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Archive for September 2013

The Discs (Are Out Tonight): Bowie’s Newest LP Expanded to Three-Disc Set

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Bowie The Next Day ExtraOf all the comeback stories in 2013, perhaps none may have been more intriguing than the master of comebacks, David Bowie. The legendary rocker kicked off his 66th year with a surprise announcement: his first album of new material in a decade. Recorded in secret over a two-year period with producer Tony Visconti, The Next Day was met with critical acclaim – our own Joe Marchese called it “an angry, electric exploration of where he is now, where he was then, and where he will likely be…not a reinvention, but rather a resurgence.”

Joe in fact noted some 30 tracks were reportedly recorded for the album – and, in another surprise, a triple-disc reissue of the album will bring some of those tracks to light, along with other bonus material. The Next Day Extra features a bonus CD featuring four previously-released cuts (three from a deluxe CD package released alongside the album and another Japanese-only bonus track), two new remixes of album cuts “Love is Lost” (remixed by James Murphy of LCD Soundsytem) and “I’d Rather Be High,” and four new songs: “Atomica,” “The Informer,” “Like a Rocket Man” and “Born in a UFO.”

The set is rounded out with a region-free DVD collating all of the visually arresting videos made for the album’s singles, “Where Are We Now?,” “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the title track and “Valentine’s Day.” It all comes in a cleanly-designed Barnbrook package featuring two booklets – one with lyrics and one featuring stills from the videos. (For those who just want the bonus tracks without buying the set again, a digital EP will be released presenting that second disc, minus the tracks from the deluxe edition.)

The Next Day Extra materializes into stores on November 4. Pre-order links are not live, but the full rundown of the set is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 30, 2013 at 11:30

Posted in David Bowie, News, Reissues

Back to Ocean Boulevard: Eric Clapton’s “Give Me Strength: The ’74/’75 Recordings” Expands Three Vintage Albums

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Eric Clapton - Give Me StrengthWhat’s better than one deluxe edition of an Eric Clapton album?  How about three?  And how about if they’re housed in one package?

On November 26 December 10, Universal Music Group will unveil the 5-CD/1-Blu-ray box Eric Clapton – Give Me Strength: The ’74/’75 Recordings, featuring remastered and expanded versions of 461 Ocean Boulevard, There’s One in Every Crowd and E.C. Was Here, plus additional material and a Blu-ray of surround mixes.  Housed in a hardbound 60-page book, the box set is an exhaustive compendium of Clapton’s seminal “comeback” recordings between April 1974 and June 1975.  Give Me Strength follows Universal’s past boxes dedicated to Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and Clapton’s 1977 Slowhand, and includes:

  • 88 remastered, remixed, rare unreleased and live recordings, including session outtakes, from studio albums 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One in Every Crowd, and live album E.C. Was Here on 5 CDs;
  • A new, never-before-released 5.1 surround sound mix of 461 Ocean Boulevard by Elliot Scheiner, and original quadraphonic mixes of 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One in Every Crowd.

When Clapton scored in 1974 with 461 Ocean Boulevard and its chart-topping single “I Shot the Sheriff,” both on Robert Stigwood’s RSO label, the guitar god was emerging from a period of relative inactivity.  Following the November 1970 release of Derek and the Dominos’ sole long-player Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and the ensuing tour at the end of that year, Clapton kept a low profile for much of 1971 and 1972 to battle an ongoing drug problem.  (His participation in The Concert for Bangla Desh was one appearance during that dark period.)  Two January 1973 concerts yielded the September release of Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert, on which he was joined by fellow rock royalty including Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi.  In early 1974, he found time to appear in Ken Russell’s starry film adaptation of Townshend’s Tommy.  But Clapton signaled that he truly was out of the darkness – for the time being, at least – with the arrival of 461 Ocean Boulevard, so named for a Golden Beach, Florida residence where the cover photograph was shot.

We have plenty more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 30, 2013 at 10:11

Posted in Box Sets, Eric Clapton, News

Hey, Ho, Let’s Go: Rhino Boxes Up Some Ramones Records on CD

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Ramones Sire YearsRhino continues its affordable/collectible album box set streak with New York’s own Ramones.

The Sire Years 1976-1981 is just that: a box collating Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy and (from 1978’s Road to Ruin onward) Marky’s first six albums for Seymour Stein’s label – three hours of classics from one of the defining bands of the punk rock movement. Ramones (1976), Leave HomeRocket to Russia (both 1977), Road to Ruin, the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century (1980) and Pleasant Dreams (1981) are all included here.

