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Archive for February 27th, 2013

Chasing Waterfalls: Cherry Pop Plans New Expansion of “Wendy and Lisa”

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Wendy and LIsaExciting news for Prince enthusiasts: two of the Purple One’s most beloved collaborators, Wendy and Lisa, are reissuing their 1987 debut album on Cherry Pop Records next month.

If you were down with Prince and The Revolution as they exploded into international stardom with 1984’s Purple Rain, you likely were drawn to the subplot of The Kid’s band members, Wendy and Lisa, who clashed with their bandleader over his artistic meandering. At the film’s climax, the group dominates Minneapolis’ First Avenue with the film’s title track, an eight-minute opus based upon a set of chords the duo gave their friend and collaborator.

While that story was created for filmic tension, the real-life tension between the talented bandleader and his equally talented band members is a crucial part of the Prince narrative. While the vocals and playing of guitarist Wendy Melvoin (whose first show with The Revolution was a First Avenue gig that was recorded and incorporated into the Purple Rain album) and keyboardist Lisa Coleman were crucial to Prince’s early-to-mid-’80s hit streak, Prince’s tendency to rely on only his own musical gifts ultimately led to the dissolution of his band in 1986. (Prince has worked intermittently with the duo since, offering them co-production work on an uncompleted Prince and The Revolution album in 1999; in 2006 and 2007, Wendy and Lisa appeared on certain live dates with Prince and contributed to his Planet Earth LP.

Left without a band, the duo – friends and collaborators since a very young age and the daughters of great session musicians (Wrecking Crew members Mike Melvoin and Gary L. Coleman) – recorded their own debut LP for Columbia Records. At once reminiscent of Prince’s Minneapolis sound production (former Revolution drummer Bobby Z. co-produced) and the duo’s sunny pop tendencies, Wendy and Lisa never met the kind of success it probably deserved, in spite of killer singles like “Waterfall” and “Honeymoon Express,” both lower-middling U.K. hits. (“Waterfall” hit the charts twice, once as a remixed version in 1989.) Undaunted by the lack of chart success, Wendy and Lisa still record together, having moved largely from pop-rock to film and television composition. (They’ve worked on many high-regarded series including HeroesTouchCrossing Jordan and their Emmy-winning work for Nurse Jackie.)

On March 25, Wendy and Lisa will be released as an expanded edition by Cherry Pop Records. Four bonus tracks will be included, all dance mixes of singles including “Honeymoon Express,” “Sideshow” and the 1989 remixes of “Waterfall.” (A previous edition on the Wounded Bird label featured four bonus tracks, including the remixes of “Sideshow” and “Honeymoon Express,” the single edit of “Waterfall” and a non-LP B-side, “To Trip is to Fall.”) A new interview and track-by-track notes from Coleman are also featured in this set, making it a must for fans and collectors.

After the jump, take a look at the track list and find pre-order links for this new reissue.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2013 at 14:49

The “Lowdown” On Friday Music’s Expanded Reissue of “Chicago III”

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Chicago IIIIn his recently released memoir The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis speaks rhapsodically about one band he signed to Columbia Records who went on “to be one of the best-selling bands of the seventies…[and] successful in every succeeding decade, selling millions of albums along the way.”  The mogul added, “They’re still active, and every year their fans lobby relentlessly for them to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor the band very much deserves.”  Davis is, of course, speaking of Chicago.  The septet’s third album, and third consecutive 2-LP set, arrived on Columbia in 1971, and now Chicago III is returning to compact disc in an expanded edition from Friday Music set for release on March 12.

