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Archive for August 2013

Silk ‘N Honey: LITA’s Lee Hazlewood Archive Series Continues With “Honey Ltd.”

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Honey LtdLight in the Attic has a taste of Honey for you – Honey Ltd., that is.

The latest release in the label’s Lee Hazlewood Archive Series, The Complete LHI Recordings brings together the complete LHI Records output (1968-1969) of the girl group produced by Hazlewood and Mike Post, and arranged by Ian Fairbairn-Smith and Jack Nitzsche.  The 13-track anthology is available now.

Laura Polkinghorne, Marsha Jo Temmer and sisters Joan and Alexandra Silwin first raised their voices in song at Detroit’s Wayne State University.  Joan and Alexander had sung in church choirs since they were children, while Polkinghorne and Temmer met in junior high school and had performed together in local talent shows.  As The Mama Cats, the quartet came to the attention of Bob Seger’s manager Punch Andrews, and soon, they were playing clubs alongside the young Glenn Frey.  The Mama Cats and the future Eagle were even drafted to contribute backing vocals to Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and “Heavy Music.”  Seger, in turn, wrote the Mama Cats’ single of “My Boy” and “Miss You.”

In 1967, like so many before them, The Mama Cats headed to Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune.  Their first meeting was with one Barton Lee Hazlewood, then riding high from his Reprise Records production work with Nancy Sinatra and her famous pop.   His LHI label signed the group, rechristening them the far groovier Honey Ltd. and introducing them to the Hollywood pop elite.  Though the busy Hazlewood didn’t write any of Honey Ltd.’s material, his signing led to the release of the single “Tomorrow Your Heart” b/w “Come Down” and to appearances on television alongside Andy Williams, Joey Bishop and Ed Sullivan.

After the jump: what will you find on Honey Ltd.: The Complete LHI Recordings? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 30, 2013 at 11:00

Go To The Mirror! The Who To Reissue “Tommy” In Super Deluxe Style

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Tommy SDE

The amazing journey is about to continue.

Following the massive box sets accorded Live at Leeds and Quadrophenia, The Who have confirmed a Super Deluxe set of 1969’s Tommy just in time for the holidays.  The 3-CD/1-BD set, due in the U.K. on November 11 and in the U.S. on November 12, will include a newly remastered edition of the original album on one CD, a second disc of previously unissued demos and outtakes, a third CD of a 1969 live performance (drawn from numerous shows), and a Blu-ray containing the entire album in 5.1 surround sound.  The remastered Tommy will also be available in digital and vinyl formats.

Tommy, The Who’s fifth album, effectively added the phrase “rock opera” into the lexicon.  Chief songwriter Pete Townshend had previously experimented with extended song forms, most notably on 1966’s “A Quick One While He’s Away” from the A Quick One album.  But Tommy, produced by Kit Lambert, crystallized Townshend’s lofty ambitions into an electrifying work that was as creative as it was accessible.  With Roger Daltrey in the title role of the “deaf, dumb and blind boy,” Tommy combined muscular rock riffs with a rich array of characters that made the work so appealing to directors of both stage and screen.  Cinematic auteur Ken Russell brought Tommy to life in an exceedingly bizarre film version in 1975, and Des McAnuff worked with Townshend to give Tommy, Captain Walker, Cousin Kevin, Uncle Ernie and the rest stage immortality in 1993 via the Broadway musical The Who’s Tommy.  Those weren’t the only indelible incarnations of Tommy, though.  The band’s Woodstock performance has gone down in history, and other memorable versions include the original 1970 Seattle Opera staging (with the young Bette Midler as the Acid Queen!) and Lou Reizner’s 1972 symphonic concert event, preserved on its own two-LP set.

The 2013 Tommy reissue campaign will be available in a wide array of formats:

  • 3-CD/1-BD Super Deluxe Edition
  • 2-CD Deluxe Digipak Edition (CD 1 – Original Album, CD 2 – Live Bootleg)
  • 1-CD Remastered Edition (Original Album)
  • Deluxe 2-Piece Heavyweight Vinyl Edition (Original Album)
  • UVINYL website-exclusive vinyl version of live ‘bootleg’ album
  • Hi Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray standalone release
  • Digital Super Deluxe box set (Tracks from box set excluding 5.1 mixes, also available in Mastered-for-iTunes)
  • Deluxe Digital Edition (2-CD configuration, also available in Mastered-for-iTunes)

After the jump, we have more details including the full track listings for each disc! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2013 at 14:12

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, The Who

Review: Sly and the Family Stone, “Higher!”

