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Archive for December 17th, 2012

Ahead of His Time: Final Wave of Zappa Reissues Arrives (For Now)

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Zappa - Ahead of Their TimeWelcome to our ongoing exploration of the Zappa Records/Universal Music (UMe) reissue campaign which will see a comprehensive array of Zappa titles remastered and reissued before 2012 is out!

The first batch of 12 titles arrived on July 31, and another 12 followed on August 28.  The third dozen appeared in stores on September 25, and Wave Four (including a new title, Understanding America) saw release on Tuesday, October 30.  Wave Five, the penultimate group, hit stores on November 19, and tomorrow, December 18, a final group of five CDs closes out the year, including another world premiere release, Finer Moments.

The following titles bring to a close the first year of releases from the Zappa Records/UMe partnership, though the door is certainly not closed on future releases:

  1. Ahead of Their Time (1993) – Official Release # 61 – 1992 Digital Master
  2. The Yellow Shark (1993) – Official Release # 62 – 1992 Digital Master
  3. The Lost Episodes (1996) – Official Release # 64 – 1992 Digital Master
  4. Läther (1996) – Official Release # 65 – 1996 Digital Master
  5. Finer Moments (2012) – Official Release # 94 – 1972 Analog Master, remastered by Stephen Marcussen

All of these discs have been transferred from their most current digital masters by Joe Travers, Zappa Records’ esteemed “Vaultmeister.”  Finer Moments was remastered in 2007 by Stephen Marcussen.

After the jump: FAQs and mastering information on the first five groups of titles, an update on the new Läther, plus a track listing plus artwork for Finer Moments! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2012 at 12:49

Posted in Frank Zappa, News, Reissues

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Various Artists, “‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah”

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'Twas the Night Before HanukkahThe story behind The Idelsohn Society for Music Preservation’s fascinating new 2-CD set ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah is a simple one.  The label, dedicated to telling Jewish history through music, set out to chronicle the music of Hanukkah before discovering that the most famous Christmas songs – “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Christmas Song,” just to name three – were all written by members of the Jewish faith!  So the Hanukkah compilation doubled in size, and gained the cheeky subtitle The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights.  Those celebrating either holiday will find plenty of cheer and a bit of food for thought on these two discs.  One is dedicated to Hanukkah and another to Christmas, with plenty of cross-pollination between the two.  This set makes a worthy companion to the Idelsohn Society’s previous Black Sabbath, a look at another relationship in song: in that case, between African-Americans and Jews.

Disc One, or Happy Hanukkah, takes in songs referring to the holiday (Gerald Marks’ “Hanukah,” Woody Guthrie’s “Hanukkah Dance,” The Klezmatics’ “Hanukah Tree”) and songs central to it (Cantor David Putterman’s “Rock of Ages”).  Other songs here celebrate aspects of Jewish culture that make them seasonally appropriate, like Debbie Friedman’s “The Latke Song” or a number of odes to the dreidel.  In the latter category comes Ella Jenkins’ rendition of the 1920 folk standard known to children everywhere, “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” plus “Grandma’s Dreidel” from comedian (and father of Joel Grey) Mickey Katz and “Dreidel,” from folk-rock troubadour Don McLean in which the singer compares turbulent modern life to the spinning of the dreidel.  There are more light-hearted tracks here, too, including the collection’s title song, Stanley Adams and Sid Wayne’s “’Twas The Night Before Chanukah.”  (You’ll note the multiple spellings of the holiday; it’s noted in the booklet that there are at least sixteen acceptable ways to spell the holiday that only has five letters in its original Hebrew!)  Perhaps ironically, Mickey Katz’s contribution is one of his more “straight” recordings, with Katz earnestly singing and playing clarinet.  As collections of Hanukkah songs are far and few between, this disc makes an entertaining and valuable release in its own right. Alas, Tom Lehrer’s “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica” didn’t make the cut!  Neither did Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” as the compilers explained in the notes that it was too “well-trodden.”  Ah, well, maybe next time!  There’s always the recording of Sandler’s song by Neil Diamond, one of the most famous Jewish purveyors of holiday music to be absent from these proceedings!

Hit the jump for much more, including the complete track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2012 at 10:27

On The First Day of Second Discmas…

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Discmas Edsel Fb banner

We need a little Christmas…right this very minute.

Here at The Second Disc, the holiday season  is the perfect time to do what we love to do best: share the gift of music.  For the second year in a row, we have we reached out to some of our favorite reissue labels and we’ve teamed with them to play Santa Claus to our awesome and faithful readers. It’s called – what else? – Second Discmas, and it’s going on now through Christmas!

Today’s giveaway is courtesy the fine folks at Edsel Records!  We’re giving away a COMPLETE SET of Edsel’s Steve Miller Band reissues!  That’s right: all five of Edsel’s deluxe reissues can be yours for the First Day of Second Discmas!

How to win?  Simple!  Just click on the above banner to head over to Contest Central for the complete rules! This set is just the first of many prizes to come, so enter now and stay tuned for all of our daily drawings!  See you at Contest Central!

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2012 at 10:07