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Release Round-Up: Week of June 3

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LZ BoxLed Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin I / Led Zeppelin II / Led Zeppelin III: Deluxe Editions (Swan Song/Atlantic)

Anyone ever heard these albums? Interesting stuff. I don’t know about you, but I’d predict big things for these guys.

Led Zeppelin
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/3LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Led Zeppelin II
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/2LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Led Zeppelin III
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/2LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Superunknown 20 boxSoundgarden, Superunknown: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (A&M/UMe)

This grunge-pop classic comes back with a vengeance as a bonus-filled box set featuring demos, outtakes, rare tracks and a surround mix on Blu-ray.

1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD/1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vauxhall and IMorrissey, Vauxhall and I: 20th Anniversary Definitive Master (Parlophone/Rhino)

It would appear that Moz and I share the same opinion of this record: so good, the track list doesn’t need to be played with. Add an unreleased live show from 1995 on a bonus CD, and this is a heck of a set for the discerning fan.

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

Earthbound OriginalThe 5th Dimension, Earthbound/ Vikki Carr,  Love Again – The Lost Columbia Masters / Vikki Carr, The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition) / Robert Bearns & Ron Dexter, The Best of the Golden Voyage / The Sweet Inspirations, The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus / Faith Hope & Charity, Faith Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition) /Fanny, Charity Ball (Expanded Edition) / Linda Martell, Color Me Country / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 18 – Dane County Coliseum, Madison, WI 2/3/78 Uni-Dome, University of N. Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 2/5/78 (Real Gone Music)

Another great Real Gone slate features two titles with liner notes from our own Joe Marchese – The 5th Dimension’s Earthbound and Vikki Carr’s The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)!

The 5th Dimension: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vikki Carr/Love AgainAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vikki Carr/The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Robert Bearns & Ron Dexter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Sweet Inspirations: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Faith Hope & Charity: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Fanny: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Linda Martell: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Extraordinary Nat King ColeNat “King” Cole, The Extraordinary Nat “King” Cole (Capitol)

This new compilation – available as a two-disc deluxe edition with a host of rare and newly-discovered tracks – does a pretty darn good job of living up to its name.

Standard 1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe 2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-ray Audio: Analogue Productions

Bossa Nova BabyElvis Presley, Bossa Nova Baby: The Ultimate Elvis Party Album (RCA/Legacy)

A new Elvis compilation for your summer party features some of the usual hits plus a few tracks from the Cirque du Soleil Viva Elvis show to rediscover. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lectric LadyCarol Williams & The Salsoul Orchestra, ‘Lectric Lady: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

An expanded version of the debut album by Carol Williams, the first female solo act signed to the Salsoul label! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Still Unforgettable: “The Extraordinary Nat King Cole” Collects Hits, Rarities, Unreleased Songs

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Extraordinary Nat King ColeThe title of Capitol’s upcoming Nat King Cole compilation is a simple but accurate one: The Extraordinary Nat King Cole. In his too-short 45 years, Cole transformed himself from an acclaimed jazz pianist to one of America’s pre-eminent vocalists. His smooth-voiced baritone helped put Capitol Records on the map, and he broke down barriers previously unheard of for African-American entertainers. Cole’s posthumous 1991 duet on “Unforgettable” with daughter Natalie Cole earned him a new generation of fan, and his rendition of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” keeps him in constant rotation every holiday season. Yet this compilation, to be available in single-disc CD and Blu-ray audio formats and a double-disc CD package with rarities and previously unreleased music, is the first major-label catalogue initiative for Cole since 2009’s remix set, Re:Generations.

While too few of Cole’s original albums are in print as individual CDs today, he’s been the recipient of two complete solo Capitol box sets from Bear Family (one box spanning 1955-1959 and another covering 1960-1964) as well as a Mosaic box set chronicling all 349 of The Nat King Cole Trio’s Capitol recordings. Collectors’ Choice Music issued a number of Cole’s classic albums on CD including 18 albums on 9 CDs available individually and as The Nat King Cole Collection Box Set Volume 1. Yet, miraculously, the Deluxe Edition of The Extraordinary Nat King Cole is packed with never-before-released songs, alternate takes and other rarities.

