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Release Round-Up: Week of September 16

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Jimi Hendrix, The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

Legacy and Experience Hendrix have reissues of Jimi Hendrix’s first two posthumously-released albums, both from 1971; The Cry of Love is long out-of-print on CD, while Rainbow Bridge makes its first authorized appearance in the CD format.  Both titles have been freshly remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog masters.

The Cry of Love: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Rainbow Bridge: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack : Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.



Charles Lloyd, Manhattan Stories (Resonance) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Jazz great Charles Lloyd, on saxophone and flute, is joined by guitarist Gábor Szabó, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Pete La Roca on this set premiering two 1965 New York concerts.  The deluxe 2-CD edition, remastered by Bernie Grundman, features new liner notes by Stanley Crouch, Willard Jenkins, Don Heckman & Michael Cuscuna.


Scruffy the Cat – Good Goodbye: Unreleased Recordings 1984-1990 (Omnivore) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

College radio heroes and alt-country rockers Scruffy the Cat return on this new anthology from Omnivore Recordings featuring 23 songs – one issued on a rare single and 22 never released anywhere – encompassing both live and studio tracks.


James Galway, The Man with the Golden Flute: The Complete RCA Albums Collection (RCA/Masterworks) (Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

This 73-disc (!) box set chronicles the career of “The Man with the Golden Flute.”  Over  71 CDs and 2 DVDs, Galway tackles both classical and pop repertoire with collaborators including Henry Mancini, The Chieftains, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, and many of the greatest orchestras and conductors in the world.

Salsoul Christmas

The Salsoul Orchestra, Christmas Jollies: The Deluxe Edition (Friday Music) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Friday Music’s new collection re-presents The Salsoul Orchestra’s first holiday album from 1976, produced, arranged and conducted by the late, great Vince Montana, plus three bonus tracks – “New Year’s Americana Suite” and the single versions of “Merry Christmas, All” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Ray Price Christmas

Ray Price, The Ray Price Christmas Album (Friday Music) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Friday Music also has the late country crooner’s 1969 Columbia holiday LP on CD featuring “Jingle Bells,” “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and more.


Barbra Streisand, Partners (Columbia) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Okay, this isn’t a catalogue title, but it’s Barbra Streisand!  The legendary artist returns with her latest studio album, featuring duets with Billy Joel, John Legend, John Mayer, Blake Shelton, Michael Buble, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and the late Elvis Presley.  Target stores have an exclusive edition with five bonus tracks – four previously released duets with Barry Gibb, Barry Manilow, Bryan Adams and Frank Sinatra plus one outtake with the album’s co-producer, Babyface.  (He’s also heard on Partners with “Evergreen.”)  This edition is also available in the U.K. from general retailers!

Northern Soul - The Soundtrack

Various Artists, Northern Soul: The Soundtrack (Harmless) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Demon Music Group’s Harmless imprint has the soundtrack to director Elaine Constantine’s new film chronicling the U.K. Northern Soul movement that gave new life to classic American soul records; the soundtrack set consists of two CDs (the actual songs from the film on the first CD and other Northern Soul favorites compiled by the director on the second disc) plus an exclusive DVD with Elaine Constantine being interviewed about the making of the film by actor James Lance who portrays Northern Soul DJ Ray Henderson in the movie.  A special limited edition set of vinyl singles is also available.

Real Henry Mancini

Henry Mancini / Neil Sedaka / Paul Anka / Harry Belafonte / Aretha Franklin, The Real… (Sony U.K.)

The U.K. arm of Sony Music continues its series of 3-CD anthologies drawing primarily from the Columbia and RCA archives, adding a number of favorite classic pop artists to a series that’s already 25+-titles strong.

