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Release Round-Up: Week of September 3

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Rod Stewart - RaritiesRod Stewart, Rarities (Mercury/UMe)

It’s Rod at his rarest: two discs of outtakes, non-LP singles and other good stuff, including two unreleased BBC session tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Real Gone September 30 GroupJefferson Starship, Live in Central Park NYC May 12, 1975 / Claudia Lennear, Phew! / Ponderosa Twins Plus One, 2+2+1=Ponderosa Twins Plus One / Jo Ann Campbell, All the HitsHer Complete Cameo Recordings / Joanie Sommers, Come Alive!—The Complete Columbia Recordings / Stonewall Jackson, Original Greatest Hits / The Paley Brothers, The Complete Recordings (Real Gone Music)

The latest releases from the folks at Real Gone Music, all of which you can read about here.

Jefferson Starship: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Claudia Lennear: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ponderosa Twins Plus One: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Jo Ann Campbell: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Joanie Sommers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Stonewall Jackson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Paley Brothers: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Crises BoxMike Oldfield, Five Miles Out Crises: Deluxe Editions (Mercury/UMC)

The latest in the Mike Oldfield reissue series includes a triple-disc version of his seventh album from 1982 and a five-disc version of the 1983 follow-up.

Five Miles Out CD: Amazon U.K.
Five Miles Out 2CD+DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Five Miles Out LP: Amazon U.K.
Crises CD: Amazon U.K.
Crises 2CD: Amazon U.K.
Crises 3CD+2DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Crises LP: Amazon U.K.

yesboxYes, High Vibration SACD Box (Warner Music Japan)

A new hybrid SACD box set includes every Yes album from 1969 to 1987, plus a 12-track disc of bonus non-LP tracks and remixes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rocky Horror BoxVarious Artists, The Rocky Horror Show: Album Box Set (Salvo)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show box set, released on CD in 1990, is replicated on this new set from Salvo. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Breeders LSXX vinylThe Breeders, LSXX (4AD/Beggars Archive)

Already available on CD, this expanded edition of The Breeders’ Last Splash comes as a seven-disc vinyl box. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Kim Wilde Close 25Kim Wilde, Close: Remastered Expanded Edition (Universal U.K.)

One of Kim Wilde’s most successful albums gets the double-disc treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Monterey PopVarious Artists, Monterey International Pop Festival (Salvo)

Four discs of performances from the acclaimed 1967 festival. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Gilbert Every Song Has Its PlayGilbert O’Sullivan, By Larry Every Song Has Its Play (Salvo/Union Square Music)

O’Sullivan’s 1994 and 1995 albums are the latest to be reissued by Salvo, with new sleeve notes (and a bonus track for Larry).

By Larry: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Every Song Has Its Play: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Rush Hemispheres SACDPoco, Pickin’ Up the Pieces / Rush, Hemispheres (Hybrid SACD-DSD) (Audio Fidelity)

The latest SACDs from Audio Fidelity: Poco’s 1969 debut, mastered by Steve Hoffman, and a Kevin Gray-mastered version of Rush’s sixth album.

Poco: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rush: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Release Round-Up: Week of August 14

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Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (Mobile Fidelity)

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is issuing newly-remastered stereo hybrid SACDs of classic Bob Dylan albums, and today’s release is the 1963 Freewheelin’, Dylan’s second long-player.  Read more here.

Incubus, HQ Live (Legacy)

Incubus’ Summer 2011 live concert performances are preserved on this deluxe set, available in single-CD + DVD, double-CD + DVD and exclusive Best Buy editions.  Read more here.

Kinks, At the BBC (Universal U.K.)

This komprehensive, kink-size box set offers 5 CDs and 1 DVD of live, klassik Kinks dating between 1964 and 1994.  Read more here!

Gilbert O’Sullivan, Off Centre / Life & Rhymes (Salvo)

The beloved Irish troubadour’s 1980 and 1982 albums are reissued and expanded by Salvo Music as part of the label’s ongoing deluxe series!

Mike Oldfield, Platinum / QE 2 / Two Sides (Universal U.K.)

The Tubular Bells artist is celebrated by Universal U.K. with expanded editions of Platinum and QE2, respectively Oldfield’s last album of the 1970s and first of the 1980s, plus a new double-disc overview, Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield.  Read more here.

Original Cast Recording, Call Me Madam (RCA Victor/Masterworks Broadway)

Irving Berlin’s 1950 Broadway musical starred Ethel Merman, but Decca Records wouldn’t release the Merm from her recording contract to appear on RCA’s original cast album.  So Merman recorded her own Madam set opposite Dick Haymes, and the rest of the cast joined Dinah Shore for RCA’s album.  This digital/CD-R release is the first authorized reissue of the Shore album in the CD era.  Read more here.

