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Archive for July 3rd, 2014

Talk, Talk! Ace Revs Up “The Bonniwell Music Machine”

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Bonniwell Music MachineBack in 2006, Ace Records’ Big Beat imprint delivered on its promise of The Ultimate Turn On via a 2-CD edition of The Music Machine’s 1966 debut album, Turn On. That release comprehensively revisited the complete output of the original band line-up, with the mono and stereo versions of the LP, four non-album singles, and an entire disc of rehearsals, demos and alternates intended for the second album that the band planned to release on the Original Sound label. Alas, the “Talk, Talk” hitmakers broke up in 1967, but leader Sean Bonniwell soldiered on. He parlayed a release from Original Sound into a deal at Warner Bros. Records, and in 1968, the label issued The Bonniwell Music Machine. Like Turn On, it’s arrived from Big Beat in a deluxe 2-CD edition. This expanded reissue premieres over 25 previously unreleased tracks from the psych-garage mavericks (including songs from a session helmed by Boyce and Hart) as well as other singles and rarities to present the band’s complete Warner Bros. recordings and more.

Though the band had broken up by the time of its release, The Bonniwell Music Machine largely features The Music Machine’s original line-up of Bonniwell, Mark Landon, Doug Rhodes, Keith Olsen and Ron Edgar. Touring in the first half of 1967, the quintet had rehearsed Bonniwell’s latest batch of songs and recorded demos at the New Orleans studio of famed producer Cosimo Matassa. Three of the Crescent City-recorded tracks appeared on the album along with music recorded at RCA’s Los Angeles studios in late March 1967. Its track listing replicated the contents of the planned sophomore album for Original Sound, as producer Brian Ross had been able to convince Original Sound’s Art Laboe to transfer the masters to Warner.

Bonniwell formed a new Music Machine, this time adorned with his surname, consisting of Ed Jones on bass, Harry Garfield on organ, Alan Wisdom on guitar and Jerry Harris on drums. A press release reproduced in the lavish booklet to Big Beat’s reissue puts it thusly: “When asked what happened to the original Music Machine, [Bonniwell] states flatly, ‘they left because they felt like it.’ Three weeks and six days after the split, Mr. Bonniwell had formed another group.” But the group’s auteur confessed in the liner notes by producer Alec Palao, “The second line-up didn’t really take life seriously; everything was just like a joke…” All four men did play on The Bonniwell Music Machine, however; less than one month after they came together, the new band members were ushered by producer Ross and Bonniwell into Los Angeles’ United-Western Studios. They remained a unit until July 1968, months after the February release of the LP. Bonniwell again wasted no time in putting together a new Music Machine, and Mk. 3 – featuring Bonniwell, Harris, Joe Bruley on guitar and Fred Thomas on bass – recorded two sides of one more single for Warner, a one-off single for Bell and various demos before The Music Machine called it a day. All the while, Bonniwell was expanding his group’s sound; the tracks here build on the garage-rock template with horns, strings and woodwinds.

We have a rundown of what you’ll find on this set after the jump – plus order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 3, 2014 at 16:25

Deep Purple Go Mono on New Early Years Box

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Deep Purple Mark 1The Deep Purple catalogue has seen its share of reissues over the years – even during The Second Disc’s four and a half year tenure – but there’s another box set to be had courtesy of Parlophone this summer: one that collates the band’s perhaps-underrated Mk. 1 era.

Hard Road: The Mark 1 Studio Recordings 1968-1969 collects the three albums the band cut for Parlophone/Harvest (Tetragrammaton in the U.S.), full of psych-blues jams that would find little attention in the band’s native U.K. but some airplay in America: a cover of Joe South’s “Hush” (a hit for Billy Joe Royal) was a Top 5 hit in the U.S., while unorthodox covers of Neil Diamond (“Kentucky Woman”) and Ike & Tina Turner (“River Deep – Mountain High”) enjoyed modest success. The Mk. 1 lineup featured a few familiar faces, namely guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice (still a member of the Mk. VIII version!) and keyboardist Jon Lord, but also featured original singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simpson.

Even with a host of single mixes and alternate takes, many featured on the 2000 compilation The Early Years, these three albums might not be enticing enough on their own. Thus, Parlophone includes, for the first time on CD, the original mono mixes of 1968’s debut Shades of Deep Purple and follow-up The Book of Taliesyn. The mono version of Taliesyn, has in fact, never been released, making this a coup for collectors. Twenty outtakes, alternate mixes and single sides are included as bonus tracks, including a handful of recently-remixed and alternate tracks dating from the band’s third self-titled album that are being released for the first time.

If you’re a Deep Purple fan who has it all, this might be the set to get when it’s released on July 28. Hit the jump for full track details and links to the five-disc set from Amazon U.K.!

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 3, 2014 at 13:45

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues

Oasis Prep “Morning Glory” for Deluxe Reissue

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Oasis Morning Glory deluxeFollowing an expansion of their debut album that kicked off a major catalogue expansion project, Britpop legends Oasis will continue their “Chasing the Sun” reissue series with an expansion of 1995’s (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? in September.