The Real Henry Mancini: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The Real Neil Sedaka: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The Real Paul Anka: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The Real Harry Belafonte: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The Real Aretha Franklin: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Elmer Bernstein - GE

Elmer Bernstein, Themes from the General Electric Theatre / See No Evil (Intrada)

The Intrada label has two new titles from the composer and maestro Elmer Bernstein including the CD premiere of Columbia Records’ soundtrack to the anthology television series starring future President Ronald Reagan, and the world premiere release of Bernstein’s score to Richard Fleischer’s 1971 thriller starring Mia Farrow, See No Evil!

Release Round-Up: Week of July 24

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Booker T. & the MGs, Green Onions (Concord/Stax)

The 1962 album from the Stax legends is expanded with two previously issued, live bonus tracks from Los Angeles in 1965.  Read more here.

David Cassidy, Cherish / Rock Me Baby (7Ts/Cherry Red)

The Partridge Family star was on top of the world when he released his first two solo albums in 1972.  They arrive on American shores today as one two-fer!  Read more here.

The Guess Who, # 10 / Road Food (Iconoclassic)

Iconoclassic’s series of expanded and remastered reissues for the Canadian rockers continues with these 1973 and 1974 RCA albums.  Read more here.

Jerry Lee Lewis, The Killer Live! 1964-1970 (Hip-o Select/Mercury)

This limited edition 3-CD set compiles a bevy of live albums from the piano pounder: “Live” At The Star Club, Hamburg and The Greatest Live Show On Earth, both from 1964; 1966’s By Request: More Of The Greatest Live Show On Earth; and 1970’s Live At The International, Las Vegas.  A full 16 bonus tracks, including 10 previously unreleased tracks, round out the set.

Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man: Original Soundtrack (Legacy/Light in the Attic)

Never heard of Rodriguez?  Let Legacy and Light in the Attic spin this fascinating yarn about a musician who had no idea that his long-lost LP had acquired a new lease on life: as the soundtrack to a revolution taking place oceans away.  We’ll have more on the amazing story of Rodriguez later today!

Neil Sedaka, The Show Goes On: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Rock)

A 2006 set of hit tunes from the “Calendar Girl” and “Laughter in the Rain” hitmaker arrives on CD for the first time.

Sugar, Copper Blue/Beaster (Deluxe Edition) / File Under Easy Listening (Deluxe Edition) (Merge)

American reissues arrive from Bob Mould’s Sugar in modified form from the recent Edsel deluxe editions.   All the DVD content from the Edsel sets has been dropped, along with the BBC session tracks that featured on Copper Blue. All the other copious bonus audio content will be retained, though, with Copper Blue and the Beaster EP brought together as one 3-CD package, and FU:EL as one 2-CD set.  Read more about these Merge Records releases here.

Various Artists, Country Funk 1969-1975 (Light in the Attic)

The anthology experts at Light in the Attic have put together this fun set exploring the crossroads of – yup! – country and funk.  Expect rarities from Bobby (then Bob) Darin, Mac Davis, Tony Joe White, Bobbie Gentry and more!

GZA, Liquid Swords: The Chess Box (Get On Down)

One of The Wu-Tang Clan’s great solo albums from the group’s initial wave, Liquid Swords is expanded with a bonus disc of instrumentals and a collectible chess set package. Read more here!

The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde: Expanded Edition (Delicious Vinyl)

The underrated alternative hip-hop group gets their debut album expanded 20 years later in a three-disc set featuring a deluxe box and two extra discs of B-sides, remixes and other bonus material.

Slipknot, Antennas to Hell (Roadrunner)

The nu-metal band’s first compilation, featuring either straight hits or a bonus live disc to match. Full story is here.

Jennifer Lopez, Dance Again: The Hits (Epic)

The former American Idol judge’s comeback comes full circle with this compilation of some of the hottest dance floor fillers of the past 15 years. Have a look here.

Release Round-Up: Week of May 22

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Chubby Checker, It’s Pony Time/Let’s Twist Again/Durocs, Durocs/Terry Knight and the Pack, Terry Knight and the Pack/Reflections/The Orlons, The Wah Watusi/South Street/Various Artists, Remember Me Baby: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1 (Real Gone Music)

The latest group from Real Gone Music includes classics from the vaults of Philadelphia’s Cameo-Parkway label plus power-pop from San Francisco’s Durocs!

