The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for October 1st, 2013

Review: Claudia Lennear, “Phew!”

leave a comment »

Claudia Lennear - PhewClaudia Lennear might have spent much of her career 20 Feet from Stardom, as per the acclaimed documentary of that title.  But on her 1973 Warner Bros. solo debut album, the onetime background singer and member of Leon Russell’s Shelter People was front and center.  That LP was titled Phew!, perhaps not the most likely name for a heady brew of funk, rock and soul by the striking singer who gave inspiration to both David Bowie and Mick Jagger.  But “Phew!” is an accurate expression of relief now that Lennear’s only solo platter has finally arrived on CD from Real Gone Music.  And it actually has the feel of two distinct records.  Ian Samwell (Cliff Richard, America, Small Faces) is credited with producing the entire LP, and he indeed called the shots on the rocking Side One.  But the second side was written, arranged and overseen by New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint.  And when Toussaint promised “everything I do gonna be funky,” he wasn’t one to mess around.  Each side has its own pronounced vibe –gutsy rock on Side One, and soulful New Orleans rhythm and blues on Side Two.

For Side One’s greasy, Rolling Stones-esque rockers, Samwell enlisted none other than Ry Cooder as the frontline guitarist.  The stellar line-up also included Jim Dickinson and Tommy McClure of the Dixie Flyers on guitar/piano and bass, respectively, plus Milt Holland on percussion, John Craviotto on drums, Charles Grimes on guitar and Mike Utley on Hammond organ.  Samwell and Lennear chose two songs from singer-songwriter Ron Davies to kick off the album, and both tracks set the down and dirty tone.  Lennear’s throaty lead on “It Ain’t Easy” (“…to get to heaven when you’re going down”) – also memorably recorded by David Bowie on his landmark Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars –teeters on vocal cord-shredding territory, matching the pounding piano and searing guitar licks for intensity.

Davies also contributed the torrid groove of “Sing for the Children.”  Lennear imbues it with an earthy, no-nonsense sensibility as she begs, “Please keep me satisfied” with primal fervor.  Activist Angela Davis, also the subject of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Angela” as well as The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Black Angel,” inspired Lennear to pen her own “Sister Angela,” which she sings in a sympathetic, pained howl.  With Samwell, the singer also wrote “Not at All,” the fieriest track on Side One.  She aggressively wails and growls through this rocker aimed in Mick Jagger’s direction.  In Pat Thomas’ interview with Lennear for Real Gone’s reissue, she reveals that she had discussed travelling to Australia for Jagger’s Ned Kelly press junket. She fiercely and furiously asks of him in song, “Did you think I’d go ‘round singin’ the blues cause you’re on the wanted list and I’m all alone?”  The cry of “Not at all!” is a defiant one.

There’s more on Phew! after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 1, 2013 at 14:22

A Lil’ Ain’t Enough: Friday Music to Release David Lee Roth CD/DVD Compilation

with 14 comments

David Lee Roth Greatest HitsMusicTAP reports the release of the first-ever CD/DVD compilation by Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, due in November from Friday Music.

Of course, anyone with even a middling interest in rock and roll probably knows Roth as the irascible frontman for Van Halen, who, with the Van Halen brothers (guitarist Eddie and drummer Alex) and bassist Michael Anthony, propelled themselves into the genre’s stratosphere with six albums for Warner Bros. between 1978 and 1984. They were writing shred-worthy classics, covering rock classics and eventually set their crosshairs on the massive audiences on MTV.

But Roth was more theatrical than even VH might have let him be. In 1985, at the height of the band’s popularity, the singer released an EP of peppy covers, Crazy from the Heat; backed by some very funny videos, half of the set became U.S. chart hits, with “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” peaking at No. 12 and a faithful take on The Beach Boys’ “California Girls” matching the original’s chart placement of No. 3.

Within months, tensions within Van Halen led Roth to strike out on his own for good. Recruiting an impressive power trio of guitarist Steve Vai (in what would be his career breakthrough), future Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan and jazz/rock drummer Greg Bissonette, Roth cut two popular albums, Eat ‘Em and Smile (1986) and Skyscraper (1988), featuring hits like “Yankee Rose,” “Tobacco Road,” “Just Like Paradise” and more.

Roth’s solo career cooled in the 1990s, after which the frontman pursued other intriguing muses from a short-lived reunion in the studio with Van Halen in 1996 to such wild pursuits as radio personality, author (his 1997 autobiography, named for his debut EP, was a critical smash) and – for a brief time in New York City – an Emergency Medical Technician. Against all odds, Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2006 (with Eddie Van Halen’s 16-year-old son Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass) for a massively successful tour; 2012 saw the release of a new album, A Different Kind of Truth, constructed largely from vaulted song ideas from the Roth era.

