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The Second Disc’s Record Store Day 2014 Must-Haves

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RSD '14 Banner

If you’ve been following these pages for the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed an awful lot of coverage about Record Store Day!  Well, the day is nearly here!   Tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, music fans and collectors will flock to their local independent record stores to celebrate both the sounds on those round black platters and the very concept of shopping in a physical retail environment. To many of us, both are a way of life.  We’re doubly excited this year because one special title was co-produced by our very own Mike D.: Legacy Recordings’ Ecto-Green glow-in-the-dark vinyl single containing four versions of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters.”

Each year around this time, we here at Second Disc HQ take a few moments to count down the titles to which we’re most looking forward to picking up! I’ll take my turn first, and then after the jump, you’ll find my colleague’s picks for some of the finest offerings you might find at your local retailer! And after you’ve picked up your share of these special collectibles, don’t hesitate to browse the regular racks, too…there’s likely even more treasure awaiting you.

You’ll find more information and a link to a downloadable PDF of the complete Record Store Day list right here, and please share your RSD 2014 experiences with us below. Don’t forget to click on the Record Store Day tag below, too, to access all of our RSD ’14 coverage.  Happy Hunting!

Pink Panther OST

  1. Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, The Pink Panther LP (RCA/Legacy Recordings)

On April 16, 2014, the great composer/conductor Henry Mancini would have turned 90.  To mark the occasion, the all-new HenryMancini.com was launched, and Legacy announced plans for a yearlong celebration of the maestro’s enduring, engaging ouevre.  The label has major plans including an 11-CD box set of Mancini’s soundtracks as well as a newly-curated retrospective, but the festivities kick off on Saturday with the release on eye-catching pink vinyl of Mancini’s original album of music from Blake Edwards’ all-time classic comedy caper The Pink Panther.

This soundtrack album (slated for expansion later this year for the movie’s 50th anniversary) was, as per Mancini’s custom, a re-recording of the film’s major themes for the record-buying audience. In addition to the now-famous, sly ‘n’ slinky title theme with saxophone by Plas Johnson (which went Top 40 as a single; the soundtrack itself went Top 10), other highlights of the score include “It Had Better Be Tonight,” an Italian-style love song recently covered by Michael Bublé and performed in the film by Fran Jeffries (and on disc by Mancini’s chorus), and “Something for Sellers,” a great example of Mancini’s feel for what we today think of as lounge music.  Mancini’s “The Pink Panther” is currently the single most-streamed song in the entire Sony Music catalogue – a testament to the ongoing power of the gifted composer Henry Mancini.

Randy Newman Mono

  1. Randy Newman, Randy Newman (Mono LP) (Rhino)

Prior to the release of 1968’s self-titled debut, Randy Newman was a staff songwriter for Los Angeles’ Metric Music, a West Coast answer to the Brill Building where he worked alongside the likes of Jackie DeShannon honing his skills.  The back of the LP, now being reissued for RSD in its original mono edition, read: “Randy Newman creates something new under the sun!” And while intended ironically (irony being one of Newman’s favorite weapons, always at the ready!), it wasn’t far from the truth. Produced by his childhood friend Lenny Waronker and quirky wunderkind Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman featured some scathing social commentary sheathed in large, gorgeous orchestrations by the composer himself. Even this early on, it was evident that Randy learned something from his uncles, Lionel and Alfred Newman, two of the most illustrious composers in Hollywood history. The young Newman was the rare talent equally gifted in both melody and lyrics. “Davy the Fat Boy” and “So Long, Dad” are uncomfortably hysterical, while “Love Story” plainly tells the story of a couple from marriage to death, playing checkers all day in a Florida nursing home. Newman’s unique humor was already in full bloom, to wit this exchange from “Love Story”: “We’ll have a kid/Or maybe we’ll rent one, He’s got to be straight/We don’t want a bent one.” All of these songs were delivered in his off-hand, growl of a drawl, providing a contrast to the beautiful arrangements. When Randy Newman turned serious, the results were heartbreaking and simple (though far from simplistic): “Living Without You” or the oft-covered “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” which managed to be both cynical and achingly sad. A major new talent had arrived.

