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Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Round-Up: Reissues Arrive from James Taylor, Jackie Gleason, Ferrante and Teicher

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‘Tis the season to be jolly – and so, ‘tis the season for more reissues of classic holiday music!  We’ve already filled you in on recent and upcoming releases from the likes of Percy Faith, Perry Como, Doris Day and Edie Adams, plus a classic Peanuts soundtrack and an entire series of holiday favorites from Legacy Recordings.  Today, we’re turning the spotlight on three more perennials that you just might wish to revisit this holiday season, from Jackie Gleason, Ferrante and Teicher, and James Taylor!

Friday Music’s Relayer label has just dipped into the EMI vaults for two reissues sure to excite fans of vintage instrumental Christmas music.  First up is a two-fer from The Great One himself, Jackie Gleason.  The entertainer’s first foray into a holiday variation on his popular “mood music” came in 1956 with Merry Christmas for the Capitol label.  He returned to holiday tunes more than a decade later with the 1967 release of ‘Tis the Season. The single disc, housed in a jewel case, includes reproductions of the original front and back cover art for both LPs, and brief notes from reissue producer Joe Reagoso on the tray card.  Reagoso has remastered from the original Capitol master tapes.

The same format has been followed for a two-fer from pianists Arthur Ferrante and Lou Teicher.  Ferrante and Teicher’s Snowbound (1962) and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (1966) were originally produced by Perry Como associate Nick Perito for United Artists Records.  Like the Gleason set, the Ferrante and Teicher albums are presented in reverse chronological order.  Relayer’s Reagoso has teamed with Scott Smith to remix and remaster Snowbound and We Wish You a Merry Christmas from the original UA master tapes.  Both the Gleason and Ferrante and Teicher albums represent the golden era of orchestral pop, and both are available in stores now.

After the jump: order links and track listings, plus the full story on the expanded edition of James Taylor’s lone holiday album! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 6, 2012 at 16:06

Release Round-Up: Weeks of October 30 and November 6

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Election Day is upon us today!  But if you’re looking to cast your vote for some music, too, we might be able to help!  Though we were able to keep the lights on each day at The Second Disc, Hurricane Sandy kept us from publishing a Release Round-Up last week.  So without further ado, here’s the best of the best for the weeks of October 30 and November 6!

Louis Armstrong, The Complete OKeh, Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933 (OKeh/Columbia/RCA/Legacy) (10 CDs) / Charlie Christian, The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Columbia/ Legacy) (4 CDs) / Duke Ellington, The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1951-1958 (Columbia/ Legacy) (9 CDs) / Bessie Smith, The Complete Columbia Recordings (Columbia/ Legacy) (10 CDs)

Four titans of jazz are celebrated with comprehensive box sets from Legacy Recordings!  Full details on each box can be found here!

Glen Campbell, Try a Little Kindness / The Glen Campbell Goodtime Album / The Last Time I Saw Her (BGO)

Three long-out-of-print albums from the country and pop legend arrive on two CDs from BGO!  Campbell’s renditions of “MacArthur Park,” “Honey, Come Back,” “Try a Little Kindness,” “Just Another Piece of Paper,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” are among the great songs you’ll hear here!

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics (Fantasy, 2012)

You’ll find 3 CDs of hits, deep cuts and live tracks here from the Bay Area swamp-rock legends!  Full track listing and more can be found here.

El Topo Soundtrack (LP & CD)/ David Peel & the Lower East Side, Have a Marijuana / Perry Como, Complete RCA Christmas Collection / Doris Day, The Complete Christmas Collection / SSgt. Barry Sadler, Ballads of the Green Berets

Real Gone Music’s October 30 slate included a counterculture classic from David Peel, a lost Apple Records soundtrack, two Christmas collections from beloved vocalists and an expanded reissue of SSgt. Barry Sadler’s Ballads of the Green Berets!  Full details are here!

Bert Jansch, Heartbreak: 30th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore) (CD / LP)

The great guitarist, singer and songwriter’s 1982 album arrives in an expanded edition on both CD and LP from Omnivore Recordings!  Track listing and all details are here.

Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick: 40th Anniversary Edition (Chrysalis) (CD/DVD Box and 2-LP Edition)

Extra!  Extra!  Jethro Tull’s 1971 album is celebrated in a CD/DVD box set and as a 2-LP vinyl edition!  Read all about it here.

