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Archive for April 29th, 2014

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

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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

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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

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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.