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Release Round-Up: Week of November 26

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Animals - Mickie Most YearsThe Animals, The Mickie Most Years and More / Tower of Power, Hipper Than Hip: Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow – Live on the Air & in the Studio 1974 / Lisa Fischer, So Intense / The Alabama State Troupers, Road Show / The Obsessed, The Church Within (Real Gone Music)

An Animals box set and a compilation of unreleased Tower of Power greatness head off Real Gone’s slate for the end of the year!

The Animals: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Tower of Power: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Lisa Fischer: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Alabama State Troupers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Obsessed: CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Badfinger - TimelessBadfinger, Timeless: The Musical Legacy (Apple)

A new single-disc compilation devoted to the would-be Beatle heirs, the first to be derived from Apple’s 2010 remasters. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Big Star - PlaylistBig Star, Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star (Legacy) / Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia)

A double dose of Big Star today: a new compilation in Legacy’s Playlist line that marries some of the band’s classic early recordings with latter-day live tracks from their mid-’90s reunion, and a new feature-length documentary on the band.

PlaylistAmazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.
Nothing Can Hurt Me: DVD (Amazon U.S.) BD (Amazon U.S.)

Thelonious Monk Paris 1969Thelonious Monk, Paris 1969 (Blue Note)

An unreleased live set from later in Monk’s career, available in multiple formats (including an equally unseen video!).

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Screaming Life-FoppSoundgarden, Screaming Life/Fopp (Sub Pop)

An expanded remaster of the Seattle grunge icons’ debut EPs.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Barbra - Back to BrooklynBarbra Streisand, Back to Brooklyn (Columbia)

Barbra takes Brooklyn – specifically, the new Barclays Center – by storm in these shows, recorded in October 2012.

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

It's a Scream How LevineVarious Artists, It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba (Idelsohn Society)

Subtitled “The Latin-Jewish Musical Story 1940s-1980s,” this double-disc set (featuring performances by Carole King, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and more) is a fun, occasionally wacky musical archaeology session that’ll keep you amused and informed. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Wicked - DeluxeWicked: Original Broadway Cast Recording 10th Anniversary Special Edition (Verve/UMe)

Defy gravity with this deluxe two-disc version of the Tony-winning musical about the witches of Oz. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Come and Get It: Remastered Badfinger Hits Collection Released Today

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Badfinger - Timeless

Badfinger fans have had plenty of opportunities to “come and get it” in 2013.  This past spring, the Estate of Pete Ham utilized Pledge Music to release Keyhole Street: Demos 1966-1967, a 2-CD, 50+-track compilation from the late singer-songwriter.  More recently, late last month, Edsel issued its own 2-CD set containing both of Badfinger’s post-Apple records for Warner Bros. plus In Concert at the BBC 1972-3Badfinger/Wish You Were Here/In Concert at the BBC 1972-3 arrived to some fortuitous news, however.  When the September 29 series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad made pivotal use of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue,” some 10.3 million people heard the song which reached No. 14 back in 1972.  By the next morning, the Todd Rundgren-produced, Pete Ham-written track had been downloaded more than 5,000 times – and roughly another 30,000 times over the following week.  Badfinger had made it…again.  Now, Apple Records is celebrating the band’s endurance with the release of Timeless…The Musical Legacy of Badfinger.

Arriving in stores today in the U.K., Timeless was originally rumored for release nearly two years ago.  A track listing leaked to various online forums in early 2012, and indeed, it’s the sequence being issued on CD today.  The 16-track compilation draws on all four of Badfinger’s Apple albums from 1970 to 1973 (Magic Christian Music, No Dice, Straight Up, and Ass), only overlooking Maybe Tomorrow, released under the band’s original name of The Iveys.  The Warner Bros. years are represented by 1974’s Wish You Were Here, and the compilation concludes with a track from the 1979 Elektra LP Airwaves.

