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Archive for October 9th, 2013

Don’t Cry for Yesterday: Duran Duran EP to Be Reissued for Record Store Day

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No Ordinary EPWhile Duran Duran don’t appear to be reissuing The Wedding Album for its 20th anniversary like we suggested, they will be celebrating the album’s legacy with a special reissue on Record Store Day. Birmingham’s favorite pop band will reissue 1993’s No Ordinary EP on 10″ white vinyl for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event in North America.

Beyond the success of singles “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone,” both Top 10 hits off the band’s seventh studio album, Duran Duran – at the time, comprised of original members Simon Le Bon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards), John Taylor (bass) and touring member-turned-full time player Warren Cuccurullo (guitar) – made 1993 memorable thanks to a lengthy, stripped-down tour. Dominated by acoustic and alternate arrangements largely spearheaded by Cuccurullo, the No Ordinary Tour took the band across several continents and at least one high-profile televised gig as part of the acclaimed MTV Unplugged series. (The tour was not without its taxation: Le Bon suffered an injury to his vocal cords and the band had to postpone a swath of dates.)

One such gig, recorded on May 15, 1993 at the massive Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, was professionally recorded and released on a cassette in North America, the No Ordinary EP (Capitol 4XPRO-79235). The quartet tackled two old favorites (the classic “Hungry Like the Wolf” and the funky mid-career smash “Notorious”) and a new track (a lengthy, sensuous version of “Come Undone”); the latter two were included as worldwide single B-sides and eventually gathered onto the band’s The Singles 1986-1995 box set.

“We’re really pleased that this rare piece of our history has been chosen for Record Store Day,” bassist John Taylor said in a statement. “I can remember the show vividly as it went out around the world via satellite. As an avid collector of vinyl myself, I think it will be a fan favorite.”

The disc will be available on Black Friday, November 29, at participating independent record retailers. 5,000 numbered copies will be available; plans are also afoot to get a non-numbered version into ex-U.S. territories. The band – now comprised of Le Bon, Rhodes and Taylor alongside original drummer Roger Taylor and touring guitarist Dom Brown – are hard at work on a 14th album with producer Mark Ronson, due next year.

Written by Mike Duquette

October 9, 2013 at 14:31

Esoteric to Release Six Vangelis Remasters

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Vangelis Heaven and HellCelebrated Greek electronic composer Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou – or, as he’s known to music lovers the world over, Vangelis – is partnering with the Cherry Red label Esoteric to remaster and reissue six of his albums originally released on the RCA and Arista labels.

By the time Vangelis signed to RCA and released Heaven and Hell in 1975, he’d already traveled quite extensively in the European music scene. From a turn in Greek pop band The Forminx, he’d formed a prog band, Aphrodite’s Child, enjoying success across the continent. He’d also taken on a lot of session and soundtrack work, and was even a candidate to step in to the lineup of Yes after Rick Wakeman’s departure. Ultimately, he forged on as a solo artist, opening his own Nemo Studios in London and recording many of his greatest works from there.

Vangelis’ RCA albums are diverse and experimental, drawing from classical traditions (Heaven and Hell, a two-sided suite that features his first of many collaborations with Yes frontman Jon Anderson on “So Long Ago, So Clear”), pulsing jazz and blues (Albedo 0.39), intricate sequencer-driven melodies (Spirit, the first LP on which Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80, a cornerstone of his later work) and experimental improvisations (Beaubourg, based on a Parisian district in which Vangelis lived in the earlier part of the 1970s).

After a decade in which Vangelis’ star was driven largely by soundtrack work (namely the iconic crossover hit Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner) and three official collaborations with Jon Anderson, 1988 saw the release of Direct, a more pop-influenced, less eclectic album on Arista Records. Three years later, Page of Life was the final album credited to Jon & Vangelis, also released on Arista.

These six albums have been supervised for Esoteric, with approved remastering and redesigned artwork by the composer himself. (These redesigned digipaks greatly resemble the artwork for Universal’s 2007 remasters of two albums by Vangelis with vocals by Irene Papas: Odes (1979) and Rapsodies (1986).) Additionally, two of the discs are expanded: Spiral includes a non-LP B-side, “To the Unknown Man (Part II),” as does Page of Life, which features a CD single-only track called “Sing with Your Eyes.”

All of these titles will hit U.K. shops on November 25. The full track-by-track breakdowns and Amazon U.K. links are after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 9, 2013 at 14:10

Personality Crisis: “Lipstick, Powder and Paint” Reveals New York Dolls’ Inspirations

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Lipstick Powder and Paint“While I was layin’ in a hospital bed/A rock ‘n’ roll nurse went to my head/She says, ‘Hold out your arm, stick out yo’ tongue/I got some pills, boy, I’m ‘a give you one!”  It was no surprise that The New York Dolls – crown princes of debauchery, seventies-style – would include a cover of Bo Diddley’s oddly jaunty 1961 single “Pills” on their 1973 debut album.  While The Dolls – lead vocalist David Johansen, rhythm guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane, lead guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan (who replaced the late Billy Murcia) – might have emerged as a response to the studied musicianship of so-called progressive rock and the bright, sanitized sounds of bubblegum pop, their primal, savage and uninhibited style was descended from any number of influences.  Motown, Blues, doo wop, soul, rockabilly, and especially Brill Building-era girl groups all figured into the Dolls’ heady, deliciously trashy rock-and-roll punk brew.  On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of that seismic debut New York Dolls, Ace has anthologized the music that inspired the flamboyant band with Lipstick, Powder and Paint!  The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First.

The 24-track anthology compiled by Ian Johnston and Mick Patrick brings together the original versions of songs covered by the Dolls and the solo Johansen and Thunders.  These range from expected choices such as “Pills” or The Jayhawks’ “Stranded in the Jungle,” to tracks that might surprise a casual fan like Erma Franklin’s “Piece of My Heart” or Gary U.S. Bonds’ “Seven Day Weekend.”  The latter, recorded by The Dolls on a 1973 demo released in 1992, has the raucous, hedonistic spirit that The Dolls so admired.  Bonds’ throaty vocal brings grit to the infectious Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman tune with its doo-wop backing vocals and honking saxophone solo.  It’s far from the only track here from that early rock-and-roll era.  The Coasters, those supreme R&B jokesters, are heard with 1963’s “Bad Detective,” recorded in primitive style by Johansen and co. on 1974’s Too Much Too Soon.  It has the bop-shoo-bops, boogedy-boogedy-shoos and rama-lama-ding-dongs lampooned in the musical Grease, and it’s at least a spiritual cousin in comedy to another song also covered for that same album, The Jayhawks’ goofy, spoken/sung “Stranded in the Jungle” (1956).

The blues is a less obvious inspiration on debut New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon, the second and final album by the original iteration of the group.  But in addition to Bo Diddley’s “Pills,” the group also demoed Otis Redding’s Stax burner “Don’t Mess with Cupid” and Muddy Waters’ immortal “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.”  Similarly, one might not think to draw a line between The New York Dolls and the smooth Philadelphia soul from the team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, but Ace does just that by selecting Archie Bell and the Drells’ “(There’s Gonna Be a) Showdown” and Wilson Pickett’s Memphis-by-way-of-Philly “International Playboy.”  The Dolls brought a slow, menacing feel to the former on Too Much Too Soon, while David Johansen’s lounge-singin’, novelty-slingin’ alter ego Buster Poindexter recorded the rough-hewn (by Philly standards, at least!) “Playboy” for 1989’s Buster Goes Berzerk.

There’s much more after the jump, including the complete track listing with discographical annotation, and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 9, 2013 at 10:39