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Release Round-Up: Week of February 25

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Your ArsenalMorrissey, Your Arsenal: Definitive Master (Parlophone)

We don’t hate it when Moz becomes successful, as was the case with his third non-compilation album from 1992, which now comes with an unreleased live show on DVD.

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

Johnny Winter - True to the BluesJohnny Winter, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (Columbia/Legacy)

A four-disc tribute to the influential blues guitarist, who turned 70 on Sunday. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Workbook 25Bob Mould, Workbook: 25th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)

After the disbandment of Hüsker Dü, singer/guitarist Mould was on the solo beat with this album, now expanded with an unreleased 1989 concert at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago.

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

Silversun PickupsSilversun Pickups, The Singles Collection (Dangerbird Records, 2014)

The L.A. rockers collect their last nine or so years of A-sides on a professionally-pressed CD-R compilation or a box of six vinyl singles; both feature a newly released track, “Cannibal.”


CD-R: Amazon U.S.
6 x 7″ box:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Tabu boxVarious Artists, The Tabu Records Box (Tabu/Edsel)

A 6CD/1DVD/1 45 RPM overview of the classic ’70s/’80s R&B label, whose works have been thoroughly reissued by U.K. label Edsel over the past year. (Amazon U.K.)

And Once AgainIsaac Hayes, For the Sake of Love: Expanded Edition / And Once Again: Expanded Edition /Patti LaBelle, Released: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

Three new BBR reissues include two Isaac Hayes LPs for Polydor in the ’80s and LaBelle’s final studio album for Epic, which reunited her with producer Allen Toussaint. Joe, of course, has a full summary coming soon!

For the Sake of Love: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
And Once Again: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Released: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Just the Way You Like It: Hits, Videos Compiled on Tabu Box Set

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Tabu boxAfter more than a year of reissues of the Tabu Records catalogue by Edsel – reissues that have been relatively lavish but particularly divisive for their occasional lapses in audio quality – the label has prepped a thorough career-spanning box set.

The Tabu Records Box Set is a 6CD/1DVD affair collecting tracks from all of the label’s major releases between 1977 and 1991. Each disc will be broken down by theme; the first focuses on early soul albums by the likes of The S.O.S. Band and Brainstorm plus more left-of-center instrumental albums by Manfredo Fest and noted composer Lalo Schifrin. (Some of these tracks, particularly those by Schifrin, have not been celebrated with individual reissues, making their inclusion a particular treat.) Disc 2 highlights dance tracks from that early era (“Lovin’ is Really My Game,” “Groovin’ (That’s What We’re Doin’)”) while Disc 3 showcases the romantic side of the label’s roster.

Discs 4 and 5 highlight Tabu’s biggest peak in the ’80s, when producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of The Time, set up shop as writers/producers for Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle and The S.O.S. Band. Hits like “Just Be Good to Me,” “Never Knew Love Like This,” “Saturday Love” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” blossomed from this period. The set closes with some of the lesser-known acts from the label’s twilight years, including Demetrius Perry, Kathy Mathis and Rhonda Clark.

Also included in the box is a DVD featuring promo videos (mostly by O’Neal) and interviews with label founder Clarence Avant as well as Jam & Lewis, and a bonus 7″ single featuring two of the label’s more obscure grooves, “Changin'” by (Ms.) Sharon Ridley and “Jungle Kitten” by Manfredo Fest. A 60-page booklet features notes by box compiler Ralph Tee plus an extensive label discography.

The whole affair is available February 24 and can be ordered after the jump, where you’ll find an exhaustive breakdown of the tracks! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 11, 2014 at 10:46

Strictly Tabu: Edsel Readies Reissue Campaign for R&B Label (UPDATED 8/29)

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Tabu 2013

UPDATE (11/4): This post now has confirmed track lists for the FIRST EIGHT WAVES of reissues.

The long-gestating reissue campaign for Tabu Records by Demon Music Group looks to be taking shape – not only for the first wave of titles in the spring, but for a slew of content ambitiously planned through 2014.

