The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 18th, 2014

Too Much Heaven: Bee Gees’ “Warner Bros. Years” Box Set Premieres Unreleased Tracks, Complete Concert

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Bee Gees - OneFollowing the release of 1981’s Living Eyes, The Bee Gees effectively called it a day.  The band reportedly clashed during the making of the album, and its lack of chart success convinced Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb to pursue non-band projects for a time.  Solo albums and soundtrack recordings arrived, and the Barry Gibb/Karl Richardson/Albhy Galuten team worked its magic on releases by Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross (featuring numerous songs co-written by all three brothers, of course).  But a new Bee Gees album didn’t arrive until 1987.  When it did, it was the group’s first ever release for Warner Bros. Records.  That “comeback” album, E.S.P., yielded the U.K. chart-topper “You Win Again.”  E.S.P. leads off The Warner Bros. Years, a new 5-CD box set due on April 15 chronicling the band’s three albums for the Warner label…and more!  The Warner Bros. Years includes the entirety of E.S.P. (1987), One (1989) and High Civilization (1991), and adds demos, single edits and remixes, as well as the world premiere of a 2-CD live album, One for All.

“You Win Again” was a worldwide smash virtually everywhere other than in the United States.  The single, which announced a modernized sound for The Bee Gees, went straight to pole position in Great Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway, and reached the Top 10 in Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and Sweden. When it reached No. 1 in October 1987 in the U.K., it made The Bee Gees the first group to reach No. 1 in three consecutive decades.   E.S.P. reunited Barry, Robin and Maurice with producer Arif Mardin, the R&B legend who helmed their seventies classics Mr. Natural and Main Course (including the U.S. No. 1 single “Jive Talkin’”).  The album itself went Top 5 in the U.K. and cracked the Top 100 of the Billboard 200 stateside.  The box set’s remastered edition of the album includes five bonus tracks: the demo, single edit and extended version of the title track, plus the single edit of “Angela” and the extended version of “You Win Again.”  (Other remixes of “E.S.P.” from producer Arthur Baker have not made the cut.)

The Bee Gees returned two years later with One (1989). Co-produced by the band and Brian Tench, it was group’s first digital recording.  And it finally rewarded Barry, Robin and Maurice with another U.S. Top 10 hit in its title track.  But the success of One was bittersweet.  While recording the album, brother Andy Gibb died unexpectedly.  Following a break in recording, Andy’s brothers returned to the studio with “Wish You Were Here” and dedicated the album to him. The original U.S. release of One had a different track listing than its international counterpart, switching “Ordinary Lives” and “One” in the running order, and dropping CD bonus track “Wing and a Prayer” in favor of another appearance of “You Win Again” from E.S.P.   (For those who hadn’t yet switched to CD, “Wing and a Prayer” was the vinyl single B-side of “One.”)  The version in the box set restores the original, preferred international sequence, and adds four bonus tracks.  Lead single “One” is included in its edited remix as well as 12-inch Dance and Club Mix versions.  (The dub version is not present.)  The fourth extra is “Shape of Things to Come,” which originally appeared on 1988 Summer Olympics Album: One Moment In Time.

After the jump: more on this new box set including the complete track listing and discography!

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Written by Joe Marchese

February 18, 2014 at 14:50

“Drums Along the Hudson” Beat Again with Reissue of Expanded Album

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Drums Along the HudsonWhen Jem Recordings – the famous import distributor (located in the author’s hometown!) – was reborn last year, at its front and center was The Bongos, the incredible Hoboken-bred pop-rock band who were the first and last act to play the town’s legendary venue Maxwell’s when it closed last year. Jem issued on CD an unreleased Bongos album, Phantom Train, as well as a physical release for frontman Richard Barone‘s superb Cool Blue Halo 25th Anniversary Concert. Last week, Jem added another Bongos treasure to their catalogue: an expanded edition of Drums Along the Hudson, the band’s first LP from 1982.

