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“Porky’s” Is Back! “Revenge” Soundtrack Features George Harrison, Dave Edmunds, Robert Plant, More

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Porky's Revenge OST

“Keep an eye out for the funniest movie about growing up ever made,” read the poster to 1982’s raunchy comedy Porky’s. It depicted the eye of a Peeping Tom, looking onto a woman showering. “You’ll be glad you came!” Despite – or more likely, because of – its puerile humor, the modestly-budgeted teen sex comedy Porky’s became a runaway hit and spawned two theatrical sequels by 1985. The third Porky’s film, Porky’s Revenge, was the least successful, grossing just $20 million compared to the first movie’s $100+-million take. But if the film hasn’t endured, its soundtrack certainly has, thanks to the efforts of its chief contributor, Dave Edmunds. Varese Vintage has reissued Porky’s Revenge for the first time in a decade on a new, remastered compact disc.

The Porky’s films took place at Florida’s fictional Angel Beach High School, casting a raunchy eye on the not-so-squeaky-clean 1950s. Whereas the first two movies were scored with era-appropriate oldies, Welsh rocker Edmunds was approached to contribute an original soundtrack for the third film. Unlike director James Komack’s movie itself, Edmunds’ soundtrack featured an all-star cast. He enlisted Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Clarence Clemons, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and one true 1950s hitmaker: Carl Perkins. The icing on the cake was a rare appearance by none other than George Harrison. Serving as a de facto “house band” for the project was Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Kenny Aaronson on bass and Michael Shrieve on drums.

Edmunds performed four songs himself – two originals and two revivals of classic hits. In the former category, the album’s opening track, “High School Nights,” blended a rock-and-roll spirit with a decidedly eighties modern production style recalling Edmunds’ collaboration with ELO’s Jeff Lynne on the album Information. Edmunds’ pulsating instrumental “Porky’s Revenge” was another gleaming creation seemingly intended to give a contemporary touch to the otherwise nostalgic album. His two covers, of Bobby Darin’s “Queen of the Hop” and Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want to Dance,” were in the back-to-basics, straight-ahead rock-and-roll style that Edmunds perfected with his band Rockpile.

The typically flashy guitar hero Jeff Beck delivered an affectionately straightforward take of Santo and Johnny’s 1959 laconic hit “Sleepwalk,” and Carl Perkins revisited his own “Blue Suede Shoes” with all of the fire he had back in 1955. (Perkins and Edmunds had previously worked together on the Class of ’55 album which reunited the Sun recording artist with his pals Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. Edmunds was among the guest musicians on that project.) Willie Nelson surveyed “Love Me Tender,” co-written by another famous Sun alumnus, Elvis Presley, in a new recording helmed by Class of ’55 producer Chips Moman. The Fabulous Thunderbirds, on the cusp of their breakthrough with the Edmunds-produced Tuff Enuff, offered up the brash “Stagger Lee,” and Robert Plant joined Edmunds on guitar, Paul Martinez on bass and Phil Collins on drums as The Crawling King Snakes to tackle Charlie Rich’s “Philadelphia Baby.” Clarence Clemons visited Angel Beach High by way of E Street for Henry Mancini’s deliciously menacing “Peter Gunn Theme.”

The most remarkable track on Revenge, though, was undoubtedly George Harrison’s premiere of a then-unheard Bob Dylan song. “I Don’t Want to Do It” was written by the Bard of Hibbing back in 1968 but was unreleased at the time of Harrison’s soundtrack recording. The former Beatle had been experimenting with the song as far back as the All Things Must Pass sessions in 1970, and nailed it for Porky’s. (An alternate mix of the song was released as a single; the standard soundtrack version appears here.) “I Don’t Want to Do It” was also notable for its appearance during what would end up a 5-year recording hiatus from Harrison, between his studio albums Gone Troppo and Cloud Nine.

After the jump, we have more details on the new Porky’s Revenge, plus order links and the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2014 at 08:53

Rare Gems Hidden in New “Playlist” Wave

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Playlist - Box TopsThe latest wave of Playlist releases is almost here from Legacy Recordings, and the series dedicated to collecting “the hits plus the fan favorites” doesn’t look to disappoint.  On January 29, Playlist volumes will be released for an eclectic cadre of artists in a variety of genres: vintage metal (Accept), traditional pop (Andy Williams), blue-eyed soul (The Box Tops), classic rock (Mountain, The Doobie Brothers, Harry Nilsson), country (Sara Evans, The Highwaymen), hip-hop (G. Love and Special Sauce, Nas), rock-and-roll (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis) and even New Age (Yanni).  There are bona fide rarities on the volumes from Andy Williams, The Box Tops, G. Love and Special Sauce, and more.  All Playlist titles are now packaged in traditional jewel cases, and each title’s booklet contains a historical essay plus complete discographical annotation.

The late cult hero Alex Chilton got his start as the deep, soulful voice of The Box Tops, lending his pipes to the band’s classic renditions of Wayne Carson Thompson’s “The Letter,” “Soul Deep” and “Neon Rainbow,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like a Baby,” and so many other stone-cold Memphis classics.  Playlist: The Very Best of the Box Tops offers fourteen selections, all drawn from the group’s singles discography.  Most excitingly, all of these titles (including each song named above) are heard in their original mono single mixes.  Of the lesser-known songs, Playlist includes Chilton’s first composition released on a single, “I See Only Sunshine,” and Chilton favorite “Turn on a Dream,” penned by Mark James of “Suspicious Minds” and “Hooked on a Feeling” fame.  Southern soul-pop doesn’t get any better than this.

