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Archive for May 28th, 2013

Here’s Your Chance: Philly Soul Legends, Deep Soul Grooves Comprise BBR’s Next Release Slate

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Enchantment UtopiaFrom the streets of Philadelphia to the deepest vaults of soul and R&B, this coming week’s slate of reissues from Big Break Records has got just about something for everyone.

Enchantment, the Detroit soul group behind 1978’s hit “It’s You That I Need,” would make some changes in the ’80s, having moved labels a few times (from Roadshow/United Artists to RCA and finally Columbia for two albums) and also subtly altering their sound from a lush, disco feel to a Fairlight-led modern groove. While Utopia, their final album, did not chart, it still has its fans thanks to singles like “Here’s Your Chance” and “Don’t Fight the Feeling.” Utopia makes an appearance on CD, both newly remastered and with five bonus tracks, including single mixes of “Here’s Your Chance.”

Though “Kleeer” was the name of the band behind the album Winners in 1979, the group of musicians who made up this ensemble took on several monikers throughout the decade. As The Jam Band, they were New York-based session players, notably for Disco-Tex and The Sex-O-Lettes; as Pipeline, they were an ill-fated hard rock outfit on Columbia Records and as The Universal Robot Band, they were another disco-based studio project (which would enjoy a cult dance hit in the ’80s with “Barely Breaking Even”). Kleeer was self-made dance music, however, with a Top 40 R&B hit in the title track. (Fun fact: among the horn players doing session work on this LP are jazz legends Randy and Michael Brecker!) Winners is expanded with a bonus extended version of the title track.

The song titles on Gwen McCrae’s Melody of Life hint at a love life of joy and pain; for McCrae, it was all too real. Three years prior, after a rocky relationship, she divorced her husband and collaborator George McCrae (of “Rock Your Baby” fame); after Melody, she’d further separate from her label, TK Records subsidiary Cat, for whom she’d made six albums. (McCrae would enjoy some success in the ’80s on Atlantic.) McCrae’s tour de force vocals shine anew on CD with this expansion of Melody of Life, featuring two single edits as bonus tracks.

MFSBBBR’s last two releases this week are pure Philadelphia soul from two architects of the genre. First, there’s the debut album by MFSB (Mother Father Sister Brother), the de facto house band for all of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s musical ventures. Though Philly soul was still in its infancy when MFSB released their first, self-titled album in 1972, the groundwork is very much there, on both Philly originals (“Back Stabbers,” a hit for The O’Jays, “Something for Nothing,” written by Gamble, Roland Chambers and Thom Bell) and covers (Curtis Mayfield’s “Freddie’s Dead,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Family Affair”). The same can be said for the final BBR release of the week, the live set The O’Jays in Philadelphia. The group had recorded for Imperial and Bell, but this LP, released on Neptune Records, was their first under the Gamble-Huff umbrella; the following year’s Back Stabbers for Philadelphia International would make them worldwide stars.

After the jump, you can place your orders for all of these titles, which are shipping now (save for Kleeer, which has a June 3 date on Amazon U.K.).

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 28, 2013 at 11:59

Review: Paul McCartney and Wings, “The Paul McCartney Archive Collection: Wings Over America”

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Wings Over America - Cover“Yesterday” and Today (1976)

With a burst of boogie woogie, Paul McCartney finally acknowledged the elephant in the room.  And then he made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to be standing in any shadow, even his own.  That moment came seven songs into the first disc of Wings Over America when Paul suddenly became Beatle Paul once again, tearing into “Lady Madonna” with Fats-inspired glee.  The Wings Over the World tour – taking in three continents, 66 concerts and roughly one million fans – was the most dramatic realization yet of McCartney’s reinvention.  It was also the first time he performed his Beatles back catalogue as the leader of Wings.  “You could seriously go down in history as a guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles and failed miserably,” he’s recently said.  “I felt, in the end, like the guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles – and didn’t.  But did awfully well.”  And he arguably never did better than the Wings Over America leg of the tour.

From May 3, 1976 in Fort Worth, Texas, through June 23 in Inglewood, California, Wings played 31 dates for 600,000 fans.  The massive arena rockshow party thrown by McCartney, wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Joe English and a four-person brass section (Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard and Howie Casey, a fellow Liverpool native and longtime hero of McCartney’s who played the same venues as the young Beatles) translated to disc as one of the most electrifying live albums ever.  And now the chart-topping Wings Over America has been released as the fifth entry in The Paul McCartney Archive Collection – and the most dizzyingly lavish yet.

