The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for December 20th, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Who, “Tommy: Super Deluxe Edition”

with 5 comments

Tommy SDE

The opening chords of The Who’s Tommy may be among the most famous in all of rock.  By the time the horns kicked in, around the forty-second mark, it was already clear that this double-album wasn’t business as usual for the heavy mod-rockers.  In fact, the melodic, thunderous, commanding piece of music that opened the 1969 album sounded a bit like the overture to a Broadway musical, weaving together themes that would follow.  Thirty-four years later, it would become one.  By the time The Who’s Tommy opened at New York’s St. James Theatre, the deaf, dumb and blind boy created by Pete Townshend had already been reborn in various stage productions, a controversial film, all-star record albums, and of course, on the concert stage as embodied by Roger Daltrey.  What’s left to discover, then, about Tommy?

Following the 2011 Super Deluxe box set dedicated to The Who’s Quadrophenia, the band has turned its attention to the album that put “rock opera” squarely in the lexicon, remastering the original work and adding 20 demos (most previously unissued), a new 5.1 album mix on Blu-ray and a 21-track live disc primarily culled The Who’s 1969 performances.  Just as essential to the package is an 80-page hardcover book that explores the phenomenon of Tommy.  This is the most immersive edition of Tommy yet, inviting listeners to revisit The Who’s amazing journey.  It’s also a more daunting project than even Quadrophenia.  That album has always existed in the shadow of big brother Tommy, and the Super Deluxe Edition revealed – particularly with Townshend’s demos – a fascinating world of might-have-beens and alternate roads not taken.  The material on Tommy is so much more familiar, and the revelations aren’t nearly as plentiful.  But that’s not to say that it’s not a journey worth taking.

Read on after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2013 at 14:13

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Matt Monro, “The Rarities Collection” and “Alternate Monro”

with one comment

Matt Monro - Rarities CollectionHow lovely to sit here in the shade, with none of the woes of man and maid/I’m glad I’m not young anymore!  The rivals that don’t exist at all, the feeling you’re only two feet tall/I’m glad I’m not young anymore! 

Matt Monro recorded those Alan Jay Lerner lyrics in January 1973 at just 42 years of age.  But by that point, the golden-voiced singer had already acquired enough experience to interpret them with supreme confidence and natural charm.  Monro’s reassuring, crisply impeccable tone earned him early comparisons to Frank Sinatra, but it wasn’t long before others would be compared to Matt Monro.  When, in 2012, the assets of the beleaguered EMI music empire were broken up, Capitol Records went to Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) and Parlophone Records to Warner Music Group (WMG).  As Monro recorded for both onetime EMI labels, it became clear that his entire catalogue – along with that of other artists like Shirley Bassey – would no longer reside under one roof.  What would become of the top-drawer Matt Monro catalogue program spearheaded by Monro’s daughter Michele Monro and audio engineer Richard Moore through projects including The Singer’s Singer, The Man Behind the Voice, Words and Music, and the Rare Monro series?

Luckily, Monro and Moore have already introduced two projects on the “new” Parlophone, drawing on his recordings now controlled by that new-old label.  Alternate Monro presents 27 never-before-released versions of hits and album tracks, as well as versions of songs that first appeared on The Rare Monro and Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro. (Both of these essential titles are soon to disappear as a result of the EMI upheaval, so those interested in owning these should snap them up now.)  It’s been joined by The Rarities Collection, a 3-CD box set that’s “budget” in price only.  This deluxe set brings together the Parlophone-controlled material from The Rare Monro and The Rarer Monro, with numerous sonic upgrades and even a couple of previously unissued tracks.

Hit the jump to dive in to both releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2013 at 09:49