The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for the ‘Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis’ Category

Release Round-Up: Week of July 29

with 3 comments

Allman Brothers - Fillmore BoxThe Allman Brothers Band, The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings (Mercury/UMe)

The four shows in March 1971 that made up the band’s legendary breakthrough album are presented in full for the first time, along with the group’s closing set at the Fillmore East that following June. The Blu-ray version features the material in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound.

6CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3-BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4LP Highlights: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Dream Academy - Morning LastedPeggy Lipton, The Complete Ode Recordings / Gene Rains, Far Away Lands — The Exotic Music of Gene Rains /How to Stuff a Wild Bikini: Original Stereo Soundtrack / Cass Elliot, Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore Plus Rarities – Her Final Recordings / Dee Dee Warwick, The Complete Atco Recordings / The Shirelles, Happy and in Love/Shirelles / The Dream AcademyThe Morning Lasted All Day — A Retrospective (Real Gone Music)

This diverse Real Gone set includes a compilation from underrated ’80s synthpop group The Dream Academy and recordings from Peggy Lipton, star of The Mod Squad; she covers the songs of Carole King, Laura Nyro, Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jimmy Webb on this release, which has liner notes from our own Joe Marchese!

Peggy Lipton: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Gene Rains: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Wild BikiniAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cass Elliot: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Dee Dee Warwick: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Shirelles: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Dream Academy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Deep Purple Mark 1Deep Purple, Hard Road: The Mark 1 Studio Recordings 1968-1969 (Parlophone U.K.)

Deep Purple’s first three albums get the box set treatment with bonus tracks and stereo and mono mixes of the first two albums. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Get On UpJames Brown, Get on Up: The James Brown Story – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Polydor/UMe)

In honor of the new film opening this week, Universal’s got a new JB compilation, naturally featuring a pair of unreleased live tracks from 1966. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The BreezeEric Clapton and Friends, The Breeze (An Appreciation of J.J. Cale) (Bushbranch/Surfdog)

The legendary bluesman and some famous friends (Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer) pay tribute to the late blues singer-songwriter on this new album.

Standard Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD Box Set: Surfdog Records
4LP: Surfdog Records

LC CookeL.C. Cooke, The Complete SAR Records Recordings (ABKCO)

This anthology collects the complete recordings of L.C. Cooke for his older brother Sam’s SAR Records label, including one complete shelved album produced and largely written by Sam, plus alternate takes, unreleased tracks, session chatter and bonus recordings from the Checker and Destination labels!  Musicians include Bobby and Cecil Womack, Billy Preston and “Pink Panther” saxophonist Plas Johnson! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

I Hope We Get to Love in TimeSilver Convention, Get Up and Boogie: Expanded Edition / Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., I Hope We Get to Love in Time: Expanded Edition / Phyllis Nelson, Move Closer (Big Break Records)

Big Break has three more R&B classics arriving on CD this week  including the first post-5th Dimension album from Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. featuring their smash “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show).”

Silver Convention: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn & Billy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Phyllis Nelson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Super ChiefVan Dyke Parks, Super Chief (Yep Roc)

Yep Roc reissues Van Dyke Parks’ 2013 “orchestral fantasy” on standalone CD (previously only available as part of a Record Store Day vinyl package) for the first time! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

GOTG SoundtrackVarious Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Hollywood Records)

Here’s the only collection approved for listening by The Star Lord! This indeed-awesome all-catalogue mix includes vintage cuts from The Jackson 5, The Raspberries, David Bowie, The Runaways, Blue Swede, Rupert Holmes and more – all but one of which (Norman Greenbaum’s immortal “Spirit in the Sky”) play key roles in the Marvel blockbuster-to-be! Also available as part of a 2CD or 2LP deluxe edition also including the film’s orchestral score by Tyler Bates!

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Essential NSYNC*NSYNC, The Essential *NSYNC (Jive/Legacy)

This two-disc set from the late ’90s/early ’00s boy band lives up to its name for fans, featuring all the great hits (“Bye Bye Bye,” “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” “Pop”) plus a myriad of rarities from compilations, soundtracks and international pressings. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ghostbusters_SoundtrackVarious Artists, Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album (Arista/Legacy)

A sequel of sorts to the Record Store Day single co-produced by our own Mike Duquette, this is a straight reissue of the original soundtrack, newly remastered for vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Real Gone Unearths 5th Dimension, Vanilla Fudge and More for Late April

with 9 comments

Earthbound Original

Real Gone Music isn’t letting up, with six heavy-hitting reissues announced for an April 29 release, including compilations for Vanilla Fudge and The 5th Dimension, long-lost recordings by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and more!