Bob Wills - Front Cover

  1. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Transcriptions (Real Gone Music)

Vintage music from the pre-rock-and-roll era gets an airing on Record Store Day thanks to releases such as this one, along with other key releases from Omnivore Recordings and Blue Note Records.  Here, Real Gone Music unearths 10 tracks from the King of Western Swing, four of which will remain exclusive to this vinyl release.  These have been drawn from the more than 200 songs recorded by Wills for Tiffany Music, Inc. which remained under lock and key for years.  (Wills recorded a total of almost 400 songs for Tiffany in 1946 and 1947.)  This remastered release has been painstakingly designed after an original transcription disc.  The vinyl is housed inside a replica package in the style of the actual mailers in which Tiffany discs were sent to radio stations in the 1940s – with “pre-distressed” trompe l’oeil wrinkles and wear on the record jacket and a cutaway hole infront showing the vintage Tiffany logo on the vinyl label, whichcontinues the Tiffany numbering system of assigning a recordnumber to each side. Furthering this tremendous attention to detail, the back cover also presents vintagegraphics from the period, and the records are pressed in the style of some of the original discs on 150-gram red vinyl. This release precedes Real Gone’s upcoming 2-CD set drawn from Wills’ Tiffany Transcriptions, and tracks include such songs as Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” and Johnny Mercer’s “I’m an Old Cowhand.”  Count me in!

High Fidelity Omnivore RSD

  1. Various Artists, Live from High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances (Omnivore)

It wasn’t easy to choose from Omnivore Recordings’ great slate, including rare music from late legends Hank Williams and Jaco Pastorius, but Live from High Fidelity encapsulates the label’s dedication to preserving great music from all eras and genres.  This 14-track translucent green vinyl release is drawn a podcast hosted by L.A.’s High Fidelity Records, and features contributions from some TSD favorites like Sam Phillips, Rhett Miller of The Old 97’s, members of Spain, and most especially, appearing for the second time on this small list, Mr. Van Dyke Parks.  It’s about time podcast performances went physical, isn’t it?

Eric Carmen - Brand New Year

  1. Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band, “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go” / Eric Carmen, “Brand New Year (Alternate Mix)” b/w “Starting Over (Live 1976)” singles (Legacy)

Two of Legacy’s 7-inch singles caught our fancy this year.  The label has followed up this year’s Playlist: The Very Best of Ronnie Spector with a replica 45 of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go,” on which the former Ronette is backed by none other than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Arranged and produced by a certain Mr. Van Zandt – that’s Little Steven now, and Sugar Miami Steve circa this single’s original release – these 1977 sides are blazing rock-and-roll at its finest.  Billy Joel’s A-side was a stunning Phil Spector homage in its original recording; with Ronnie on lead and Clarence Clemons honking on the sax, it became transcendent.  Eric Carmen’s new “Brand New Day” also arrives on vinyl in a previously unreleased alternate mix supporting The Essential Eric Carmen, on which the song first appeared. Featuring Carmen supported by Jeffrey Foskett, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko and Mike D’Amico of Brian Wilson’s band, this 2013 composition is vintage Carmen – lush, gorgeous and memorably melodic.  You won’t want to miss these.

Dream with Dean

Honorable Mentions go to Rhino’s first-ever U.S. release of Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 single “Dragonfly” b/w “Purple Dancer” and its excavation of the 1968 LP The Birthday Party from Jeff Lynne’s psych-pop pre-ELO band The Idle Race; plus Legacy’s painstakingly-recreated stereo LP of “King of Cool” Dean Martin’s romantic long-player Dream with Dean on which he’s joined by a quartet for his most intimate jazz stylings; and Sundazed’s vinyl debut of two tracks by The Sunrays, the band that Murry Wilson intended to groom in the style of his former charges The Beach Boys.  Murry’s own song “Won’t You Tell Me” features the legendary L.A. Wrecking Crew, and the band’s Rick Henn supplies new liner notes for this 45!

