The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 2014

Review: Billy Joel, “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia”

with 5 comments

Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust CoverBilly Joel has been famously prickly in recent years about many of the archival releases bearing his name. But one hopes that the troubadour, currently in the midst of his tenure as a “franchise” at New York’s Madison Square Garden, is beaming with pride at A Matter of Trust – The Bridge to Russia. This set, available in a variety of audio and video formats from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, not only splendidly chronicles Joel’s historic 1987 trek to the Soviet Union but vividly rehabilitates the oft-derided (sometimes by the artist himself) live album KOHUEPT. Much like the current MSG shows, The Bridge to Russia is a potent reminder of the power and longevity of the body of work created by Joel in roughly two decades (1971-1993) as a recording artist. The troubadour might not have seemed the most obvious choice to break down doors previously not available to rock-and-rollers, but in retrospect, his uniquely American brand of scrappy tenaciousness – and his place in the tradition of the great Tin Pan Alley melodists – made him an ideal herald of the rock revolution.

When Joel and his entourage traveled to the Soviet Union as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev’s new policy of glasnost (openness and transparency) for six stadium shows in Moscow and Leningrad (plus one small acoustic show in Tbilisi), he had just two more studio albums ahead of him – not that anybody knew that at the time. It’s no wonder, then, that so much of the setlist as performed in Russia still resembles what you could expect to hear at a Joel concert today. (“Uptown Girl” is a notable exception as it’s only rarely performed now.) The Leningrad concert performance of A Bridge to Russia is available in audio form as a 2-CD set or in video form on DVD and Blu-ray; in addition, combination packages are available in CD/DVD and CD/BD formats, with these “box set” versions also including a new documentary film about the groundbreaking tour.   The audio version of the concert is substantially longer than the video, and the songs are in a different sequence on each program.

For many, the centerpiece will be the audio presentation which expands KOHUEPT. The choppy, truncated original album is now a more vibrant and accurate representation of Joel at his stadium-filling peak with band members Liberty DeVitto (drums), Doug Stegmeyer (bass), Mark Rivera (saxophone), Dave LeBolt (keyboards), Russell Javors and Kevin Dukes (guitars). KOHUEPT was just Joel’s second live album after Songs from the Attic. As Songs was drawn from multiple performances in various venues and largely designed to reintroduce older material with Joel’s new, regular band, however, it wasn’t a full concert release. Expectations were high for this first-time genuine live-at-one-venue album, and upon its releases, those hopes were all but dashed. KOHUEPT put its best foot forward with a stunning solo piano rendition of “Honesty” which the artist dedicated to the great Russian actor/singer/songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky. After that, however, the vocal strain which affected Joel on the U.S.S.R. tour was even more evident on disc than it had been in person. There were other factors, too. The audience reportedly didn’t respond well to ballads, preferring the more rhythmic, uptempo tracks – a response to repression, perhaps? If Joel’s energy and voice were flagging from time to time, it was likely because of the high-octane setlist with few breathers.

He also sounded somewhat stilted in his onstage banter addressing an audience that not only wasn’t primarily English-speaking, but also wasn’t necessarily familiar with the Piano Man. The one official state-owned record company, Melodiya, also controlled the country’s record stores. Joel was not a Melodiya artist, and commercial rock music was not a major part of the culture in the Soviet Union at the time. There was, of course, none of the familiar applause for Joel’s mention of “Oyster Bay, Long Island” in “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” or recognition applause at the start of a hit song. The Soviet people couldn’t know the places and share the experiences chronicled in the American everyman Joel’s songs. Though the audiences warmed to Joel (as dramatically seen in the accompanying documentary), their natural inclination was to be reserved if appreciative. As a result, Joel worked even harder, and likely did even more damage to his voice.

What few knew at the time, however, is that much of the best material was left in the vault – until now. Eleven songs have been added to the audio release – eight in the concert proper, and three as bonus tracks. An a cappella doo-wop of Don and Juan’s oldie “What’s Your Name” introduces a very loose voice-only version of Joel’s homage to the genre, “The Longest Time,” and it’s a pivotal inclusion here. Joel and his band learned traditional Russian a cappella from the Georgians, and reciprocated by teaching doo-wop to the people. Though Joel had performed the “What’s Your Name/The Longest Time” sequence before, the performance in Leningrad took on added meaning. The newly-discovered “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a powerfully charged reading of the song. “You May Be Right,” if gravelly, is utterly swaggering. “Pressure” boils with excitement. “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” is a lesser-known moment in a set packed with hits plus new songs from 1986’s The Bridge; back-to-back with another previously unissued song, “She’s Always a Woman,” the album takes on a more distinctive shape.

