The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for June 26th, 2014

Soundtrack Watch: La-La Land Rebuilds “Empire,” Gets Creepy and Kooky

with one comment

Empire of the SunTwo heavy-hitters were announced for release from La-La Land Records this week, including a major expansion in the Spielberg-Williams canon worthy of the label’s 300th release.

First up, LLL has a single-disc expansion of Marc Shaiman’s score to the 1991 hit comedy The Addams Family. Based on Charles Addams’ iconic New Yorker cartoon strips, The Addams Family film features Gomez and Morticia (Raul Julia and Angelica Huston) and their brood welcoming the return of Gomez’s long-lost brother Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd). But is Fester really part of a plot by Gomez’s lawyer (Dan Hedaya) to embezzle the vast Addams family fortune? Shaiman, a composer/arranger who would earn international acclaim writing the Tony-winning score for a Broadway adaptation of John Waters’ Hairspray, turns in a delightfully macabre score that makes good use of Vic Mizzy’s iconic theme to the 1960s television series.

For their 300th release, La-La Land have returned to the Steven Spielberg-John Williams partnership that served them so well before with an expansion of Williams’ score to Empire of the Sun (1987). Based on J.G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel, Empire told the tale of Jim (Christian Bale), a wealthy British boy in Shanghai who ends up in an internment camp in Japan during World War II. As one of Spielberg’s first “serious movies,” and the first which Williams worked on with his longtime friend (Quincy Jones scored Spielberg’s 1985 drama The Color Purple), the score is an underrated triumph, alternately full of wonder and wartime bravado (choral-based piece “Exsultate Justi” remains a staple of Williams’ live conducting). It’s been greatly expanded for this two-disc set, featuring both the original film score and a half hour of unheard alternate cues.

Addams is limited to 3,000 copies, while Empire is 4,000 copies strong. Both can be previewed and ordered after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 26, 2014 at 15:04

The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy Returns: Raven Collects David Allan Coe Albums

with 2 comments

Mysterious David Allan CoeIf “outlaw country” has a face, it’s likely that of David Allan Coe. Though many have been associated with the rabble-rousing, convention-defying, honky tonk-embracing genre, including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, Coe has been a perennial “bad boy” since bursting onto the music scene in the late 1960s fresh out of prison. In fact, many attribute the term “outlaw country” itself to Coe, who was a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and certainly lived his life on the edge. (Waylon Jennings could also stake a claim to the phrase, having recorded Lee Clayton’s song “Ladies Love Outlaws” in 1972 and furthering the notion of country singers bucking the slick, sweetened Nashville Sound trend in favor of rootsy, raw, and rough-and-tumble music.) Australia’s Raven Records label has collected eight of Coe’s earliest major-label albums, all released on Columbia Records between 1974 and 1979, on two 2-CD sets containing four albums apiece.

The Mysterious David Allan Coe brings together Coe’s first four long-players for Columbia: The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy (1974), Once Upon a Rhyme (1975), Longhaired Redneck (1976) and Rides Again (1977). The title of his Columbia debut was derived from his outrageous, masked onstage get-up, and predated Glen Campbell’s 1975 pop hit “Rhinestone Cowboy.” On the set produced by Ron Bledsoe (a Nashville vet with credits ranging from Vikki Carr to Ray Price), Coe featured his own songs alongside traditionals and those composed by Mickey Newbury, Guy Clark and others.   Heavily inspired by the back-to-basics approach of Merle Haggard and his Bakersfield, CA kin, Coe took an artistic leap forward with his sophomore LP, Once Upon a Rhyme. The album featured his own version of his song “Would You Lie with Me (In a Field of Stone)” which Tanya Tucker had already taken to No.1 Country. It kicked off Side One’s set of Coe originals; the second side was ceded to covers from sources both likely (Texan singer-songwriter Richard Dobson) and unlikely (Tom Jans and pop hitmaker Jeff Barry). But the album’s most enduring track was its closer. “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” was purloined from an album by Steve Goodman, who originally co-wrote it with another folk hero, John Prine. But Coe inserted himself into the satirical final verse with a delicious, country-spoofing twist. He was rewarded with his first Top 10 C&W single; the LP also placed among the Top 10 C&W Albums.

The title song to 1976’s Longhaired Redneck made the C&W Top 20. Written by Coe with Jimmy Rabbitt, it featured him making direct reference to the outlaw movement of which he was now a major part, as well as paying homage to Haggard, Ernest Tubb and “Whisperin’” Bill Anderson. The prolific artist followed Redneck, on which he wrote or co-wrote every track, the next year with Rides Again. Its opening track and single, “Willie, Waylon and Me,” again found Coe addressing the company he was keeping. He also name-checked country-rockers The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Eagles as well as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin in the No. 25-charting single. On Rides Again, his songwriting also took precedence, and he had a credit on every track except for the cover of Donnie Murphy’s “Laid Back and Wasted.”

Raven’s collection features new liner notes from Keith Glass and remastering from Warren Barnett. It adds five bonus tracks: the non-LP sides “(If I Could Climb) The Walls of the Bottle” and “Please Come to Boston” as well as two songs from 1977’s Tattoo and two more from 1978’s Family Album including “Take This Job and Shove It” which became a smash hit for Johnny Paycheck. However, those albums can be heard in full on Raven’s next collection.  Hit the jump for much more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 26, 2014 at 14:18

Practically Perfect: Disney’s Legacy Collection Announces Next Volume

with 10 comments

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun, and – SNAP!
The job’s a game!

