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Archive for December 18th, 2012

The Race Is On! Singles Collections Coming From George Jones, Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson

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Wanda Jackson - SinglesOne thing the folks at Omnivore Recordings are, well, omnivorous about is country music.  For Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, the label previewed four upcoming releases with special vinyl EPs from Buck Owens, Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard and George Jones.  Following the January 23, 2013 release of Owens’ Honky Tonk Man and Don Rich Sings George Jones, Omnivore will issue three new compilations on February 12:  Haggard’s The Complete 60s Capitol Singles, Jones’ The Complete United Artists Solo Singles, and Jackson’s The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles. The vinyl EPs will remain as companion discs to these new CDs, containing unique rarities not available elsewhere.

2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wanda Jackson released her 31st studio album, Unfinished Business, just a couple of months ago, just the latest success in a long recording career dating back to 1954.  The Queen of Rockabilly signed with Capitol Records in 1956, and remained with the label until 1973.  The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles contains 29 songs from her Capitol tenure, all derived from the original analog mono masters.  Expect rockabilly, country and gospel in a distinct Jackson stew which Omnivore promises will include rockers like “Fujiyama Mama” (1957) and “Mean Mean Man” (1958) as well as three-hanky tearjerkers like “No Wedding Bells for Joe” (1957) and “(Every Time They Play) Our Song” (1958). Daniel Cooper puts Jackson’s groundbreaking country-and-western stylings into perspective via his new liner notes.

Merle - SinglesWhile Jackson hailed from Oklahoma, her Capitol labelmate Merle Haggard hailed from California, where he remained to become a central proponent of the back-to-basics Bakersfield Sound alongside Buck Owens.  2010 Kennedy Center Honoree Haggard called Capitol home from 1965 to 1977, where he notched an impressive string of hits including many country No. 1s.  “The Fugitive” kicked off Haggard’s run of chart-toppers in 1966, his sixth single to have reached the country charts.  He ended the decade with another No. 1, the politically incendiary (and oft-misunderstood) “Okie from Muskogee.”  Like Jackson, Haggard is still going strong today, and his pivotal first decade in music is definitively chronicled on The Complete 60s Capitol Singles.  The new anthology features 28 A & B sides taken from the original analog mono masters, and musician Deke Dickerson has written the liner notes.

After the jump, we look at what’s coming from George Jones!  Plus: pre-order links and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 18, 2012 at 14:28

The Magic Touch: Kent Label Celebrates 30 Years with Soulful New Anthology

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Kent 30

The Kent label (part of the Ace Records family) is turning 30, and you’re invited to the party.  In a year which has also seen celebrations for labels including A&M and GRP, Kent 30: Best of Kent Northern 1982-2012 stands out as the toe-tapping, floor-filling compilation most suitable for dancing!  With 30 selections in recognition of 30 years from soul greats like Chuck Jackson, Lorraine Chandler, Lou Johnson, Maxine Brown and Ben E. King, Kent 30 takes in previously anthologized tracks from the label’s catalogue as well as alternate versions and remixes.  (Nearly one-third of the CD is previously unreleased.)  It all makes for an enjoyable stand-alone collection of Northern Soul classics and rarities as well as a continuation of the label’s mission to preserve the best soul and R&B anywhere.

Compilation producer/annotator Ady Croasdell, a Kent mainstay from the very beginning, serves as tour guide in the 22-page full-color booklet that accompanies this release.  Croasdell’s notes entertainingly lay out the history of the label, but the real story is in the music, filled with big beats, irresistible hooks, impassioned vocals and potent brass.  All of the tracks on Kent 30 were recorded in the 1960s or early 1970s, but most weren’t heard until the Kent team rescued them from the vaults for one of the various-artists compilations that were, and are, the label’s calling card.

Some of these songs provided the title for beloved Kent compilations, such as Melba Moore’s “The Magic Touch,” recorded in 1966 for Musicor Records but unreleased at the time.  When the track saw the light, though, it became an instant classic.  As Croasdell writes, “if one record epitomizes the Northern Soul scene of the mid-‘80s, it is the thunderous production of ‘The Magic Touch.’”  Here, Kent introduces an alternate vocal from the singer, actress and Broadway star.  Musicor’s output has been anthologized by Kent on collections like Manhattan Soul (of which two volumes have been issued to date) along with New York’s Scepter and Wand labels.  Those labels have provided a true treasure trove for Kent over the years.  Florence Greenberg’s Scepter/Wand empire has yielded tracks including Chuck Jackson’s “I’ll Be a Millionaire,” written by the team of Luther Dixon and Van McCoy, and unearthed by Kent in 1987, and Maxine Brown’s “It’s Torture,” first released in 1985 but newly remixed here.  Another unexpected Scepter treasure is Johnny Maestro and The Crests’ dramatic and atypical “I’m Stepping Out of the Picture” from 1965.

There’s plenty more after the jump, including the track listing with discography, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 18, 2012 at 10:13

On The Second Day of Second Discmas…

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Discmas Purpose Fb banner

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, we have a neat little present from the good people at Purpose Music Vaults, one of the coolest new labels to hit the scene this year. Among their new releases this year: Bobby Womack’s Pieces (1978), the soul legend’s second and last album for Columbia Records. Purpose put it on CD, newly remastered by Vic Anesini and featuring four single-only bonus tracks. And today, we’ve got three copies for three lucky winners!

Winning has never been easier! Click on the graphic up top to head over to Contest Central for the complete rules! And there’s plenty more where that came from, so enter now and wait ’til you see what we’ve got for you!

Written by Mike Duquette

December 18, 2012 at 08:10

Release Round-Up: Week of December 18

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Zappa - Finer MomentsFrank Zappa, Remasters Wave 6 (Zappa/UMe)

Joe dutifully broke this one down yesterday at the link above: five final titles in the FZ 2012 remaster campaign, consisting of Ahead of Their Time and The Yellow Shark (1993),  The Lost Episodes and Läther (1996), plus a new compilation, Finer Moments.

2112 Super DeluxeRush, 2112: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMe)

The prog classic is reissued (in time for 21/12, ha!) in three formats: a CD/DVD featuring three unreleased live bonus tracks, expanded liner notes and a 5.1 surround mix (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.), a CD/Blu-Ray with the same (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) and a super deluxe version in a hardbound case with additional new artwork (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Slowhand Super Deluxe BoxEric Clapton, Slowhand: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMe)

Looking for something wonderful tonight? This may be it: Clapton’s 1977 classic comes back in a variety of formats, including a deluxe box (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) featuring the album, four outtakes and a two-disc, mostly unreleased live show, plus the album in both 5.1 surround and on vinyl. A two-disc deluxe set (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) includes the album, the outtakes and highlights from the show on the other disc.

Rolling Stones - Brussels Affair BoxThe Rolling Stones, The Brussels Affair (Stones Archive)

A morbidly oversized CD/vinyl/swag-filled Amazon-exclusive box version of an appropriately epic concert from 1973. Careful about that price tag, y’all. (Amazon U.S.)

Muddy You Shook Me ChessMuddy Waters, You Shook Me: The Chess Masters Volume 3 1958-1963 (Hip-O Select/Geffen)

A two-disc set of vintage Muddy, including the albums Muddy Waters Sings “Big Bill” and Muddy Waters at Newport 1960 in full. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 18, 2012 at 07:57