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Archive for January 29th, 2013

Marianne Faithfull’s “Broken English” Fixes Up Nice for Expanded Reissue

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Broken English Deluxe EditionAs reported in this morning’s Release Round-Up, Marianne Faithfull’s iconic Broken English is getting the deluxe treatment from Universal’s U.K. catalogue arm.

Upon initial release in 1979, Broken English was a major surprise for almost everyone involved and listening. Then in her early 30s at the time, Faithfull had lived enough for a handful of people, going from chart-dominating folk singer (debut hit “As Tears Go By” was written for her by Mick Jagger) to swinging London sex symbol (she left her first husband for Jagger) before flaring out on the streets of Soho in the ’70s, a homeless drug addict unable to get her act together. Eventually, she did long enough for 1977’s Dreamin’ My Dreams, an attempt to re-engage a folk/country-influenced sound greatly hampered by the effects of drug abuse and laryngitis on her vocal abilities.

Broken English, by contrast, works within those limitations (and the burgeoning sounds of punk and New Wave) to craft a record full of incendiary originals (the title track, a meditation on modern terrorism, and the fiery closer “Why D’Ya Do It,” a blazing condemnation of infidelity violent enough to be dropped from certain international pressings) and relevant covers (John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” Dr. Hook’s “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan”).

This two-disc edition is not short on extras. The first disc features the remastered album plus a short promotional film for the album directed by the late, acclaimed British director Derek Jarman, commercially released for the first time here. Disc 2 features an alternate, more “rock”-oriented mix of the album recently rediscovered in the vaults, plus single remixes of “Broken English” and “Why D’Ya Do It” and a B-side version of “Sister Morphine,” a track Faithfull co-wrote for The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.

Order your copy from Amazon U.K. or Amazon U.S. and hit the jump for a full discographical breakdown!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 29, 2013 at 14:23

Review: Dick Jensen, “Dick Jensen” – A Lost Philadelphia Soul Classic

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Dick Jensen - Dick JensenWhen Dick Jensen was signed to ABC’s Probe Records label in 1969, only one album title seemed appropriate: White Hot Soul.  The Hawaiian-born entertainer’s stage moves earned him comparisons to James Brown and Jackie Wilson, while his voice recalled the booming sonorities of Tom Jones or Engelbert Humperdinck.  Tucked away on Side Two of that Don Costa-produced LP, Jensen included The Soul Survivors’ “Expressway to Your Heart” as part of a medley.  That 1967 Top 5 hit, of course, was written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, later to found Philadelphia International Records.  Jensen couldn’t have known that just a few years later, he would be poised for his American breakthrough as one of the artists signed to PIR.  The showbiz veteran had taken his act to Mexico City, New York City, Las Vegas and throughout the Hawaiian Islands by the time he was welcomed to the label of the O’Jays, Billy Paul and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.  That breakthrough, alas, never came, and 1973’s Dick Jensen became one of the most neglected items in the PIR catalogue.  The LP is long-deleted, and a CD edition was only released in Japan.  Thanks to the upcoming reissue by Big Break Records, however, you can rediscover an album which stands squarely among the best released by the iconic label.

Being an early production made before the famous MFSB orchestra splintered, Dick Jensen teamed the vocalist of Hawaiian, French, English, Danish and Irish descent with the combined forces of the greatest musicians the city had to offer.  Indeed, the line-up recorded at Sigma Sound Studios is quintessential: co-producer Leon Huff on piano, Norman Harris, T.J. Tindall, Bobby Eli, and Roland Chambers on guitar, Earl Young on drums, Ronnie Baker on bass, Larry Washington on congas, Lenny Pakula on organ and Vince Montana on vibes.  Don Renaldo brought his Horns and Strings, and the Sweethearts of Sigma (Carla Benson, Barbara Ingram and Evette Benton) were on hand for the background vocals.  Gamble and Huff, Bunny Sigler and Thom Bell all contributed production, while Bell, Montana, Harris and Bobby Martin all wrote arrangements for Jensen’s artistic rebirth.

Are you sold on this LP yet?  You know what to do – hit the jump for more on Dick Jensen! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 29, 2013 at 13:12

Posted in Dick Jensen, News, Reissues, Reviews

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Big Break Serves Up Soul, Jazz and Funk from Carmen McRae, Billy Paul, Azteca and More

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Carmen McRae - I Am MusicTimeless soul music knows no regional boundaries, at least based on the latest quintet of releases from Cherry Red’s Big Break Records imprint.  With this group of reissues, you’ll travel to Philadelphia by way of Hawaii, Oakland, Harlem and Chicago.  All of the titles previewed below are available now in the U.K. and next Tuesday, February 5, in the U.S.!

Two new titles hail from the Philadelphia International Records catalogue.  Perhaps most exciting is the first CD release outside of Japan for 1973’s Dick Jensen, the self-titled album by the renowned entertainer from Hawaii.  Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff enlisted the MFSB orchestra plus producers and arrangers like Bobby Martin, Bunny Sigler and Thom Bell to craft a major musical statement from the high-energy performer, but Dick Jensen quickly sank without a trace.  It was no reflection on the album’s quality, however, as the LP is filled with stunning mini-pop/soul masterpieces.  BBR’s edition features new liner notes by Stephen “Spaz” Schnee that shed light on the late, enigmatic singer and this lost classic.  Click here for our full review of Dick Jensen!