-Julie Andrews, “A Spoonful of Sugar,” Mary Poppins (song written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman)

Mary Poppins 50

There’s certainly an element of fun in catalog music, particularly catalog soundtracks, particularly the somehow oft-ignored discography of The Walt Disney Company. Disney’s somewhat passive approach to a catalog initiative (tempered by their licensing deal with the Intrada label) finally made an about face this spring with the announcement of several titles in “The Legacy Collection”: expanded anniversary editions of classic Disney film soundtracks with gorgeous artwork to match. The Lion King was the first title in the line, released this week, and August will see the release of the next: a 50th anniversary edition of the music to Mary Poppins.

As dramatized in last year’s Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney was an unabashed fan of P.L. Travers’ series of children’s books about a magical nanny. Travers was reticent to allow her books to be adapted, but ultimately allowed Disney to pursue the idea. The result, though somewhat deviated from the books, was pure Disney magic: Julie Andrews (star of My Fair Lady and Camelot on Broadway but untested enough onscreen to be replaced for the My Fair Lady film adaptation by Audrey Hepburn) as the practically perfect heroine, bona-fide TV star Dick Van Dyke as the everyman/one man band/pavement artist/chimney sweep Bert, great supporting turns by David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns and Ed Wynn, a stunning multimedia presentation (that deftly mixed live action with animation in several key sequences)…and the songs.

Brothers Richard and Robert Sherman were already known quantities in both the songwriting world (“You’re Sixteen”) and on the Disney backlot (Annette Funicello’s Top 10 hit “Tall Paul,” simple, singable and sincere tunes for 1964 World’s Fair and Disneyland attractions) when Walt asked “the boys” to compose a song score for Poppins. But who could have imagined just what a triumph it would be? With instant standards like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (a song this author is proud to have typed from memory) and “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)” – a song that Walt would often ask the Shermans to play for him, just because – Mary Poppins remains one of the brightest works of art in the Disney canon. Ultimately, the film won five Oscars, including two trophies for the Sherman Brothers and one for Julie Andrews, winning Best Actress over – you guessed it – Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. (Disney passed away in 1966, leaving Poppins as the company’s last major work he lived to see to completion.)

So how is Disney’s Legacy Collection celebrating this soundtrack masterpiece? Hit the jump to find out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 26, 2014 at 10:39

Lovely Day: Aretha, Sly, Andy, Marvin and Billie Headline “The Brazil Connection”

with one comment

Brazil ConnectionWell, summer is officially upon us! Already there’s talk about which songs will be anointed the perfect summer jams for 2014 – songs by artists like Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and the ubiquitous Pharrell Williams. If those names don’t set your pulse racing, however, Legacy Recordings has an alternative that’s bound to conjure up images of tropical sunsets, refreshing drinks and summer breeze. Studio Rio Presents The Brazil Connection makes over 12 pop classics from the Sony vaults by melding the original vocals with new bossa nova and samba arrangements written and/or played by some of Brazil’s top musicians including Torcuato Mariano, Paulo Braga, and bossa legends Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal. The artists represent a cross-section of genres such as R&B (Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye) to jazz (Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck and Carmen McRae), and traditional pop (Andy Williams, Mel Torme). The Brazil Connection arrives in stores today, just in time to coincide with the 2014 World Cup being held in Brazil.

Producers Frank and Christian Berman’s Studio Rio aggregation is successful in retaining an organic sound for most of these familiar recordings in their new, chill Brazilian settings. One can fairly question the practice of grafting new productions around vintage tracks – especially from deceased artists, whether Williams, Holiday, Gaye or Brubeck, just to name a few – but these Rio de Janeiro-made recordings are fun, tasteful and faithful to the spirit, if not the style, of the originals.

Most radical – and one of the album’s undisputed highlights – is the transformation of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1971 chart-topper “Family Affair” from lean, dark funk to soft and sensual tropicalia. Gone are the electric piano, bass and early drum machine; in their place is a lush and mellow complement of guitar, piano, bass, drums, flugelhorn, tenor and alto saxophones and trombone. The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” both get rousing, lively reinventions from co-arrangers Mariano and The Berman Brothers. (“It’s Your Thing” is also featured on Sony’s official World Cup 2014 album, One Love, One Rhythm.) Another R&B great, Bill Withers, sees his 1977 “Lovely Day” shorn of its sleek R&B rhythm and replaced with a brassy yet contemporary Brazilian groove. One misses the iconic original backing of Johnny Nash’s 1972 No. 1 hit “I Can See Clearly Now,” though the new, cheerful backing is a perfect match for the song’s lyrical sentiments.

Unsurprisingly, Aretha Franklin’s 1964 recording of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Walk on By” lends itself well to the treatment here. One of the Queen of Soul’s Columbia tracks that most anticipates her soulful direction at the Atlantic label, “Walk on By” thrives in Roberto Menescal’s alluring arrangement, as Latin rhythms are in the DNA of a Bacharach melody. Similarly, Mel Torme’s 1965 rendition of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is a natural for Studio Rio, with arranger Mario Adnet seemingly channeling Claus Ogerman’s work on the seminal Sinatra/Jobim collaboration between another great American singer and Brazil’s answer to George Gershwin. Marcos Valle turns in a fun chart (and also plays Fender Rhodes) on Andy Williams’ hard-swinging “Music to Watch Girls By.” Williams was no stranger to Valle’s music, making this a particularly inspired choice. Roberto Menescal joins Valle on guitar for this upbeat samba.

We have more after the jump – including the complete track listing and order links!   Read the rest of this entry »