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Archive for June 17th, 2014

Mancini’s Got Soul: Vocalion Revisits Composer’s Latin, Jazz-Funk Albums

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Henry Mancini - Latin Two-FerThe Vocalion label continues to mine Henry Mancini’s RCA Victor catalogue for two new releases, each containing two of the late composer’s albums.  The Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini/The Latin Sound of Henry Mancini brings together the recordings from 1968 and 1965, respectively; Symphonic Soul /The Cop Show Themes combines the LPs from 1976 and 1975, respectively.

The Latin Sound of Henry Mancini arrived in 1965, the same year as Mancini’s score album on RCA for his frequent collaborator Blake Edwards’ epic romp The Great Race.  The composer-conductor was no stranger to Latin sounds; in fact, he had released an entire album of Latin-styled arrangements in 1961 with Mr. Lucky Goes Latin.  On Latin Sound, he only recorded one of his own compositions, a reworking of his famous Peter Gunn theme.  The cover depicted Mancini in front of a map, and indeed, on the album he visited the music of Brazil (Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)”, Zequinha de Abreu’s “Tico Tico”), Cuba (Ernesto Lecuona’s “Andalucia (The Breeze and I)”), Argentina (Edmundo Zaldivar’s “Carnavalito”), Mexico (“La Raspa,” a.k.a. The Mexican Hat Dance), Puerto Rico (Rafael Hernandez’s “Preciosa”), and other locales.

Mancini belatedly followed up The Latin Sound with The Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini in 1968 not long after providing Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers with a swinging soundtrack to their absurdist comedy The Party.  The bandleader’s sense of humor shone through on these recordings which emphasized movie music.  Big Latin Band added a playful sensibility to Elmer Bernstein’s theme to The Magnificent Seven and took Mel Brooks’ ode to bad taste “Springtime for Hitler” in a cha-cha direction.  Though tightly arranged and far from improvisatory, Mancini’s charts also frequently allowed for soloists to take the spotlight including trumpeter Graham Young on Ennio Morricone’s theme to A Fistful of Dollars and Dominic Frontiere’s Hang ‘Em High, and saxophonist Ronny Lang on Mancini’s own theme to Touch of Evil.  Mancini also wrote one new composition in the Latin spirit, “Las Cruces,”  Other composers represented included the great Cuban bandleader Perez Prado (“Patricia”) and Lalo Schifrin (“Mission: Impossible”).

After the jump, we’ll take a look at Symphonic Soul and The Cop Show Themes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 17, 2014 at 14:25

Now They’re Here: Queen Prep Unreleased Shows for “Live At The Rainbow ’74”

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Queen Live At The Rainbow 74After a 40-year wait, a pair of pivotal early shows by Queen will see official release, it was announced yesterday.

1974 saw the British quartet release their second album, Queen II, earn their first U.K. Top 10 single (“Seven Seas of Rhye”) and embark on their first headlining tour. While some critics found a headlining slot at The Rainbow a daunting challenge for such a new band, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor sold even the most skeptical observer at their March date in the fabled venue. Queen would quickly record and release their third album, Sheer Heart Attack, that same year, and reappeared at The Rainbow in November, the same month the album was released.

Hardcore fans, of course, might know that the March 1974 show was recorded by producer Roy Thomas Baker with an intention to release a live album later that year. That never materialized, though the November show was filmed and released in part on VHS in the Box of Tricks set issued in 1992. Now, however, audio of both shows, as well as video from both sets, will be available on Live At The Rainbow ’74. Together, they mark some of the earliest live Queen performances officially heard, with several tracks making their first appearances on a live release, making it quite the boon for collectors.

And the band, along with their distributing labels (Virgin in the U.K. and Hollywood in the U.S.) is going all-out in releasing this set. A single-disc edition features the November show in full, while the two-disc version features both the March and November shows. The November show (and four tracks from the March show) will be featured on DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions, to be released through Eagle Rock Entertainment. (A U.S. exclusive will pair the November show on CD with the Blu-ray.) Two vinyl packages will be available: a double-vinyl set that features “album presentations” from both shows and a quadruple-vinyl set with both shows in full. Finally, a super-deluxe box includes all the CD, DVD and Blu-ray content plus the following extra swag:

  • A 60-page hardback book featuring previously unseen photographs, and reproductions of vintage reviews and articles
  • Two replica tickets from the March concert (the seats, in fact, were that of Brian May’s parents)
  • A reproduction of the tour itinerary folder for the March concert from promoter Mel Bush
  • A replica of the eight-page tour program
  • Two replica souvenir button badges
  • A tour poster
  • Reproduced photos from a shoot for The Telegraph
  • A replica sticker backstage pass for the March concert