In this new context, much of KOHUEPT sounds stronger: the tough, robust “Sometimes a Fantasy” (the song which sparked an onstage tantrum from Joel at an earlier performance in Moscow), a strong, surging “Angry Young Man,” a gritty and an emotional performance of “Allentown.” When Joel’s streetwise, no-nonsense brand of rock and pop cedes to a simple, guitar-and-voice rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” a song that would have long been off-limits to performers in the U.S.S.R., it’s a well-earned, poignant moment.

After the jump, we’ll explore the new documentary film and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 30, 2014 at 10:08

Posted in Billy Joel, Box Sets, Reissues, Reviews

Tagged with

Review: Vanilla Fudge, “The Complete Atco Singles”

with 5 comments

Vanilla Fudge Atco SinglesIt’s hard to believe that Real Gone Music’s The Complete Atco Singles (RGM-0239, 2014) is the first such overview for Vanilla Fudge. Between 1966 and 1970, the Long Island quartet delivered heavy riff-rock that bridged the gap between psychedelia and the nascent hard rock form that would come to be known as heavy metal, transforming popular songs with a raw, visceral, punch-in-the-gut sound. This tasty, single-disc collection brings together every one of the 18 sides released on the Atco label during the first reign of Fudge and the band’s brief eighties comeback, plus one bonus track. Atco made a specialty of editing the lengthy recordings by Mark Stein (vocals/organ), Carmine Appice (drums), Tim Bogert (bass) and Vinny Martell (guitar) for 45 RPM release. So these palatable, radio-friendly singles have a very different character than the album versions which frequently bookended the core melodies with heavy, bluesy  (and deliciously indulgent) jams. Every track here except the two sides from 1984 is heard in its original mono single mix.

Vanilla Fudge announced itself in 1967 with the forceful but deliberate attack that opens the searing reinvention of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” from debut album Vanilla Fudge. Light years away from The Supremes’ urgent but smoothly crystalline original from just one year earlier, the Fudge’s dark take on the Holland/Dozier/Holland song wasn’t right for the Summer of Love. Its initial release stalled at No. 67 Pop. But much could, and did, change in one year. When Atco reissued the single in 1968, it reached No. 6. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” naturally opens Real Gone’s anthology, and if it’s hard to top, the band kept its singles varied with a blend of rearranged covers and psychedelic originals.

The B-side of “Hangin’ On,” “Take Me for a Little While,” is far less radical blue-eyed soul with a powerful punch thanks to the rumble of Appice’s thunderous drums. Its thick, dark sound was brightened by the group’s capable harmony vocals, and you’ll hear frequently hear echoes here of the group’s Long Island brethren like The Rascals and The Hassles. With producers including George “Shadow” Morton, Vanilla Fudge curated quite a collection of diverse material. Their stark, ethereal reading of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Look of Love” was played straightforward but featured minor lyric changes; more radical was a lengthy version (split into two parts for single release) of Donovan’s “The Season of the Witch.” Morton, no stranger to musical drama thanks to his work with groups such as The Shangri-Las, suggested the song, intuiting that it was a natural for the slow, eerie, and trippy treatment. (Part II of the single features Morton melodramatically intoning “We Never Learn,” a poem by the cult favorite singer-songwriter Essra Mohawk.)

“Season of the Witch” from 1968’s Renaissance is the final single here produced by Morton, who helmed the band’s first three long-players. The group members picked up the production slack for 1969’s From the Beginning, which spawned a fast and furious, amped-up reworking of Jr. Walker and the All-Stars’ “Shotgun.” Especially as edited from over six minutes in length to just two-and-a-half, it’s a pure blast of adrenaline. Lee Hazlewood’s cryptic opus “Some Velvet Morning” followed “Shotgun” on Near the Beginning – and indeed it was back to basics for the group with this slowed-down take on Lee and Nancy’s haunting tale of Phaedra. Though it was unedited for its commercial single release, a promotional DJ single cut “Velvet Morning” down to three minutes, and it’s included here as a bonus track.

