The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 5th, 2014

CCR Take It Back to ’69 with Record Store Day Compilation

leave a comment »

CCR 69 Singles RSDCreedence Clearwater Revival are taking it back to the year it all started – sort of – for a new compilation to be released on Record Store Day.

To those who were paying attention, Creedence Clearwater Revival were pretty active before 1969. Singer-songwriter-guitarist John Fogerty, older brother/rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford had been performing and recording together in their native San Francisco since 1959, first under the name of The Blue Velvets (in which Tom wrote and sang while Cook played piano instead of bass) and then The Golliwogs, the latter of which saw them move to local jazz label Fantasy Records. When the lineup crystallized around John’s distinctive vocals and southern/roots-inspired songwriting prowess, CCR was born, issuing their first self-titled album in 1968 and enjoying their first hit, the Top 20 single “Susie Q.”

But it was that next year, 1969, that solidified their reputation as one of the defining rock bands of the ’60s. That year saw them touring incessantly, including a headlining spot at the Woodstock festival. And amazingly, they found time in their schedules to release not one, not two, but three albums between January and November of that month. Bayou CountryGreen River and Willy and The Poor Boys were all Top 10 hits on Billboard‘s albums chart (with Green River topping that chart), and they spun off four iconic singles: the now-standard “Proud Mary” (No. 2) backed with “Born on the Bayou”; the rollicking “Bad Moon Rising” (No. 2) coupled with “Lodi” (No. 52); “Green River” (No. 2) and its B-side “Commotion” (No. 30) and the irresistible “Down on the Corner” (No. 3), coupled with the anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” (No. 14).

CCR enjoyed several more years of success, with two albums in 1970 and a final LP in 1972 (without Tom Fogerty), plus several more Top 10 hits (never, however, a No. 1 hit). They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and their catalogue is still widely available, thanks to several compilations and remasters and endless licensing (mostly executed by Fantasy Records without the approval of Fogerty).

In addition to a new 10″ white-vinyl compilation, The ’69 Singles, including all eight sides the band released in that year, dropping into all participating indie retailers on Record Store Day, Fantasy and CCR are keeping the spirit of ’69 alive with vinyl reissues of those three albums (Bayou Country was repressed this year, while Green River and Willy and The Poor Boys are expected August 5 and November 4, respectively), a new compilation and “high-resolution audio releases.”

The ’69 Singles (Fantasy FAN-35329-01, 2014)

  1. Proud Mary
  2. Born on the Bayou
  3. Bad Moon Rising
  4. Lodi
  5. Green River
  6. Commotion
  7. Down on the Corner
  8. Fortunate Son

Tracks 1-2 from Fantasy single 619 Bayou Country (Fantasy 8387, 1969)
Tracks 3-6 from Fantasy singles 625 and 634 and Green River (Fantasy 8393, 1969)
Tracks 7-8 from Fantasy single 622 Willy and The Poor Boys (Fantasy 8397, 1969)

Written by Mike Duquette

March 5, 2014 at 11:34

Everybody Loves Somebody: Legacy Acquires Dean Martin’s Reprise Catalogue, Launches Reissue Campaign

with 14 comments

Dean Martin - Reprise YearsHow lucky can one guy be…

Dean Martin is said to have once observed that the two smartest decisions he ever made were partnering with Jerry Lewis…and breaking up with Jerry Lewis.  When the split occurred, Martin was 39 years old, but convinced that a successful solo career was still ahead of him.  Was he ever right!  The former Dino Paul Crocetti was among the lucky few to have a successful second act in showbiz, and his career as just Dean Martin even eclipsed the first act as one-half of the beloved Martin and Lewis team.  Martin first took flight as a singer at Capitol Records beginning in 1948, eight years before dissolving his partnership with Lewis.  He remained at the Tower through 1961, making his final recordings there in December of that year.  On February 13, 1962, he entered United Western Recorders on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard to begin his tenure alongside pal Frank Sinatra as one of the flagship artists for the Chairman’s Reprise Records label.  Over the years, Martin’s Reprise catalogue has changed hands numerous times, and last week, it was officially announced that its new home will be Sony’s Legacy Recordings.

In partnership with The Dean Martin Family Trust, Legacy has begun remastering titles from Martin’s Reprise (1962-1974) and Warner Bros. (1983) periods for an ongoing reissue campaign.  The first title to emerge under the Legacy deal was the recent Playlist: The Very Best of Dean Martin, which was newly remastered by Vic Anesini.  The Reprise period, of course, includes many of Martin’s most enduring hits.  He famously took on The Beatles – and triumphed! – in 1964 when Ernie Freeman’s contemporary arrangement of “Everybody Loves Somebody,” a 1947 song by Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor and Martin’s frequent collaborator Ken Lane, knocked the Fabs’ “A Hard Day’s Night” right off the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 at the height of Beatlemania!  Despite Dino’s protestation that “I do not like rock singers, rock is out with me, I can’t stand rock,” Freeman’s heavy rock-influenced backbeat gave Martin the edge to introduce his laid-back croon to a new generation.

Dean Martin in the studioMore major hits followed including “I Will,” “The Door is Still Open to My Heart” and Lee Hazlewood’s “Houston,” and by the beginning of 1966, Martin had notched seven Top 40 pop hits and six Top 40 albums – in addition to juggling the demands of his popular variety show!  Dino remained with Reprise for most of the rest of his recording career.  Even considering the seismic shifts in musical styles as the sixties continued, Martin’s hits hardly waned, with “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” and “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” both going Top 40 in 1967.  When Reprise issued two greatest-hits collections in 1968, both achieved gold status.  In 1971, he re-signed with the label for another three-year contract, and in 1974, he would record his final music for the House That Frank Built although legal wrangling would prevent the songs’ release until 1978.  Martin gracefully bowed out of the recording business, smartly refusing to subject himself to disco and other styles that affected the music of so many of his contemporaries.  Not that Martin completely avoided pop and rock in his years at Reprise; quite to the contrary.  He recorded songs by Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, The Bee Gees, Kris Kristofferson, John Hartford, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and even Smokey Robinson.  Martin also built up a considerable catalogue of country music at Reprise.

Dino continued to appear on television and onstage during his retirement from the recording studio, and in 1980 purchased back his Reprise recordings from the label (which had itself purchased fourteen albums from Dean in 1971).  Yet most of these albums remained incredibly difficult to find in the CD era until the release of Bear Family’s definitive complete Dean Martin series of box sets (four, in total, with two each dedicated to Capitol and Reprise) and Collectors’ Choice’s series of Reprise two-fers.

In 1983, Martin was coaxed by his longtime producer Jimmy Bowen, head of Reprise parent Warner Bros.’ Nashville division, to record one more album.  My First Country Song became a respectable No. 49 entry on the Country Albums chart, and its title track – a duet with Conway Twitty – also became a Top 40 country hit.  Though the album would turn out to be Martin’s last, he did record one last song, “L.A. is My Home,” which was released in 1985 on the MCA label.  (It was also the closing theme song to the television show Half Nelson on which Dean appeared.)  There’s no mention of whether “L.A.” is included in the current Legacy deal.

What can you expect from Legacy’s Dean Martin series?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 5, 2014 at 08:58