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Archive for September 4th, 2012

Some Dreams Come True: Bangles’ “Everything” to Be Expanded by Cherry Pop

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Close your eyes, give us your hand and let’s talk about a new reissue of Everything, The Bangles’ final album for Columbia Records, from the Cherry Pop label.

Released in 1988, Everything was the latest effort from a band riding high for the past two years. Different Light, released in 1986 (and also expanded by Cherry Pop), had made them MTV superstars thanks to killer cuts like the Prince-penned “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian.” The following year, a hard-hitting cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” was the lead single off the Rick Rubin-produced soundtrack to Less Than Zero, the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ acclaimed debut novel.

Featuring individual songwriting credits from all four members of the group, Everything was primarily anchored by two tunes from lead singer Susanna Hoffs and pop songwriting duo Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly (“Like a Virgin,” “True Colors,” “So Emotional”). The first, rollicking single “In Your Room,” was a Top 5 hit, follow-up ballad “Eternal Flame” hit No. 1 in the U.S., U.K. and other parts of Europe, their second and final chart-topper after “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Despite Everything‘s success, internal tensions led to the band’s breakup by the release of a 1990 greatest-hits compilation and single, “Everything I Wanted.” In the latter part of the decade, Hoffs reunited with guitarist Vicki Peterson, bassist Michael Steele and drummer Debbi Peterson and released a new album, Doll Revolution, in 2003. Steele departed the group two years later, and in 2011 the group released the album Sweetheart of the Sun with producer Matthew Sweet filling in for her.

Cherry Pop’s expanded Everything features three bonus cuts: a non-LP track, “What I Wanted to Say” (the flip-side of “Eternal Flame”) and two remixes of “In Your Room.” It’s out in the U.K. on September 24 and will hit the U.S. roughly a week later.

Hit the jump to place your order!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 4, 2012 at 12:17

Posted in News, Reissues, The Bangles

The Heart of a Man: Matt Monro Anthologized On Deluxe 2-CD Set “Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro”

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A remarkable treasure trove of Matt Monro rarities has just been released by EMI Gold, a timely reminder of the artist’s life and career.  He was sometimes known as the “Cockney Como” or the “English Sinatra,” but both descriptions fail to adequately capture the essence of the beloved singer’s unique and enduring style.  Fortunately, Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro offers that singular sound in abundance as it traces the arc of his entire career, via almost entirely unheard material.  We’re celebrating its release this week by welcoming MICHELE MONRO and RICHARD MOORE to The Second Disc for two very special interviews.  But first, an introduction to The Rarer Monro

When Matt Monro recorded Don Black and Udo Jürgens’ “If I Never Sing Another Song” in 1977, the singer was just 46 years old, yet he brought a deep identification to the valedictory:

If I never sing another song, it shouldn’t bother me /I’ve had my share of fame, you know my name/If I never sing another song, or take another bow/I would get by, but I’m not sure how…

Luckily for his legions of fans, Matt Monro continued to sing on the world’s stages as well as in recording studios, leaving a behind a remarkable legacy in music when he died in 1985 at the age of 54.  The depth of his catalogue, however, wasn’t known to all until 2006, when EMI released The Rare Monro, a 2-CD set rescuing more than fifty prime Monro tracks from the vaults.  Now, the music plays on with the impressive new release, Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro.

The original volume of The Rare Monro was a labor of love for the singer’s daughter, Michele Monro, and the engineer/audio restoration specialist Richard Moore.   Working with EMI, Ms. Monro and Mr. Moore have curated a number of collector-oriented releases that have kept Matt Monro’s profile visible in the 21st century, from an impressive 2011 overhaul of the 2001 box set The Singer’s Singer (a most accurate description if there ever was one) to The Man Behind the Voice, a magazine-and-CD package also released last year.  Ms. Monro also penned The Singer’s Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro, an authoritative biography of the artist, available in both a standard edition and a lavish coffee-table “Special Reserve” set also including a hardcover discography and bonus CD.  They’ve reunited for Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro as part of their ongoing commitment to seeing the singer’s catalogue thriving in the present day.

