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Archive for January 7th, 2014

Simply the Best: Romantic New Tina Turner Compilation Announced

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Tina Turner Love SongsTina Turner knows plenty about love and loss, both on and offstage. The legendary performer shook up the ’60s with her husband Ike and their relentlessly soulful revue, culminating with the Phil Spector-produced “River Deep – Mountain High” and an opening slot for The Rolling Stones on tour. But Ike’s substance (and marital) abuse led Tina to divorce him in 1976 and struggled to make a name for herself as a solo artist. Of course, less than a decade later, 1984’s iconic Private Dancer put her firmly at the top of the heap, selling more than 5 million copies in the U.S. and winning four Grammy Awards.

Turner’s last studio album was released in 1999, but she’s still going strong, as a 50th anniversary tour in 2008-2009 attested to. And now, the newly-rejuvenated Parlophone will release a new compilation highlighting Turner’s romantic side in time for Valentine’s Day.

Love Songs features 18 classics from Turner’s Capitol/Parlophone discography, hitting all of her major studio albums (Private DancerBreak Every Rule (1986), Foreign Affair (1989), Wildest Dreams (1995) and Twenty Four Seven (1999)), plus the 1991 compilation Simply The Best and the soundtrack to 1993’s acclaimed biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It, which featured re-recordings of Tina’s early classics and new hits including the pop smash “I Don’t Wanna Fight.” A few lesser known singles, including covers of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and John Waite’s “Missing You,” feature on the 18-track disc, which closes full-circle with Ike & Tina’s original transmission from the Wall of Sound, “River Deep – Mountain High.”

The new Love Songs compilation hits stores February 4. Amazon links and full track listings are below! 

UPDATE 1/9: Rhino Records has informed us that the Amazon U.S. listing below is showing the import version only – that explains the higher price. The Rhino team is working to get the U.S. Version live on Amazon, which will feature a much lower price.  We will update the link accordingly as soon as the correct U.S. version is listed by Amazon!

Love Songs (Parlophone, 2014)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. The Best
  2. I Don’t Wanna Lose You
  3. Let’s Stay Together
  4. What’s Love Got to Do with It
  5. Missing You
  6. Private Dancer
  7. Two People
  8. Look Me in the Heart
  9. Way of the World
  10. Why Must We Wait Until Tonight
  11. Falling
  12. I Want You Near Me
  13. Be Tender with Me Baby
  14. Don’t Leave Me This Way
  15. I Don’t Wanna Fight
  16. Whatever You Need
  17. When the Heartache is Over
  18. River Deep Mountain High – Ike & Tina Turner

Tracks 1-2, 8 and 13 from Foreign Affair (Capitol, 1989)
Tracks 3-4 and 6 from Private Dancer (Capitol, 1984)
Track 5 from Wildest Dreams (Parlophone, 1995)
Track 7 from Break Every Rule (Capitol, 1986)
Tracks 9 and 12 from Simply The Best (Capitol, 1991)
Tracks 10 and 15 from What’s Love Got to Do with It (Parlophone, 1993)
Tracks 11, 14 and 16-17 from Twenty Four Seven (Parlophone, 1999)
Track 18 from Philles single 131, 1966/River Deep Mountain High (A&M, 1967)

Written by Mike Duquette

January 7, 2014 at 17:27

From Brigadoon to Dogpatch, USA: Masterworks’ Slate Features Robert Goulet Musicals, “Li’l Abner,” “Virginia Woolf”

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Li'l Abner OSTIt might be a typical day in Dogpatch, USA, but it’s far from a typical one around these parts, for Sony’s Masterworks Broadway imprint has unveiled its first three releases of 2014 – each one a rare album never previously available in the compact disc/digital era.  Next Tuesday, January 14, Masterworks will reissue the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie musical Li’l Abner, arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.  Next month, on February 18, comes the spoken-word Original Broadway Cast Recording of Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill.  Finally, on March 18, Masterworks revisits the Golden Age of the television musical with two rare soundtracks starring Robert Goulet: Brigadoon and Kiss Me, Kate.

Oh, happy day!  Between 1934 and 1977, newspaper readers delighted in Li’l Abner, the comic strip adventures of the denizens of Dogpatch, USA.  Controversial cartoonist Al Capp’s colorful coterie of characters – among them Li’l Abner, Mammy, Pappy and Daisy Mae Yokum, Marryin’ Sam, Moonbeam McSwine, and The Shmoo – were instruments of Capp’s biting satire, and at its height, Abner was reportedly read by 70 million Americans, or more than a third of the country’s then-total population.  Though a Li’l Abner film arrived in 1940, and songs were recorded about the character throughout the forties, a full-fledged Broadway musical didn’t arrive until 1956. Starring Peter Palmer, Edie Adams, Stubby Kaye, Tina Louise, Julie Newmar and Charlotte Rae, and sporting a score by Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul, director Michael Kidd’s production ran for 693 performances.  A film version arrived from Paramount in 1959, with the stage show’s co-book writers Melvin Frank and Norman Panama on board as director and producer, respectively.

Columbia Records issued both the Original Broadway Cast Recording and the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, the latter of which is finally arriving on CD-R and digital download from Masterworks Broadway on January 14.  Many of the stage show’s actors reprised their roles (including Palmer, Kaye, Newmar and ensemble member Valerie Harper), and Nelson Riddle was tapped to arrange and conduct the score.  He and choral arranger Joseph J. Lilley received the movie’s only Oscar nomination.  Columbia’s stereo soundtrack album was actually a re-recording/re-editing of the score for home listening, as was a common practice of the day.  This long-unavailable album will be released exclusively at on January 14 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand (MOD) CDs as well as digital download.  The CD-R will be available through Arkiv Music on February 11, plus downloads through other digital service providers the same day.

