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The Year in Reissues: The 2012 Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Gold CDWow!  Was it just over a year ago when a rather dubious report began circulating (that, shockingly, was picked up by many otherwise-reputable publications) that proclaimed the death of the CD was secretly scheduled by the major labels for 2012?  Well, 2012 has come and (almost) gone, and it might have been the most super-sized year in recent memory for reissues, deluxe and otherwise, from labels new and old.  Here at the Second Disc, we consider our annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards a companion piece to Mike’s own round-up over at Popdose, and we endeavor to recognize as many of the year’s most amazing reissues as possible – over 80 worthy, unique titles.  We also hope to celebrate those labels, producers and artists who have raised the bar for great music throughout 2012. As we’re literally deluged with news around these parts, these ladies and gentlemen prove, week after week, the strength and health of the catalogue corner of the music world.  We dedicate The Gold Bonus Disc Awards to them, and to you, the readers.  After all, your interest is ultimately what keeps great music of the past alive and well.

With that in mind, don’t forget to share your own thoughts and comments below. What made your must-have list in 2012? Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2012′s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

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

A Very (Television) Special Christmas: Legendary Brings Como, Burnett, “Sesame Street” to CD and DVD

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Carol Burnett ChristmasHoliday specials have long been a television tradition, from the beloved (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas) to the programs their creators would rather forget (The Star Wars Holiday Special).  Legendary Entertainment Alliance has recently drawn on the archives of producer Bob Banner for three new releases, each available as a DVD, a CD soundtrack and a CD/DVD combo pack.  Christmas with Carol Burnett reaches back to the earliest tube appearances of the famed comedienne, presenting three episodes of The Garry Moore Show for the first time on home video.  Christmas Around the World with Perry Como is a two-hour special (previously available on VHS) drawing on the relaxed crooner’s annual Christmas specials as recorded in various locales.  And last but not least is A Special Sesame Street Christmas, one of the only Sesame Street programs to be produced without the participation of Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) and one of the oddest instances of Muppet-related arcana.  All three releases feature guest stars galore and are throwbacks to the nearly-gone days of Christmas variety programming.

The Garry Moore Show launched the television career of the young Carol Burnett, star of Broadway’s Once Upon a MattressA Carol Burnett Christmas includes three episodes from the 1958-1964 iteration of the CBS program.  Burnett was a regular from 1959 to 1962, and the selected holiday episodes date from 1959, 1960 and 1961.  (The 1961 episode has, alas, been edited from its broadcast length.)  In addition to Moore and Burnett, you’ll see performances from Jonathan Winters, Durward Kirby, Cliff Arquette as Charley Weaver, gospel great Mahalia Jackson, Broadway’s legendary Gwen Verdon, comedienne Marion Lorne (Bewitched’s beloved Aunt Clara) and Burnett’s pal and future TV co-headliner Julie Andrews.  Fans of The Sound of Music (and who isn’t?) should delight in Andrews’ performance of the musical’s “My Favorite Things” long before she was cast as Maria Von Trapp in the film version.  The 1959 episode also features Candid Camera interludes from Allen Funt.  Special features include a music-only mode and an image gallery of Christmas cards based on the episode stills of Burnett.

Christmas Around the World with PerryIn a similar vein is Legendary’s Christmas Around the World with Perry Como.  A Como tradition was an annual Christmas special from a different locale, including Mexico, Austria, Paris, New York, London, Hawaii and San Antonio.  Vignettes from sixteen of Perry’s holiday specials were recut into one two-hour program by producer Bob Banner, and this compilation was previously released on VHS from Reader’s Digest.  Now the two-hour special arrives on DVD (with musical highlights on CD).  Among the guest stars joining the laconic crooner are John Wayne, Debby Boone, the Vienna Boys Choir, Angie Dickinson, Richard Chamberlain, Sid Caesar, Toni Tennille, Vikki Carr and Dorothy Hamill.  Songs include Como classics like “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and “Home for the Holidays.”  Special features include a music-only mode and a “Perry-oke” mode “where the whole family can croon karaoke-style with Mr. Christmas himself.”  This makes a fine companion to Real Gone’s recently-reissued Complete RCA Christmas Collection collecting all of the late crooner’s classic Christmas recordings for his longtime label.