Original Cast Recordings, Candide (1956) / Children of Eden / Cinderella (1957) / Forever Plaid / Grease (1994) / The Most Happy Fella / On the Twentieth Century / Parade / Side Show

Sony’s Masterworks Broadway repackages an array of cast albums already on CD from the Columbia and RCA Victor catalogues.  Some may feature new artwork and/or photographs, but contents of the CDs are identical to past editions.  Still, if you’ve missed out on any of these titles, here’s your chance to pick them up again in new, specially-priced digipaks.

Various Artists, Joey’s Song, Volume 2 / Joey’s Song for Kids, Volume 2 (Omnivore)

Rosanne Cash, Mark Olson and Gary Louris are among the musicians fighting epilepsy with these new benefit compilations from Omnivore.  We’ll have the full rundown later today!

Various Artists, The Music City Sessions Volume One: Richmond Experience (Omnivore)

Lost funk from the Bay Area gets found on a new series of LPs beginning with today’s release of Richmond Experience!  We’ll have more on this entire series tomorrow!

Jaws (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy)

Okay, this one doesn’t usually fall in our purview, but we’ve already covered the Blu-ray debut of everybody’s favorite shark here, and why not?  John Williams’ dark, suspenseful and altogether memorable score will surely sound better than ever on this edition celebrating Universal Pictures’ 100th Anniversary!

Written by Joe Marchese

August 14, 2012 at 07:39

Release Round-Up: Week of June 12

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Dean Martin, Collected Cool (UMe)

Can you believe this is the first ever domestic, career-spanning Dino box set, pallies? And just in time for Father’s Day.

Sugar, File Under: Easy Listening – Deluxe Edition (Edsel)

The last Sugar LP, expanded with B-sides, the live album The Joke is Always on Us, Sometimes, and a DVD of videos and live footage.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, Southpaw: Deluxe EditionA Stranger in My Own Back Yard: Deluxe Edition (Salvo)

The latest in Salvo’s ongoing expansion campaign for the Irish songwriter.

Kenny Loggins, Keep the Fire: Expanded Edition (Lemon)

One of Kenny’s best solo LPs gets expanded in the U.K. with two live tracks and a “clean version” of “This is It,” which we still have no idea what that is.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 12, 2012 at 08:30

Get Down: Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “I’m A Writer, Not A Fighter” Remastered and Expanded

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Are you ready for another trip through Gilbertville?  The fine folks at Salvo and Union Square Music have just released the latest title in their acclaimed Gilbert O’Sullivan reissue series, and though the album is called I’m a Writer, Not a Fighter, it might as well have been named Another Side of Gilbert O’Sullivan.  On this 1973 set, the singer/songwriter placed less emphasis on the acoustic piano, his usual instrument of choice, and more on keyboards.  These electronic textures musically illustrated his typically astute (and often eccentric) lyrics in new ways.  At this point in his career, O’Sullivan had the luxury to explore new territory, having scored six Top 10 U.K. hits in 1971 and 1972, and also having conquered the pop charts across the Atlantic with tuneful slice-of-life songs like “Clair” and of course, “Alone Again, Naturally.”

The changes on I’m a Writer, Not a Fighter were apparent from the get-go, as O’Sullivan eschewed his tongue-in-cheek sung introductions to the record with a spoken-word piece over a funky groove.  Having put forth his musical credo on that title track (and managing in the course of one three-minute pop song to turn the autobiographical statement into a condemnation of “violence simply for violence sake”), O’Sullivan was free to introduce another round of songs populated by a motley crew of characters in often unusual situations.  In “A Friend of Mine,” the singer explains, “I am a loner/My only real companion is a dog I’m very fond of/His name’s Homer/He follows me wherever I go/And of course I do my best to feed him/It’s not the easiest of tasks…”

Somewhat more down-to-earth is “They’re Only Themselves to Blame,” a heartbreaking little tale of two young lovers torn apart by overprotective parents, its loping, wistful melody adorned by a gentle string arrangement: “It seems our parents followed us home one evening/Caught us walking one another home/Now I’ve been confined till further notice/Told I should be thoroughly ashamed.”  This song, as with others on the album, is striking in its heart-on-its-sleeve, open emotionalism and frank honesty, however terribly not in vogue that might have been.  Of course, those are the same characteristics that marked “Alone Again, Naturally” and “Clair.”