All of the Apple tracks have been derived from the 2010 remasters (reviewed in depth here).  Paul McCartney’s “Come and Get It,” so memorably utilized in the off-the-wall Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr comedy The Magic Christian, is one of four tracks from Magic Christian Music (naturally).   Three songs have been taken from No Dice, including Ham and Evans’ future chart-topper for Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey, “Without You,” and Ham’s rocking “No Matter What.”  In addition to “Baby Blue,” Straight Up is also represented by two George Harrison productions – Ham’s immortal “Day After Day” (with George on slide guitar!) and “Name of the Game” – plus Joey Molland’s “Suitcase.”  From the 2010 expanded edition of Straight Up, the group composition “I’ll Be the One” has also been selected; Harrison reportedly nixed the song from the original LP for being “too Beatley.”  Just two songs have been lifted from Apple farewell Ass: “Apple of My Eye” and “Timeless,” both Ham songs.  Ham’s “Dennis” appears from Wish You Were Here, while Molland’s “Love is Gonna Come At Last” is the sole pick from Airwaves.

After the jump, we have more details on Timeless including a full track listing with order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 25, 2013 at 10:56

Beyond “Baby Blue”: Edsel Collects Badfinger Albums, BBC Sessions

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Badfinger - EdselAn estimated ten million people watched the September 29 series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad, with a memorable final scene set to Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.”   By the following morning, the Pete Ham song produced by Todd Rundgren for the 1971 Apple Records release Straight Up had been downloaded more than 5,000 times – boosting its sales by some 3,000 percent!  “Baby Blue” remained in the iTunes Top 20 for next two days.  It also racked up roughly 30,000 downloads over the following week, conferring hit status once again upon the song which reached No. 14 on the Billboard chart in 1972.  With Badfinger back in the spotlight, there couldn’t be a better time for Edsel to release a compendium of the band’s two albums for Warner Bros. Records and a disc of live BBC performances.  On October 28, the Demon Music Group label unveils Badfinger/Wish You Were Here/In Concert at the BBC 1972-3 on two CDs.

Following five albums for The Beatles’ Apple label (including one as The Iveys in 1969), the hitmaking band behind “Come and Get It” and “Day After Day” decamped their fab home for the Warner Bros. label.  The quartet of Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Mike Gibbins announced their artistic rebirth by titling the album, simply, Badfinger.  Producer Chris Thomas resumed work with the group in 1973 shortly after completing Apple swansong Ass, which was released in November 1973 in the U.S. and March 1974 abroad.  Badfinger’s arrival actually preceded the U.K. release of Ass, arriving in stores in February 1974.  Consisting entirely of group originals, the album nonetheless failed to ignite the charts.  Molland’s “Love is Easy,” released in the U.K. as a single, failed to make the charts.  The choice for the American market, Ham’s “I Miss You,” also missed the mark.  With the band also engaged in litigation with Apple, Badfinger didn’t stand much of a chance.  It peaked at No. 161 on the Billboard 200, becoming the group’s lowest-charting LP.

Undeterred, Badfinger regrouped with Thomas in the spring of 1974 at the famed Caribou Ranch in Colorado, the same studio where Elton John, Chicago and The Beach Boys all called home at one time or another.  The album eventually titled Wish You Were Here would be the band’s second and last album for Warner Bros., as well as the final album by the original foursome.  With just nine tracks all written by band members, Wish You Were Here was received more favorably than its predecessor upon its November 1974 release.  Today, some pundits even consider it Badfinger’s best, most cohesive LP.  But just weeks after its release, the album was pulled as a result of another lawsuit, this time between Warner Bros. and the band’s management.  It did make the Billboard chart at No. 148, besting Badfinger’s performance but hardly restoring the group to chart supremacy.