After the jump: the story of A Special Sesame Street Christmas, plus track listings and order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 30, 2012 at 10:54

Release Round-Up: Week of May 8

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Barenaked Ladies, Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before! (Rhino)

A single-disc compilation of mostly unreleased odds and ends from the BNL catalogue.

Bill Withers, Just as I Am: 40th Anniversary Edition (Big Break)

A remaster of Withers’ breakthrough 1971 album, featuring the immortal “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands.”

Phil Collins, …But Seriously (Audio Fidelity)

Collins’ 1989 solo album, featuring hits “Another Day in Paradise” and “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” has been mastered for a 24K gold disc.

Various Artists, Da Doo Ron Ron: More from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace)

The legendary songwriting team penned classic cuts for Phil Spector’s stable of hitmakers – some of which are on this disc – but they also wrote tracks for Jay & The Americans, The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, Lesley Gore and other neat hidden gems on this compilation.

Mariah Carey, The Essential Mariah Carey (Columbia/Legacy)

Although we’d reported this was a straight reissue of Mariah’s double-disc Greatest Hits (2001), it’s actually ever so slightly different, boasting vintage remixes of “Emotions,” “Anytime You Need a Friend” and “The Roof (Back in Time).” Plan accordingly!

Julie Andrews & Carol Burnett, The CBS Television Specials: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live at Lincoln Center / Liza Minelli, Legends of Broadway: Live at the Winter Garden (Masterworks)

From Masterworks, a handful of Broadway legends’ classic concerts brought back to CD.

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything / Loveless / EPs 1988-1991 (Sony U.K.)

Can it be? Remastered editions of the MBV discography, including the first-ever CD compilation of the band’s B-sides and EPs, are available after years and years of development and release date shifts.

Broadway Babies: Sony’s Masterworks Label Reissues Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett Classics on CD

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In 1962, Carol Burnett was one of America’s fastest-rising comedy stars, having reigned on Broadway as a brassy princess in Once Upon a Mattress and endeared herself to the rest of America as a regular on The Garry Moore Show. Julie Andrews shared a stage pedigree with Burnett, a performer since childhood and the originator of iconic roles in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady and Camelot.  When Andrews teamed with Burnett as a guest on Moore’s program, the chemistry was all too evident.  Burnett told Good Housekeeping in 1963: “In the first five minutes of rehearsal, as eyewitnesses have since reported, it became quite clear to the whole company that one of those things was happening on stage that ‘ardly ever ‘appens between two female performers. There was no jealousy, no upstaging, no competition. Whether it’ sour chemistry or simply that we’re the same kind of nut – as Lou [Wilson, Andrews’ then-manager] said that night – we seem to be at our best in each other’s company.  The next morning everybody was on the phone persuading us to do a one-hour TV special, which eventually (in June, 1962) became Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall.”  The soundtrack to the special was released by Columbia Records, and briefly saw CD issue in 1989.  Come April 3, Masterworks Broadway will celebrate 50 years of the program’s debut with the new release The CBS Television Specials: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live at Lincoln Center, uniting the original 1962 special and the duo’s 1971 follow-up on 2 CDs.

Produced by Bob Banner and directed by Burnett’s future husband Joe Hamilton, Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall also enlisted the services of Mike Nichols as writer, and orchestrator Irwin Kostal (West Side Story, Mary Poppins) as musical director.  Nichols’ “hilarious hand” was singled out by Billboard in its review of the “scintillating” show.  The musical material was diverse, from Frank Loesser’s “Big D” from his musical The Most Happy Fella to the old English folk song “Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be.”  The centerpiece was a lengthy duet “History of Musical Comedy” beginning with 1910’s long-forgotten Madame Sherry and going straight through Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ 1957 West Side StoryMy Fair Lady was briefly addressed with “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”  But perhaps the most prescient piece of special material was a little spoof called “From Switzerland: The Pratt Family,” gently satirizing the Von Trapp Family Singers.  Could Andrews have ever imagined that she would be stepping into Maria Von Trapp’s shoes just a couple years later?  Julie and Carol originally aired on CBS the evening of June 11, 1962, and the following year picked up the 1963 Emmy Award for Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Music.  Burnett also picked up the Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series for her work both in the special and her own An Evening with Carol Burnett.

Hit the jump for the scoop on Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center, plus the full track listing and pre-order link for the new CD! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 15, 2012 at 10:02