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 12, 2012 at 09:29

Release Round-Up: Week of April 10

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Howard Jones, One to One Cross That Line In the Running: Remastered Edition (Dtox)

HoJo’s last set of remasters is a five disc set featuring his last three Warner-era albums from 1986 to 1992, plus two generous discs of B-sides and remixes. Parts of this era are really underrated, and if this box is as loving as the last one was, it may well earn your everlasting love.

Various Artists, Philadelphia International Classics: The Tom Moulton Mixes (Harmless)

This gorgeous four-disc set, coming from the U.K., features some of PIR’s greatest hits and deepest cuts, all mixed (or newly remixed) by disco master Tom Moulton. There’s a whole hard-to-find vintage remix album in here, along with some other great 12″ single masters.

World Party, Arkaeology (Seaview/Fontana)

Five discs of unreleased goodies from Karl Wallinger’s famed band, plus diary packaging for you to create with. (Sorry, U.K. fans, we’re actually getting this one first; the international release date is later.)

Kraftwerk, The Catalogue (MoMA Edition) (Kling Klang/Astralwerks)

The electronic icons first put their last eight remastered albums into a box in 2009. Now, to coincide with a weeklong residency at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, they’re reissuing that box through the MoMA exclusively, with new artwork.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, I’m a Writer Not a Fighter: Deluxe Edition (Salvo)

Released in the U.K. last week, Gilbert’s third album comes expanded with four additional tracks from single sides and includes the hit “Get Down.”

Bette Midler, Live at Last (Friday Music)

The Divine Miss M’s first live album (and a double, at that!) gets the red-carpet remaster treatment from Friday Music.

Madness, Forever Young: The Ska Collection (Salvo)

A compilation for everyone who might already know “Our House,” with a small helping of unreleased material for hardcore fans.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 10, 2012 at 08:15

Release Round-Up: Week of March 12

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Earl Van Dyke, The Motown Sound: The Complete Albums & More (Hip-o Select/Motown)

Two discs of classic instrumentals and rare single sides from Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers – their first and some of their only recordings to be credited just to them.

Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 (Columbia/Legacy)

From the archives of late engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, an unreleased show featuring Joplin and band at the legendary San Francisco venue.

The Doors, L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions (Elektra/Rhino)

A three-sided double album (the last side being a laser etching) featuring all the bonus material from the bonus disc in this year’s deluxe edition of L.A. Woman.

Electric Light Orchestra, Electric Light Orchestra: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

A features-packed expansion of ELO’s debut LP, including the original quadrophonic album mix on a bonus DVD, is available in England!

Dio, Holy Diver Last in Line / Sacred Heart: Deluxe Editions (UMC)

Two-disc expansions of the first three Dio albums out now in the U.K., featuring live cuts galore.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, A Singer and His Songs: The Very Best of Gilbert O’Sullivan (Union Square Music/Salvo)

With the new catalogue agreement, a new U.K. compilation.

Release Round-Up: Week of February 21

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Various Artists, ZTT: The Art of the 12″: Volume Two (ZTT/Salvo)

A double-disc set of rare and unreleased dance mixes of vinyl classics, with a few rarities thrown in for good measure – and, as our post later today will explain, at least one Beatle!

Simple Minds, Simple Minds x5 (EMI)

The first five Simple Minds LPs – all pre-The Breakfast Club – expanded with vintage B-sides and remixes.

Gilbert O’Sullivan, Back to Front: Expanded Edition (Union Square Music/Salvo)

Gilbert’s 1972 sophomore album plus three bonus tracks, including hit single “Alone Again (Naturally).”

André Cymone, André CymoneSurviving in the ’80s: Expanded Editions (Funky Town Grooves)

Blood, Sweat & Tears, In Concert / Phil Everly, Star Spangled Springer / Mel Brooks, Greatest Hits (Wounded Bird)

Some great LPs, all rare or new to CD, coming from Wounded Bird.

Various Artists, Complete Pop Instrumental Hits of the Sixties, Vol. 2: 1961 (Complete ’60s/Eric)

A three-disc set of every instrumental song that ever charted in 1961. The second in a volume of a series we’ve covered before.

Various Artists, David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits (RCA Victor/Masterworks Broadway)

Ann-Margret joins John Gary and the Merrill Staton Voices in this vintage tribute to the legendary impresario behind such musicals as Hello, Dolly! and Gypsy.

Diana Ross, Diana Ross: Deluxe Edition (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The latest set from Select is a heavy-duty expansion of Miss Ross’ 1976 album, which featured “Theme from ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” and “Love Hangover,” two classic singles from a classic career. Alternate mixes, rare singles and early versions abound on this set.

