The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 27th, 2014

Deep Purple Revisit “Made in Japan” in a Big Way

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Deep Purple Made in JapanDeep Purple’s monstrous power as a live act was solidified more than four decades ago with the release of their first live album, Made in Japan. This May, a tidal wave of Made in Japan reissues are surging your way, from remasters to expansions to box sets on CD, vinyl and Blu-Ray. (Whew!)

In 1972, Deep Purple were flying higher than ever. The quintet – at the time, singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice – had just released their sixth album in five years (and third with the Mk II lineup), Machine Head. It was their first chart-topper in their native England, and also went Top 10 in the States. By this time, the band had quite a sterling reputation as a live act, but were reluctant to attempt a live album for fear they could not produce the exact kind of polished set they could in studio.

Ultimately, upon discovering a burgeoning bootleg market around their tours, they relented, recording three consecutive nights in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan (where the band were particularly adored). Focusing solely on putting on a great show and less on how the final product would sound (to this day, members of the band have reportedly never heard the album), Deep Purple’s gamble paid off handsomely. A single backed with both studio and live versions of the instant classic (and arguable progenitor of heavy metal) “Smoke on the Water” was a U.S. Top 5 hit. The album went Top 10 in America and Top 20 in England, eventually earning a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America for over a million units shipped.

Given the hallowed status of the album, there have been several reissues of the Japan shows. A 1993 box set collected much of the three sets, and further parts were included on an expanded reissue of the album proper in 1998. But what have Universal U.K. got planned for this (almost) 40th anniversary celebration? Read on after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2014 at 17:27

Gotcha! Raven Collects Three Essentials From Saxophone Great Tom Scott

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Tom Scott - Master of FunkChances are if you’re reading these words, you’re intimately familiar with at least one performance by Tom Scott.  The saxophonist played the part of the titular “Jazzman” on Carole King’s 1974 No. 2 single of the same name, helped take Paul McCartney’s “Listen to What the Man Said” all the way up to No. 1 in 1975, and lent support to Whitney Houston as she professed to be “Saving All My Love for You.”  But the Grammy-winning Scott was also a prolific recording artist, both solo and with his band The L.A. Express.  Australia’s Raven Records has recently reissued three vintage Scott albums originally released between 1974 and 1977 on two CDs with four later bonus tracks added for good measure.  Master of Funk: The Essential Albums includes Tom Scott and The L.A. Express’ self-titled Ode debut, its follow-up Tom Cat, and Scott’s solo release New York Connection.

That the Los Angeles-born Scott would pursue a career in music must have seemed like a given; his mother Margery was a pianist and his father Nathan a prolific television composer with a reported 850+ credits including music for Dragnet, Lassie and The Twilight Zone.  Tom began his career as a leader before he was twenty years of age.  On his debut, 1967’s Impulse! release The Honeysuckle Breeze, he was joined by personnel including pianist Mike Melvoin and drummer Jim Gordon for an eclectic array of pop songs including “Mellow Yellow, “Never My Love” and “She’s Leaving Home” as well as more off-the-beaten-path selections like John Coltrane’s “Naima” and Jefferson Airplane’s “Today.”  Breeze was followed by another Impulse! long-player as well as couple of LPs for producer Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label and the aptly-named Great Scott! for A&M.  But Scott was also making his name as a first-call session musician, drawing attention for his work with Joni Mitchell on her classic For the Roses and Court and Spark albums.  Before the seventies were out, Scott would play with Rod Stewart, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, Tom Waits, Steely Dan, and just about everybody else!

It was in 1973 that Lou Adler signed Scott to his Ode label for Tom Scott and The L.A. Express featuring leader Scott, keyboardist Joe Sample, bassist Max Bennett, guitarist Larry Carlton and drummer/percussionist John Guerin.  Scott’s accessible pop-jazz fusion set even made room for another Coltrane cover (“Dahomey Dance”) but is likely best-remembered for the funky “Sneakin’ in the Back” which has become a staple of sampling; it’s appeared on songs by artists from Madonna to Wu-Tang Clan.  Following this debut, Sample and Carlton departed to concentrate more fully on their other group, The Crusaders (formerly The Jazz Crusaders).  Scott drafted Larry Nash and Robben Ford into the band, and took the group on the road with Joni Mitchell, resulting in her Miles of Aisles live LP.  Subsequent work followed with three-fourths of The Beatles, but before long, The L.A. Express returned to the studio for Tom Cat.  Guerin guested on the album, as did Mitchell on the vocal refrain of “Love Poem.”  Sticking to the same funky fusion vein as its predecessor, Tom Cat was rewarded with a Top 20 placement on Billboard’s Jazz and R&B charts.

Soon, though, Scott and The L.A. Express decided to go their separate ways.  For 1975’s New York Connection, the final album on Raven’s set, Scott assembled an A-list session crew whose names will be familiar to anyone who was reading LP sleeves in the seventies, including Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Hugh McCracken (guitar), Steve Gadd (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), Richard Tee (keyboards), Gary King (bass) and Bob James (electric piano).  The new band was no less inspired than the old band, and in fact, Scott is quoted in Ian McFarlane’s new liner notes as admitting, “Although the L.A. Express certainly showed me some of the combinations that are possible in terms of rhythmic interaction, the New York Connection thing was rhythmic interaction and rhythmic subtlety to the nth degree.”  New York Connection included tunes written by Scott and Tee as well as by Michel Colombier and the team of Ralph MacDonald and William Salter.  A certain “Quiet Beatle” even dropped by the sessions to add slide guitar to Scott’s composition “Appolonia (Foxtrata).”

After the jump: details on Raven’s bonus tracks, the complete track listing with discography, and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 27, 2014 at 14:13

Posted in News, Reissues, Tom Scott

Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen Issues “High Hopes” Outtakes For RSD, MusiCares Tribute Hits DVD and BD

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Bruce BD

When Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this January, the iconic artist earned his eleventh chart-topping album.    That was enough to make him the No. 3 all-time champ in that department, just behind The Beatles (19) and Jay-Z (13).  The eclectic recordings used to assemble High Hopes divided many of Springsteen’s devotees, as did the contributions of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.  But par for the course with any Bruce-related release, the songs heard on High Hopes were culled from a larger group, leaving outtakes behind.  On April 19’s Record Store Day, you’ll have the chance to hear some of those tracks on a new four-song, 12-inch vinyl EP entitled American Beauty.  And that’s not all coming from the prolific singer-songwriter-bandleader.   A little less than a month earlier, on March 25, Columbia Records will release A MusiCares Tribute to Bruce Springsteen on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download, on which many of The Boss’ fans and contemporaries salute him in song for his philanthropy.

American Beauty premieres three songs from the same sessions that yielded much of the material on High Hopes.  “Mary, Mary,” “Hey Blue Eyes” and “American Beauty” all feature Morello’s blistering guitar.  Details have not been provided regarding the fourth track, “Hurry up Sundown,” though speculation has already run rampant among Springsteen fans.  The Guardian speculates that “Sundown” may be the same song recorded by the garage rockers Balloon Farm in 1967.  The Laurie Records single was co-written by the band’s Mike Appel…the same Mike Appel who famously managed Springsteen and produced his first albums.  As High Hopes featured a number of diverse covers, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that another cover version would feature on the Record Store Day EP.

After the jump, we’ll take a look at A MusiCares Tribute to Bruce Springsteen! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 27, 2014 at 10:26