The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 17th, 2013

All The Night’s Magic: Van Morrison’s “Moondance” Is Expanded and Remastered This Fall

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Van Morrison - Moondance BoxOn September 30, it’s going to be a marvelous night – and day – for a Moondance.  For that’s when Warner Bros. Records will celebrate Van Morrison’s classic 1970 album in 1-CD, 2-CD and 4-CD/1-BD configurations.  The latter expanded versions comprehensively explore the album’s sessions via outtakes, alternate takes and previously unheard mixes.

Following one 1967 album for Bert Berns’ Bang Records, Van Morrison made his debut at the famous Burbank label in 1968 with Astral Weeks.  It was a creation like no other, and not even Morrison’s most ardent fan at the time could have predicted its heady blend of rock, jazz, folk and classical styles into one opus juxtaposing the spiritual and the earthbound.  But the Irish troubadour couldn’t stay in one musical bag for too long a period of time.  1970’s Moondance was every bit as light as Astral Weeks was dark, and every bit as accessible as Astral Weeks was esoteric.

In the years since its release, the soulful, jazzy title track of Moondance has become a modern standard, recorded by artists including Michael Bublé and Nancy Wilson and even featuring as the curtain call to Susan Stroman’s Tony Award-winning dance musical Contact.  Strangely, “Moondance” wasn’t released as a single until 1977 (!) when it barely eked into the Hot 100, but that’s hardly deterred its consistent radio airplay and frequent use in films and television.  “Come Running,” the original selection for a single, did manage to crack the Top 40 while the album itself notched a respectable No. 39 chart placement.  “Crazy Love” has also received its share of cover versions over the years while “Into the Mystic” could be Morrison’s ultimate statement.  His ode to the power of radio, “Caravan,” is no less powerful, while album opener “And It Stoned Me” is a fan favorite to this day.

What will you find on the upcoming editions?  Hit the jump for all details, track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 17, 2013 at 13:46

No. 1 with a Bullet: Boston Hardcore Band Anthologized with New Digital Compilation

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Bullet LaVoltaThe world of rock and roll is littered with captivating tales of what-ifs and alternate routes that pushed a musician in one direction instead of another. One such captivating story of late is that of Jason Everman, a seemingly unassuming Army Ranger today who at one point was a member of the Seattle grunge scene, playing in both Nirvana and Soundgarden before both rocketed to success in 1991.

What’s particularly interesting about that New York Times piece on Everman, other than its subject, is the byline: it was penned by Clay Tarver, himself a rock guitarist who was part of a great unsung band of the 1990s: Bullet LaVolta. The Boston-based hardcore punk outfit was one of many bands who made the jump to a major label in the early years of the decade, as labels started to catch onto new and unusual shifts in rock music at the time. (The band also featured two other members who’d find interesting successes down the line: vocalist Kurt “Yukki Gipe” Davis would later become an employee of music video game developer Harmonix Music Systems and have his latest band, The Konks, featured in the first entry in the Rock Band series, while drummer Todd Phillips formed the band Model/Actress with ex-Brainiac bassist Juan Monostereo.)

After a successful EP and LP on the independent Taang! label, RCA signed Bullet LaVolta and released their final album, Swandive, produced by Dave Jerden (engineer on Talking Heads’ Remain in Light and David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts as well as producer for Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains). Its street date? September 24, 1991 – the same day Geffen released Nirvana’s major-label debut Nevermind. (In what may be one of the most stunning bills of the decade, both bands shared the stage that night at local Boston club Axis, with The Smashing Pumpkins as the opening act.)

For whatever reason, Bullet LaVolta’s Swandive, with its hardcore riffs and clean production, was received much better by critics than fans, who would fly their flannel for the grunge movement over the next several years. (The band would decide to split within the year.) Now, over two decades later, RCA/Legacy celebrates the band with a new digital-only compilation, Force Majeure: The RCA Anthology (’90-’92). The 18-track set features a newly-remastered versions of Swandive, Gimme Danger (a part-live/part-studio EP released on Metal Blade Records and featuring a cover of KISS “Detroit Rock City”), a B-side cover of The Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer,” a 1992 live in-studio performance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s WBMR-FM and an unreleased demo recorded at the famed Ft. Apache studio in 1990. As an additional bonus, the set also features the original promo video for lead single “Swan Dive,” directed by Kevin Kerslake, hailed as “the Scorsese of grunge.”

Force Majeure: The RCA Anthology (’90-’92) is available now from Amazon; the set’s stunningly low price is as good as any an impetus to rediscover one of the best “side routes” in ’90s rock. Hit the jump for order links and the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 17, 2013 at 11:40

Hallejulah! It’s (Still) Raining Men with The Weather Girls’ Deluxe Reissue

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Weather Girls - Success

Everything about The Weather Girls’ debut album, Success, was big.  The 1983 LP was the brainchild of producer/songwriter Paul Jabara, who modestly noted on the LP’s back cover, “After working with Barbra, Donna and Diana – I began to get spoiled – I felt I could only work with ‘giants in the industry!’ I think I found them!”  And so the “Last Dance” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” auteur turned his attention to Two Tons o’ Fun.   Izora Rhodes Armstead and Martha Wash had toured with the one and only “Queen of Disco” Sylvester under that moniker between 1977 and 1981, and the name accurately reflected their big voices, outsized personalities and large girth.  But they were anointed in the title track of Success as “the toast of the eighties, The Weather Girls!”  Success – featuring, of course, “It’s Raining Men” – has just been reissued by the Cherry Pop label in a definitive remastered edition (CRPOP 124), adding eight rare tracks to its original six.

Jabara’s lavish productions were never known for their subtlety, and so the title song “Success” began with a Twentieth Century Fox-esque brass fanfare, a lion’s roar, and soaring horns and strings courtesy of Broadway veteran and current Dancing with the Stars musical director Harold Wheeler (Promises, Promises, Dreamgirls).  Co-written by Jabara and Bob Esty (Cher’s “Take Me Home”), “Success” plays like the Hollywood version of a Broadway musical finale in which the girls conquer the world…or at least, the stages of New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Studio 54, and The Palace Theatre!  Esty and Jabara even briefly quoted the title song of Henry Krieger’s Dreamgirls, which was surely no coincidence.  Dreamgirls’ book and lyrics were written by Tom Eyen, who collaborated with Jabara on the notorious 1973 musical Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don’t You Ever Forget It).

Equal parts brass and sass, Success rarely takes a breather from the camp-infused fun.  Hit the jump for much more, including order links and the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 17, 2013 at 10:28

Posted in News, Reissues, Reviews, The Weather Girls

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