The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 29th, 2013

Rock & Roll Revival: Edsel Plans Massive Box for U.K. Act Showaddywaddy

leave a comment »

Showaddywaddy boxFans of classic rock and roll revival act Showaddywaddy have got quite the box set coming their way from Edsel in June. The Complete Studio Recordings 1973-1987 collects just about the band’s entire output, released or otherwise, in a 10-disc set.

The U.K. act rose to almost improbable fame in the mid-to-late ’70s by dressing up in 1950s-London fashion (known to the uninitiated as “Teddy Boy” subculture) and covering a host of old-time rock songs, from Buddy Holly (“Heartbeat”) and Eddie Cochran (“Three Steps to Heaven”) to The Marcels (“Blue Moon”) and Gerry Goffin/Barry Mann (“Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp-a-Bomp-a-Bomp”). If that sounds crazy to you, the revelation that the band had 10 Top 10 hits in England, including the chart-topper “Under the Moon of Love” must sound ludicrous. Showaddywaddy still tour across the U.K. (embarking on a 40th anniversary trek this year), with original members Romeo Challenger on drums and Rod Deas on bass leading the group. (The band is still managed by singer Dave Bartram, despite his stepping down as lead singer in 2011.)

The Complete Studio Recordings includes all eight of the band’s albums for Bell, Arista and RCA – all of which had been reissued and expanded by Cherry Red’s 7Ts label in recent years – and adds two extra discs: one of non-LP single sides, and one of unreleased demos and alternate mixes.

The box is available on June 17, and can be ordered after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 29, 2013 at 14:50

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues

WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! Judas Priest’s “Epitaph,” on DVD and Blu-Ray from Legacy Recordings, Are YOURS (and There’s More!)

with 2 comments


Written by Mike Duquette

May 29, 2013 at 13:26

Review: Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, “Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962”

with 3 comments

Bennett Brubeck - LiveIt was a Tuesday afternoon in Camelot when giants met.

These giants weren’t the types who resided in the clouds atop beanstalks, of course.  These were giants of a decidedly more earthy variety.  It was at the behest of John F. Kennedy’s White House that Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck came together.  On August 28, 1962, they shared a bill at the base of the Washington Monument as a parting gift to an audience of college-age interns who had served that summer in the nation’s capital.  Following two individual sets – Brubeck’s as a member of his storied Quartet, and Bennett’s fronting Ralph Sharon’s trio – the singer and the pianist teamed up for the first time.  (Their second and final performance together didn’t arrive until 47 years later, in 2009.) Though the concert was recorded by a prescient Columbia Records, only one song – Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “That Old Black Magic” – had ever been released.  The tapes were thought lost.  And then, late in 2012, they surfaced.  And now, Columbia, Legacy and RPM Records have released this titanic summit as Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (88883 71804 2).  It doesn’t disappoint.

The pairing might have sounded odd on paper.  Brubeck, who hailed from California, studied with Darius Milhaud, who also counted Burt Bacharach among his students, and established himself as one of the most original voices in jazz.  The avuncular Brubeck could make the most experimental time signatures seem accessible, and his Quartet – with Joe Morello on drums, Eugene Wright on bass and Paul Desmond on alto saxophone – wedded commercial and artistic success.  Bennett, on the other hand, was an Astoria boy who, as he’s fond of joking, was one of the original American idols.  An amateur contest winner and onetime singing waiter, Bennett worked his way up the ladder of showbiz to secure a contract with Columbia Records.  There, he scored pop smashes with tunes from Broadway’s Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (“Rags to Riches”) and Hank Williams (“Cold, Cold Heart”) Bennett’s hit singles seemed far removed from Brubeck’s jazz world.  Bennett was keeping a secret, though.  He was a jazz singer at heart.  “[Columbia honcho] Mitch [Miller] really didn’t like jazz,” the 86 years young crooner wrote in his 2012 memoir Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett.  “He didn’t care for Duke or Count Basie – and when I came to the label, I was a jazz singer.”  That identification served Bennett well when sharing the stage with Dave Brubeck and in the studio with the likes of Count Basie, Bill Evans, Stan Getz and Herbie Hancock.  Yet their ties to each other ran even deeper.  Both men were veterans of World War II and passionate Civil Rights supporters, and at Columbia Records, both evinced a gift of making art commercial.

