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Archive for the ‘Blondie’ Category

Release Round-Up: Week of October 8

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Tony Bennett - Live at the SaharaTony Bennett, Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas 1964 (RPM/Columbia/Legacy)

Previously exclusive to The Complete Collection box set, Bennett’s first headlining act in Sin City is now available for standalone purchase. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Electricity by Candlelight_ NYC 2_13_97Alex Chilton, Electricity by Candlelight: NYC 2/13/97 (Bar None)

The late Big Star frontman had a talent that not even a power outage at New York’s Knitting Factory could blot out, as this spontaneous, covers-heavy release showcases. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies DeluxeThe Kinks, Muswell Hillbillies: Deluxe Edition (Sanctuary)

The Kinks’ ninth album (and first originally recorded for RCA) gets a two-disc reissue worthy of any 20th century man you might know. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Barbra Streisand - Classic ChristmasAlabama/Johnny Cash/Neil Diamond/George Jones & Tammy Wynette/Gladys Knight & The Pips/Martina McBride/Barbra Streisand/Andy Williams, The Classic Christmas Album (Legacy)

Following the success of last year’s wave of mid-priced holiday compilations, another eight are coming to fill your stockings with Christmas cheer.

Alabama: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Johnny Cash: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Neil Diamond: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
George Jones & Tammy Wynette: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Gladys Knight & The Pips: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Martina McBride: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Barbra Streisand: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Andy Williams: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

CBGB SoundtrackVarious Artists, CBGB: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Omnivore)

This 20-track compilation for the new film about the legendary New York club features some of the biggest bands who played that stage, plus a recording by founder Hilly Krystal and a new version of Blondie’s “Sunday Girl.” (Rhino will distribute a digital version in the future with exclusive tracks.)

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

Put Your Hands to Heaven: An Interview with Reissue Producer Vinny Vero

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Vinny_Vero_Press_2012Vinny Vero is everywhere. I don’t mean this in just a literal sense – as of this posting, he’s currently in Australia playing several DJ sets – but he’s also had a multifaceted career in the music business, be it as a marketer, producer, remixer or writer. “This year is my 25th anniversary in the music business,” he told The Second Disc with a laugh. “All of a sudden I feel very experienced!”

Vero parlayed his passion for music into a plum gig as a research manager for prominent New York radio station WHTZ-FM. From there, he spent five fruitful years doing marketing and catalogue work for EMI, working with such artists as Roxette, Blondie, and the Pet Shop Boys. After leaving the company, he continued to hone his marketing skills, but never strayed too far from records, independently producing compilations and “reswizzling” tunes for dance clubs. Last year, Vero began producing reissues for the U.K.’s Cherry Red Group; their first collaboration, a two-disc expansion of Breathe’s hit LP All That Jazz, was released in Europe this week.

Last year, as he was putting the finishing touches on All That Jazz, Vero took time out of his busy schedule to talk to The Second Disc about his work and career. I think you’ll find it a fascinating and informative read about what it’s like to work in an ever-changing industry, all the while working hard and loving what you do – easily the best way to survive in the catalogue music game.

After the jump, we talk to Vinny about all his work, great and small!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 27, 2013 at 12:15

Gold Legion Goes “Koo Koo,” Expands Debbie Harry’s Solo Debut

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Well before she was French kissin’ in the U.S.A., Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry made a big splash with her 1981 solo debut Koo Koo, produced by the ever-busy CHIC Organization team of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. Thirty years later, the Gold Legion label, the same team behind those upcoming Grace Jones reissues, is releasing a newly expanded edition of the set with a new-to-CD bonus track.

In 1981, in the midst of a yearlong hiatus for Blondie (their latest, 1980’s Autoamerican, spawned chart-topping hits in “Rapture” and “The Tide is High”), Harry and boyfriend Chris Stein, Blondie’s guitarist, began a solo project for Harry. To produce, they enlisted Rodgers and Edwards, all of whom made friends recording at New York City’s Power Station. The CHIC Organization was riding high on the production front, having helmed Diana Ross’ massive diana the year before. (They would also record the sessions for Johnny Mathis‘ legendary unreleased album I Love My Lady in 1981.) They assembled the usual gang to back Harry: Rodgers and Edwards on guitar and bass, drummer Tony Thompson, keyboardists Robert Sabino and Raymond Jones and backing vocals from Fonzi Thornton. (Additional background vocals were credited to “Spud and Pud Devo,” who were, in fact, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale of the band Devo.)

With a striking album sleeve (featuring a brunette Harry) designed by H.R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist whose designs became the fearsome title character of Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi/horror film Alien (1979), Koo Koo was a considerable success, ultimately certified as a gold record in the U.S. for over 500,000 units sold. (The album charted at No. 6 in the U.K., considerably higher than the U.S. placement of No. 25.) Rodgers/Edwards-penned singles “Backfired” and “The Jam Was Moving” were moderate chart hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

The album was reissued by Chrysalis/EMI U.K. in 1994, adding the 12″ mixes of the two singles to the track lineup. (A 1999 U.S. reissue on Razor & Tie only kept the remixed “Backfired.”) Gold Legion includes not only both of those tracks, but, for the first time ever on CD, the extended version of album cut “Inner City Spillover,” which backed the U.K. 12″ of “The Jam Was Moving.” A liner notes essay by Christian John Wikane completes the package.

The set will be available October 28, and you can order your copy here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 4, 2011 at 10:33

Reissue Theory: Debbie Harry, “Rockbird”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. What does the most ridiculous celebrity meltdown at the moment have to do with the second solo LP by the leader of Blondie? The answer may shock you.

“Fools and trolls.” “Gnarly gnarlingtons.” “Winning!” The ongoing, eminently quotable, six-cylinder meltdown of Charlie Sheen is a bizarre conversation starter around the world. (Your mileage may vary of course: to this author, the whole thing is slowly decaying from funny to funny-sad – though I still stand by my earlier personal comments that Sheen is, indeed, the Mozart of crazy.)

The source of Sheen’s megalomania (other than, possibly, drugs) is a seething anger at Chuck Lorre, the prolific television producer and creator of the currently-shutterered Two and a Half Men, for which Sheen is the highest-paid actor on television. Lorre gained prominence as a writer and co-producer on Roseanne in the 1990s before creating hit sitcoms like Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg and The Big Bang Theory.

But creating high-rated television was not the first phase of Lorre’s professional life. No, Lorre first chased his muse through songwriting – and one of the end products was a run-in with Debbie Harry, on a song that, to quote the writer, “ended her solo career.”

The story of Rockbird is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 14:52

Blondie Ring in an Old New Year for the BBC

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Another nice surprise for reissue fans from EMI (who, for all their faults, have been putting out a heck of a lot of reissues this year): the label has released a CD/DVD set chronicling the great early performances of Blondie for the BBC, entitled – you probably guessed it – Blondie at the BBC.

The set is bolstered by a CD featuring the Manhattan band’s complete New Year’s Eve show from Glasgow’s Apollo Theatre at the end of 1979 and beginning of 1980. Part of this set was recorded for television by The Old Grey Whistle Test, but this is the show from start to finish, covering all the hits and some rarer tracks that the band are not known to do as often today.

The DVD includes the portion of the show recorded for Whistle Test on the BBC, as well as the band’s performances on Whistle Test and Top of the Pops from 1978 and 1979. All in all, it looks to be a great set that no fan of dance-rock is going to want to miss.

Blondie at the BBC is actually available now; order it here and hit the jump to see the track info. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 5, 2010 at 13:27

Posted in Blondie, News, Reissues