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Archive for June 10th, 2014

Vikki Carr’s “Love Again: The Lost Columbia Masters” Unearths Never-Before-Heard Recordings

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Vikki Carr - The Lost MastersI recently had the great pleasure of providing the liner notes for Real Gone Music’s first-ever CD reissue of Vikki Carr’s Columbia Records album The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face).  That title arrived in stores last week joined by a collection of previously unreleased material from the great vocalist.  Love Again: The Lost Columbia Masters is a major find for fans of Carr and in large part presents her voice in a new, contemporary country setting.-  JM

Have forty years really passed since the release of One Hell of a Woman, Vikki Carr’s final all-English-language studio album to date?  Since 1974, Carr – always one hell of a singer – has largely concentrated on her commercially and artistically successful Spanish-language recordings.  Her most recent such effort, 2012’s Viva La Vida, was yet another chart success for a legendary singer who has been charting hits since 1962.  So it’s a pure pleasure in 2014 to finally hear a “new” English studio album from Vikki Carr.  Love Again: The Lost Columbia Masters has arrived from Real Gone Music, rescuing seventeen prime cuts from the label’s vault.

At the heart of Love Again is a country-flavored LP recorded by Carr in Nashville in 1975.  It would have followed Hoy, the Spanish LP that proved to be her last original album released by Columbia.  Unlike Carr’s earliest Columbia albums which found her covering popular songs of the day, the untitled Nashville project featured several lesser-known tracks which Carr could truly make her own – in addition to a couple of classics.  These ten songs about love and loss, lovers and liars, cheaters and ne’er-do-wells feature mature, sultry vocals from Carr.  Her instrument is a versatile one, capable of brassy belting or smooth, creamy vocalizing, with a touch of authentic grit at the ready.  The countrypolitan pop feel suited Carr well on these sessions produced by the Nashville-based Columbia executive Ron Bledsoe, and country music itself afforded her a chance to employ her considerable interpretive gifts.  The album also reunited Carr with Bledsoe with whom she had collaborated at Liberty Records on projects including her earlier foray into country pop, Nashville by Carr.  Though it remained unreleased, the resulting album is a compelling collection featuring many stark, burnished vocals from the artist.

Hit the jump for a closer look at Love Again! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 10, 2014 at 12:22

Posted in Compilations, News, Reviews, Vikki Carr

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Ride This ‘Trane: Blue Note Preps Complete Packages For Clifford Brown, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane

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Brownie SpeaksThe 75th anniversary campaign for Blue Note Records is continuing with a trio of titles from some of the venerable jazz label’s all-time greatest artists.  Following up on the recent deluxe presentation from Miles Davis of his Complete Blue Note Recordings, the label has announced new collections for Clifford Brown, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk.  The Miles volume represented his complete Blue Note recordings as a leader, derived from his 10-inch LPs Young Man with a Horn, Miles Davis Volume 2 and Volume 3 as well as the alternate takes issued on the 12-inch LPs Miles Davis Volume 1 and Volume 2 and the expanded CD issues of those two releases.  In that spirit, each of the new sets will present the artists’ original recordings sequenced as they were first released on 10-inch or 78 RPM singles – a marked departure from previous CD versions, which have used recording chronology or later 12-inch versions of the albums for their sequencing.  Also like the Davis release, each of these Blue Note Select collections will be housed in hardbound book-style packaging with a new essay, session photos, and original album art elements.  For those preferring their jazz digital-style, all packages will also be made available as digital downloads.

The 3-CD set Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Recordings arrives from trumpet great Clifford Brown on June 10.  The set chronicles his three 10-inch albums from 1953 as recorded with trombonist J.J. Johnson (Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown), saxophonist Lou Donaldson (New Faces New Sounds) and his own sextet (New Star on the Horizon).  It adds live recordings from New York’s fabled Birdland.  These performances were led by drummer Art Blakey, and feature Brown alongside Donaldson and pianist Horace Silver. Brownie Speaks presents the three original 10-inch album sequences for the first time since the mid-1950s, with the Birdland shows in their original performance sequence for the first time ever. The 34-page booklet includes a new essay by Kirk Silsbee.