Isaac Hayes and Dionne Warwick, A Man and A Woman/Cissy Houston, Presenting Cissy Houston (Expanded Edition)/Dee Dee Warwick, Foolish Fool (Expanded Edition) (SoulMusic Records)

Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes’ long-unavailable 1977 live concert LP makes its CD debut alongside two other titles from members of the Warwick family: Dionne’s aunt Cissy Houston’s 1970 solo collection Presenting Cissy Houston, and sister Dee Dee’s 1969 Mercury LP Foolish Fool!  Watch for reviews later this week!

The Knack, Havin’ a Rave-Up!  Live in Los Angeles, 1978 (Zen/Omnivore)

The New Wave quartet is at its most powerful on this live album drawn from pre-fame performances on the Sunset Strip!  Joe’s review is at the link above!

Dean Martin, The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut (Time Life)

Time Life releases the first-ever DVD set of complete and uncut episodes of The Dean Martin Show!  Dino’s guests include Cyd Charisse, Joey Heatherton, Barbara McNair, Zero Mostel, Leslie Uggams, Abbe Lane, Buck Owens and The Lettermen!

Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram (Hear Music)

It’s finally here!  Paul and Linda McCartney’s 1971 album has been remastered and reissued in a variety of formats with loads of bonus content!  Our review arrives tomorrow!

Neil Sedaka, The Tra-La Days Are Over/Overnight Success (BGO)

Neil Sedaka’s 1973 and 1975 albums are paired by BGO.  The combined collection features guest stars Elton John and 10cc, and includes such favorites as “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “The Hungry Years” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.”

Three Degrees, Standing Up for Love (Funky Town Grooves)

Funky Town Grooves reissues and expands The Three Degrees’ post-Philadelphia International album recorded in 1977 for CBS/Epic!

Various Artists, The Philadelphia International 40th Box Set (Harmless/Demon)

The long-delayed 10-CD box set celebrating Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International label finally arrives in the U.K. courtesy Harmless Records!

The Hungry Years: Neil Sedaka’s “Tra-La Days” and “Overnight Success” Arrive on CD, 10cc and Elton John Guest

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From “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” to “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” Neil Sedaka drew on a seemingly endless well of onomatopoeic hooks to enliven his early rock-and-roll records, leaving no Tra-la-la or do-be-doo untouched.  The Juilliard-trained musician and native of Brooklyn, New York was one of the relatively rare few rockers of his generation equally adept at both performing and songwriting.  As active members of Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music stable (alongside Carole King and Gerry Goffin as well as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil!), Sedaka and his frequent lyricist Howard Greenfield turned out one tune after another for a great number of famous artists including Connie Francis, Bobby Darin, and Little Anthony and the Imperials.

As an artist, however, Sedaka’s last hit in the U.S. had come in 1965, and he’d tried to make it over the next few years almost exclusively as a songwriter in the waning days of the Brill Building scene.  Sedaka found it difficult to compete with the new breed of singer/songwriters, although he had written his own material in tandem with Greenfield since he was a teenager!  Though RCA Victor dumped his recording contract in 1966, he found success in the latter part of the decade supplying songs for The 5th Dimension, The Monkees, Tom Jones, Frankie Valli and others.  Sedaka’s rebirth as a recording artist began with 1971’s Emergence, recorded for Aldon boss Don Kirshner’s own Kirshner Records label. Sedaka followed that with 1972’s Solitaire, teaming with new lyricist Phil Cody and musicians Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, then members of the band Hotlegs and soon to take the pop world by storm as 10cc.  Solitaire was recorded at the band’s own Strawberry Studios, and signaled the beginning of a new phase in Sedaka’s career, with the title track recognized as an instant standard and one of Sedaka’s finest compositions.

