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Archive for June 25th, 2013

“Windy: A Ruthann Friedman Songbook” Explores The Solo Side of The Songwriter

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Ruthann Friedman - WindyA look at the intense visage of Ruthann Friedman on the cover photograph of Now Sounds’ Windy: A Ruthann Friedman Songbook reveals those “stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies,” but a listen to the sounds within shows the artist spreading her “wings to fly above the clouds.”  For here is an entire disc’s worth of never-before-heard pop nuggets, crafted with a delicacy and beauty to match that photo.  Windy, of course, is so named, of course, for The Association’s 1967 No. 1 hit penned by Friedman, which was recognized as one of BMI’s Top 100 Songs of the 20th Century.  Its eighteen tracks were recorded between 1966 and 1973, truly a period during which anything was possible.  They find Friedman supported by such luminaries as Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Curt Boettcher, Ron Elliott and members of the Los Angeles Wrecking Crew, and reveal a gifted songwriter who was very much more than a “one-hit wonder.”

Chances are, if you know the music of Ruthann Friedman beyond “Windy,” it’s due to her 1969 Reprise album Constant Companion, a fragile psych-folk gem that many have compared to the best of Vashti Bunyan or Judee Sill.  Or perhaps you know Water Records’ 2006 volume of “lost” songs, Hurried Life.  But Now Sounds’ new excavation unearths a wealth of inventive popThough Friedman’s own, stripped-down recording of the seminal “Windy” is reprised (in alternate form) from A Hurried Life, it’s surrounded with seventeen other melodic gems ranging from the sunny to the sad.  These have been drawn from demos and publishing recordings, as well as songs intended for her first, unfinished A&M solo album.

Compilation producer/designer Steve Stanley’s vivid essay explains that a potpourri of influences affected young Ruthann, including the Broadway musicals of Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser and Richard Rodgers, the folk songs of Woody Guthrie and the rock-and-roll of Bill Haley and His Comets.  Indeed, the music on Songbook is stylistically varied.  Friedman possessed a husky, expressive and piercing voice that, at times, recalls Grace Slick; it’s no surprise, then, that she was briefly considered to front Jefferson Airplane following Signe Anderson’s departure.  She modestly reminisces in the liner notes, “They didn’t take me, which was smart.  I mean, Grace Slick, how can you turn that down?”

Keep reading about Ruthann after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 25, 2013 at 13:12

Posted in Compilations, News, Reviews, Ruthann Friedman

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Numero Group Uncovers The Pioneering Electronic Soundscapes of Iasos’ “Celestial Soul Portrait”

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NUM049CoverThe expert crate-diggers at Numero Group have recently offered up one of its most adventurous releases – the Celestial Soul of the single-named musician Iasos (pronounced ya’ sos).  Before the genres of ambient and New Age were classified as such, the Greek-born musician was experimenting with electronic instruments to create the “Paradise Music” now being reissued by Numero in the anthology Celestial Soul Portrait.

Born in Greece in 1947 but a U.S. resident since 1951, Iasos moved to California in 1968 upon his graduation from Cornell University where he had concentrated on anthropology.  Trained on piano since childhood, Iasos brought his singular, spiritual musical visions to life in 1975 with the release of Inter-Dimensional Music Through Iasos.  His musical journeys were inspired, according to Numero, by “the infinitely numbered harmonies transmitted by Vista, a benevolent being from a distant dimension.”  Working from his houseboat, Iasos utilized some of the first commercially-available synthesizers and created an aural equivalent to the colorfully kaleidoscopic lightshows that accompanied many psychedelic-era concerts.  His cosmic sounds also featured guitar, amplified flute, and various tape and studio effects.

After the jump: more on the transcendent sounds of Iasos, including a full track listing and order link for the new compilation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 25, 2013 at 10:34

Posted in Compilations, Iasos, News

Release Round-Up: Week of June 25

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Help BDThe Beatles, Help! (Blu-Ray Disc) (Capitol/Apple)

The Fab Four’s second film gets the hi-def disc treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Hidden World RevealedThe Three O’Clock, The Hidden World Revealed (Omnivore)

Early works by power-pop legends The Three O’Clock shine on this new compilation, featuring cuts from their early works on Frontier Records and 10 unreleased tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt MeBig Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Omnivore)

Released on limited colored vinyl for Record Store Day this year, the soundtrack to this new Big Star documentary features 21 unreleased outtakes and new mixes of favorites from the legendary cult heroes.

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

Timeless Flight full boxThe Moody Blues, Timeless Flight (UMe)

Released in the U.K. earlier this month, this new anthology from the Moodies comes in two-disc, four-disc or 17-disc CD/DVD editions. Nothing like freedom of choice, right?

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
11CD/6DVD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Scared to Get HappyVarious Artists, Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989 (Cherry Red)

A new five-disc anthology that’s basically the Nuggets of its genre, from Creation to Rough Trade, The Jesus & Mary Chain to The Stone Roses. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Brothers and Sisters - Super DeluxeAllman Brothers Band, Brothers and Sisters: 40th Anniversary Edition (Mercury)

Four decades after “Ramblin’ Man” was an immense pop hit, the Allmans’ 1973 album comes back as a super-deluxe box featuring a disc of unreleased outtakes and a complete show from the Winterland Ballroom.

4CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

JB Apollo 50James Brown, Best of ‘Live at the Apollo’ 50th Anniversary (Polydor/UMe)

A single-disc compilation of the best of JB’s three King/Polydor live albums from the famed New York venue, along with two unreleased tracks from an unreleased fourth volume of material. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Hardcore DEVODevo, Hardcore Vols. 1 & 2 (Superior Viaduct)

Long out-of-print, these compilations of early Devo works make their debut on vinyl; a reissued CD edition with extra tracks will be released in two weeks.

Volume 1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Volume 2 (2LP):  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Earle WBSteve Earle, The Warner Bros. Years (Shout! Factory)

This new box features Steve Earle’s three Warner albums from 1995 to 1997, plus two unreleased concerts on CD and DVD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Going for the One SACDElvis Presley, King Creole / Yes, Going for the One (SACDs) (Audio Fidelity)

Yes’ 1977 album, the first with Rick Wakeman since 1973, and Elvis’ 1958 soundtrack album (featuring “Hard Headed Woman”), are the latest to get the Audio Fidelity SACD treatment, mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray respectively.

King Creole: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Going for the One: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mighty RealSylvester, Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits (Fantasy)

The legendary disco performer is celebrated with a new compilation featuring his most classic hits and a new remix of “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).”

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

Magica DeluxeDio, Magica: Deluxe Edition (Niji Entertainment)

A new two-disc edition of the 2000 Dio album. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Legend RemixedBob Marley and The Wailers, Legend Remixed (Tuff Gong/Island/UMe)

New remixes of classic reggae favorites.

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