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Release Round-Up: Week of January 15

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Lost SirensNew Order, The Lost Sirens (Rhino) (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.)

A cadre of outtakes from the Waiting for the Siren’s Call sessions, this marks the last New Order material with original bassist Peter Hook.

Johnny Mathis - A Special Part of MeJohnny Mathis, A Special Part of Me: Expanded Edition (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Funkytowngrooves)

FTG’s latest R&B expansion has a Michael Jackson connection: the future King of Pop co-wrote for Mathis “Love Never Felt So Good” with Paul Anka!

Talk Talk Natural OrderTalk Talk, Natural History: The Very Best of Talk Talk 1982-1988 (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Natural Order 1982-1991 (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Virgin/EMI)

Not only a CD/DVD reissue of Talk Talk’s first compilation, but a new set, assembled by frontman Mark Hollis, featuring lesser-known and rare tracks from the band.

Eddie MoneyEddie Money, Eddie Money (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Life for the Taking (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / Playing for Keeps (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) / No Control (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) (Rock Candy)

Available in the U.K. now and Stateside next week: the Money Man’s first four Columbia albums, newly remastered and repackaged by Rock Candy.

Marcos Valle - Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle, Marcos Valle (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) /Garra (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This pair of 1970 and 1971 albums found the Brazilian bossa nova legend exploring new sonic terrain.  Light in the Attic tells the whole story with these remastered deluxe reissues!

J5 DVDThe Jackson 5, The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Series (Classic Media) (Amazon U.S.: DVD, Blu-Ray)

The entirety of the (probably ridiculous) Rankin-Bass J5 cartoon comes to DVD and, for some reason, Blu-ray!

Written by Mike Duquette

January 15, 2013 at 08:00

Johnny Mathis’ Expanded “Special Part of Me” Highlights Paul Anka and Michael Jackson Collaboration

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Johnny Mathis - A Special Part of MeIt’s been a wonderful, wonderful time to be a fan of Johnny Mathis, with the singer’s long-lost Mercury Records catalogue recently having been upgraded to CD by Real Gone Music.  As 2013 opens, another label is turning its attention to the Mathis catalogue.  Funky Town Grooves is returning the 1984 album A Special Part of Me to CD in a first-ever expanded edition due on January 15.

Mathis’ association with Columbia Records began in 1956 when he was just 21 years of age, and these many years later, he’s still a label fixture, with his most recent album (2010’s Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville) having arrived on Columbia.   Other than the 1963-1966 tenure at Mercury, Columbia saw Mathis through every conceivable genre of music.  While at Mercury, Mathis dipped his toes in the waters of the “covers album,” in which he would record “the Johnny Mathis” version of popular, charting songs.  The romantic, lush tones that had served him so well on readings of Broadway and Hollywood standards in his early years proved remarkably adaptable to songs by Bacharach and David, Lennon and McCartney, and Jimmy Webb.

Producer/composer/arranger Thom Bell was one of the first to realize Mathis’ untapped potential as a true soul singer, tailoring the lush 1973 album I’m Coming Home to the artist’s rich vocal talents.  Steadily recording throughout the seventies, Mathis reached the “top of the pops” in 1978 with “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” a duet with Deniece Williams, and stayed current with disco-flavored cuts (1978’s “Gone, Gone, Gone” for one), hit film themes (Marvin Hamlisch and the Bergmans’ “The Last Time I Felt Like This,” with Jane Olivor, from Same Time, Next Year) and even a funky, dancefloor-ready collaboration with CHIC (the still-unreleased album I Love My Lady).

We meet Mathis in 1984 after the jump!  Plus: a pre-order link and full track listing. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 10, 2013 at 09:52

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 »

Release Round-Up: Week of December 4

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Complete Johnny CashJohnny Cash, The Complete Columbia Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

Perhaps the biggest box set of the quarter (maybe the whole year?), this 63-disc set collects all of The Man in Black’s Columbia albums from The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1959) to Live at Madison Square Garden (recorded in 1969 and released in 2002), plus an expansion of the Sun album Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957) and two discs of non-LP singles and other odds and ends.  Here’s Joe’s review of the whole set!   (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Mellon Collie deluxeSmashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI)