The standard single-disc edition offers 22 tracks (also available in the high-definition Blu-ray Audio format) emphasizing Cole’s swinging sessions with arranger-conductors including Nelson Riddle, Richard Wess and Billy May. This compilation features both familiar classics (“L-O-V-E,” “Orange Colored Sky,” “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Almost Like Being in Love”) and lesser-known gems (“You’ve Got the Indian Sign on Me”) as well as two rare and infrequently-anthologized duets with Capitol labelmate and fellow icon of cool, Dean Martin (“Long, Long Ago” and “Open Up the Doghouse (Two Cats Are Coming In)).” Of course, “Unforgettable” also finds a place on this compilation in Cole’s 1961 solo recording. The previously-unissued Nat Simon/Charles Tobias song “You’re Wrong, All Wrong” (1953) with a Nelson Riddle arrangement, closes out the disc.

There’s much more from the vaults on the second disc of the Deluxe Edition!  Hit the jump for more details plus the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 2, 2014 at 10:13

Release Round-Up: Week of March 19

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Skydog ContentsDuane Allman, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective (Rounder)

A massive seven-disc box set celebrates the life and work of a guitar legend, gone far too soon.  Read Joe’s review here!   (Amazon U.S.)

Elvis - Aloha Legacy Edition CoverElvis Presley, Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite: Legacy Edition (RCA/Legacy)

The classic best-selling live album, taken from the famed TV special, is paired with a newly-remixed version of The Alternate Aloha (a rehearsal show recorded days earlier) and rare bonus performances.  You’ll find Joe’s review here.   (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Bing So RareBing Crosby, Bing in Dixieland Seasons: The Closing Chapter – Deluxe Edition Return to Paradise Islands: Deluxe Edition On the Sentimental Side Bing on Broadway / El Señor Bing: Deluxe Edition So Rare: Treasures from the Crosby Archives Bing Sings The Great American Songbook Bing Sings The Sinatra Songbook A Southern Memoir: Deluxe Edition Bing & Rosie: The Crosby-Clooney Radio Sessions (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe)

Originally released as part of The Bing Crosby Archive on Collector’s Choice a few years ago, these discs are reprinted by UMe for you to enjoy.

Bing in Dixieland: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Seasons: The Closing Chapter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Return to Paradise Islands: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
On the Sentimental Side: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Bing on Broadway: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
El Señor Bing: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
So Rare: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Bing Sings The Great American Songbook: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Bing Sings The Sinatra Songbook: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
A Southern Memoir: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Bing & Rosie: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Lee Hazlewood - Trouble is a Lonesome TownLee Hazlewood, Trouble is a Lonesome Town (Light in the Attic)

A mightily-expanded edition of Hazlewood’s solo debut LP features a load of non-LP material and unreleased gems!

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

Del Shannon - UK SinglesDel Shannon, The Complete U.K. Singles (and More) 1961-1966 (Ace)

Shannon was perhaps even bigger in England than Stateside, so it’s nice to see Ace lovingly anthologize his single sides on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Miles MontreuxMiles Davis, Live at Montreux 1991 (Eagle Rock)

Miles’ last appearance at the famed jazz festival, with the help of Quincy Jones and the Gil Evans Orchestra.

DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S.

Nat King Cole - Welcome SACDNat “King” Cole, Welcome to the Club / Harry Belafonte, Calypso (Audio Fidelity)

The newest hybrid SACDs from Audio Fidelity.

Welcome to the Club: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Calypso: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Belinda Carlisle ICONVarious Artists, ICON (UMe/Capitol)

Available at the link above, another batch of the painfully thin Universal (and now EMI) compilation line, featuring a lot of comps by artists nobody needs and one actually worthwhile one by Belinda Carlisle with a new track.

Yes! Audio Fidelity Rushes to SACD with Prog and Classic Vocalists, Plus: Elton, Scorpions Go for the Gold

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Yes - Close to the Edge SACDThe audiophile specialist label Audio Fidelity has a busy March ahead, kicking off a new series of SACD releases and continuing its long-running series of 24k Gold compact discs.

On March 5, the team at AF is scheduled to return to the high-resolution SACD format with two new hybrid stereo SACDs (playable on all CD players).   Yes’ 1972 album Close to the Edge was the fifth studio album from the progressive rock heroes.  Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar/vocals), Chris Squire (bass/vocals), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion) crafted this epic album around the nearly 19 minute title track which was featured on the original album’s Side One.  That four-part suite was followed on Side Two by another four-part ten-minute opus, “And You and I,” and the nine-minute “Siberian Khatru.”  The last Yes album to feature Bill Bruford before his return to the fold in 1992 reached impressive berths of No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and No. 4 on the U.K. albums chart.  In 2003, Rhino expanded Close to the Edge in an edition with four bonus tracks; Audio Fidelity’s edition hews to the original album line-up.  It’s been remastered by Steve Hoffman.

