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Archive for August 8th, 2012

A Budget Box Fit for a King or Queen (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8/8 – 3:21 p.m.):

Rats! Eagle-eyed reader Jason Michael points out that the Amazon U.K. listing now offers for you to “sign up to learn when this title will be available.” When it comes back, here’s hoping the price is as good as it was!

Original post: Here’s an incredibly interesting deal from Sony’s U.K. budget arm: a rather thorough box set celebrating classic albums from merry old England!

It’s been a good year for queen and country. There was the Silver Jubilee in spring. This summer’s seen the 2012 Olympics hosted in London, with the host nation currently in third place for an overall medal count with 48 (22 of them gold). Then there’s been some great catalogue work by U.K. labels: Edsel‘s expanded editions of albums by Everything But the Girl, Sugar, The Beat and countless others; U.K.-exclusive box set editions of INXS’ Kick and The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols; and let’s not forget our reissue-loving pals at Super Deluxe Edition!

In that tradition comes Great British Albums, a PopMarket-esque box of 20 classic LPs on the Sony roster that were recorded by U.K. greats. While they’re modestly packaged – the lidded box contains all discs in CD wallet-sized reproductions of the original album sleeves – and don’t contain any bonus tracks, here’s the awesome catch for locals: on Amazon U.K., the price as of this writing is currently £5.05. (In the U.S., the set retails for about $67, which for the value of the set could be a lot worse.

To use a local phrase, what a bloody good deal! Great British Albums is out August 20; hit the jump to find out what’s inside!

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 8, 2012 at 12:14

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues

Let It Snow! Omnivore Celebrates Christmas with Comedienne, Actress and Singer Edie Adams

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Let it snow!  It may only be August, but the annual spate of holiday-themed releases is just around the corner.  And we’re pleased as punch (or egg nog!)  to inaugurate our coverage of this year’s crop with the announcement of the all-new, yet all-vintage, Edie Adams Christmas Album!  It’s arriving on October 9 from our busy friends at Omnivore Recordings, the label fresh off the first-time release of Ernie Kovacs’ Percy Dovetonsils Thpeaks!  Kovacs, of course, was Adams’ co-star and husband until his tragic death in 1962, and all of the tracks on the new Christmas collection have been derived from early- to mid-1950s broadcasts of the Kovacs Unlimited television program.

Far from being a second banana to the pioneering comedian, however, Edie Adams was an accomplished actress and singer in her own right, and a presence from the earliest days of television.  The Juilliard and Columbia School of Drama graduate was crowned “Miss U.S. Television” in 1950, and appeared alongside Milton Berle and Arthur Godfrey prior to being spotted by the producer of Ernie Kovacs’ then-local show in Philadelphia.  In one of his last interviews, Kovacs quipped, “I wish I could say I was the big shot that hired her, but it was my show in name only; the producer had all the say. Later on I did have something to say and I said it: Let’s get married.’”  (They did so in 1954.)  Kovacs and Adams’ talents were too large simply for a regional audience, and soon they received a national network berth.  Adams also made pivotal appearances on the Broadway stage.  She introduced “Ohio” with Rosalind Russell as one of the sisters of Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Leonard Bernstein’s 1953 Wonderful Town, for which she received a Theatre World Award, and portrayed Daisy Mae opposite Peter Palmer’s Li’l Abner in the 1956 musical of the same name.  The adaptation by Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul of the Al Capp comic strip netted Adams a Tony Award.  When Rodgers and Hammerstein produced their first television musical version of Cinderella starring Julie Andrews, Adams was the “Impossible?  It’s possible!” Fairy Godmother.

Hit the jump and you’ll find much more on Edie Adams, including the full track listing and pre-order link for this future holiday classic! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 8, 2012 at 11:44

Turn You “Inside Out”: Omnivore to Premiere “Athens, GA” Soundtrack on CD

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They called it “the Liverpool of the South,” and for good reason.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Athens, GA became an overnight hotbed for some of the quirkiest rock and roll music in the country. The creation of local hangout The 40 Watt Club, a bustling scene of professionals who were as much fans as they were musicians and some huge would-be world conquerors and local heroes like The B-52’s, Pylon, Love Tractor and R.E.M. all made the Athens scene a killer destination alongside the Seattle grunge movement of the early ’90s and other burgeoning local subcultures.

Twenty-five years after the documentary Athens, GA/Inside Out chronicled the last great groundswell of activity in the area, Omnivore Recordings is revisiting that fertile period with a brand new reissue of the film and, for the first time ever on CD, its soundtrack.

Directed by Jim Herbert, a professor at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art (and frequent collaborator with R.E.M., having helmed 14 videos for the band), Athens, GA/Inside Out is a look at this most unique of scenes – one built upon love for playing and listening music and creating art, as well as a place where competition between bands was friendly. These groups never let their hopes and dreams of making it big get in the way of how much they genuinely liked each other, and the interviews and performances captured on film are as much proof as anyone could want.

Not only will the film be backed with special features, including a commentary track by the director and producer, deleted scenes and a 2003 interview with Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52’s, but the soundtrack – largely unreleased on CD but for R.E.M.’s tracks (included on an import expansion of Lifes Rich Pageant in 1993) – has been augmented by five bonus cuts. Three are performances featured in the film but never released on CD, while two are heard here for the first time. Most prized among those cuts would likely be a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Shattered” by Love Tractor, featuring R.E.M.’s Peter Buck sitting in on guitar.

This loving tribute to a much-beloved era of alternative rock will be released October 9. Click here to order your copy and check out the track list after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 8, 2012 at 10:02

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks