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Archive for March 12th, 2013

Andre Cymone’s “AC” Gets Double-Disc Treatment from Funkytowngrooves

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Andre Cymone ACWay back in January 2012, The Second Disc reported on Funky Town Grooves’ planned reissue of former Prince bassist André Cymone’s 1985 Columbia breakthrough record A.C., which yielded the Top 10 R&B hit “The Dance Electric.”  This long-aborning reissue from FTG finally arrived last week in an edition expanded from its original planned track listing.

A.C. received its first-ever CD reissue from the U.K.’s Big Break Records label in 2011; BBR’s deluxe edition appended a generous five bonus tracks to the original eight-song album, among them 12-inch mixes and single edits.  BBR and Funky Town Grooves have both served their respective markets with expanded reissues of Cymone’s complete three-album output for Columbia Records, and the newly-upgraded A.C. marks the conclusion of FTG’s series for the artist.

Of course, the careers and lives of Prince Rogers Nelson and André Cymone (born André Anderson) are inextricably linked.  Prince’s tumultuous childhood resulted in his living at one point with Anderson’s family.  And so Prince’s cousin Charles Smith called on both Prince and his close friend André (while both were still attending high school!) to join his nascent band Grand Central, which also counted Morris Day among its members.  When Pepe Willie, the husband of Prince’s cousin Shauntel formed the band 94 East with Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry late in 1975, both Prince and Anderson were called on to record with the band.  By the time it came for Prince to form his first proper band, Cymone took his place on bass alongside Dez Dickerson on guitar, Gayle Chapman and Doctor (Matt) Fink on keyboards and Bobby Z. on drums; this unit made its debut on January 5, 1979 in Florida, a long way from the music’s Minneapolis roots.  (Of course, Doctor Fink, Bobby Z. and Dickerson would all join Prince in his most famous band, The Revolution.)

After the jump: what will you find on FTG’s 2-CD expansion?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 12, 2013 at 14:05

Special Review: David Bowie, “The Next Day”

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David Bowie - The Next DayWelcome to today’s special review of David Bowie’s twenty-fourth studio album and first in ten years, The Next Day.  As you likely know, The Second Disc rarely reviews newly-recorded albums, but the return of this iconic artist to the recording studio simply couldn’t be ignored.

In 1980’s “Ashes to Ashes,” David Bowie famously revealed “Major Tom’s a junkie, strung out in heavens high, hitting an all-time low.”  This continuation of the story begun in 1969’s “Space Oddity” was as definitive a statement as any on the man’s unsentimental, decidedly not rose-colored view of the past.  So it was a surprise when, on his 66th birthday, Bowie announced his first album in ten years and offered “Where Are We Now” to the world.  A somber, elegiac and darkly lovely rumination through the streets of Berlin as delivered by an older, wiser man, “Where Are We Now” signaled an elder statesman in a mournful, soul-searching state of near-tranquility: “As long as there’s sun/As long as there’s rain/As long as there’s fire/As long as there’s me/As long as there’s you.”  Meeting expectations, though, via the art of defying them (always a specialty of Bowie’s), the artist has both invoked and laid to rest the ghosts of Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke with a searing collection of original songs that conclusively prove age hasn’t mellowed David Bowie.  Indeed, “Where Are We Now” was the calm before the storm.  The Next Day is an angry, electric exploration of where he is now, where he was then, and where he will likely be “The Next Day.”

Joined by co-producer Tony Visconti (The Man Who Sold the World, Scary Monsters, Heathen) and a trusted band including guitarists Earl Slick, Gerry Leonard, and David Torn, bassists Gail Ann Dorsey and Tony Levin, drummers Zachary Alford and Sterling Campbell, and saxophonist Steve Elson, Bowie seems liberated to pursue his muse via a host of characters ravaged by violence, war and a pervasive celebrity culture.   The album is enveloped in darkness with only brief flashes of light, yet it’s the work of a man who’s been hiding in plain sight on the New York streets over the past decade, enjoying his “retirement.”  Studio photographs of the Next Day sessions show a fit, trim and smiling Bowie enjoying the art of creation.  The arc of the album from this deliciously contradictory artist, though, is anything but placid. Occasional hints of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane and Lodger cede to lively, dense, alternately crisp and clattering soundscapes.

We take a tour of The Next Day after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 12, 2013 at 10:11

Posted in David Bowie, News, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of March 12

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Motown Musical - OriginalsVarious Artists, Motown the Musical – Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show (Motown/UMe)

The Sound of Young America is now the sound of The Great White Way, with a new musical entering previews this week. This new compilation presents all the original versions of the songs that feature in the show!

1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

TV ManiaTV Mania, Bored with Prozac and the Internet? (Tapemodern)

Completed by Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes and former band guitarist Warren Cuccurullo in the late ’90s and presumed lost until recently, this experimental concept disc offered some surprisingly trenchant social commentary on an increasingly wacky media culture. (MP3: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Stack-a-Tracks-Digi-with-discsJellyfish, Stack-a-Tracks (Omnivore)

Released last year as a Record Store Day/Black Friday exclusive, this 2CD set, featuring original, lead vocal-free mixes of the power pop legends’ Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, is now available for all audiences to enjoy. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Jamiroquai, Emergency on Planet Earth Return of the Space Cowboy Travelling Without Moving: Deluxe Editions (Sony Music U.K.)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the U.K. dance group’s first album, the first three Jamiroquai LPs have been remastered and expanded.

Emergency 2CD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. :: 2LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (no pre-order link available at present)
Cowboy 2CD:  Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. :: 2LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Travelling 2CD:  Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. :: 2LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Paul Revere - Evolution to RevolutionPaul Revere and the Raiders, Evolution to Revolution: 5 Classic Albums 1965-1967 (Raven)

Five of The Raiders’ classic Columbia LPs are put on two discs for the value-savvy collector. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Merman - Her GreatestAndrews Sisters, Greatest Hits in Stereo/Great Golden Hits / Enoch Light and the Light Brigade, Provocative Percussion 3 & 4 / Ethel Merman, Her Greatest / Various Artists, Stars for a Summer Night (Sepia Recordings)

The latest vintage hits compilations from Sepia include some classic compilations from The Andrews Sisters and Ethel Merman and a great set of easy listening classics for summertime!

Andrews: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Enoch: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ethel: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
StarsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.