We’ve already told you about RGM’s plans to release 10 tracks from the band’s famed radio-only “Tiffany Transcriptions” – four of which won’t be available on any other release – as a Record Store Day exclusive. A two-disc, 50-track set of those recordings from 1946-1947 will be available in the label’s latest release batch. So, too, will a single-disc set of Vanilla Fudge’s complete single sides for Atco Records, Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman’s soundtrack for the 1976 Olympics documentary White Rock, an expansion of punk titans X’s 1982 album Under the Big Black Sun and jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley’s long-out-of-print live double album Black Messiah from 1970.

If we can allow our biases to show for just a second, our most anticipated release of this batch is handily The 5th Dimension’s Earthbound: The Complete ABC Recordings. The psychedelic group was best known for their works on Soul City and Bell, of course, but this final album of the original band’s from 1975 is ripe for rediscovery. And what better way to help rediscover this period than with new liner notes from The Second Disc’s own Joe Marchese? These liners, a perfect sequel to Joe’s work for Real Gone’s reissued soundtracks to Together? and Toomorrow and Keith Allison’s forthcoming In Action: The Complete Columbia Sides Plus, include brand-new interviews he conducted with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. – and I’ll say it again: in this writer’s humble opinion, there are fewer writers who’d approach this project with as much professionalism and unencumbered enthusiasm.  This title is now scheduled for June 3, 2014 release.

So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for these new sets, all of which – save Earthbound – are due on April 29. Hit the jump for the full press release and Amazon links!

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a “Solid Gold” March From Real Gone with Grass Roots, David Ruffin, Marilyn McCoo, and More

with 8 comments

Grass Roots - ABC Dunhill SinglesWe all know that March comes in like a lion, so it’s altogether appropriate, then, that Real Gone Music comes into March with a roar!  The label’s March 4 slate of eight titles emphasizes classic soul, with detours to vintage pop and country.  And as Mardi Gras 2014 falls on that very date, the sound of New Orleans is celebrated with a few very special releases, too.  From New Orleans, Real Gone presents titles from three bona fide Big Easy legends: Dr. John, Professor Longhair and Irma Thomas.  Sweetening the deal, the soul queen of New Orleans’ release unearths no less than 13 unreleased tracks!  That Crescent City trio is joined by a rare, never-on-CD solo album from The 5th Dimension’s Marilyn McCoo and Real Gone’s first-ever dip into the Motown catalogue with four long out-of-print albums on two CDs from The Temptations’ David Ruffin.  The line-up is rounded out by a collection of gospel sides from country legend Charley Pride and the complete hit A-sides from a group we knew the label would discover “sooner or later” – The Grass Roots!

Hit the jump for all of the details courtesy Real Gone’s press release, plus pre-order links to all titles!  And don’t miss out on the eclectic roster coming from Real Gone this February 4…all of the details are right here! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 22, 2014 at 13:41

Review: Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., “The Two of Us” and “Marilyn & Billy”

with one comment

Marilyn and Billy - The Two of UsWhen Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. departed The 5th Dimension following the release of 1975’s Earthbound, their commercial success as a duo was far from a sure thing.  Despite being a worthy follow-up to the 5th Dimension’s magnum opus The Magic Garden and a reunion with that album’s composer-lyricist-producer Jimmy Webb, Earthbound didn’t rekindle the group’s fortunes.  But McCoo and Davis knew they had one thing going for them: their union, one which is still going strong today.  That unbreakable bond did, in fact, translate into a Pop and R&B No. 1 with “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” from their ABC Records debut as a twosome, 1976’s I Hope We Get to Love in Time.  Though that album has been released on CD in the past – more than once, actually – its two follow-ups have been out-of-print since their original issues.  Real Gone Music has come to the rescue with expanded editions of both 1977’s The Two of Us (RGM-0172) and 1978’s Columbia release Marilyn & Billy (RGM-0173).

As part of The 5th Dimension, Marilyn and Billy were chief practitioners of the genre dubbed by some pundits as “champagne soul.”  The members of The 5th Dimension certainly had the chops for pure R&B; just listen to Marilyn’s heartbreaking solo on “If I Could Reach You” or Billy’s wild improvisation on “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.”  But the group’s timeless music – penned by the likes of Webb, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and most memorably, Laura Nyro – epitomized soul with a classy, sophisticated pop twist.  I Hope We Get to Love in Time certainly didn’t turn its back on smooth pop, though the 5th Dimension’s longtime producer Bones Howe’s jazz/orchestral stylings were downplayed by new producer Don Davis.  (Florence LaRue, Ron Townson and Lamont McLemore soldiered on as The 5th Dimension in Marilyn and Billy’s absence, recording for both ABC and Motown.)

