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Archive for September 17th, 2012

“Would You Believe” Carmen McRae’s Funky Soul-Jazz Classic is Back from BBR?

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1976’s Can’t Hide Love, recently reissued by Big Break Records, wasn’t jazz singer Carmen McRae’s first venture into contemporary territory.  Like so many other interpretive vocalists who had begun their careers in a pre-Beatles world, McRae found herself adopting an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” credo towards the increasingly prevalent rock genre, which had itself recently dropped the “and roll” to create a whole new sound.  1967’s Atlantic release For Once in My Life adventurously saw McRae tackling two Beach Boys songs off Pet Sounds (“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”) plus The Beatles (“Got to Get You into My Life”), the folk of Buffy Sainte Marie (“Until It’s Time for You to Go”) and the pop-soul of Burt Bacharach and Hal David (“The Look of Love”).  The Sound of Silence and Portrait of Carmen (both 1968) added Jimmy Webb, Paul Simon, Margo Guryan and Bob Lind into the songwriting mix.  As the 1970s dawned, Just a Little Lovin’ featured an early song by Tom Waits (“I Want You”) alongside a cut from Laura Nyro and more from Jimmy Webb and The Beatles.  Moving on from Atlantic, McRae continued to pursue a diverse path, returning to her rightfully cherished American standards, recording an album of songs by one Bob Friedman and trying soul/jazz at CTI competitor Groove Merchant.  But McRae’s most aggressive courting of the modern soul market was Can’t Hide Love, on Blue Note.

For Can’t Hide Love, the singer assembled her most eclectic songwriters’ roster yet: Bill Withers and Skip Scarborough from the R&B world, Cy Coleman from Broadway, Chick Corea from modern jazz, James Taylor and Eric Carmen from the pop/rock side – plus a couple of guys with the surname Gershwin and a certain Vincent Furnier, or Alice Cooper.  Yet the ten-track LP is surprisingly cohesive, and makes for another exciting reissue to arrive from the thriving Big Break label.  Today, its fusion of jazz with rock, R&B and soul elements sounds utterly natural.  McRae surrounded herself with some of the best of the best on the musical side: Dave Grusin, Larry Carlton, Ernie Watts, Joe Sample, Harvey Mason, Chuck Berghofer and Wilton Felder all supported her on various tracks.  In fact, the overall style isn’t too far from the accessible jazz being popularized on Creed Taylor’s CTI label.

Hit the jump for much more on this lost classic, including the full track listing with discography, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 17, 2012 at 14:42

Posted in Carmen McRae, News, Reissues

When the Music’s Over: The Doors’ “Live at the Bowl ’68” Gets a New Lease on Life

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Though Jim Morrison died more than 41 years ago, the fire of The Doors continues to burn bright.  The past year, once christened The Year of the Doors, has brought a number of projects to light, such as the DVDs, CDs and LPs pertaining to the 40th anniversary of the seminal L.A. Woman album, and the campaign from Analogue Productions that will eventually encompass both 45 RPM LP and multichannel SACD reissues of the core catalogue.

On October 23, The Doors’ July 5, 1968 performance at the Hollywood Bowl will receive the deluxe treatment in a variety of formats.  Live at the Bowl ’68 will be released by Eagle Rock Entertainment as a Blu-Ray, DVD and digital video, while Rhino will handle the CD, digital audio and double-LP versions.  The concert, long a fan favorite, has been restored from the original camera negatives, while the audio has been remixed and mastered from original multi-tracks by engineer Bruce Botnick.

Live at the Bowl ’68 also will include three previously unreleased performances from the concert.  “Hello, I Love You,” “The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)” and “Spanish Caravan” have all finally been restored to the line-up.  The DVD, Blu-Ray and digital video each feature a 16×9 high-definition digital transfer with stereo and 5.1 audio soundtracks.  In addition, over one hour of bonus material will be included.  “Echoes from the Bowl” and “You Had To Be There” look back at the performance, while “Reworking The Doors” explores the concert’s restoration for this release.  Three bonus songs have also been unearthed: “Wild Child” from a 1968 episode of The Smothers Brothers Show, “Light My Fire” from The Jonathan Winters Show in December 1967, and a version of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” with specially created visuals.  Ray Manzarek, who took the stage that July night with bandmates Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, has commented of the new release:  “You can hear it as if you were at the Hollywood Bowl, on stage with us.”

Doors manager Jeff Jampol, also a producer of the film, stated, “The Doors’ live performances were a shamanistic journey into dark rock and roll psychedelic theater – a swirling mixture of rock ‘n’ roll heat, poetry, danger, drama and unbridled musical virtuosity. Captured at the height of The Doors’ magical powers, in one of the world’s greatest venues, this brand new restoration, edit and mix, corny as it may sound, made me fall in love a hundred times, all over again.”  Geoff Kempin, executive producer for Eagle Rock Entertainment, added, “The Doors were one of THE most incredible live bands ever – we wanted to apply the top technology so that everyone can fully appreciate the phenomenon of The Doors captured at their height on July 5, 1968.”

Hit the jump for more, including pre-order links and the track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 17, 2012 at 10:07

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD, News, The Doors