While it’s a solid addition to your or someone else’s collection, it should be noted that this box will not feature any of the great bonus tracks Rhino dug up for a lengthy series of Ramones remasters in 2001 and 2002. (An additional two albums for Sire, Subterranean Jungle (1983) and Too Tough to Die (1984), were also expanded.) The label confirmed this to us late last week, adding that the same mastering from those reissues will be preserved on this set.

The approximate price per disc for the box is not that different from picking up the expanded remasters in a store, so if bonus tracks aren’t necessarily your thing, The Sire Years 1976-1981 is yours to pick up on October 29. You can order it at Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 30, 2013 at 09:54

Posted in Box Sets, News, Ramones, Reissues

It’s a New Reissue, Charlie Brown! Classic Christmas LP Expanded Again (and Reissued Again!)

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A Charlie Brown Christmas Snoopy Doghouse EditionUPDATE (9/27/2013): If you missed this remaster of A Charlie Brown Christmas (which we later reviewed) last year, fear not: it’s being released again – same disc, same master – with special “Snoopy Doghouse” packaging on October 22, 2013. That version can be bought by clicking the image above.

ORIGINAL POST (8/23/2012): Around Second Disc HQ, it’s hardly a Christmas season without good friends and family, beautiful decorations, and classic holiday music. For this holiday, a new CD edition of one of our favorite Christmas classics is coming out with a new remaster of Vince Guaraldi’s immortal soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).

Vince Guaraldi would have likely attained icon status with his 1962 song “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” a breezy, Grammy-winning tune that seemed destined to become a standard. The song was heard by television producer Lee Mendelson, who was in the middle of finding a composer to provide a soundtrack to A Boy Named Charlie Brown, a documentary Mendelson was producing on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip. Though the documentary was never aired on TV, Guaraldi’s music coupled with new animation of Charlie Brown and friends by Bill Melendez encouraged CBS to take a chance on a half-hour holiday special featuring the characters.

Despite a tight budget and a cast of young, untrained voice actors, A Charlie Brown Christmas became a rightful smash, viewed by half of the American television audiences in its premiere broadcast. To this day, dozens of Peanuts specials – some with music by and inspired by Guaraldi (who died in 1976) – have been made, and A Charlie Brown Christmas is still a network television staple.

The album, containing the unforgettable originals “Christmas Time is Here” and “Linus and Lucy” – the de facto theme for all things Peanuts – is a catalogue classic, having been released in a few different configurations by Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group over the years. (The 1988 CD premiere added one bonus track, “Greensleeves,” while a 2006 remaster added several alternate cues. That disc did court controversy, however, by utilizing a new remix and accidentally using alternate takes of some familiar songs. An amazing history of the soundtrack and its many reissues can be read here.)

Charlie Brown Christmas 2012 remasterThe new edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas – newly remastered from the original analog stereo mixes by Joe Tarantino – also features new liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang and three additional bonus tracks: “Greensleeves,” “Thanksgiving Theme” and “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.” (Both were featured on the 1998 Concord disc Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits.) Additionally, a new green-colored vinyl release of the album will be available.

The discs are available October 9. Hit the jump to order your copy!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 27, 2013 at 12:35

Review: Harry Nilsson, “Flash Harry”

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Harry Nilsson - Flash HarryWhen Harry Nilsson’s The RCA Albums Collection was finally unveiled earlier this year by Legacy Recordings, many finally stood up and took notice of the gifted singer-songwriter whose art deftly blended the high and the low, the angelic and the devilish, the euphoric and the melancholy.  That astounding box set included each one of Nilsson’s albums for the RCA label – in other words, his entire solo discography save one album.  And now, that final missing link is finally here, on CD to join its brethren.  At long last…Flash Harry!

A series of incidents, ranging from lack of promotion to the label’s release of a “greatest hits” collection with a Harry lookalike on its cover (!), led Nilsson to sever his ties with the only record company he ever truly called home.  1977’s Knnillssonn turned out to be his final RCA album, but in 1980, it was time to greet the new decade with a new label (Mercury) and a new album: Flash Harry.  Problem was, hardly anybody ever heard it!  Despite a starry array of musicians including Van Dyke Parks, Ringo Starr, Lowell George, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Keith Allison, Dr. John and Klaus Voormann, a name producer (Stax guitar great Steve Cropper) and an eclectic crop of songs, the LP was withheld from release in North America.  Issued only in Europe and Japan, Harry disappeared in, well, a Flash.  It’s never been reissued in any format, until now.  Varese Sarabande has rescued Nilsson’s studio swansong and reissued it on both vinyl and CD, and it makes a perfect complement – indeed, a necessary one – to the expansive RCA box.

