The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for November 2013

Give ‘Em a Spin: The Second Disc’s Essential Back to Black Friday 2013 Release Guide

with 9 comments


Another year…another Black Friday. Yes, it’s that time of year again in which consumers start off the holiday shopping season on a mad, frenetic note. This year is another one in which numerous big-box retailers in the U.S. have made headlines by blackening Thursday, or Thanksgiving Day itself, by sales starting on the holiday. So many might give thanks that the folks behind Record Store Day are waiting until the traditional Friday to release their twice-yearly slate of exclusive releases.

As usual, many top artists are represented, from Bob Dylan to U2, with titles aimed coming from both the new and catalogue ends of the spectrum. With that in mind, Mike and I have once again selected our picks for the crème de la crème of titles being released this Friday. Don’t hesitate to head over and drop by your local independent record store, and don’t fear the crowds. With everybody at the mall, the Black Friday RSD event is usually a bit more manageable than the April festivities. You can find a full list of RSD Back to Black Friday exclusives (and a list of participating shops) here.

Without further ado, we’ll kick things off with five of Joe’s favorite slabs of vinyl due on Friday…

Nilsson Sessions LPNilsson, Sessions 1967-1975: Rarities from the RCA Albums Collection (RCA/Legacy)

Let’s go ahead and say it: 2013 has been The Year of Nilsson. Legacy’s well-curated sampler The Essential Nilsson whetted appetites for its crown jewel box set The RCA Albums Collection, and that landmark collection was followed by the first-ever CD reissue of Flash Harry on Varese Vintage. Now, Legacy caps off this yearlong celebration with the 180-gram vinyl release of a Nilsson album that never was. Sessions 1967-1975, adorned with Steve Stanley’s wonderful original artwork created for the box set, features twelve of the best Nilsson tracks you might not have known – and won’t soon forget. An alternate of “One” (“…is the loneliest number you’ll ever know”) and a demo of “Coconut” sit alongside John Lennon’s “Isolation” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me a Little” on this remarkable distillation of a singular musical life. To vinyl collectors who already own the box, Sessions is a fine complement. To those who don’t…you’re in for a treat. Doctor’s Orders: Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning.

Van Dyke Parks - Come to the Sunshine

Van Dyke Parks, “Come to the Sunshine” b/w “Farther Along” 7-inch single (Sundazed)

Musical iconoclast (and close pal and collaborator of Harry Nilsson) Van Dyke Parks returns with a replica 45 of his 1966 single, originally on the MGM label. “Come to the Sunshine” has proved a rallying cry for the sunshine pop genre, covered by artists including Harpers Bizarre – who included it as the very first track on their debut album. One part jazz, one part vaudeville, one part psychedelia and all- infectious, the intricately arranged “Come to the Sunshine” is packaged by the Sundazed crew in a new sleeve with a period photo of Parks and new liner notes from California pop historian Domenic Priore.

Percy Dovetonsils Christmas

Ernie Kovacs, A Percy Dovetonsils Christmas (Omnivore)

Omnivore has our candidate for the wackiest release of the Christmas season – or is that the Christmath theathon? Yes, everyone’s favorite lisping poet is back. And if Ernie Kovacs’ kooky creation isn’t your favorite lisping poet, he might well be once you take a chance on A Percy Dovetonsils Christmas. “The Night Before Christmas on New York’s Fashionable East Side” is a most unique Christmas Eve tale, and it’s joined on this festive vinyl 10-inch picture disc by five more of Dovetonsils’ rather refined poems. Grab your smoking jacket (zebra pattern not required) and your glasses (painted-on eyeballs optional, as well) and rest in your easy chair with some of the strangest – and most strangely enjoyable – odes you’ll hear this holiday season.

The Doors - RSD

The Doors, Curated by Record Store Day (Elektra/Rhino)

This 180-gram LP offers eight rare studio and live tracks from Jim, Ray, Robby and John including four mono mixes (“Break on Through,” “Soul Kitchen,” “Moonlight Drive” and “When the Music’s Over”) plus the LP version of “Love Street,” “The Unknown Soldier” from the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, “Roadhouse Blues” from New York’s Felt Forum in 1970, and “Five to One” from Boston, also 1970. All tracks have been remastered by Bruce Botnick, and surviving Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore have hand-written the track listing on the artwork.