Gilbert O’Sullivan Goes “Back to Front” On Next Salvo Reissue

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Would the real Gilbert O’Sullivan please stand up?  When peering at his sophomore album, Back to Front, potential purchasers back in 1972 didn’t see the same nostalgic figure of the previous year’s Himself.  Gone was the chap in his flat cap, pudding-basin haircut and jacket.  In his place was a tanned, rather more mainstream-looking fellow, shirt open and chest hair exposed.  But the opening “Intro” in which the singer implored listeners to sit back, relax and enjoy the album, was proof positive that the lovably eccentric O’Sullivan hadn’t changed that much despite his new fashions.  (Listeners would be rewarded with outros at the ends of both Side One and Side Two of the original vinyl!)

The Salvo label has remastered Back to Front as the second title in its ongoing O’Sullivan reissue program, due February 21.  The album (his first and only U.S. chart-topper, and also No. 1 in the U.K.) has been expanded with three bonus tracks, including the international smash “Alone Again (Naturally)” and the fan favorite U.K. single hit “Ooh Wakka Do Wakka Day.”  “Alone Again (Naturally)” O’Sullivan’s calling card, needs no introduction here, but if you’d like one anyway, we kindly direct you to our initial posting about Salvo’s acquisition of his catalogue.  “Alone” was added to the U.S. edition of O’Sullivan’s debut album Himself, but was a single-only release in the U.K., hence its inclusion as a bonus track here. 

Back to Front was a hot seller largely on the strength of its single “Clair,” which was kept only from pole position by Carly Simon and that mysterious man who probably thinks her song was about him.  “Clair” was written by O’Sullivan for the daughter of his then-manager Gordon Mills, an ode to a young girl from her Uncle Ray (or Raymond O’Sullivan, Gilbert’s real name).  O’Sullivan’s earnest delivery and the irresistible melody add up to a likable and lighthearted song from a rather less cynical time.  Almost as infectious as “Clair” is another track off Back to Front, the toe-tapping “Who Was It.”  It was also recorded by Norman “Hurricane” Smith prior to O’Sullivan’s own rendition, and was also covered by Andy Williams.

Hit the jump for more, including the track listing with discographical info, plus a pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 13, 2012 at 10:04

Gilbert O’Sullivan “Himself” Coming Soon, Naturally

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In a little while from now, if I’m not feeling any less sour, I promise myself to treat myself…and listen to a Gilbert O’Sullivan record.  The quirky Irish singer/songwriter topped the charts in 1972 with “Alone Again, Naturally,” proclaimed by American Top 40 as the fifth most popular song of the entire decade.  But it’s also one of the most unusual.  As the song begins, the narrator is left at the altar and is contemplating “climbing to the top” of a “nearby tower” to throw himself off.  He imagines what people are saying about him, and knows that he’s alone again.  He hastens to add “naturally,” and we know that he’s felt alone before.  As the song ambles on, he questions God (“if He really does exist”) but identifies with all the others in his shoes: “It seems to me that there are more hearts broken in the world that can’t be mended…left unattended…what do we do?”  Even the music sighs.  But that’s not all.  He then remembers his father’s death and his mother’s (“And when she passed away/I cried and cried all day”) before resolving that he’s, of course, “Alone again, naturally.” This could be dire, gothic stuff.  But O’Sullivan set the song to a rich melody and arrangement that’s never grandiose or melodramatic.  It’s deceptively bouncy one minute, painfully aching the next and then wistfully resigned.  In short, it’s ultimately quite beautiful, and all too universal.  There’s heartbreak in the mundane as O’Sullivan matter-of-factly recounts his story, and it can reliably bring a smile to my face in the way that only a great song can.

It’s difficult to listen to “Alone Again, Naturally” as if for the first time.  O’Sullivan’s song has been performed by jazz singers (Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan), instrumentalists (Hank Crawford, Herb Alpert), funk goddesses (Esther Phillips), MOR kings (Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis), divas (Shirley Bassey), swingers (Bobby Darin), Mamas (Cass Elliot), and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends who are also divas (Elton John) and Jazz Singers (Neil Diamond).  But if you too hear “Alone Again, Naturally” as more than a maudlin artifact of the Seventies Preservation Society, has Union Square Music got a surprise for you!  The reissue and compilation specialist label has just announced plans to reissue deluxe editions of thirteen albums recorded between 1967 and 1997, plus a “best-of” and even a box set.  Union Square is probably best known for its acclaimed reissues of the Madness, Procol Harum and The Move catalogues, so O’Sullivan’s fans can reasonably expect comprehensive packages.

The first of these reissues has been announced for November 7, an expanded reissue of the singer’s 1971 U.K. debut, Himself.  Hit the jump for full details including track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 26, 2011 at 12:17