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Archive for February 11th, 2014

Ode to Bob: “Dylan’s Gospel” Reissue Due in April, Features Merry Clayton, Gloria Jones, Edna Wright

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Dylan's GospelLight in the Attic is getting ready to spread the Gospel of Bob.  Dylan, that is.  On April 1, the label returns Ode Records’ 1969 tribute Dylan’s Gospel to print with new CD and LP reissues.  Credited to The Brothers and Sisters, Dylan’s Gospel featured the cream of the crop of Los Angeles’ session singers including Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Patrice Holloway, Edna Wright and Shirley Matthews on a variety of Dylan staples, sanctified-style.

Producer Lou Adler formed Ode Records after selling his Dunhill label – the home of The Mamas and the Papas and The Grass Roots, among others – to ABC Records in 1967.  The impresario-producer kicked off Ode with releases by Scott McKenzie and Spirit and soon expanded its roster with releases from artists including Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton, Carole King’s band The City and a John Densmore/Robbie Krieger-produced outfit called The Comfortable Chair.  When Adler hit upon the notion of a tribute to Bob Dylan, he made sure that it would be something special.  Dylan’s career was, unbelievably, less than a decade old in 1969, yet he had already written a number of oft-covered songs which would become modern-day standards.  And so rather than another album of Bob Dylan, say, folk-rock-style, Adler took the troubadour to church.

He enlisted arranger-conductor Gene Page for Dylan’s Gospel.  Already noted for his work on Phil Spector’s production of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and at Motown, the versatile Page would go on to orchestrate some of Barry White’s most lush compositions, work in Hollywood and on Broadway, and collaborate with artists like Elton John and Whitney Houston.  The 27-strong cast of powerful, big-voiced singers was primarily selected from that rarefied group that would be immortalized in the 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom: backup singers, many of whom had a background singing in church.  “Gimme Shelter” co-vocalist Merry Clayton joined Adler’s Brothers and Sisters as did Edna Wright (Darlene Love’s sister and member of The Honey Cone), Patrice Holloway (co-writer with sister Brenda of “You Made Me So Very Happy”), Stax artist Ruby Johnson, Honeys member Ginger Blake, and the accomplished songwriter and “Tainted Love” vocalist Gloria Jones.

After the jump: what will you hear on Dylan’s Gospel?  Plus: the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 11, 2014 at 14:56

A Goldsmith Grail to Check Off Your “List”

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Adrian MessengerHow did you celebrate yesterday, which would have been the 85th birthday of revered film composer Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004)? Did you play some of the great recent reissues of some of his most classic scores? It’s safe to say whatever you did, Varese Sarabande did it one step ahead: yesterday the label announced the long-awaited releases of one of Goldsmith’s most enduring and unavailable scores, 1963’s The List of Adrian Messenger.

Based on a 1959 novel of the same name, Adrian Messenger, directed by John Huston finds George C. Scott as a retired British intelligence officer following a late writer friend’s mysterious hunch that a recent string of seemingly accidental deaths are in fact a string of murders. An all-star cast, largely hidden by makeup and disguises (including Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra), adds an extra layer of fun to this suspenseful picture.

The year before Adrian Messenger, Goldsmith began to make a name for himself after years writing scores for television shows (Dr. KildareThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Twilight Zone – a feature film of which he’d score in 1983). 1962 saw the release of Lonely Are the Brave, a Western with a fantastic score by the composer, and Freud, whose atonal score netted Goldsmith his first of 18 Oscar nominations. (He’d only win once, for The Omen.) Adrian Messenger‘s thrilling but intimate score was some of Goldsmith’s finest work to date, and an exciting preview of the years to come.

Varese’s CD features the complete score for The List of Adrian Messenger for the first time on any format, limited to just 3,000 copies. Discs will ship the week of February 24, so place your orders fast!