Coltrane - SidemanNext up, on July 15, is another 3-CD set: John Coltrane and Friends’ Sideman: Trane’s Blue Note Sessions.  This set covers the period between 1956-1957 during which time saxophonist Coltrane was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet and was also playing with pianist Thelonious Monk (the subject of a future Blue Note Select project).  Sideman has been conceived by former Blue Note Records president Bruce Lundvall, and marks the first time Coltrane’s sideman sessions for Blue Note have been collected in one place.  (A similar collection, Side Steps, was issued collecting Coltrane’s Prestige Records sessions in 2009.)  These recordings include albums led by bassist Paul Chambers (Chambers’ Music, a.k.a. High Step, and Whims of Chambers), saxophonist Johnny Griffin (A Blowing Session) and pianist Sonny Clark (Sonny’s Crib). The entire set will be in mono, and premieres the mono version of Clark’s album on CD. The 34-page booklet boasts a new essay from Coltrane biographer and jazz historian Ashley Kahn, author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album.

After the jump: details on Blue Note Select’s upcoming release from Thelonious Monk, plus track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 10, 2014 at 11:06

Release Round-Up: Week of June 10

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Chicago Hit Factory

Various Artists, Chicago Hit Factory: The Vee-Jay Story 1953-1966 (Charly) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This import box set tells the story of great R&B label Vee-Jay Records via a whopping 10 discs, 269 tracks (including 112 hits) by more than 120 different artists, and a 72-page book.  Artists include Jerry Butler, The Four Seasons, The Beatles, Gene Chandler, Little Richard, Betty Everett, The Dells and The Standells!  Jazz, gospel, blues and doo-wop all figure prominently along with the label’s trademark soul and R&B sounds.  The full track listing can be found here.

Louis Armstrong and His Friends

Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong and His Friends (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace has a straight reissue of Satchmo’s 1970 album for the Flying Dutchman label on which the jazz legend was joined by producer and label owner Bob Thiele (co-writer of “What a Wonderful World”) and arranger-conductor Oliver Nelson for a set including standards (“My One and Only Love,” “Mood Indigo”), contemporary material (“Give Peace a Chance,” “Everybody’s Talkin’”) and, yes, a new recording of “What a Wonderful World.”  Of special note is the star-studded rendition of “We Shall Overcome” with a chorus including Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and Tony Bennett!  Armstrong’s ill health prevented him from playing his horn on this LP, but his message of peace and brotherhood came through loud and clear.

Brownie Speaks

Clifford Brown, Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Albums (Blue Note) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The latest Blue Note Select release brings together the jazz trumpeter’s three 10-inch albums from 1953 as recorded with trombonist J.J. Johnson (Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown), saxophonist Lou Donaldson (New Faces New Sounds) and his own sextet (New Star on the Horizon), and adds live recordings from New York’s Birdland.  The 3-CD set presents the three original 10-inch album sequences for the first time since the mid-1950s, with the Birdland shows in their original performance sequence for the first time ever.  Look for more details later today!

Colour My World

Tony Hatch, Colour My World: The Songs of Tony Hatch (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Look for Joe’s review tomorrow of this hit-packed anthology from Ace dedicated to the British hitmaker behind “Downtown,” “Call Me,” “Sugar and Spice” and so many other songs that defined the sound of the Swingin’ Sixties!  Colour My World features tracks from Petula Clark, Scott Walker, The Searchers, Jack Jones, Chris Montez, and more!

Arthur Prysock - Too Late Baby

Arthur Prysock, Too Late Baby: The Old Town Singles 1958-1966 (Ace/Kent) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace delivers the very first CD compilation of the R&B baritone’s classic singles for New York’s Old Town label. Many of these 24 tracks have never been reissued at all, in any format. A versatile singer who might bring to mind Lou Rawls or Billy Eckstine, Prysock was equally comfortable with R&B and smooth balladry; all sides of his talent are on display on this collection of some of the rarest material in his considerable catalogue.


The Who - Quadrophenia Live Box Contents

The Who, Quadrophenia: Live in London various formats / Quadrophenia (Original Album) Blu-ray Pure Audio (Universal)

Quadrophenia: The Original Album Blu-ray Pure Audio Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Deluxe Metal Box Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single-Disc Blu-ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single Disc DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London 2-CD Soundtrack to the Concert Film: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend bring their epic 2013 concerts celebrating Quadrophenia to Blu-ray, DVD and CD, and also unveil the first-ever complete 5.1 mix of the original 1973 Who album on Blu-ray Pure Audio!  Full details can be found here.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 10, 2014 at 08:32