Big Break is also delivering another title in its series of releases from Philadelphia’s own Billy PaulGoing East (1971) was not only Paul’s first PIR platter, but the label’s very first album altogether.  As such, the smooth PIR soul sound was still in its formative stages, and Going East bears many of the jazz hallmarks that informed 1970’s Ebony Woman (previously reissued on BBR).  Musically, Going East is rough-hewn, with the full MFSB Orchestra not in the picture.  Of the familiar players, Norman Harris and Roland Chambers appeared on guitars, Vince Montana chimed in with vibes, and Don Renaldo as usual supplied the (subtle) strings.  The prominent flute of Tony Williams adds a distinct character to the album.  Eddie Green wrote the rhythm charts for the album, and Lenny Pakula arranged horns and strings for the epic title track, a slow-burning, mystical meditation on slavery which does look forward to similarly widescreen productions like “War of the Gods” from the album of the same name (also a recent BBR reissue).

Billy Paul - Going EastThe rest of the album’s horn and string charts were divided between Thom Bell and Bobby Martin, who each arranged four songs.  Bell’s symphonic stylings are most apparent on a striking rendition of Jimmy Webb’s “This is Your Life,” while his arrangement of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” is simply atypical for both Bell and Paul.  “(If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?” came from Peter Link and C.C. Courtney’s off-Broadway musical Salvation, and was previously recorded by Ronnie Dyson.  Dyson, of course, recorded an album with Bell that didn’t include the Salvation song; here’s your chance to hear what a Bell arrangement of the song sounded like, with Paul’s incomparably mature vocals.  (It’s worth noting that Going East was issued in September 1971; two months later, the Thom Bell-produced debut of The Stylistics followed.  How remarkably different his work is here, minus most of the stylistic and instrumental hallmarks for which he would become renowned.  Yet all three issued singles from Going East were Bell’s handiwork.)  Of the Bobby Martin tracks, there’s a slick, languid version of Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes standard “There’s a Small Hotel,” and Martin’s own song “I Wish It Were Yesterday,” which has the same late-night cabaret vibe.  A pleasant if unexceptional Gamble and Huff tune, “Love Buddies,” and a fiery take on Eugene McDaniels’ “Compared to What” continue the album’s diverse approach.  Going East is one of the most unusual PIR albums, but Paul’s vocal mastery was in its prime even if Gamble and Huff hadn’t yet found the formula to best marry those jazz-honed pipes with silky soul.  BBR’s edition includes all three single A-sides released from the album along with new liner notes from Andy Kellman drawing on an interview with Billy Paul himself.

After the jump: Azteca, Tyrone Davis and Carmen McRae take the spotlight, plus track listings with discography and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 29, 2013 at 10:01

Release Round-Up: Week of January 29

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RumoursDeluxeBoxFleetwood Mac, Rumours: Expanded/Deluxe Editions (Warner Bros.)

Ahead of the band’s forthcoming tour, a new 4CD/1DVD/LP deluxe box set edition of their most popular album, featuring the original album on CD and vinyl, two discs of studio outtakes (including the one from the 2004 reissue) and an unreleased documentary. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) A three-disc edition collects the album and the two new bonus CDs, so if you own the last expansion and can live sans DVD, you can pick the rest up for a reasonable fee. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Miles Davis - Bootleg 2Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Volume 2 (Columbia/Legacy)

This 3CD/1DVD set features Miles’ “lost” quintet lineup (featuring Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland, who never laid down studio tracks on their own) in four European shows from France, Stockholm and Berlin. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Double TroubleStevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Texas Flood: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

SRV’s searing debut LP, newly expanded with an unreleased live set from the period. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Destiny's Child - Love SongsDestiny’s Child, Love Songs (Music World/Columbia/Legacy)

A new compilation of lesser-known, romantic album cuts, bolstered by – gasp! – the first new Destiny’s Child track since the mid-’00s! Place your bets as to whether Beyoncé will include the tune in her Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday… (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Deep Purple Paris 1975Deep Purple, Paris 1975 (Eagle Rock)

First in a series of upcoming live Deep Purple reissues, this set chronicles the band’s last Mark III-era show, before Ritchie Blackmore left to perform with his new band Rainbow. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Broken English Deluxe EditionMarianne Faithfull, Broken English: Deluxe Edition (Island/Universal U.K.)

Faithfull’s incendiary, signature 1979 album has been expanded in the U.K. with some great audiovisuals, including rare and unreleased mixes. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Five StarFive Star, Five Star: Deluxe Edition Shine: Expanded Edition (Cherry Pop)

Available in the U.K. today are two comparatively obscure albums by the British pop/R&B group, expanded with many remixes. (Five Star: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S., Shine: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Playlist - Box TopsVarious Artists, Playlist: The Very Best Of (Legacy)

Among the titles in this batch: neat mixes of hits and deep-ish cuts from Andy Williams, The Highwaymen and Harry Nilsson; Sun-era sets for Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins and a disc of Box Tops singles, all in glorious mono.