“Tonight, Tonight” (or today, today) is the day to get the latest Smashing Pumpkins catalogue project: four discs (three CDs and a DVD) of bonus material appended to the original double LP! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) A triple-vinyl remaster of the original album is also available (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a basic remaster of the album on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

The Who Studio AlbumsThe Who, The Studio Albums (Geffen/UMe)

Every one of The Who’s 11 main albums, newly remastered and replicated for vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

KISS Casablanca SinglesKISS, The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 (Mercury/Casablanca/UMe)

Every A and B-side from KISS’ Casablanca years, replicated on CD (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) and, allegedly, vinyl singles, though we’ve never found a retail link for that version, outside of an outsize expensive link from Universal itself.

The Slider 40th Anniversary BoxT. Rex, The Slider: 40th Anniversary Edition Box Set (Edsel)

A super-deluxe take on T. Rex’s iconic LP, featuring the original album remastered by Tony Visconti, two discs of B-sides, demos and outtakes, a DVD, two books, a vinyl LP and three 7″ singles. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

Mary Wells Something NewMary Wells, Something New: Motown Lost & Found (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Two discs of rare and unreleased Mary Wells tunes from the fabled Motown vaults! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Johnny Mathis - So NiceJohnny Mathis, So Nice/Johnny Mathis Sings / John Hatford, Aero-Plane/Morning Bugle: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 26–4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN / Gene Harris, Gene Harris/The Three Sounds/Gene Harris of The Three Sounds / Bobbi Humphrey, Dig This / Jeremy Steig, Wayfaring Stranger (Real Gone)

Real Gone’s December slate includes the last of the Johnny Mathis/Mercury two-fers, another Dick’s Pick reissue and three Blue Note selections reissued on the resurrected Dusty Groove imprint! (Head here for pre-order links on all these sets.)

Prodigy Fat of the Land 15The Prodigy, The Fat of the Land: 15th Anniversary Edition (XL)

The Prodigy’s breakthrough album remastered and expanded with Added Fat, an EP of new remixes of tracks like “Firestarter,” “Breathe” and “Smack My Bitch Up.” (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) That EP is available separately on vinyl (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a vinyl reissue of the original LP (Amazon U.S.).

Alice Cooper Old School 2Alice Cooper, Old School 1964-1974 (Bigger Picture)

Remember this box set? This is a condensed version – just CDs, no vinyl or extra swag. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Hooters 3ferThe Hooters, Nervous Night/One Way Home/Zig Zag (BGO)

All three of The Hooters’ Columbia albums on one handy two-disc set. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

And here are some vinyl reissues for your enjoyment!

Love, Forever Changes (180 Gram) (Elektra/Rhino)

The Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed (180 Gram) (Friday Music)

Linda Ronstadt, Heart Like a Wheel (RockBeat)

Sade, Promise (180 Gram) (Audio Fidelity)

Real Gone Music Partners with Dusty Groove, Releases Hartford, Mathis and Grateful Dead in December

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If you’re in the market for any last-minute holiday gifts, Real Gone Music has got you covered.  The reissue specialists have announced their December slate of six titles, including three from an exciting new partnership!  As usual for the eclectic Real Goners, the releases cover a wide spectrum of genres, from traditional vocal pop to country, rock and jazz!  On December 4, the label will unveil these six titles: Johnny Mathis’ So Nice/Johnny Mathis Sings;John Hartford’s Aereo-Plain/Morning Bugle—The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings; Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks Vol. 26–4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN; Gene Harris’ Gene Harris/The Three Sounds/Gene Harris of the Three Sounds; Bobbi Humphrey’s Dig This; and Jeremy Steig’s Wayfaring Stranger.  The final three titles are being released in collaboration with Chicago music retailer Dusty Groove.

Real Gone concludes its reissue series of Johnny Mathis’ Mercury albums with So Nice (1966) and Johnny Mathis Sings (1967).  So Nice (which hit No. 50 on the 1966 charts) took its title from Marcos Valle’s bossa nova ballad, and Mathis drew other songs from Broadway musicals (three songs from the then-current smash Man of La Mancha) and the pop charts (Bacharach and David’s “What the World Needs Now is Love,” Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”) Johnny Mathis Sings (which reached No. 103) was even more diverse, with more Bacharach and David (“Always Something There to Remind Me,” “Saturday Sunshine”) joined by Lennon and McCartney (“Eleanor Rigby”) and Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”).  Mathis also tackled contemporary film and theatre songs on his tenth and final set for Mercury Records.  Soon after the release of Sings, he was back at Columbia Records to start another chapter.  Both albums make their CD debut, remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios and featuring liner notes written by James Ritz featuring quotes from Mathis himself.