The Live At The Rainbow ’74 packages are available September 8 and 9, respectively. Amazon U.K. links are live, with additional information expected to follow. Hit the jump for a full track list!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 17, 2014 at 10:54

Posted in Box Sets, News, Queen, Vinyl

Get Righteous! Label Serves Up Dick Dale, Jimmy Smith, Northern Soul

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Dancing By MyselfCherry Red’s Righteous label celebrates “aching country, forgotten soul music and other strange exotica…from George Jones to Hank Snow’s immortal ‘When Tragedy Struck’ to the roots of Dylan’s twisted songwriting inspiration…” Three of the label’s recent titles aren’t too exotic, but certainly are righteous. Dancing by Myself: Lost in Northern Soul collects 26 obscure R&B floor-fillers, primarily from independent labels; The Search for Surf chronicles the formative years of the surf-music craze with 26 songs from Dick Dale and others; and That Jimmy Smith Sound spotlights the jazz organist, as well as the musicians who influenced him, over a 13-song program.

Mojo contributor Dave Henderson opines in his liner notes for Dancing by Myself: Lost in Northern Soul that “the formula for northern soul is never set in stone and the perfect 45 can arrive from anywhere.” This compilation sets out to prove Henderson’s point with alternately raucous and mellow soul gems from the likes of The Five Royales, Joe Stubbs (brother of The Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs), Don and Juan, The Vibrations, and Lou Johnson.  The late journalist Dave Godin is credited with coining the phrase “northern soul,” which he used to describe music in the mid-1960s soul vein preferred by enthusiasts in the northern part of England. Godin told Mojo in 2002 that he had first devised the term in 1968, to help employees at his Soul City record shop differentiate the rapidly-proliferating funk style of R&B from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of just a few years earlier. (In The Soul Stylists, renowned DJ Ady Croasdell described the prototypical Northern Soul song as The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” although the song was too mainstream to achieve much popularity in the Northern Soul scene.) The movement championed lesser-known tracks over big hits, and it soon spread, with clubs popping up throughout the north and midlands of England.

Dancing by Myself keeps the tradition alive with diverse tracks that might fit a northern soul playlist from the genre’s earliest years including The Knockouts’ barroom interpretation of the sizzling “Fever,” Tommy Navarro and The Sundialers’ down-and-dirty, uptempo take on the Gershwins’ and DuBose Heyward’s Porgy and Bess aria “Summertime,” and Lou Johnson’s classy uptown soul record “If I Never Get to Love You” from the pens of Bacharach and David. One nifty rarity is Don McKenzie’s “Whose Heart (Are You Gonna Break Now)” written by Smokey Robinson pal Mickey Stevenson and featuring The Supremes on backing vocals, from Berry Gordy’s Miracle imprint. Joe Stubbs’ “Keep on Loving Me” and Mark Rice’s “Baby I’m Coming Home” emanated from Detroit, too, on the Lu-Pine label.  Lu-Pine, of course, released the first Supremes records when the girls were still known as The Primettes. All tracks here date from the period between 1958 and 1962 and, like the tracks on all three of these new releases, have been issued in accordance with current U.K. public domain laws.

After the jump: details on The Search for Surf and That Jimmy Smith Sound, plus track listings and order links for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 17, 2014 at 10:29

Release Round-Up: Week of June 17

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Dave Matthews Band - Remember Two ThingsDave Matthews Band, Remember Two Things: Expanded Edition (Bama Rags/RCA/Legacy)

The DMB’s 1993 mostly-live, self-released debut netted them enough exposure for a major-label deal some 20 years, six consecutive No. 1 studio albums and countless tours ago. Now, it’s back on CD with unreleased photos and two unheard studio bonus tracks; plus, for the first time, it’s being released on vinyl (with the bonus tracks available as a download).

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Hendrix Blue Wild Angel BDJimi Hendrix, Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live At The Isle of Wight (Blu-ray Disc) (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

Recorded in 1970 and released on DVD in 2002, Hendrix’s set at the acclaimed festival gets upgraded for the HD set. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Willie It Will Come To PassWillie Nelson, It Will Come to Pass: The Metaphysical Worlds and Poetic Introspections of Willie Nelson (Omni)

On the same date that Legacy Recordings issues Willie Nelson’s newest studio album Band of Brothers, U.K. label Omni delves into his RCA Victor catalogue for a 28-track collection of “some of the most philosophical and lysergic sounds ever captured in a Nashville studio.” Omni promises that this deluxe release is remastered from the original tapes, and includes new liner notes, rare photos and previously unreleased tracks. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Duke After MidnightDuke Ellington, The Original Recordings That Inspired the Broadway Hit “After Midnight” (Legacy)

Broadway’s Cotton Club revue After Midnight recently posted its closing notice, but you can take home its music on this disc of the original recordings by Duke Ellington that inspired the musical! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

June 17, 2014 at 08:19