Barbara Lewis, The Complete Atlantic Singles / Johnny Mathis, This Is Love/Olé / Johnny Mathis, The Sweetheart Tree/The Shadow of Your Smile

For November 6, Real Gone has released a 2-CD set of soulful singles from the “Baby, I’m Yours” singer, plus another two of Johnny Mathis’ long-unavailable Mercury Records albums! Full details are here!

Gary Lewis and the Playboys, (You Don’t Have To) Paint Me a Picture / New Directions / Now! (BGO)

Three albums circa 1967-1968 arrive on CD from the sixties’ pop sensations, including New Directions with its line-up of songs from the “Happy Together” team of Bonner and Gordon; and Now! with its Playboys takes on pop hits such as “Windy” and “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.”  You’ll also find contributions on this new 2-CD set from the young Leon Russell.

The Rolling Stones, Charlie is My Darling (Super Deluxe Box Set) (ABKCO, 2012)

The documentary Charlie is My Darling chronicles the early days of The Rolling Stones, and it’s arrived in a DVD/BD/CD/LP box set from ABKCO!  Track listing and full details are here.

James Taylor, James Taylor at Christmas (UMe)

JT’s 2004 Christmas collection arrives, with an altered track listing and a couple of newly-compiled tracks, in a new iteration from Universal!  Watch this space for full details!

Various Artists, Now That’s What I Call Disney (Sony/Universal/EMI/Walt Disney)

This 20-track collection reaches back as far as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and brings the Disney legacy up to date with songs from more recent classics like Toy Story and Tangled.  The title is derived from a 2011 3-CD compilation that arrived in the United Kingdom.

Various Artists, Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Complete Broadway Musicals (Masterworks Broadway, 2012)

Oh, what a beautiful box set!  This impressive 12-CD box set brings together one recording of each of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s groundbreaking Broadway musicals!  Full details are here.

The Velvet Underground and Nico: 45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Verve/UMe, 2012)

The Velvets’ debut album goes Super Deluxe in this 6-CD set.  Read more here!

Dionne Warwick, Now (Blue Horizon)

The legendary singer returns with an all-new studio set revisiting classics from Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The Phil Ramone-produced album includes four songs (two penned by Bacharach and two by David) which Warwick had never previously recorded.  The whole story is here!

The Who, Live at Hull 1970 (Geffen/UMe)

The incendiary 2-CD concert from Pete, Roger, John and Keith arrives for the first time as a stand-alone edition; it was previously available as part of the 2010 Live at Leeds box set.  You’ll find the track listing here.

Bill Withers, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters (Columbia/Legacy)

You can rediscover the entire album catalogue of the “Ain’t No Sunshine”/Lean on Me” man with this 9-CD box set from Legacy Recordings!  Full track listing and more can be found here!

Frank Zappa, 11 catalogue reissues (UMe/Zappa Records)

Another round of Official Releases from the Frank Zappa camp has arrived, from 1984’s Francesco Zappa through 1991’s Make a Jazz Noise Here.  Plus: the 2012 compilation Understanding America makes its debut.  Read the full rundown with order links here!

Love So Fine: Nick DeCaro’s “Works” Features James Taylor, B.J. Thomas, Andy Williams, More

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Though the A&M stands for (Herb) Alpert and (Jerry) Moss, A&M Records has meant a great many things to a great many people since its founding in 1962.  Those who came of age in the 1980s may think of the famous logo adorning records by Sting, Janet Jackson or Bryan Adams.  In the 1970s, the label was home to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens and Joe Cocker.  In the 1960s, A&M was not only a label but a “sound.”  That sound was a certain, beguiling style of sophisticated adult soft-pop epitomized by founder Herb Alpert as well as Burt Bacharach, Sergio Mendes, Chris Montez and Roger Nichols. Though Alpert and Moss sold their label (at one point the largest and most successful independent record company in the world) to PolyGram in 1989 and it is now a unit of Universal Music Group, its classic artists and albums have never fallen out of favor.

Universal Music Japan has launched an A&M 50th Anniversary Collection as well as a series of releases under the Nick DeCaro Posthumous 20th Anniversary umbrella.  A prolific arranger, composer and producer, DeCaro (1938-1992) was a mainstay of the early A&M era.  Among the titles already released in the series are albums by The Sandpipers, Chris Montez, Tijuana Brass offshoot The Baja Marimba Band, and DeCaro himself.  (Many of these titles are making their CD debuts.)  One new compilation has emerged, though, that celebrates DeCaro as well as some legendary artists from the A&M roster and elsewhere.