Morning Glory continued Oasis’ run of U.K. critical and chart success as well as expanding their influence through the rest of the world. Singles “Some Might Say” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” were native No. 1s, while “Roll with It” and “Wonderwall” went to No. 2; “Wonderwall” was a Top 10 hit in America while “Champagne Supernova” hit the Top 20. Altogether the album sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 million copies worldwide, 4 million of those in the States (their biggest seller here).

As with the reissue of Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory will be available in several formats:

  • The original album will be available on CD and LP, newly remastered by Ian Cooper at Metropolis Studios in London
  • A three-disc edition features the album with a bonus disc of B-sides (many of which are found on 1998’s The Masterplan) and another disc of 14 unreleased live tracks and demos
  • A super deluxe box pairs the three CDs and LP with additional vinyl (replicas of the original “Some Might Say” 12″ single, a replica 12″ promo featuring a cover of Slade/Quiet Riot’s “Cum On Feel the Noize” and a remix of “Champagne Supernova,” and demos of “Hello” and “She’s Electric” on 7″ and cassette, respectively) and a 56-page hardback book featuring liner notes by Neil McCormick

All of these versions are out in the U.K. on September 29. Check the full three-disc track list after the jump, along with pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 3, 2014 at 12:03

Posted in Box Sets, News, Oasis, Reissues

A Fifth of Walter Murphy: Hot Shot Reissues Original “Beethoven” LP

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Walter Murphy - Fifth of BeethovenToday, composer-bandleader Walter Murphy may be best-known for his work with comedy’s enfant terrible Seth MacFarlane. Murphy has lent his talents to projects including Family Guy, American Dad and Ted, and has been recognized with an Emmy Award and an Oscar nomination. Yet the first time most Americans heard of Walter Murphy was in 1976 – as a result of a composition written between 1804 and 1808! The Walter Murphy Band took Beethoven onto the dance floor with “A Fifth of Beethoven,” based on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C-Minor, and Murphy was rewarded with a massive hit that reached No. 1 on the U.S. Pop chart. Big Break Records’ offshoot Hot Shot Records has just reissued A Fifth of Beethoven from The Walter Murphy Band on CD in a remastered edition with a pair of bonus tracks.

Walter Murphy was far from the first to fuse classical music with contemporary pop, but he was certainly among the most successful, artistically and commercially. The tradition of adapting classical pieces was nothing new; the now-standard 1918 showtune “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” was derived from a Chopin melody written in 1834.  The Broadway writing team of Robert Wright and George Forrest fashioned Borodin’s themes into the 1953 musical Kismet. Allan Sherman’s 1963 novelty “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!” could trace its roots back to an 1876 opera, and The Toys’ “A Lovers’ Concerto” from 1965 was based in Bach. In the 1970s, Eric Carmen and Barry Manilow took inspiration from Rachmaninoff and Chopin, respectively. Numerous jazz artists and progressive rockers, too, took their turns at modernizing, and improvising on, venerable themes.

Multi-instrumentalist and sometimes-jingle writer Walter Murphy hit upon the notion of fusing classical with disco and recorded a demo of “A Fifth of Beethoven” himself, shopping it to various labels. Larry Uttal of Private Stock Records saw the potential in what the multi-instrumentalist had accomplished, and advised him to release the album with a band name. Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band was Uttal’s first choice, but when it was discovered that another Big Apple Band existed, the “group” became The Walter Murphy Band. Uttal’s gamble on Murphy’s disco-classical hybrid paid off when the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1976. The accompanying album, produced by Thomas J. Valentino and adapted, arranged and conducted by Murphy, performed none too poorly itself, reaching No. 15.

When “A Fifth of Beethoven” was selected for inclusion on the soundtrack album of the record-breaking Saturday Night Fever, the song received a second lease on life. It also opened the doors for subsequent disco-classical productions. One such track, stage and screen composer David Shire’s “Night on Disco Mountain” (based on Mussorgsky’s dark “Night on Bald Mountain”), sat alongside “A Fifth” on Saturday Night Fever. Over at Salsoul, bandleader Vince Montana updated Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” into “Magic Bird of Fire” for The Salsoul Orchestra. Most notably, the Hooked on Classics series arrived in the wake of “Beethoven,” but the disco-classical fever was contagious. Even the “easy listening” pianists Ferrante and Teicher got into the act with a Classical Disco album in 1979.

On the album entitled A Fifth of Beethoven (obviously), Murphy surrounded the key track with three –more similarly-fashioned tracks: “Russian Dressing” based on Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto I in B-Flat Minor;” “Nightfall” based on Chopin’s Prelude No. 4 in E-Minor; and “Flight ‘76” based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” The latter had long been a favorite of pop and jazz musicians in treatments like “Bumble Boogie.” Murphy rounded out the album with his own feel-good disco instrumentals, some dollops of funk like “Give a Little Lovin’” sung by Frank Dillard, and even a couple of enjoyable pop songs performed by Pat Bianco. “California Strut” features the vocals of future R&B star Angela Bofill.

After the jump: what extras will you find here?  Plus: the complete track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 3, 2014 at 10:33