From a great singer to a great songwriter: Real Gone is also issuing, for the first time, The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings of John Hartford.  The “Gentle on My Mind” songwriter, having established onscreen fame paired with Glen Campbell and The Smothers Brothers on television, signed to Warner Bros. in 1971 and issued two singular long-players.  For 1971’s Aereo-Plain, Hartford brought together fiddler Vassar Clements, dobroist Tut Taylor, guitarist Norman Blake and bassist Randy Scruggs to play a set that paved the way for the so-called “newgrass” movement of contemporary bluegrass music.  Despite its lack of commercial success, Hartford pressed ahead with 1972’s Morning Bugle, on which he was joined by Blake and bassist Dave Holland.   Real Gone’s definitive survey of Hartford’s WB period includes eight previously unreleased tracks (four from each session), with notes by Hartford historian Andrew Vaughan and photos donated by the artist’s family.

After the jump: The Grateful Dead, plus three lost gems from Real Gone and Dusty Groove! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 26, 2012 at 10:10

From Doris Day to David Peel: Real Gone Slate Includes Rare Apple Records Album, Mathis at Mercury, Como Christmas and More!

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The holiday season must be upon us, for Real Gone Music has announced its Christmas-themed offerings – but that’s not all!  The enterprising label has two offerings with Apple Records ties (one actually from the Apple catalogue!), the complete singles of a soul legend, a counterculture classic, a distinctly non-counterculture classic, and well…just read on about the rest!

First up, four more of Johnny Mathis’ long-unavailable Mercury Records LPs are arriving on CD for the first time!  (Read about the first batch and Mathis’ history with the label here!)  On November 6, Real Gone pairs 1964’s This Is Love, one of the romantic balladeer’s most sublime efforts, with one of his most unusual: 1965’s Olé.   Featuring Latin songs sung in Spanish and Portuguese (including two from the groundbreaking bossa nova film score to Black Orpheus) Olé finds Mathis tackling challenging repertoire, including light classical, aided by Allyn Ferguson’s authentic arrangements. The next two albums arriving from Real Gone are more traditional, yet no less worthwhile.  The Sweetheart Tree (1965) is titled after Henry Mancini’s theme from The Great Race, while The Shadow of Your Smile (1966) takes its cue from the Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster song from The Sandpiper.  The former largely sees Mathis wrapping his velvety vocals around familiar standards, while the latter takes a more contemporary bent with two Beatles tunes, three songs from Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s Broadway musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, “A Taste of Honey” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado.”  (The Sweetheart Tree was issued in the U.K. with a rejiggered track line-up including some additional songs.  Based on the current track listing supplied to Amazon, it doesn’t appear that the non-U.S. tracks have been included, but we’ll report back should we find otherwise!)

Over at Atlantic Records, Barbara Lewis was making her way up the charts with such sensual, memorable soul ballads as “Hello Stranger” (which she wrote!), “Baby I’m Yours” and “Make Me Your Baby.”   The 2-CD The Complete Atlantic Singles is the first truly exhaustive survey of Lewis’ sixties tenure at Atlantic, and contains tracks penned by Lewis, Chip Taylor, Billy Vera and Van McCoy, as well as productions by Bert Berns, Arif Mardin and Artie Butler.  The set contains the A-sides and B-sides of all 17 singles she issued for the label, many of which are making their debut on CD. Lewis has contributed to Richie Unterberger’s liner notes. It’s due on November 6.

After the jump: a veritable feast of Christmas classics!  Plus: Real Gone takes a bite out of the Apple, and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 21, 2012 at 10:07

Release Round-Up: Week of August 28

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Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #15-26 (Zappa Records/UMe)

FZ’s 1972-1979 discography, almost entirely sourced from original analog masters. (Joe breaks it all down for you here!)

