The Second Disc

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Archive for September 3rd, 2013

Hot Stuff: Donna Summer’s Legacy Celebrated with New Remix Album

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Love to Love You DonnaThe sudden passing of Donna Summer in 2012 had fans old and new flocking to her music to hear some of the finest disco music imaginable. This fall, Verve Records will bring that legacy into a new era with Love to Love You Donna, a set featuring new remixes of her most enduring tracks.

Happily, Love to Love You Donna features more than its share of enduring remixers to give Summer’s hits the respect they deserve. Electronic funk duo Chromeo tackles her 1982 hit “Love is in Control (Finger on the Trigger),” England’s Hot Chip reconfigure “Sunset People,” a deep cut from the Bad Girls LP and Afrojack (who remixed Michael Jackson’s Bad for Legacy’s 25th anniversary edition of the album) lends his talents to “I Feel Love.”

But the most notable collaborator is one of the most famous in Summer’s career. Giorgio Moroder, the Italian songwriter/producer who established his career in the States as one of Summer’s primary collaborators, from 1974’s debut Lady of the Night to 1980’s The Wanderer (plus unreleased 1981 project I’m a Rainbow, which finally made it to CD in 1996), provides a new mix of “Love to Love You Baby” with producer/remixer Chris Cox. An unreleased Summer/Moroder collaboration, “La Dolce Vita,” closes out the 13-track disc.

Love to Love You Donna is out October 22. Track list (courtesy of Idolator) and Amazon U.S. link are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 3, 2013 at 16:13

Disco Connection: BBR Spins Dance Gold With Latest Reissues

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T-ConnectionAt Big Break Records, no stone has been left unturned in the label’s quest to reissue the best in soul, R&B, dance and disco, as evidenced by five of the Cherry Red imprint’s latest catalogue expansions.

1971’s “Funky Nassau” by The Beginning of the End established the Bahamas as a fertile ground for musical invention when the single on Henry Stone’s Alston label became a Top 15 Pop/Top 10 R&B hit.  His interest in the region’s music piqued, Stone signed the quintet T-Connection to his T.K. Records imprint Dash, and they headed for Miami’s Criteria Studios with producers Cory Wade and Alex Sadkin to create the 1977 debut Magic, one of two T-Connection records just reissued by Big Break.

Brothers “T” (for Theophilus) and Kurt Coakley, Berkley Van Byrd, Monty Brown and Tony Flowers fit right into T.K.’s pop-friendly disco roster, famous for George McCrae and KC and the Sunshine Band.  Though the beats were nonstop and the nominal title track was even called “Disco Magic,” the album reflected the group’s Bahamian roots with its vocals and prominent percussion by Flowers.  The intricate, swirling keyboards played by T Coakley were a major part of the T-Connection sound, too, occupying as central a role as in KC and the Sunshine Band’s recordings.  T Coakley also wrote every track on Magic, sharing credit for “Disco Magic” with Wade.  Besides “Disco Magic,” the genre’s ethos was also represented with self-empowering songs like the opening “Do What You Wanna Do,” but T-Connection also showed its diversity.  The plinking piano leading the smooth ballad “Mother’s Love” cedes in the song to a breezy Caribbean beat, and “Monday Morning” is a group-vocal respite with a soft-rock sound that wouldn’t have been out of place on the AM airwaves alongside the likes of Chicago.  Lyrics encouraged love and social awareness, too.  BBR’s Magic, produced by Wayne A. Dickson and remastered by Nick Robbins with new liner notes by Steven E. Flemming, Jr., has one bonus track, the single version of disco chart-topper “Do What You Wanna Do.”

T-Connection followed Magic with On Fire, but despite its two Top 10 Disco singles, the band and label found it a bit of a letdown.  For their third album, T-Connection was ready to reinvent itself; hence the album was named T-Connection in the style of a debut.  The album, produced by Cory Wade in Miami, attempted to fuse the goodtime feel and spiritual bent of Magic with the more commercially-aimed sheen of On Fire.  Opener “Funkannection” is a tough piece of funk with a bit of rap, establishing the band’s desire to raise awareness while still keeping feet on the (dance)floor.  Brassy horns dotted “Funky Lady” and the infectious “Don’t Stop the Music,” and strings and horns added to the disco majesty of “At Midnight.”  The theme continued on the pop-ish “Midnight Train,” before wrapping up with the album’s sole mid-tempo ballad, “Love Supreme,” recalling the smooth soul of Earth Wind and Fire at their most pop-oriented.  T-Connection was rewarded with a Disco No. 3 single thanks to “At Midnight,” which also ranked No. 56 Pop and No. 32 R&B.  Follow-up “Saturday Night” also went Top 30 R&B.  BBR’s reissue from the same team as Magic adds the 12” Disco Versions and single versions of “At Midnight” and “Saturday Night.”

