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Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 25th, 2014

In A Russian State of Mind: Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge To Russia” Gets Deluxe Treatment

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Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust CoverWith Billy Joel in the midst of his unprecedented concert run as a “franchise” at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the time has never been better to revisit one of the most significant concert appearances of the Long Island troubadour’s long musical career.  On May 20, 2014, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will definitively chronicle Joel’s historic 1987 Russian concert tour on A Matter of Trust – The Bridge to Russia.

A Matter of Trust will be available in a Deluxe Edition box set containing the full-length concert film (simply entitled The Concert) on DVD or Blu-ray; a 2-CD set (The Music) expanding the original KOHUEPT concert album; and, as an exclusive, the documentary film A Matter of Trust from Emmy-winning director Jim Brown who has previously brought the stories of Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte to film.  The box set will also contain a book containing new liner notes from contributors such as Gary Graff, Michael Jensen, Neal Preston, Rona Elliot and Wayne Robins.  The concert film will be available separately on DVD and Blu-ray, and the 2-CD set The Music will also be released as a stand-alone title.

When the piano man’s tour in support of his album The Bridge stopped in the Soviet Union the year after the adoption of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (read: openness or transparency) it made headlines around the world.  Joel became one of the first major American rock artists to play in the Soviet Union post-Berlin Wall.  Backed by his band including Liberty DeVitto (drums), Doug Stegmeyer (bass), Mark Rivera (saxophone), Dave LeBolt (keyboards), Russell Javors and Kevin Dukes (guitars), he stormed through six stadium concerts in Moscow and Leningrad (plus a smaller, acoustic show in Tbilisi) and was credited with introducing many Russian youths to American rock and roll via his big hits (“Uptown Girl,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”), recent songs from The Bridge (“Baby Grand,” “A Matter of Trust”) and even a spirited cover of The Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” for good measure.   By the end of the evenings, audience members who had never left Communist Russia were in a New York state of mind.

After the jump, we have more details including the full track listings for all formats! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2014 at 15:55

Posted in Billy Joel, DVD, News, Reissues

EXCLUSIVE: Real Gone Saddles Up To Record Store Day With Never-Before-Heard Music From Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

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Bob Wills - LabelWaylon Jennings might have said it best: “Bob Wills is still the King.”  The song of that name closed Jennings’ 1975 album Dreaming My Dreams, which was released just one month after the death of the King of Western Swing at age 70.  Waylon’s ode to Bob Wills was revived three decades later by The Rolling Stones, and the sentiment still held true.  Now, Real Gone Music is celebrating Record Store Day 2014 – that’s Saturday, April 19 – with a slice of ultra-rare, vintage Americana that you’ve never heard before.

The Second Disc is exclusively breaking the news that the California label will commemorate the legacy of the Texas icon with the limited edition vinyl release of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys – Transcriptions.  The ten tracks on this 1,500-unit collectible have never appeared anywhere in any format before, and four of the songs will remain exclusive to this Record Store Day release.

By 1946, Bob Wills and his band The Texas Playboys were already the stuff of legend.  The bandleader, songwriter and fiddle player extraordinaire had popularized “Western swing” with his dance band melding traditional country-and-western guitar, fiddle and banjo sounds with steel guitar, drums, piano, horns and reeds.  1940’s “New San Antonio Rose,” written by Wills, propelled the band to widespread fame, and Bing Crosby’s recording sold over one million copies.  Wills and the Playboys even travelled to Hollywood to star in films like Take Me Back to Oklahoma opposite singing cowboy Tex Ritter, and raised a ruckus by bringing horns and drums into the hallowed hall of the Grand Ole Opry.  In 1946 and 1947, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys recorded almost 400 full songs for Tiffany Music, Inc., a body of work that came to be known simply as “the Tiffany Transcriptions.”  These incendiary recordings were distributed only to radio stations on 16-inch transcription discs, intended for airplay as part of a syndicated radio program featuring Wills and his band including vocalist Tommy Duncan.  When Tiffany folded at the end of the decade, however, the company left over 200 songs consigned to the vaults…until now.

Hit the jump for complete details on this exciting new find! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2014 at 14:47

Won’t You Come: Soundgarden Announce “Superunknown” Box Set

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Superunknown 20 box

Grunge legends Soundgarden will honor their most successful album, 1994’s Superunknown, with a sprawling five-disc box set.

