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Archive for March 26th, 2013

Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me: “The TK Records Story” Mines Disco Gold

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The TK Records StoryIt’s been said that the greatest music is transporting, to another time or another place.  If that’s true, it was no secret where the sounds of TK Records intended to transport the listener.  Henry Stone’s TK family of labels originated in Miami, Florida, and the sleeve artwork for TK’s singles featured a tropical setting of palm trees, bright flowers and pristine waters.  That serene scene serves as the cover for Gold Legion’s new TK Records Story (67094 562442 7), a 12-track anthology of disco gems from the label originally issued between 1976 and 1978.

TK was at the forefront of the disco revolution when George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” reached No. 1 on the U.S. Pop chart in 1974.  “Rock Your Baby” is usually considered the second bona fide disco track to reach that coveted spot, following another “Rock” song – The Hues’ Corporation’s “Rock the Boat.”  TK was so named for Terry Kane, the engineer who built Henry Stone’s studio, and counted singer/producer Steve Alaimo among its personnel.  Alaimo had credits ranging from Burt Bacharach to Gregg Allman, and gained national fame hosting Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is.  As Vice President, he proved a good match for the entrepreneurial Stone, and the duo didn’t have to look very far to discover a smash act when they discovered Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch working in the TK warehouse.  Casey and Finch not only produced “Rock Your Baby,” but as the core of KC & The Sunshine Band notched 15 chart hits (of which five were No. 1s) between 1975 and 1979.

So it might be a surprise that both George McCrae and KC & The Sunshine Band are absent from The TK Records Story.  Like its semi-companion volume, The Salsoul Records Story, this new compilation doesn’t tell the whole story of its titular label.  Other big hits from the TK family of labels are missing – Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” (No. 1, 1979) and Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t For Love” (No. 9, 1978), to name two.  But the twelve songs here paint a strong and vivid picture of the days when TK ruled the disco roost alongside labels like Casablanca and of course, Salsoul.

Stone’s TK family encompassed such labels as Dash, Drive, Alston, Royal Flush, LRC, SRI and Marlin, and all of those are represented here.  Like Salsoul (and of course, Motown and Philadelphia International), TK had a nominal “house band.”  In his foreword, Stone praises his own rhythm section of Benjamin “Benny” Latimore, Little Beaver, Timmy Thomas, Ish Ledesma and George “Chocolate” Perry.  They brought a funky flavor to TK’s disco recordings which lent themselves first to extended twelve-inch mixes and much later to hip-hop sampling.  (Every track on the new compilation was released in the 12-inch format, and all told, TK issued more than 200 twelve-inch singles worldwide.)

Head straight to paradise after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 26, 2013 at 13:15

Still “Subtle as a Flying Mallet”: Dave Edmunds’ Wall of Sound Classic Returns in Expanded Edition

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Dave Edmunds - SubtleFrom the first notes of “Baby I Love You,” the opening track on Dave Edmunds’ 1975 album Subtle as a Flying Mallet, the listener is assaulted with a Wall of Sound – thunderous drums, sleigh bells, echo, et cetera.  But Spectorian pomp was just one tool in Edmunds’ box.  For Subtle as a Flying Mallet, Edmunds brought his stamp of originality to the songs of Phil Spector, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and The Everly Brothers.  Now, the album (which produced two U.K. Top 10 singles with “Baby I Love You” and “Born to Be with You”) is the recipient of a generously expanded edition from Cherry Red’s RPM label.

Welsh lad Edmunds first rose to prominence as one-third of Love Sculpture, championed by influential DJ John Peel for an audacious reworking of Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance” that cracked the U.K. Top 5 in 1968.    By 1970, Edmunds had successfully transitioned into producing, helming Shakin’ Stevens’ and the Sunsets’ A Legend, and scoring a hit for himself with a cover of Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knocking,” a No. 1 U.K./No. 4 U.S. hit.  It was included on Edmunds’ solo debut entitled Rockpile, on which he was joined by John Williams of Love Sculpture on bass.  The multi-instrumentalist Edmunds played nearly everything else himself, with Andy Fairweather-Low, B.J. Cole and Terry Williams making musical cameos.  Rolling stones gather no moss, and the restless Edmunds even took a stab at acting, accepting a role opposite David Essex, Adam Faith, Keith Moon and Larry Hagman in Michael Apted’s 1974 music-filled film Stardust.  That same year, Edmunds was enlisted to produce the band Brinsley Schwarz, and he formed a lasting relationship with Nick Lowe, who shared his revivalist sensibility.  Together, Lowe and Edmunds drove the folk-country-rockabilly group in a forward-thinking direction that foreshadowed what would be considered New Wave.  In 1976, the two men would also form their own on-again, off-again group by the (familiar) name of Rockpile.

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing with discography, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 26, 2013 at 10:04

Posted in Dave Edmunds, News, Reissues

Release Round-Up: Week of March 26

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Stephen Stills - Carry OnStephen Stills, Carry On (Rhino)

The “S” in “CSNY” finally gets his own career-spanning box set, a four-disc affair with a couple dozen rare and unreleased tracks and a whole lot of great songs to boot. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Gene Clark - Here TonightGene Clark, Here Tonight: The White Light Demos (Omnivore)

A dozen tracks of early ’70s demos from the former Byrd, which laid the framework for his first album of that decade. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Maiden EnglandIron Maiden, Maiden England ’88 (UMe)

A quarter-century after Maiden toured behind Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the original concert video chronicling the tour has been painstakingly remastered and expanded with unreleased performances and treasures from the band’s video vault. A double-disc presentation of the concert is also available on CD and vinyl.

2DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Steve Forbert - JackrabbitSteve Forbert, Alive on Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim: Special Anniversary Edition (Blue Corn Music)

This two-disc set expands the first two albums by the “Romeo’s Tune” troubadour with unreleased outtakes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Wendy and LIsaWendy & Lisa, Wendy & Lisa: Expanded Edition (Cherry Pop)

Prince may have split up The Revolution, but this 1987 debut LP from two of his most famous collaborators is worth your time. U.K. label Cherry Pop appends a few bonus remixes and new liner notes on this version. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Electric Music For The Mind And BodyCountry Joe & The Fish, Electric Music for the Mind and Body (Ace)

Not only available for the first time on CD, but available for the first time since its original release: the original mono and stereo mixes of San Francisco’s first psychedelic long-player on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Tandyn Almer - Along ComesTandyn Almer, Along Comes Tandyn (Sundazed)

He penned “Along Comes Mary” for The Association and collaborated with Brian Wilson, but the late Tandyn Almer is only now getting his due with the premiere commercial release of this 1967 demo LP pressed to turn artists on to his precious pop.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.