Various Artists, A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection (A&M/UMe)

Three discs of hits and favorites from a most eclectic of major labels.

Elvis Presley, A Boy from Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Follow That Dream)

The King’s complete Sun tenure, with single masters, alternates, live takes and more – not to mention an enormous book of liner notes spanning over 500 pages.

Art Garfunkel, The Singer (Columbia/Legacy)

You know the voice; now, take a dive into Art Garfunkel’s career with this double-disc overview, curated by the man himself and featuring Simon & Garfunkel tracks, solo recordings and two brand-new tunes.

Johnny Mathis, Tender is the Night/The Wonderful World of Make-Believe Love is Everything/Broadway (Real Gone)

The first of a series of two-fers bringing Mathis’ Mercury discography back into print, including an unreleased LP of Broadway standards!

David Cassidy, Cassidy Live / Gettin’ It in the Street / Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Complete Liberty Singles / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volume 28 (Real Gone)

The rest of Real Gone’s monthly lineup includes two David Cassidy discs on CD for the first time ever.

The Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection / Etta James, The Complete Private Music Blues, Rock ‘n’ Soul Albums Collection / Sarah Vaughan, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Legacy)

The latest PopMarket boxes include a Brecker Brothers box entirely full of discs making their CD debuts.

Andrew W.K., I Get Wet: Deluxe Edition (Century Media)

2001’s ultimate party soundtrack, with a bonus disc of live and alternate material.

Wonderful! Wonderful! Johnny Mathis’ Long-Lost Mercury Catalogue Comes to CD from Real Gone Music

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Johnny Mathis’ association with Columbia Records began in 1956, which makes it one of the longest relationships between artist and label in popular music.  But it’s often overlooked that Mathis departed Columbia for a brief period at rival Mercury Records, right as some young upstarts from across the pond were changing the face of music forever.  (Keep in mind that Mathis himself wasn’t even 30 when he made the shift!)  During a prolific three years (1963-1966) at Mercury, Mathis recorded eleven albums, including one Christmas collection and one Broadway-themed set that never saw release.  Despite the singer’s endurance, none of these Mercury albums have ever seen compact disc release in its original form; only the Christmas album has been released on CD, and even then under a different title and with some songs dropped.  Real Gone Music is rectifying this longtime wrong with its new reissue program of Mathis’ underrated work for Mercury Records.  The series of two-fers begins on August 28 with the release of 1964’s Tender is the Night paired with the same year’s The Wonderful World of Make-Believe, plus the unreleased 1965 Broadway joined with that year’s Love Is Everything.  The Mathis releases will join Real Gone’s other vintage titles due in August from Gary Lewis and the Playboys, David Cassidy and The Grateful Dead.

By 1963, Mathis had notched some eighteen Top 40 hits for Columbia and over fifteen albums that emphasized his romantic side.  After a jazz-leaning debut in 1956, the label steered the young singer towards lush balladry, with productions and arrangements from Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, Nelson Riddle, Glenn Osser, Don Costa and Ralph Burns.  He even returned to a jazz format with 1959’s Open Fire, Two Guitars, backed just by the guitars of Al Caiola and Tony Mottola plus an upright bass played by Frank Carroll and Milt Hinton.  But Mathis’ versatile voice could handle swingers (see the Burns and Riddle sets), too, and he had long displayed an affinity with the wide-ranging material from the Hollywood and Broadway songbooks.  At Mercury, he tackled both classics and contemporary songs.

We have full details, track listings with discographical annotation, and pre-order links after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 18, 2012 at 10:02

Some Kind of a Summer: Real Gone Offers David Cassidy, Gary Lewis, Grateful Dead, Johnny Mathis In August

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Real Gone Music is looking ahead to August, and it’s going to be one hot summer!  The label has just announced new titles from all around the pop/rock spectrum: Gary Lewis and the Playboys, David Cassidy, The Grateful Dead and Johnny Mathis!

Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ Complete Liberty Singles first arrived in 2009 from the late Collectors’ Choice Music label, with 45 tracks on 2 CDs.  This anthology definitely proved that there was much more to the group than just “This Diamond Ring,” presenting the A- and B-sides of every single they issued on the Liberty label.  Most of the group’s original mono mixes and B-sides hadn’t been available on CD at all until this set came along, making it a particular must-have for collectors and fans alike.  Discovered at Disneyland and signed to Liberty Records by ace producer Snuff Garrett, Gary Lewis and the Playboys had a smash right out of the gate with that Al Kooper/Bob Brass/Irwin Levine song.  The next six singles for the young California band all went Top Ten, with “Count Me In” and “Save Your Heart for Me” stopping just short of pole position, “She’s Just My Style” reaching No. 3 and “Everybody Loves a Clown” hitting No. 4.  Leon Russell was a prominent fixture as songwriter, arranger and musician on many of the Playboys’ best tracks, and the pure pop craftsmanship of these classics still impresses today.  Real Gone’s new edition brings this comprehensive collection back into print, and includes Ed Osborne’s annotation, drawing on interviews with producers Bones Howe and Snuff Garrett, drummers Hal Blaine and Jim Keltner, singer Ron Hicklin (who frequently doubled Lewis’ lead vocals) and Lewis himself.

After the jump: what’s coming from David Cassidy, The Grateful Dead and Johnny Mathis?  Plus: full track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 17, 2012 at 13:27

Gonna Take a Miracle: Deniece Williams Trio Coming From BBR and FTG

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Let’s hear it for Deniece Williams.

By the time of her debut album in 1976, the resilient singer with the remarkable range had already recorded a Northern Soul favorite (“I’m Walking Away” on the small Lock Records label), performed with Minnie Riperton and Roberta Flack, and been a member of Stevie Wonder’s versatile backing group Wonderlove.  This is Niecy, on Columbia Records, was produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and Charles Stepney of Chess Records fame, and their confidence in the vocalist paid off. 

Now, on the occasion of its 35th anniversary, This is Niecy is receiving an expanded reissue from the U.K.’s Big Break Records, one of the Cherry Red family of labels.  (BBR has previously released expanded editions of four of Williams’ albums: her sophomore effort Songbird, disco-flavored third solo album When Love Comes Calling, Thom Bell-produced soul masterpiece My Melody and pop classic Let’s Hear It For the Boy.  In addition, the label’s Facebook page recently confirmed exciting plans for an upcoming reissue of the 1982 Williams/Bell Niecy.)  Not wanting to be left out of the action, however, the Funky Town Grooves label has planned two more Williams reissues, both expanded: 1983’s I’m So Proud and 1986’s Hot on the Trail.  (Williams’ back catalogue has been mined by numerous labels in recent memory.  Both Reel Music and SPV Yellow Label have previously tackled Niecy for reissue, and the latter paired it with Let’s Hear It for the Boy.  We eagerly await Big Break’s plans for the much-loved album!)

The centerpiece of This is Niecy remains “Free,” still a signature song for Williams today.  Co-written by the Gary, Indiana native (as was each track on the album), “Free” scored chart victories both in the United States (No. 2 R&B, No. 25 Pop) and the United Kingdom (No. 1 Singles).  “That’s What Friends Are For” (not the Burt Bacharach song, or for that matter, the Paul Williams song, either!) and “Cause You Love Me Baby” both followed “Free” up the R&B charts, and the former even cracked the U.K. Top Ten.  The newly-remastered edtion of This is Niecy includes three bonus tracks:  the single versions of “Free” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” as well as an alternative single mix of “Free.”  Housed in a super jewel box, the 35th anniversary edition features copious liner notes, customary for BBR, based on new interviews with the album’s personnel!

The success of This is Niecy led to another success with 1977’s Song Bird, and an even bigger one in an unlikely place.  Columbia teamed its new star with a label mainstay, the velvet-voiced Johnny Mathis, for a one-off single arranged by Gene Page, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”  The song by Nat Kipner and John McIntyre Vallins took the triple crown, going all the way to No.1 on the pop, R&B and Adult Contemporary charts.  It was Mathis’ first chart-topper since 1957 and the first for Williams.  Its success led to an entire album of duets, 1978’s That’s What Friends Are For, which arrived in between Song Bird and When Love Comes Calling, her first LP for Maurice White’s Columbia-distributed ARC label.

Hit the jump for the scoop on Funky Town Grooves’ expanded editions of I’m So Proud and Hot on the Trail! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 3, 2012 at 10:20