The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 2014

Ace’s “Black America Sings Bacharach and David” Features Dionne, Aretha, Cissy, Nina and More

with 5 comments

Black America Sings BacharachIn retrospect, it might be telling that Burt Bacharach’s first recorded song, “Once in a Blue Moon,” was cut in 1952 by Nat “King” Cole. From those earliest days, Bacharach and his lyrical partner Hal David saw their songs recorded by a host of African-American artists: Johnny Mathis, Gene McDaniels, Joe Williams, Lena Horne, and Etta James among them. Once the duo began to change the sound of American music with their ultra-cool, sophisticated pop-soul compositions, those songs were most frequently interpreted by African-Americans: The Shirelles, Jerry Butler, Lou Johnson, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, and of course, Dionne Warwick. It’s no small feat to distill the best of Bacharach and David’s R&B recordings onto one disc, but Ace Records has proved up to the task with the release of Let The Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach and David. This 24-track compilation follows similar releases for Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Otis Redding, and draws from the halcyon period between 1962 and 1975. For much of that period, Bacharach and David’s songs were rarely far from the top of the pop and R&B charts. As per Ace’s custom, the set includes both the familiar hits and the lesser-known tracks that just might become future favorites.

Songwriter-producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were among the earliest professionals to champion Bacharach and David’s work. Both teams were integral to the sound of so-called “uptown soul” in which strings and Latin rhythms melded with gutbucket R&B to create some of the most indelible records ever made. Both of those elements are present on Leiber and Stoller’s production of Marv Johnson’s majestic 1963 recording of “Another Tear Falls,” one of B&D’s songs that fell short of hit status. Johnson passionately navigates its martial beat and darkly brooding orchestration, and Bacharach’s signature unexpected melodic shifts and rhythms are already in place. (Just listen to the song seemingly end around the 2 minute, 7 second mark, only to return with a coda – a device which Bacharach would revisit in the future.) Leiber and Stoller also produced a couple of other stunning tracks here, like Jerry Butler’s booming original recording of “Message to Martha” (later “Michael” in Dionne Warwick’s version) and The Drifters’ dramatic “In the Land of Make Believe.” With its nearly-operatic vocals and offbeat jazzy instrumental noodling, it’s one of the more unusual items in the Bacharach and David catalogue and all the more beguiling for it.

Thom Bell, along with his Mighty Three music partners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, updated the “uptown soul” ethos for a new generation with The Sound of Philadelphia. Bell, who recently (and correctly) described his own music as “Bacharach-strange,” is represented on Black America Sings Bacharach and David with his 1968 production and arrangement of “Alfie” for The Delfonics. Bell delivered his ultimate homage to Bacharach with his reinvention of “You’ll Never Get to Heaven” for The Stylistics in 1972, but the lush, William Hart-led “Alfie” is no less classy. Bacharach’s influence on Philly soul is evident elsewhere, too. The Orlons made the most of a straightforward Richard Rome arrangement of “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” but it wasn’t enough to restore the “South Street” group to chart supremacy. Future “Hustle” man Van McCoy produced and arranged “Don’t Make Me Over” for Philly’s Brenda and the Tabulations, and also hewed closely to Bacharach’s original template.

Cissy Houston more radically overhauled her niece Dionne’s second hit, “This Empty Place,” in 1970. The funky arrangement takes liberties with Bacharach’s original time signatures but gives the powerfully-voiced Houston the opportunity to get down-and-dirty with her vocal. Aretha Franklin, like Houston a powerhouse vocalist, knew when to cut loose and when to play it cool on her hit 1968 recording of “I Say a Little Prayer.” Even the piano that opens Aretha’s “Prayer” is slinky and sexy. Bacharach has always been unduly harsh on his bright arrangement of the song for Dionne Warwick, but Aretha’s recording more vividly brought out its longing and passion. Bobby Womack and Isaac Hayes are expectedly and excitingly torrid on “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself,” respectively. More restrained is Nina Simone’s detached, smoky reading of the sultry “The Look of Love” from 1967, one of the now-ubiquitous song’s first covers.

After the jump, we have plenty more for you, including the complete track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 30, 2014 at 10:44

I Don’t See Nothin’ Wrong with a Little “Essential R. Kelly”

with 18 comments

The Essential R KellyOn May 19, Legacy Recordings adds to its growing library of Essential volumes with the release of The Essential R. Kelly, the first-ever career-spanning anthology for the three-time Grammy-winning R&B superstar. Over 35 tracks on 2 CDs, this title chronologically revisits the key recordings of Kelly’s major-label career, including cuts from every one of the artist’s albums from 1991 to 2012.