After the jump: take it away, Mr. Duquette! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Eric Carmen, “The Essential Eric Carmen”

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Essential Eric Carmen

The first track on Legacy Recordings’ new double-disc anthology The Essential Eric Carmen (Arista/Legacy 88883745522) is titled, appropriately enough, “Get the Message.”  And the message relayed by its 30 nuggets comes through loud and clear: whether as power pop prince, classically-inspired MOR balladeer or nostalgic yet contemporary eighties rocker, Eric Carmen had the goods.

Young lust never sounded as thrilling, as exuberant, or as pretty as it did in the hands of The Raspberries.  Over the course of just four albums released between 1972 and 1974, each one of which is represented here, the band positioned itself as legitimate heirs to the thrones of The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Byrds.  With jangly guitars, alternately swaggering and yearning vocals, full-bodied harmonies, unerring melodic instinct and plenty of youthful abandon, the mod four-man group defined “power pop” on songs like “Go All the Way,” “I Wanna Be with You” and “Let’s Pretend.”  As singer, guitarist/bassist and songwriter, Carmen provided the band – also featuring guitarist Wally Bryson, drummer Jim Bonfanti and guitarist/bassist Dave Smalley – with three-minute opuses that crackled with the spirit of FM and the sound of AM.  The roots of The Raspberries are vividly apparent on “Get the Message” from Carmen and Bryson’s pre-Raspberries band Cyrus Erie, which makes its CD debut here.  Just listen to those cries of “Come on!” in the catchy track’s first twenty seconds!

Carmen made the leap to solo artist with his self-titled 1975 Arista album, the first of two Eric Carmen LPs.  Retaining the services of Raspberries producer Jimmy Ienner, the bright, brash “Sunrise” didn’t stray too far from the band’s blueprint, but the album’s two major hit singles certainly did.  “All By Myself” and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” both drew on melodies of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), giving the late composer two hit records more than three decades after his death.  The oft-covered “All by Myself,” which is heard here in its full 7+-minute album version, certainly showcased Carmen at his most bombastic.  But its supremely melancholy lyric and majestic melody by both Carmen and Rachmaninoff created a striking orchestral-pop amalgam that stands among the singer-songwriter’s best works.  “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” has an equally downbeat lyric, but is married to the purely irresistible Rachmaninoff chorus, rendered in ironically bouncy style.  It’s wistful but never mawkish, and it’s easy to see why both “Never Gonna Fall” and “All by Myself” garnered enough attention to be performed in concert by no less an eminent interpreter than Frank Sinatra himself.  (Coincidentally, Arista Records had a third hit single in 1975 based on a classical theme: Barry Manilow’s Top 10 “Could It Be Magic.”)

In addition to the Cyrus Erie track, The Essential serves up rarities in the form of two previously unreleased selections from New York’s fabled Bottom Line.  Carmen revived The Raspberries’ “Starting Over,” and his intimate performance brought his sophisticated songcraft to the fore.  The live version of Eric Carmen track “That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” is looser and more boisterous, and both tracks make a case that the entire concert should be issued imminently.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 25, 2014 at 13:58

Posted in Compilations, Eric Carmen, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of March 25

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Johnny Cash Out Among the StarsJohnny Cash, Out Among the Stars (Columbia/Legacy)

This new album of newly-discovered mid-’80s outtakes is perhaps better than what was released at the time. Gorgeous and, at times, haunting, the way Johnny Cash albums should be.

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

Elton GBYR 40 Super DeluxeElton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Edition (Mercury/Rocket/UMe)

Elton’s classic double album comes back to glorious life with several lavish editions, featuring new covers of songs from the set, B-sides, live material and more.

