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Archive for February 4th, 2013

Watch That Man! David Bowie Celebrates 40 Years of “Aladdin Sane” with New Remaster

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David Bowie - Aladdin SaneAs the follow-up to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane is sometimes overlooked.  Yet the punningly-titled Aladdin Sane had racked up advance sales of 100,000 units by the day of its release (April 13, 1973), becoming Bowie’s very first U.K. Number One record and spawning two Top 3 singles there (“The Jean Genie” and “Drive-In Saturday”).  Across the pond, Aladdin Sane was the artist’s very first U.S. Top 20 record.  Once again following in the footsteps of Ziggy – in this case, that album’s 40th anniversary remastered edition, released last year – Aladdin will arrive in a newly-remastered edition on April 15, 2013 from the Parlophone Label Group.  (Previously a part of EMI, a condition of Universal’s acquisition of EMI was that Parlophone be divested from Universal.  The label’s future ownership has still not been determined.)  It’s also arriving a little more than one month after Bowie’s long-awaited surprise “comeback” album, The Next Day, due on March 15.

While boasting a fresh remaster by Ray Staff, that 2012 Ziggy eschewed the bonus tracks from all previous editions, presenting simply the original album in its CD release.  (Ziggy was also released on an LP/DVD edition; the audio DVD did contain some additional material in 5.1.)  The new Aladdin Sane follows suit.  Staff, who cut the original LP while at Trident Studios, has remastered it for 2013 at London’s AIR Studios.  As of now, a remastered vinyl edition hasn’t yet been announced, nor has an audio DVD.

So what will you find on the new Aladdin Sane?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 4, 2013 at 17:03

Posted in David Bowie, News, Reissues

John Barry’s “First Love” Receives World Premiere Release from La-La Land

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First Love OSTThough John Barry crafted a lushly exquisite score for First Love in 1977 – the same year the film titan also lent his talent to The Deep and The White Buffalo – his name appeared nowhere in the credits to the romantic drama directed by Joan Darling.  The director had enlisted Barry when she thought twice about the initial concept of using songs written by Cat Stevens and Paul Williams, but in the end, brief fragments of Barry’s score remained, uncredited, alongside songs from Stevens and Williams and orchestral cues from other composers.  What happened?  The entire story is revealed in La-La Land’s first-ever issue of John Barry’s complete First Love, available now from the label.

Following in the footsteps of the campus-set romance Love Story, First Love was based on a story by Harold Brodkey.  The film, as written by Jane Stanton Hitchcock and David Freeman, concerned the ultimately ill-fated romance of Elgin (William Katt) and Caroline (Susan Dey).  The film poster begged the question, “Why doesn’t anyone tell you there’s a difference between making love and being in love?”  The Paramount production was initially accommodating to Barry, with the studio reportedly having even delayed the film in order to allow him more time to craft its score.  But all wasn’t well for long.  Jeff Bond’s detailed liner notes in La-La Land’s release quote a 1979 interview with Barry in which the composer recalled that one studio executive “liked the music, but thought it was too mature for the film.”  The famously frank Barry added, “That’s one of the strangest criticisms I’ve ever had.  So then they wanted to revert back to sticking some songs in the picture and use a little of my music.”  Some eight minutes of Barry’s approximately 40-minute score remained in the final cut, plus Cat Stevens’ “Child for a Day,” Paul Williams’ “That’s Enough for Me,” and additional music by Carmine Coppola and Jean Sibelius.

After the jump: more specs on this new release plus the full track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 4, 2013 at 14:50

Union Square Follows Up Kirsty MacColl Reissues with New Compilation

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Kirsty DeluxeHaving greatly expanded her solo catalogue last year, Union Square Music is releasing a new compilation devoted to the late Kirsty MacColl.

Last year, USM released her debut full-length Desperate Character (1981) on CD for the first time, as well as new double-disc expansions of Kite (1989), Electric Landlady (1991) and Titanic Days (1993). This month will see a new single-disc career-spanning compilation that covers her entire discography.