There’s more Fudge to chew on after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 29, 2014 at 10:29

Posted in Compilations, Reviews, Vanilla Fudge

Tagged with

WE HAVE A WINNER! Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia” Goes to One Lucky Winner!

with 4 comments

Billy Joel Russia Fb bannerCONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CONTEST WINNER, FABIO TURSI! He’s won a copy of Billy Joel’s A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia 2CD/1DVD set from Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings!

Written by Mike Duquette

May 28, 2014 at 13:41

Give Me the Future: Hear No Evil Label Reissues Meat Loaf’s “Bad Attitude” for 30th Anniversary

with 7 comments

Meat Loaf - Bad AttitudeThough he burst onto the scene like a Bat Out of Hell and has enjoyed a 35+-year solo career to date, the artist known as Meat Loaf has never been terribly prolific in the studio.   Over the course of three and a half decades, he has only released 11 full studio solo albums with a 12th due next year. To the casual observer, however, that may seem a high number. After all, his career is often thought to consist of just the two smash Bat Out of Hell albums released 16 years apart in 1977 and 1993. (A controversial third Bat album released in 2006 failed to reach the heights of its predecessors.) The 1980s might be generally ignored by some when considering Meat Loaf’s career, but he was actually at his busiest, releasing four studio albums in five years starting with 1981’s Dead Ringer and ending with 1986’s Blind Before I Stop.   Unfortunately, none of these albums achieved the success of the original Bat, and Meat Loaf’s lack of huge commercial achievement in the eighties is underscored by the fact that the four albums are spread among three different labels. However, recordings from this period are ripe for rediscovery. To that end, Cherry Red imprint Hear No Evil Recordings, following up its reissue last year of the 1987 live album Meat Loaf: Live at Wembley, has just released a 30th anniversary edition of Meat Loaf’s Bad Attitude.

When approaching his third album of the decade of excess, Meat Loaf was still trying to recapture the magic of Bat Out of Hell. This was difficult to accomplish, however, as a result of vocal problems following Bat and the barrage of lawsuits he became embroiled in, including legal dust-ups with the sole Bat songwriter, Jim Steinman. These legal issues lead to 1983’s Midnight at the Lost and Found having no songs by Steinman.   Meat Loaf turned to other songwriters, and even co-wrote four songs himself, for the album. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the resulting effort is generally considered to be one of the weaker entries in the artist’s catalogue. There wasn’t much of a consistent voice due to the 12 (!) writers and even the cover eschewed the typical fantasy paintings of the previous albums for a stark black and white close-up photo of Meat Loaf. It remains one of the poorest selling studio albums in Meat Loaf’s career, not even cracking the top 100 of the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the U.S. (although it did notch a number 7 placement on the British charts). Thus, a return to form was sought for 1984’s Bad Attitude on two new labels: Arista in the United Kingdom and RCA in the United States.

With legal issues still looming and reconciliation with Steinman out of the cards, Bad Attitude could not be a complete Steinman album. However, two songs were able to be included: “Surf’s Up” and “Nowhere Fast.” Both of these songs had been previously recorded by other artists. “Surf’s Up” was from Steinman’s own 1981 album Bad For Good, where he recorded the songs he had intended to be Meat Loaf’s follow-up to Bat Out of Hell. “Nowhere Fast” was from the recent soundtrack to the movie Streets of Fire, where it was performed by Fire, Inc. To pen most of the remaining tracks on Bad Attitude, Meat Loaf turned to two songwriters from Midnight: Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee. Paul Jacobs was the keyboard player in Meat Loaf’s touring band. Three other tracks on the album feature writing from John Parr, who would have a smash the next year with “St. Elmo’s Fire.” The German producer/engineer Reinhold Mack (credited as just “Mack” on the record), who had been nominated as Producer of the Year at the 1981 Grammys for the Queen album The Game, was brought on to co-produce with Meat Loaf and Jacobs. As an engineer, Mack had also worked with the Electric Light Orchestra, the Rolling Stones and Deep Purple, and brought this considerable experience to Bad Attitude.

