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Turn It On Again: New Genesis Anthology Features Greatest Hits, Solo Tracks From Collins, Gabriel, More

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Genesis - R-Kive

Earlier this year, the BBC confirmed plans for the feature-length documentary film Genesis – Together and Apart, chronicling the ups and downs of the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.  On the heels of that project which featured the cooperation of Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett, Rhino (for North America) and Universal (for the rest of the world) have announced the September release of R-Kive, a 3-CD collection continuing the “together and apart” theme.  R-Kive will present a selection of Genesis’ greatest cuts alongside solo and band tracks from each member.  If you were ever looking for one compilation with “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” alongside “Easy Lover,” this is the release for you.

R-Kive is culled from a 42-year period (1970-2012) in which the members of Genesis racked up 14 No. 1 albums in the U.K. alone, and some 300 million records sold worldwide.  The chronologically-sequenced anthology is the first to combine band and solo tracks, but the third overall for the band following 1999’s Turn It on Again: The Hits (reissued and expanded in 2007) and 2004’s three-disc Platinum Collection.  (Mention should also be made of Starbucks’ career-spanning Opus Collection volume, 14 from Our Past, which arrived in 2007 to coincide with the Banks/Collins/Rutherford reunion tour.)  It surveys the band’s entire prog-to-pop journey.

In addition to 22 songs pulled from all of Genesis’ studio albums, each member is represented with three “side” tracks.  From Collins, you’ll hear the hit Philip Bailey duet “Easy Lover” plus “In the Air Tonight” and more surprisingly, “Wake Up Call” from 2002’s Testify.  Gabriel’s solo catalogue has yielded “Solsbury Hill” plus “Biko” and “Signal to Noise.”  Hackett is represented with “Ace of Wands” (1975), “Every Day” (1979) and “Nomads” (2009); Banks with “For a While” (1975), “Red Day on Blue Street” (1991) and the collection’s most recent track, “Siren” (2012); and Rutherford with three songs from Mike and the Mechanics: “Silent Running,” “The Living Years” and “Over My Shoulder.”

Hit the jump for more details including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 25, 2014 at 11:25

Release Round-Up: Week of January 7

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Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours

Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours (Real World)

In 2010, Peter Gabriel released Scratch My Back, a new set of cover songs. The plan was to pair them up with covers of his own work by the artists he covered; some of them were released as B-sides but others never materialized. (Radiohead, David Bowie and Neil Young declined to contribute.) This version combines the original album with those covers (also separately released today), including cuts by Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Bon Iver and the late Lou Reed.

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

Blood Sweat and Tears - Singles

Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Complete Columbia Singles / Bettye Swann, The Complete Atlantic Recordings / Samuel Jonathan Johnson, My Music /Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 10 – Winterland Arena December 29, 1977 (Real Gone Music)

Real Gone’s first batch of 2014 features a double-disc singles anthology from Blood, Sweat & Tears with original single mixes (and the first eight tracks in mono), obscure ’70s soul from Bettye Swann and Samuel Jonathan Johnson and a vintage Dead set from 1977.

BS&T: Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.
Bettye: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Samuel Jonathan Johnson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 7, 2014 at 12:22

Review, “Released! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1989” On DVD and CD

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Released Amnesty CDSex, drugs and rock and roll have been closely linked since, well, the dawn of rock and roll itself.  But those who have been lucky enough to make a living in the rough-and-tumble world of rock have also frequently given themselves over to more noble pursuits.  George Harrison’s 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh wasn’t the first time a rock superstar had performed for charity, but The Quiet Beatle’s star-studded event is rightfully considered the first benefit concert of such stature.  Since then, there have been numerous other events bringing together rock’s biggest and brightest have come together for a good cause, from Live Aid to the recent 12-12-12 in support of Hurricane Sandy relief.  The Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Amnesty International, founded in 1961, began its series of Secret Policeman’s Balls in 1976, raising money for its human rights crusades with artists like Pete Townshend and the Monty Python troupe.  The scale of its benefit events grew notably in 1988 with the 25-city Human Rights Now world tour, headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and others.  Since then, Amnesty has staged of a number of remarkable concert events to support its mission “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”  The impressive new 6-DVD box set Released! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 (826663-13562 and its companion 2-CD set of highlights (826663-13568) not only provide hours of musical entertainment from a legendary group of artists, but support Amnesty’s work.  The net proceeds from both releases, available now from Shout! Factory in the U.S., go to the organization.

