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Archive for September 2013

La La Land Has “True Grit” With First Release Of Complete Elmer Bernstein Score with Four Glen Campbell Vocals

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True Grit SoundtrackWhen directors Joel and Ethan Coen adapted Charles Portis’ novel True Grit in 2010 for its second big-screen adaptation, one element was noticeably missing: the Academy Award-nominated title song by Elmer Bernstein and Don Black, so winningly introduced by Glen Campbell in the 1969 film version.  Campbell’s recording yielded a Top 10 Country and AC/Top 40 Pop single, and remains one of his most beloved songs today.  “True Grit” appeared on a brief, 10-track album in which two renditions as sung by Campbell bookended eight tracks of Bernstein’s stirring score.  But that was just the tip of the iceberg for both the orchestral score and songs of True Grit.   Happily, nearly 45 years later, La La Land Records has just delivered the first complete soundtrack to Henry Hathaway’s original film including six vocals by Glen Campbell and one by country songwriting great John Hartford.

John Wayne received his only Academy Award for his portrayal of the irascible, one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, starring opposite Campbell as the young Texas Ranger named Le Boeuf and Kim Darby as 14-year old Mattie Ross.  Mattie enlists Cogburn and Le Boeuf to track down the outlaw that murdered her father in the western adventure.   True Grit was so successful that it spawned a sequel, 1975’s Rooster Cogburn, with Wayne reprising the title role opposite another cinema legend, Katharine Hepburn.  And one of the elements of True Grit’s success was the score by Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004).  Though he was a versatile composer in any genre, the Academy Award-winning Bernstein became a western-movie legend thanks to his instantly recognizable theme to The Magnificent Seven.  He also had a long history with Wayne, scoring films such as 1961’s The Comancheros, 1965’s Hathaway-directed The Sons of Katie Elder and later, 1971’s Big Jake, 1973’s Cahill U.S. Marshal, 1974’s McQ and 1976’s The Shootist (Wayne’s final film role).

What will you find on the deluxe new True Grit?  Hit the jump for more details, the complete track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 25, 2013 at 14:33

Edsel Packages Patrice Rushen Albums to Help You to Remember

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Patrice Rushen Edsel 1Looking for a primer on jazz-turned R&B singer Patrice Rushen‘s most commercial recordings for Elektra Records? Edsel will send U.K. audiences and beyond a pair of “Forget Me Nots” in the form of two double-disc sets that collect all five of her albums for the label, plus a clutch of choice bonus material.

After a trio of acclaimed (but modest-selling) fusion-influenced albums for Prestige Records in the mid-1970s, Rushen, an accomplished pianist/vocalist, joined the Elektra roster in 1978. Working with her Prestige producer Reggie Andrews, Rushen also bought in producer Charles Mims, Jr., who would be credited on all her albums for the label. All of her albums charted on Billboard‘s Top 100, and her singles began to cross over into the R&B charts, as well.

While “Hang It Up,” “Haven’t You Heart” and “Look It Up” were all respectable hits in the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was Straight from the Heart, released in 1982, that served up her biggest hit, the funky “Forget Me Nots.” That single peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 4 on the R&B chart and No. 2 on the dance charts, and remains a staple of late-period disco. (“Forget Me Nots” enjoyed a second life in 1997, when it was sampled in the worldwide hit theme song to the sci-fi comedy Men in Black, as performed by the film’s star, actor-rapper Will Smith.)

Patrice Rushen Edsel 2All five of Rushen’s Elektra albums have been reissued on CD; Straight from the Heart got an expanded remaster from Rhino in 1996 while the others were released by Wounded Bird in 2003. But these double-disc sets – combining her first three albums (Patrice (1978), Pizzazz (1979) and Posh (1980) one one set and Straight from the Heart and Now (1984) on another – feature between them 13 bonus tracks, including just about all the rare 12″ mixes released by the label. (Rhino’s version of Straight from the Heart had one track this reissue does not – the single edit of “Breakdown” – but lacked the dance version of “I Was Tired of Being Alone,” mixed by F. Byron Clark.)