Roy Orbison - Monument Vinyl

Roy Orbison, The Monument Vinyl Box (Legacy)

Here, then, is a Monumental 4-LP box for a Monumental artist. The Big O immortalized such heartbreakingly dramatic mini-operas as “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “Running Scared” and “Blue Bayou,” all of which you’ll hear on the first three LPs in this new vinyl box set: Lonely and Blue, Crying and In Dreams. The fourth LP is a wholly new creation: an Oh! Pretty Woman album featuring the title track, “Ooby Dooby,” “Claudette,” and other tracks handpicked by Orbison’s sons. This one will sure look great under the tree – wrapped in some pretty paper, of course.

After the jump: Mike selects his five picks for Back to Black Friday! Read the rest of this entry »

BBR Continues Its “Journey” With Salsoul Catalogue

with one comment

Salsoul Orchestra - Magic JourneyIf you’re looking for another chance to “dance your ass off,” look no further.  Big Break Records has returned to the mighty catalogue of Salsoul Records for another three “made in Philadelphia” classics from the soulful disco label.

“C’mon, Vince, play your vibes!”  Loleatta Holloway exclaimed before the leader of The Salsoul Orchestra, Vince Montana Jr., stepped forward for a solo on “Run Away,” the third track on the powerful unit’s third non-holiday long-player.  1977’s Magic Journey follows its predecessors The Salsoul Orchestra and Nice ‘n’ Naasty in receiving the deluxe BBR treatment.  By the time of Magic Journey, Montana had perfected the formula of showcasing each side of the so-called “disco orchestra” – and given the pedigree of the musicians involved, there were many sides.  The album featured MFSB veterans Earl Young, Charles Collins, Michael “Sugar Bear” Foreman, T.J. Tindall, Bobby Eli, Larry Washington, Don Renaldo and Jack Faith, and many others, along with the Sweethearts of Sigma – Barbara Ingram, Yvette Benton and Carla Benson – on backing vocals and arranger-conductor Montana himself on timpani, bells, chimes, marimba and vibes.

Though the second side of the original LP took listeners on the trip promised in the title, the first side offered one enjoyable pop-disco treat after another.  The bright scene-setter “It’s a New Day,” co-written by Montana, and a campy revival of Bob Gaudio’s “Short Shorts,” however, were mere appetizers for the sublime Philly soul of “Run Away.”  Sung by Holloway backed by the Salsoul Orchestra, “Run Away” was then – and is now – one of the finest songs to emerge on Salsoul.  With its infectious melody, shimmering arrangement and urgent vocals, it’s unfathomable that the song stalled at R&B No. 84 and didn’t even dent the pop chart.  It’s the undisputed highlight here, along with “Themes from Montreal Olympics 1976 – Farewell Song and Ballet of the Closing Ceremony.”   The lush orchestral sound of “Farewell Song” could be mistaken for a Stylistics backing track crafted by Thom Bell, and its immaculate blend of horns and strings is as far-removed from the conventional notion of disco as possible.  Only at about the 3-1/2 minute march does this soft and lovely piece musically nod at something as anthemic or victorious as the title would indicate.  Few tracks better show off the immaculate musicianship of The Salsoul Orchestra, not to mention just how much Vince Montana had grown as an arranger since his early MFSB days.

Besides “Short Shorts,” a couple of other pop covers pepper the album: a lightly disco take on the Cuban folk song-turned-Sandpipers hit “Guantanamera” and a funky reworking of Earth Wind and Fire’s “Getaway.”  Smoky saxophone leads the horn section, while taut guitar, Philly-style strings and the Orchestra’s trademark Latin percussion add up to a track that might best the EWF original for sheer excitement.