1979 was a landmark year in disco, with Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Anita Ward and Sister Sledge all conquering the Billboard charts.  But the prominence of the dance genre led to a backlash – and it happened in the blink of an eye.  On July 21, 1979 – nine days following the Disco Demolition Night held by controversial Chicago disk jockey Steve Dahl and others – disco dominated the Top 10, with six records.  By September 22, there were no disco songs in the Top 10.  But, then as now, people still wanted to dance.  And even as the musical merits of disco have been reevaluated and recognized with the passage of time, other dance music forms owing to disco continued to flourish from 1979 onward.  In this rapidly-changing climate, New Jersey-born vocalist Taana Gardner recorded her self-titled album for the West End Records label.

Taana GardnerGardner owed much of her early success to the Paradise Garage’s influential DJ Larry Levan, who introduced writer-produced Kenton Nix to West End’s owner Mel Cheren.  When the intended singer for Nix’s “Work That Body” – originally mooted as an instrumental – fell ill, Gardner stepped in, and the rest is dance music history.  Gardner had a series of hit records with “Work That Body” and “When You Touch Me” (both No. 10 Dance in 1979) and “Heartbeat” (No. 6 Disco/No. 10 R&B) and “No Frills” a couple of years later in 1981.  Nix would create the records, Gardner would sing them with her pure, clear soprano, and Levan would mix them for the most danceable effect.  Taana Gardner was her only long-playing solo album, though she continued to team up with Nix for special projects through the 1990s and even scored a dance hit in the 2000s as “Work That Body” continued to enthrall club crowds and provide ripe fodder for remixing.  Gardner’s girlish and sometimes-breathy vocals invite favorable comparison to Deniece Williams’, and Nix provided an ideal setting with his five lengthy disco-tailored productions issued on a special 2-12” vinyl set: one song on Side One, two songs on Side Two, one each on Sides Three and Four.

Big Break has reissued Taana Gardner with an additional five tracks, effectively doubling the album’s length.  These bonuses include the 12” Club Versions of “Heartbreat” and “No Frills,” the 12” Party Versions of “Heartbeat” and “No Frills,’ and a previously unreleased 12” Club Version of “That’s the Word.”  Nick Robbins has remastered all tracks for producer Wayne A. Dickson, and Mervin Malone has contributed four pages of new notes.

After the jump: news on two Salsoul gems from Logg and Aurra, plus links and full track listings for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 3, 2013 at 15:25

Death Cab for Cutie to Revisit “Transatlanticism” (with Demos) for 10th Anniversary

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Transatlanticism 10Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard has been quite busy in the catalogue world lately, overseeing reissues of his band’s early albums on vinyl as well as a 10th anniversary expansion of his acclaimed side project The Postal Service’s sole album. This October, he’s looking back again to the 10th anniversary of what might be Death Cab’s greatest album, Transatlanticism.

The band’s fourth and final album for Barsuk Records, Transatlanticism – written solely by Gibbard and produced by fellow Death Cab member Chris Walla – received unanimous acclaim when released in 2003. Critics and audiences alike took well to its more expansive and open production over past Death Cab albums (Gibbard himself deemed it “more like a proper album” than previous efforts) and intimate, relatable lyrics on songs like “The Sound of Settling” and “Title and Registration.” Bolstered by the album’s success (including a gold certification for over 500,000 units shipped), Death Cab would subsequently sign to Atlantic Records, where they continue to record (2011’s Codes and Keys being their most recent LP).

Barsuk will release Transatlanticism on double vinyl, with a new gatefold sleeve design and a full-color 12-page booklet. The package will also include, as a bonus MP3 download, a compilation of demo versions of all 11 tracks from the album; The Transatlanticism Demos will also be available as a separate digital album, too.

These packages will be available on October 29; right now, pre-orders are available at Barsuk’s official site. The full track list, and a stream of the demo version of “Lightness,” are below.

Transatlanticism: 10th Anniversary Edition (originally released as Barsuk BARK32, 2003 – reissued Barsuk BARK32LP10, 2013)

  1. The New Year
  2. Lightness
  3. Title and Registration
  4. Expo ’86
  5. The Sound of Settling
  6. Tiny Vessels
  7. Transatlanticism
  8. Passenger Seat
  9. Death of An Interior Decorator
  10. We Looked Like Giants
  11. A Lack of Color
  12. The New Year (Demo)
  13. Lightness (Demo)
  14. Title and Registration (Demo)
  15. Expo ’86 (Demo)
  16. The Sound of Settling (Demo)
  17. Tiny Vessels (Demo)
  18. Transatlanticism (Demo)
  19. Passenger Seat (Demo)
  20. Death of An Interior Decorator (Demo)
  21. We Looked Like Giants (Demo)
  22. A Lack of Color (Demo)

Written by Mike Duquette

September 3, 2013 at 13:26

Really Saying Something: Bananarama Reissues Coming from Edsel

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Bananarama Edsel“Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning, I sit around…”

Summer may be over, but Edsel’s given Bananarama fans quite the reason to sing and dance: on October 22, they will reissue all six of the London girl group’s London Records albums as 2CD/1DVD sets.

