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Archive for July 16th, 2012

“HELP MEEEEE!” “The Fly” Is Back! Horror Classic Joins Crime Drama “Wallander” On CD

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Take a look over to your right…if you’re anything like me, it might be hard to suppress a smile at the fearsome Fly!  Yes, horror pictures have changed quite a bit since 1958, and even since The Fly was remade in 1986 with Jeff Goldblum as the eponymous bug-man.  But for thrills and chills, it’s hard to beat the original Fly: “Once it was human…even as you and I!”  Kritzerland is revisiting the fifties classic along with its sequel, Return of the Fly (1959), on a new two-for-one CD, and is also issuing a soundtrack to Sweden’s Wallander television films for the first time on CD.  Both releases are limited editions of 1,000 copies and due to ship by the last week of August, though pre-orders frequently arrive weeks earlier.

Twentieth Century Fox brought The Fly to life with a script from future Shogun novelist James Clavell based on the short story by George Langelaan.  The Fly was Clavell’s first screenplay job; he would go on to write even more indelible films like The Great Escape and To Sir with Love.)  Kurt Neumann (Rocketship X-M, Kronos) would direct, though he would be dead before the film ever hit general release. He assembled a cast including Al Hedison (who would soon change his name to David), Patricia Owens and horror icon Vincent Price.  The team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter was enlisted to provide the score to this widescreen sci-fi/horror melding, and in reissue producer Bruce Kimmel’s words, the duo created “a symphony of terror and things gone wrong, all in that unbelievably great Fox stereo sound.”  The Fly was such a success that Fox almost immediately gave the go-ahead for a sequel.  After all, you can’t keep a good Fly down.   Return of the Fly welcomed back the composers, as well as star Price, for the tale taking place some fifteen years after the first film.

The Fly and Return of the Fly were both previously released in a box set on Percepto Records (which also included 1965’s Curse of the Fly, composed by Shefter sans Sawtell), which has been long out of print.  For Kritzerland’s reissue, both scores have been completely remastered.  In addition, a couple of shorter cues have been combined, while the famous “Fox Fanfare” has been eliminated.  The Fly is presented in stereo, and Return to the Fly is in mono.

Kritzerland next turns its attention to Henning Mankell’s Wallander, as scored by Adam Norden!  The complete text of the press release runs after the jump, and you’ll also find pre-order links and full track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 16, 2012 at 15:18

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Heaven In Her Eyes: BBR Reissues Two From Deniece Williams

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The curriculum vitae of Deniece Williams can boast some of the most esteemed names in popular music: Maurice White, Charles Stepney, David Foster, Thom Bell and George Duke, just to name a few.  All of those gentlemen produced albums for, or with, Williams, whose career has been the subject of a series of deluxe reissues from Big Break Records.  Earlier this year, BBR (part of the Cherry Red group of labels) added Williams’ 1976 debut This is Niecy to its previous four titles from the artist: her sophomore effort Song Bird, disco-flavored third solo album When Love Comes Calling, Thom Bell-produced soul masterpiece My Melody and pop classic Let’s Hear It For the Boy.  Two more titles have since been added to BBR’s Williams catalogue, meaning that her first seven solo albums are now on BBR.  These latest additions are 1982’s Niecy, co-produced by Williams and Thom Bell, and its 1983 follow-up, the George Duke-produced I’m So Proud.  That latter title was expanded just this past March by Funky Town Grooves, but the BBR edition goes it one better with more comprehensive notes and two additional bonus tracks.

Niecy may be the most beloved album in Williams’ catalogue.  Reteaming the singer with Philadelphia’s Thom Bell, it built on the sound of its gold-selling predecessor, My Melody (1981).  Bell seamlessly and tastefully integrated the sound of a synthesizer into his lush, symphonic soundscapes.  Adding to the album’s singular sound, Bell recorded Williams with a live rhythm section, quite anomalous for a production circa 1982.  Even that rhythm section itself was surprising; Bell brought in new musicians to the newer, largely untried studio at Sigma Sound, joining familiar names like Bobby Eli and Don Renaldo.  Williams wrote every track on the album save one, and four of her songs were co-written with Bell.  But the one song Williams didn’t write, ironically, became the album’s calling card.