The remastered 2013 Wings Over America has flown into shops in multiple editions.  The original album is available as a standard 2-CD edition and a 3-LP set.  Retail giant Best Buy is offering a 3-CD version.  But the centerpiece is the individually numbered, slipcased set of 3 CDs, 1 DVD and 4 books.  This massive, heavy box dwarfs even last year’s Ram, which itself was significantly bigger than the book-style format of Band on the Run, McCartney and McCartney II.  Despite its larger size, though, its similar spine design and identical height still makes it possible to display on your shelf next to those volumes.  With this set, it’s likely that you’ll lose yourself in the not just the music, but in the overwhelming array of printed material relating to McCartney’s American jaunt.

After the jump: we dive into the various versions of Wings Over America! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 28, 2013 at 10:30

Release Round-Up: Week of May 28

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Wings Over America BoxWings, Wings Over America: The Paul McCartney Archive Collection (MPL/Hear Music/Concord)

Paul McCartney’s first great U.S. tour was chronicled brilliantly on this 1977 live album, and it’s been greatly expanded herein for McCartney’s ongoing reissue campaign.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD (Best Buy exclusive)
4CD/1DVD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bennett Brubeck - LiveTony Bennett & Dave Brubeck, The White House Sessions: Live 1962 (Columbia/RPM/Legacy)

A once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between the legendary singer and the acclaimed jazz pianist bows in full on CD for the first time. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Burt - Anyone Who Had a HeartBurt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter – The Best of Burt Bacharach (U.S. Edition) (Hip-O/UMe)

What was a six-disc box or two-disc set internationally is a different two-disc anthology of the acclaimed songwriter’s greatest works, as performed by Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin and more. (Amazon U.S.)

Monkees - JustusThe Monkees, Justus: The Deluxe Edition (Friday Music)

The Monkees’ final album, expanded to include an original behind-the-scenes promo film on DVD.  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Basia Time and TideBasia, Time and Tide: Deluxe Edition (Cherry Pop)

The solo debut of the Polish singer/songwriter expanded with a heap of bonus material – all produced by TSD pal Vinny Vero! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Finding the Sacred HeartDio, Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986 (Eagle Rock)

A long sought-after Dio live video is remastered and reissued across several different formats!

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

MFSBEnchantment, Utopia: Expanded Edition / Kleeer, Winners: Expanded Edition / Gwen McCrae, Melody of Life: Expanded Edition / MFSB, MFSB: Expanded Edition / The O’Jays, Live in Philadelphia (Big Break Records)

The BBR slate for this week includes some rare early records from The O’Jays and MFSB and much more! Watch this space for a full breakdown of every title plus Amazon pre-order links!

Now 30 YearsVarious Artists, NOW That’s What I Call 30 Years (Universal U.K.)

Three discs celebrating three decades of the long-running U.K. compilation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 28, 2013 at 10:13

From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come): Three Soundtracks by Michael Small Are Collected On A New 2-CD Set

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The Driver OSTKritzerland offered a Memorial Day surprise yesterday when the label announced its latest release, a three-for-the-price-of-one soundtrack special from composer Michael Small.  Small (1939-2003) was a major voice of 1970s film scoring, with such films as Klute, The Parallax View, Marathon Man and The China Syndrome under his belt.  A favorite of such acclaimed directors as Alan J. Pakula and Bob Rafelson, he continued to be a major presence in Hollywood writing for both television (Alex Haley’s Queen) and film (Jaws: The Revenge) right up until his untimely passing.  Kritzerland has previously tapped the Small ouevre for releases like Audrey Rose, and its most recent offering from the composer brings together the scores to three Twentieth Century Fox films: The Driver (1978), The Star Chamber (1983) and Black Widow (1987).  All three scores are being presented as one 2-CD set and sold for the price of one disc.

All three of these seminal scores were previously released by Intrada and have been long out-of-print and fetching high prices secondhand.  Black Widow was a standalone release, while that label paired The Star Chamber and The Driver together on one disc. For Kritzerland’s reissue, all three have been newly remastered by Mike Matessino.  The label confirms that Matessino has “carefully [removed] numerous small dropouts and ticks and pops, most especially on The Driver.Black Widow and The Star Chamber are presented in stereo, while The Driver is in mono.  The timing couldn’t be better for this all-Small package, as both The Star Chamber and The Driver are due to make their Blu-ray debuts.  The three-for-one set is limited to 1,000 copies only, and it’s scheduled to ship the first week of July.  That said, preorders placed at Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks early (with an average of four weeks).

After the jump: we fill you in with more details via Kritzerland’s press release, plus we have pre-order links and complete track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 28, 2013 at 09:23