Nick DeCaro: Works is a 23-track anthology of DeCaro’s output as a producer and arranger between 1967 and 1982, and if it proves anything, it’s just how eclectic and adaptable the man’s style was.  Though he largely toiled behind the scenes in America, DeCaro became a star in Japan thanks to his 1974 solo effort Italian Graffiti, so it’s only fair that Japan is celebrating him with this diversely curated new release.

Mel Carter’s 1965 “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” on the Imperial label was Nick DeCaro’s first major hit as a producer and arranger, but it was the tip of the iceberg of his work at Imperial.  He produced records for studio groups like The Sunset Strings and a pre-Philadelphia O’Jays, and befriended young staff songwriter Randy Newman, who would later enlist him to write arrangements for his Good Old Boys album in 1974.  When he decamped for A&M, he became a primary architect of the label’s pop style, producing and/or arranging six albums for Claudine Longet, four for Chris Montez and six for the Sandpipers.  His work with Longet naturally brought him to the attention of her husband, Columbia Records artist Andy Williams, for whom DeCaro produced and arranged three LPs.  DeCaro also amazingly found time to arrange at Warner Bros. and Reprise, and he reunited with his old friend Newman writing charts for Harpers Bizarre’s renditions of Randy’s songs.

His own fitful solo career was less successful than his work for others, particularly when his 1969 solo debut Happy Heart went head-to-head with Andy Williams’ own version of its title song.  Williams had wanted his friend DeCaro to produce and arrange his recording, but DeCaro demurred, and Williams created a successful record of the song without DeCaro’s participation.  1974’s Italian Graffiti earned him cult status in Japan, but DeCaro continued to make his biggest hits for others.  Just a few of the names on the arranger’s client list reads like a “Who’s Who” of popular music: Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown), James Taylor (Gorilla, In the Pocket), Little Feat (Time Loves a Hero), Neil Diamond (Beautiful Noise), Helen Reddy (I Don’t Know How to Love Him), Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were, Barbra Joan Streisand, Wet), Rickie Lee Jones (Rickie Lee Jones, Pirates),  Dolly Parton (Here You Come Again).  DeCaro was also in demand for his abilities on the accordion and concertina, adding the instrument to recordings by everyone from The Rolling Stones to renowned multi-instrumentalist Prince!  Before his passing in 1992, DeCaro returned to solo recording in Japan, toured the country twice and produced Japanese artists, as well.  But The Works focuses on some of his most renowned American work, with an emphasis on his productions during the golden years of A&M.

Hit the jump for the full run-down on Works, including the track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 10, 2012 at 10:07

Higher Ground: Audio Fidelity Reissues Vintage Stevie Wonder, James Taylor on 24K Gold CD

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For its April 3 release slate, the Audio Fidelity label is returning to the catalogues of two tried-and-true artists and label favorites.

Having tackled James Taylor’s second, fourth and fifth albums, Audio Fidelity fills the gap in Taylor’s Warner Bros. catalogue with the release of the singer/songwriter’s third LP, 1971’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.  Similarly, the label has given the remastered 24K Gold CD treatment to four of the five albums from Wonder’s “golden era” at Motown (1972-1976) and now Is turning its attention to the fifth of those records, 1973’s Innervisions.

After the breakthrough success of Taylor’s Sweet Baby James and its single “Fire and Rain,” the artist scored another major success with the April 1971 release of Mud Slide Slim.  Containing his only Billboard No. 1 hit, “You’ve Got a Friend,” the album itself made it all the way up the chart to No. 2…and was held off from the top spot, ironically, by Carole King’s Tapestry.  That album not only featured Carole King’s own version of her song “You’ve Got a Friend,” but prominently featured the participation of, you guessed it, James Taylor!  But there’s much more to Mud Slide Slim than just “You’ve Got a Friend.”  The album, produced by Peter Asher, also introduced another Top 40 hit, “Long Ago and Far Away,” and the much-covered ballad “You Can Close Your Eyes.”  Taylor’s longtime friend and guitarist Danny Kortchmar supplied one of the album’s tracks, “Machine Gun Kelly.”  Kortchmar joined Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Joni Mitchell, Kate Taylor and Carole King among the album’s key personnel.  When the Grammy Awards rolled around, both King and Taylor were rewarded with trophies for “You’ve Got a Friend.”  For Audio Fidelity’s edition, Steve Hoffman has handled the remastering chores.