Wish You Were Here marked the end of the classic iteration of the group.  Joey Molland quit Badfinger following a strife-filled tour; Ham, Evans and Gibbins joined with Bob Jackson (a brief replacement for Ham when he briefly quit following Wish You Were Here) in December 1974 to create the Head First album which went unreleased until 2000.  (Produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise of KISS fame, Head First was reportedly accepted by Warner’s recording division in Los Angeles, but a dispute with Warner’s publishing arm derailed it from release.)  Pete Ham committed suicide in 1975, dashing hopes of any subsequent reunions.  Evans and Molland picked up the pieces in 1979 with musicians Joe Tansin and Kenny Harck, reforming Badfinger for Airwaves on Warner Bros.’ sister label Elektra.  A different line-up of Molland, Evans, Tony Kaye, Glenn Sherba and Richard Bryans issued Say No More in 1981 on the Radio label, the final new album to bear the Badfinger moniker.  Two years later, Tom Evans also took his own life.

Edsel’s upcoming release contains Badfinger and Wish You Were Here on one CD.  The second disc includes all of the 2007 release In Concert at the BBC 1972-3.  Hit the jump for more details, plus the full track listing and pre-order links!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 24, 2013 at 10:39

Posted in Badfinger, News, Reissues

Day After Day: Your Chance to Support Release of Demos by Badfinger’s Pete Ham

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Pete Ham - BadfingerThe name of Pete Ham may not be familiar to everyone, but his work certainly is.  As a member of Badfinger, Ham penned “Day After Day,” “Baby Blue” and “No Matter What,” as well as a little song with Tom Evans called “Without You” which became a chart-topper for both Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey, decades apart.  Ham tragically took his own life in 1975 at the age of 27, leaving behind a small but significant legacy in pop and rock.  Two collections of Ham’s personal demo recordings have previously been released on compact disc, 1997’s 7 Park Avenue and 1999’s Golders Green.  Now, the Ham estate is looking to add a third title to that list.  Dan Matovina, of the Pete Ham Estate, has launched a campaign via Pledge Music with the blessing of Ham’s daughter Petera for the release of Keyhole Street: Demos 1966-1967, a 2-CD, 50-track compilation.  (Ham’s wife was pregnant with Petera when he died.)

Keyhole Street is scheduled to coincide with a plaque dedication ceremony and tribute concert to be held in Pete Ham’s memory on April 27, 2013 (his birthdate) in his hometown of Swansea in Wales.  The 50 demos slated for inclusion on the new set were all recorded by Ham at the ages of 19 and 20 while a member of the Iveys, the group that eventually became Badfinger.  The songs were recorded on a two-track Sound on Sound machine at the Iveys’ London residence, and Matovina promises that the diverse material includes “elements of classic balladry, Pink-Floydian psychedelia, rock’n’roll tributes, R&B, Beach Boys type harmonies, interesting instrumentals, music hall stereotypes, an Elvis tribute, blues, humorous lyrical content, Beatle-ish tracks, and a horror film soundtrack.”  Ham was always a prolific songwriter, having written or co-written one-half of the Iveys’ Apple Records debut Maybe Tomorrow (1969) and more than half of Magic Christian Music (1970), the first release under the Badfinger name.  These early demos will offer a chance to see Ham’s style in its embryonic stage, and no overdubs have been made to Ham’s original recordings.

Here’s where you come in.  Keyhole Street will only be offered via Pledge Music, and only once its monetary goal is reached.  (As of this writing, that goal is 52% accomplished.)  The Ham Estate is offering a variety of packages for those interested in pledging, from a $10 pledge that will yield an 8-track sampler (6 songs from Keyhole Street, and two more “exclusives” including one previously unreleased track) to a $250 pledge for a copy of the finished CD, special thanks in the CD booklet, a poster and a 7-inch vinyl.  (The $500 level pledge for an Executive Producer credit and more is already sold out.)   One incentive level ($20+) adds two digital bonus tracks to the 50-track digital program.  A $30 pledge will net you the actual 50-track CD.

