The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for December 17th, 2013

A Record Company, Rosie, Just Gave Me a Big Advance: Is Bruce Working on New Remasters?

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Bruce Springsteen The RiverBuried deep in a newly-released piece on Rolling Stone about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming album High Hopes, Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau may have given some insight as to what might come next from the Boss on the catalogue front.

While next year is the 30th anniversary of Springsteen’s landmark hit Born in the U.S.A., Landau suggests that the next bit of catalogue activity might come from before that era – particularly 1980’s double album The River. “There’s ongoing work on a River box set,” Landau said. “Maybe we’ll do that first.”

The River, of course, is a great choice for an archival set. Mixing bright, fun rock and roll moments (the No. 5 hit “Hungry Heart”) with more darker, brooding material (“Fade Away,” the haunting title track), it’s one of the best albums of his career, and an intriguing preview of the amazing decade Bruce would have in the 1980s.

But that’s not all: Landau also reveals remastering is being done “as we speak” on Bruce’s first two albums, 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. As fascinating previews of Springsteen’s songwriting voice (“Blinded by the Light,” later a hit for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, plus immortal live cuts “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”) – not to mention two records that have never, ever been remastered on CD since the first tape transfer probably a quarter century and change ago – this is equally exciting news.

As always, keep it here at The Second Disc for stories like these as they develop.

Written by Mike Duquette

December 17, 2013 at 13:16

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Buck Owens, “Buck ‘Em! The Music of Buck Owens”

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Buck Owens - Buck EmNo less an eminent personage than American author William Faulkner once said that “a writer needs three things – experience, observation, and imagination – any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”  Country music legend and Bakersfield Sound pioneer Buck Owens, however, utilized all three of those key elements in his songs, which may help explain their timeless stature.  Fifty of those recordings are anthologized on Omnivore’s new Buck ‘Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967) (OVCD-75), a two-CD alternative history of the singer-songwriter-bandleader Owens.  If there was ever a time that Owens the musician took a backseat to Owens the cornpone cut-up of television show Hee-Haw, Omnivore has done its best to make sure those days are long gone.

Though Owens’ music has been compiled numerous times in the past, Omnivore’s release produced by Patrick Milligan eschews the predictable approach in favor of a more idiosyncratic one.  Buck ‘Em!, named after Owens’ new, posthumously-released autobiography, takes in the key singles and album tracks one might expect, but endeavors to present these songs in new ways.  All told, eleven chart-topping hits by Owens are featured, a number of which are presented in their original mono single versions (“I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me),” “Sam’s Place,” and “Before You Go”).  A total of fifteen mono 45 versions of Owens staples are included, such as the holiday perennial “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy.”  Live tracks – from New York’s Carnegie Hall, Bakersfield, and even Japan – have earned a spot on the collection, too, including renditions of favorites like “Act Naturally,” “Buckaroo” and “Together Again.”  Alternate versions of “My Heart Skips A Beat,” “Where Do The Good Times Go,” and “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone” make their U.S. CD debut, alongside a previously unissued version of “Under The Influence Of Love” and the first CD appearance of Omnivore’s sold-out Record Store Day single “Close Up The Honky Tonks.”  The tracks are arranged chronologically by recording date.

After the jump: a closer look at Buck ‘Em! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2013 at 12:54

No Time to Lose: Rainbow Announce Singles Box Set on CD

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rainbow_singles_box_setIn the tradition of similar boxes for Deep Purple (released by EMI in 2002) and Dio (released by Universal last year), Universal will release a 19CD box set replicating the singles offering by hard rock outfit Rainbow.

Formed toward the end of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s tenure with Deep Purple in 1975, Rainbow was a meticulously-coordinated rock band, inspired by the chord progression of classical music and with a lyrical bent toward medieval imagery. Adding greatly to the mix was the versatile vocalizations of lead singer Ronnie James Dio (whose previous band Elf was the backbone of the first Rainbow album). The lineup changed mightily over the years, most notably with Dio’s departure in 1978 and Blackmore’s decision to move the band toward a more mainstream rock sound. The group’s journey ended in 1984 when Blackmore reunited with Deep Purple, though he would use the name again in the mid-’90s, with all-new members.

