The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for January 7th, 2013

Mahalo, Elvis! King’s Hawaiian Retreat is Latest Expansion from Legacy

with 6 comments


Tomorrow is Elvis Presley’s birthday, but we’re celebrating with good news today!

America said Aloha to Elvis Presley in between a trip to the Dark Side of the Moon and a visit to the Houses of the Holy when the once and future King’s Aloha from Hawaii album earned a berth between Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin atop the Billboard chart.  Presley’s Honolulu concert of January 14, 1973, preserved on an RCA long-playing record, was monumental in every respect.  The most expensive entertainment broadcast to that point in time, Aloha from Hawaii was viewed by an estimated audience of over one billion people.  The RCA soundtrack has long been one of Presley’s most beloved concert recordings, and it’s returning for its fortieth anniversary in a deluxe Legacy Edition due on March 19, 2013 from Sony’s Legacy Recordings.

Though initially aired via satellite to over 40 countries in Asia and Europe, the United States didn’t get to see Elvis in his splendor until April 4, 1973 due to a conflict with Super Bowl VII on January 14.  But by the time the concert special aired in the U.S. on NBC, most fans’ appetites had already been whetted by the release of the double-LP set preserving the concert.  Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite was released to stores by RCA on February 4, 1973, initially in the quadraphonic format only.  It became the first quadraphonic album to top the Billboard chart, and was certified Gold shortly after its release.   (A stereo release was first offered through the RCA Record Club before it supplanted the quadraphonic disc in shops.)   Aloha has since been certified five times platinum.

For the performance at the Honolulu International Center, Elvis was backed by his regulars: the TCB Band (including James Burton, Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, John Wilkinson, Glen Hardin and Charlie Hodge), Joe Guercio’s orchestra, and vocalists Kathy Westmoreland, The Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet.  All tickets for the concert and a January 12 rehearsal show would be on a “pay what you can” basis benefiting the Kui Lee Cancer Fund, for which Presley raised over $75,000.00.  Five additional songs were recorded by Presley after the concert to be inserted into the eventual U.S. broadcast, four of which, appropriately, came from his film Blue Hawaii.  (One of these five, “No More,” didn’t get an airing until the release of the 1978 album Mahalo from Elvis.)

After the jump: what can you expect on this Legacy Edition?  Plus, a pre-order link and the track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 7, 2013 at 11:02

Burt Bacharach’s “Together?” Finally Arrives On CD, Features Jackie DeShannon, Michael McDonald

leave a comment »

Together OSTSexual liberation only goes so far…

So went the tagline of director Armenia Balducci’s 1979 film Amo non amo.  When the Italian drama starring Jacqueline Bisset, Maximilian Schell and Terence Stamp was slated for U.S. release, though, the decision was made to replace the score by Italian prog/symphonic “horror rock” band Goblin with a new, more accessible soundtrack.  Burt Bacharach was tapped, and the Oscar-winning composer went far in lending an American flavor to the film, retitled for the U.S. market as Together?  Like the film itself, though, its RCA Victor soundtrack album was seemingly destined for obscurity.  But good news has just come from Japan.  Together?, featuring vocals from Jackie DeShannon, Michael McDonald and Libby Titus, and songs by Bacharach and Paul Anka, has received its eagerly-awaited, first-ever CD release on December 26, 2012, courtesy of Sony Music Japan.

Bacharach came out swinging as a film composer with his very first Hollywood scoring assignment.  He supplied a felicitous and memorable score for 1965’s What’s New Pussycat?, the first of his three consecutive movies with star Peter SellersBacharach and Hal David earned an Academy Award nomination for their playful title song, and followed Pussycat with another animal title: The Fox.  “You Caught the Pussycat…Now Chase the Fox!” proclaimed posters for 1966’s After the Fox.  For the comedy directed by Vittorio De Sica, Bacharach supplied a swinging score and another fun title track with David. This time the title song was a kooky romp with Sellers in character as the thieving Fox, bolstered by the vocals of The Hollies.  Oscar gold didn’t greet After the Fox, but Bacharach and David received a second nomination in 1967 for their title song to Alfie, although the rest of the film wasn’t scored by Bacharach but by Sonny Rollins.

Bacharach, David and Sellers were at it again for 1967’s Casino Royale, which also featured Woody Allen among its all-star cast.  (“Small World” Dept.: Allen had starred in Pussycat, and Neil Simon, like Allen an alumnus of Sid Caesar’s writers’ room, had written the screenplay for After the Fox!)  The much-troubled Casino Royale yielded a score that was the best part of the picture, and also introduced another Oscar-nominated future standard: “The Look of Love.”  Bacharach and David finally made their way to the Academy Awards stage in 1970 when “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid took home the Best Song statuette; Bacharach also won a solo trophy for his original score.

Following 1973’s disappointing big-screen musical Lost Horizon, though, the Bacharach and David partnership acrimoniously dissolved, and the composer’s profile receded somewhat.  He collaborated with lyricists including Neil Simon, Bobby Russell and Norman Gimbel, but his once-prolific pace was a thing of the past.  Just one new Bacharach song was recorded in 1974.  In 1975 a brief reunion with David resulted in an album for Stephanie Mills; the pairing with Bobby Russell led to two more songs.  The composer laid low in 1976 and returned the following year with Futures, an album which introduced a new Bacharach sound: jazzier, funkier.  After another hiatus in 1978, he delivered Woman in 1979, a stylistic successor to Futures, with long, extended compositions that could be described as classical-jazz-pop fusion.  This was the artistically-revitalized Burt Bacharach who was tapped to return to film scoring for Together?.

Join us after the jump for the rest of the story, won’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 7, 2013 at 09:14