Friday Music’s Roth compilation (which follows remasters of much of his Warner/Reprise catalogue from the label), sequenced by the singer himself and remastered by label head Joe Reagoso, features 16 tracks from 1985 to 1994 (including the entire Crazy from the Heat EP) as well as a DVD featuring the digital debut of the Dave TV video program (consisting of promo videos for “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “California Girls,” “Yankee Rose” and “Goin’ Crazy”) and five more videos released for the first time anywhere.

It’s out November 19 and is yours to order after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 1, 2013 at 12:10

WE HAVE TWO WINNERS! A Set of Edsel’s Deluxe Belinda Carlisle Remasters!

with 3 comments

Belinda Fb banner


Written by Joe Marchese

October 1, 2013 at 10:28

Baby, It’s Burt: “The Warner Sound” and “The Atlantic Sound” Compile Rare Bacharach Tracks

with 5 comments

Warner Sound of BacharachIn his 85th year, Burt Bacharach has kept a pace that would wear out many a younger man.  In addition to performing a number of concert engagements, the Oscar, Grammy and Gershwin Prize-winning composer has released a memoir, continued work on three musical theatre projects, co-written songs with Bernie Taupin and J.D. Souther, and even penned a melody for Japanese singer Ringo Sheena.  Though Bacharach keeps moving forward, numerous releases this year have looked back on his illustrious catalogue.  Universal issued The Art of the Songwriter in 6-CD and 2-CD iterations to coincide with the publication of his memoir, Real Gone Music rescued his three sublime “lost” 1974 productions for Dionne Warwick from obscurity, and Warner Music Japan reissued the near-entirety of Warwick’s Scepter and Warner Bros. tenures under the umbrella of Burt Bacharach 85th Birth Anniversary/Dionne Warwick Debut 50th Anniversary.  Two more titles have recently been added to that Japanese reissue series: The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach and The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach.  These 2-CD anthologies are both packed with rarities and familiar songs alike for a comprehensive overview of the Maestro’s recordings on the Warner family of labels.

The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach is the more wide-ranging compilation of the two, drawing on recordings made not just for Warner Bros. Records but for Valiant, Festival, Elektra, Reprise, Scepter, and foreign labels like Italy’s CDG and Sweden’s Metronome.  This 2-CD set is arranged chronologically, with the first CD covering 1962 (Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over,” her only appearance on the set) to 1978 (Nicolette Larson’s “Mexican Divorce”), and the second taking in 1981 (Christopher Cross’ Oscar-winning chart-topper “Arthur’s Theme”) to 2004 (Tamia and Gerald Levert’s “Close to You”).

On the Elektra label, Love scored a hit with “My Little Red Book,” presented here in its mono single version.  The composer didn’t care for the band’s melodic liberties, but the Sunset Strip rockers’ version is today better known than the Manfred Mann original.  From the Reprise catalogue, you’ll hear the great arranger Marty Paich with a swinging instrumental version of “Promise Her Anything,” a genuine Bacharach and David rocker originally recorded by Tom Jones.  Trini Lopez’s groovy “Made in Paris” is also heard in its mono single version.  Morgana King is sultry on a Don Costa arrangement of “Walk On By.”  Buddy Greco delivers a hip “What the World Needs Now,” and Tiny Tim makes the same song his own.  Ella Fitzgerald puts her stamp on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” produced like Tiny Tim’s “World” by Richard Perry.  Another production great, Wall of Sound architect Jack Nitzsche, brings a touch of class to the Paris Sisters’ dreamy “Long After Tonight is All Over.”

Numerous tracks on the first CD come from the worldwide Warner vaults.  The two stars of the original Italian production of Promises, Promises – Catherine Spaak and Johnny Dorelli – are heard in their beautiful, low-key performance of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” as released on the CDG label.  The Sweden Metronome label yields Svante Thuresson’s “This Guy’s In Love with You,” Siw Malmkvist’s “I Say a Little Prayer,” and one of the strangest songs in Bacharach and David’s entire catalogue, “Cross Town Bus” as sung by the Gals and Pals in English.  Australia’s Festival label – the original home of the Bee Gees – has been tapped for Noeleen Batley’s “Forgive Me (For Giving You Such a Bad Time)” and Jeff Phillips’ “Baby It’s You.”  The treasures on the Warner Bros. label proper are just as eclectic, from Liberace’s gentle “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” to The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band’s torrid “I Wake Up Crying.”  Harpers Bizarre’s “Me Japanese Boy (I Love You),” with an atmospheric Nick DeCaro arrangement, is another highlight.  The Everly Brothers truncated Bacharach’s melody to “Trains and Boats and Planes” but their harmony blend is at its peak in a 1967 recording.