Though the group met with great success in the singles market thanks to melodic pop gems like “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” “Beginnings,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World” (all from the band’s remarkable first two albums), Chicago’s heart and soul initially seemed to be with extended musical suites that best displayed the group’s unmistakable fusion of rock, jazz and soul.  Chicago III, produced as its predecessors had been by James William Guercio, was recorded in November 1970 at Columbia’s New York studios after a busy year for the band.  It included three extended pieces: Terry Kath’s “An Hour in the Shower,” James Pankow’s “Elegy,” and “Travel Suite,” a collaborative effort with an emphasis on Robert Lamm’s songs.  Four shorter tracks – well, relatively speaking! – began the sprawling album, but its most successful single (Lamm’s No. 2 hit “Free”) was, in fact, extracted from the “Travel Suite.”  Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine’s “Lowdown” charted, too, hitting a peak of No. 35.

After the jump: details on the bonus tracks, a pre-order link, track listing and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 27, 2013 at 12:59

Posted in Chicago, News, Reissues

Put Your Hands to Heaven: An Interview with Reissue Producer Vinny Vero

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Vinny_Vero_Press_2012Vinny Vero is everywhere. I don’t mean this in just a literal sense – as of this posting, he’s currently in Australia playing several DJ sets – but he’s also had a multifaceted career in the music business, be it as a marketer, producer, remixer or writer. “This year is my 25th anniversary in the music business,” he told The Second Disc with a laugh. “All of a sudden I feel very experienced!”

Vero parlayed his passion for music into a plum gig as a research manager for prominent New York radio station WHTZ-FM. From there, he spent five fruitful years doing marketing and catalogue work for EMI, working with such artists as Roxette, Blondie, and the Pet Shop Boys. After leaving the company, he continued to hone his marketing skills, but never strayed too far from records, independently producing compilations and “reswizzling” tunes for dance clubs. Last year, Vero began producing reissues for the U.K.’s Cherry Red Group; their first collaboration, a two-disc expansion of Breathe’s hit LP All That Jazz, was released in Europe this week.

Last year, as he was putting the finishing touches on All That Jazz, Vero took time out of his busy schedule to talk to The Second Disc about his work and career. I think you’ll find it a fascinating and informative read about what it’s like to work in an ever-changing industry, all the while working hard and loving what you do – easily the best way to survive in the catalogue music game.

After the jump, we talk to Vinny about all his work, great and small!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2013 at 12:15

Soundtrack Watch: Intrada Debuts Unreleased Goldsmith, Horner Scores, La-La Land Has “The Fury”

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isc230booklet.inddThe past week has been a boon to fans of A-list composers of the Silver Age of film scoring. Intrada has unearthed two unreleased scores (one entirely unused) by two of the most beloved composers of recent memory, while La-La Land has put back into print one of the most underrated scores by another genius of the same vintage.

James Horner had one of the best years of his career in 1989, scoring Field of Dreams and Glory that year and earning an Oscar and Golden Globe nod, respectively, for those works. He also lent his talents to In Country, a drama by Norman Jewison based on Bobbie Ann Mason’s novel. It tells the story of a Kentucky teenager (Emily Lloyd, a recent breakout performer from the film Wish You Were Here) who uncovers the mystery of her father, who died in the Vietnam War, with the help of his brother (a Golden Globe-nominated Bruce Willis), a fellow veteran with whom she lives. A tender score with some military undertones, Horner’s In Country was never released, an LP program having been scuttled in post-production. Now, Intrada and Warner release that album with another eight tracks, presenting the complete score in its entirety.

isc231booklet.inddNot to be confused with the Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe film, 1992’s Gladiator was a little seen sports drama about the friendship between two young men (James Marshall and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) trapped by circumstances in an underground boxing circuit. While the released film’s music wasn’t much to write home about (a solid electronic score by Terminator composer Brad Fiedel, a strange compilation album on CBS Records featuring tracks by C+C Music Factory, 3rd Bass and Warrant), the original plan featured a score by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith. Featuring full orchestra with synthesizers and percussion on display, the results were classic Jerry – and perplexing that the cues are only making their debut now. But it’s the full score, direct from the original session mixes and produced by longtime collaborator Bruce Botnick – and it’s yours to order from Intrada.

After the jump, John Williams scares the daylights out of you with the sound of The Fury!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2013 at 10:10