Founded in 1976 by Clarence Avant (who’d previously started the Venture and Sussex labels), Tabu scraped by for six years until a chance meeting and an inconvenient snowstorm gave the label two of its greatest staff producers. An early key act, The S.O.S. Band, had a late disco hit with debut single “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” a Top 5 hit in 1980. Three years later, their fourth album On the Rise was being produced in their native Atlanta by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the keyboardist and bassist for Minneapolis funk outfit The Time.

When a freak blizzard caused the duo to miss a gig, Jam and Lewis were summarily fired by The Time’s creator, producer and songwriter, Prince. Their loss became Tabu’s gain, however, as Jam and Lewis, through their Flyte Tyme Productions partnership, produced a flurry of hits for not only Tabu artists but others, including Janet Jackson.

The Flyte Tyme sound – a more brazen variation on Prince’s “Minneapolis sound” – was well-formulated at Tabu. Alexander O’Neal, a vocalist with whom the pair had worked with in an early lineup of The Time, scored several big R&B hits with Jam and Lewis in the late ’80s, including “Fake,” “Criticize” and “If You Were Here Tonight.” Likewise, the duo did wonders for Cherrelle, a female vocalist who had her biggest successes duetting with O’Neal (“Saturday Love,” “Never Knew Love Like This”) but also had her own measure of solo success. (Hers was the first version of Jam and Lewis’ “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” later a Top 10 hit for Robert Palmer on both sides of the Atlantic.)

A recent Facebook post from the label indicates plans to “re-issue the entire Tabu catalogue on expanded re-mastered CDs, digital, a selection of 180GM vinyls, and some amazing boxsets.” Find out just what that covers after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 4, 2013 at 09:05

Release Round-Up: Week of July 9

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Best of Merry ClaytonMerry Clayton, The Best of Merry Clayton (Ode/Legacy)

Tell all the people: the singer who gave The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” its soulful grit recorded several LPs for Lou Adler’s Ode label. In honor of her belated star turn in the new documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom, Legacy has released the first-ever compilation of selections from these works, including many impressive covers of the likes of The Doors, James Taylor and Neil Young. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

All True ManBrainstorm, Journey Into the Light / The S.O.S. Band, On the Rise / Alexander O’Neal, All True Man / Cherrelle, The Woman I Am (“Tabu Reborn” Expanded Editions) (Tabu/Edsel)

The fourth wave of Tabu reissues from Edsel stretch from 1978 to 1991, covering some of the lesser-known works of the label’s flagship artists.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 9, 2013 at 08:20

Review: Tabu Wave 2 – Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle, Kathy Mathis and The S.O.S. Band

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SOS BandThe earth has music for those who listen, proclaimed Clarence Avant’s Tabu Records label.  A major force in contemporary R&B from the late 1970s through the 1990s, Tabu followed in the footsteps of other black-owned, independent music empires as Berry Gordy’s Motown and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International.  While Tabu never achieved the same level of crossover success as those aforementioned labels, it indeed picked up the torch of “The Sound of Young America,” and its cutting-edge electronic style still reverberates in R&B and hip-hop today.  Earlier in 2013, the U.K.’s Demon Music Group announced the reactivation of the Tabu label for an ambitious reissue program, the second wave of which has recently arrived in stores.  This batch includes two classic titles from the era-defining production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Alexander O’Neal’s Hearsay (1987) and Cherrelle’s High Priority (1985), both reissued as double-disc sets.  In addition, this wave includes single-disc expansions of The S.O.S. Band’s S.O.S. (1980) and Kathy Mathis’ Katt Walk (1987).

1980’s gold-selling S.O.S. marked the LP debut of The S.O.S. Band: Jason “T.C.” Bryant on keyboards and vocals, Billy “B.E.” Ellis on saxophone, keyboards and vocals, Mary Davis on vocals and percussion, James Earl Jones III on drums and vocals, Willie “Sonny” Killebrew on saxophone, flute and vocals, Bruno Speight on lead guitar and John Simpson on bass.  The album was produced by Sigidi Abdullah; the band’s hits with Jam and Lewis would come later.  Abdullah co-wrote “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” the No. 1 R&B/No. 12 Pop song that became the band’s first calling card.  But it’s just one of eight essential tracks on this debut album which owes as much to the sound of the seventies as to the new decade it welcomed.