Both sets feature full lyrics, albums credits and new annotations by Tony Rounce, producer/compiler for Ace Records. (With any luck, they’ll avoid the intense audio scrutiny that’s befallen Edsel’s Robert Palmer Island-era two-fers.) They’re out this Monday, September 30 in the U.K. and will ship to the U.S. within a week or so. Hit the jump for full track lists and Amazon U.K. links. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 25, 2013 at 13:23

Eloise Laws Reissues Arrive “In Good Time” From Expansion Records, Thom Bell Arrangements Featured

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Eloise Laws two-ferThough a member of the prominent Laws musical family – alongside her brothers Ronnie and Hubert and sister Debra – Eloise Laws has more than distinguished herself with a series of soulful albums released over the years.  Now, the U.K.’s Expansion Records label has just reissued two of those albums on one CD, including one arranged and conducted by the legendary Thom Bell.  Eloise Laws/All in Time brings together Laws’ 1980 and 1982 albums, her third and fourth solo releases.

The fourth of eight Laws children, Eloise made her recording debut with a Columbia Records single back in 1969, but didn’t record a full solo LP until Ain’t It Feeling Good for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus label in 1978.  Laws soon shifted gears, though, signing to ABC Records and teaming with producer Linda Creed for the same year’s Eloise.  Creed was already well-established in soul circles as the lyricist for some of Thom Bell’s most memorable songs, among them “You Are Everything,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “Betcha By Golly Wow,” The Rubberband Man” and “Ghetto Child.”  She had also written “The Greatest Love of All” with Michael Masser in 1977, which would of course become a signature song for Whitney Houston years later.  For Eloise, Creed teamed with a number of writers including, of course, Bell.  (“His House and Me” – originally cut by Dionne Warwick on her masterful Track of the Cat – was among its highlights.)  So it was only natural that Creed turned to Bell for Laws ‘next solo album, the 1980 Liberty release titled Eloise Laws.  (As for Eloise, it has also been finally reissued on CD, though that 2010 edition is now fiendishly difficult to obtain except at high prices secondhand!)

Eloise Laws, the first of two albums on Expansion’s two-fer, was produced by Creed with Thom Bell arranging and conducting.  For collectors of Bell’s oeuvre on CD, it’s a long-overdue arrival.  Creed and Bell employed some of Philadelphia’s most renowned names, among them Larry Washington on congas, Bobby Eli on guitar, Charles Collins on drums, The Sweethearts of Sigma plus Ron Tyson (of The Ethics and Love Committee) and Phil Hurtt on backing vocals, and Don Renaldo’s Horns and Strings.  Bill Neale handled guitars, Detroit-to-Philly transplant Bob Babbitt played bass, and Bell himself was featured on keyboards.  The resulting album is a lost classic, with many of Bell’s crowning symphonic touches infused into a more contemporary R&B setting circa 1980.  Bell and Creed revisited two Stylistics hits, “If You Don’t Watch Out” (as “If I Don’t Watch Out”) and “You Are Everything” in all-new arrangements, and drew on the work of other songwriters including Barbara Wyrick, Juanita Curiel and Phyllis Brown, as well.  Creed co-wrote “Let’s Find Those Two People Again” with Philly stalwart Bruce Hawes (“Mighty Love,” “Games People Play”), and “Moment to Moment” with Diane Bernstein.  The Bee Gees’ “Search, Find” was an unusual, and welcome, cover.  To Bell’s eight tracks, one song produced by Ronnie Laws (Harry Shannon and John Lewis Parker’s “Almost All the Way to Love”) was added to finalize the album sequence.

After the jump: a look at All in Time, plus order link and track listings for both albums! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 25, 2013 at 10:07

American Tunes: Legacy Announces Complete Paul Simon Box, New Single-CD Anthology [UPDATED 9/24]

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Paul Simon Complete coverUPDATED 9/24/13 [UPDATES IN BOLD TO ORIGINAL POST OF 8/19]: And here’s to you, Mr. Simon.