Rush - Counterparts SACDJoining Close to the Edge is the 1993 album by Rush, Counterparts.  The band’s fifteenth studio album, it became Rush’s highest-charting U.S. release with a peak of No. 2 on the Billboard 200.  The triumvirate of Geddy Lee (bass/vocals/synthesizer), Alex Lifeson (guitars) and Neil Peart (drums/percussion) earned a Grammy nomination for the instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone,” and the album spawned three hit singles, all on the Mainstream Rock chart: “Stick It Out” (No. 1), “Nobody’s Hero” (No. 9) and “Cold Fire” (No. 2).  Composer/conductor Michael Kamen contributed the string arrangements and also conducted “Nobody’s Hero.”  A return to the organic, guitar-driven sounds of earlier Rush albums, Counterparts successfully blended heavy rock tracks with instrumentals and acoustic compositions.  Kevin Gray has remastered the album for its Audio Fidelity SACD debut.

The label’s next two SACD releases, both due on March 19, turn the clock back to the realm of classic pop rather than classic rock.  Hit the jump for details on both of those discs, as well as on the Gold CDs coming soon! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 18, 2013 at 09:54

Weekend Wround-Up: Pat Metheny, Nat “King” Cole and More!

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  • Analogue Productions continues its indispensable SACD reissue series of some of Nat King Cole’s finest releases on the Capitol label with the September 13 arrival of Just One of Those Things (1957) and St. Louis Blues (1958). Billy May handles the orchestrations for Just One of Those Things, which is playable as follows: a three-channel SACD section and Stereo SACD section include all songs except for the alternate take of “Just For The Fun Of It,” which was recorded in mono. There is a Mono SACD section with all songs included. The Stereo CD section includes the same content as the SACD Stereo section and the Mono CD section includes all songs. Nelson Riddle arranges and conducts St. Louis Blues, a collection of W.C. Handy’s greatest songs. All tracks are playable as Three-Channel, Stereo and Mono on the SACD layer and playable as Stereo and Mono on the CD layer. “Overture/Hesitating Blues” has been restored to its original length on both the mono and stereo versions. These beautifully-remastered discs come highly recommended!
  • 1987’s Still Life (Talking) by the Pat Metheny Group is coming on September 20 in a new reissue from Nonesuch. The album contains the popular “Last Train Home” as well as elements of fusion, Brazilian jazz-influenced harmonies and even folk and pop sounds. Metheny on guitar is joined by Mark Ledford and David Blamires (vocals), Lyle Mays (piano/keyboards), Steve Rodby (acoustic and electric bass), Paul Wertico (drums) and Armando Marcal (percussion/vocals). Metheny fans are urged to check out his latest, 2011’s What’s It All About featuring radical reinventions of pop classics like “Alfie,” “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Would Be” and “Cherish.”
  • On September 13, U.K. label Sepia will release four titles (available due to copyright law in the U.K.) sure to interest jazz and vocal fans. Tony Mottola’s Roman Guitar and Mr. Big joins together those two albums by the accomplished guitarist for the first time on CD. Felicia Sanders’ 1958 That Certain Feeling and 1960 I Wish You Love show that there was more to the singer than just her chart-topping “Song from Moulin Rouge.” Sepia’s ongoing series of Jane Morgan reissues continues with The Ballads of Lady Jane and The Second Time Around LPs plus bonus tracks on one CD. Finally, Betty Madigan’s Am I Blue? and The Jerome Kern Songbook LPs receive the two-on-one treatment plus four pop singles as bonus tracks.

Written by Joe Marchese

August 19, 2011 at 10:08

Friday Feature: “Catch Me If You Can”

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It’s hard not to be skeptical over the fact that Catch Me If You Can, the amazing “true story of a real fake,” is coming to Broadway. Modern musicals based on existing properties either hew too close to their original musical source material (if they were already rooted in song, like Footloose) or not close enough; consider Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, for instance. (Or don’t!)

The few songs this author’s heard from the Catch Me musical score, sent on a promotional disc, are jaunty and fun enough – score writers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the duo behind Hairspray, certainly know how to make you bob your head – but there’s a soft spot in my heart for the music of the original. Of course, the film wasn’t a musical, but the flick has a rich and underrated musical legacy, as you’ll read in today’s Friday Feature.

Fasten your seatbelts, bring your seat backs and tray tables to the locked and upright positions and read on after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 18, 2011 at 15:16

Review: Nat “King” Cole, “Love is the Thing” and “The Very Thought of You”

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The time is 1957. The place is the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, California – the Capitol Tower. And you are there.