We’re giving Bennett/Brubeck a spin after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 29, 2013 at 09:57

Posted in Dave Brubeck, News, Reviews, Tony Bennett

Tagged with

BBR Goes For The Total Experience with Gap Band, Billy Paul Reissues

with one comment

TBilly Paul - Latelyoday we’re taking a look at two recent reissues from Big Break Records.  Both Billy Paul’s Lately and Gap Band VII were originally released by Total Experience Records, and both were the production work of Jonah Ellis.  Big Break has expanded and remastered both albums.

Billy Paul, Lately (Total Experience, 1985 – reissued Big Break CDBBR 0224, 2013)

Could anyone among us have an inkling or a clue, what magic feats of wizardry and voodoo you can do?  And who would ever guess what powers you possess?

Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff of Philadelphia International Records had an inkling of the magic Billy Paul could do when they gifted the veteran jazz singer with “Me and Mrs. Jones,” a smoldering ode to a lady with whom the vocalist “has a thing goin’ on.”   Those lyrics above are from the rarely-performed verse of Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever),” a song first sung on record – sans verse – by Paul on his 1968 Gamble Records release Feelin’ Good at the Cadillac Club.  Billy Paul was already nearing his mid-thirties when he made that long-playing debut.  He was over 50 when he revisited “On a Clear Day” as the most atypical track on a rather atypical album, 1985’s Lately.  The first of only two albums recorded by the singer in the 1980s, the Total Experience release has just been lovingly reissued by Cherry Red’s Big Break imprint (CDBBR 0224).  Paul was joined in Hollywood by Gerry Brown (drums), Nathan East (bass), Oliver Scott (keyboards/vocals/electronic drums), David Tillman and Juan Luis Cabaza (keyboards), and album producer/multi-instrumentalist Jonah Ellis.  Marva King, Maxine and Julia Waters and Carmen Twillie all provided background vocals.

The album’s closing track, “On a Clear Day” was just one of the songs on the album that recalled the earlier salad days of Billy Paul’s recording career.  Whether in 1968 or 1985, Paul found soulful liberties to take with Burton Lane’s elegant melody, and even on the re-recording, he made room for a piano solo that recalled his jazz roots.  Though they’re adventurous in the context of re-presenting a theatrical standard, the burbling synthesizers and programmed drum beats obscure both the song and Paul’s vocal, and alas, that’s too frequently the case on Lately.  Yet BBR’s exemplary reissue, produced by Wayne Dickson, remastered by Nick Robbins, and generously annotated by J. Matthew Cobb, allows us to view the album as a well-intentioned experiment in a stellar career.

Lonnie Simmons’ Total Experience label had found great success with The Gap Band and Yarbrough and Peoples, but the company was already in the midst of the struggles that would eventually see its demise when Lately was slotted for release.  Producer and chief songwriter Jonah Ellis (known for his work with both of those Total Experience acts) grafted an aggressively “contemporary” sound onto Paul’s smooth vocals, but by and the large, the new material wasn’t up to the standard set by the singer.  Just one other standard made it onto the album, Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s “I Only Have Eyes for You.”  Ellis adhered closely to the blueprint of The Flamingos’ classic doo-wop version of the 1934 song, but gave it a modernized makeover.  Paul’s alluring, sensual vocal exudes confidence as he adds plenty of impassioned ad-libs.

After the jump: plenty more on Billy Paul’s Lately!  Plus: mind the Gap – the Gap Band, that is! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 29, 2013 at 09:10

Posted in Billy Paul, News, Reissues, Reviews, The Gap Band

Tagged with