The career of Chicago-born Robert Sylvester Kelly has been one of the most successful in modern-day R&B as well as one of the most diverse.  Kelly wrote or co-wrote every track on his 1992 studio debut Born into the 90’s with Public Announcement, and its release heralded a major new talent.  That LP spun off the artist’s first two chart-topping R&B hits, “Honey Love” and “Slow Dance (Hey Mr. DJ).”  (Both songs also made the Hot 100.) Both of those tracks are featured on The Essential.  In all, the anthology features no less than eleven hits that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles and/or Hot 100 charts from “Honey Love,” heard here in its Radio Fade version, through 2002’s “Step in the Name of Love.”  The latter is presented in remix form.

Of course, those eleven songs are the tip of the Kelly iceberg, as the artist has tallied 78 charting singles as lead artist and over 50 more charting songs as a collaborator.  In addition to the 11 Number Ones, The Essential adds 18 Top 5 or Top 10 hits released between 1991 and 2009.  The collection is packed with rare and hard-to-find remixes alongside original album versions, movie soundtrack one-offs and pairings with artists including Ronald and Ernie Isley (“Down Low”), Nas  (“Did You Ever Think” – Remix Radio Edit), Celine Dion (the chart-topping “I’m Your Angel” in its radio version), T.I. & T-Pain (“I’m A Flirt Remix” in its Main Version), Usher (“Same Girl”), and Keri Hilson (“Number One”).  The Essential also makes room for more guest appearances with The Notorious B.I.G. (“#!*@ You Tonight”), Sparkle (the #1 “Be Careful”), Ja Rule (“Wonderful,” also featuring Ashanti), and Cassidy (“Hotel”).  Of the soundtrack efforts, you’ll hear the three-time Grammy winning song “I Believe I Can Fly” from the 1996 Looney Tunes film Space Jam, the Remix of “Gotham City” from 1997’s Batman and Robin, and the radio edit of “The World’s Greatest” from the 2001 biopic Ali.

After the jump, we have more details including the full track listing with discography, and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2014 at 12:58

Posted in Compilations, News, R. Kelly

Do It Again: JSP’s “The Garland Variations” Box Set Collects Multiple Recordings of Judy Garland Songs

with 3 comments

Garland VariationsLike so many of the great vocalists of her day, Judy Garland frequently revisited repertoire over the years. An arrangement might vary, in great or small ways, and so, of course, would the interpretation. Garland’s unparalleled interpretive gifts, apt for wringing as much authentic emotion out of a song as possible, are front and center on the latest box set of the late artist’s recordings from JSP Records. The Garland Variations – Songs She Recorded More Than Once is a new 5-CD collection, set for arrival on October 27.  Produced by JSP founder John Stedman and compiled by Lawrence Schulman, the same team behind such past Garland treasure troves as Creations: Songs She Introduced and Smilin’ Through: The Singles Collection 1936-1947, the new box will gather songs Garland recorded in the studio on multiple occasions between 1937 and 1962. With 115 tracks and over 6-1/2 hours of music, it will place the spotlight on the songs Garland re-recorded over a 25-year period. These tracks include such signature songs as “The Man That Got Away,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and of course, “Over the Rainbow,” which is included in five distinct renditions.  Of course, some of the most renowned composers and lyricists in American popular song are represented, such as Harold Arlen, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, Johnny Mercer, and Harry Warren.

Garland’s first long-lasting recording affiliation was with Decca Records. Following some abortive test records made in 1935 by the twelve-year old singer (released by JSP on the stellar Lost Tracks set), Decca released two sides by Garland in 1936 and signed MGM’s up-and-coming star the following year. Garland remained at Decca through 1947, and her tenure there yielded 90 recordings from 30 sessions between 1936 and 1947. Her departure from Decca coincided with MGM’s entering the young soundtrack LP market, and so she no longer had the need to re-record movie favorites for Decca. With MGM having first right of refusal for her work, she didn’t make any further studio recordings until after her departure from the Hollywood giant in 1950.