A special vinyl single is also being created for Pledge Music!  Hit the jump for details on “No, Let It Go” and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 20, 2012 at 13:59

Harrison and Shankar’s “Concert For Bangladesh” Goes Digital

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“It was such a unique thing.  Everybody was so moved and touched.  It had a special feeling apart from just a performance.  Overnight everybody knew the name of Bangladesh all over the world.”  So said Ravi Shankar about The Concert For Bangladesh, the 1971 performances he organized with George Harrison at New York’s Madison Square Garden that set the standard for all-star benefits to come.  Monday, August 1, marks the 40th anniversary of The Concert, and in commemoration, Apple and EMI have introduced the originally Grammy-winning concert album to the digital realm today as an iTunes exclusive.

Produced by Phil Spector, the recording features Harrison, Shankar, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Jim Keltner, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, Carl Radle and Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Pete Ham of Badfinger, among others.  The 2005 expanded edition added Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” to the track listing, and the digital edition – available as an iTunes LP – retains this track.  It adds one more bonus track, Harrison’s studio single of “Bangla Desh.” 

In addition, the 1972 documentary film chronicling the concert will stream for 72 hours Saturday through Monday, at iTunes, GeorgeHarrison.com and TheConcertforBanglaDesh.com.  Another special treat available at iTunes is a 50-minute radio special, hosted by Paul Gambaccini, which is also streaming at iTunes’ Concert for Bangladesh page.  Shankar told USA Today, “it was the first of its kind, in raising money for people under such conditions.  Now people do this kind of thing quite often, which is wonderful.”  The original concert raised over $243,000.00 for the people of Bangladesh, ravaged by war, famine and flood.  Sales of the album and subsequent DVDs and CDs have gone to UNICEF and this digital release is no different.  All proceeds, after taxes, benefit The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. 

Hit the jump for the track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 26, 2011 at 12:31

The Year in Reissues, Part III: The Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Well, another New Year is in sight, the CD still isn’t dead (told you so!) and celebration is in the air at The Second Disc. Back on December 23, Mike shared The Year in Reissues both here and over with our pals at Popdose. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks until you read these indispensable columns!

Are you back with me? Good. Now, I’d like to take this opportunity to take a fun look back at a few of my favorite things via Joe’s Gold Bonus Disc Awards! I’m awarding these to the reissues that have raised the bar over the past 12 months. You’ll notice a number of titles that have already been praised by Mike, as well as new entries, but overall, I’ve simply tried to recognize as many diverse, worthy releases as possible. It’s my sincere hope, though, that you’ll take a chance on a title previously unknown to you; all of the artists, producers, and labels mentioned here have kept great music alive in 2010.

Friends, as always, please share your thoughts and comments below. Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2010’s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

Which releases take home the gold?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: The Apple Records Remasters, Part 5 – Apple, Collected and Boxed

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In the final part of our Apple Records series, we open the import-only Apple Box Set and spin the label’s first-ever “greatest hits” set.

While the label only lasted a tumultuous seven years between 1968 and 1976, the legacy of Apple Records survives on today’s radio airwaves: “Those Were the Days.” “Day After Day.” “Come and Get It.”  Notwithstanding The Beatles’ albums, both solo and as a group, that bore the famous label design, there was no shortage of great music emanating from the Savile Row offices.

While the early 1990s brought the first round of expanded Apple remasters for the CD age, EMI’s current program offers two unique items for the very first time. The logical jumping-on point is the first ever compilation of Apple’s best, expectedly titled Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records (Apple/EMI 50999 646397 2 7).  While no Beatles tracks are included (one or two might have been welcome, but such tracks could easily have overshadowed the other artists), all four Fabs are represented in this enjoyable set.

What makes this compilation so special, however, isn’t the presence of the three songs above, or the other familiar titles (including James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” and Billy Preston’s “My Sweet Lord”) but the rare songs, many making first-ever CD debuts. Between 1968 and 1973, the label released around 50 singles by non-Beatles artists, and this collection brings together 21 of the best. (Only a complete singles anthology would have been preferable, and perhaps one might still appear at a later date!) With an eclectic variety of artists represented, Come and Get It is a fun listen from start to finish.