That brings us to 1973’s The Tra-La Days Are Over, an album making its long-awaited return via a CD set from BGO, pairing it with 1975’s Overnight Success for release today, April 16.  Like its predecessor Solitaire, The Tra-La Days Are Over didn’t even warrant an American release at the time, but its success in the U.K. was sufficient for Sedaka to stage a comeback in his home country.  This marks a continuation of BGO’s Sedaka series which previously saw Emergence and Solitaire combined as one package.

Hit the jump to explore both of these albums, plus you’ll find a track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 16, 2012 at 16:15

Review: The Monkees, “Instant Replay: Deluxe Edition”

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When The Monkees’ Instant Replay was released in February 1969, less than three years had passed since the band’s vinyl debut in October 1966.  But the pop world of 1966 might have been a lifetime ago.  Five days before Instant Replay’s February 15 release, The Beach Boys unveiled the album 20/20, on which America’s band surreptitiously recorded a song by Charles Manson.  Two days after, The Temptations skyrocketed to Cloud Nine, meeting psychedelia head-on.  By the year’s end, the dream of peace that had flowered at Woodstock seemed shattered in the violence of a Rolling Stones concert at California’s Altamont Speedway.  It was into this heady time that Instant Replay was released, the product of a fractured group of Monkees.  Peter Tork had departed the group after filming the 33-1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee television special in December 1968, which would air to disastrous ratings the following April.  Instant Replay fared somewhat better, climbing to No. 32 to stake its claim as The Monkees’ final Top 40 album.  The album’s production period was not without tension, and Michael Nesmith would depart the band after just one more album, leaving Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones to soldier on as the lone Monkees as 1970 progressed.  Instant Replay is unmistakably the sound of a fractured group, with Nesmith having assessed it as “a final choking cough of the engine before it completely died.”  Andrew Sandoval to the rescue!  The producer has uncovered enough hidden treasures to warrant its journey from a 12-track LP to a 19-track CD in 1995 to finally, a lavish 89-track box set containing three CDs and one 45 RPM vinyl single (Rhino Handmade RHM2 528791, 2011).

Instant Replay is marked chiefly by the sound of three individuals rather than a band.  It’s tempting to call the album the Monkee equivalent of The White Album, but a more accurate comparison might be to a hypothetical LP containing tracks from McCartney, All Things Must Pass, Plastic Ono Band and yes, Ringo’s Sentimental Journey!  The grab-bag of songs is disparate and varied, and don’t sound as if they necessarily belong on the same album; the remaining band members originally intended the LP to echo the sounds of the past while still looking musically forward.  The greatly expanded content of the box set works in the album’s favor, illuminating each nook and cranny of what once resembled a crazy quilt of Monkee music.

The three discs of the new Instant Replay are largely arranged by mixes. The first disc is dedicated to stereo and contains a newly-remastered and restored transfer of the original album, expanded with 16 additional stereo mixes including “nearly all” of Nesmith’s 1968 Nashville sessions (more on those soon).   Disc Two is all-mono, which is particularly intriguing as Instant Replay was never issued in true mono.  (The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees was the band’s last Colgems album to see such a release.)  But most of the album’s songs were mixed into mono, so those tracks make their first appearances here. Rare and unreleased recordings round out the disc.  Finally, Disc 3 is subtitled “Sessions,” and two thirds of the disc is devoted to backing tracks, though the completed songs from the surviving video master of 33-1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee should intrigue even the most difficult to please fan of the group!

Hit the jump and go Instantly into more Monkee-mania! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 16, 2012 at 13:53

Where The Hits Are: Sedaka and Greenfield Profiled in “Songwriters” Series

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Doo doo doo down doo be do down down/Come a come a down doo be do down down…

One year before “Da Doo Ron Ron,” eleven before “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” and eighteen before “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield taught the world that “Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do” with their immortal wordless refrain.  Sedaka went on to become the king of the “Tra-la-las” and “shoo-be-doos” with his early rock-and-roll records, and the Juilliard-trained musician was one of the relatively rare few rockers of his generation equally adept at both performing and songwriting.  As active members of Don Kirshner’s Aldon Music stable (which could also claim Carole King and Gerry Goffin as well as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil!), Sedaka and his frequent lyricist Howard Greenfield turned out one tune after another for a great number of famous artists.  Following in the footsteps of its compilations devoted to other Brill Building greats like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Goffin and King and Mann and Weil, Ace devotes the latest installment of its Songwriters and Producers series to the team of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.  Where the Boys Are will be available on September 6 in the U.K. and features 25 tracks, 17 of which were written by the team and a further eight penned by one member with an outside collaborator.

