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Release Round-Up: Week of May 8

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Barenaked Ladies, Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before! (Rhino)

A single-disc compilation of mostly unreleased odds and ends from the BNL catalogue.

Bill Withers, Just as I Am: 40th Anniversary Edition (Big Break)

A remaster of Withers’ breakthrough 1971 album, featuring the immortal “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands.”

Phil Collins, …But Seriously (Audio Fidelity)

Collins’ 1989 solo album, featuring hits “Another Day in Paradise” and “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven,” has been mastered for a 24K gold disc.

Various Artists, Da Doo Ron Ron: More from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace)

The legendary songwriting team penned classic cuts for Phil Spector’s stable of hitmakers – some of which are on this disc – but they also wrote tracks for Jay & The Americans, The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, Lesley Gore and other neat hidden gems on this compilation.

Mariah Carey, The Essential Mariah Carey (Columbia/Legacy)

Although we’d reported this was a straight reissue of Mariah’s double-disc Greatest Hits (2001), it’s actually ever so slightly different, boasting vintage remixes of “Emotions,” “Anytime You Need a Friend” and “The Roof (Back in Time).” Plan accordingly!

Julie Andrews & Carol Burnett, The CBS Television Specials: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live at Lincoln Center / Liza Minelli, Legends of Broadway: Live at the Winter Garden (Masterworks)

From Masterworks, a handful of Broadway legends’ classic concerts brought back to CD.

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything / Loveless / EPs 1988-1991 (Sony U.K.)

Can it be? Remastered editions of the MBV discography, including the first-ever CD compilation of the band’s B-sides and EPs, are available after years and years of development and release date shifts.

Release Round-Up: Week of April 17

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Janis Joplin, The Pearl Sessions (Columbia/Legacy)

Essentially a new double-disc deluxe edition of Joplin’s final album, with mono single mixes and a heap of mostly unreleased session outtakes as bonus tracks.

Little Richard, Here’s Little Richard (Specialty/Concord)

One of the cornerstone albums of modern rock is newly remastered and expanded with two demos, video content and an interview with Specialty label founder Art Rupe.

Bob Marley & The Wailers, Marley: The Original Soundtrack (Tuff Gong/Island)

It won’t supplant Legend, but this new two-disc compilation (to tie in with the new film) features hits, early obscurities and an unreleased live version of “Jammin'” from the historic One Love Peace concert.

Aretha Franklin, Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Deluxe Edition (Funky Town Grooves)

The Queen of Soul’s legendary ’80s comeback, expanded with every mix and edit of hit singles like “Freeway of Love,” “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” and the title track.

Cowboy Copas/Little Willie John/The Ad Libs, Complete Hit SIngles As & Bs (Real Gone Music)

The latest from Real Gone compiles singles from pioneers of their genres (country for Cowboy Copas, doo-wop for The Ad Libs and R&B for Willie John).

Grand Funk Railroad, Mark, Don & Mel 1969-71 (Iconoclassic)

This classic GFR compilation has been released by Iconoclassic before, but previous copies were plagued with mastering issues. Now, they’ve all been cleared, and if you buy now, you’ll get a good one.

Luther Vandross, Hidden Gems (Epic/Legacy)

In honor of what would have been the late crooner’s birthday, a new single-disc compilation highlighting lesser-known album tracks and soundtrack rarities.

Donovan/Brooks & Dunn/Alan Jackson/Mariah CareyThe Essential (Legacy)

Four double-disc Essential sets from Legacy, but only one (from recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Donovan) isn’t a repackaging of a prior compilation.

Essentially Repackaged: Legacy Reissues Double-Disc Compilations Under New Names

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There’s something familiar about many of Legacy’s new entries in their ongoing The Essential series hitting stores in April and May.

Of the four double-disc compilations – one for prog-rock masters Blue Öyster Cult, one apiece for country stars Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn and one for pop chanteuse Mariah Carey – three have already been reissued under different names. The country ones are repackages of each performer’s latest hits set (Jackson’s 2010 contract-closing 34 Number One Hits and Brooks & Dunn’s 2009 #1s…and Then Some, released ahead of the duo’s farewell tour), while Mariah’s set came out in 2001 as Greatest Hits, once the singer left Columbia for a brief, disastrous run with Virgin. (That set has already been reissued as The Essential Mariah Carey in Europe as of last year.)

And while the new set, The Essential Blue Öyster Cult, provides new fans with a healthy look at their lengthy career beyond just the cowbell-heavy antics of “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” (not to mention expanding heavily upon the 2003 single-disc set of the same name), none of the material here is new. The compilation slightly resembles a less-rarity-packed version of 1995’s Workshop of the Telescopes (one track of which, the cover of “Born to Be Wild,” appears here).

All of these sets are out April 17 except the Mariah Carey set, available May 8. Hit the jump for full details on all of them.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 4, 2012 at 14:51

Prince Week Day 5: Prince in Other Places

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Prince’s influence has been discussed far and wide, from fashion to music videos to the actual, Hendrixian quality of his guitar playing. But it’s always unusual when the mercurial purple genius decides to directly contribute to another artist’s canon, particularly since one really never knows where he’s going to end up next.

What follows is a chronological list of ten of Prince’s most interesting “guest appearances.” Half of them are actual guest appearances, the other half either songs he wrote or covers of his hits (we have disqualified anything Prince produced, as everyone knows as soon as Prince sits in a producer’s chair, it’s essentially his song). Some of these might not be new to you if you’re a die-hard Prince fan, but at least you can reflect on His Royal Badness and the far-flung influence he’s had on pop music for more than a quarter-century. Take a look after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 8, 2010 at 13:11

Did You (Ever) Hear?

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It greatly pleases me that The Second Disc has attracted an interested readership. It’s a pleasure that there are many out there interested in how the industry behaves and evolves. And as a writer and enthusiast with such devotion to the niche, it’s just exciting to connect with like-minded individuals.

To that end, I pose something of a catalogue-oriented challenge to you. In all my years collecting and listening to pop music, I have only come across the following track once. The complete lack of information devoted to it on the Internet makes me worry that I’ve made up its existence, but I remain insistent that the song is out there. I wonder if you may have heard it yourself.

Certainly you’ve heard “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” Phil Collins’ Oscar-nominated 1984 hit. You may have even heard the cover version Mariah Carey did in 2000 (released twice as a single, the second version being a remix with boy band Westlife added to the track).

I remain 99 percent certain I have heard a third version that takes the master track of Collins’ version and mixes it with a duet vocal by Carey. It was perhaps five years ago, one late night on New York radio station 106.7 Lite FM. This wasn’t a DJ-created edit, like the original version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” I believe Carey’s original cover version was in another key, so she would have had to have re-recorded the vocals from scratch to fit the key of the original.

I’ve never heard the song since, although I do distinctly recall my reaction was one of confusion over why the song would be overdubbed in such a way. Futhermore, I’ve never seen any information indicating that it was released, either as a commercial or promo single. (It would be a confusing release, since Collins’ work is distributed by Atlantic and Carey was, at the time of the cover, signed to Columbia.) I’ve stumped every pop enthusiast I’ve asked about this to, including an old roommate of mine who remains a die-hard Mariah fan.

To you, dear reader of The Second Disc, I humbly inquire: have you heard this version of the song ever? Those who can shed light on the situation receive my undying respect, which says a lot as a musical know-it-all.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2010 at 15:16