In 1953, Garland appeared on the Columbia label with four single sides, and the following year the label released the landmark soundtrack to her film A Star is Born. In 1955, she was back in Hollywood signing with Capitol Records. She remained at the Capitol Tower until 1966, recording a series of stellar studio albums with top-tier arrangers including Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins – not to mention the Grammy Award-winning, record-breaking Judy at Carnegie Hall. JSP’s set concludes in 1962, the year of her final studio LP released in her lifetime, The Garland Touch. (The record was actually a compilation, drawing on Capitol outtakes, a recent single, and tracks from her 1960 London recording sessions which weren’t released in full until the compact disc era.)

At Judy Garland News, compiler Schulman eloquently illuminates the raison d’être behind this fascinating compilation: “The set’s target demographic is not so much Garland collectors who have all of her recordings, but rather the general public who would be interested in hearing Judy’s evolution musically speaking. To take but one example, her 1945 ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and her 1960 interpretation of the same song, heard back to back, offer a unique glimpse of how her artistry evolved. Her two versions of ‘By Myself,’ the first done at Capitol in 1957, the second in 1962 for I Could Go On Singing, heard back to back is a magnificent revelation in orchestrations and singing style. The difference between her MGM and Decca recordings of the same song is often minute, but often not, as is the case of her initial 1945 MGM recording of ‘On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe’ and her Decca New York session that same year at which she did a lower-keyed ‘chamber’ version of the number. Fascinating listening. No back to back MGM/Decca/Columbia/Capitol set has ever been released, and I thought it was about time.”

After the jump, we have more information on the box set as well as the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2014 at 10:56

Release Round-Up: Week of April 29

with 5 comments

Nightclubbing DeluxeGrace Jones, Nightclubbing: Deluxe Edition (Island/UMe)

Pull back up to the bumper with a generously expanded version of the almighty Jones’ most beloved album.

2CD: Amazon U.K.
1CD: Amazon U.S.
2LP:  Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Blu-Ray Audio: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Supremes - Funny GirlDiana Ross & The Supremes, Sing and Perform Funny Girl: Expanded Edition (Motown Select)

A digital-only expansion of The Supremes’ 1968 album of the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical, featuring the original LP alongside a brand-new remix and a pair of live cuts. (Amazon U.S.)

Funny Girl Box SetFunny Girl: Original Broadway Cast Recording – 50th Anniversary Edition (Capitol/UMe)

Speaking of which, the original cast album – featuring the one and only Barbra Streisand – is also reissued today as a CD/LP set with a deluxe book! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Vanilla Fudge Atco SinglesBob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Riding Your Way — The Lost Transcriptions for Tiffany Music, 1946-1947 / Vanilla Fudge, The Complete ATCO Singles / Rick Wakeman, White Rock / X, Under the Big Black Sun: Expanded & Remastered Edition / Cannonball Adderley, The Black Messiah

The latest Real Gone slate is quite the eclectic one! Read all about it here.

Bob Wills: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vanilla Fudge: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rick Wakeman: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
X: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
Cannonball Adderley: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Rush ReDISCoveredRush, Rush: ReDISCovered Box Set (Mercury/UMe)

A deluxe recreation of the Canadian legends’ first album on vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Blue Light Til DawnCassandra Wilson, Blue Light ‘Til Dawn: 20th Anniversary Edition (Blue Note/UMe)

The neo-blues vocalist’s breakthrough album, featuring stirring interpretations of tracks by Robert Johnson, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and others, is reissued with three unreleased live tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Can't Fight FateTaylor Dayne, Can’t Fight Fate Soul Dancing: Deluxe Editions (Cherry Pop)

The ’80s dance diva’s second and third albums are expanded as two-disc sets with plenty of rare and unreleased remixes and B-sides, plus an all-new remastering for each original album.

Can’t Fight Fate: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Soul DancingAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Cryan ShamesThe Cryan Shames, A Scratch in the Sky: Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition (Now Sounds)

Now Sounds presents the Chicago band’s 1967 sunshine pop-flavored album for the first time on CD in mono, adding a plethora of bonus tracks! Joe’s full review is coming soon! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Silver ConventionSilver Convention, Save Me / The Salsoul Orchestra, Up the Yellow Brick Road / How High (Big Break Records)

Joe’s full writes-ups on three more Salsoul/BBR reissues are coming soon!