After the jump: more on Magic Journey, plus the scoop on BBR’s new reissues from Loleatta Holloway and Bunny Sigler! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 27, 2013 at 11:31

Intrada Crosses Moon River In Style With Mancini’s Original “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Soundtrack

with 9 comments

Breakfast at Tiffany'sIn 1962, Henry Mancini scored a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Music from the Motion Picture on the RCA Victor label.  But that 12-track LP only told part of the story of Mancini’s Academy Award-winning score for the film starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal and Mickey Rooney.  Like most of the scores from his classic period, Mancini re-recorded his Tiffany’s music in pop arrangements for its RCA “soundtrack” LP.  Consequently, the original music as heard in the film had never been officially released in any audio format – until now.  Following similar releases of the actual film music of Mancini’s Charade, Hatari!, and Days of Wine and Roses, the Intrada label has just released one of film music’s holy grails from the immortal composer-arranger-conductor with the first-time Original Soundtrack Recording of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Henry Mancini picked up one Oscar for his instrumental score to Blake Edwards’ 1961 film and a second with Johnny Mercer for their Best Song, the now-standard “Moon River.”  But beyond that gentle serenade, Mancini’s score to Tiffany’s was one of his most tuneful, equal parts cocktail jazz, big-band swing, Latin-tinged pop and pure drama.  In other words, its colorful sounds were perfectly suited to Edwards’ dreamy adaptation of Truman Capote’s fanciful if surprisingly edgy 1958 novella.  Though Mancini’s collaboration with Edwards lasted 35 years and roughly 30 projects, Tiffany’s stands as one of the pair’s crowning achievements.  The 30-minute re-recording was a popular LP and stands on its own merits as a remarkable (and remarkably successful) recording.  But, by design, it didn’t reflect the full breadth and scope of the versatile composer’s music as heard in the motion picture.

The RCA LP included just “Moon River” in the opening titles track and a cha-cha arrangement.  Not only does Intrada’s new 38-track release include Audrey Hepburn’s own fragile vocal performance of “Moon River,” but it premieres the complete original music of the movie’s heist sequence, the dramatic bus station farewell, the full opening and end titles, and much more.  Nine bonus tracks round out a truly immersive package, including “Moon River” as performed by just Hepburn and guitar, the “Meet the Doc” cue minus the film’s organ grinder, three “Practice Piano” cues and four more “Moon River” alternates.  All told, the new disc clocks in at just a bit less than eighty minutes’ length.

Hit the jump for more, including an order link and the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 26, 2013 at 15:43

Feed Your Head: Morello Label Revisits Grace Slick’s “Dreams”

with 5 comments

Grace Slick - DreamsGrace Slick certainly made waves in 1998 when she proclaimed to VH1 that “all rock ‘n’ rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire.”  Ten years later, she reiterated her feelings to ABC News, commenting, “It’s sad somehow when you watch people who are doing things that my daughter calls ‘age inappropriate.’”  So even as many of her contemporaries are still rockin’ into their seventies, the now-73 year old Slick has been painting and enjoying her retirement from music.  Luckily, Slick left plenty of music behind.  In the steady stream of reissues from her Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship periods, however, Slick’s four-title solo catalogue is often overlooked.  Cherry Red’s Morello label is rectifying that with a reissue of her 1980 RCA solo album Dreams.

Recorded in 1979 with producer Ron Frangipane, Dreams arrived during Slick’s hiatus from Jefferson Starship.  She had departed the band following 1978’s Earth and sat out for 1979’s Freedom at Point Zero before returning to the Jefferson fold for 1981’s Modern Times.  Dreams marked a return to solo recording for the striking singer; her only previous solo LP had come in 1974 with Manhole.  Whereas that album featured Jefferson Airplane/Starship bandmates and associates like Paul Kantner, Jack Casady, John Barbata, Craig Chaquico, Pete Sears David Freiberg and Peter Kaukonen, Dreams was recorded outside of their sphere of influence with Frangipane producing and arranging, and Scott ZIto as Slick’s “right hand man.”