Hit the jump to explore Innervisions.  You’ll also find pre-order links and track listings for both titles. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 21, 2012 at 10:05

Springsteen, U2, Queen, Joel, McCartney, Taylor Featured On “Rock Hall of Fame” Live Box Set

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Since its formation on April 20, 1983, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has inducted a slate of accomplished musicians into its ranks on a yearly basis, causing excitement, consternation and everything in between.  Though the worthiness of nominees and inductees is hotly debated with each “class” and a number of distinguished artists continue to be ignored year after year, one thing can be agreed upon: a lot of great music has been played for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It continues to host performances at its Cleveland home, which opened its doors in 1995.  Each year, inducted musicians take the stage in Cleveland and at a New York induction ceremony, often with old colleagues or young musicians whom they have influenced.  Hence, Eddie Vedder joined the remaining Doors for “Break On Through,” Bruce Springsteen teamed with Mick Jagger on “Satisfaction,” Dhani Harrison accompanied two Wilburys, Steve Winwood and Prince for his late father George’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and the Allman Brothers partnered with Sheryl Crow for “Midnight Rider.”

In past years, only one major album came from The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s vast archives, a 1996 release collecting performances from the 1995 concert that inaugurated the actual museum.  In 2009 and 2010, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame teamed with Time-Life for a series of DVDs (available as a box set and individually) bringing together highlights from those often-controversial induction ceremonies, as well as CD and DVD releases of 2010’s 25th Anniversary concerts, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Time-Life association will continue this fall with the release of Best of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum Live, a 3-disc box set bringing many of these blazing performances to CD for the very first time.  Longtime Hall supporter Bruce Springsteen appears no fewer than six times on the box, joined by performers like Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, Mick Jagger and U2.  It’s a guitar-lover’s dream when a team of axemen including Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Flea and Metallica take on “The Train Kept A-Rollin’,” and when Cream reunites on “Sunshine of Your Love” for the first time in over two decades.  Other highlights include James Taylor’s solo performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” the Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” as interpreted by the supergroup of Billy Joel, Joan Jett, John Fogerty and John Mellencamp, and Green Day paying homage to the Ramones with “Blitzkrieg Bop.”  The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes celebrate the heyday of Philles Records, and the definitive line-up of rock legends also includes Paul McCartney (“Let It Be”) and The Who (“Won’t Get Fooled Again”).

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

Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, Metallica Join Neil Young For “Bridge School Concerts” CD/DVD

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Who but Neil Young could have brought The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, and Los Lonely Boys together on the same stage?  Though Young is an easy target for what can appear as a capricious attitude towards his back catalogue – announcing, then delaying or cancelling titles with alarming frequency – one aspect of the man’s great legacy cannot be in dispute, and that is his philanthropy.  Since 1986, Young and his wife Pegi have offered annual support for The Bridge School, an organization dedicated to the education of children with severe speech and physical impairments.  That was the year Mr. and Mrs. Young created The Bridge School Benefit Concert. 

The very first line-up included Young with his friends Crosby, Stills and Nash, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty and Robin Williams; the 2004 concert offered the diverse group including Bennett and McCartney.  This year’s shows, on October 22 and 23, will continue the generally all-acoustic ethos, and will offer faces both old and new.  Bennett and Vedder are to join Diana Krall, Dave Matthews, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Los Invisibles featuring Carlos Santana, Beck, Jenny Lewis, and Mumford and Sons.

Held yearly at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre, The Bridge School Benefit Concerts have welcomed artists including David Bowie, Willie Nelson, Sarah McLachlan, Elton John, Leon Russell, Sheryl Crow, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Brian Wilson, The Who, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and Bob Dylan.  All of those names (and many more!) appear on The Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition, due on October 24 from Reprise Records in 2-CD and 3-DVD formats.  There has been one prior Bridge School CD (1997’s The Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1) and a number of digital-only offerings, but these sets mark the most comprehensive package of music from the Bridge School’s archives.