We have much more on Meat’s Bad Attitude after the jump including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 28, 2014 at 10:26

Posted in Meat Loaf, News, Reissues

Return To Ipanema: Verve Marks 50th Anniversary of “Getz/Gilberto” With Deluxe Reissue

with 9 comments

Getz-Gilberto 50thThat tall and tan and young and lovely “Girl from Ipanema” is back, thanks to Verve Records’ 50th Anniversary Edition of Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto’s Getz/Gilberto.   In stores today, this new deluxe edition presents the seminal bossa nova album in both mono and stereo, with the mono mix appearing on CD for the very first time. In addition, this release retains the bonus tracks – single versions of “The Girl from Ipanema” and “Corcovado” – from Verve’s previous reissue.

Bossa nova, translated, literally means “new trend.” And as 1964 began, with the British Invasion taking flight, America was also experiencing a Brazilian Invasion thanks to this new trend in popular music and jazz. Identified by gentle acoustic guitar and sometimes piano, and often adorned with subtle string or horn accents, bossa nova was a cooler, more relaxed variation on the rhythms of samba. It soon was adapted on stages from the concert hall to Broadway, spawned the “lounge” genre and influenced countless musicians across the genre divide. But the album that started the American bossa nova craze was undisputedly Getz/Gilberto, a Verve LP produced by Creed Taylor and featuring Stan Getz and João Gilberto with notable cameos by Gilberto’s young wife Astrud. Getz/Gilberto spawned a live sequel as well as countless imitations, and has remained in print since its initial release. The original album, recorded at New York’s A&R Studios by engineer Phil Ramone, has been issued in nearly every format conceivable, including audiophile reissues on LP, SACD and Blu-ray Audio.

Upon its original release in May 1964, Getz/Gilberto was an instant sensation. Tenor saxophonist Getz was accompanied by João Gilberto on guitar and vocals, Sebastiao Neto on bass, Milton Banana on drums and the man most closely associated with bossa nova, Antonio Carlos Jobim, on piano. (Jobim also received a featured credit on the album cover.) Born in 1927, Jobim was one of the composers, primarily with Luis Bonfá, of the 1959 film Black Orpheus. The motion picture, based on a 1956 stage play for which Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes also supplied the score, introduced bossa nova to a wider audience despite its harsher, more percussion-driven style on the film soundtrack.

João Gilberto began recording in his native Brazil as early as 1951, but his earliest work was mere prelude to the seismic contributions he would make to world music later in the decade. “Bim-Bom,” written by Gilberto in 1956 but not recorded until 1958, has been considered the first true bossa nova song. The artist’s hushed style of voice-and-guitar epitomized the breezy yet sophisticated genre which refined the traditional sound of samba into something intimate, inviting and richly melodic. Gilberto’s 1959 album Chega de Saudade, named after a composition by his friends Jobim and de Moraes, was the first bossa nova LP, and ignited the genre.  He also played a major role on the Black Orpheus soundtrack.

Stan Getz had discovered this startling new sound on a trip to Brazil, and in 1962 released Jazz Samba, a collaboration with Charlie Byrd that is recognized as one of the first major American albums in the bossa nova style.  Verve chief and future CTI Records founder Creed Taylor, always one with a keen ear for pop “crossover” jazz, was in the producer’s chair for Jazz Samba. Two Jobim songs were heard on Jazz Samba, “Desafinado” and “One Note Samba.” Getz teamed with Bonfá and Taylor for Jazz Samba Encore! in 1963 with three Jobim compositions, “I Only Dance Samba,” “How Insensitive” and “O Morro Não Tem Vez.”   This quick sequel was the first American/Brazilian bossa effort.  The saxophonist was poised for a breakthrough when he teamed with João Gilberto and Taylor to record Getz/Gilberto, his most coolly intimate bossa exploration, in March 1963 (more than a year before its release).