Of the tracks unavailable elsewhere, there are many highlights. The Black Dyke Mills Band’s “Thingumybob,” the theme to a short-lived television series starring Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady) is jarring on disc, coming after the lush baroque symphony of the Iveys’ “Maybe Tomorrow.” But Paul McCartney’s delicious oom-pah-pah theme reaffirms his affinity for the classic British melody, and this is a fine companion to “Penny Lane” or “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Perhaps the most controversial track on the set, and a most welcome addition, is Brute Force’s “King of Fuh.” You either get it, or you don’t…and John Lennon certainly did. This naughty lyrical novelty (“All hail the Fuh King”) saw release as Apple 8, although the run was strictly limited as EMI refused to manufacture a track of this nature! Of course, the King received absolutely no airplay, but the Fuh King lives on.

There are a few rare Apple renditions of familiar songs penned by the Fabs. The Hot Chocolate Band’s reggae-fied take on “Give Peace a Chance” found a fan in John Lennon, despite the lyrical additions and changes made in its impromptu recording session. (The released recording, heard here, was actually a demo that found its way to the Apple offices!) Trash’s version of “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” was released only one week after Abbey Road, and hews closely to the Beatles original.

Phil Spector makes a couple of appearances here, most significantly with Ronnie Spector’s terrific recording of George Harrison’s “Try Some, Buy Some,” orchestrated by John Barham and produced by Phil and George. (Too bad its B-side “Tandoori Chicken” didn’t make the cut.) Spector also co-produced Bill Elliot and the Elastic Oz Band’s “God Save Us,” written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in support of Oz, a magazine embroiled in an obscenity case in 1971. Elliot would go on to form half of Splinter, signed by George Harrison’s Dark Horse label. Dark Horse’s roster, of course, awaits rediscovery.

Ringo Starr vouched for Chris Hodge, whose “We’re on Our Way” is a trashy bubblegum track about UFOs that appealed to T. Rex fan Starr. “Saturday Nite Special,” by The Sundown Playboys, caught Apple’s ear with this joyful Cajun track, while Lon and Derrek van Eaton, one of the last acts signed to Apple, are heard with their pleasant if unexceptional pop track, “Sweet Music.”

The 12-page booklet is attractive, with copious track-by-track notes (as always, by Andy Davis) and sleeve illustrations. Oddly, the catalogue numbers are missing from the discographical information provided for each track. We look inside The Apple Box Set after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 19, 2010 at 10:16

Review: The Apple Records Remasters, Part 1 – A Quartet by Badfinger

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Welcome to Part 1 of a five-part series in which we’ll take an in-depth look at the recently-released Apple Records reissue campaign, comprised of 16 Apple albums recorded between 1968 and 1974 plus the first-ever label anthology. We’ll begin with the albums of Badfinger.

It’s almost impossible to write about Badfinger without mentioning their mentors, employers, producers and influences, The Beatles. Signed in 1968 by the Apple label at the instigation of The Beatles’ confidante and “roadie,” Mal Evans, Badfinger (then known as The Iveys) became a radio staple thanks to hits like “Come and Get It,” gifted to them by Paul McCartney, and “Day After Day,” produced by George Harrison. Between 1969 and 1973, Badfinger recorded four landmark LPs for Apple, all of which received the remastered treatment this year. (The group’s actual first album, 1969’s Maybe Tomorrow, was released under The Iveys’ name by Apple in Japan, West Germany and Italy; U.K. and U.S. releases never materialized until the CD era as the now out-of-print CDSAPCOR 8. These four albums are the crown jewels of The Apple Box Set.