Such is the magic of Analogue Productions’ pair of hybrid Super Audio CDs, part of the label’s Nat “King” Cole reissue program. Thanks to the gorgeous remastering and improved quality afforded by the format, you’ll hear every breath, as if you were in the studio alongside Cole himself during a recording session. The versatile artist is today remembered for many things: his pioneering jazz sides, his posthumous duet of “Unforgettable” with daughter Natalie, and this time of year especially, his Christmas recordings including the definitive reading of Mel Torme and Robert Wells’ “The Christmas Song.” But Analogue’s reissues of 1957’s Love is the Thing (CAPP 824 SA) and its 1958 follow-up, The Very Thought of You (CAPP 1084 SA), are potent reminders that, like Frank Sinatra, Cole was an album artist of the highest order, crafting LPs with thematic and sonic unity.

A certain effortless quality marks Love is the Thing. While the album is sophisticated and with a certain refined air, Cole’s choices are musically adventurous yet never labored. Just listen to his languid take on the usually-rollicking “Ain’t Misbehavin’” to see how the singer made a song his own. Cole makes every performance sound like that song’s quintessential one, even a song as recorded as often as Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parrish’s “Stardust.” This particular song was a standard even in 1957, but Cole imbues it with an intimacy not heard previously. Similarly, on Victor Young and Edward Heyman’s “When I Fall in Love,” you hang on every single lyric and believe each word, however familiar. “At Last” is so very different from Etta James’ classic recording, with arranger and conductor Gordon Jenkins (by no coincidence a close associate of Frank Sinatra’s) providing his customary strength in string orchestration. The take here on “It’s All in the Game” is more emotional than Tommy Edwards’ laid-back hit version of a couple years later, and more subtle than the arrangement Jenkins provided years earlier for Louis Armstrong. “I Thought About Marie,” written by Jenkins, sits well alongside the more well-known songs that populate the disc.

This romantic, atmospheric LP spent eight weeks atop the charts and was Cole’s first stereophonic LP. For this listener, though, the stereo tracks aren’t the attention-grabber, gorgeous though they sound. Analogue Productions has made the disc playable in three configurations of 24 indexed tracks: a CD and SACD layer with the original 10-track album in mono and stereo plus two bonus tracks; and a three-channel surround SACD layer with the original 10 tracks. This multichannel program is a revelation. The separation is beautiful, and the clarity of the recording is stunning. This is both a testament to original producer Lee Gillette and Capitol’s engineers, as well as to remastering gurus Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray. The multichannel tracks (from the three-track session masters) are clean and crisp with Cole’s soft vocals up front and center, where they should be, and the monaural recordings are also life-like as taken directly from the close-miked masters. While Hoffman previously tackled these titles for DCC some years back, I can’t believe that he hasn’t outdone himself with these remarkable new editions. Hit the jump for the scoop on The Very Thought of You! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 21, 2010 at 14:32

Posted in Nat King Cole, News, Reissues

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Unforgettable – I Think

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For someone with such an iconic tune in “Unforgettable,” there seems to be a lot of Nat “King” Cole’s discography that gets lost in the shuffle. While he’s known for his work as founder of The Nat “King” Cole Trio, and later a pop crooner with few equals, for Capitol Records starting in 1943 (indeed, the label’s famous Hollywood offices are informally called “the house that Nat built”), he did a great deal of work for other labels – not only with The King Cole Trio, but as a piano man for other jazz luminaries.

These recordings have been released in various configurations over the years largely through Universal Music Group (owners of much of the pre- and non-Capitol material), but there’s never really been an ultra-definitive take on this work altogether – at least, not along the lines of, say, Mosaic’s 18-disc The Complete Capitol Recordings of The Nat King Cole Trio (1991). (Discographical information regarding these years is even harder to find online.)

That is, until now. Hip-o Select, through the burgeoning Verve Select imprint, has announced Riffin’: The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings, a lavish triple-disc box that covers this early and often overlooked period in Cole’s career. The program includes those early King Cole Trio singles for Decca as well as studio tracks in which Cole backed jazz masters like Lester Young, Willie Smith, Buddy Rich and Dexter Gordon, plus Cole’s live ivory-tickling at the first-ever Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. The package includes lots of rare photos (including little-seen album and single sleeves) and liner notes by famed music writer David Ritz.

Pre-order it here and hit the jump for the full track list. (Sorry, no in-depth discographical notes herein – there’s too much information and too little of it can be found online.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 23:36