The Second Disc

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Archive for September 12th, 2013

Pure Serendipity: Now Sounds Uncovers Serendipity Singers’ Psych-Pop Treasure

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HSerendipity Singers - Love is a State of Mindere’s a prescription for convalescent hippies you oughta know…

Webster’s defines serendipity as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for,” making it an apropos name for The Serendipity Singers.  The group was formed in 1963 at the University of Colorado in the days when The New Christy Minstrels could sell one million copies of “Green, Green” and folk music was being happily served to the masses by clean-scrubbed young men and women with a spoonful of sugar.  This was before Beatlemania, and before Dylan went electric, after all.  So when the Newport Singers ventured east to New York’s Greenwich Village, they quickly and happily found a patron in Fred Weintraub, impresario of the New York nightspot The Bitter End – it was serendipity!  Weintraub added three new vocalists, bringing the roster to nine, and oversaw their rechristening as The Serendipity Singers.  (Seven of the nine members were also musicians.)  Their very first single, “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down (Crooked Little Man),” went Top 10 in May 1964, joining those young Fabs in the upper reaches of the chart.  Hootenanny after hootenanny followed, but by 1967, folk music had begun to cross-breed with the new “rock”…sans the roll.  Now signed to United Artists Records following a successful stint on the Philips label, the Serendipitys realized that they had the embrace, well, the now sound.   And that’s why it’s appropriate – serendipitous, even – that the Now Sounds label has delivered a deluxe, expanded mono/stereo reissue of The Serendipity Singers’ very groovy 1968 platter Love is a State of Mind.

One imagines that the prominent sitars, lysergic vocals and droning raga of the album’s title track – written by founding member Mike Brovsky and the 1967 recruit Nick Holmes – would have come as a shock to those expecting the light calypso of “Don’t Let the Rain Come Down” or even the banned-in-Boston “Beans in My Ears,” an upbeat and childlike but potent protest song reflecting on the generation gap.  But the cover of Love is a State of Mind clued listeners in that this was a different Serendipity Singers, even beyond the personnel changes.  It featured another new member, former Angel Peggy Santiglia, among a psychedelic sea of faces.  Even the rear photograph showed the Singers looking a bit more severe than in the past.  With production duties taken by the entire group as well as the team of Brovsky and former member Bryan Sennett, Love blended group originals with some choice covers including two by another Weintraub client: Neil Diamond.

After the jump, we take a trip with The Serendipity Singers!  Plus: a full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 12, 2013 at 15:24

Best of Their Love: Eagles LPs Boxed Up on Vinyl

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EAGLES_Vinyl_BoxSome seven months after packing up all of the Eagles’ studio albums in one CD box set, Rhino’s at it again, doing the same for those six albums on vinyl.

The Studio Albums 1972-1979 collects all of the Asylum-era LPs – Eagles (1972), Desperado (1973), On the Border (1974), One of These Nights (1975), Hotel California (1976) and The Long Run (1979) – and replicates the original packaging almost entirely to the letter of the original releases. We say “almost” thanks to two upgrades made by Rhino for these releases: the sleeve of the first album will feature no glue flaps, so the cover will fold out into a poster. (This plan was first detailed in this year’s History of the Eagles documentary.) And the insert poster featured in initial pressings of Hotel California will now be presented in full color.

This new box will be released October 29, in a limited run of 5,000 copies, each in a numbered, foil-stamped slipcase. If buying the box (priced at $157.40 on Amazon as of this writing) doesn’t set you entirely back, the band will be playing shows throughout the year, including a run at Los Angeles’ famed Forum in 2014.

Click the picture above to pre-order your copy.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 12, 2013 at 12:57

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! The Beatles’ “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2” Rocks November

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Beatles - On AirThe worst-kept secret of this fall’s upcoming release schedule is finally out – and we’re shouting, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” After weeks of speculation, Capitol Records has finally confirmed the November 11 arrival of The Beatles’ On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 Its 63 tracks – encompassing 40 musical performances (37 of which are previously unreleased) and 23 selections of on-air, in-studio repartee – were all recorded for the Fab Four’s 1963-1964 BBC radio performances on shows such as Pop Go the Beatles and Saturday Club.

This new collection, available in 2 CD and 180-gram vinyl formats, is the eagerly-awaited sequel to 1994’s Live at the BBC, a U.K. No. 1/U.S. No. 3 release. [That title, too, arrives on November 11 in a newly-remastered edition.]  None of the tracks here overlap with those released on that original anthology. A full ten of the songs on On Air were not recorded by The Beatles for EMI in the 1960s, and two of these songs make their debuts here: Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” As The Fabs frequently revisited repertoire at the BBC, six songs heard on the 1994 set are reprised here in different performances: Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” and two tracks the band learned from Carl Perkins’ records, “Glad All Over” and “Sure to Fall.”

All told, no fewer than 275 unique performances by John, Paul, George and Ringo were broadcast over the Beeb’s airwaves between March 1962 and June 1965.  88 distinct songs were played, meaning that some songs were performed numerous times and others just once.  On Air takes listeners back to the period when the BBC primarily broadcast live music only; George Harrison once recalled that “we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”

Still on the ascendant, the group recorded songs for 39 shows in 1963 alone.  One marathon day that year – July 16 – yielded 18 songs for three Pop Goes the Beatles shows, recorded in less than seven hours!  Saturday Club was another BBC favorite.  One particular rarity here is The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday Dear Saturday Club.”  In 1980, John Lennon remembered, “We did a lot of tracks that were never on record for Saturday Club – they were well recorded, too.”  Paul McCartney concurred.  “We’d been raised on the BBC radio programs. One of the big things in our week was Saturday Club – this great show was playing the kind of music we loved, so that was something we really aspired to.”

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 12, 2013 at 11:57