The most striking aspect about these releases, particularly the DVD set, is just how all-encompassing and comprehensive they are.  The collector-oriented box set is a completely immersive presentation, with documentaries and bonus material – 32 separate segments, in all – covering virtually every aspect of these concerts.  Most significant, perhaps, might be the hour-and-a-quarter of new documentary material – Peter Shelton’s film Light a Candle!  The Story Behind The Human Rights Concerts and two separate interview features with Bruce Springsteen and Sting.  The always-passionate and eloquent Springsteen delivers what is essentially an uninterrupted monologue, candidly reflecting on his role with Amnesty over the years.  He ruminates on the importance of freedom in rock and roll not just in the personal sense, but to the world at large, and recalls the “harrowing” and “intense” news conferences surrounding the Human Rights Now! tour.  “Our place in the world changed a little bit,” Springsteen says, and he gained “an enormous sense of the globe as one place.”  On a lighter note, he recalls a night in 1988 when his fellow performers decided to surprise him onstage by dressing in his usual attire, or the night a decade later when the multi-lingual Peter Gabriel bailed him out when he was at a loss for words with a French-speaking crowd!

Sting is relaxed and wry in his featurette, which unlike Springsteen’s stream-of-consciousness talk is divided into brief segments each devoted to one topic.  What’s most clear is Sting’s pride in his involvement with Amnesty over the years.  Like Springsteen, he was affected by those he met on the tour – political prisoners, their families, et. als. – as well as with the camaraderie he established with his fellow musicians including the Garden State’s favorite son.  He stresses Amnesty’s embrace of world music, and doesn’t flinch from discussing the risks incurred whenever a person in the public eye takes a political stand.

After the jump, we’ll take a closer look at Released! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 7, 2013 at 14:45

Virgin Records Celebrates “40 Years of Disruptions” with New Compilation, Picture Discs

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Virgin 40Virgin Records, one of England’s most iconic labels, turns 40 this year – and they’re celebrating with a new compilation full of hits from their storied existence.

The Virgin label was largely the brainchild of one young businessman named Richard Branson. The London-born Branson began his career selling records by mail order and later opening a shop on Oxford Street. The Virgin label was blessed with early success thanks to a willingness to sign acts that major U.K. labels were keen to dismiss. This netted them a smash hit with their very first release, Mike Oldfield’s captivating instrumental “Tubular Bells,” as well as a place in cultural history as the label who’d ultimately made the strongest commitment to punk band The Sex Pistols, after EMI and A&M each dropped the band. (It was Virgin who’d pressed the commercial version of their No. 2 hit “God Save The Queen” as well as their sole studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols.)

The decades to come found Virgin succeeding with all sorts of genres: MTV-ready pop/rock (Culture Club, The Human League, The Spice Girls), groundbreaking alt-rock and New Wave (Simple Minds, XTC), multi-generational rock (Genesis and its two most famous frontmen, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins; The Rolling Stones, for a time) hip-hop and dance (Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, Daft Punk, Massive Attack) and more, all the way up to the present (recent critical and commercial hits include tracks by Swedish House Mafia, Emili Sandé and CHVRCHES).

Branson would ultimately sell Virgin to EMI in 1992 to keep other parts of his business empire afloat; the iconoclastic entrepreneur found success in everything from air travel to publishing to music festivals (Europe’s V Festival) to record stores (the late Virgin Megastores) to mobile phones to…well, even more interesting stuff (Branson plans to be aboard the inaugural Virgin Galactic flight – a commercial space trip – this year.) The label continues to exist, now of course under the Universal Music Group family.

Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions plans to honor the label’s indomitable spirit across two discs, along with a bonus EP of current Virgin artists covering some classic tracks, including cuts by John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack and others. The set is in stores today, amid a swath of exhibitions in honor of the label around the U.K. area. The label is also selling a handful of their most beloved titles, including singles and albums, as limited edition vinyl titles (many of which are picture discs). The full list is available at Universal’s Uvinyl page.

As always, you can check out the track list and buy the set after the jump.