1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Okie from MuskogeeMerle Haggard, Okie from Muskogee: 45th Anniversary Special Edition (Capitol Nashville)

Haggard and The Stranger’s classic 1969 live album is remastered and paired with the next year’s follow-up The Fightin’ Side of Me, in its first-ever CD release. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Miles at the FillmoreMiles Davis, Miles at the Fillmore – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 (Columbia/Legacy)

Four discs of mostly-unheard jazz experimentation from one of Miles’ most challenging and enjoyable periods. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rod Stewart - Live BoxRod Stewart, Live 1976-1998: Tonight’s the Night (Warner Bros./Rhino)

This long-rumored box, featuring 58 unheard recordings, now offers a fitting chronicle of Rod in concert. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

My Chem May Death Never  Stop YouMy Chemical Romance, May Death Never Stop You: The Greatest Hits 2001-2013 (Reprise)

New Jersey’s own late lamented My Chem, one of the best alt-rock bands of the past decade, release a career-spanning compilation with one unreleased song and several demos.

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

Essential Eric CarmenEric Carmen, The Essential Eric Carmen (Arista/Legacy)

A lovingly-assembled two-disc compilation honoring the talents of the singer/songwriter, from The Raspberries to today. Includes the gorgeous new track “Brand New Year.” (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Blue Nile Peace At LastThe Blue Nile, Peace At Last: Deluxe Edition (Virgin/UMC)

A surprise expansion of the Glasgow pop group’s 1996 album. (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Far Beyond DrivenPantera, Far Beyond Driven: 20th Anniversary Edition (EastWest/Rhino)

The band’s hit 1994 album paired with a live bootleg disc of the band’s Monsters of Rock Festival 1994 performance. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

High Land Hard RainAztec Camera, High Land Hard Rain: Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition (Domino)

The Scottish rock band’s first album is expanded to just about completion, with single sides and unreleased tracks on a bonus disc.

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

TotoToto, TotoHydra / Turn Back (Rock Candy)

Toto’s perfectly crafted AOR-pop blend is represented by their first three albums, newly remastered for CD by Rock Candy.

Toto: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
HydraAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Turn BackAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Bruce BDVarious Artists, A MusiCares Tribute to Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)

Last year’s multi-artist live tribute concert in honor of The Boss, capped with a mini-set by Springsteen and The E Street Band.

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

Micky DolenzMicky Dolenz, Micky Dolenz Puts You to Sleep / Broadway Micky (Friday Music)

Two of Micky’s children’s albums for Kid Rhino from 1991 and 1994 reappear in print on one disc. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Message from the MagicBlue Magic, Message from the Magic (FunkyTownGrooves)

The Philadelphia soul band’s fifth album from 1977 is remastered and released for the first time on CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Island HarvestRonnie Lane and Slim Chance, Ooh La La: An Island Harvest (Mercury)

A hits-and-rarities compilation from the late Small Faces/Faces bassist’s mid-’70s group. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lou Reed BDJoni Mitchell, Woman of Heart and Mind + Painting with Words and Music / Lou Reed, Classic Albums: Transformer + Live at Montreux 2000 (Eagle Rock)

Eagle Rock brings four vintage programs back to video with these two Blu-ray releases, both part of the label’s new “SD Blu-ray” line.  As indicated, these programs are in upscaled standard definition video but have been upgraded to “uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD high resolution surround sound.”

Joni: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Lou: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Of Ghosts, Panthers and Ronettes: Legacy Unveils Record Store Day 2014 Slate

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Ghostbusters 30th Ecto Green VinylToday’s the day!  This morning, Los Angeles’ vinyl mecca Amoeba Music hosted the “Official List Launch” for Record Store Day, with simultaneous unveilings of the extensive RSD ’14 line-up occurring in Nashville and across the pond in London.  We’ve already filled you in on some of the exciting titles arriving on Saturday, April 19 from many of our favorite labels (Real Gone Music, Omnivore Recordings) and artists alike (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Devo, Neil Young, R.E.M. ), and there’s plenty more news on the way!  Among those slates revealed today was that of Legacy Recordings.  An eclectic variety of vinyl goodies will be arriving on 33 and 45 RPM from some of RSD’s heaviest hitters.