Though there is some overlap among the CD and DVD releases (which will be sold separately), each features a unique selection of music.  Contributions from David Bowie, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Waits and Billy Idol only appear on the DVD set.  No Doubt, Jack Johnson, Sonic Youth, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Nils Lofgren, Norah Jones and Jonathan Richman are among those artists only appearing on CD.  Both formats include tracks from Elton John and Leon Russell (“My Dream Come True”), Bruce Springsteen (“Born in the USA”), Brian Wilson (“Surfin’ USA”), Fleet Foxes (“Blue Ridge Mountains”), Metallica (“Disposable Heroes”), The Who (“Won’t Get Fooled Again”) and Paul McCartney (“Get Back”).  Neil Young himself is represented on CD with “Country Feedback” with R.E.M. and “Love and Only Love” with Crazy Horse.  “Country Feedback” reappears on the DVD, along with a Young solo performance of “Crime in the City.”

Whereas the first two DVDs in the set are exclusively devoted to performance footage, the third disc contains bonus material: two documentaries, Backstage at the Bridge School Benefit and The Bridge School Story, along with artist and student interviews.

Hit the jump to watch the video trailer, as well as for the complete track listing and pre-order links!  The Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition hits stores on October 24 from Reprise, and it’s important to note that “all profits from this release go directly to The Bridge School.”  The label has set up an official site for the project here! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of September 6

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John Coltrane, The Impulse! Albums Volume 4 (Hip-o Select/Verve)

Five discs encompass five of Coltrane’s posthumous releases for the venerable jazz label. (Hip-o Select)

Frank Sinatra & Count Basie, The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings (Concord)

All 20 of the legendary performers’ tunes together on one disc. (Concord)

Various Artists, Godspell: 40th Anniversary Celebration (Sony Masterworks)

Just in time for the new Broadway revival, a two-for-one deal: the original 1971 cast album and 1973 film soundtrack. (Official revival site)

Various Artists, Where the Boys Are: The Songs of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield (Ace)

The latest in the U.K. label’s Songwriter Series spotlights two great scribes of the early pop era, from “Stupid Cupid” to “Crying in the Rain” and beyond. (Ace)

Change, This is Your Time: Expanded Edition / Change of Heart: Expanded Edition / Linda Williams, City Living: Expanded Edition / Andre Cymone, AC: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

The latest Big Break slate includes one from underrated soul legend Linda Williams and a reissue with some actual Prince-oriented material on it (AC, which featured the Prince-produced “The Dance Electric”). (Big Break)

Heart, Greatest Hits / James Taylor, Sweet Baby James (Audio Fidelity)

The latest classics to get the gold disc treatment. (Audio Fidelity: Heart, James Taylor)

Written by Mike Duquette

September 6, 2011 at 08:18

You Gotta Have Heart: Audio Fidelity Preps Gold Heart, “Sweet Baby James”

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Audiophile specialty label Audio Fidelity continues to revisit familiar titles in 24k Gold CD editions with its two latest releases, both due August 23: James Taylor’s 1970 breakthrough Sweet Baby James, and Heart’s 1998 retrospective Greatest Hits.

In the documentary film Troubadours, Carole King comments that due to the “generational and cultural turbulence…there was a hunger for the intimacy of what we did.” And as 1970 began, listeners certainly did hunger for James Taylor. After the commercial failure of his 1968 Apple Records debut (review here), Taylor and his producer Peter Asher decamped for the singer’s native America, where Sweet Baby James (so named for the singer’s namesake nephew) was recorded. Taylor assembled loyal friends, including a pre-Tapestry King and future Eagle Randy Meisner, to support his often-gentle vocals and distinct guitar style. That combination of an innately sweet voice with an almost painfully honest lyric led “Fire and Rain” straight to a No. 3 placement on the Billboard Hot 100, but that single is far from all Sweet Baby James has to offer. “Steamroller” is Taylor and Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar’s satire on the blues jam, and the upbeat “Country Road’ followed “Fire and Rain” into the Top 40. “Lo and Behold” offers a hint of gospel style while Taylor even makes Stephen Foster’s “Oh, Susannah” his own. Sweet Baby James also introduced “Blossom,” frequently the opening song on Taylor and King’s 2010 joint tour.  The album earned a 1971 Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and launched a career that still goes strong today. This release marks the third excursion by Audio Fidelity into Taylor’s Warner Bros. catalogue after One Man Dog (1972) and Walking Man (1974). Audio Fidelity’s Marshall Blonstein promised in an interview with Mike Ragogna that “an album like James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James had different artwork when it was originally released than it did when it was released years later on CD, so we go back and recreate everything to restore it to its original state.”

