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Release Round-Up: Week of September 4

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Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé, Barcelona: Deluxe Edition (Island U.K.)

The Queen frontman’s final solo effort – an ambitious collaboration with a Spanish opera legend – has been given new life on CD, with its original synth instrumentation fully fleshed out by an orchestra. A super deluxe box includes scores of audiovisual extras, and the newly-orchestrated album is also available on vinyl.

Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance: Special 30th Anniversary Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

A special CD/DVD edition of this classic metal album includes studio and live bonus tracks (including the original bonus tracks from the 2001 reissue) and the band’s 1983 performance at the US Festival for the first time on video.

Billy Paul, 360 Degrees of Billy Paul: Expanded Edition / Dionne Warwick, Dionne: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

The week’s BBR slate includes an underrated 1972 Philly soul classic (with the fantastic soul smash “Me and Mrs. Jones”) and a hit pop crossover for Dionne Warwick, produced by none other than Barry Manilow. Bonus tracks on each include single edits, and in the case of Billy Paul, one live cut.

Various Artists, Action! The Songs of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart The Ramones Heard Them Here First (Ace)

Two new compilations from the venerable U.K. label: one spotlighting the songwriters known for Monkees classics from the TV series theme to “Last Train to Clarksville” (but a disc featuring, naturally, some more esoteric recordings alongside notable tracks like Jay & The Americans’ “Come a Little Bit Closer” and recordings by Del Shannon and The Shangri-La’s); and another generous disc of 24 hits that were notably covered by one of the most influential punk bands ever.

Various Artists, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Legacy)

Out on CD after a short time as a digital-only title, this soundtrack to a new documentary from rapper Ice-T features classic rap cuts from the 80s and ’90s and some newly recorded freestyles from legends of the genre.

Green Day, The Studio Albums 1990-2009 (Reprise)

Available in the U.S. through Best Buy, this simple box consists all of the band’s proper studio albums in one set.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 4, 2012 at 08:03

Short Takes: McCartney Readies “Rockshow,” Rundgren’s Live “Healing”, Jay and the Americans’ “Magic Moment” Revisited

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As we kick off another week, we’re catching up with a few news items that almost slipped between the cracks!

  • Earlier this year, RockBeat and S’More Entertainment released Todd: Live, preserving on both CD and DVD editions a live performance by Todd Rundgren of his 1974 classic album Todd.  But Todd only told half of the story!  Joined by Utopia’s Kasim Sulton (bass), The Cars’ Greg Hawkes (keyboards), The Tubes’ Prairie Prince (drums), Guitar Player Magazine’s editor Jesse Gress (guitar), Bobby Strickland (sax) and a full choir, Rundgren’s performance of Todd was part of a double bill.  The second half of the evening consisted of the singer bringing to life his 1981 opus Healing. Today, the live Healing joins Todd with CD and DVD releases.  The semi-concept album is one of Rundgren’s most personal efforts.   Side One of the original album loosely tells a parable about a man who discovers he has healing powers, and the second side is a “soundtrack to that story” in Rundgren’s words.  Interested?  You can order the CD of Healing Live here, and the DVD here.

  • Jay and the Americans somewhat paradoxically entered the 1970s not looking forward, but rather looking back.  The group behind such pop perennials as “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Cara Mia” and “Only in America” had endured personnel and management changes by 1969, and also faced the changing tastes in music.  Knowing the value of a great song, however, the group self-produced Sands of Time, dedicated to disk jockey Alan Freed and dedicated to revivals of songs from just a few years back, though that few years must have seemed like a lifetime.  The gamble paid off.  Sands of Time yielded the group’s Top 10 first hit in over three years thanks to Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus’ “This Magic Moment.”  The No. 6 chart placement even bested the Drifters’ original by ten places!  The U.K.’s BGO Records has joined Sands of Time with its 1970 follow-up Wax Museum and Capture the Moment from later in 1970.  Wax Museum scored another Top 20 hit with the band’s recording of Phil Spector, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “Walkin’ in the Rain” (originally waxed by the Ronettes) while other songs came from the pens of Pomus and Shuman, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The third offering in BGO’s set, Capture the Moment, was largely self-penned and very much in a folk-rock vein, and features future Steely Dan members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on string and horn arrangements.  Sands of Time/Wax Museum/Capture the Moment is available now!

Hit the jump to see what Paul McCartney has planned for 2013!  It’s never too early… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 19, 2012 at 09:59