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Sly and the Family Stone - HigherSly Stone was a sponge.

After leading Bobby “Do You Wanna Dance” Freeman to a hit record with 1965’s “C’mon and Swim,” the writer-producer-artist formerly known as Sylvester Stewart knew he had hit on a good thing.  Hence, “I Just Learned to Swim.”  Then, “Scat Swim.”  But on the latter, Stone was already showing off his stylistic diversity, interrupting the beat to “slow it down a little so everybody can swim” and then speeding it back up again.  He had soaked up the fertile creative atmosphere in the Bay Area, studying the music of those around him and learning what made a hit record.  The prodigiously gifted young man had studied music theory and composition at junior college and had already served as a disk jockey and producer at Autumn Records before signing with his new, gender- and racially-integrated band The Family Stone at Epic Records; the rest, as they say, is history.

Sly and the Family Stone matchlessly melded raucous group vocals over a background of throbbing horns, thumping bass and churchy organ, providing a timely soundtrack to a decade of upheaval.  The sounds created by Stone and co. between 1967 and 1975 – give or take a few years on either side – have never been too far from the mainstream of popular culture, with the band’s greatest hits remaining in frequent rotation on radio, on television and film soundtracks, and in the hands of hip-hop artists seeking that perfect sample.  Likewise, the core catalogue of Sly and the Family Stone has been a mainstay on compact disc, and the band’s first seven albums were issued in remastered editions in 2007.  Though those were collected in one box set, the Family Stone’s ouevre had never been anthologized in one career-spanning retrospective…until now.  Higher!, from Epic Records and Legacy Recordings (88697 53665 2), is a succinct, compelling 4-CD journey of discovery with Sly, his brother Freddie on vocals and guitar, his sister Rose on piano/keyboards, Jerry Martini on saxophone, Greg Errico on drums, Cynthia Robinson on trumpet, Larry Graham on bass and their cohorts.  Including familiar hits, deep cuts, rare mixes and a number of previously unissued tracks, it makes a potent case that Sly and the Family Stone was the right band for a turbulent time.  The group gleefully shattered both boundaries and expectations with a blend of soul, rock, R&B, psychedelia, jazz and funk, and made major strides in bringing the latter form into the mainstream.

Go Higher after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2013 at 11:25

Reissue Theory: “Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker”

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moonwalkerWelcome to yet another installment of Reissue Theory, where we celebrate notable releases and the reissues they could someday see. On the King of Pop’s birthday, we remember one of the Bad era’s least-remembered but most captivating pieces of merchandise: Michael Jackson’s first feature film.

The past year has seen quite the revival of interest in Michael Jackson’s 1987 album Bad. It’s hard to imagine an album that sold multiplatinum levels of records and spawned a record-setting five consecutive No. 1 hits might be considered “overrated” or “underrated,” but then again, how many albums have to follow up Thriller, Jackson’s magnum opus and the best-selling album in history?

In 2012, Legacy Recordings honored Bad with a lavish 25th anniversary box set featuring some intriguing unreleased demos and a captivating solo concert from London’s Wembley Arena in 1988. This year, Bad and its gems were featured in two specially-created digital box sets for iTunes, and, to time with a new Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, Legacy released Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary – shown in edited form on American network television last winter – in full on DVD and Blu-Ray. (As our friends at Popblerd can tell you, it’s absolutely essential viewing for fans of all shades.)

With this level of product, it’s hard to wish that there could be just one more title to satiate fan desire. But, as is so often the case, there’s certainly one more worthy release from the Bad era – and its absence has, it seems, less to do with oversaturating the market and more to do with who has the rights. I’m talking, of course, about Jackson’s strangely captivating feature film, Moonwalker.

Intended to tie a bow around the Bad era, Moonwalker is essentially a film-length collection of short-form music videos and longer featurettes. The most present “plot” is in the nearly-hourlong film for “Smooth Criminal,” the seventh and final U.S. single from Bad (and its sixth Top 10). In it, Jackson acts as a protector to a trio of plucky kids (one of whom is Sean Lennon, John and Yoko’s son) from a group of ruthless gangsters, led by a delightfully manic Joe Pesci (a full three years before his Oscar win for Goodfellas). Car chases abound, Michael leads an elaborate Fosse/Minnelli-esque dance number to “Smooth Criminal” (complete with his newest choreographed trick, the anti-gravity lean) and…well, let’s just say you haven’t lived until you’ve seen MJ turn into a robot spaceship.