Originally released on Jem’s PVC label, Drums Along the Hudson was The Bongos’ breakthrough to audiences and critics beyond the Tri-State area. In a retrospective review for The Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis wrote, “The initial impression of naivete is offset by deceptively simple lyrics that actually hint at deep, dark mysteries and unfathomed mystical enigmas.” A cover of T. Rex’s “Mambo Sun” peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard dance charts, and the band gained enough momentum to sign with RCA Records for two releases, 1983’s Numbers with Wings EP (the title video of which was an early MTV hit) and 1985’s Beat Hotel. (Phantom Hotel would follow, albeit unreleased until last year.)

Drums Along the Hudson was reissued by Cooking Vinyl in 2007 with a host of extras: an unreleased studio song, “Nuts & Bolts,” excerpts from two live shows in New Jersey and London in 1979 and 1981 and what was the band’s first newly released recording in over 20 years: a revisiting of signature track “The Bulrushes” produced by iconic dance artist and Bongos fan Moby.

If you missed out on Drums Along the Hudson either in 1982 or 2007, make now the time to catch up. It’s available now at the Amazon links after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2014 at 13:28

Posted in News, Reissues, The Bongos

Bruce Springsteen Remasters Announced – with a Twist

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Born to RunIt’s one of the biggest headlines catalogue music fans have been waiting decades to hear – if not necessarily in the context they’d like.

Today, Bruce Springsteen announced ten of his albums from across his entire discography have been newly remastered from the original analogue tapes by Bob Ludwig. The list includes five classic LPs – Springsteen’s first four albums Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973), The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973), Born to Run (1975), Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) and Born in the U.S.A. (1984) – and five recent ones – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006), Working on a Dream (2009), The Promise (2010), Wrecking Ball (2012) and the just-released High Hopes. While Born to RunDarkness and the Darkness-era outtakes set The Promise were all significantly improved for remastered box set treatments in recent years, this marks the first time that anything has been done to the first two albums (as manager Jon Landau had alluded to earlier this yearor the celebrated Born in the U.S.A. since they were first transferred to CD some three decades ago.

These albums, mastered by Ludwig under the personal supervision of Springsteen and his engineer Toby Scott, were indeed sourced from the original tapes, newly transferred by Jamie Howarth of Plangent Process. The Plangent Process playback system is lauded for its ability to correct pitch errors and other distortions in the magnetic tape over time, allowing for what may be the most detailed take on Springsteen and The E Street Band’s sound.

Now: all of this is great news so far, which was an attempt to steel you against the not-so-great news: these 10 masters so far currently only exist as Mastered for iTunes titles. While the MFiT process as a guideline starts with 96 kHz/24-bit resolution masters – well beyond the quality of a compact disc – these masters will be ostensibly compressed to some degree in order to fit as an AAC file.

Which, of course, begs the question: will these new remasters be available in some other capacity? Certainly services like HD Tracks would post the remasters as lossless files. And of course, there’s the idea of remastered CDs – a practice that Springsteen’s catalogue – which, alongside that of Prince’s, is probably the most glaring in this respect – has largely evaded over the years. (That doesn’t even consider if other albums – say, The River (1980) or Nebraska (1982) – will be restored by Ludwig and company.)

We’ve reached out to Sony Music for comment on the matter of possible physical releases of these new Bruce Springsteen masters, which would certainly be one of 2014’s bigger stories on the catalogue/reissue beat were it to happen. When we find out, we’ll make sure you, our treasured reader, is kept in the know.

Until then? As a wise man once said, “Show a little faith – there’s magic in the night.”

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2014 at 12:18

He Wears It Well: Long-Delayed Rod Stewart Box Set Back On Track For March Release

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Rod Stewart - Live Box

2014’s gonna be alright for fans of Rod Stewart.

Following 2012’s sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll memoir Rod: The Autobiography and the 2013 release of Rarities (largely culled from the box set The Rod Stewart Sessions: 1971-1998), the one-time Rod the Mod and all-time superstar is still in a reflective mood.  Stewart will look back on three decades of concert performances with the March 18 release from Warner Bros. Records of Live 1976-1998: Tonight’s the Night.  This long-rumored box set consists of 4 CDs and 58 never-before-released live recordings, and draws on various sources from both sides of the Atlantic such as Stewart’s 1976 U.K. tour, L.A. gigs from 1979 and 1993, Wembley Arena concerts from 1980 and 1981, a 1984 performance in San Diego, a 1989 stand in New Jersey, and a 1998 return to London.