Known for their spunky, tomboyish image, powerful unison vocals and a style with one foot in both the past and the future – hits included covers of “Really Saying Something” by The Velvelettes, Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” and Shocking Blue’s “Venus” (not to mention originals like “Cruel Summer,” produced by Jolley & Swain, and “I Heard a Rumour,” a huge hit for the Stock Aitken Waterman production team) – Bananarama enjoyed great success on both sides of the Atlantic. While their chart presence lessened after the departure of original member Siobhan Fahey (later of Shakespears Sister), who was briefly replaced by Jacquie O’Sullivan, both Sara Dallin and Karen Woodward continue to record under the Bananarama moniker, most recently issuing a new compilation and an EP last winter.

In traditional Edsel format, these triple-disc sets will be packaged in casebound book packaging. All six albums – Deep Sea Skiving (1983), Bananarama (1984), True Confessions (1986), Wow! (1987), Pop Life (1991) and Please Yourself (1993) – are heavy on bonus material; while not complete (blame the remix-heavy early ’90s), they handily outshine the offerings on Rhino’s 2007 single-disc remasters, including promo videos and BBC appearances on each DVD and unreleased audio material, including alternate mixes and outtakes, on every package.

All six will be released on October 22, and can be pre-ordered after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 3, 2013 at 10:06

Posted in Bananarama, News, Reissues

Release Round-Up: Week of September 3

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Rod Stewart - RaritiesRod Stewart, Rarities (Mercury/UMe)

It’s Rod at his rarest: two discs of outtakes, non-LP singles and other good stuff, including two unreleased BBC session tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Real Gone September 30 GroupJefferson Starship, Live in Central Park NYC May 12, 1975 / Claudia Lennear, Phew! / Ponderosa Twins Plus One, 2+2+1=Ponderosa Twins Plus One / Jo Ann Campbell, All the HitsHer Complete Cameo Recordings / Joanie Sommers, Come Alive!—The Complete Columbia Recordings / Stonewall Jackson, Original Greatest Hits / The Paley Brothers, The Complete Recordings (Real Gone Music)

The latest releases from the folks at Real Gone Music, all of which you can read about here.

Jefferson Starship: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Claudia Lennear: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ponderosa Twins Plus One: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Jo Ann Campbell: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Joanie Sommers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Stonewall Jackson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Paley Brothers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Crises BoxMike Oldfield, Five Miles Out Crises: Deluxe Editions (Mercury/UMC)

The latest in the Mike Oldfield reissue series includes a triple-disc version of his seventh album from 1982 and a five-disc version of the 1983 follow-up.

Five Miles Out CD: Amazon U.K.
Five Miles Out 2CD+DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Five Miles Out LP: Amazon U.K.
Crises CD: Amazon U.K.
Crises 2CD: Amazon U.K.
Crises 3CD+2DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Crises LP: Amazon U.K.

yesboxYes, High Vibration SACD Box (Warner Music Japan)

A new hybrid SACD box set includes every Yes album from 1969 to 1987, plus a 12-track disc of bonus non-LP tracks and remixes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rocky Horror BoxVarious Artists, The Rocky Horror Show: Album Box Set (Salvo)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show box set, released on CD in 1990, is replicated on this new set from Salvo. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Breeders LSXX vinylThe Breeders, LSXX (4AD/Beggars Archive)

Already available on CD, this expanded edition of The Breeders’ Last Splash comes as a seven-disc vinyl box. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Kim Wilde Close 25Kim Wilde, Close: Remastered Expanded Edition (Universal U.K.)

One of Kim Wilde’s most successful albums gets the double-disc treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Monterey PopVarious Artists, Monterey International Pop Festival (Salvo)

Four discs of performances from the acclaimed 1967 festival. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Gilbert Every Song Has Its PlayGilbert O’Sullivan, By Larry Every Song Has Its Play (Salvo/Union Square Music)

O’Sullivan’s 1994 and 1995 albums are the latest to be reissued by Salvo, with new sleeve notes (and a bonus track for Larry).

By Larry: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Every Song Has Its Play: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Rush Hemispheres SACDPoco, Pickin’ Up the Pieces / Rush, Hemispheres (Hybrid SACD-DSD) (Audio Fidelity)

The latest SACDs from Audio Fidelity: Poco’s 1969 debut, mastered by Steve Hoffman, and a Kevin Gray-mastered version of Rush’s sixth album.

Poco: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rush: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.