Playlist - Andy WilliamsWhen Howard Andrew Williams, better known as Andy Williams, died on September 25, 2012, American popular music lost one of its titans.  Like his Columbia Records contemporary Johnny Mathis, Williams blazed a musical path that allowed him to record everything from early rock and roll to lush renditions of standards, film themes, Broadway hits and MOR pop.  Ten of the fourteen tracks on Playlist: The Very Best of Andy Williams date to Andy’s 1960s heyday, with the remaining four songs from his still-vibrant 1970s period.  In the former category, you’ll hear Academy Award-winning classic “Moon River” (of course) but also three other movie tunes written by Williams’ friend Henry Mancini: “In the Arms of Love,” “Dear Heart” and “Days of Wine and Roses.”  Williams’ pop hits “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and “Music to Watch Girls By” are also included, while two more famous cinema songs are represented from the seventies: “Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather and “Where Do I Begin” from Love Story.  Most exciting for collectors, though, will be a rare 1964 promotional single.  Written by the Li’l Abner team of Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul, “Exercise Your Prerogative” encourages young listeners to “get the vote through on the big Election Day…let liberty and freedom live, go and exercise your prerogative!”  It’s all set to a swinging big-band chart by Dave Grusin.

After the jump: more specs on rarities, plus full track listings and pre-order links for every title! Read the rest of this entry »

Rip It Up! “The London American Label: 1956” Spotlights Rock and Roll from Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, More

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Did any label impact the taste of record-buyers in the United Kingdom in the early rock-and-roll era than that of London?  Ace Records has been chronicling the activities of the London American label on a series of definitive releases culling the best of the label’s 45s from one given year.  Previous volumes have covered every year between 1957 and 1963, and for the most recent addition to the series, Ace has turned the clock back to 1956.  In that year, London’s output included American singles first issued on Dot, Atlantic, Liberty, Imperial, Cadence, Sun, ABC-Paramount, Chess and Specialty, meaning that one label alone introduced the U.K. to classics from Little Richard, The Drifters, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Andy Williams.  All of those artists and many more are represented on The London American Label: Year by Year 1956.

Compilers Peter Gibbon and Tony Rounce have taken pains throughout this ongoing series to showcase every facet of the London American label.  For those readers not yet up-to-date on its story, The London label first appeared in America in 1934 representing British Decca’s operations in America. Back in Britain, the London logo made its debut in 1949 releasing material from its American counterpart, but also from early U.S. independent labels. It was in 1954 that a new prefix (HL) and numbering system (8001) was introduced, and it’s this series that is the focus of the Ace compilations. Some American hit records appeared on EMI’s Columbia, Parlophone and HMV labels, but the cream of the crop was usually on London.

In 1956, London American issued 139 singles, which the fine liner notes inform us was 33 more than in 1955 but far short of the 242 in 1958.  Of those 139 releases, 23 made the U.K. Top 40 and 10 made the Top 10, not a bad percentage at all!  Rock and roll and R&B were starting to take hold in 1956, and this volume opens with Little Richard’s searing admonishment to “Rip It Up.”  Then there’s Chuck Berry’s atypically haunting “Down Bound Train,” Carl Perkins’ Beatle-influencing “Honey Don’t,” and Bobby Charles’ original version of his rockin’ New Orleans sing-along, “See You Later, Alligator,” more famously recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets.  The “white R&B” of Pat Boone, later to prove controversial, was still going strong in 1956.  The compilers here have chosen a comparative rarity: Boone’s recording of the Five Keys’ “Gee, Whittakers.”  Boone actually scored London its very first chart-topper of the rock-and-roll age with his 45 of The Flamingos’ “I’ll Be Home,” also the best-selling record in the U.K. in all of 1956.  Both The Drifters and original lead singer Clyde McPhatter received their first U.K. releases in 1956 on London; the group is included here via “Soldier of Fortune” and McPhatter with “Seven Days,” both originally on Atlantic in the United States.  Blues great “Big” Joe Turner appears here with another Atlantic platter, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “The Chicken and the Hawk,” a song also covered by artists as unlikely as Steve Lawrence!

There’s plenty more after the jump, including a full track-listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 1, 2012 at 13:59

In Case You Missed It: Sun Turns 60 with New Compilation

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The success of rock and roll has many fathers, but for many, it has one birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, the home of Sun Records. Sam Phillips’ label was crucial in bringing blues and rock music to a mainstream audience, providing early breaks for artists like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins.

Last month, Curb Records released a special double-disc set chronicling the label’s heyday in the ’50s and early ’60s, in honor of the label’s anniversary back in March. Sun Records 60th Anniversary features early recordings from future blues legends King and Wolf (recorded at Sun Studios and released on the RPM and Chess labels), early sides by future superstar Presley (including “That’s All Right” and Elvis’ first two private demo recordings for the label), a track from the famous “Million Dollar Quartet” session (when Presley, Lewis, Cash and Perkins all enjoyed an impromptu collaboration in 1956), two tracks by Harold Jenkins – who would later enjoy success under the name Conway Twitty – and much more.

You can check it all out after the jump. (Thanks to Eric Luecking of Record Racks for the tip.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2012 at 13:56