There isn’t much that Paul Simon hasn’t accomplished in his 50+ years as a professional musician, singer, and songwriter.  Born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York, Simon has racked up 12 Grammy Awards, an Emmy, a Kennedy Center Honor, the first-ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and Academy Award, Golden Globe and Tony nominations.  That’s not to mention being one-half of the most famed pair in American popular song and recording twelve acclaimed solo studio albums.  He’s also had his songs recorded by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Harper’s Bizarre and The Bangles.  Surely an artist with such a C.V. could rest on his laurels, but that’s not the scrappy Rhymin’ Simon.  Still, there’s something so right about taking a look back on a storied career even when future chapters are yet to be written.  Hence, on October 15, Legacy Recordings will issue The Complete Albums Collection on 15 CDs, bringing under one roof all twelve of Simon’s studio recordings plus two live albums and 37 bonus tracks.  That same day, the label drops Over the Bridge of Time: A Paul Simon Retrospective, a 20-track, 1-CD career overview tracing Simon’s oeuvre from his Simon and Garfunkel days through 2011’s So Beautiful or So What.

Nearly a decade ago, in 2004, Rhino and Warner Bros. Records released The Studio Recordings 1972-2000 encompassing nine studio albums and thirty bonus tracks.  This box covered the period between Paul Simon (1972) and You’re the One (2000).  As Simon has released two more studio albums since 2000 and overseen reissue of more of his back catalogue, Legacy’s box is both an update and an expansion of that original box set.  The new Complete Albums Collection rewinds to 1965, when the young folk troubadour recorded an acoustic LP on a sojourn to London.  The Paul Simon Songbook kicks off the new box, reprising the two bonus tracks (alternates of “I Am a Rock” and “A Church is Burning”) which debuted on Legacy’s original 2004 CD reissue of the once-rare album.

What exactly will you find in the new box and on the new anthology?  Just hit the jump, won’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 24, 2013 at 12:31

TLC Celebrate 20 Years with New Compilation

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TLC 20More than two decades after their breakout success, and in advance of a new TV movie about the short-lived but incredibly popular group, Epic Records will release a new compilation of hits by R&B trio TLC.

Of course, 20 is kind of a misnomer on several counts: the group’s first album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, was released in 1992. And the set only includes 14 tracks, including the group’s new single “Meant for Me.” But it’s as good a time as any to remember the successes enjoyed by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chili” Thomas. Under the auspices of some stellar names in ’90s R&B (producers Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds signed them to their LaFace label, where they worked with the likes of Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Sean “Puffy” Combs and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis), TLC crafted an impressive blend of female-positive hip-hop and sultry, hooky pop-soul. “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty” all topped the Billboard Hot 100, and sophomore album CrazySexyCool (1994) shipped 11 million copies in the States and 23 million worldwide. (As a best-selling female ensemble, they are second only to The Spice Girls.)

TLC has, of course, been largely inactive since the sudden passing of Lopes in a car accident in 2002. Though the group retired after the successful, posthumous 3D, Watkins and Thomas recorded a one-off single with a guest rapper, Tiffany “O’so Krispie” Baker, whom they selected through a reality show. The duo have made sporadic live appearances since then, returning to the studio earlier this year to record a new album for a 2014 release and guesting on the single “Crooked Smile” by rapper J. Cole. The lone new track on 20, “Meant to Be,” will be featured in CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, a new biopic to air on VH-1 in October.

The new compilation will be available October 15. Hit the jump to pre-order your copy and check out the track list. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 24, 2013 at 12:20

Posted in Compilations, News, TLC

Varese Offers Up Fab Pair with George Martin’s “Beatles to Bond” and Campbeltown Pipe Band’s “Mull of Kintyre”

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George Martin - Beatles to BondWith the upcoming release of The Beatles’ On Air: Live at the BBC Volume Two, there’s Beatlemania in the air once again.  And the Varese Sarabande label’s Varese Vintage imprint is at the ready with two recent reissues bearing ties to the Fab Four: George Martin’s Beatles to Bond and Bach (1974) and The Campbeltown Pipe Band’s Mull of Kintyre (1978).  Both of these are rather unexpected titles and all the more welcome for it!