Hit the jump for more details on the new Getz/Gilberto! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 27, 2014 at 11:51

Release Round-Up: Week of May 27

leave a comment »

H-D-H Box Cover

Holland-Dozier-Holland: The Complete 45s Collection: Invictus/Hot Wax/Music Merchant 1969-1977 (Harmless)

The H-D-H compositions/production didn’t stop after the trio left Motown; they in fact created several labels and did an awful lot of work for them, as evidenced by this massive eight-disc box set of their works for three labels through the late ’60s and ’70s. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)


You wanted the best, you got the best, in the form of a double-disc hits compilation representing every KISS studio, live and compilation album with some rare tracks and an unreleased demo for collectors. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Getz-Gilberto 50thStan Getz and Joao GilbertoGetz/Gilberto: 50th Anniversary Edition (Verve)

The 50th anniversary edition of the landmark bossa nova classic presents the album in both mono and stereo, with the mono version appearing on CD for the first time.  It also adds two original single sides and new liner notes from Marc Myers. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Adam Lambert PlaylistVarious Artists, Playlist: The Very Best of (Legacy)

Legacy’s long-running Playlist series now features new single-disc compilations for American Idol contestants Adam Lambert and Kellie Pickler (both featuring unreleased performances from the TV series) and a very diverse collection for Rick Derringer (“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy” and “Real American” on one disc?!).

Johnny Cash duets: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rick Derringer: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Celine Dion (All the Way…A Decade of Song): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Fifth Dimension: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
George Jones duets: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Adam Lambert: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Kellie Pickler: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Elvis Presley – Movie Songs: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Edgar Winter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

REO Box Set SeriesREO Speedwagon, The Box Set Series (Epic/Legacy)

Part of Legacy’s four-disc budget series, this title sets itself apart with a really cool gem: the inaugural release of the original studio version of live favorite “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” with Kevin Cronin’s vocal (he was replaced briefly by singer Mike Murphy following creative disputes). (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Patti LaBelle - Tasty

Patti LaBelle, Tasty / Carolyn Franklin, If You Want Me (Big Break)

The latest from BBR: Joe’s full rundowns are coming soon!

Patti LaBelle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Carolyn Franklin: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Swan EstherSwan Esther: Original Concept Album  (Stage Door)

Stage Door Records has the CD premiere of Nick Munns and J. Edward Oliver’s 1983 British musical retelling of the Biblical story of Esther, starring Denis Quilley and Stephanie Lawrence.  This special edition adds a number of never-before-released demos recorded in 1985 for the revised show’s touring premiere as Swan Esther and The King. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

SoulMusic Round-Up: Label Expands, Reissues Esther Phillips, The Tymes, Lenny Williams and Benét

with 5 comments

Esther Phillips - From a Whisper ExpandedSoulMusic Records has kept a busy profile in recent months on both sides of the Atlantic. A quartet of the label’s recent U.K. releases spotlight memorable voices from across the R&B spectrum.

The one-time “Little Esther,” a.k.a. Esther Mae Jones, a.k.a. Esther Phillips, came to CTI Records’ Kudu imprint in 1971 as a veteran artist. Though she was just shy of 36 years old, she already had 22 years of her career behind her. If Atlantic Records was unsure of the best setting in which to place Phillips’ distinctive voice, Kudu’s Creed Taylor had the formula from Day One. Taylor surrounded the vocalist with the best of his crossover-jazz roster on fresh, funky and contemporary songs, embracing soul, jazz, pop, and later, disco. The result was From a Whisper to a Scream, the subject of a new, expanded SoulMusic reissue.

From a Whisper to a Scream was named after the Allen Toussaint composition. Esther’s future musical director Pee Wee Ellis and Jack Wilson traded off arrangement duties on the album’s songs, with CTI “house arranger” Don Sebesky sweetening some tracks with his trademark strings. Richard Tee, Bernard Purdie, Eric Gale, Hank Crawford and Airto Moreira all added their instrumental prowess. The album’s nine tracks included another cut from the New Orleans piano man, “Sweet Touch of Love,” as well as songs from Eddie Floyd (“That’s All Right with Me,” “’Til My Back Ain’t Got No Bone”), Marvin Gaye (“Baby I’m for Real”), Big Dee Irwin (“Your Love is So Doggone Good”) and Gil Scott-Heron (the wrenching “Home is Where the Hatred Is,” on which Esther laid her soul and her own personal demons bare). Whisper garnered a great deal of attention when Aretha Franklin won a Grammy for her Young, Gifted and Black LP and turned it over to fellow nominee Phillips: “I liked Esther’s record…I felt she could use encouragement,” the generous Queen commented.