In spite of the eight-year gap between her first two solo LPs, MacColl was a busy singer both before and after, from her 1979 debut single “They Don’t Know” (later a hit on both sides of the Atlantic for Tracey Ullman) and various other A-sides released by Stiff Records, before their sudden bankruptcy left her stuck in a lot of legal entanglements. A New England: The Very Best of Kirsty MacColl gives equal measure to these cuts, like “Terry,” “He’s on the Beach” and the Billy Bragg-penned title track. It also features her two famous collaborations with Irish rockers The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York” and “Miss Otis Regrets,” as well as three tracks from her final album, Tropical Brainstorm (2000), which was not expanded by USM.

A New England will be available as a 21-track CD and an Amazon U.K.-exclusive deluxe set with five art cards and a bonus DVD of 10 promo videos. Released on the same day, February 25 in the U.K., is A Concert for Kirsty MacColl, also issued by USM and featuring live tracks recorded by Bragg, Alison Moyet, Ellie Goulding and others in the fall of 2010.

Hit the jump for the track list and pre-order links for A New England.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 4, 2013 at 11:49

WIN! WIN! WIN! The MUSIC CITY Contest Is Here!

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Second Disc Banner 2013-02 Black History Contest


Written by Joe Marchese

February 4, 2013 at 10:55

Posted in Giveaways!, News, Reissues

Take a Giant Step with “Complete Columbia Albums” of Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal - Complete Albums Collection CoverThe Complete Columbia Albums of Taj Mahal, by the numbers: 13 albums, 15 CDs, 170 tracks.  This all adds up to a mighty legacy worthy of the man’s namesake!  The former Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, Jr. made his name as a blues renaissance man at Columbia Records with a string of well-received albums released between 1968 and 1976, and the new Complete Albums box set due in stores tomorrow (February 5) collects them all under one roof for the first time, plus two archival compilations.

Now 70 years old and still active as both a touring and recording artist, Taj Mahal’s recordings for Columbia are the cornerstone of his career.  This expansive new box set from Legacy Recordings includes the albums Taj Mahal (1968), The Natch’l Blues (1968), Giant Step/De Ole Folks At Home (2 CDs, 1969), The Real Thing (live, 1971), Happy Just To Be Like I Am (1971), Recycling The Blues & Other Related Stuff (1972), Oooh So Good ’N Blues (1973), Mo’ Roots (1974), Music Keeps Me Together (1975), and Satisfied ’N Tickled Too (1976).  The box set also finds room for the 1972 film soundtrack Sounder, the 1992 anthology Rising Sons Featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, and the 2012 2-CD set Hidden Treasures.

Columbia was, of course, the label where two-time Grammy winner Taj Mahal got his start. Born in New York but raised in Massachusetts, the young artist relocated to California in 1964 and soon formed The Rising Sons with another up-and-coming talent, Ry Cooder. A club sensation, the Rising Sons managed to release one single on Columbia, though an album of unreleased material produced by Terry Melcher (The Byrds, Paul Revere and the Raiders) escaped from the vaults on the 1992 compilation included in this new box. The eclectic music of The Rising Sons anticipated the catholic approach Taj Mahal would take as a solo artist; the band’s repertoire included Bob Dylan (“Walkin’ Down the Line”), Blind Willie McTell (“Statesboro Blues”) and even Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“Take a Giant Step”).

Though the group soon disbanded, Columbia kept tabs on Taj Mahal, and released his self-titled solo debut in 1968. The blues-oriented set featured compositions from McTell, Robert Johnson and Sleepy John Estes, and featured Cooder on rhythm guitar. Taj played lead guitar, slide guitar and handled vocals. More albums followed, with 1969’s half-acoustic, half-electric Giant Step/De Old Folks at Home a particular milestone. The album took half of its title from the Goffin and King song that was becoming a Taj Mahal signature tune, and also included material from The Band’s Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson as well as Sonny Boy Williamson and Huddie Ledbetter on the electric side. The Giant Step side also featured one of Taj’s songs from the film The April Fools, likely the only movie in which his music shared the spotlight with that of Percy Faith, Burt Bacharach and Marvin Hamlisch!  The acoustic volume primarily consisted of traditionals.

After the jump: we bring you up to date on Taj’s career, plus we’ve got an order link, full track listing and discography for all 15 discs in the new box! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 4, 2013 at 09:52