Released in March 1980, the Grammy-nominated Dreams was the most successful of Slick’s four solo records.  It charted at No. 32 in the U.S. and No. 28 in Great Britain.  The single “Seasons” was released in the U.S. to promote Dreams; in the U.K. the choice was title song “Dreams.”  The U.S. A-side (which reached No. 95 on the Billboard chart) was composed by Slick, who wrote five of the album’s nine tracks.   “Dreams” was written by Sean Delaney, who also participated in solo recordings by KISS’ Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, and first appeared on Delaney’s 1979 album Highway.  Zito, who would go on to compose all of the music for Slick’s next solo effort in 1981, wrote two songs on Dreams: “Face to the Wind” and “Angel of Night.”  Rounding out the album’s line-up, Gary Gegan was tapped for the flamenco-styled “El Diablo.”  Stylistically the album was quite varied, with Slick also touching on psychedelia and rock, and experimenting with orchestration (provided by Frangipane) on some cuts.

After the jump, we have more details plus the full track listing and order links!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 26, 2013 at 11:43

Beggars Archive Preps New Remasters, Expanded Reissues for “5 Albums” Series

with 3 comments

Gene Loves JezebelThis week, 4AD/Beggars Archive is giving goth-rock fans a trio of Christmas presents, in the form of box sets in their 5 Albums series devoted to Bauhaus, Gene Loves Jezebel and Lords of the Nephilim.

Beggars Archive, like so many other labels this year, has found the best way to get certain products on stores (or, at the very least, in some sort of physical configuration) has been to combine multiple products into one neat box. But far from a corner-cutting affair, these boxes look to be a pretty sweet offering for fans.

Bauhaus’ box combines the first four albums, released between 1980 and 1983, by the British goth legends, along with a bonus disc of 20 single-only tracks and mixes. The first two albums, In the Flat Field and Mask (as well as their associated tracks on Disc 5), feature the same masters created for a set of expanded “Omnibus Editions” released in 2009, while the remainder of the repertoire is newly remastered by Tony Cousins at Metropolis Studios from the original analog tapes.

The Gene Loves Jezebel set features expanded editions of the band’s first five albums, from 1983’s Promise to 1990’s Kiss of LifePromise, along with Immigrant (1985) and Discover (1986), utilize the same remasters from a trio of expanded editions from 2005 (those sets, all spanning two discs each, have been condensed to one for this box). While the other two albums (The House of Dolls (1988) and Kiss of Life) were recorded digitally, the relevant bonus tracks have been mastered from analog tape where available – and both of those records have been expanded for the first time, with eight bonus tracks each.

Finally, the Fields of the Nephilim box features three expanded albums – Dawnrazor (1987), The Nephilim (1988) and Elizium (1990) – alongside the 1991 live album Earth Inferno and a bonus disc of 13 single tracks. Only Elizium has received the full remastering-from-analog-tape treatment; owing to a limited budget, the rest have been mastered from digital sources.

All three should be available in U.K. stores now, and are shipping as imports to the U.S. with an expected arrival date around next Tuesday. After the jump, you’ll find order links for all three, as well as the full track lists for each.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 26, 2013 at 11:09

Release Round-Up: Week of November 26

leave a comment »

Animals - Mickie Most YearsThe Animals, The Mickie Most Years and More / Tower of Power, Hipper Than Hip: Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow – Live on the Air & in the Studio 1974 / Lisa Fischer, So Intense / The Alabama State Troupers, Road Show / The Obsessed, The Church Within (Real Gone Music)

An Animals box set and a compilation of unreleased Tower of Power greatness head off Real Gone’s slate for the end of the year!

The Animals: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Tower of Power: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Lisa Fischer: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Alabama State Troupers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Obsessed: CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Badfinger - TimelessBadfinger, Timeless: The Musical Legacy (Apple)

A new single-disc compilation devoted to the would-be Beatle heirs, the first to be derived from Apple’s 2010 remasters. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Big Star - PlaylistBig Star, Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star (Legacy) / Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia)

A double dose of Big Star today: a new compilation in Legacy’s Playlist line that marries some of the band’s classic early recordings with latter-day live tracks from their mid-’90s reunion, and a new feature-length documentary on the band.

PlaylistAmazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.
Nothing Can Hurt Me: DVD (Amazon U.S.) BD (Amazon U.S.)

Thelonious Monk Paris 1969Thelonious Monk, Paris 1969 (Blue Note)

An unreleased live set from later in Monk’s career, available in multiple formats (including an equally unseen video!).

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Screaming Life-FoppSoundgarden, Screaming Life/Fopp (Sub Pop)

An expanded remaster of the Seattle grunge icons’ debut EPs.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Barbra - Back to BrooklynBarbra Streisand, Back to Brooklyn (Columbia)

Barbra takes Brooklyn – specifically, the new Barclays Center – by storm in these shows, recorded in October 2012.

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

It's a Scream How LevineVarious Artists, It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba (Idelsohn Society)

Subtitled “The Latin-Jewish Musical Story 1940s-1980s,” this double-disc set (featuring performances by Carole King, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and more) is a fun, occasionally wacky musical archaeology session that’ll keep you amused and informed. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Wicked - DeluxeWicked: Original Broadway Cast Recording 10th Anniversary Special Edition (Verve/UMe)

Defy gravity with this deluxe two-disc version of the Tony-winning musical about the witches of Oz. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

It’s a Scream! “Rhumba” Takes Latin-Jewish Musical Journey with Carole King, Herb Alpert, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, More

leave a comment »

It's a Scream How LevineLast year, The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation regaled listeners with ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah, an eclectic and offbeat anthology that breathed life into the concept of a holiday-themed compilation.  With its mission “to look at Jewish history and the Jewish experience through recorded sound” firmly in mind, the organization this year has released another two-disc set that lives up to the much-overused word unique.  Whereas last year’s release focused on the relationship in song between Christmas and Hanukkah, the colorfully-titled It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba (RSR 021) explores an even less familiar topic: the shared history of Latin and Jewish music.  The ties between the two cultures run quite deep, as this set shows over the course of its 41 tracks recorded between 1947 and 1983 and arranged in chronological fashion.

Vocal and instrumental performances sit side by side on It’s a Scream, which takes its title from the 1952 novelty by the saucy Ruth Wallis.  It’s one of many such novelties here, but they transcend that label in the context of Idelsohn’s presentation.  The oldest tracks fall into this category, such as Irving Kaufman’s “Moe the Schmo Takes a Rhumba Lesson,” sung in character as Kaufman’s favorite schmo (or schmoe) and transferred from a crackly 78.  Another is The Barry Sisters’ “Channah from Havanna” dating to the mid-fifties.  The punchline of this comic story-song still can bring a smile.  Mickey Katz, Yiddish comedian, klezmer clarinetist and father of Joel Grey, is represented with the lively and goofy “My Yiddishe Mambo” (not “My Yiddishe Mama,” for sure!) in which he uses his arsenal of exaggerated voices and pulls out all of the showbiz stops.

Fans of the big-band sound will find plenty to delight in here, from leaders including Xavier Cugat (“Miami Beach Rhumba,” a rhumba spin on “Autumn Leaves”), Pupi Campo (“Joe and Paul,” a Yiddish radio jingle performed by a Cuban bandleader with an arrangement by Tito Puente!), Al Gomez (“Sheyn Vi Di Levone,” a Yiddish love song in Spanish), Puente himself (“Pan, Amor Y Cha Cha Cha” with Cugat’s wife, singer Abbe Lane) and many more.

There’s also room for salsa, on tracks like “Marvelous Jew” Larry Harlow’s “Yo Soy Latino,” Eddie Palmieri’s 1963 “El Molestoso,” Willie Colon’s “Junio ‘73,” or “Hava Nageela” from salsa queen Celia Cruz.  Cruz’s exciting take, from 1964, isn’t the only spin on the traditional “Hava Nagila” here, either.  The Hebrew folk song went merengue in 1972 by Dominican pianist Damiron, and got a rock-and-roll makeover when it was crossed with a dance sensation by bandleader Perez Prado to become “The Twist of Hava Nageela” in 1962!  Early doo-wopping rock-and-rollers The Crows (“Gee”) even got into Latin/Jewish fusion with 1954’s punning “Mambo Shevitz (Man Oh Man).”