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They Shall Be “Released”: Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Joni Mitchell, U2, Peter Gabriel, Miles Davis on Amnesty International Box

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Released DVD Box SetSince its founding in 1961, Amnesty International has endeavored “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”  The Nobel Peace Prize-winning international human rights organization has, naturally, attracted a number of high-profile supporters over the years.  In 1988, a number of those men and women took the road to spread Amnesty’s message and raise funds via the Human Rights Now! world tour.  The 25-city trek was headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman and Youssou N’Dour and was seen by over one million concert attendees in person and by millions more on television.  The tour was a success, tripling Amnesty’s worldwide membership.  To commemorate this event, Shout! Factory will issue the 6-DVD box set ¡RELEASED!: The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 on November 5.  The same date will also see the release of The Human Rights Concerts, a 2-CD set of audio highlights.

The DVD box set features performances from 36 artists performing for Amnesty International, with 120 songs and 12 hours of music.  It includes four films, all restored from the original masters.  The first film is dedicated to the all-day final concert of A Conspiracy of Hope, Amnesty’s 25th anniversary concert tour of the USA in June 1986.  The second film features highlights from the Human Rights Now!   The third presentation is An Embrace of Hope, the October 1990 concert in Chile celebrating that nation’s liberation following nearly two decades of dictatorship. The fourth and final film in the set is The Struggle Continues…, recorded in Paris in 1998 on the exact 50th anniversary of the signing in that city of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the tradition of numerous benefit concerts, these gigs presented the opportunity for favorite artists to perform in unexpected duets.  Various duet combinations of Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bono, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Youssou N’Dour, Aaron Neville, Steven Van Zandt, Bob Geldof and Bryan Adams are among the concert highlights.

What will you find on the 6-DVD and 2-CD collections?  Hit the jump for more details and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 7, 2013 at 14:43

So…Peter Gabriel to Release “Live in Athens” on Blu-Ray

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Live in Athens BDPeter Gabriel’s So box set, released last year, was the subject of much controversy. Many fans wondered why Gabriel’s team would offer “DNA” tracks of the songs from the album coming together instead of the many B-sides and remixes that have yet to be anthologized on CD. They bemoaned the lack of 5.1 surround mixes and questioned the decision to not release the accompanying Live in Athens concert – remixed and re-edited from live footage recorded for the P.O.V. documentary – on Blu-Ray, but DVD only.

The unfortunate dull roar that permeated the atmosphere after the box’s release looks to surface once more with the appearance of Live in Athens as a pre-order on standalone Blu-Ray. The disc will be accompanied by a DVD reissue of Gabriel’s 2004 video compilation Play. The Athens program itself looks to be a straight reissue of what was in the box, albeit on Blu-Ray.

Pre-order links are live only at Amazon U.K. so far, with a release date of September 16 slated.

We at The Second Disc often shy away from pre-judgments of product before its release. We only slightly violate that guideline to remind our dear readers – all of whom are doubtlessly familiar with the concept of purchasing content multiple times across multiple formats – that there’s no obligation to buy the disc if you’ve already bought the (actually pretty satisfying) box set. Again: there is no obligation to buy this if you’re bummed out about it.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 9, 2013 at 15:00

Review: Peter Gabriel, “So: Immersion Box Set” – Part 2: This is the Picture

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In yesterday’s first part of the So box set review, we discussed the original album proper and the accompanying So DNA bonus disc. Part 2 continues with a look at a live show, some visual content and more.

If there’s a major mistake on the So box set, it’s keeping the So DNA disc exclusive to a $100+ box set. As much as it replicates the original album (with a different spin, naturally), it feels closer to the mothership than the great but best-taken-separately experience of Live in Athens 1987.

Available across two CDs which are also included on the less-pricey deluxe edition (and one DVD, again exclusive to the box), the impeccable-sounding show is taken from multitrack masters recorded at the end of the This Way Up Tour at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens. (The footage was recorded for POV, a 1987 video documentary produced by Martin Scorsese.) On a technical level, the show is rather great: the colors are crisp and the sound warm and inviting – and the band, comprised of guitarist David Rhodes, bassist Tony Levin, keyboardist David Sancious and drummer Manu Katche (the very same core of Gabriel’s touring band on this year’s So-centric Back to Front Tour), is in top form. (Youssou N’Dour reprises his irreplaceable vocals on “In Your Eyes.”)

But what makes the set frustrating is how little it feels like a So-worthy experience. Only five of the 16 songs in the set appear on that album, hardly the full-album experience Gabriel delivered audiences in the past few months. And there are points when it’s almost too pristine, with plenty of pre-recorded overdubs present on “Sledgehammer,” “Shock the Monkey” and the like. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se; heaven knows Gabriel would only graduate to more enormous tour experiences as his career went on. But, again, given what fans haven’t been allowed to enjoy on the box – the B-sides, remixes and such – it might have made more sense to present Live in Athens on its own, where it wouldn’t pale next to the specter of what isn’t there.