The first band of the Seattle explosion to sign with a major label, A&M Records, in 1988, Soundgarden broke through the commercial mainstream with the release of third album Badmotorfinger in 1991, arguably the holy trinity of the genre alongside fellow 1991 albums Nevermind by Nirvana and Ten by Pearl Jam. Superunknown saw the band experimenting with an expanded sonic palette, trying on unorthodox tunings and time signatures. But the songs still remain accessible and catchy, thanks to singles like “Spoonman,” “Black Hole Sun” (the band’s first and biggest Top 40 hit) and “Fell on Black Days.” In 1995, “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun” won Grammy Awards for Best Metal and Best Hard Rock Performance, respectively, while the album received a nomination for Best Rock Album.

The band – singer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron – would split a year after the release of follow-up album Down on the Upside in 1997, after which Cornell pursued a solo career and Cameron joined his friends in Pearl Jam. Happily, they reunited in 2010, issuing two archival projects, the compilations Telephantasm and Live on I-5, in 2010 and 2011; a new album, King Animal, was released in 2012.

Superunknown will be expanded in two forms: a double-disc expanded edition pairing the remastered album with a disc of demos, rehearsal takes and B-sides (10 of which are unreleased), and a five-disc box set including the album, a disc of 16 B-sides, a further two bonus discs of demos and rehearsals and a Blu-Ray disc featuring the album mixed in 5.1 surround sound. David Fricke pens new liner notes, while the band’s creative director Josh Graham provides newly redesigned, lenticular artwork.

A 200-gram double vinyl edition with a gatefold sleeve will also be made available, as will a 10″ box set of Superunknown-era singles as a Record Store Day exclusive – including several original B-sides actually not featured on the super deluxe box.

The expanded Superunknown is available June 3. Pre-order links are not yet available, but the full track list for all formats is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2014 at 14:46

Keeping Score with New Releases by Intrada and Kritzerland

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isc262Front_out.inddThe last few weeks have seen some great catalogue soundtracks released, including a set of LPs from a beloved Golden Age composer and a pair of heavy hitters at 20th Century-Fox.

Last week saw Intrada release two score titles. The first is the world premiere of Maurice Jarre’s score to Distant Thunder, from the 1988 John Lithgow-Ralph Macchio film about a Vietnam War veteran uneasily returning to his family after a decade spent in the American wilderness. Jarre’s small-scale electronic ensemble balances the tentativeness of Lithgow and Macchio’s burgeoning father-son relationship with sudden bursts representing the fear and violence that Lithgow’s Mark Lambert so often lived with.

Elsewhere, Intrada unleashes no less than six albums on three discs from acclaimed composer Elmer Bernstein’s tenure on the MGM-distributed label Ava Records. Recorded and released between 1962 and 1965, The Ava Collection features original soundtrack albums from such classics as The CarpetbaggersTo Kill a Mockingbird and Walk on the Wild Side, as well as a compilation of stray movie and television themes by Bernstein. Not only is this the first collection of all six of these releases, it’s also the first time all six of them have been mastered from the original first generation stereo masters! This mix of quality and quantity make it a must-have for not only Bernstein fans, but for fans of great ’60s film scoring.

KL_oHenry_Irish_CoverFin72Last, but certainly not least, Kritzerland uncovers two classics from the scoring sessions of 20th Century-Fox: Alfred Newman’s O. Henry’s Full House (1952) and Cyril Holdridge’s The Luck of the Irish (1948). Full House is quite an interesting picture: five adaptations of short stories by the popular American author, including “The Last Leaf,” “The Ransom of Red Chief” and the enduring “The Gift of the Magi” – all put on by five different directors and five different casts (including Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe, Farley Granger and others) and narrated by John Steinbeck, in a rare film appearance. Newman’s five mini-scores, ably arranged by Ken Darby, are treats for any fan of his work. Full House is paired with the score to The Luck of the Irish, a fantasy about a man (Tyrone Power) torn between his wealthy fiancé in New York and a beautiful stranger he met on the Emerald Isle. His journey is guided by Cecil Kellaway as Horace, an honest-to-goodness leprechaun he also makes the acquaintance of.