Beatles to Bond and Bach, originally issued on the Polydor label, offered exactly what the title promised.  Legendary producer-arranger Martin and his orchestra tackled the songs of Lennon and McCartney alongside a James Bond suite inspired by Martin’s then-recent work on the film Live and Let Die, and two compositions from one of his earliest influences: Johann Sebastian Bach.  The LP, produced by his AIR Studios co-founder John Burgess, was the culmination of a decade-spanning series of instrumental releases from The George Martin Orchestra designed for the light classical/so-called “easy listening” market.  Many of these naturally drew on his work with The Beatles, either in whole or in part: 1964’s Off the Beatle Path and By Popular Demand: A Hard Day’s Night, 1965’s Help!, 1966’s And I Love Her and George Martin Instrumentally Salutes the Beatle Girls, 1968’s London By George, and so on.  Martin’s Guildhall-trained musicianship and impeccable ear kept these albums from becoming mere retreads of familiar songs.

For Beatles to Bond and Bach, Martin – recording at London’s AIR with none other than Beatle vet Geoff Emerick engineering – built the album around three extended suites.  “The Bond Suite” kicks off the album with Monty Norman’s original theme, before segueing into two of Martin’s cues from 1973’s Live and Let Die and of course, Paul and Linda McCartney’s thrilling title song.  Later on the album, Martin arranges “The Beatle Suite” of later Beatle tunes (“Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life”) and a “Yellow Submarine Suite” containing four of his distinctive themes and the Lennon/McCartney title song from the 1968 animated feature.  In between, shorter pieces came from Bach’s pen (“Air on the G String” and “Prelude for Strings”) and Martin’s own.  Trivia: “Air” was the very first of Bach’s compositions to be recorded, back in 1902 – not bad for a piece written between 1717 and 1723!  Martin’s “Theme One,” written for BBC Radio 1 in 1967 ,and 1961’s “Elizabeth and Essex” (previously recorded by Ron Goodwin and His Orchestra) rounded out the diverse collection.  Fans of Paul McCartney’s Thrillington will likely find much to enjoy here, as will aficionados of Martin’s film score assignments.

After the jump, we’ll check out an even more surprising treat from Varese!  Plus: track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 24, 2013 at 10:13

Release Round-Up: Week of September 24

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In Utero DeluxeNirvana, In Utero: 20th Anniversary Edition (DGC/UMe)

The grunge icon’s final album is greatly expanded in numerous formats for its two-decade mark, with B-sides, a new mix of the album and the band’s Live and Loud concert feature from MTV on CD and DVD. Check the post above to figure out which one suits you best!

1CD Standard remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1CD Expanded remaster: Target (U.S.)
2CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD/1DVD Super Deluxe Box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live and Loud DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

WaitressesThe Waitresses, Just Desserts: The Complete Waitresses (Omnivore)

We know what boys (and girls) like: two discs of the Akron, Ohio-based rock band, including both their LPs for Polydor and nine non-LP bonus tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lenny Kravitz Are You Gonna Go My Way 20Lenny Kravitz, Are You Gonna Go My Way: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Virgin/UMe)

The singer/songwriter/guitarist’s third hit album is expanded as a double-disc set with B-sides and unreleased demos. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Mamas and the PapasCaptain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Safe as Milk: Mono Edition / The Mamas and the Papas, The Mamas and the Papas: Mono Edition / Deliver: Stereo Edition (Sundazed)

Sundazed releases these new masters of The Mamas and The Papas’ second and third albums, along with Captain Beefheart’s debut, on CD and vinyl for the first time in years.

Safe As Milk: Amazon U.S. – LP / CD; Amazon U.K. – LP / CD
The Mamas and The Papas
: Amazon U.S. – LP / CD; Amazon U.K. – LP / CD
Deliver: Amazon U.S. – LP / CD; Amazon U.K. – LP / CD

Woodstock 40The Band, The Last Waltz (Warner Bros./Rhino) / Various Artists, Woodstock: 40 Years On (Atlantic/Rhino)

These two Rhino box sets, originally released in 2002 and 2009, respectively, get reissued as budget-packaged editions in smaller boxes.

The Last Waltz: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
WoodstockAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 24, 2013 at 08:13

East Meets West on Kritzerland’s Reissue of “Rising Sun”

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KL_RisingSun_Cov.600x600Kritzerland’s latest soundtrack reissue marks the full release of the underrated score to 1992’s Rising Sun by legendary Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu – his first and only assignment for an American film.