The video content is rounded out with a slow-to-start but ultimately satisfying Classic Albums documentary on So, running about an hour (not counting 35 minutes of extra and extended segments) and featuring new interviews with Gabriel, Levin, Katche, producer Daniel Lanois, engineer Kevin Killen, Rolling Stone columnist David Fricke and more. There are certainly many more whose insights would have been welcomed – N’Dour, guest vocalist Kate Bush, “Sledgehammer” director Stephen R. Johnston – but all interviewees are game and engaged. Of particular interest are segments where Lanois and Gabriel separately replay various cuts direct from the So multitracks, highlighting various details hidden deep in the mixes. (Lanois is visibly moved by the vocal interplay between Gabriel and N’Dour on “In Your Eyes,” a happily chilling moment.)

While much of the best bits of the interviews are actually reprinted in the liner notes (which are extremely worth it for gorgeous candid pictures recording in Ashcombe House in Bath, on the set of “Sledgehammer” and onstage), there is much to enjoy. It’s clear So was a high watermark for all involved – even if, as recounted in several funny anecdotes, Lanois had to resort to desperate measures to keep the notoriously deliberate singer on track in the ten months of So sessions. Again, there is much to pick at what could have been included on this disc – more on that iconic album sleeve design would have been nice, as well as those great music videos for “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” “Don’t Give Up” and “Red Rain.” But fans looking for the right balance of insight and retrospective will walk away satisfied.

The So box does close with some multimedia; namely, two respectably heavyweight vinyl LPs and some downloadable content. One platter features the remastered So, while another features two outtakes: there’s “Courage,” an addictive jam of a track; “Sagrada,” a more throwaway piece that anticipates bits of “Don’t Give Up” and “In Your Eyes”; and a different mix of “Don’t Give Up,” featuring alternate piano runs and more, alternate vocal passages from Kate Bush. Those tracks would have certainly fit well on a CD with B-sides and the like, but they are included as a FLAC download (along with the So album and a 720p HD file of the Live in Athens video) for you to add to your media players and whatnot.

The bottom line with this divisive box: on a literal level, the So package is indeed an immersion into the fascinating, joyful musical headspace of Peter Gabriel in 1985 and 1986, as he transmogrified from A-1 cult artist to MTV’s brightest star. It is by no means complete; few such packages are. My enjoyment of the extras remains tempered by the thoughts of what could have been, with pristine versions of the So videos on Blu-Ray and the Special Mix of “In Your Eyes” at the ready to add to my most romantic iTunes playlists.

But – accepting all I’ve done and said – So means so much to this writer that it’s worth it to accept the box for what it is, hope for a proper B-sides compilation down the road – and tell you, our all-important readers, that those who love this album have my solemn promise that this box set is worth the price of admission. It underlines what made So such a captivating piece of art, and turns that process into art itself. Let there be no doubt about it.

Written by Mike Duquette

October 23, 2012 at 09:05

Posted in Box Sets, Peter Gabriel, Reissues, Reviews, Vinyl

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Review: Peter Gabriel, “So: Immersion Box Set” – Part 1: Let There Be No Doubt About It

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When Peter Gabriel’s So hit stores in the spring of 1986, it wouldn’t be unfair to call almost everything about the ex-Genesis’ fifth record a complete surprise. For one, the record had a title, boldly marked in the upper left corner as if a challenge to the reader. Moreover, the album sleeve showed not a Hipgnosis-created aberration of Gabriel – obscured by raindrops, jagged scratches, or photo manipulation that seemed to melt half his face off – but a Peter Saville-crafted black-and-white portrait of the singer, unadorned and, it seemed, uncertain, as if he knew he was taking a risk with the album at hand.

And that’s before the needle even went on the record. The eight songs (nine on compact disc) were a stirring leap forward from the dense, often esoteric pop Gabriel had perfected. It was just as quirky, to be sure – with Stax-worthy horn arrangements, lush Fairlight arrangements and otherworldly guest vocals from Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson and Youssou N’Dour – but it both aligned and put itself ahead of the pop trends of its age, thanks to captivating melodies from Gabriel’s pen and a panoramic production from Daniel Lanois, who’d set the tone of late ’80s rock as producer on U2’s The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.