Where the Boys Are spans a remarkably prolific 15-year period from 1956 until 1971, at which time Sedaka began in earnest to rekindle his solo career.  (1974’s Sedaka’s Back sealed the deal.)  His last hit in the U.S. had come in 1965, and he’d tried to make it over the next few years almost exclusively as a songwriter in an era when the Brill Building was waning and singer/songwriters were becoming the norm.  (It was lost on many that Sedaka had been writing his own material since he was a teenager.)  He had a great amount of success even after RCA Victor dumped his recording contract in 1966, and his songs, with and without Greenfield, were recorded by The Monkees, The 5th Dimension, The Cyrkle, Frankie Valli and more.  Ace’s, well, ace producers Mick Patrick and Tony Rounce tell that story from its very beginning.

Hit the jump for a look into the Brill Building hits of Sedaka and Greenfield! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 29, 2011 at 09:18

The Tra-La Days Are Back: Wounded Bird to Offer Sedaka Two-on-One

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Neil Sedaka famously proclaimed that “The Tra-La Days Are Over” as the title of his (unfortunately out-of-print) 1973 album. But thanks to Wounded Bird (as if the label hadn’t announced a big enough bonanza for reissue fans already!), fans of rock and roll’s golden age have another chance to enjoy Sedaka’s days as king of the shoo-be-doos and tra-la-lasLittle Devil and His Other Hits/The Many Sides of Neil Sedaka is set for release on September 7 according to Pause and Play. For an artist with as impressively deep a catalogue as Sedaka, far too few of his original albums are available on CD, making this release a welcome surprise.

Sedaka’s RCA label prime has been collected in complete form by Germany’s Bear Family Records, but domestically, RCA has been largely content to release only greatest hits compilations for the singer and songwriter behind “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” “Oh! Carol” and “Calendar Girl.” In fact, re-recordings made by Sedaka of his 1960s hits (licensed for various projects including 2007’s charting The Definitive Collection on Razor & Tie 82968) may be easier to find than the chart-topping originals. 1961’s Little Devil and His Other Hits lived up to its name, with no fewer than seven hit singles, three of which went Top Ten: “Calendar Girl,” “Oh! Carol” and “Stairway to Heaven,” an irresistible piece of Sedaka pop now perhaps better known for sharing a name with the Led Zeppelin anthem.

The Many Sides of Neil Sedaka comprises material of mid-sixties RCA Victor vintage, but was released years later in 1978. The artist had experienced a career rebirth just a few years prior, collaborating with members of 10cc and receiving the patronage of Elton John. RCA realized the time was right for a cash-in, as songs like “Laughter in the Rain,” “Bad Blood,” “Solitaire” and “Love Will Keep Us Together” made Sedaka a hot commodity once again. While the titles on The Many Sides are not as familiar as those on Little Devil (and the cover art cannily depicted a 1970s-era Sedaka), they’re of equally high caliber, with songs such as “Bad Girl” and “The World Through a Tear” as delightful as his hit singles.

Kudos to Wounded Bird for excavating these LPs; next, can we please have Sedaka’s Elektra albums, including 1977’s A Song, produced by none other than George Martin? In the meantime, click on the jump for the track listing for Little Devil and His Other Hits/The Many Sides of Neil Sedaka, which can be pre-ordered here at Amazon, still showing an August 10 release date. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 3, 2010 at 08:27

Posted in Neil Sedaka, News, Reissues