Part murder mystery, part diplomatic treatise, Rising Sun was the first novel released by bestselling author Michael Crichton after the blockbuster release of Jurassic Park in 1990. The film version, starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes as two cops investigating the brutal death of an escort at the American offices of a Japanese corporation, was released just over a month after Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the dinosaur technothriller; Rising Sun was in fact co-adapted and directed by Philip Kaufman, who received a story credit alongside George Lucas on Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

While the film was only a moderate success at the box office, score fans were quick to note the quality of the soundtrack by Takemitsu, a native Japanese composer who scored several pivotal Japanese films, including Dodesukaden (1970) and Ran (1985) for Akira Kurosawa. It would be his only American film score and final score overall; Takemitsu died in 1996, leaving behind a body of work acclaimed by his countrymen and beyond.

Kritzerland’s reissue of Rising Sun greatly expands on the original Fox Records CD presentation, presenting about an hour’s worth of music, down to the last source cues. Kritzerland hails the work as “an addictive, mesmerizing neo-noir tone poem of exquisite orchestral color and sounds…with a great main theme that weaves itself in and out of the score like wisps of smoke.”

Score fans can find out for themselves with this new disc, limited to 1,000 copies and available to order now at Kritzerland’s official site. Hit the jump for the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2013 at 17:30

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Short Takes, Christmas Edition: Glen Campbell, Judy Collins, Al Hirt Bring Holiday Cheer

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Glen Campbell ICON Christmas

  • At long last – Capitol Records has That Christmas Feeling.  Glen Campbell’s first Christmas album, from 1968, has long been absent from CD, but the label has rectified that with the new release of Campbell’s ICON Christmas.  Though retitled and with new artwork, ICON Christmas is, in fact, That Christmas Feeling as newly remastered by Mike Jones at Universal Mastering.  (The previous, now-hard-to-find CD issue, from the Netherlands, also presented the album with new art.)  Produced by Al De Lory – who also helmed many of Campbell’s classic singles including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” – That Christmas Feeling has the same warm, orchestral pop-country style as those timeless 45s.  Three of the album’s eleven songs came from the pen of legendary wordsmith Sammy Cahn, two with his frequent music man Jimmy Van Heusen.  “Christmas is For Children” (also recorded by Jo Stafford) and “It Must Be Getting Close to Christmas” were the Cahn/Van Heusen contributions; Cahn also adapted the familiar 19th century melody “There’s No Place Like Home,” a.k.a. “Home Sweet Home.”  Glen also brought his smooth tones to familiar holiday tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” as well as Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” and Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.”  A true seasonal staple, it’s good to have That Christmas Feeling in stores once again.  Don’t be fooled by the new cover art and skimpy packaging (lacking liner notes or any indication of the songs’ origins) – this is the real deal.  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

After the jump: what Christmas-themed reissues are on the way from Al Hirt and Judy Collins? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 23, 2013 at 11:03

Stamp of Genius: New Ray Charles Compilation Coming to the Post Office (and Beyond)

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Ray Charles ForeverTomorrow sees the release of a new compilation of tunes by the late, great Ray Charles, to commemorate his latest posthumous achievement: a stamp from the United States Postal Service.

Ray Charles Forever is far from your typical hits-packed compilation; the biggest “hits” of note are Charles’ takes on “America the Beautiful” and Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” for which Ray won a Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance in 1993. The songs on display run the gamut of his entire discography and primarily showcase the singer/pianist as an interpreter of popular, soulful songs, from 1959’s swinging The Genius of Ray Charles for Atlantic (a take on Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “Come Rain or Come Shine”) to an uplifting 2002 cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Tracks from the Impulse and ABC years are present – even a track apiece from Come Live with Me, released on Charles’ own Crossover label in 1974, and Concord’s Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (2010), make appearances here.

 

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a compilation without some vault material. In this case, there’s one “new” track – a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” – as well as a 20-minute DVD of rare live footage and interviews, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. (There’s technically a second bonus track – Ray’s charting 1969 version of Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” – if you brave the long lines and pick up a copy at your local postal branch.)

Ray Charles Forever is available tomorrow, September 24, and today at your local USPS branch. Amazon listing are after the jump, along with the full track list!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2013 at 10:10