Jerry Goldsmith, The List of Adrian Messenger: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande VCL 0214 1449, 2014 – original film released 1963)

  1. Prologue/Main Title/Gleneyre
  2. Death in Disguise
  3. Le Borg Remembers
  4. Back in the Ditch
  5. Cat and Louse
  6. It’s a Gasser
  7. Lost Love
  8. Assault on Slattery
  9. The Brush Off
  10. The Gypsy
  11. Beagles and Fox
  12. Quail Hunt
  13. Baiting the Trap
  14. It’s a Drag
  15. Broom’s Doom
  16. End Cast

Written by Mike Duquette

February 11, 2014 at 13:49

Just the Way You Like It: Hits, Videos Compiled on Tabu Box Set

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Tabu boxAfter more than a year of reissues of the Tabu Records catalogue by Edsel – reissues that have been relatively lavish but particularly divisive for their occasional lapses in audio quality – the label has prepped a thorough career-spanning box set.

The Tabu Records Box Set is a 6CD/1DVD affair collecting tracks from all of the label’s major releases between 1977 and 1991. Each disc will be broken down by theme; the first focuses on early soul albums by the likes of The S.O.S. Band and Brainstorm plus more left-of-center instrumental albums by Manfredo Fest and noted composer Lalo Schifrin. (Some of these tracks, particularly those by Schifrin, have not been celebrated with individual reissues, making their inclusion a particular treat.) Disc 2 highlights dance tracks from that early era (“Lovin’ is Really My Game,” “Groovin’ (That’s What We’re Doin’)”) while Disc 3 showcases the romantic side of the label’s roster.

Discs 4 and 5 highlight Tabu’s biggest peak in the ’80s, when producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of The Time, set up shop as writers/producers for Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle and The S.O.S. Band. Hits like “Just Be Good to Me,” “Never Knew Love Like This,” “Saturday Love” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” blossomed from this period. The set closes with some of the lesser-known acts from the label’s twilight years, including Demetrius Perry, Kathy Mathis and Rhonda Clark.

Also included in the box is a DVD featuring promo videos (mostly by O’Neal) and interviews with label founder Clarence Avant as well as Jam & Lewis, and a bonus 7″ single featuring two of the label’s more obscure grooves, “Changin'” by (Ms.) Sharon Ridley and “Jungle Kitten” by Manfredo Fest. A 60-page booklet features notes by box compiler Ralph Tee plus an extensive label discography.

The whole affair is available February 24 and can be ordered after the jump, where you’ll find an exhaustive breakdown of the tracks! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 11, 2014 at 10:46

Review: Two From Camper Van Beethoven and Omnivore Recordings

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Camper - Our BelovedAnd this here’s a government experiment and we’re driving like Hell
To give some cowboys some acid and to stay in motels
We’re going to eat up some wide open spaces like it was a cruise on the Nile
Take the hands off the clock, we’re going to be here a while

– Camper Van Beethoven, “Eye of Fatima (Pt. 1)”

You can take the band out of the underground, but you can’t take the underground out of the band.  California’s Camper Van Beethoven had been making its brand of “surrealist, absurdist folk” for roughly five years before garnering a major-label contract courtesy of Virgin Records in 1988.  Typically, many wondered if the result would be a watered-down version of what made the band successful in the first place.  But upon the release of Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, the words “sell out” were unlikely to cross the lips of all but the most cynical fans.  Both that landmark release and its 1989 follow-up Key Lime Pie have just been reissued by Omnivore Recordings in splendidly remastered, generously expanded deluxe editions.  These two packed reissues are manna for longtime fans and solid introductions for those who aren’t familiar with the CVB ouevre.

From D.I.Y. to the House That Richard Branson Built, Camper Van Beethoven maintained a core of musical integrity.  The five-piece group behind Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (Omnivore OVCD-69) – bassist Victor Krummenacher, guitarist Greg Lisher, guitarist/vocalist David Lowery, drummer Chris Pedersen and strings/keys man Jonathan Segel – imbued the album with a joyfully schizophrenic tone and the defiantly “alternative” sound of Segel’s fiddle.