A taut collection of just ten loose songs, Flash Harry has an air of an artist not taking himself too seriously, for good or ill.  Blink and you will have missed it – and given the album’s fate, this ephemeral quality is fitting.  Despite Cropper’s presence as co-producer (with Cherokee Studios’ owner/engineer Bruce Robb), Flash Harry isn’t Nilsson’s “R&B album.”  There are soulful elements for sure – but Nilsson, even at his most vocally diminished, always possessed a soulful tone.  Cropper may have brought that timbre of his voice out on Flash Harry, but moreover, its spirited, anything-goes party vibe both stands in marked contrast to, and as a natural continuation of, RCA farewell Knnillssonn.  That underrated classic brought Nilsson full circle to his ornate, early productions for the label, with the stunning ballad “All I Think About is You” and sweet “Perfect Day” taking spots alongside calypso, rock and theatrical vaudeville excursions.  Flash Harry lacks anything as beautiful or evocative as those two songs or the equally-wonderful “Blanket for a Sail.”  But it has the same rollicking stylistic diversity as its predecessor of three years earlier.  By 1980, Nilsson had committed himself to penning musicals for stage and screen, and those projects informed his work on the album, as well.

Join us for more in a Flash – just hit the jump!

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Written by Joe Marchese

September 27, 2013 at 09:38

Posted in Harry Nilsson, News, Reissues, Reviews

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ELP “Works” Hard on Vintage Live Set from Shout! Factory, “Boys Club” Set Makes CD Debut

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P Montreal 1977Fans of Emerson, Lake & Palmer – not to mention fans of Keith Emerson’s live work with Marc Bonilla and Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes – have got two new sets to look forward to this season.

Shout! Factory will release Live in Montreal 1977 on November 12. Recorded in support of Works Volume 1 – a double album which featured Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer each taking the reins on writing and production on three sides and two lengthy tracks (“Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Pirates”) on the fourth – Live in Montreal 1977 features tracks from all sides of that set, plus a healthy selection of prog-oriented fan favorites from the band’s discography up to that point (“Karn Evil 9,” “Pictures At an Exhibition,” “Nutrocker”). This tour (and possibly this date), which also featured an intricate but costly orchestral accompaniment, has been represented on record before as 1979’s In Concert album, released after the band’s ill-received Love Beach (1978) and subsequent breakup, and by Castle in the U.K. as the double-disc Works Live in 1993.

Emerson Hughes BonillaRecently, Varese Sarabande has also taken to releasing a live show featuring one of the ELP members. At San Francisco’s Maritime Hall on May 15, 1998, Keith Emerson took the stage with Glenn Hughes, former bassist/vocalist for the Mk. III and Mk. IV lineups of Deep Purple (the pair first met when Deep Purple and ELP co-headlined the California Jam in 1974), and guitarist Marc Bonilla (who would later join Emerson’s backing band). The trio tackled tunes popularized by ELP (“Tarkus,” “Fanfare for the Common Man”), solo tracks by Bonilla (“Afterburner,” “White Noise”) and a Hughes-led rendition of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Released on CD by a U.K. label in 2009, Varese’s release marks the premiere release of the full show across two discs.

Boys Club Live in California is available now; you can order it (and pre-order ELP’s Live in Montreal 1977) after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 26, 2013 at 16:35

RPM Rescues “The Sixties Sounds of Tim Andrews” On New Anthology

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Tim Andrews - SuburbiaWill the real Chris Andrews please stand up?

Well, that’s easier said than done.  Singer/songwriter Chris Andrews is known for penning hits such as Sandie Shaw’s “Girl Don’t Come” and “Long Live Love,” but there’s another Chris Andrews who rose to prominence during the same era – and also did so in Swingin’ London.  This man of the same name recorded with The Gremlins and The Fleur de Lys, and sang the lead on the 1967 hit U.K. single “Reflections of Charles Brown,” issued under the name of Rupert’s People.  This “other” Chris Andrews is the subject of RPM’s Something About Suburbia, credited to Tim Andrews – the name he took on to avoid confusion with his contemporary.   (Wikipedia – among other online sources – is still mixed up, crediting the Sandie Shaw-associated Chris with the Tim Andrews recordings.)  This 16-track anthology brings together a number of singles released under the Tim Andrews name, as well as tracks from The Gremlins, The Fleur de Lys and Rupert’s People.