The Kritzerland two-fer is limited to 1,000 copies, while the Intrada sets are available “while quantities and interest remain.” Make your orders and check out the track lists after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2014 at 12:31

Gainsbourg’s Women: Ace Collects “Vamps et Vampire: The Songs of Serge Gainsbourg”

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Vamps et VampireWhen considering Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991), it’s often impossible to separate the provocateur’s art from his outré behavior.  The French songwriter, poet, actor and director was described by one journalist as “David Bowie, Mick Jagger and John Lennon rolled into one smoke cloud of controversy,” but it’s hard to imagine any of those rock icons at their most outrageous ever releasing anything like Gainsbourg’s duet with Jane Birkin, “Je t’aime…moi non plus.”  The song’s odd amalgam of steamy, erotically breathy lyrics and exclamations over an easy listening instrumental was quintessentially Gainsbourg, though the artist’s musical repertoire also encompassed jazz, rock and roll, disco, new wave, ye-ye pop and even the (more or less) traditional chanson.  And for all the envelope-pushing subject matter of his songs, his lyrics were literate, intricate and frequently poetic.  Gainsbourg has joined the illustrious ranks of Ace’s Songwriters series with the recent release of Vamps et Vampire: The Songs of Serge Gainsbourg.

Gainsbourg biographer Alan Clayson introduces this 25-track anthology with an essay posing the question, “Was he a misunderstood genius whose daring vulgarity, intricate double entendres and negative love ballads were relevant contributions to Gallic performing arts, or a cynical old lecher who was, as he said himself, ‘only interested in eroticism and money (in that order)?’”  Perhaps Serge Gainsbourg was both, but Vamps et Vampire allows his musical legacy to receive proper reevaluation removed from the salacious (if entertaining) episodes that made him such a constant presence in the French headlines over the years.

All but eight of the tracks here date from Gainsbourg’s prolific work in the (very) swinging sixties 1960s, with the collection rounded out by five songs from the 1980s, one from the 1970s and two from the 1990s.  As the title indicates, every track is performed by a female artist including the two most closely associated with Gainsbourg: his flames Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.  Gainsbourg’s relationship with France’s greatest-ever sex symbol Bardot was short-lived, but produced memorable music including this collection’s “Harley Davidson” and “Contact,” both arranged by the esteemed Michel Colombier.  (Bardot duetted with Gainsbourg on the original “Je t’aime,” but it remained unreleased until 1986; Ace’s compilation pointedly overlooks the track in any version.)  Birkin, the Swingin’ London icon, actress and onetime Mrs. John Barry, enjoyed a relationship with Gainsbourg from 1968 through 1980 during which time they teamed up to produce some of the most remarkable work of their musical careers including his much-acclaimed 1971 concept album Histoire de Melody Nelson.  Birkin is heard here on 1969’s “Jane B” and 1983’s “Con c’est con ces consequences.”

After the jump, there’s more Serge, including the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2014 at 10:36

Release Round-Up: Week of February 25

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Your ArsenalMorrissey, Your Arsenal: Definitive Master (Parlophone)

We don’t hate it when Moz becomes successful, as was the case with his third non-compilation album from 1992, which now comes with an unreleased live show on DVD.

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

Johnny Winter - True to the BluesJohnny Winter, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Columbia/Legacy)

A four-disc tribute to the influential blues guitarist, who turned 70 on Sunday. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Workbook 25Bob Mould, Workbook: 25th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)

After the disbandment of Hüsker Dü, singer/guitarist Mould was on the solo beat with this album, now expanded with an unreleased 1989 concert at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago.

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

Silversun PickupsSilversun Pickups, The Singles Collection (Dangerbird Records, 2014)

The L.A. rockers collect their last nine or so years of A-sides on a professionally-pressed CD-R compilation or a box of six vinyl singles; both feature a newly released track, “Cannibal.”


CD-R: Amazon U.S.
6 x 7″ box:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Tabu boxVarious Artists, The Tabu Records Box (Tabu/Edsel)

A 6CD/1DVD/1 45 RPM overview of the classic ’70s/’80s R&B label, whose works have been thoroughly reissued by U.K. label Edsel over the past year. (Amazon U.K.)

And Once AgainIsaac Hayes, For the Sake of Love: Expanded Edition / And Once Again: Expanded Edition /Patti LaBelle, Released: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

Three new BBR reissues include two Isaac Hayes LPs for Polydor in the ’80s and LaBelle’s final studio album for Epic, which reunited her with producer Allen Toussaint. Joe, of course, has a full summary coming soon!

For the Sake of Love: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
And Once Again: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Released: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.