For those ready to get back in the saddle at their local record store, Legacy is obliging with vintage albums – a number of which are making their vinyl debut – from 311, Aerosmith, MGMT and Outkast.  The Allman Brothers Band’s recent Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 gets a double-vinyl highlights release, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Live at Monterey makes its Legacy LP premiere.  If you’re less about leather pants and more about a natty suit, the label is extending an invitation to Dream with Dean via the late Mr. Martin’s 1964 album.  Legacy now has the Rat Packer’s Reprise recordings, and this elegant album is one of the most choice titles from that catalogue.  Dream features his original recording of “Everybody Loves Somebody” plus perennials like “Fools Rush In,” “Blue Moon” and “Smile.”  And even the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau would likely be able to spot the new pink vinyl reissue of Henry Mancini’s original album recording of his sublimely sinuous music from The Pink Panther.

Eric Carmen - Brand New YearOn the singles front, Legacy follows up this year’s Playlist: The Very Best of Ronnie Spector with a replica 45 of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go,” on which the former Ronette is backed by none other than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.   Eric Carmen’s new “Brand New Day” also arrives on vinyl in an alternate mix supporting The Essential Eric Carmen, and post-punk band The The’s 1983 track “Giant” gets the 12-inch single treatment with a new remix!

Last, but certainly not least, we’re posing the question: Who you gonna call?  In Legacy’s case, the label called our very own Mike Duquette!  Mike wasn’t afraid of no ghost, and has co-produced a one-of-a-kind collectible for Legacy that just might keep you up at night with excitement!  To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ivan Reitman’s blockbuster Ghostbusters, Legacy will offer a 10-inch vinyl EP with four versions of Ray Parker Jr.’s chart-topping, Academy Award-nominated hit “Ghostbusters,” including the original 12-inch and dub remixes.  As if that’s not enough, it’s going to be pressed on special, glow-in-the-dark Ecto Green vinyl!  It’s the next best thing to a visit from Slimer or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – and a heck of a lot less trouble to clean up after!  This project has been a labor of love for Mike and the team at Legacy, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to share the news with you.

Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 19 – and rev up your Ecto One to be first on line at your local independent record retailer.  After the jump, we have full specs on all of these limited edition releases from Legacy Recordings! Read the rest of this entry »

Brand New Year, Brand New Compilation: Legacy Preps “The Essential Eric Carmen”

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Essential Eric CarmenWill the real Eric Carmen please stand up?  There’s Eric Carmen, the power pop prince of The Raspberries.  There’s Eric Carmen, the classically-inspired balladeer of “All By Myself” and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.”  And there’s Eric Carmen, the eighties “comeback kid” of “Make Me Lose Control” and the Dirty Dancing perennial “Hungry Eyes.”  Luckily, all sides of the versatile artist figure prominently on Arista Records and Legacy Recordings’ upcoming release of The Essential Eric Carmen.  This 2-CD, 30-song anthology, due on March 25, encompasses every aspect of Carmen’s career, and includes two previously unissued live recordings, one new-to-CD track, and one newly-recorded song.

Ohio-born Carmen made his major-label debut as a member of Cyrus Erie, signed to Epic Records for a handful of singles including “Get the Message” which makes its CD-era debut here.  When Cyrus collapsed, Carmen and guitarist Wally Bryson joined with Bryson’s old bandmates Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley of The Choir to form The Raspberries.  And this time, Carmen had the formula to “go all the way.”    The Raspberries led the power-pop pack in synthesizing the tight melodies, layered harmony vocals, indelible riffs and polished production of the likes of The Beatles, The Hollies and The Beach Boys into a sound that was perfect for its own time period.  The band broke up in 1975, but had already left a lasting legacy with the crackling likes of “Go All the Way,” “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” and “Let’s Pretend,” all of which are included on The Essential Eric Carmen.