Both Thom Bell and Deniece Williams had history with the Teddy Randazzo/Bob Weinstein/Lou Stallman song “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” originally performed by The Royalettes in 1965.  When Williams told Bell one day that it was a song she had wanted to tackle ever since performing it in a school talent show, Bell recounted his own history with the song.  He had arranged it and even played piano for Laura Nyro on her 1971 album produced by Gamble and Huff.  The album’s title?  Gonna Take a Miracle.  The song became Bell’s ultimate tribute to Randazzo and producer Don Costa, two of the talents he most admired.  The reworked but still faithful take on the oldie went to No. 1 R&B, No. 6 AC and No. 10 Pop.  It also helped Niecy make the Top 20 pop album chart, and earned Williams her first Grammy nomination.  Clearly “waiting” was on the minds of Bell and Williams.  Follow-up singles “Waiting by the Hotline” and “Waiting” (both written by the duo) appeared later in the year, and though they didn’t repeat the success of “Gonna Take a Miracle,” all three songs illustrate the high quality of songwriting, singing and production on Niecy.

Whereas an otherwise-exemplary 2008 edition on the Reel Music label didn’t add any new material, and 2009’s SPV reissue paired the LP with Let’s Hear It for the Boy, Big Break’s reissue includes the single versions of “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” “Waiting” and “How Does It Feel” (the B-side of “Waiting”).  Christian John Wikane’s great, entertaining essay includes candid recollections from Bell, which are worth the price of admission alone.  Reissue producer Wayne A. Dickson has remastered.

Hit the jump for the scoop on I’m So Proud! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 16, 2012 at 12:00

Short Takes, International Edition: INXS Celebrates 25 Years of “Kick” Plus The Byrds Go Mono and Stereo

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Welcome to the working week!  This morning’s Short Takes brings us to the U.K. for the 25th anniversary of a pop classic, and to Japan, where one of the 1960s’ greatest bands is getting the red carpet treatment!

Though we’re reluctant to rush the summer away, it sure looks like this September’s going to be a month with kick!  Kick, that is.  It appears that Universal U.K. will be giving the full, Super Deluxe treatment to Aussie band INXS’ 1987 breakthrough album.  The multi-platinum Kick yielded the band’s only American No. 1, “Need You Tonight,” and three other Top 10 tracks, and established Michael Hutchence’s group as pop hitmakers.  This marks the culmination of a story we’ve been following here at The Second Disc for over two years now.  We first posited, Reissue Theory-style, on an expanded edition back in February 2010 that could possibly improve on Universal’s 2004 Deluxe Edition.  Then, in May 2011, Universal Strategic Marketing veep Andrew Daw told Music Week that a 25th anniversary, multi-format deluxe edition of Kick would arrive in 2012 along with an array of other INXS-related projects.  Mr. Daw is keeping true to his word, as the first details of this Super Deluxe Edition of Kick – due on September 17 in the U.K. and approximately one week later in the U.S. from Mercury Records – have been revealed.

According to an image now available at Amazon, the 3-CD/1-DVD Kick 25 set includes, on CD, the original album plus two discs of “remixes, demos, [and] unheard tracks.”  The DVD will feature a “documentary, unseen band home footage and promos.”  A hardback book will tell The Story of Kick, and a poster and sticker sheet will be among the swag.  It’s likely that this set will be distilled into other formats, as well, so be sure to watch this space for the latest developments on Kick 25 as well as news on whether Rhino, the U.S. rights holders to INXS’ catalogue, has any celebrations in the works!  In the meantime, you can pre-order the Super Deluxe Edition right here!

Our next item is for you Byrdmaniax out there!  Hit the jump to venture into the Wayback Machine for a flight – or flyte – to the sixties with The Byrds! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 16, 2012 at 09:49

Posted in INXS, News, Reissues, The Byrds