Magic Christian Music (SAPCOR 12) marked the debut of Badfinger even though all of its tracks were recorded while the band – Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ron Griffiths – still considered themselves The Iveys. The title alluded to the film The Magic Christian, a wild, surreal romp starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr based on Terry Southern’s novel of the same name; it’s also a movie that, even today, needs to be seen to be believed. Trust me that you’ll never hear “Come and Get It” the same way again! Paul McCartney contributed production to three songs for the film: the haunting anthem “Carry On Till Tomorrow,” the infectious, harder-edged “Rock of All Ages,” and of course, “Come and Get It,” which he also penned. When contractual issues precluded Apple from releasing the film’s soundtrack (released in the U.S. on Commonwealth United Records, cat. no. CU 6004 and in the U.K. on Pye as NSPL 28133), the label maneuvered to release Badfinger’s contributions on this similarly-titled set. (The Badfinger tracks also did appear on that official soundtrack release, which has not seen a CD issue.) The LP was rounded out by seven Iveys tracks remixed from the Maybe Tomorrow LP as well as four originals making their recorded debuts: three Pete Ham songs (“Crimson Ship,” “Midnight Sun” and “Walk Out in the Rain”) and one group co-write (“Give it a Try”). Iveys bassist Ron Griffiths, despite playing on the album and writing “Dear Angie,” didn’t remain in the band long enough to see the album’s release as a member.

The colorful, offbeat artwork for Magic Christian Music reflected the spirit and tone of the music contained within its sleeve. The album’s collection of quirky and varied pop songs still endures today, with more than a little Beatles influence readily detectable. The failings of this debut LP, however, would follow the band through its tenure at Apple. Three producers contributed (McCartney, Mal Evans and Tony Visconti, who helmed the original Maybe Tomorrow sessions) and Badfinger was never able to find one producer a la George Martin who would steer them to stylistic consistency. The band’s variety of musical influences, too, sometimes makes Magic Christian Music sound like the work of different bands. The Maybe Tomorrow tracks, for instance, have a much “lighter” feel. And while all of the tracks can fairly be labeled as Beatles-esque pop, they range from baroque to psychedelic to rock to folk. Still, Magic Christian Music is a delightful LP and makes for just as fun a listen in its sparkling new CD incarnation, remastered (like all of these discs) by Guy Massey, Steve Rooke and Sam Okell under Allan Rouse’s supervision at Abbey Road Studios.

Two bonus tracks, “Storm in a Teacup” and “Arthur,” made their debut on the 1991 CD issue (CD SAPCOR 12). While both were dropped for the current reissue, they can be heard in alternate mixes on the box set’s bonus discs. (All material referred to as “on the bonus discs” is also downloadable from the usual sources.) In their place are five new bonus tracks: an alternate version of B-side “And Her Daddy’s a Millionaire,” a remix of unreleased single “Mrs. Jones” (this song first heard as a bonus track on the Maybe Tomorrow CD), mono mixes of Maybe Tomorrow’s “See-Saw, Granpa” and “Sali Bloo,” and finally, an extended, unedited version of the Maybe Tomorrow album closer, “I’ve Been Waiting.”

Every track on the original Maybe Tomorrow album is now represented on the Magic Christian Music reissue in one form or another, but that LP itself is still conspicuously absent from this campaign; it would have been a welcome inclusion and truly made this round of reissues the last word on Badfinger’s tenure at Apple. (For the record, CDSAPCOR 8’s bonus track “No Escaping Your Love” is available on the box set bonus disc in an alternate mono mix, while “Looking for My Baby” is missing from this round of reissues. More on that bonus disc in Part 5!)

We move onto No Dice after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 15, 2010 at 10:35

Posted in Badfinger, Reissues, Reviews, The Beatles

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Release Round-Up: Week of October 26

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And now, here it is: the catalogue titles coming to your local stores this week.