“How can I believe that everything in this world is going to be fine? /How can I believe that everything in this world has its place and time?,” Lowery asks on “She Divines Water.”  The false rhyme notwithstanding, it’s an arresting opening couplet, and certainly reflected the questions of many listening in the year that George H.W. Bush seemed poised to continue the Reagan Era.  Although there’s an anything-goes sense of possibility that permeates the album, there’s also an undercurrent of darkness.  The mordant “tribute” to titular “revolutionary sweetheart” Patty Hearst and the cult of celebrity, “Tania,” is wryly humorous: “How I long for the days when you came to liberate us from boredom/From driving around/From the hours between five and seven in the evening…”

The quirky, irreverent, oblique and subversive lyrics throughout the LP are aided by the band’s varied musical settings, with one element rarely detracting from the other.  Following the hypnotic “Devil Song,” “One of These Days” surprises simply by not being too surprising.  The relatively straightforward track makes the most of its familiar title previously employed by the likes of Pink Floyd, Mose Allison, Paul McCartney, Lou Reed and Barry Manilow (!) and boasts a strong radio-friendly gloss.  Pop harmonies enliven “Never Go Back” following its bleak, carnival-esque introduction, and Camper is at its most punk on the frenetic, aburdist “My Path Belated” and boisterous “Turquoise Jewelry.”  A woozy brass arrangement punctuates the loping “Change Your Mind.”  Instrumental tracks stand shoulder to shoulder with the vocal performances, such as Part II of “Eye of Fatima,” the heavy “Waka” and the atmospheric, film soundtrack-esque “The Fool.”  The witty address that concludes the album (“And life is grand/And I will say this at the risk of falling from favor/With those of you who have appointed yourself to expect us to say something darker…”) showed a band completely unafraid to defy expectations…whatever your expectations were.

Reissue producer and designer Greg Allen has added a clutch of bonus tracks culled from singles and previously unissued live performances circa 1988 from Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.  There are numerous treats here, including covers of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (“Wade in the Water”) and Paul Simon (“Kodachrome” with a clever twist of Ringo Starr’s “Photograph”).  On the latter, David Lowery’s disaffected lead voice makes for an ironic contrast to Paul Simon’s knowing choirboy vocals on the original.

After the jump: a slice of Key Lime Pie and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 11, 2014 at 10:33

Posted in Camper Van Beethoven, News, Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of February 11

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Camper - Our BelovedCamper Van Beethoven, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart/Key Lime Pie: Deluxe Editions (Omnivore)

Omnivore expands both Virgin Records releases from the winning alt-folk group, released in 1988 and 1989.

Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.; LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Key Lime Pie (CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.; LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Def Leppard SlangDef Leppard, Slang: Deluxe Edition (Bludgeon Riffola)

The band’s fan-favorite 1996 album gets a generous deluxe edition treatment with B-sides and unreleased demos.

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

The Organisation of PopVarious Artists, The Art of The 12″, Volume Three The Organisation of Pop: 30 Years of Zang Tuum Tuub / Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Frankie Said: Deluxe Edition (ZTT/Salvo)

New ZTT comps abound this week, including an updated double-disc retrospective for the U.K. (which differs from last year’s U.S. edition on Razor & Tie) and a CD/DVD edition of the latest Frankie best-of.

The Art of The 12″: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Organisation of PopAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Frankie SaidAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Visions of EightHenry Mancini, Visions of Eight: Music from the Original Soundtrack / Sid Ramin, Stiletto: Selections from the Soundtrack (Dutton Vocalion)

Some underrated soundtrack goodness is due from this U.K. label. Stiletto features the song “Sugar in the Rain” as written by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, while Visions of Eight also features Just You and Me Together Love, Mancini’s 1977 collaboration LP with poet Joe Laws.

Mancini: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ramin: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

WizardVarious Artists, The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Anthology (Sepia)

Produced through the unintended convenience of U.K. copyright/public domain laws, Sepia provides a neat little “bonus disc” to accompany the immortal soundtrack to the 1939 film. (Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

Ross Culture FactoryDiana Ross, Ross / The Temptations, All Directions / James Brown, Ain’t It Funky The Popcorn /Rod Stewart, The Rod Stewart Album / The Runaways , Live in Japan  (Culture Factory)

Culture Factory dips into the Motown and James Brown catalogues (among others) for vinyl replica CD reissues.

Diana: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Temptations: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
J.B. Ain’t It Funky: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
J.B. The PopcornAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rod: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Runaways: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Dusty SACDDusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis (Stereo Hybrid SACD) (Analogue Productions)

One of the greatest albums of its decade gets the SACD treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 11, 2014 at 08:28