The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for September 4th, 2014

Rhino Makes Magic: New Box Set Features Remastered and Expanded Albums From Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

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Beefheart - Sun Zoom SparkOn November 11, Rhino Records will celebrate the music of avant-garde iconoclast Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, with a new four-CD box set.  SUN ZOOM SPARK: 1970 to1972 focuses on the period following the release of his career-defining 1969 album Trout Mask Replica.  During that creatively fertile patch, Beefheart released three albums that have long lingered in the shadow of Trout Mask and even of Beefheart’s Richard Perry-produced debut Safe as MilkSUN ZOOM SPARK revisits these three albums – Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid, and Clear Spot– in freshly remastered editions, and adds a fourth disc containing fourteen previously unreleased outtakes and alternates from Beefheart and his Magic Band cohorts.  The limited edition box set will be available in CD, vinyl and digital formats.

Recorded in summer 1970 for frequent Beefheart collaborator and sparring partner Frank Zappa’s Straight label in summer 1970, Lick My Decals Off, Baby was released later that year.  Regarded as one of the good Captain’s personal favorites of his recordings, the title referred to his desire to see objects for their merits rather than according to labels (or “decals”) placed upon them.  Beefheart was joined by Bill Harkleroad on guitar, Mark Boston on bass, Art Tripp on percussion, and John French on drums.  Decals continued on Beefheart’s experimental path fusing psychedelia, blues, rock and jazz-style freeform improvisation.

Decals was followed by The Spotlight Kid, which was recorded at Los Angeles’ Record Plant during the summer of 1971 and issued in early 1972 on Reprise. The only album credited solely to Captain Beefheart rather than with his Magic Band, it features Harkleroad, Boston, French and Tripp, plus Elliot Ingber on guitar and drummer Rhys Clark (on one track).  Produced again by Van Vliet, this time in collaboration with Phil Schier, the album featured slower, simpler compositions, perhaps in pursuit of a (slightly) more commercial blues-rock sound.

The third album in this collection, Clear Spot, was recorded in summer 1972 and released that autumn.  Produced by Van Vliet with Ted Templeman (Harpers Bizarre, The Doobie Brothers), Clear Spot might have been his most accessible album yet with succinct and even somewhat conventional tracks including love songs (to a fashion), soulful ballads and driving rock and roll.  Harkleroad, Boston and Tripp all played on the album along with onetime Mother of Invention and Little Feat founding member Roy Estrada.

The fourth and final disc in SUN ZOOM SPARK premieres 14 previously unreleased tracks drawn from the sessions for The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot.   It traces the evolution of the recordings, with the press release noting among the highlights a sung version of “I Can’t Do This Unless I Can Do This/Seam Crooked Sam,” which became a spoken-word performance on 1978’s Bat Chain Puller; an early version of “Dirty Blue Gene” that pointed the way to the final version on 1980’s Doc at the Radar Station; and an embryonic instrumental rehearsal of “The Witch Doctor Life,” completed for 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow.

After the jump, check out pre-order links and the complete track listing for all of the magic you’ll find on SUN ZOOM SPARK! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 4, 2014 at 13:04

Starbucks Serves Up Cocktails with Mel, Serge and Judy, and Folk with Nick, Sandy and Eliza

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Fall apparently wasn’t arriving early enough for the folks at Starbucks, so the international coffee giant moved it up – to this past August 25 – with the early arrival of its familiar fall drinks. But when ordering up that pumpkin spice latte, you might want to check out two recent musical offerings, both curated with the Starbucks Entertainment label’s customary care.

The simply-titled British Folk emphasizes the current crop of troubadours who currently follow in the footsteps of Nick Drake and Sandy Denny, both of whom are represented here with “Hazey Jane” and “Listen, Listen,” respectively. The British folk revival of the late 1960s – which also encompassed artists like Davy Graham, Martin Carthy and John Martyn, and groups such as Pentangle and Fairport Convention – clearly inspired the young singers on British Folk. Yet the compilation incorporates many sounds and styles, some more indebted to the rock side of folk-rock but all rooted in the love of traditional, acoustic music.

Modern spins on folk come from Stokes, William’s “In/Of the World,” Beth Orton’s “Call Me the Breeze” and Eliza Carthy (daughter of folk heroes Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson)’s “Train Song.” Johnny Flynn is heard twice, once with Laura Marling on “The Water” and once solo with “Lost and Found.” Sam Lee rearranges a traditional tune with “Goodbye, My Darling,” and Kat Flint offers a striking political comment with the bitterly ironic “Christopher, You’re a Solider Now.” British-American band Treetop Flyers’ 2013 “Things Will Change” taps into the strains of both countries’ folk-rock styles. The late Drake and Denny’s contributions still sound fresh within the context of these musicians who followed them.

After the jump: take a little time to enjoy a swingin’ Cocktail Hour with many famous names – plus we have track listings for both albums! Read the rest of this entry »