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Archive for March 28th, 2013

Shout! Factory to Release Nine-Disc Richard Pryor Box Set

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Pryor boxRichard Pryor – one of the most culturally-significant, nearly-unprintable and flat-out funniest stand-up comedians in history – will be celebrated by Shout! Factory this summer with a massive career-spanning box set.

No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert captures more than 12 hours of Pryor, from his popular (if comparatively pedestrian) early works as a Cosby-esque stand-up in the 1960s, to his wildly popular, immensely controversial glory years in the 1970s and 1980s to his last stand-up appearances in the 1990s, before retiring from the stage to cope with multiple sclerosis.

Pryor’s glory years, of course, were punctuated by genuinely funny and captivating observations on American issues in the at-times turbulent ’70s. He fearlessly discussed race, crime, drugs and a slew of other hot-button issues – and did so in ways that most publications would have trouble printing even today. Pryor parlayed that success into television and film, making one of the most notable appearances of Saturday Night Live‘s early run, as well as co-writing Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles (Pryor was in fact the first choice for the lead role of Black Bart) and a run of films with Saddles co-star Gene Wilder, including Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.

Though Pryor passed away in 2005, his influence looms large over stand-up comedians; Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle doubtlessly owe their ability to speak uncompromisingly about race to Pryor, and most of his contemporaries from Bob Newhart to Jerry Seinfeld have gone on record concerning his comic abilities.

Following the idea of Shout! Factory’s terrific The Incredible Mel Brooks box, No Pryor Restraint will feature an exhaustive look at Pryor’s career with seven CDs and two DVDs, including two hours of previously unreleased content on top of his most classic albums. “The best material from Pryor’s classic albums for the Laff, Stax & Warner Bros. labels” will be featured, as well as compilation-only material, including tracks from:

  • Richard Pryor (Dove/Reprise, 1968)
  • ‘Craps’ (After Hours) (Laff, 1971)
  • That N—–‘s Crazy (Partee/Stax, 1974)
  • …Is It Something I Said? (Reprise, 1975)
  • Bicentennial N—– (Warner Bros., 1976)
  • Wanted: Richard Pryor Live In Concert (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Live on the Sunset Strip (Warner Bros., 1982)
  • Here and Now (Warner Bros., 1983)
  • …And It’s Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings 1968-1992 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2000)
  • Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years 1966-1974 (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2005)

The box will also contain the concert films Richard Pryor Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) and Richard Pryor Here and Now (1983). There will also be a book inside the package, featuring “rare photos, multiple essays, exclusive celebrity tributes, a discography, a filmography, and a personal note penned by Richard’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor.”

Those who pre-order from Shout! Factory directly get a tenth bonus disc – the unreleased Live At The Comedy Store, October 1973 CD – and will see it ship in mid-May, well ahead of its June 11 street date. The A.V. Club also has an exclusive unreleased audio clip from the box. We’ll update this post with Amazon links and a track list as it’s available.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 28, 2013 at 14:22

Culture Factory Reveals “Supreme” Slate with Motown, James Taylor, Robert Palmer and More [UPDATED]

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Supremes - Cream of the Crop Paper SleeveUPDATE: In the days since this article has been posted, Culture Factory has revised the street dates for all of the titles mentioned here.  See below for corrected information as of March 28, 2013.

ORIGINAL POST OF 3/25: Since its inaugural wave of releases in 2011, the Culture Factory label has carved out a niche in the catalogue field. Artists such as Robert Palmer, Hot Tuna, Paul Williams, Bob Welch, The Flamin’ Groovies, Sylvie Vartan, Rare Earth and The Motels are all among the recipients of the Culture Factory treatment. The label’s modus operandi finds the original album with no bonus tracks or additional liner notes packaged in a Japanese-style paper sleeves with an OBI strip. The CD label itself resembles black vinyl with period label art. All discs are remastered with 96 kHz/24-bit technology (although playback in that high resolution is not possible as these are standard “redbook”44/16 compact discs playable in all units). The next waves of releases from Culture Factory widen the label’s scope further, with campaigns dedicated to a classic singer-songwriter, some diverse and well-chosen rockers, and perhaps most tantalizingly, choice offerings from the “Sound of Young America.”

On April 30, Culture Factory will reissue two albums from West, Bruce and Laing, another two from Walter Egan, and a trio of titles from James Taylor.  Amped-up blues-rock was the order of the day when Jack Bruce of Cream joined forces with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain to form a new power trio.  The union was short-lived but burned brightly; Clive Davis recalled fierce competition in signing the band to CBS/Columbia.  West, Bruce and Laing ultimately recorded just three albums (two in the studio, and one live) before disbanding, though Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm replaced his dad in a revised band line-up years later, in 2009.  WB&L’s second studio album, 1973’s Whatever Turns You On, and the 1974 live album/swansong Live ‘n’ Kickin’ have both been selected for the Culture Factory treatment.

1977’s Fundamental Roll and 1978’s Not Shy kicked off the career of singer-songwriter Walter EganNot Shy was co-produced by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut and yielded the gold-selling single “Magnet and Steel,” for which Egan is still best known today.  “Magnet and Steel” was, of course, inspired by Stevie Nicks.  She sang background vocals on the song, and had worked with Buckingham and Egan on Fundamental Roll.

James Taylor - JT Paper SleeveJames Taylor’s first three albums for Columbia round out Culture Factory’s April 30 slate.  1977’s JT was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, and Taylor picked up the trophy for his sublime revival of Otis Blackwell and Jimmy Jones’ “Handy Man.”  Other highlights include the upbeat “Your Smiling Face” and reflective “Secret o’ Life.”  JT followed JT with 1979’s Flag, which included his two songs for the Broadway musical Working (“Millworker” and “Brother Trucker”) as well as covers of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof.”  The latter became a Top 30 U.S. hit and is still a signature song for Taylor.  1981’s Dad Loves His Work introduced the No. 1 Pop single duet with co-writer J.D. Souther, “Her Town, Too.”

After the jump: the lowdown on titles from Robert Palmer, the New York Dolls, Edgar Winter, .38 Special, and a certain Miss Ross!  Plus: pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2013 at 13:04

Omnivore Reveals Record Store Day Exclusives from Big Star, Waylon, Old 97’s, Three Hits

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With Record Store Day just a little over three weeks away, Omnivore Recordings has unveiled an eclectic slate of three vinyl platters suiting the label’s deliciously omnivorous tastes.  Two artists are familiar to fans of the label, while the third makes an Omnivore debut.  All of the titles, of course, will be offered via your local brick-and-mortar independent music retailer on Saturday, April 20 to mark the sixth annual event.

Without further ado…hit the jump to dive into tasty treats from Big Star, The Old 97’s with special guest Waylon Jennings, and North Carolina’s own Three Hits! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2013 at 09:59