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Archive for the ‘Hugh Martin’ Category

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 »

Review: Hugh Martin, “Hidden Treasures: Songs for Stage and Screen 1941-2010”

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Did a cork pop?  Did the world stop?  Am I just in love…with the music and lyrics of Hugh Martin?  Even if you don’t know the name of the late Mr. Martin, you certainly know his songs: “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “The Trolley Song,” and a little song heard every season, year after year, by the name of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  But these songs from the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis are just the tip of the iceberg of Hugh Martin’s catalogue, a few highlights of a career that lasted more than 75 years.  Martin died in 2011 at the age of 96, but Harbinger Records and The Musical Theater Project have brought together nearly 30 examples of Martin’s sparkling wit and lyricism in the grandly enjoyable Hidden Treasures (Harbinger HCD 2702).  For those who are already fans of Martin, it’s a must-have.  For those who only know his most famous contributions to The Great American Songbook, well…it’s an education!

You know an album is a bound to be a special one when no less an eminence grise than Stephen Sondheim is enlisted to write the foreword (to a generous 84-page, black-and-white illustrated booklet).  In his two volumes of collected lyrics, Sondheim proved himself to be not only his own toughest audience, but a frank critic of the works of many others from Ira Gershwin to Noel Coward.  But his praise for Hugh Martin is effusive: “Hugh Martin’s music, lyrics and vocal arrangements are the quintessence of 1940s musical comedy; they define what is meant by ‘show tunes’ or ‘pizzazz.’”  And there’s plenty of pizzazz on hand in every one of these thirty well-selected tracks spanning the period between 1941 and 2010, drawing on the composer-lyricist’s works in the Golden Ages of both Broadway and Hollywood.

Most of the tracks are heard in demo form, performed by Martin or his credited partner, Ralph Blane.  (Martin revealed in the last years of his life that he and Blane, more often than not, wrote separately, but took joint credit.  Think of them, then, as the musical theatre’s John Lennon and Paul McCartney.)  But there are also outtakes from Michael Feinstein’s 1995 Hugh Martin Songbook, live performances, a radio aircheck and even a newly-recorded song.  In the interest of making this album a definitive account of Martin’s career, the notes even helpfully indicate other recordings of the songs as well as their source projects.

Hit the jump for more of Martin! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 19, 2012 at 10:17