender.  The 6Ts Rhythm and Soul Society has been throwing these bashes on a yearly basis since 1993, offering up plenty of dancing and some of the best names in soul music, among them Doris Troy, Barbara Lewis, Tommy Hunt, Bettye LaVette and Maxine Brown.  Kent’s The Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender, 1993-2012: 20 Soulful Celebrations offers a variety of songs from the performers who have made Cleethorpes, a town in North East Lincolnshire, an annual destination for Northern Soul fans.  It makes for a fine souvenir of these events, but also stands alone as an exhilarating listen that just might make you want to hit the dancefloor.

First things first, however!  If you’re not familiar with the term “Northern Soul,” you just might be familiar with its distinctive style of music.  The late journalist (and dedicated compiler of many CDs) Dave Godin is credited with coining the phrase, which he used to describe music in the mid-1960s soul vein preferred by enthusiasts in the northern part of England.  Godin told Mojo in 2002 that he had first devised the term in 1968, to help employees at his Soul City record shop differentiate the rapidly-proliferating funk style of R&B from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of just a few years earlier.  (In The Soul Stylists, renowned DJ Ady Croasdell described the prototypical Northern Soul song as The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” although the song was too mainstream to achieve popularity in the Northern Soul scene.)  The movement championed lesser-known tracks over big hits, and it soon spread, with clubs popping up throughout the north and midlands of England.  The Twisted Wheel Club, The Wigan Casino and the Blackpool Mecca, just to name three, all became synonymous with Northern Soul.  The Kent label has kept the heavy beats, fast tempi and passionate vocals of Northern Soul alive with its intelligently curated compilations, and also given new leases on life to many of the talented, once overlooked, artists from the world of sixties R&B.  Cleethorpes Northern Soul Weekender is the latest such compilation.

What will you find on this jam-packed new disc?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 6, 2012 at 09:59