The second disc of The Warner Sound emphasizes latter-day R&B as Bacharach branched out with a variety of lyricists.  Chaka Khan is heard on “Stronger Than Before” by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager;  Earth Wind and Fire on “Two Hearts” co-written with Philip Bailey and Maurice White; Tevin Campbell on “Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” co-written with Narada Michael Walden and Sally Jo Dakota; and Randy Crawford on “Tell It To Your Heart” from Bacharach and Tonio K.  Mari Ijima’s original version of “Is There Anybody Out There” – penned by Bacharach, John Bettis, James Ingram and Puff Johnson – is a welcome surprise; the song was recorded in 2012 by Dionne Warwick on her Now album.  Ingram is also heard with “Sing for the Children.”  On the 1993 track, co-producer/arranger Thom Bell channeled Bacharach’s classic flugelhorn sound to great effect.  Old favorites are also revisited and reinterpreted on this disc via Everything But the Girl’s “Alfie,” The Pretenders’ “The Windows of the World,” Linda Ronstadt’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” Anita Baker’s “The Look of Love,” guitarist Earl Klugh’s “Any Old Time of Day” and frequent Bacharach collaborator Elvis Costello’s “Please Stay.”  With big hits (“Arthur’s Theme”) alongside rarely-anthologized gems (the George Duke-produced “Let Me Be the One” performed by Marilyn Scott), there’s something for everybody here.

After the jump: check out The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach!  Plus: track listings with discography and order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of September 30/October 1

leave a comment »

Most titles this week are already out in the States, on account of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 hitting stores on Monday. So without further ado…

Rush_TheStudioAlbums_ProductShotRush, The Studio Albums 1989-2007 Vapor Trails Remixed (Atlantic/Rhino)

All of the Canadian rock gods’ albums for Atlantic in one box, with 2002’s Vapor Trails newly remixed (and available separately).

The Studio AlbumsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vapor Trails Remixed: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Phantom TrainThe Bongos, Phantom Train / Richard Barone, Cool Blue Halo: 25th Anniversary Edition Cool Blue Halo: 25th Anniversary Concert (Jem Recordings)

The Hoboken power-pop group releases a lost classic – an album recorded with Eric “E.T.” Thorngren in 1986 – and frontman Richard Barone reissues his deluxe packages of 1987 solo debut Cool Blue Halo (and a 2012 2CD/1DVD concert in tribute of that album) through the recently reactivated Jem Recordings, which once distributed The Bongos’ earliest works. (Coming later this week: an interview with Richard Barone on Phantom Train and more!)

Phantom Train: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cool Blue HaloAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cool Blue Halo 25th Anniversary Concert: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Real Gone September 30 GroupPatti Page, The Complete Columbia Singles 1962-1970 From Nashville to L.A. – Lost Columbia Masters 1963-1969 / Perry Como, Just Out of Reach – Rarities from Nashville Produced by Chet Atkins / The Lords of the New ChurchThe Lords of the New Church / Is Nothing Sacred? The Method to Our Madness / Billy Preston16-Yr. Old Soul / The Grateful DeadDick’s Picks Vol. 21 – Richmond, Virginia 11/1/85

The latest Real Gone batch includes hits and rarities from Patti Page, long out-of-print albums by punk group The Lords of the New Church and more!

Andrew GoldAndrew Gold, Andrew Gold/What’s Wrong with This Picture?/All This and Heaven Too/Whirlwind…Plus (Edsel)

Edsel thanks you for being a friend by packing up, in one set, all of Andrew Gold’s pop albums for Asylum and all of the bonus tracks on previous Collector’s Choice reissues. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Patrice Rushen Edsel 1Patrice Rushen, Patrice/Pizzazz/Posh Straight from the Heart/Now (Edsel)

Speaking of Edsel sets collecting an artist’s discography, “Forget Me Nots” hitmaker Patrice Rushen has two sets out featuring all of her albums for Elektra plus rare 12″ remixes.

Patrice/Pizzazz/Posh: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Straight from the Heart/Now: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Old 97's & Waylon JenningsOld 97’s, Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings (Omnivore)

An astounding four-track EP (previously a Record Store Day exclusive) featuring collaborative demos between the Dallas alt-country group and one of the genre’s finest outlaws. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

John Martyn box frontJohn Martyn, The Island Years (Universal U.K.)

The U.K. folk star’s entire discography for Island is expanded and collected in a mega 17CD/1DVD swag-filled box. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Gladys Knight - ImaginationGladys Knight & The Pips, Imagination: Expanded Edition Life: Deluxe Edition (Funkytowngrooves)

The first of several expanded Buddah/Columbia-era albums from FTG; Imagination has immortal hit “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Imagination: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Life: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Rush Hemispheres SACDHybrid SACDs from Audio Fidelity: America, America / Sarah McLachlan, Touch / Poco, Pickin’ Up the Pieces / Rush, Hemispheres