The Singles Box 1975-1986 is definitely as much (if not more of) a collectible than a full-fledged box set. The nineteen singles (from all over the world, mind you) don’t feature a whole lot of truly rare material, aside from a few non-LP studio and live cuts and an edit or two. But for those who want to marvel at the band’s evolution over a near decade-long period (not to mention the replica single sleeves from different countries), this is the set for you. (And if prior boxes are any indication, expect this to go out of print and rather collectible with stunning speed.)

The Singles Box is available February 3 in the U.K. and a week later in the U.S. – hit the jump for full specs and pre-order links.

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 17, 2013 at 11:53

Posted in Box Sets, News, Rainbow

The Beatles and The Beach Boys Beat The Boots On “The Big Beat 1963” and “Bootleg Recordings”

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Beatles - Bootleg Recordings1963 was a landmark year for the favorite sons of Hawthorne, California.  During those twelve months, The Beach Boys released three Top 10 studio albums (Surfin’ USA, Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe) and launched three Top 10 singles (“Surfin’ USA,” “Surfer Girl,” and “Be True to Your School”).  Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, the outgoing David Marks and returning Al Jardine were perfecting their harmony-laden brand of surf rock and setting the stage for the next step in the band’s evolution.  Within one year, The Beach Boys’ music had grown leaps and bounds in sophistication with the likes of “All Summer Long,” “I Get Around” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”  And greater stylistic changes would come with the fast and furious speed of any of the cars about which the band had so ardently sung.

Across the pond, 1963 was an even more key year for a certain quartet from Liverpool.  On March 22, The Beatles’ Please Please Me arrived on the Parlophone label.  On November 22, With the Beatles followed.  Both records topped the U.K. Albums chart, and songs like “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” dominated the U.K. Singles charts during the year.   By the time Capitol Records’ Meet the Beatles arrived in the U.S. on January 20, 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo were names known the world over, and “Beatlemania” was the word on everybody’s lips.

Now, however, the crucial music of 1963 is being revisited in two unusual digital-only compilations from Capitol Records.  Following in the footsteps of such projects as Bob Dylan’s The 50th Anniversary Collection or the multiple volumes of Motown Unreleased 1962, Capitol is issuing The Big Beat 1963 for Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, and Bootleg Recordings 1963 for The Beatles.  The impetus for these iTunes-exclusive releases is a simple one: to protect these recordings from entering the public domain in Europe.  Recent changes to copyright law in the E.U. have extended the copyright term of a recording from 50 to 70 years, but only if that recording has been released.  In other words, if a recording is not officially released within 50 years of its creation, it will fall into the public domain when the next (51st) calendar year begins.  If it is released, the term extends another 20 years.

Many would like to see the vintage recordings included in these sets released as physical titles with the usual bells and whistles, and indeed, these are intended as stopgap releases only.  It’s likely that these types of releases will become more common with each passing year; whether Capitol (and other labels) will reissue the material in a more deluxe manner down the road is still a matter of speculation.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at the recordings on both The Big Beat and Bootleg Recordings 1963!

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Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2013 at 11:35

Release Round-Up: Weeks of December 17 and 24

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With the last two weeks of the year so light on catalogue titles, we figured we’d combine it all into one post. Below you’ll find two new titles for this week, and two for the next!

Pogues 30 packshotThe Pogues, 30 Years (Rhino U.K.)

Here, in one box, is all of the Irish folk-rockers’ original albums, including new mixes of debut Red Roses for Me and Peace and Love, plus a bonus unreleased live show from 1991 with Joe Strummer of The Clash assuming lead vocal duties. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Excitable Boy SACDBoz Scaggs, Boz Scaggs (Hybrid SACD – DSD) / Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy (Hybrid SACD – DSD) (Audio Fidelity)

Two new audiophile titles, mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman, respectively.

1YES_StudioAlbums_CoverYes, The Studio Albums (Rhino)

A collection of all of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-nominated prog group’s studio albums for Atlantic/ATCO, featuring the remastered and expanded presentations from 2003-2004 and the 2009 expanded remaster of 1987’s Big Generator, previously released only in Japan. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

American HustleVarious Artists, American Hustle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Legacy)

The soundtrack to this highly-anticipated, award-contender drama from David O. Russell (director of last year’s excellent Silver Linings Playbook) features, among other period pop/rock tracks, including a re-recorded version of Electric Light Orchestra’s “10538 Overture,” the Japan-only Zoom bonus track “Long Black Road” (left off the last remaster) and a new Jeff Lynne track, “Stream of Stars.”

Written by Mike Duquette

December 17, 2013 at 08:06