That one clip could sum up the intense, grandiose art of the Bad album – but Michael’s attention doesn’t stay that focused. Moonwalker features Michael dancing with a Claymation biker rabbit (“Speed Demon”), lampooning his own image by turning himself into a carnival (“Leave Me Alone”), covering The Beatles’ “Come Together” and overseeing a shot-for-shot remake of Martin Scorsese’s “Bad” short film starring a cast of children. Add in your usual dose of MJ mythologizing (a 10-minute montage of his accomplishments to date) and you’ve got a lengthy but rarely boring addition to the Michael Jackson catalogue.

After the jump, we talk why Moonwalker is more or less M.I.A. on DVD, and what we’d add to it if it were available!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 29, 2013 at 10:40

Madness to Reissue “Take It or Leave It” on DVD

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Madness Take It or Leave ItMadness may be all in the mind, but in October it’ll be on your TV screens thanks to a new reissue of the band’s film, Take It or Leave It, coming from Salvo Music in October.

Directed by Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson and released in 1981, Take It or Leave It is a docudrama about the beloved British ska group, combining staged vignettes with live footage and other fun stuff. Released in conjunction with the band’s third album, 7, the film features various studio and live versions of songs from the band’s discography up to that point, including “One Step Beyond,” “Baggy Trousers” and many more. (One song, “Sunshine Voice,” remains unreleased on any album.)

Salvo’s new reissue of Take It or Leave It features, for the first time, a soundtrack CD. Alas, “Sunshine Voice” isn’t included, in favor of a simple compilation of released songs from the film (including two non-Madness tracks). The new DVD does, however, retain a 2002 commentary on the film recorded by Robinson with Madness guitarist Chris Foreman. (A bit of bad news for collectors outside of the U.K., though: Amazon lists the DVD as PAL formatted only.)

In any case, it’s due out on October 7; pre-order links and a track list for the soundtrack are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 28, 2013 at 16:14

Posted in DVD, Madness, News, Reissues

Review: Bob Dylan, “The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait”

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Dylan Bootleg 10Who is Bob Dylan?

Today, he might identify himself as “a song and dance man,” a noble profession if there ever was one.  But for decades, the man born Robert Zimmerman has been much, much more.  Resistant though he might have been to the tag of “spokesman of a generation,” said generation could have done much worse.  To describe Dylan’s role in the 1960s is certainly to paint with broad brushstrokes.  But it can be said with some measure of truth that Dylan liberated popular music from the dominance of conventional love songs, challenged notions of what a singing voice should sound like, and popularized the singer-songwriter before the term even existed.  He also gave voice in those early years to characters – real and imagined, living and dead – who couldn’t speak for themselves, frequently championing those who were oppressed, wronged, or simply downtrodden.  So when Dylan announced an album called Self Portrait, it seemed possible that the songwriter who brought to life sweet Marie, Queen Jane, Maggie (of farm fame), Quinn the Eskimo, Mr. Tambourine Man, and the man who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat might be looking inward.

Instead, when Self Portrait arrived on June 8, 1970, listeners found him warbling Rodgers and Hart (“Blue Moon”), Gordon Lightfoot (“Early Morning Rain”) and most bizarrely, Simon and Garfunkel – as both Paul and Artie (“The Boxer”)!  The sprawling double-LP set mixed these frankly strange pop covers with live tracks, old folk songs and new, seemingly tossed-off originals.  It was also unexplainably awash in overdubs of the kind not usually associated with Dylan – right down to cooing female backing vocals.  But now, the curtains can be drawn to reveal what Self Portrait might have been.  The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) offers a glimpse into the man’s musical muse during that crucial time period via outtakes, alternate takes and non-overdubbed versions of songs recorded primarily for Self Portrait and its follow-up New Morning, with a handful of other detours including 1967’s The Basement Tapes sessions and 1969’s Nashville SkylineAnother Self Portrait is available in both a standard 2-CD version, and a 4-CD box also containing a remastered edition of the original Self Portrait and Dylan and The Band’s complete August 31, 1969 concert at the Isle of Wight.  Over the course of these 35 songs traversing country, blues, folk, pop and rock, the period comes into focus with newfound clarity and vibrancy.  The frequently stark arrangements afford a glimpse into a musical soul all but hidden on the original Self Portrait.

