The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for September 11th, 2013

In Your Wildest Dreams: Lost Bongos Album Ready to Be Found

with one comment

Phantom TrainThis summer, we interviewed Marty Scott of Jem Recordings, the newly-reactivated New Jersey label which released the first recordings by Hoboken group The Bongos. Scott told us that a vintage unreleased Bongos LP would be the label’s first release – and we now have some details about the disc for you.

Phantom Train was recorded by The Bongos over 1985 to 1986, primarily at the famed Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. After several years on RCA Records, the band had been wooed to Island Records by its founder, Chris Blackwell, but his interest in other projects (namely the fledgling Palm Pictures studio) put the record on the back burner. Ultimately, The Bongos would split, with frontman Richard Barone releasing a critically acclaimed live solo album, Cool Blue Halo, in 1987. (Two of those tracks, “I Belong to Me” and “Tangled in Your Web,” came from the Phantom Train sessions.)

But The Bongos didn’t stay away too long, regrouping in 2006 for a reissue of the band’s first album, Drums Along The Hudson, and have toured steadily ever since. Most recently, they were the final act to play Hoboken’s famed venue Maxwell’s in July 2013 – a fitting occurrence, as they were (in the band “a”) the first band to play the same stage.

And now, more than 25 years later, Phantom Train will be released on CD in its entirety – featuring the original 11-track program produced by The Bongos and Eric “E.T.” Thorngren, parts of it newly remixed, as well as three demos and outtakes from the album sessions.

The disc is available to order now, and will be available on October 1.

Phantom Train (Jem Recordings MVD6036A, 2013)

  1. My Wildest Dreams
  2. I Belong to Me *
  3. Sunshine Superman
  4. Diamond Guitar
  5. Run to the Wild *
  6. River to River *
  7. One Bold Stroke
  8. Phantom Train
  9. Tangled in Your Web
  10. Saturn Eyes
  11. Roman Circus
  12. Under Someone’s Spell (Demo) *
  13. Town of One
  14. My Wildest Dreams (Demo) *

* new mixes by Richard Barone and Steve Addabo

Written by Mike Duquette

September 11, 2013 at 16:09

Posted in News, Reissues, The Bongos

Special Review: Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb Conjure Old Ghosts On Two New Releases

with 4 comments

Glen Campbell - See You ThereSince 1967, it’s been difficult to think of Glen Campbell without thinking of Jimmy Webb – and vice versa. When the ace session guitarist interpreted the young songwriter’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” on the album of the same name, the result wasn’t just a Grammy-winning hit single, but the beginning of a partnership that’s survived through six decades. Campbell scored successes with a string of Webb’s songs in the late 1960s (“Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Where’s the Playground, Susie”), celebrated his friend’s ouevre with the 1974 LP Reunion, and tapped Webb for the title song of 1979’s Highwayman, later recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. When Campbell departed Capitol for Atlantic Records in the early eighties, Webb was there with “I Was Too Busy Loving You” (Old Home Town), “Cowboy Hall of Fame” and “Shattered” (It’s Just a Matter of Time). The 1987 MCA album Still Within the Sound of My Voice notched Campbell a Top 5 Country hit with its title song, penned by Webb, and the following year’s Light Years was almost a proper sequel to Reunion, with eight of ten tracks from Jimmy. And when the singer took an even greater leap to the realm of contemporary Christian music, the Oklahoma-born minister’s son joined him with compositions like “Where Am I Going,” “The Four Horsemen” and “Only One Life.”

Flash-forward to the present day. Campbell, in a valiant fight with Alzheimer’s, recorded a “farewell”-style album, 2011’s Ghost on the Canvas (a stark collection of original compositions and songs new to Campbell, all helmed by producer Julian Raymond) and completed his victorious “Goodbye Tour.” But Surfdog Records revealed earlier this year that, during sessions for Ghost, Campbell found time to re-record a number of classics from his back catalogue. These vocal tracks, augmented with spare new instrumentation by producers Dave Darling and Dave Kaplan, form the basis of Campbell’s latest (final?) studio album, See You There. In what can only be described as a coincidence, Jimmy Webb released his most recent studio album less than a month following Campbell’s. His Still Within the Sound of My Voice – titled after his finest interpreter’s 1987 hit – also revisits his own past triumphs in stripped-down fashion. Both albums are nostalgic but fresh reinterpretations by two venerable musicians who have created a songbook for the ages.

On See You There (Surfdog 1-18012), Campbell’s voice is placed out front. It’s still robust when called for, but most often burnished and wizened. The arrangements are spare, especially when compared to the grand orchestral productions of the 1960s, but envelop Campbell in an earthy, dark-hued blend of acoustic guitars, dirty electric ones, thick bass, slide, pedal steel, banjo, dobro and occasionally retro percussion. The result emphasizes the intimacy and directness in Campbell’s weathered voice, and is frequently heartbreaking. It also spiritually recalls Johnny Cash’s late-career American Recordings made under the aegis of Rick Rubin. “The road of life is a long, long road, when you walk alone,” he intones on “Hey Little One,” a rootsy take on the 1968 Top 20 Country/AC hit. He’s piercing as he confesses, “Then I found you, and I found a love/A love I’ve never known,” his age adding a completely new, sadder dimension to the familiar Dorsey Burnette/Barry DeVorzon song.

Three recent songs co-written by Julian Raymond and Campbell are reworked to equally strong effect including the touching “There’s No Me…Without You,” which sounds as timeless as any of the staples that have preceded it, and the powerful “What I Wouldn’t Give.” Their third collaboration, “Waiting on the Comin’ of My Lord,” is heard in both its original outtake version from Ghost on the Canvas and the stripped-down version. As Campbell confidently asks Jesus to “take my hand and guide me to the Promised Land,” assuring us that “this is just a temporary stop for me, ‘cause I’m on that train to Jordan town….,” he’s facing his mortality with a brave and reassuring face.

Four Webb songs are tackled (“Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston” and the lesser-known “Postcard from Paris,” originally a bonus track on Ghost on the Canvas under the alternate title of “Wish You Were Here”. Campbell is particularly affecting on a mournful reading of “Phoenix,” and he likewise mines the deep well of emotion on “Wichita Lineman” even when flubbing the lyrics’ “main road/overload” rhyme as “main roads/overload.” Viola and gentle background vocals enhance the “Wish you were here” refrain of the wistful “Postcard from Paris.” A thumping, muffled drum adds to the raw and yearning “Galveston,” as powerful an anti-war statement as any, and one with particular resonance today.

After the jump: more on Glen Campbell, plus Jimmy Webb’s new Still Within the Sound of My Voice!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 11, 2013 at 10:25

Posted in Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, News, Reviews

Tagged with