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Archive for December 20th, 2012

Day After Day: Your Chance to Support Release of Demos by Badfinger’s Pete Ham

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Pete Ham - BadfingerThe name of Pete Ham may not be familiar to everyone, but his work certainly is.  As a member of Badfinger, Ham penned “Day After Day,” “Baby Blue” and “No Matter What,” as well as a little song with Tom Evans called “Without You” which became a chart-topper for both Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey, decades apart.  Ham tragically took his own life in 1975 at the age of 27, leaving behind a small but significant legacy in pop and rock.  Two collections of Ham’s personal demo recordings have previously been released on compact disc, 1997’s 7 Park Avenue and 1999’s Golders Green.  Now, the Ham estate is looking to add a third title to that list.  Dan Matovina, of the Pete Ham Estate, has launched a campaign via Pledge Music with the blessing of Ham’s daughter Petera for the release of Keyhole Street: Demos 1966-1967, a 2-CD, 50-track compilation.  (Ham’s wife was pregnant with Petera when he died.)

Keyhole Street is scheduled to coincide with a plaque dedication ceremony and tribute concert to be held in Pete Ham’s memory on April 27, 2013 (his birthdate) in his hometown of Swansea in Wales.  The 50 demos slated for inclusion on the new set were all recorded by Ham at the ages of 19 and 20 while a member of the Iveys, the group that eventually became Badfinger.  The songs were recorded on a two-track Sound on Sound machine at the Iveys’ London residence, and Matovina promises that the diverse material includes “elements of classic balladry, Pink-Floydian psychedelia, rock’n’roll tributes, R&B, Beach Boys type harmonies, interesting instrumentals, music hall stereotypes, an Elvis tribute, blues, humorous lyrical content, Beatle-ish tracks, and a horror film soundtrack.”  Ham was always a prolific songwriter, having written or co-written one-half of the Iveys’ Apple Records debut Maybe Tomorrow (1969) and more than half of Magic Christian Music (1970), the first release under the Badfinger name.  These early demos will offer a chance to see Ham’s style in its embryonic stage, and no overdubs have been made to Ham’s original recordings.

Here’s where you come in.  Keyhole Street will only be offered via Pledge Music, and only once its monetary goal is reached.  (As of this writing, that goal is 52% accomplished.)  The Ham Estate is offering a variety of packages for those interested in pledging, from a $10 pledge that will yield an 8-track sampler (6 songs from Keyhole Street, and two more “exclusives” including one previously unreleased track) to a $250 pledge for a copy of the finished CD, special thanks in the CD booklet, a poster and a 7-inch vinyl.  (The $500 level pledge for an Executive Producer credit and more is already sold out.)   One incentive level ($20+) adds two digital bonus tracks to the 50-track digital program.  A $30 pledge will net you the actual 50-track CD.

A special vinyl single is also being created for Pledge Music!  Hit the jump for details on “No, Let It Go” and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2012 at 13:59

Cherry Pop Puts Its “Hands to Heaven” with Breathe Expansion

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All That Jazz 2CDAs we look ahead to 2013, Cherry Pop is about to get sophisticated with a reissue of All That Jazz, the debut album by U.K. group Breathe.

While their name sort of sits in the footnotes section of U.K. pop history, Breathe’s jazz/soul sound was rather enormously popular toward the end of the decade. Three singles, including “How Can I Fall?” (No. 3) and “Hands to Heaven” (No. 2) were U.S. Top 10 hits, with “Hands” also peaking at No. 4 in their native England. (“Hands to Heaven” was, in fact, Billboard‘s ninth biggest hit of 1988.) But for whatever reason, the album itself never passed gold status in America, and sophomore album Peace of Mind stiffed. The group disbanded shortly thereafter.

But Cherry Pop brings the album – and David Glasper’s gorgeous vocals on said album – back to CD in a two-disc set featuring 22 bonus tracks, including all the band’s major single mixes and B-sides of the period. The liner notes include insight from co-producer/mixer/engineer Chris Porter (who did a tremendous job mixing another British pop LP from the same year, George Michael’s Faith), as well as all of the original album’s cover variants. (It’s worth noting that friend of The Second Disc, compilation producer/remixer Vinny Vero, produced this package for Cherry Pop. As we approach the release date, look for an interview with Vinny on both this set and his work in the catalogue field!)

You can order the expanded Jazz, due out February 25, at Amazon U.K. – we expect an import link from Amazon in due time – and a full track breakdown is after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 20, 2012 at 11:36

Posted in Breathe, News, Reissues

Del Shannon’s Shelved “Home and Away” Finds New Life on Remastered Reissue

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Del Shannon - Home and AwayPair the Rolling Stones’ producer Andrew Loog Oldham with American rock-and-roll hero Del Shannon at the height of Swinging London, and what’s the result?  It was an album called Home and Away, but despite its lofty ambitions of being a British answer to Pet Sounds, the LP didn’t see release as scheduled in 1967.  It took more than a decade for Home and Away to surface, and it’s recently been reissued as a remastered CD from Now Sounds (CRNOW 40).

Though the new Home and Away is a most welcome release, the oft-quoted Pet Sounds analogy isn’t quite appropriate.  Though Home and Away and the Beach Boys’ classic are both orchestrated pop albums, Pet Sounds was an intensely personal vision both musically and lyrically – that of Brian Wilson and his chief lyrical collaborator, Tony Asher.  Home and Away was the work of numerous pop songwriting teams from Oldham’s Immediate Records stable.  Not that there’s anything shameful about an immaculately crafted collection of largely original pop songs, which is what Home and Away is; the high quality of these tracks, sung passionately by Shannon and arranged pristinely by Arthur Greenslade, will make you wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder why the album was initially shelved in the first place.

After the decision was made by Liberty Records to leave the LP in the can, tracks began to trickle out on singles and elsewhere, and Home and Away has been released numerous times prior to Now Sounds’ edition.  The complete sequence first surfaced on a 1978 compilation album, and reappeared in the CD era on anthologies including EMI’s The Liberty Years, before getting a proper album release in 2006 from the reactivated Zonophone imprint.  Now Sounds’ edition, though remastered and splendidly redesigned by reissue producer Steve Stanley, repeats the 16-track sequence of that Zonophone disc.

Love is in the air, but this isn’t a romantic album by any means.  Del Shannon crafted some of the most striking pop records of the early 1960s with grief and heartbreak foremost on his mind, and the tone of Home and Away is indeed, melancholy.  Though darkness took him to artistic heights, it eventually consumed him, and Shannon took his own life in 1990.  Here, the moody atmosphere is often quite beautiful, with harpsichord, French horns and flutes among the baroque accoutrements.  No, the material isn’t as strong as Pet Sounds, but isn’t that an unfair comparison for almost any album?

We dive in, after the jump!  Plus: the full track listing with discography, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2012 at 10:06

Posted in Del Shannon, News, Reissues, Reviews

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On the Fourth Day of Second Discmas…

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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!

The fourth day of Second Discmas is a real treat for all you soundtrack fans out there! For2012, their tenth year in business, La-La Land Records reissued and unearthed some of the most exciting and collectible titles of the genre. The prize pack from one of our favorite labels of the year includes expanded editions of Hook by John Williams, the triple-disc edition of Jerry Goldsmith’s score to Star Trek: The Motion Picture and even more surprises!

How can you make this prize yours? Click on the graphic up top to head over to Contest Central for the complete rules! And there’s still more great free music coming your way, only at The Second Disc!

Written by Mike Duquette

December 20, 2012 at 08:38