There’s plenty more on Bob after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 28, 2013 at 10:26

Posted in Bob Dylan, Box Sets, Compilations, News, Reviews

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Midnight Special: Sweet “Rocky Horror” Reissues on Tap

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Rocky Horror BoxA toast! A famed box set of music from The Rocky Horror Show is coming back into print, as well as a new reissue of the original film soundtrack on CD and vinyl, 40 years after the show first Time Warped into the hearts of fans.

There comes a time in many music and theatre enthusiasts’ lives when they encounter The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien’s raucous cult musical, which first premiered in London’s West End in the summer of 1973. More than 35 years after it was adapted into The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the legacy not only survives but thrives thanks to consistent live revivals and midnight screenings of said film, heavy on costumes, camaraderie and audience participation. The enduring musical legacy of Rocky Horror includes some killer pop-rock tunes written for stage and screen (“Dammit Janet,” “Sweet Transvestite” and the unforgettable “The Time Warp”) – all ably performed by killer casts (famous members including Meat Loaf, “Little” Nell Campbell and, of course, Tim Curry as the cross-dressing Dr. Frank N. Furter).

In the early CD era, Rhino Records (prior to its acquisition by Warner Music Group) did a pretty stellar job of preserving that musical legacy, releasing a four-disc box set for the film’s 15th anniversary in 1990. This box included two Rocky Horror albums released by Ode Records – the original 1975 film soundtrack and a cast album from the show’s run at Los Angeles’ Roxy Theatre in 1974 – and two compilations of curiosities related to the show, from solo singles by Little Nell and Curry and tracks from O’Brien’s follow-up project Shock Treatment to selections from a number of international cast albums. On September 2, that box set will be reissued by Salvo, featuring the same four discs and a 24-page booklet of liner notes and photos – all packaged in a five-panel digipak with slipcase.

Rocky Horror Picture ShowBut the party doesn’t stop there! The original film’s soundtrack is slated for a reissue on CD (in a digipak) and vinyl (at least one source reports this to be a red vinyl pressing) on October 8. The exact distributor is undetermined; Amazon lists “Ode Sounds & Visuals” as the label, as Ode founder Lou Adler still retains the soundtrack’s rights. (Most of Ode’s catalogue is licensed and distributed through Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings arm.) But the original album repertoire is intact, down to the two extra bonus tracks first released on CD in 1989.

You can pre-order the TRHPS reissue on Amazon (CD and LP), and find the full track list and pre-order links for the Salvo box after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 28, 2013 at 10:05

La-La Land Re-Enters “The Matrix,” Draws “Wyatt Earp” for Milestone Release

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Wyatt EarpLa-La Land’s latest releases celebrate the ongoing legacy of the music of Warner Bros. Pictures, from modern Westerns to ultramodern action flicks – not to mention another landmark in the label’s own discography.

For its 250th release, La-La Land has greatly expanded James Newton Howard’s score to Wyatt Earp, Lawrence Kasdan’s 1994 drama about the real-life lawman starred Kevin Costner as the titular Earp and co-starred Gene Hackman and Dennis Quaid. Despite its star power, it was considerably less successful than Tombstone, Hollywood’s other adaptation of the Earp legend. (Costner in fact bowed out of that picture over creative disagreements and, reportedly, used some of his towering influence in the business to reduce its chances of being made. Unfortunately for him, that didn’t seem to work.)

But one thing is certain: Newton Howard’s grandiose score remains not only one of the film’s highlights, but an important latter-day entry in the scoring of Western films. And for the first time, it’s presented in its full form: a triple-disc set that not only includes the complete, unedited score, but an entire disc of early and alternate versions, album edits and other bonus ephemera. Tim Grieving contributes in-depth liner notes to this title, limited to 3,000 units and, like the label’s expansion of Rosewood, specially labeled with Warner’s 90th anniversary symbol to represent the studio’s ongoing milestone.

Matrix ReloadedThat Warner tradition is also on display with La-La Land’s other score reissue of the week: a two-disc expanded presentation of Don Davis’ action-packed score to 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded. The no-holds-barred sequel to the wildly successful sci-fi/action film created by Lana and Andy Wachowski featured Keanu Reeves once again as Neo, the all-powerful freedom fighter leading his human cohorts (including Laurence Fishburne and Carrie Anne Moss as Morpheus and Trinity) against the corrupt machines and their real-life simulation program, The Matrix. Along the way, Neo will come face to face once more with his archenemy, the nefarious program Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who has become even more powerful since their last encounter.