Hit the jump to continue with Heart’s Greatest Hits and check out track listings and pre-order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 10, 2011 at 14:22

James Taylor’s “Flag” and “Dad Loves His Work” Due On SACD

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In 1977, James Taylor jumped ship from Warner Bros. Records, his home between 1970 and 1976, for the greener pastures of Columbia.  His longtime producer Peter Asher joined him, and JT marked their first effort at the new label.  Taylor was rapidly rewarded, as JT spawned the hit singles “Your Smiling Face” and “Handy Man,” the latter of which snagged the singer a Grammy Award.  It was his highest-charting album since 1971’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, but Taylor took his time for a follow-up.  Flag didn’t arrive until almost two full years later, in May 1979.  Just last week, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released its first James Taylor hybrid SACD (playable on all CD players), appropriately starting with JT. The next two SACD titles have been confirmed by Music Direct and are available for pre-order, and they continue Taylor’s Columbia catalogue chronologically.  Flag and 1981’s Dad Loves His Work both were platinum sellers, and the former is a bit of a surprise.  Mobile Fidelity first announced Dad Loves His Work last November, so it’s a welcome surprise that Flag has joined it for release.  In addition, both titles will be available on 180-gram vinyl.  (Audio Fidelity has concurrently been taking on the task of bringing Taylor’s Warner Bros. albums up to audiophile standard as 24k gold CDs, and that label just recently confirmed reissue of Taylor’s then-wife Carly Simon’s No Secrets in that format.)

At the time of its release, Flag was inevitably perceived as a disappointment, coming off the highly successful JT.  It is a bit of a crazy quilt of the various musical strands running through Taylor’s head at the time.  Hence, the album includes two covers, one of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the other a Carole King/Gerry Goffin song that became closely identified with the artist: “Up on the Roof.”  Taylor, Asher and his usual team of musicians (including Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, Leland Sklar and Russ Kunkel, all of whom joined Taylor and King for their 2010 Troubadour tour) found a gentle groove in the old Drifters hit, emphasizing the melancholy and wistful quality of the song that resonated with listeners.  Taylor reworked his own “Rainy Day Man” for his new label, and among the other new compositions on Flag included recordings of two songs penned for Stephen Schwartz’s Broadway musical Working, “Brother Trucker” and “Millworker.”  The latter, in particular, is among the strongest songs written by Taylor, and remains the favorite of Working director Schwartz, a composer and lyricist himself (Godspell, Wicked).

Hit the jump for a look at Dad Loves His Work, plus complete track listings with discography and pre-order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 9, 2011 at 10:21

Posted in James Taylor, News, Reissues

Release Round-Up: Week of May 31

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Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madman: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy)

The Prince of Darkness’ first two LPs, finally put back into print with the original drum and bass tracks and expanded with bonus material (including a previously unreleased live disc for Diary). A box set packs all the CDs in with vinyl, a commemorative book and the new documentary Thirty Years After the Blizzard. (Official site)

Twisted Sister, Under the Blade: Deluxe Edition (Eagle)

Another welcome hard-rock reissue that restores the original mix of Twisted Sister’s debut LP to CD and adds some bonus EP tracks and a DVD of the band’s gig at the Reading Festival in 1982. (Official site)

Kate Bush, Director’s Cut (Fish People/EMI)

The magnificent singer/songwriter’s latest album project – her first in six years, and already released in the U.K., where it hit No. 2 – features remixed and re-recorded versions of tracks from The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993). A deluxe set features those original albums remastered as well. (Official site)

James Taylor, JT (Mobile Fidelity)

One of Taylor’s most satisfying albums gets the hybrid SACD treatment. (Mobile Fidelity)

The Guess Who, Flavours: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

The Guess Who reissue series continues with the band’s penultimate LP for RCA. (Iconoclassic)

The O’Jays, Back Stabbers: Expanded Edition / Jon Lucien, Song for My Lady: Expanded Edition / Linda Lewis, Woman Overboard: Expanded Edition / Linx, Intuition: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

The latest crop of BBR reissues makes its way to U.S. shores. Back Stabbers looks like it’s gonna be a good one, what with one of the best Philly soul songs ever in “Love Train.” (Big Break Records)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 31, 2011 at 08:30