The first disc, from the 1976 tour, sets the box’s template, with hits appearing alongside cover versions (some familiar in Rod’s renditions, others not).  Hence, you’ll hear Rod doing “You Wear It Well,” “Maggie May” and the title track “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” as well as Danny Whitten’s “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” (a 1977 chart-topping single for Stewart which was re-recorded in 1998 and became a hit a second time), The Beatles’ “Get Back” (recorded by Rod for the film All This and World War II) and Motown favorites like “(I Know) I’m Losing You” from Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story and “This Old Heart of Mine” from  Atlantic Crossing.

Disc 2 covers the period of 1976-1981 and Stewart’s live explorations from blues-rock to disco.  The classic R&B soulbook (to steal from the title of Rod’s 2009 covers album) was tapped for medleys (“(I Know) I’m Losing You/It’s All Over Now/Standin’ in the Shadows of Love/Layla” and “Twistin’ the Night Away/Every Picture Tells a Story”) and stand-alone songs like Willie Dixon’s torrid “I Just Want to Make Love to You.”  Stewart’s 1977 hit “Hot Legs” is heard as a sizzling duet with Tina Turner, as is the rocking title track of 1978’s Blondes Have More Fun.  The third CD (1984-1989) has the 1977 hit “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)” and the deathless disco romp “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” along with 1988’s Bob Dylan-inspired “Forever Young” and Otis Redding staples “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” and “Try a Little Tenderness.”  Rod’s reinvention of Jeff Fortgang’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck” (first recorded by The Persuaders in 1973) appears, as does a live performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart.”

The final disc of the set takes Stewart from 1991 to 1998, reprising “This Old Heart of Mine” as well as “Twistin’ the Night Away” (this time paired with Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”).  Many of Stewart’s key singles are represented, such as 1989’s Tom Waits cover “Downtown Train,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” (1992), Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” (1992/1993) and Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” (1992).  “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and “Rocks” close out the box set, both from Rod’s final studio album of the 1990s, When We Were the New Boys.  This disc also features a stab at Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” and concert favorites like “Mandolin Wind,” “Handbags and Gladrags” and Faces’ “Stay with Me.”

After the jump, we have the complete track listing, pre-order links and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 18, 2014 at 10:46

Posted in Box Sets, News, Rod Stewart

Release Round-Up: Week of February 18

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Play All NightThe Allman Brothers Band, Boston Common 8-17-71 (Allman Brothers Band Recording Company) / Play All Night: Live At The Beacon Theatre 1992 Live At Great Woods 1992 (Epic/Legacy)

A host of Allman-related catalogue projects are due out today to commemorate 45 years since the beloved rockers first came together. The band is self-releasing a fine find of a show recorded just weeks after the dates that were captured on At Fillmore East and months before Duane Allman’s sudden passing. Elsewhere, Legacy is releasing some great stuff from the rejuvenated/revived lineup (featuring originals Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe alongside new guitarist Warren Haynes, bassist Allen Woody and percussionist Marc Quinones), including a double-disc set from one of the band’s now-legendary runs at New York’s Beacon Theatre (where they’ve played more than 200 shows over 25 years) and a reissue of the Live At Great Woods concert program on DVD. (Unlike previous reissues, this version is not intercut with interviews, allowing for maximum enjoyment of the music and visuals.)

Boston Common: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Play All Night: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live At Great Woods: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Any Which Way You CanAny Which Way You Can Honkytonk Man Sharky’s Machine: Original Motion Picture Soundtracks (Varese Vintage)

A trio of manly various artists soundtracks, the first two starring Clint Eastwood (the latter of the two also directed by him) and the other starring and directed by Burt Reynolds. Music by Glen Campbell, Porter Wagoner, Marty Robbins, Chet Baker, Doc Severinsen and The Manhattan Transfer feature here; a full rundown by Joe is forthcoming!

Any Which Way You Can: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Honkytonk Man
: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Sharky’s Machine
: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2014 at 08:14

Posted in DVD, News, Reissues, Soundtracks

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