Save Me: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Up the Yellow Brick Road: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
How High: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Special Review: Jack Bruce, “Silver Rails”

with 5 comments

Jack Bruce - Silver RailsAs bassist, songwriter and singer for the power trio Cream, Jack Bruce ensured his place in the classic rock pantheon. Yet in a career spanning over 50 years, Bruce’s time in Cream was incredibly brief: 1966-1968, with two very brief reunions thereafter. That Cream existed for such a short time seems almost unbelievable in light of how influential the band’s music became. But both B.C. and A.C. – Before Cream and After Cream – Jack Bruce has been a working musician. His first studio album since 2003 and fourteenth overall, Silver Rails, has just arrived via the Esoteric Antenna label. As on More Jack Than God, that 2003 release, Bruce is in top form, still searching out fresh, new musical avenues.

Bruce and producer Rob Cass have enlisted a top-notch crew of musicians for Silver Rails – including Cindy Blackman Santana, Robin Trower, John Medeski, and Phil Manzanera – and have left plenty of room in the arrangements for them to breathe. In this context, Bruce’s bass work isn’t flashy but is always, naturally, an integral part of the instrumentation. But even an A-list group of musicians couldn’t shine without the right material. Thankfully, Silver Rails is a mature, consistent collection of well-crafted songs that don’t wear out their welcome.

Lyrically, “looking back” is one of the themes addressed over the album’s ten tracks. But that Silver Rails isn’t an attempt to recapture the glory days of Cream is evident from the very first track. “Candlelight” lopes at a laconic calypso beat, adorned with stabs of brass and John Medeski’s cascading Hammond organ. Bruce is vocally in fine fettle as he pleads “O help us sunshine,” his urgency matched by an unexpected electric guitar solo from Phil Manzanera.

The album’s diverse stylistic palette also takes in progressive rock with the droning verses of “Hidden Cities,” on which Bruce is backed by vocalists Aruba Red, Chantelle Nandi, Julie Iwahete, Uli John Roth and daughter Kyla Bruce.   “Reach for the Night” (a lyric from which – “Now my train can still sing along those silver rails” – inspired the album’s title) is one of seven songs here co-written with longtime collaborator Pete Brown. Jazz has always informed Bruce’s sensibilities, and “Night” is a moody piece of reflection, with the artist speak-singing the vivid if impressionistic lyrics as Derek Nash’s tenor sax lends the appropriate nocturnal ambiance.

Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 28, 2014 at 15:08

Posted in Cream, Jack Bruce, News, Reviews

Tagged with

WE HAVE A WINNER of a Complete Set of Omnivore Recordings’ Record Store Day Exclusives!

with one comment

Omnivore - RSD '14 Banner - Medium


Written by Joe Marchese

April 28, 2014 at 09:31

Posted in Giveaways!, News, Reissues, Vinyl

BBR Embarks On An Odyssey With “Native New Yorker” Group and The Hues Corporation

with 6 comments

Hues Corporation - Freedom for the StallionCherry Red’s Big Break Records imprint has rocked the boat with a batch of recent reissues from the RCA vaults – one seminal title from The Hues Corporation and a trio from “Native New Yorker” group Odyssey.

When “Rock the Boat” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1974, it wasn’t exactly new.  It had first appeared almost a year earlier on the August 1973 release of Freedom for the Stallion, The Hues Corporation’s debut album for RCA.  “One lovely lady” and “two bright young men” is how the label described the trio consisting of H. Ann Kelley, St. Clair Lee and Fleming Williams.    Though the group only recorded five albums before disbanding in 1978, they remain radio mainstays thanks to “Rock the Boat,” considered one of the first – if not the first –disco record to top the pop charts.

One wouldn’t call Freedom for a Stallion a “disco” record, however.  Producer John Florez (The Friends of Distinction, The 5th Dimension) assembled an eclectic group of songs and musicians to create the California pop-soul trio’s first LP.  Setting up shop in RCA’s Hollywood studios, Florez was joined by Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, Joe Osborn, Louie Shelton and Al Casey from the famed L.A. Wrecking Crew.  They were joined by a cross-section of players from the worlds of jazz (The Crusaders’ Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and Wilton Felder) and rock (future Toto member David Hungate).  Arrangements were provided by such famous names as Barry White collaborator Gene Page, Harry Nilsson associate Perry Botkin, Jr., and Tom Sellers, who scored the simple, catchy proto-disco of “Rock the Boat” with the light, breezy touch that kept it afloat on its long sail to No. 1.