We have plenty more on this musical exchange of cultures after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 25, 2013 at 14:23

Come and Get It: Remastered Badfinger Hits Collection Released Today

with 5 comments

Badfinger - Timeless

Badfinger fans have had plenty of opportunities to “come and get it” in 2013.  This past spring, the Estate of Pete Ham utilized Pledge Music to release Keyhole Street: Demos 1966-1967, a 2-CD, 50+-track compilation from the late singer-songwriter.  More recently, late last month, Edsel issued its own 2-CD set containing both of Badfinger’s post-Apple records for Warner Bros. plus In Concert at the BBC 1972-3Badfinger/Wish You Were Here/In Concert at the BBC 1972-3 arrived to some fortuitous news, however.  When the September 29 series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad made pivotal use of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue,” some 10.3 million people heard the song which reached No. 14 back in 1972.  By the next morning, the Todd Rundgren-produced, Pete Ham-written track had been downloaded more than 5,000 times – and roughly another 30,000 times over the following week.  Badfinger had made it…again.  Now, Apple Records is celebrating the band’s endurance with the release of Timeless…The Musical Legacy of Badfinger.

Arriving in stores today in the U.K., Timeless was originally rumored for release nearly two years ago.  A track listing leaked to various online forums in early 2012, and indeed, it’s the sequence being issued on CD today.  The 16-track compilation draws on all four of Badfinger’s Apple albums from 1970 to 1973 (Magic Christian Music, No Dice, Straight Up, and Ass), only overlooking Maybe Tomorrow, released under the band’s original name of The Iveys.  The Warner Bros. years are represented by 1974’s Wish You Were Here, and the compilation concludes with a track from the 1979 Elektra LP Airwaves.

All of the Apple tracks have been derived from the 2010 remasters (reviewed in depth here).  Paul McCartney’s “Come and Get It,” so memorably utilized in the off-the-wall Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr comedy The Magic Christian, is one of four tracks from Magic Christian Music (naturally).   Three songs have been taken from No Dice, including Ham and Evans’ future chart-topper for Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey, “Without You,” and Ham’s rocking “No Matter What.”  In addition to “Baby Blue,” Straight Up is also represented by two George Harrison productions – Ham’s immortal “Day After Day” (with George on slide guitar!) and “Name of the Game” – plus Joey Molland’s “Suitcase.”  From the 2010 expanded edition of Straight Up, the group composition “I’ll Be the One” has also been selected; Harrison reportedly nixed the song from the original LP for being “too Beatley.”  Just two songs have been lifted from Apple farewell Ass: “Apple of My Eye” and “Timeless,” both Ham songs.  Ham’s “Dennis” appears from Wish You Were Here, while Molland’s “Love is Gonna Come At Last” is the sole pick from Airwaves.

After the jump, we have more details on Timeless including a full track listing with order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 25, 2013 at 10:56

Happy New Year: Real Gone Ushers In 2014 With Blood, Sweat & Tears, Grateful Dead, More

with 6 comments

Blood Sweat and Tears - SinglesReal Gone Music is hoping to make you so very happy with its first release slate of 2014!  On January 7, the Real Goners compile for the very first time The Complete Columbia Singles of jazz-rock pioneers Blood Sweat & Tears, offer up The Complete Atlantic Recordings of the soul great Bettye Swann (“Make Me Yours”), unearth another vintage Grateful Dead show, and recover the lone long-player of R&B singer-songwriter Samuel Jonathan Johnson.