Various Artists including James Taylor, Billy Preston and Badfinger, The Apple Records remasters (Apple/EMI)

This year’s Beatles remasters are remasters of albums on The Beatles’ short-lived Apple label. There’s a lot of great, varied stuff to be hand across many genres. There’s 14 individual remasters plus a new compilation with some other hard-to-find tunes (Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records), not to mention an indie sampler (10 Green Apples) and a 17-disc box set compiling all those discs alongside two more CDs of extra tracks only otherwise available through digital providers (those digital bonus cuts – as of this writing, which was penned several hours before it was posted – seem to have not been made available through online retailers). (Official site)

Miles Davis, The Genius of Miles Davis (Columbia/Legacy)

Did you miss all the out-of-print Miles Davis session box sets? Do you have $750 to spare? Do you like box sets packed with extra swag inside a trumpet case? Then this is the best day of your life. The Genius of Miles Davis is 43 discs of the trumpet legend, packed in 21 pounds of material possession. (Sony Music Digital)

The Monkees, Head: Deluxe Edition (Rhino Handmade)

The Pre-Fab Four’s most bizarre project is extensively expanded to three discs of psychedelia, live cuts, outtakes, alternate mixes and vintage interviews with Davy Jones. If you’ve a Monkees fan in your inner circle, this is the holiday gift they’ll thank you for. (Rhino)

Crowded House, The Very Very Best Of Crowded House (EMI/Capitol)

A new best-of from the Aussie pop masters takes the best of their career save this year’s excellent Intriguer. A digital edition features an expanded track list and a live B-side. (Amazon, iTunes)

There’s more after the jump, of course.

Read the rest of this entry »

Short Takes: Apple Indie Sampler, Collins Goes Gold and Stills in Surround

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Even with most of the major holiday product announced (and much, though far from all, of it in stores!), a few new catalogue releases have slipped through the cracks with little fanfare.

This Tuesday, Beatles completists (you know who you are!) can check their local indie retailer for a swell little compilation entitled 10 Green Apples; it’s a sampler disc for the full EMI/Apple Records reissue campaign (all individual releases hit stores Tuesday, as does an import box set with those 15 discs plus two bonus discs) and as the title indicates, includes 10 tracks from across the entire line of releases from artists including James Taylor, Badfinger and Ronnie Spector. Happily, it includes a few tracks otherwise only available as digital downloads or on the box set’s bonus discs. This CD is only available as part of a package also containing a spiffy black “Apple 2010” T-shirt.  If you want it, here it is, come and get it. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Surely many will be interested in the latest 24K gold CD coming from Audio Fidelity, just announced by mastering engineer Steve Hoffman: a reissue of Phil Collins’ seminal Face Value. The 1981 LP marked the solo debut for the Genesis drummer, and kicks off with the hit “In the Air Tonight,” still one of Collins’ most beloved songs. Face Value hit No. 7 on the U.S. Billboard chart, and of special interest this year is its cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” released as a tribute to John Lennon, who died as the album was being completed. More info from Audio Fidelity can be found here.

Finally, Rhino U.K. has an even more surprising release in the pipeline. November 8 is the scheduled date for a remastered CD/DVD-Audio edition of Stephen Stills’ eponymous solo debut. This follows similar sets for David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name and Graham Nash’s Songs for Beginners. Expect the remastered original album on the CD (it’s not yet known whether the album has been remixed as well), and stereo and 5.1 surround mixes on the advanced resolution DVD-A. In this format (the last hurrah for onetime Rhino/Warner staple DVD-A?) every musical detail should be audible not only from Stills, but from his illustrious guest list including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and even Jimi Hendrix. (“Mama” Cass Elliot, Crosby and Nash all contributed in the vocal department.) Stephen Stills was released in 1970, and is still a benchmark for Stills’ career. It remains an engaging, musically diverse snapshot of that heady time. While the infectious “Love the One You’re With” was the big radio hit, the album is one high point after another drawing on the whole of Stills’ disparate influences as a guitarist and songwriter. If those previous Rhino CSN-related releases are any indication, Stephen Stills should be high on any high-rez/surround music fan’s holiday wish list.  It can be pre-ordered here from Amazon U.K.

Hit the jump for track listings for all three releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 25, 2010 at 09:15