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Archive for August 29th, 2013

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