Reissue co-producer Stefan Granados tells the whole Chris/Tim Andrews story in the liner notes of Something About Suburbia.  Andrews, born in London, entered show business at an early age, replacing a certain David Jones as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! and eventually appearing in the American touring company, as well.  When Andrews returned to London in late 1965, he joined the Spencer Davis Group-esque band The Gremlins, represented here with their 1966 garage-style rendition of that band’s “High Time Baby.”  It was childhood friend Phil Sawyer – a future member of the Spencer Davis Group, in fact – who enlisted Andrews into the Fleur de Lys.  With Sawyer, he co-wrote the energetic, snarling “Mud in Your Eye,” but it soon, Sawyer departed the band ranks to join Shotgun Express.  (Trivia fans, take note: Rod Stewart is another alumnus of Shotgun Express.)

Andrews stayed onboard, recording the psychedelic Columbia single “Reflections of Charles Brown” b/w “Hold On” as a side project with members of Fleur de Lys for producer Howard Conder.  “Reflections,” however, was quickly recognized as being rather derivative of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” so the decision was made to release it under the pseudonym of Rupert’s People.  (“Whiter Shade” was released in May 1967 and charted the following month; “Reflections” also arrived that summer.  It’s been mooted that “Reflections” may have been recorded earlier than the Procol Harum song, but “Whiter Shade” was released first, causing the trouble.)  The single was a minor hit, charting in Australia and receiving frequent play on pirate radio, but its success backfired on the Fleur de Lys.  Soon, Conder was recruiting another band to perform as Rupert’s People.  Andrews reveals to Granados that the situation “in a sense, broke the band up in a way.”  Both sides of Columbia DB 8226 are included here.

You’ll find the rest of the story after the jump, including the full track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2013 at 13:48

Everything is (More Than) Everything: Unreleased Donny Hathaway Works Compiled on New Box Set (UPDATED 9/26)

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Hathaway Never My LoveUPDATE (9/26/2013): After initially posting this was to be released in France, we were pleased to receive confirmation that this box, in fact, will be released stateside as well! We have amended the release date and pre-order links accordingly.

AMENDED POST (9/23/2013): Several years after a great career-spanning box set from France, Rhino is releasing another new box by the late soul legend Donny Hathaway, with two discs of unreleased studio and live content.

Never My Love: The Anthology takes its name from the classic Donald and Richard Addrisi composition, taken to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. As we discovered this year thanks to a 45RPM single released for Record Store Day, Hathaway cut his own soulful version, one of 13 tracks on a disc of unreleased studio material. Though much of the material on this disc never made it past the demo/work-in-progress stage, it makes for an intriguing look at the scope of Hathaway’s ambition – particularly the disc’s closing “ZYXYGY Concerto,” a 20-minute, multi-movement piece recorded in the fall of 1973 after a summer touring with the Newport Jazz Festival.

Hathaway’s live prowess takes hold of Disc 3, compiled from nine sets at New York’s historic Bitter End between October 27 and 29, 1971. Donny tackles both his signature hits (“Voices Inside (Everything is Everything),” “Little Ghetto Boy”) and killer covers (Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”) with equal aplomb.  (Of course, four songs from those sets made up the second side of Hathaway’s Live album in 1972, but the songs replicated here – “Everything is Everything” and “Jealous Guy” – are alternate to what’s on the original album.)

And what will you find on the other two discs? Hit the jump to find out.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 26, 2013 at 11:23

Positively Bob Dylan: “Complete Album Collection” Box Set Arrives In November

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Dylan Complete 2

Is it rolling, Bob?

Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings certainly have the ball rolling on the remarkable ouevre of Bob Dylan.  Hot on the heels of Another Self Portrait, the rapturously-received tenth installment of The Bootleg Series, the labels have just confirmed the November 5 release of a Dylanologist’s dream: The Complete Album Collection Volume One.  Yes, they’re all here – each one of the core, full-length live and studio albums released by the former Robert Allen Zimmerman on the Columbia and Asylum labels between 1962 and 2012.  It’s a tour of people and places, real and imagined, all filtered through one singular perspective.  By the numbers, that’s 35 studio albums (including the much-maligned 1973 LP Dylan in its first North American CD reissue), six live albums, and a new 2-CD collection of odds and ends entitled Side Tracks for a total of 47 discs.  It, of course, adds up to a visit with Silvio, Isis, the Jokerman, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, and even the man who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat – by way of Brownsville, Duquesne and Highway 61.

Following similar sets for Tony Bennett and Johnny Cash, Dylan’s whole career arc can be found on The Complete Album Collection Volume One.  And what an arc it’s been, from convention-defying, folk-singing, protest-slinging “voice of a generation” to electric rocker to country crooner to born-again musical preacher to elder statesman to self-described “song and dance man.”   Along the way, Dylan challenged notions of what a song could express, and paved the way for every young kid with a guitar and a dream to make his voice heard.  Even today, there may be “another side of Bob Dylan” waiting to be revealed on record.  Who else would have followed a genuine tribute to the Tin Pan Alley tunesmiths of yore on 2009’s Christmas in the Heart with 2012’s dark, brooding and very appropriately-named Tempest?  Even as he criss-crosses the world over and over again on a so-called “never-ending tour,” Dylan remains the epitome of an enigma.  But if there are answers to be revealed, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to start than The Complete Album Collection Volume One.

After the jump, we’ll explore exactly what you’ll find here!  Plus: pre-order links and a complete album listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2013 at 10:18

Gary Moore is “Back on the Streets” with Bonus Tracks

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Back on the StreetsIn addition to more reissues from Thin Lizzy, Universal U.K. will reissue the first solo album by one of the band’s guitarists, Gary Moore.

Back on the Streets, released by MCA in 1978, was, on a technicality, Moore’s second solo effort, after 1973’s Grinding Stone, released by CBS and credited to The Gary Moore Band. Prior to that album, Moore at the age of 16, played guitar in the Irish psych-blues outfit Skid Row, led by a young Irishman named Phil Lynott. Though Lynott was dropped from the band within a year of forming in 1967, both men were quality collaborators, with Moore being recruited by Lynott to play on “Still in Love with You,” a favorite track on Thin Lizzy’s Nightlife album in 1974. (Moore was the band’s full-time guitarist for 1979, after the departure of Brian Robinson, and contributed heavily to the group’s acclaimed Black Rose: A Rock Legend. He would rejoin Thin Lizzy for their last celebratory gigs in 1983, as chronicled on the Life album, and played with the band in a one-off reunion at Self Aid in 1986. Bob Geldof sang in place of the recently-departed Lynott.)

Lynott’s presence is all over Moore’s Back on the Streets: he sings and plays bass on three of the album’s tracks: a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” (recast as a slow-burning song, which Lynott later revealed was closer to the song’s originally intended arrangement), and “Fanatical Fascists” and the U.K. Top 10 single “Parisienne Walkways,” which he wrote and co-wrote with Moore, respectively. Lynott also contributed to a non-LP single, “Spanish Guitar”; in one of the more collectible accidents of Lynott’s career, a batch of the single was mispressed with Lynott on lead vocals instead of Moore.

This remastered and expanded edition features both versions of “Spanish Guitar” as bonus tracks, as well as the song’s instrumental version released as the B-side of the single and another non-LP B-side, “Track Nine.” It’s a fitting tribute to Moore, beloved by U.K. rock fans far beyond his sudden passing in 2011.

The expanded Back on the Streets is due next week in the U.K.; hit the jump for pre-order links and the full track list!

Back on the Streets: Expanded Edition (originally released as MCA Records MCF-2583, 1978 – reissued Universal (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. Back on the Streets
  2. Don’t Believe a Word
  3. Fanatical Fascists
  4. Flight of the Snow Moose
  5. Hurricane
  6. Song for Donna
  7. What Would You Rather Bee or a Wasp
  8. Parisienne Walkways
  9. Track Nine (single B-side – MCA Records 386, 1978)
  10. Spanish Guitar (Phil Lynott vocal) (single A-side – MCA Records 534 (alternate pressing), 1979)
  11. Spanish Guitar (single A-side – MCA Records 534, 1979)
  12. Spanish Guitar (Instrumental) (single B-side – MCA Records 534, 1979)

Written by Mike Duquette

September 25, 2013 at 15:55