From a Whisper was reissued earlier this year as part of the Australian Raven label’s package of Phillips’ first four Kudu LPs. SoulMusic’s new edition, however, adds four bonus tracks (one of which also appeared on the Raven set) from the same December 1971 sessions which yielded the album. These tracks – Carole King’s “Brother, Brother,” Leonard and Jane Feather’s “How Blue Can You Get,” Craig Lockhart’s “Don’t Run to Him” and Stanley Styne and Donald Kahn’s “A Beautiful Friendship” – were all previously issued on CD by Sony. SoulMusic’s David Nathan adds new liner notes with a personal touch, and Alan Wilson has remastered.

Tymes - Tymes UpPhiladelphia vocal group The Tymes, best-known for their 1963 chart-topper “So Much in Love,” found themselves experiencing a happy career renaissance with their RCA 1974 single “You Little Trustmaker.” Both the 45 and the album from which it was derived, Trustmaker, announced that it was once again time for The Tymes. Weathering the departure of George Hilliard (who was replaced first by Charles Nixon and then by Jerry Ferguson), the group pressed on for a second RCA long-player which is receiving its CD debut from SoulMusic Records. Tymes Up was a New York/Philadelphia crosstown affair, reuniting The Tymes with Trustmaker arranger/conductor and Philly soul veteran Richie Rome. Tymes Up brought the sextet’s vocal sound into a disco context, with disco pioneer Tom Moulton handling the final mix on the LP produced by Billy Jackson. Rhythm tracks were laid down by Jackson and Rome in New York, with strings, horns and additional voices added at the epicenter of Philly soul, Sigma Sound, by Don Renaldo’s Horns and Strings and The Sweethearts of Sigma.

A “who’s who” of soul, R&B and disco provided songs for the album, including Fonzi Thornton (“If I Can’t Make You Smile,” “God’s Gonna Punish You” and “To the Max(imum),” Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy (“It’s Cool”) and the unusual team of Four Seasons songwriter Sandy Linzer and Russian producer Boris Midney (“Hypnotized”). The sleek style of Tymes Up owed not just to the dancefloor but to the sophisticated soul stylings of Thom Bell and Gamble and Huff; the latter production duo had, ironically, declined a place on the Philadelphia International roster to The Tymes when the hometown group submitted for a place on the label.  Tymes Up performed respectably, reaching No. 40 R&B/No. 202 Pop. Its singles fared even better, with “It’s Cool” reaching No. 3 R&B/No. 68 Pop, and both “Only Your Love” and “To the Max(imum)” hitting No. 3 on the disco survey. Two more RCA albums followed. SoulMusic’s CD issue of Tymes Up includes comprehensive new liner notes from Charles Waring, new remastering from Alan Wilson, and two bonus tracks – the single edits of “God’s Gonna Punish You” and “Only Your Love.”

After the jump, we have a look at recent reissues from Lenny Williams and Benét, plus track listings and pre-order links for all four titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 23, 2014 at 10:00

The Doom Tour, Doomed No More: CSNY Confirms July Release of Lavish 1974 Tour Box Set

with 7 comments

CSNY 1974

You no longer need feel “helpless” waiting for the official announcement of Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s mega-box set celebrating the band’s legendary – and notorious – 1974 tour.  On July 8, CSNY 1974 arrives with 40 live tracks and bonus video footage in a variety of formats, including:

  • a 3-CD/1-video DVD set;
  • a Pure Audio Blu-ray (192kHz/24-bit)/1-video DVD set;
  • a 16-track single CD distillation;
  • a 12-track Starbucks-exclusive single-CD; and
  • a limited edition set featuring a coffee-table sized book and six 18o-gram 12″ vinyl records, limited to 1,000 copies.