The S.O.S. Band successfully managed to synthesize the effusive but commercially-waning sound of disco with a solid bed of funk and a key pop sensibility that seemingly owed much to Earth, Wind and Fire.  Like that group, the S.O.S. Band prominently employed horns for a style that would attract soul fans both young and old, and boasted talented vocalists, including the big-voiced Mary Davis.  S.O.S. was truly the organic sound of a band at work, and showed off each side of its style, from slow-burning ballads to catchy dancefloor anthems.  Almost every track on the album could have been pulled as a single,

The sleek EWF sound is most evident on “Open Letter,” while wistful, Bacharach-esque horns add dimension to the melancholy “What’s Wrong with Our Love Affair.”   The exuberantly up-tempo “Love Won’t Wait for Love” emphasizes disco flourishes with its big strings, horns and suitable-for-dancing break.  Of course, the sexy smash “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” also had its roots in disco, and hasn’t lost any of its luster in the ensuing years.  Neither has “Take Love Where You Find It,” another big, brassy, disco-flavored track with tasty flute so redolent of the era.  Six bonus tracks have been added to S.O.S., including the single edit and disco mix of “S.O.S. (Dit Dit Dit Dash Dash Dash Dit Dit Dit),” the long version and both sides of the single of “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” and the edit of “What’s Wrong with Our Love Affair.”  Justin “Musicology” Kantor provides the liner notes, which contain fresh quotes from Mary Davis and trumpeter Abdul Ra’oof.

After the jump: the scoop on Cherrelle, Alexander O’Neal and Kathy Mathis! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 30, 2013 at 10:07

Release Round-Up: Week of May 7

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HearsayTABU Reborn, Wave 3: The S.O.S. Band, S.O.S. / Cherrelle, High Priority / Alexander O’Neal, Hearsay / Kathy Mathis, Katt Walk (Tabu/Edsel)

The latest wave of Tabu reissues available from the U.K.: all have bonus tracks, with Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal’s sets presented as two-disc packages. Amazon U.K. links are above; here are U.S. links for The S.O.S. Band, Cherrelle, Alexander O’Neal and Kathy Mathis.

Burt - Anyone Who Had a Heart bookBurt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music (Harper)

One of the century’s greatest songwriters tells his incredible story, in his own words! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Varese 35Various Artists, Varese Sarabande: 35th Anniversary Celebration (Varese Sarabande)

A four-disc compilation highlighting the last five years of soundtracks the esteemed score label has released. And check out that amazing gala performance they’re hosting this weekend! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Show Boat 1959Show Boat: 1959 Studio Cast Recording (Varese Sarabande)

Dame Shirley Bassey shines in this recording of the acclaimed Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II musical. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

There Are But Four Small FacesSmall Faces, There Are But Four Small Faces (Varese)

The band’s first American album, originally released on Immediate Records, gets its first ever unaltered CD release with some bonus stereo remixes. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

38 Special - Special Delivery.38 Special, Special Delivery (Culture Factory)

A straggler from last week’s Culture Factory batch, this is the long out-of-print second album from 1978 by .38 Special.

Release Round-Up: Week of April 9

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Alexander O'Neal vinylBrainstorm / S.O.S. Band / Cherrelle / Alexander O’Neal, “Tabu Reborn” Expanded CD Editions (Wave 1) (Tabu/Edsel)

After a fresh batch of vinyl last week, the Tabu Records reissue campaign (going strong through next year) kicks off with expanded editions of Brainstorm’s Stormin’, The S.O.S. Band’s III, Cherrelle’s Fragile and Alexander O’Neal’s self-titled debut. All feature bonus tracks (Alexander O’Neal has a bonus disc) and fresh deluxe packaging.

StorminAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
IIIAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
FragileAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Alexander O’NealAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Kill Uncle 2013Morrissey, Kill Uncle: Expanded Edition The Last of the Famous International Playboys (Single) (EMI)

Moz’s latest remastered, reconfigured album is his 1991 sophomore effort (featuring a revised track list with two B-sides and an unreleased alternate version of “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends”), and it will be promoted with new versions of his hit 1989 single with unreleased songs from a BBC session serving as the B-sides.

Album (CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Album (LP): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Single (CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Sandie ShawSandie Shaw, Sandie / Me / Love Me, Please Love Me: Expanded Editions Long Live Love: The Very Best of Sandie Shaw (Salvo)

The irrepressible Sandie Shaw’s first three albums are remastered and expanded with many single sides, and a new career-spanning compilation puts it into perspective for the new fan.

SandieAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
MeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Love MeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Long Live Love
Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Julio Iglesias - 1 DeluxeJulio Iglesias, 1: Greatest Hits (Columbia/Legacy/Sony Music Latin)

Celebrate the Spanish crooner with this two-disc set of classic and newly-recorded versions of his greatest hits, also available as a deluxe set with a remastered 1990 concert on DVD.

Standard: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Paul Anka - DuetsPaul Anka, Duets (Legacy)

The acclaimed singer-songwriter has a new compilation of old and new duets with legends from Michael Jackson to Willie Nelson and almost everyone in between! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Electronic Special EditionElectronic, Electronic: Special Edition (EMI)

A double-disc expansion of this collaborative effort between New Order’s Bernard Sumner and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, with a bonus disc of mostly unrelated extras. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lady in the Dark - 1963Bravo Giovanni and Lady in the Dark: Cast Recordings (Masterworks Broadway)

Two musical scores from the Masterworks vault make their way to digital retailers, with the latter score featuring six bonus tracks from the show’s star, Danny Kaye.

Release Round-Up: Week of April 2

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Alexander O'Neal vinylThe S.O.S. Band / Cherrelle / Alexander O’Neal, “Tabu Reborn” Vinyl Editions (Wave 1) (Tabu/Edsel)

The start of a lengthy reissue campaign from Demon Music Group, these are 180-gram vinyl reissues of The S.O.S. Band’s III (1982), Cherrelle’s 1984 debut Fragile, and Alexander O’Neal’s self-titled debut from 1985. Expanded editions of these albums come out on CD next week, followed by a great many more waves of product throughout 2013 and into 2014!

S.O.S. Band: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cherrelle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Alexander O’Neal: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Martha and The Vandellas Singles CollectionThe Four Tops / Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, 50th Anniversary: The Singles Collections (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Two new lavish sets collect all the single sides worldwide by two of Motown’s most underrated vocal groups – and in the case of Martha & The Vandellas, there’s a bonus disc of unreleased “lost and found” content to enjoy, too!

Four Tops: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mad Season - AboveMad Season, Above: Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

This short-lived grunge supergroup, featuring Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley and members of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees, only put out one record, but it’s been expanded as a 2CD/1DVD set featuring unreleased tracks (with vocals by Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan) and live audiovisual content. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Born Under a Bad SignAlbert King, Born Under a Bad Sign: Expanded Edition (Stax/Concord)

One of the Memphis’ label’s most celebrated blues albums is remastered and expanded with five unreleased alternate takes! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

David Gates - Early YearsDavid Gates, The Early Years: The Early Songwriting Genius of David Gates (Rare Rockin’)

Before leading Bread, Gates was a talented singer-songwriter whose early works were covered by a myriad of vocalists – many of which are making their CD debuts on this compilation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Simple Minds CelebrateSimple Minds, Celebrate: The Greatest Hits (Virgin/EMI)

As the ’80s hitmakers embark on a new tour, this new hits compilation – available in double and triple-disc variants – was made available in the U.K. last week. (A U.S. release is reportedly slated for later this spring.)