With a whopping 66 (!) tracks on two discs, Matt Uncovered explores all sides of this multi-faceted entertainer, spanning virtually his entire career.  It begins with a 1956 demo of “I Hear Music” that helped secure Monro his first recording contract; his very different vocal style makes for fascinating listening.  (One early track, initially unidentified, actually came from a selection of “hillbilly favorites,” we’re informed!)  The most recent track dates from 1977, a rare jingle appended in a section of bonus material.  These have been drawn from Matt’s tenures at EMI and American arm Capitol, plus various and sundry other sources including many broadcasts; indeed, no stone has been left unturned.

Some of the greatest songwriters of all time are beneficiaries of the Monro touch, on both the classic and contemporary ends of the spectrum.  These include Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (“My Funny Valentine”), Burton Lane and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (“Old Devil Moon”), Cole Porter (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”), John Lennon and Paul McCartney (“All My Loving”), Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim (“Maria”) and Jimmy Webb (“Didn’t We”).  The Rarer Monro also stands as a testament to the enduring partnership of Matt Monro with arranger Johnnie Spence and producer George Martin.  The legendary Martin personally produced Monro’s classic versions of Beatles hits like “Yesterday” (reportedly its very first cover!) and “All My Loving,” and even continued his relationship with Matt at his own AIR Studios in the early 1970s, after he had departed Abbey Road.

For any fan of Monro’s creamy vocals, the highlights of these two discs are almost too many to count.  It’s clear early on that these are not “also-ran” tracks following a successful first volume, but rather, more lost treasures up to the same high standard.  These are presented in impressively crisp sound, and when a source is less than optimal, there’ s an explanation in the detailed, track-by-track liner notes.

We have a lot more on this release after the jump, including the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 4, 2012 at 10:08

Release Round-Up: Week of September 4

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Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé, Barcelona: Deluxe Edition (Island U.K.)

The Queen frontman’s final solo effort – an ambitious collaboration with a Spanish opera legend – has been given new life on CD, with its original synth instrumentation fully fleshed out by an orchestra. A super deluxe box includes scores of audiovisual extras, and the newly-orchestrated album is also available on vinyl.

Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance: Special 30th Anniversary Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

A special CD/DVD edition of this classic metal album includes studio and live bonus tracks (including the original bonus tracks from the 2001 reissue) and the band’s 1983 performance at the US Festival for the first time on video.

Billy Paul, 360 Degrees of Billy Paul: Expanded Edition / Dionne Warwick, Dionne: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

The week’s BBR slate includes an underrated 1972 Philly soul classic (with the fantastic soul smash “Me and Mrs. Jones”) and a hit pop crossover for Dionne Warwick, produced by none other than Barry Manilow. Bonus tracks on each include single edits, and in the case of Billy Paul, one live cut.

Various Artists, Action! The Songs of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart The Ramones Heard Them Here First (Ace)

Two new compilations from the venerable U.K. label: one spotlighting the songwriters known for Monkees classics from the TV series theme to “Last Train to Clarksville” (but a disc featuring, naturally, some more esoteric recordings alongside notable tracks like Jay & The Americans’ “Come a Little Bit Closer” and recordings by Del Shannon and The Shangri-La’s); and another generous disc of 24 hits that were notably covered by one of the most influential punk bands ever.

Various Artists, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Legacy)

Out on CD after a short time as a digital-only title, this soundtrack to a new documentary from rapper Ice-T features classic rap cuts from the 80s and ’90s and some newly recorded freestyles from legends of the genre.

Green Day, The Studio Albums 1990-2009 (Reprise)

Available in the U.S. through Best Buy, this simple box consists all of the band’s proper studio albums in one set.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 4, 2012 at 08:03