It’s been a bumpy road to this release with squabbles over release date, audio format and quality, and even the title of the album.  Back on April 22, 2013, we published the following:

In 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young embarked on a highly-publicized reunion tour of their own, although their first performance was a mere five years earlier, in 1969.  The tour was marred by rock star excesses, but the legend of “The Doom Tour” has loomed large for fans of the supergroup.  Now, nearly forty years later, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young have finally agreed to the release of an album of tour performances originally scheduled to arrive decades earlier.  Neil Young told Jimmy McDonough that “the tour was disappointing to me…they [CSN] wanted to put out a live album, and I wouldn’t put it out.”  But Graham Nash and David Crosby have confirmed to Rolling Stone that the as-yet-untitled album is finally due for release on August 27.

Crosby, who wishes to call the album What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, calls the recordings “startlingly good” in Rolling Stone, and Nash agrees that the recordings are “fuckin’ magic” before adding “it is true there were so many drugs and it was chaotic.”  With Young finally on board, fans can expect the album to be in pristine sound quality, or at least as much as is possible in the standard CD format.  Crosby confirms, “[Young’s] got it at two million bits.  He’s a fanatic.  You can get him mad by just saying ‘MP3.’ This is getting mastered at the highest quality available in the world.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young haven’t toured in seven years. “What do we do after this live album comes out?” Nash pondered to Rolling Stone. “Do we just let it lie there and fucking die, or do we do limited promotion? That’s not cowardly, but that’s not the way to do it. In my perfect world – and I’m only talking about what I would do – I would delay the release of this until the spring of 2014. I would ask David and Stephen and Neil to take three months off their busy lives and go out on tour to promote this record.”  As such a turn of events seems unlikely – though hardly as unlikely as another Beach Boys reunion – the as-yet-untitled 1974 live album is currently on the schedule for August 27.  We’ll have more details (such as a track listing and pre-order link) as soon as they’re confirmed by the CSNY camp, so watch this space!”

August 27, 2013 came and went, but the package that will arrive this July 8 looks like it will prove worth the wait.  After the jump, we have a full rundown of specs for all formats including the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 22, 2014 at 15:48

Posted in Box Sets, CSNY, News

He Wants YOU To Have His Baby: “Paternity” Premieres On CD, Plus Two By Leigh Harline

leave a comment »

Paternity OST

Kritzerland is back this month with a pair of new releases premiering three film scores on CD for the very first time!

First up is the music from the 1981 Burt Reynolds comedy Paternity, composed by David Shire.  No stranger to stage (Closer Than Ever, Big) or screen (Norma Rae, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), Shire supplied director David Steinberg’s film (also starring Beverly D’Angelo, Paul Dooley, Norman Fell, Lauren Hutton and Elizabeth Ashley) with charming, light and romantic melodies.  Kritzerland premieres the original, never-issued album master created by Shire at the time of the film’s release, and adds additional bonus cues.  The score also incorporates Shire’s songs “Love’s Gonna Find You” and “Baby Talk,” the latter with lyrics by the witty jazz pianist Dave Frishberg, plus a couple of standards.

Kritzerland also has a two-for-one release from the pen of composer Leigh Harline (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) – one comedy, one drama.  The former, director Martin Ritt’s No Down Payment (1957) examined the dark underbelly of suburbia, and featured an impressive cast including Joanne Woodward, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Rush and Pat Hingle.  The latter, 1959’s lighthearted The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, starred Clifton Webb in the title role of a bigamist (!) with 17 children (!!), supported by Dorothy McGuire, Jill St. John, Ron Ely and Richard Deacon.  Harline supplied two very different yet equally effective scores, presented by Kritzerland in stereo.  Both releases are limited to 1,000 copies only and are due from the label by the last week of June, though pre-orders placed directly at Kritzerland typically arrive three to five weeks early.

After the jump: the complete press releases plus track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 22, 2014 at 13:42

It’s Carnival Time At Ace With “The Ric and Ron Story Volume 1”

leave a comment »

Ric and Ron Story Vol 1While Ric and Ron Records were not the first little labels to make big noises out of New Orleans, Louisiana, they certainly were among the most influential. Between 1958 and 1963, Joe Ruffino’s labels boasted some of the Crescent City’s greatest artists – Professor Longhair, Irma Thomas, Chris Kenner, Eddie Bo, and Johnny Adams, to name a few. The U.K.’s Ace Records label has recently begun a new series chronicling The Ric and Ron Story, kicking off with Volume 1, You Talk Too Much. The compilation is so named for Ric single 972 by Joe Jones, the label’s only major nationwide hit – and perhaps, ironically, a side that was acquired on its way to the Top 10 by Morris Levy’s Roulette Records. This initial volume covers the period of 1958-1960 with 24 spirited, soulful R&B tracks in non-chronological order. All songs are in their original mono mixes.