For The Two of Us, producer Davis was out, and Frank E. Wilson was in.  In other respects, though, the LP picked up where its predecessor left off, blending melodic ballads with lightly funky up-tempo showcases.  The real-life couple complemented each other vocally as well as in every other respect; McCoo brought her expressive and pristine pop vocals and Davis his emotive and more rough-hewn R&B sound to tracks like the sparkling up-tempo single (and album opener) “Look What You’ve Done to My Heart.”  McCoo and Davis trade off on lines before uniting their voices as one tight, powerful unit.

The songs on The Two of Us are cast in a positive mold that’s easy to interpret as autobiographical.  And why not?  With her old group, Marilyn transformed Laura Nyro’s “Wedding Bell Blues” into something very personal, and in doing so created one of the best records of the 1960s. On Carl Hampton and Homer Banks’ breezy, mid-tempo “Wonderful,” Billy croons to his wife, “I never had a dream come true, ‘til the day I laid eyes on you,” while on the bubbly disco-lite of “My Very Special Darling,” they ask each other, “Darling, can’t you see that I love you?” even though there couldn’t have been any doubt.  “My Reason for Being is You” is a worthy successor to the dramatic ballads Marilyn led with the 5th Dimension, as is the lush title track written by Stephen O’Hara.  Bob Alcivar, the arranger behind many of the group’s classics, supplied a composition of his own to The Two of Us, and it’s one of the album’s most rewarding as well as most unusual.   “Nightsong” shows off the singers’ purity of tone, as their vocals glide often wordlessly over a fusion-style backing.  Art Posey and Josef Powell, who also wrote “My Very Special Darling,” contributed another jazzy track, the offbeat “The Times.”  The most personal track on the album is Davis’ own “In My Lifetime,” which, while sung by both McCoo and Davis, plays out like a love song from a husband to his wife.  Producer-arranger Wilson applies an AM-ready pop sheen to the song, but it remains intimate thanks to its vocal interplay.

If The Two of Us pales in comparison at all to I Hope We Get to Love in Time, it’s only because there’s not one track as instantly irresistible as “You Don’t Have to Be a Star.”  But it’s thoroughly enjoyable listening, and even more so in Real Gone’s deluxe edition.  Reissue producer Jim Pierson has added four bonus tracks, culled from ABC singles.  The ballad “I’m So Glad I Found You” would have fit comfortably on The Two of Us, but “There’s Got to Be a Happy Ending” allowed both vocalists to cut loose.  Even more exciting is the inclusion of a rare Billy Davis, Jr. solo single, “Light a Candle” b/w “Three Steps from True Love.”  Like his wife, Davis has a distinctive voice that is instantly familiar; hearing it in a grittier solo setting adds a new dimension – pun intended.  The rhythmic “Three Steps” is almost gospel-disco, with Davis wailing in sanctified style over the danceable beat.

After the jump: Marilyn and Billy head to Columbia Records! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 5, 2013 at 09:47

Release Round-Up: Week of July 30

leave a comment »

Nilsson - RCA Albums BoxNilsson, The RCA Albums Collection (RCA/Legacy)

Easily one of the box set purchases of the year. Every one of the legendary singer/songwriter’s 14 solo albums for the RCA label, newly remastered and expanded with bonus tracks, mono mixes and other treasures, plus another three discs of rarities and outtakes. The packaging is beautiful and the music more than matches. You will not be disappointed. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dionne - We Need to Go BackDionne Warwick, The Complete Warner Bros. Singles / We Need to Go Back — The Unissued Warner Bros. Masters / Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., The Two of Us (Expanded Edition) / Marilyn & Billy (Expanded Edition) / Parlet, Pleasure Principle / Invasion of the Booty Snatchers / Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Zero Time (Real Gone Music)

Real Gone’s Portsmouth Sinfonia title may have been unfortunately cancelled, but there are some amazing titles coming from the label this week.

The Complete Warner Bros. SinglesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
We Need to Go BackAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Two of UsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn & BillyAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Pleasure PrincipleAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Invasion of the Booty SnatchersAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Zero TimeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Big Country At The BBCBig Country, At The BBC (Mercury/Universal)

A 3CD/1DVD box chronicling just about everything the Scottish rockers had recorded by the BBC in the 1980s. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Electric PeaceThe Cult, Electric Peace (Beggar’s Archive)

The post-punk band’s acclaimed 1987 album, produced by Rick Rubin, is paired up with the original version of the album helmed by producer Steve Brown for the first time in one package.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Sly and the Family Stone - There's a Riot Gold

Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On: Gold Edition (Get On Down)

Sly and the Family Stone’s incendiary 1971 album There’s a Riot Goin’ On – which spawned the hit single “Family Affair” – gets the gold CD treatment from Get On Down.  Along with some detailed liner notes, the label is promising actual embroidered fabric for the flag on the CD’s cover!  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)