The Second Disc

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Archive for July 8th, 2013

Have a Cuppa “Muswell Hillbillies”: Deluxe Reissue of Kinks Klassic Slated for October

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Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies DeluxeFor The Kinks’ first album with RCA Records, Ray Davies didn’t stray too far from the style which he had perfected.  Muswell Hillbillies, the band’s ninth studio album, was named after Muswell Hill, the area of North London that Davies and brother Dave once called home.  Like The Kinks’ classic Village Green Preservation Society before it, Muswell concerned itself with themes relevant to British life, wryly addressing working-class conditions and the changes affecting the populace.  Sanctuary Records is planning an expanded 2-CD edition of Muswell Hillbillies, with its release currently scheduled for October 7.  (A July date seems to have evaporated from the calendar.)

Muswell Hillbillies touched on many of the musical styles which had fascinated Davies, from tough R&B-influenced rock and roll to country and British music hall. The Kinks – Ray on guitar and vocals, Dave on guitar and vocals, John Dalton on bass, John Gosling on piano and Mick Avory on drums – were joined by brass section The Mike Cotton Sound, led by trumpeter Cotton.  Yet despite naturally continuing themes previously explored on Kinks records, Muswell Hillbillies wasn’t an auspicious debut for the band at RCA.  Acclaim from publications like Rolling Stone and Stereo Review appeared to have a negligible impact on sales.  The 12-song LP failed to chart at all in the United Kingdom.  It fared better in the United States, reaching a peak of No. 48.  The biting album opener, “20th Century Man,” was released as a single in the U.S. only, backed by “Skin and Bone.”  Ray Davies’ sharp condemnation of the modern world’s ills missed the Billboard Hot 100, hitting No. 106.

Hit the jump for more details, plus the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 8, 2013 at 11:08

Posted in News, Reissues, The Kinks

It’s Good For The Soul! The Salsoul Orchestra’s “Nice ‘n’ Naasty” Arrives In Expanded Edition

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Salsoul Orchestra - Nice n NaastyThe third song on the first side of The Salsoul Orchestra’s second album proclaims “It Don’t Have to Be Funky (To Be a Groove).”  But under the leadership of vibraphonist Vince Montana, Jr., the grooves were most certainly funky…as well as soulful, jazzy, and above all, danceable.  1976’s Nice ‘n’ Naasty, just reissued in an expanded edition by Big Break Records, is an even more eclectic collection than its predecessor.  It continues Big Break’s top-flight program celebrating all aspects of the Salsoul Records legacy in high style, and also serves as a fitting tribute to producer, arranger, conductor and composer Montana, who died earlier this year at the age of 85.

Montana came into his own at Salsoul Records as both arranger and composer, building on the template established by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records and the MFSB house band, and indeed, utilizing many of those same talented instrumentalists to bring his Salsoul Orchestra to life.  The sound of The Salsoul Orchestra wasn’t identical to MFSB, not only due to the infusion of Latin percussionists playing alongside Larry Washington (congas) and Earl Young (drums), but because Montana orchestrated in a different style for the group.  MFSB frequently utilized five saxophones; Montana preferred two, combined with brass, at Salsoul.  But the strong musical personalities of the players made the sound completely recognizable as Philly soul – after all, Montana and his fellow musicians had created the style with Gamble, Huff, Thom Bell and company – taken up a notch.

Hit the dancefloor, right after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 8, 2013 at 09:55

Posted in News, Reissues, Reviews, Salsoul Orchestra

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