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Archive for February 25th, 2013

Virtual Insanity: Jamiroquai to Expand First Three Albums

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Jamiroquai threeAnother musical float in the “oh dear, are we all that old?” parade is passing by next month: the first three Jamiroquai albums are being expanded by Sony’s U.K. arm in honor of the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut, Emergency on Planet Earth.

Led by singer Jay Kay, known equally for his high tenor as well as his outré selection of hats, Jamiroquai were one of the most prominent bands emblematic of the acid-jazz movement in early ’90s England, fusing traditional funk and disco styles to modern electronic beats. Early singles like “Too Young to Die,” “Blow Your Mind” and “Space Cowboy” flirted with the upper reaches of the U.K. charts; in the U.S., “Emergency on Planet Earth” and “Space Cowboy” were major dance hits, the latter topping the dance chart.

While Emergency on Planet Earth and The Return of the Space Cowboy were strong sellers in the U.K., both platinum albums at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, it was third LP Travelling Without Moving that became the biggest worldwide smash. Buoyed by the catchy, chilled-out single “Virtual Insanity” and its classic promo video, a staple of mid-’90s MTV, Travelling was the band’s first and only million seller in America, and set the band up for a successful career that continues to this day.

Initially announced for release in Japan last fall, these 20th anniversary reissues feature newly restored artwork in a digipak case, new liner notes by Jay Kay, and bonus discs full of rare vinyl and promo-only remixes, B-sides, international bonus tracks and live material, much of which has either never made it to CD or has never been released before. Double-vinyl editions of these albums, remastered and in gatefold sleeves, are also planned.

All products are available in the U.K. on March 11. Hit the jump for Amazon U.K. links and full track lists!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2013 at 17:47

Posted in Jamiroquai, News, Reissues

The True “Geisha”: Classic Franz Waxman Soundtrack Arrives on CD

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My GeishaKritzerland has a thing for Shirley MacLaine.

The label has just announced its ninth release of a score from a film featuring the Academy Award-winning actress and current Downton Abbey star.  Franz Waxman’s score to the 1962 Paramount film My Geisha is the latest to get the Kritzerland treatment.

As the titular geisha in a madcap, disguise-filled romp, MacLaine starred opposite Yves Montand, Robert Cummings, and Edward G. Robinson.  Norman Krasna (White Christmas, Let’s Make Love) brought his expertise to the mistaken identity plot, which was somewhat of a specialty of his.  Jack Cardiff, perhaps best known for directing the notorious Smell-o-Vision film Scent of Mystery, was in the director’s chair.  But in reissue producer Bruce Kimmel’s words, “what takes My Geisha to a whole other level is the radiant score by Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun). There are many ways to approach scoring a comedy: you can accentuate the humor, you can underline the laughs, or you can try to make the music comic. Waxman’s approach was to score the story being told and to let the comedy speak for itself. Hence his music is filled to the brim with dramatic scoring and beautiful melody, including his exquisite main theme. That approach was perfect because it makes us care about the characters and the story.”

The film’s plot revolves around movie director Paul Robaix (Montand), married to famous actress Lucy Dell (MacLaine).  He wishes to have a success independent of his wife, so he departs for Japan to find a suitable lead for his film version of Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly.  But he’s unaware that Lucy is in hot pursuit.  She disguises herself as a geisha, and wins the part.  But Lucy soon becomes threatened by Paul’s affections for her other identity, Yoko.

There’s more after the jump, including the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2013 at 16:16

Bread Winners: Early Songs of David Gates Compiled By Rare Rockin’ Records

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David Gates - Early YearsLong before “Make It With You,” “Everything I Own” and “If” became soft-rock standards for his band Bread, David Gates had toiled behind the scenes as a songwriter, producer, arranger and musician on the Hollywood scene.  He worked with everybody from The Monkees to Captain Beefheart before striking out with Robb Royer and James Griffin to form Bread.  The band’s debut album was released in 1969, featuring the original version of “It Don’t Matter to Me.”  The song soon mattered quite a bit for Bread, though, when it charted Top 10 Pop in a single version.  Now, the Australian label Rare Rockin’ Records is turning the pages back to David Gates’ pre-Bread days with the March 18 release of David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967.  It follows the label’s two previous songwriter retrospectives, one each for Burt Bacharach and Billy Meshel (who wrote for Del Shannon, Lenny Welch and Dion before moving on to a long, successful career in music publishing).

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-born Gates first found success on the local music scene, backing Chuck Berry while still in high school and even releasing a regional hit single, “Jo-Baby.”  The siren call of Hollywood soon persuaded Gates to make the move west, and beginning in 1961, he soon found gainful employment.  By 1964, he had achieved his first major success as a songwriter when The Murmaids took his “Popsicles and Icicles” to No. 3 on the Hot 100 under the aegis of the frequently colorful impresario Kim Fowley.  In 1966, The Monkees included Gates’ “Saturday’s Child” on the group’s first album, and he even contributed the title song to Hanna-Barbera’s big screen romp Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear in 1964.  As an arranger, Gates worked his magic on Glenn Yarbrough’s “Baby the Rain Must Fall” in 1965.

All the while, he was developing a solo career, recording for labels like Mala, Del-Fi and Planetary both under his own name and under pseudonyms like Del Ashley and The Manchesters.  When Gates was hired to produce, arrange and conduct the Uni Records LP debut of Los Angeles pop group The Pleasure Fair in 1967, though, it turned out to be more than just another assignment.  One member of The Pleasure Fair was Robb Royer, whose song “Say What You See” would be arranged by Gates and produced by Royer’s sometimes-songwriting partner James Griffin in 1968 for the group The Curtain Calls.  Soon, Griffin, Royer and Gates teamed up as Bread.  The group went on to score 13 hits on the Hot 100, and Gates notched a further seven as a solo artist.

After the jump: what will you find on David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967?  Hit the jump for more details plus the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2013 at 10:25