Now, 25 years and change later, the inconceivable whirlwind they call So has been given the laudatory mega-hyper-deluxe box set treatment (Real World PGBOX2), with four discs of music, two DVDs, a pair of vinyl LPs and a deluxe book, all in a fancy 12″ x 12″ box. There’s been considerable scrutiny over the So box from the moment details were announced; in particular, Paul Sinclair of Super Deluxe Edition led a chorus of fans bothered by the lack of the many non-LP B-sides and vintage remixes on the package. For a week, it was enough of a maelstrom for Gabriel and Real World to respond to an open letter from SDE (later adapted into notes about the So box presented in the program for Gabriel’s autumn Back to Front tour, which saw him perform So in its entirety with the core band members who committed the record to tape in 1985 and 1986).

As always seems to be the case, there is much that certainly could have been added to this box set to make it more complete, more exhaustive. But with about six hours of audiovisual content stored in the box, it’s just as worth a look at what is included as what is not. We begin as such after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 22, 2012 at 08:33

Posted in Box Sets, Peter Gabriel, Reissues, Reviews, Vinyl

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Release Round-Up: Week of October 22

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Peter Gabriel, So: 25th Anniversary Edition (3CD Deluxe Edition: U.S./U.K.; 4CD/2DVD/2LP Box Set: U.S./U.K.Classic Albums: So DVD (U.S./U.K.)/BD (U.S./U.K.)) (Real World)

A year late for the actual 25th anniversary (PG never was one for deadlines), So sledgehammers record shops with a variety of expanded formats, including one of many mega box sets released this year.

The Beatles, Love Me Do (50th Anniversary Single) (U.S./U.K.) (Capitol/EMI)

Originally bungled due to a mispressing, The Fab Four’s debut 45 is replicated and reissued a few weeks after the actual 50th anniversary.

The Doors, Live at The Bowl ’68 (CD: U.S./U.K.; LP: U.S./U.K.; DVD: U.S./U.K.; BD: U.S./U.K.) (Elektra/Rhino/Eagle Rock)

The Lizard King returns with an incendiary audiovisual live set, newly remixed and remastered from the original elements.

Change, Disco Recharge: The Glow of Love/Miracles (U.K./U.S.) (Harmless)

Demon’s dance imprint reissues the two albums by Italian disco studio band Change (whose iconic “The Glow of Love” featured lead vocals by a then-unknown Luther Vandross); both are packed with various edits and remixes from the period.

Clifford Brown, The EmArcy Master Takes, Vol. 2: The Singers Sessions (U.S./U.K.) (Hip-O Select/Verve)

Brownie sits in with Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and more.

Thelma Houston, The MoWest Album: Expanded Edition (U.K./U.S.) / The Miracles, Love Crazy: Expanded Edition (U.K./U.S.) / The Miracles (U.K./U.S.) (SoulMusic)

From this Cherry Red imprint comes a Motown rarity from Thelma Houston and two albums by The Miracles on Columbia Records.

Art Pepper, Neon Art: Volume 2 (U.S./U.K.) (Omnivore)

The second of three unreleased volumes of Art Pepper on colored vinyl, taken from a 1981 concert in Japan.

Mike + The Mechanics, Mike + The Mechanics (Gold CD) (U.S./U.K.) (Audio Fidelity)

Mike Rutherford’s side project, released before Genesis hit pop pay dirt with Invisible Touch, features the hits “Silent Running” and “All I Need is a Miracle.”

Original Broadway Cast Recording, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (U.S./U.K.) (Verve)

Rupert Holmes’ “Solve-It-Yourself Broadway Musical” is finally back on CD to coincide with the show’s current Broadway revival!  A full rundown on Verve’s reissue is coming soon!

Box Watch: Preview Videos for Deluxe Peter Gabriel, Sex Pistols Sets

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Before we close up shop at Second Disc HQ today, we thought you might want to have a look at two newly released videos showcasing two upcoming deluxe box sets. Above we see the packaging and part of the video content for Peter Gabriel’s So box set (out October 22), and below we see the book that comes with Universal’s upcoming Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols deluxe set, due in stores September 24. (The prime unreleased outtake, the unreleased demo “Belson Was a Gas” with Johnny Rotten’s original vocal track, was also released for streaming today after a premiere on BBC 6 earlier this week. Enjoy them both, and don’t forget to sound off below!

Written by Mike Duquette

September 11, 2012 at 17:11