The Raspberries frontman’s eponymous 1975 debut for Arista Records got his solo career off to an auspicious start.  The No. 21-charting LP yielded two hit singles, both of which spoke to Carmen’s musical acumen as they were inspired by themes from classical composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943).  Sans his Raspberries comrades, Carmen might have felt “All By Myself,” but the song of the same title soared to No. 2 on the Billboard chart and No. 1 on Cash Box.  Its follow-up, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again,” peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Easy Listening chart.  In what must have been an ultimate compliment, Frank Sinatra performed both songs in concert.

Carmen’s sophomore effort Boats Against the Current continued his winning streak, as both the title track and “She Did It” hit the charts.  “Love is All That Matters” drew on a Tchaikovsky theme; all three songs plus the album’s third single “Marathon Man” are among its tracks included on the new compilation.  Carmen remained at Arista for two more albums, Change of Heart and Tonight You’re Mine, before jumping ship to Geffen for another self-titled album co-produced by The Four Seasons’ Bob Gaudio.  All three albums are represented on The Essential, as are the songs which defined Carmen for a new generation: the Dirty Dancing anthem “Hungry Eyes” (1987) and the nostalgic single “Make Me Lose Control” (1988).

There’s still more!  Hit the jump, won’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 17, 2014 at 09:44

Here’s to a “Brand New Year”

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As I write this, we’re one day closer to ending our fourth – fourth! – year of posting catalogue news and views on The Second Disc. To think a year or so ago people were worried the CD would cease to exist as a unit of transporting music to your ears; this year has seen one of the best box sets I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, with so many other wonderful treasures along the way. (And already we have a ton of heavy hitters to anticipate in 2014, including great new Omnivore reissues, more Beatles catalogue activity and a highly-anticipated new/old Johnny Cash album!)

I often hesitate getting too personal on The Second Disc, which can be difficult. After all, it’s so difficult for even the most discerning music critic to separate the listening experience from the beautiful, complex emotions that music makes you feel. But like many of you, I imagine 2013 has been a year of ups and downs. I have seen this site – a site I started to stave off boredom and depression after graduating college – turn into a flourishing community of stories and expressions, with people coming from literally all ends of the globe to read what we have to say. I’m very confident that some of the ideas Joe and I are cooking up for you, our treasured readers, will continue to make us one of the best places to read about your favorite reissues, box sets and compilations.

But 2013, for all its highest highs, has been a year of challenges, too. I end this particular year the same way I started it: saying goodbye to a member of my very close-knit family. No matter how strong you are in the face of such tragedy – or how many times you’ve had to bid farewell to a family member – it’s never easy and it’s never fun. Sometimes, at its worst, it feels like it’ll take more than a few hugs and fond memories to make things feel better.

This is, of course, why I think so many of us turn to music from days past: to feel both the exhilaration of remembering how great things may have been and the promise of a bright future ahead. And this is also why I’m glad for “Brand New Year,” the first recording by Eric Carmen in well over a decade.

Slated for physical release on Legacy Recordings’ forthcoming compilation The Essential Eric Carmen in March, “Brand New Year” finds the former Raspberries frontman and solo hitmaker in a gorgeously reflective mood. “We won’t let them break us down,” Carmen sings, with all the quiet power of a true musical survivor, “as long as we still believe.” And – dare I say – that chorus, with a gorgeous “stack-o-vocals” from the Wondermints, helps lift Carmen close to the same pop pantheon as frequent Wondermints collaborator Brian Wilson.

As we close the book on another year and look eagerly toward the dawning of a new one, I am again reminded of how glad I am to have music like this in my life – and how blessed I truly am to share it with everyone who’s reading our work here on The Second Disc. So here’s wishing you a Brand New Year, filled with hope, happiness and, as always, great music.

(And do download “Brand New Year” at the link above, and give a read to some words from Eric as to how the song came together.)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 31, 2013 at 12:00