While Reloaded and its sequel, The Matrix Revolutions, were heavy on big concepts that at times threatened to derail the awesome visuals and high-concept set pieces, the music of Don Davis was one of a great many highlights from the entire series. For both sequels, the composer joined forces with a number of electronic and trance artists, including Juno Reactor, Rob Dougan and Fluke, to create a markedly different score than what was heard in The Matrix. While this double-disc presentation is not complete (several score tracks were unable to be used due to licensing restrictions), it is the most complete set from the film on the market, and features for the first time several of Davis’ original, pre-electronic cues. Limited to 3,500 copies, Reloaded is ready to order today as well.

Order links and full track lists for both titles are waiting for you after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 27, 2013 at 16:21

“The Bells Ring,” Again: New Wave Outfit Swimming Pool Q’s Reissue A&M Works on Deluxe Compilation

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Swimming Pool Q'sHere’s a surprising treat from earlier in the summer: New Wave outfit The Swimming Pool Q’s recently re-released their two albums for A&M Records with a host of bonus content.

The Atlanta-based quintet – anchored by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Calder and guitarist Bob Elsey (the band’s principal songwriters) and singer/keyboardist Anne Richmond Boston – enjoyed local success on the DB Records label (alongside acts like Pylon and Love Tractor) before making the jump to the majors with their 1985 self-titled album on A&M. Propelled by a catchy MTV hit, “The Bells Ring,” The Q’s were a little darker than their jangly brethren down south, which was good enough for Lou Reed, who had the band open for him while touring the New Sensations album.


But the band never enjoyed the same kind of college-rock breakthrough as others on the Georgia rock scene, and A&M dropped them after a second album, Blue Tomorrow. Another EP for DB and a 1989 album for Capitol, World War Two Point Five (neither of which featured Boston), was followed by a lengthy hiatus. The band reformed to promote an expanded reissue of their first DB album in 2001, and a new album, 2003’s The Royal Academy of Reality, soon followed.

The Swimming Pool Q’s newest project, The A&M Years 1984-1986, was funded with the help of fans on Kickstarter, and is available in two distinct packages. One is a simple two-disc set featuring remastered versions of both albums, The Swimming Pool Q’s and Blue Tomorrow. The other is a four-disc set that adds a bonus CD and DVD of rare and unreleased material. These include single remixes from New Wave/alt-rock heavy-hitters Mike Howlett and Scott Litt as well as several studio versions of long-unreleased live favorites. Thirteen promo clips, rare television appearances and homemade featurettes feature on the accompanying DVD.

This intriguing portion of New Wave history is available to order now; a full track listing and Amazon links are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 27, 2013 at 12:30

Review: The Beach Boys, “Made in California”

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Beach Boys Made in California BoxIf everybody had an ocean…

Rarely have five simple words in pop music held such promise.  The message at the time was an invitation squarely aimed at teens: “If everybody had an ocean, across the USA/Then everybody’d be surfin’ like Califor-ni-a…”  But ultimately, the promise and California dream embodied by Hawthorne, CA’s native sons came to mean so much more than mere surfin’.  The sound of The Beach Boys – Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar – has crossed generational and genre lines for over five decades.  The group’s ocean of possibility has led to works of great beauty, joy, melancholy and triumph – in other words, the human experience.  It’s not bad for a group who began in primitive fashion, marrying doo-wop vocalizations to a basic melody as they exhorted, “Surfin’ is the only life, the only way for me, now, surf, surf, with me!”  The story of that band – from “Surfin’” to 2012’s Top 5 LP That’s Why God Made the Radio and beyond – is told on the new 6-CD box set Made in California (Capitol/UMe B0018509-02).  “Box set” isn’t quite accurate, though – try “book set,” as Made in California is cleverly designed in the style of a high school yearbook, complete with inscriptions from Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce and David, advertisements from merchants of days gone by, articles including a high school essay written by Brian, and numerous photographs.  In fact, the band’s (near-) entire story is told in their own words – including quotes from the late Dennis and Carl.  (Emphasis on “near” as the yearbook skips from the early 1980s to the 2012 reunion!)

We’re goin’ to the beach right after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 27, 2013 at 11:27