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Archive for May 15th, 2014

This One Goes Out: R.E.M.’s Early B-Sides Collected on Digital Set

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REM - Complete Rarities

On Tuesday, May 19, the same day that Warner Bros. Records issues R.E.M.’s 2-CD Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions, UMe will offer a digital-only package for fans of the Athens, Georgia band’s earliest days.

Complete Rarities: I.R.S. 1982-1987 collects 50 previously released odds and ends from Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry.  These rarities have been culled from such releases as the 1987 Dead Letter Office (originally released in the wake of the success of Lifes Rich Pageant, prior CD reissues of the band’s I.R.S. albums, compilations, and non-LP singles and B-sides.  Though the track listing for the release is broken up as Disc One and Disc Two, no current plans for a physical release have been revealed.

The one-stop-shopping set includes all 15 tracks from Dead Letter Office, plus a selection of diverse covers (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s “Moon River,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Tighten Up,” The Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do is Dream”), non-LP singles and B-sides, variant mixes, alternate takes and live performances from Boston, Seattle, Santa Monica and The Netherlands.  The rare material from 2006’s compilation And I Feel Fine… The Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982–1987 is collected here, as are the band’s two contributions to the soundtrack of the film Athens, GA: Inside/Out, recently reissued on CD by Omnivore Recordings.

There’s nothing new here for longtime collectors, of course, but a physical CD release would make a fine companion to the deluxe reissues of R.E.M.’s I.R.S. catalogue (Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant, Document) that have arrived in recent years.  In the meantime, just click on the jump to check out the complete track listing with discographical annotation for Complete Rarities.  The collection will be available from the typical digital service providers tomorrow, May 19, from Universal Music Enterprises.  No pre-order links are active yet, but we will update as soon as they are working! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 15, 2014 at 13:12

Dark Shadows Over Transylvania: Robert Cobert’s Score to “Dan Curtis’ Dracula” Arrives On CD

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Dan Curtis' DraculaSince Bram Stoker introduced Count Dracula in 1897, the Transylvanian vampire has captivated audiences in every medium conceivable.  Of course, the visceral possibilities of film has allowed the nightmarish character to leave his mark on generation after generation, most famously in 1931’s Bela Lugosi-starring film.  Much as Universal Pictures produced a string of films following its original, Hammer Films launched its own series of Dracula pictures with 1958’s adaptation starring Christopher Lee.  In 1974, the same year that producer Andy Warhol unleashed his campy Blood for Dracula, another visionary creator brought his own interpretation of Dracula to television.  This Dracula was directed by Dan Curtis, the man responsible for the 1966-1971 gothic daytime drama Dark Shadows.  Curtis’ soap opera had introduced a television icon in the vampire Barnabas Collins, portrayed by Jonathan Frid, so Curtis was a natural choice to tackle the most famous fanged one of them all.  Future Academy Award winner Jack Palance starred as the titular count in the film written by author and screenwriter Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time) and scored by Curtis’ frequent collaborator Robert “Bob” Cobert.  Varese Sarabande has recently premiered Cobert’s evocative score on compact disc in conjunction with Dracula’s May 27 release on Blu-ray from MPI Home Video.

Cobert, whose credits range from concert pieces to game show themes for Goodson-Todman and Bob Stewart, was closely associated with Curtis’ productions: Dark Shadows, of course, but also The Winds of War, The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang, The Love Letter and more – for a total of more than three dozen collaborations and 24 in the 1970s alone.  In 1968, Curtis and Cobert had teamed on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for which Palance starred as the lead character(s).  The trio reunited for their new take on Dracula, which aired on CBS in February 1974 and saw theatrical release overseas.

As writer Jeff Thompson points out in the five pages of liner notes which accompany Varese’s deluxe release, Curtis and Matheson’s film was the first American production to link the fictional Count Dracula with the real-life Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler.  Curtis shot the movie on location in Yugoslavia and England with a cast also including Nigel Davenport as Abraham Van Helsing, Fiona Lewis as Lucy Westenra, Penelope Horner as Mina Murray, and Murray Brown as Jonathan Harker.  It was in England, over a two-week period in 1973, that Cobert recorded his score with a 40-piece orchestra.

There’s more on Dracula after the jump, including the track  listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 15, 2014 at 10:26