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

RKivesRilo Kiley, RKives (Little Record Company)

A collection of rare and unreleased material from the now-defunct L.A. band.

Margaret Whiting - Wheel of HurtChet Atkins with The Boston Pops, The Pops Goes Country/The Pops Goes West / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 24: Cow Palace, Daly City, CA – 3/23/1974 / Tom Jans, Take Heart/Tom Jans / Barbara & Ernie, Prelude To… / Steve Lawrence, Winners!/On a Clear Day / Don Nix, Living by the Days / Eydie Gorme & The Trio Los Panchos, Amor/More Amor / Margaret Whiting, The Wheel of Hurt: Deluxe Edition Maggie Isn’t Margaret Anymore/Pop Country / Alfred Newman, The Diary of Anne Frank: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The latest wares from Real Gone: plenty of two-fers, a rare Alfred Newman soundtrack, a new Dead reissue and expanded works from country-pop singer Margaret Whiting.

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

Mills MercilessJerry Butler, Love’s on the Mend/Suite for the Single Girl / Stephanie Mills, Merciless: Expanded Edition / Donna Washington, Going for the Glow: Expanded Edition / Nancy Wilson, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You/Now I’m a Woman (SoulMusic)

A slew of great titles from SoulMusic are out this week, including a Stephanie Mills album produced by the late Phil Ramone. Check out the above post for details.

Jerry Butler: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Stephanie Mills: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Donna Washington: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Nancy Wilson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Anita WardCaston and Majors, Caston and Majors / Fern Kinney, Groove Me / Arthur Prysock, All My Life / Anita Ward, Songs of Love (Big Break)

And the latest expanded titles from Big Break include some Motown and T.K. rarities, including Anita Ward’s megahit “Ring My Bell.”

Caston and Majors: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Fern Kinney: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Arthur Prysock: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Anita Ward: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Judy Garland CreationsJudy Garland, Creations 1929-1962 (JSP)

A four-disc U.K.-only compilation of “the songs that Judy Garland sang first.” (Amazon U.K.)  U.S. customers may order at CD Universe or Collectors’ Choice Music for April 9 release.

eagles_boxEagles, The Studio Albums 1972-1979 (Elektra/Rhino)

Every one of the California hitmakers’ original studio albums, in a handy slipcase. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Short Takes: Tabu, TV Mania, Living Colour All Have Plans

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Alexander O'Neal Fake

Some small morsels of potential catalogue-oriented stuff coming your way on this fine Thursday:

  • Demon Music Group promised back in July a slew of reissues from the Tabu Records catalogue, a label that included R&B hits by Cherrelle, Alexander O’Neal and The S.O.S. Band. It looks like those plans may be moving further forward: the label’s official Facebook page yesterday teased “huge plans for the label” in 2013.
  • Though not out of reissue ideas for their own proper catalogue, Duran Duran look to be hinting at a revival of the long-abandoned TV Mania project. The self-described “social junk culture triptych opera” was a collaboration between founding keyboardist Nick Rhodes and former guitarist Warren Cuccurullo that was assembled in the 1990s; none of it was ever officially released, but TV Mania was the listed producer for Duran’s Medazzaland (1997) and Pop Trash (2000) albums. Details are scant, but an official site with mailing list sign-up went live yesterday.
  • Living Colour, one of the best hard rock groups of the ’80s and ’90s, are touring in honor of the 25th anniversary of their debut LP, Vivid. The Grammy-winning disc spawned the hit “Cult of Personality”; the band will play the album in its entirety in a string of dates across Europe and North America this spring. Frontman Corey Glover recently alluded to a reissue of the album as well, though no concrete plans have been confirmed.
  • One of rock’s last holdouts is bringing his catalogue to iTunes: Kid Rock will release all of his studio and live albums (Devil Without a Cause (1998), The History of Rock (2000), Cocky (2001), Kid Rock (2003), Live Trucker (2006), Rock N Roll Jesus (2007), Born Free (2010) and Rebel Soul (2012)) to the digital service on Tuesday, January 15.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 10, 2013 at 15:25