After the jump, we have details on Virginia Woolf and the Robert Goulet two-fer, plus full track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 7, 2014 at 13:13

Release Round-Up: Week of January 7

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Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours

Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours (Real World)

In 2010, Peter Gabriel released Scratch My Back, a new set of cover songs. The plan was to pair them up with covers of his own work by the artists he covered; some of them were released as B-sides but others never materialized. (Radiohead, David Bowie and Neil Young declined to contribute.) This version combines the original album with those covers (also separately released today), including cuts by Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Bon Iver and the late Lou Reed.

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

Blood Sweat and Tears - Singles

Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Complete Columbia Singles / Bettye Swann, The Complete Atlantic Recordings / Samuel Jonathan Johnson, My Music /Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 10 – Winterland Arena December 29, 1977 (Real Gone Music)

Real Gone’s first batch of 2014 features a double-disc singles anthology from Blood, Sweat & Tears with original single mixes (and the first eight tracks in mono), obscure ’70s soul from Bettye Swann and Samuel Jonathan Johnson and a vintage Dead set from 1977.

BS&T: Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.
Bettye: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Samuel Jonathan Johnson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 7, 2014 at 12:22

Shall We Dance: Fred Astaire’s “Early Days at RKO” Collects Vintage Sides On 2 CDs

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Fred Astaire - RKOToday, more than 25 years after his passing, the name of Fred Astaire still instantly conjures up a world of top hat, white tie and tails; of sheer elegance, easygoing charm and abundant grace.  His enduring talents have recently been celebrated by Sony’s Masterworks label and Turner Classic Movies on the latest in their series of joint CD releases, Fred Astaire: The Early Years at RKO.  (Previous titles have been dedicated to Doris Day and Mario Lanza.)  This 2-CD, 37-song anthology spans the period between 1932 and 1938 during which time the Omaha, Nebraska-born Astaire (1899-1987) established himself as both an artistic innovator and one of Hollywood’s most consistent moneymakers.

The RKO years chronicled on Masterworks/TCM’s new CD, however, were actually part of the legendary entertainer’s second act.  Fred and his older sister Adele Astaire (1896-1981) began treading the boards in vaudeville at the ages of five and eight, respectively, with their brother-sister dance act.  Despite some fallow periods, they played in vaudeville through 1917, including tours on the fabled Orpheum Circuit.  In 1917, the lights of Broadway beckoned to the Astaires, and their performances in the revue Over the Top at the Roof Garden of the onetime Weber and Fields’ Music Hall led to a series of acclaimed musicals on both sides of the Atlantic.  Fred and Adele starred in musical comedies by George and Ira Gershwin (Lady Be Good, Funny Face) in both New York and London, and Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz (The Band Wagon) in New York alone.  Astaire, who never thought of himself as much of a singer, introduced such future standards as “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Funny Face” while burnishing his reputation as the premier dancer in America and beyond.  In 1930, Robert Benchley quipped, “I don’t think that I will plunge the nation into war by stating that Fred is the greatest tap-dancer in the world.”

Following The Band Wagon’s run at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre (soon to be the home of Disney’s Aladdin), Adele announced her retirement from show business to marry Lord Charles Cavendish.  Astaire pressed on, starring opposite Claire Luce in both New York and London in Cole Porter’s The Gay Divorce, in which he introduced the immortal “Night and Day.”  He then pursued a career in Hollywood at RKO Radio Pictures, but before RKO placed him in a film, the studio lent him to MGM for a role as himself opposite Joan Crawford in the Crawford/Clark Gable starrer Dancing Lady.  Returning to RKO, he took fifth billing in the 1933 musical Flying Down to Rio, just behind the fourth billed Ginger Rogers.  With his future in Hollywood a promising one, Astaire reportedly had just one wish: he was to fly solo, so to speak.  In his book Astaire Dancing – The Musical Films, John Mueller cites a letter written by Astaire to his agent: “I don’t mind making another picture with her, but as for this ‘team’ idea, it’s ‘out!’ I’ve just managed to live down one partnership and I don’t want to be bothered with any more!”

But even Fred Astaire couldn’t deny his chemistry with Ginger Rogers, with whom he danced the “Carioca” in their first onscreen pairing.  They would star in eight more films together before splitting in 1939, including such influential pictures as Top Hat (1935, with an Irving Berlin score) and Swing Time (1936, with a Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields score).  (In 1949, Astaire and Rogers reunited at MGM one last time, for The Barkleys of Broadway.)  His inventive choreography co-created with Hermes Pan, effortlessly elegant dance style, and unique approach to filming – insisting his directors shoot his routines with one single shot, if possible, rather than the fancy camerawork and multiple angles of, say, a Busby Berkeley – ensured his place in the Hollywood pantheon.  But Astaire also built on his legacy in the Great American Songbook thanks to these films and his first performances of “Cheek to Cheek,” A Fine Romance,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” and many others.  Fred Astaire may have introduced more American standards than any other singer…which was no small feat for someone who didn’t care for the quality of his own voice.

After the jump: we’ll take a closer look at what you’ll find on The Early Years at RKO!  Plus: order links and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 7, 2014 at 10:33