The smooth harmonies, lush strings and Bacharach-style horns of Freedom for the Stallion occasionally recall the sound of The 5th Dimension, making for a bright and upbeat debut in the finest sweet-soul tradition.  “Rock the Boat” was written by Hues manager Wally Holmes, who also penned three other tracks for the album.  The stirringly anthemic title track – here given an alternately dramatic and wistful chart from Gene Page – came from the Allen Toussaint songbook; over the years, it’s also seen renditions by Boz Scaggs, Three Dog Night, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and Elvis Costello with Toussaint himself.  John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins (“Son of a Preacher Man”) were tapped for a couple of compositions, as was Michael Jarrett (Elvis Presley’s “I’m Leavin’.”)  The closing track, “Miracle Maker (Sweet Soul Shaker)”, was provided by Brill Building stalwarts Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who like the Wrecking Crew, were first-hand witnesses to a radically changing musical landscape.

BBR has added two bonus tracks to Freedom for the Stallion, the single versions of both Toussaint’s title song and of course, “Rock the Boat.”  With copious notes by Christian John Wikane and new remastering from Nick Robbins, Freedom has set sail once again, ready for rediscovery.

After the jump: the scoop on three reissues from Odyssey, plus full track listings and order links for all four titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 28, 2014 at 09:18

The (Motown) Music That Makes Me Dance: The Supremes’ “Funny Girl” Gets Expansion

with 26 comments

Supremes - Funny GirlI’m the greatest star/I am by far! But no one knows it…

– Fanny Brice, Funny Girl

Back in 2012, while reviewing Hip-o Select’s splendidly expanded edition of The Supremes at the Copa, I wrote of the “altogether enjoyable [and] still inexplicably not on CD” album The Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl. Indeed, that 1968 LP, featuring Motown’s greatest stars tackling the showstoppers from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s score, has long been one of the rarest and most-requested titles in the Supremes discography. Yet Funny Girl has remained unavailable throughout the entirety of the compact disc era…until now. The good news is that the long-awaited reissue will arrive in lavishly expanded form, with twelve bonus tracks, on April 29. But with every parade must come some rain: this deluxe edition of Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl is currently only scheduled for release as a digital download. It will appear the same day that the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production of the musical is celebrated with a new CD/LP box set of its original cast recording from Capitol Records, sister imprint of Motown Select within Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).

The eight-time Tony-nominated musical by librettist Isobel Lennart, composer Styne and lyricist Merrill opened in March 1964 at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre, sealing the deal on superstardom for its leading lady, Barbra Streisand. Streisand’s tour de force as Ziegfeld Follies comedienne Fanny Brice became the stuff of legend, and Styne and Merrill’s score yielded the near-instant standards “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and, of course, “People.” Funny Girl didn’t go unnoticed by Motown chief Berry Gordy. In concert, Diana Ross rendered the sweetly upbeat “I Am Woman (You Are Man)” to coquettish perfection while Florence Ballard belted the dramatic “People” from the heart.

It wasn’t unusual for The Supremes to switch gears back and forth between Holland-Dozier-Holland’s explosive Top 40 R&B and classic Broadway and standard repertoire. It was all part of Berry Gordy’s plan to make his artists true stars, appealing to the affluent supper club set as well as the teenagers buying the latest 45s. In early 1965, The Supremes began work on There’s a Place for Us, so named for Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story lyric to “Somewhere,” for which they recorded both “People” and “I Am Woman.” That summer, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard made their debut at the Copacabana, singing live many of the songs they had recorded for There’s a Place for Us. With the release of The Supremes at the Copa, the studio album was shelved, eventually arriving on CD in 2004. Other Broadway-themed Supremes recordings were made, however, some even with Holland-Dozier-Holland at the helm. 1967’s The Supremes Sing Rodgers and Hart, produced by Berry Gordy and arranger Gil Askey, reached back to the Broadway of decades before Funny Girl.

