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Archive for July 9th, 2013

So…Peter Gabriel to Release “Live in Athens” on Blu-Ray

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Live in Athens BDPeter Gabriel’s So box set, released last year, was the subject of much controversy. Many fans wondered why Gabriel’s team would offer “DNA” tracks of the songs from the album coming together instead of the many B-sides and remixes that have yet to be anthologized on CD. They bemoaned the lack of 5.1 surround mixes and questioned the decision to not release the accompanying Live in Athens concert – remixed and re-edited from live footage recorded for the P.O.V. documentary – on Blu-Ray, but DVD only.

The unfortunate dull roar that permeated the atmosphere after the box’s release looks to surface once more with the appearance of Live in Athens as a pre-order on standalone Blu-Ray. The disc will be accompanied by a DVD reissue of Gabriel’s 2004 video compilation Play. The Athens program itself looks to be a straight reissue of what was in the box, albeit on Blu-Ray.

Pre-order links are live only at Amazon U.K. so far, with a release date of September 16 slated.

We at The Second Disc often shy away from pre-judgments of product before its release. We only slightly violate that guideline to remind our dear readers – all of whom are doubtlessly familiar with the concept of purchasing content multiple times across multiple formats – that there’s no obligation to buy the disc if you’ve already bought the (actually pretty satisfying) box set. Again: there is no obligation to buy this if you’re bummed out about it.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 9, 2013 at 15:00

Review: Merry Clayton, “The Best of Merry Clayton”

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Best of Merry ClaytonSay “yes” to Merry Clayton!

It takes a certain kind of talent to exercise restraint, to be able to generously support another artist while maintaining your own high standard of art, expression and individuality.  That’s the story of the background singer, and the story told by director Morgan Neville in his new film 20 Feet from Stardom.  Merry Clayton is seen in the film, both savoring and gently ribbing her role as the “diva” of the background singing clique – as the “lead background singer,” if you will.  But like many of the singers profiled in Neville’s fine film, Clayton harbored hopes for a solo career.  Riding high from her featured part on The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” the vocalist found a patron in Ode Records’ Lou Adler.  Between 1969 and 1975, Clayton recorded a handful of singles and one-off tracks plus three well-received albums for Ode; that body of work forms the basis of Legacy’s new anthology The Best of Merry Clayton.

Clayton was an interpretive singer recording at the height of the singer-songwriter movement.  So, at Ode, she drew on the songs of many of those talents, including James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bill Withers, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and her labelmate Carole King.  In doing so, she reaffirmed the universality of the very personal songs they were writing.  The sound of almost all these tracks is R&B, or deep soul, with a firm rooting in gospel.  Though he certainly wished to break in Clayton as a marquee artist, producer Lou Adler certainly wasn’t aiming for a pure pop sound.  He was well-versed in that style, however, and his astute choice of pop and rock material showed off the many colors of Clayton’s (by necessity, adaptable) voice.  And the voice rarely holds back!  In the film, it’s posited that these records were met with commercial indifference because there was only room on the charts for one gospel-based artist: Aretha Franklin.  Clayton might also have been at a disadvantage not writing her own songs; the charts were also generally inhospitable at the time to those recording entire albums of “covers,” frequently the province of so-called MOR artists like Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis.  But the 17 gutsy, full-voiced tracks here don’t disappoint.

Take a look after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 9, 2013 at 09:53

Release Round-Up: Week of July 9

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Best of Merry ClaytonMerry Clayton, The Best of Merry Clayton (Ode/Legacy)

Tell all the people: the singer who gave The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” its soulful grit recorded several LPs for Lou Adler’s Ode label. In honor of her belated star turn in the new documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom, Legacy has released the first-ever compilation of selections from these works, including many impressive covers of the likes of The Doors, James Taylor and Neil Young. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

All True ManBrainstorm, Journey Into the Light / The S.O.S. Band, On the Rise / Alexander O’Neal, All True Man / Cherrelle, The Woman I Am (“Tabu Reborn” Expanded Editions) (Tabu/Edsel)

The fourth wave of Tabu reissues from Edsel stretch from 1978 to 1991, covering some of the lesser-known works of the label’s flagship artists.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 9, 2013 at 08:20