Ric and its sister label Ron were founded in 1958 by New Orleans-based Joe Ruffino, and named for his sons. Though the labels were only active for a short period, some of the city’s greatest talents passed through the company’s doors. Ruffino founded Ric armed with masters from New Orleans’ Ace label (namesake for the current Ace Records) and went on to sign guitarist Al Blanchard in an A&R capacity and Al Johnson as an artist. When Blanchard moved on from the label, he was succeeded by Harold Battiste and Mac Rebennack, a.k.a. Dr. John, two gentlemen who would fill chapters in any book of N’awlins musical history. This illustrious team gave a break to the now-legendary Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, who recorded her first single “(You Can Have My Husband but) Don’t Mess with My Man” for the Ron label. Thomas is featured on two sides here, the aforementioned “Don’t Mess with My Man” and the B-side of her follow-up single “I May Be Wrong.”

Al Johnson, Ruffino’s first artist, is represented with two songs, “You Done Me Wrong” and “Carnival Time.” Along with title track “You Talk Too Much,” Johnson’s “Carnival Time” may be the signature song here. Recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s renowned studio, it reflects the joyous mood we still associate with the resilient city of New Orleans to this very day. And although it’s still a well-known song around Mardi Gras time, the story of Big Easy native Johnson is one of as much darkness as light. Drafted into the U.S. Army after recording the song, he returned in 1964 to find himself in dire financial straits. (His sole discography consists of two singles released on Ric in 1958 and 1960.) But Johnson continued to persevere and perform. A refugee of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Johnson became a resident of Harry Connick Jr.’s Musicians Village project. He still can be found today, rousing appreciate audiences with “Carnival Time.”

Another New Orleans native, piano man Eddie Bo first made his name in traditional jazz circles before “defecting” to R&B. Apparently he was as dexterous with carpentry as with piano-playing; legend has it that Bo even built the Ric studio, coming from a long line of carpenters, bricklayers and shipbuilders! Also affected by the ravages of Katrina, Bo used his carpentry skills to help rebuild his neighborhood before his 2009 death. He’s heard here on 1959’s “You Got Your Mojo Working” and 1960’s “Tell It Like It Is” (not the same song that another famous son of New Orleans, Aaron Neville, took to the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 in 1966).

Johnny Adams (you guessed it: a New Orleans native!) had his biggest successes in the late 1960s but began his recording career at Ric, where he worked with Mac Rebennack a.k.a. Dr. John as well as Eddie Bo. The future Dr. John produced “I Won’t Cry,” Adams’ first single for Ric, heard here in both its original version and a rare demo performance with guitar accompaniment. Adams arrived at Ric with a dramatic delivery (which inspired Aaron Neville, among others) and a big vocal style. Possessed with a great range, he could transition to a falsetto with ease. He’s also heard on “Come On,” also from 1959. Adams experienced a late-career resurgence when he signed with Rounder Records in 1983; he remained with the label until his death in 1998.

Edgar Blanchard was one of the most well-known session guitarists in New Orleans and had been a bandleader since the 1940s. Although he played on sessions for labels including Atlantic and Specialty, he actually recorded Ric’s first issued single. One side of that 45, “Let’s Get It,” is included here. Blanchard died in 1972. Like Blanchard, Professor Longhair, a.k.a. Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd (1918-1980), was already an established name when he joined Ruffino’s labels. The good Professor’s piano style, it’s fair to say, shaped what is today thought of as the sound of New Orleans, and influenced Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Harry Connick, Jr., and countless others. He’s featured here with his definitive 1959 recording of “Go to the Mardi Gras” (which he first recorded in 1950) as well as with “Cuttin’ Out (Hey Now Baby).” Both tracks hail from his lone session for Ruffino. A special bonus here is a previously unreleased demo of Professor Longhair’s signature “Tipitina” recorded for Ric in 1959.

We have more after the jump, including the full track listing with discography, and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 22, 2014 at 10:09