In 1968, however, Gordy and Askey had good reason to turn their attention back to the Styne and Merrill musical. Its big-screen adaptation was arriving from Columbia Pictures; Streisand would win an Oscar for reprising her role as Fanny. Hitting record stores on August 26, 1968 (other sources say May) in advance of the movie’s September 19 release, Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl – performed by the new line-up of Diana, Mary and Cindy Birdsong – included nine Styne and Merrill songs (eight from the stage score and the movie’s title song) plus “My Man,” a signature song of Brice’s that was replaced in the stage score by the ravishing “The Music That Makes Me Dance.” (The movie featured “My Man” instead of “Music,” but Diana and the girls did both!) The Supremes promoted the album with a medley on The Ed Sullivan Show, and even Jule Styne gave his stamp of approval to the project by writing an adoring, appreciative note for the sleeve. The great composer (Gypsy, Bells Are Ringing) observed, “Although the girls are young and new and part of the now world, they have always showed great respect towards composers Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin (and now Jule Styne). Thank God. They are always aware of what’s new by their appreciation of the sounds of Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, etc. What Diana Ross does…is something else again. If I sound excited, I am…My life is now complete. From Frank Sinatra, to Barbra Streisand, to Diana Ross and the Supremes. What a parlay!”

Despite the enormous success of the motion picture, the Supremes’ Funny Girl album only reached No. 150 on the Billboard 200 and No. 45 on the R&B chart. The motion picture soundtrack featuring Streisand fared rather better with a No. 12 peak, but Diana, Mary and Cindy didn’t have to wait long to return to chart supremacy. The very next month after the Funny Girl LP’s arrival, the group released the single “Love Child.” By November, it had reached No. 1. And that wasn’t all. Their collaborative album Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations, released the same month of November, reached No. 2 and its single “I’m Gonna Make You Loved Me” became a Billboard No. 2 Pop smash on 45. Miss Ross kept some of the Funny Girl music in her live repertoire well into her post-Supremes solo years.

What will you find on this new Funny Girl?  Hit the jump for that and more!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 25, 2014 at 10:06

Burn, Baby, Burn! Career-Spanning Anthology Arrives For The Dictators

with one comment

Dictators - Faster LouderWho will save rock and roll?

The Dictators posed the question on their 2011 reunion album D.F.F.D. (that’s “Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators,” in case you were wondering), but many listening might have felt that The Dictators themselves could have been the saviors. Yet despite recording three well-received albums between 1975 and 1978, and gaining such high-profile fans as Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven Van Zandt, The Dictators’ anarchic, acerbic brand of rock-and-roll never garnered the group mainstream success. But Raven Records believes in The Dictators, and has just celebrated the band with its first-ever career-spanning, multi-label anthology. Faster…Louder: The Dictators’ Best 1975-2001 draws on all four studio albums for a fast and furious introduction to the group Van Zandt asserted was “the missing link between The New York Dolls and punk.”

Vocalist/bassist/chief songwriter Andy Shernoff joined lead guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman, rhythm guitarist Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, drummer Stu Boy King and lead vocalist “Handsome” Dick Manitoba in the first lineup of The Dictators. This quintet unleashed The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! on Epic Records in 1976, produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman, known for their work with hard rockers Blue Öyster Cult. With its humorously biting lyrics and full-throttle garage-style musical attack, Girl Crazy is often considered one of the building blocks of the punk sound. Six tracks are culled from Girl Crazy for Raven’s anthology, including “California Sun,” one of the original LP’s two covers. (The other was “I Got You, Babe,” nodding to the punks’ affection for – and satire of – sixties pop.) Of Shernoff’s originals included here, “(I Live For) Cars and Girls” was the songwriter’s tribute to Brian Wilson; “Master Race Rock” wasn’t quite as malevolent as the title might indicate, opening with “Hippies are squares with long hair/And they don’t wear no underwear” and going from there!

After a brief breakup, The Dictators reconvened with Manitoba, Friedman and Kempner joined by drummer Richie Teeter and bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza. Shernoff stayed on to play keyboards and write most of the group’s 1977 Asylum debut Manifest Destiny. Four tracks, including a live cover of The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” from CBGB’s, are reprised here. Though the musicianship was as savage as ever, Manifest presented a more diverse hard-rock sound encompassing arena rock, punk, metal, and even power ballads. One more album followed for Asylum, 1978’s Bloodbrothers, from which five songs have been extracted. Shernoff once again handled the lion’s share of songwriting, even enlisting an uncredited Bruce Springsteen for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it vocal cameo on “Faster and Louder,” the track which gives this compilation its title. “Slow Death” was a cover of the Flamin’ Groovies’ anti-drug song from 1972.

Don’t miss a thing – hit the jump to continue reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 12:47

WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! Will The New, Remastered “Porky’s Revenge” Soundtrack Be YOURS?

with one comment

Porkys banner


Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 10:16