Despite 1968’s strong debut Child is Father of the Man, with Al Kooper as chief songwriter, Blood, Sweat & Tears quickly parted ways with founding members Kooper, Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss. Just months later, the group re-emerged with a new, self-titled album, adding Lew Soloff, Jerry Hyman, Chuck Winfield and Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas to the mix. (Bobby Colomby, Steve Katz, Jim Fielder, Dick Halligan and Fred Lipsius all remained in the band.) Blood, Sweat & Tears, produced by James William Guercio (The Buckinghams, Chicago), rocketed the band to superstardom with the hit singles “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” and “And When I Die.” And Clayton-Thomas quickly established himself as a contender for the title of best blue-eyed soul vocalist out there.  Real Gone’s 2-CD set The Complete Columbia Singles offers all three of those smashes in their original mono mixes, plus 29 more single sides (five of which are making their CD debuts) all in original 45 RPM versions.  The first eight tracks are in mono; the remaining cuts are in stereo.

Blood, Sweat & Tears was a platinum-selling, Grammy-winning Album of the Year. But inner turmoil still plagued the band. 1970’s follow-up Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 also reached No. 1, but following 1971’s fourth album, Clayton-Thomas, Halligan and Lipsius all departed for greener pastures. Clayton-Thomas was back in the fold by 1975, but the time for Blood, Sweat & Tears had passed. The band continued to record, with diminishing returns, despite the presence of well-known producers including Steve Tyrell, Bob James, Henry Cosby and Jimmy Ienner. BS&T’s final studio album for Columbia was released in 1976.  Producer Ed Osborne’s new liner notes include recollections from founding member Steve Katz, and the entire set has been remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in NYC.  The Complete Columbia Singles looks to be a definitive anthology from one of the most underrated bands of the era.

After the jump: a look at the rest of the Real Gone line-up, plus pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 22, 2013 at 11:03

As If She Never Said Goodbye: Barbra Streisand Goes “Back to Brooklyn”

with 5 comments

Barbra - Back to Brooklyn1969’s lavish Academy Award-winning film Hello, Dolly! found Barbra Streisand’s Dolly Levi returning to the Harmonia Gardens restaurant where she was serenaded with Jerry Herman’s famous title tune: “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong…!”  Some 43 years later, the same sentiments were applicable when Streisand – as herself, natch – took the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for two sold-out homecoming concerts.  On Tuesday, Columbia Records will release Back to Brooklyn, available in both CD and CD/DVD packages, to commemorate the event.  With a number of songs never previously performed by the superstar in concert, Back to Brooklyn draws on last year’s acclaimed from-the-vaults compilation Release Me as well as other Streisand staples and rarities.

Reviewing Release Me here at The Second Disc, we wrote, “On Saturday evening, October 13, Barbra Joan Streisand triumphantly concluded a two-night engagement at Brooklyn, New York’s brand-new Barclays Center.  The two evenings marked her first public performances in the borough of her birth since she dropped the ‘a’ from Barbara and followed the call of superstardom, first to Manhattan and then to Hollywood.  Streisand recalled to the audience of 19,000 that her last time singing in Brooklyn was on a stoop!  Still, she serenaded the community with special, lighthearted lyrics set to Cole Porter’s ‘You’re the Top’ and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye,’ relishing her hometown comeback.  More serious than all the talk of knishes and bialys, however, was Streisand’s deeply emotional performance of a song introduced in the 1967 Broadway musical Hallelujah, Baby!

‘Being Good Isn’t Good Enough’ was written by Funny Girl composer Jule Styne, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and it translated a central point of Arthur Laurents’ provocative book into song.  (Laurents, of course, was another close associate of Streisand’s, having directed her Broadway debut in I Can Get It for You Wholesale.  He would later pen The Way We Were for the star.)  In the musical, a young black woman harbors dreams of stardom, cognizant that she must be more than superlative to overcome the obstacles society has placed due to the color of her skin.  Though Streisand wouldn’t compare her own journey to that of the character in the musical, she found resonance in the lyric, as an artist famously branded as a ‘perfectionist’ and as a performer for whom being simply good is altogether insufficient.”

What will you find on this new live album?  Hit the jump to find out!  Plus: pre-order links and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 21, 2013 at 14:17

Posted in Barbra Streisand, DVD, News