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Archive for the ‘Perry Como’ Category

The Year in Reissues, Part III: The Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Well, another New Year is in sight, the CD still isn’t dead (told you so!) and celebration is in the air at The Second Disc. Back on December 23, Mike shared The Year in Reissues both here and over with our pals at Popdose. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks until you read these indispensable columns!

Are you back with me? Good. Now, I’d like to take this opportunity to take a fun look back at a few of my favorite things via Joe’s Gold Bonus Disc Awards! I’m awarding these to the reissues that have raised the bar over the past 12 months. You’ll notice a number of titles that have already been praised by Mike, as well as new entries, but overall, I’ve simply tried to recognize as many diverse, worthy releases as possible. It’s my sincere hope, though, that you’ll take a chance on a title previously unknown to you; all of the artists, producers, and labels mentioned here have kept great music alive in 2010.

Friends, as always, please share your thoughts and comments below. Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2010’s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

Which releases take home the gold?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Perry Como, “The Complete Christmas Collection”

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They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

I can’t help but think of that old adage whenever I think of Perry Como. The singer was one in a line of great crooners, many of them Italian-Americans. Frank Sinatra, dean of them all and forever the Chairman of the Board, was well-known for his swagger. Tony Bennett is still renowned for the jazz chops he brings as an interpretive vocalist.  Perry Como, though, is perhaps best-known for his quiet gentility. Days after his death in 2001, conservative columnist William F. Buckley, Jr. began a column with “Perry Como died in his sleep, and one comments, ‘How else?’” Buckley didn’t intend this in a mean-spirited way, merely as an acute observation. (Later in the essay, he details an act of Como’s great generosity, and accurately points out his “rich and mellifluous” voice.) In his liner notes to Collector’s Choice’s new Complete Christmas Collection (CCM 2165), Richard Carpenter recounts the old Bob Hope line about Como being “walking Nembutal,” referring to the barbiturate often used as a sleep aid. There are many more jokes in that vein. Yet it’s precisely that smooth, calming and paternal voice that made Como such an ideal candidate to record holiday music. The Complete Christmas Collection is a fitting tribute to the man whose Christmas songs, all recorded for the RCA Victor label between 1946 and 1982, remain an integral part of The Great American Songbook.

Collector’s Choice has released wonderful titles in its Complete series, including releases by Jan and Dean, Jay and The Americans, and Gary Lewis and The Playboys. The Como entry is the label’s first foray into a full Christmas overview, and there couldn’t have been a better choice. (As for future choices, may I nominate Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis next?)

The Complete Christmas Collection is chronologically presented over three discs, beginning with the artist’s first holiday-themed record, the 1946 set of 78s entitled Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music. These 78s (which could also be purchased individually) spawned the Top Ten single “Winter Wonderland,” and were reissued the following year with “O Little Town of Bethlehem” replaced with “White Christmas,” which also became a hit (No. 23) single. As a result, “O Little Town” was unavailable in any format – until now. There are many such rarities making CD debuts on this set. (It should be noted that Como recorded many spiritual or holiday-related songs over the years, some of which have been included on previous “Christmas” compilations. Only actual Christmas masters have been included on this set, not songs peripheral to the holiday. That means no “My Favorite Things” or even “The Bells of St. Mary’s.”) Another debut on Disc One is “The First Christmas” as recorded in 1950, with narration by Como and a number of carols included. (This selection was re-recorded in 1959, and that version is naturally also included here.) Another landmark recording on the first disc is Como’s original 1951 performance of “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas.” While Bing Crosby’s Decca cover, released very shortly after Como’s, may today be the more familiar track, Como was the first recipient of Meredith Willson’s now-standard song, and scored a hit with it. Disc One also includes the entirety of 1953’s Around the Christmas Tree, and it’s wonderful to finally be able to hear these albums in their original configurations on CD. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 22, 2010 at 11:45

Posted in Compilations, Perry Como, Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of December 7

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ABBA, ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits – Special Edition / The Vinyl Collection (Polydor/UMe)

The most popular ABBA compilation ever gets expanded with a DVD of music videos, including a previously unreleased animated clip. Also, a deluxe box of the band’s eight LPs on vinyl alongside a ten-track record of single and non-LP tracks will be released the same day. (Official site)

Joy Division, +- (Rhino U.K.)

A box of ten partially fictional singles on vinyl to honor deceased frontman Ian Curtis, 30 years after his death. (Rhino U.K.)

Bob Dylan, The Original Mono Recordings (Vinyl) (Columbia/Legacy)

Dylan’s mono albums, just recently released to CD, get the same reissue treatment on vinyl. (Amazon)

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 7, 2010 at 08:14

A Very Merry Catalogue Christmas: Crosby, Como & Cameo Trio Due

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fireFrosted windowpanes, candles gleaming insideSleigh bells jingling (ring-ting-tingling too)! All of these images are among the most evocative in popular song, and all are linked to the most wonderful time of the year: the holiday season. Catalogue enthusiasts traditionally have their holiday wishes granted each year with a spate of new/old releases, and this year is no exception. In November, Collectors’ Choice Music offers a trio of remastered holiday classics sure to go along well with the eggnog and mistletoe.

First up, on November 9, is the latest collection from perhaps the most beloved Christmas crooner of them all, Bing Crosby. Part of CCM’s ongoing series of definitive Crosby reissues, the 19-track The Crosby Christmas Sessions brings together material both familiar and unreleased. Two weeks later, the label offers The Complete Christmas Collection from another much-anthologized artist, the late Perry Como. There have been many holiday-themed Como compilations before, but this two-disc set  brings together (nearly) all of his Christmas recordings in one package comprising 51 tracks from the vault of Como’s longtime label, RCA Victor. (More on that “nearly” after the jump.) Lastly, CCM dips into the Cameo-Parkway catalogue for Cameo Parkway Holiday Hits, an eclectic 17-track compilation. Hit the jump for full details, track listings and select discographical information for all three releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 4, 2010 at 10:35