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I Know A Place: Petula Clark, Scott Walker, Connie Francis Celebrate “The Songs of Tony Hatch”

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Colour My WorldAce Records’ latest addition to its Songwriters Series, Colour My World: The Songs of Tony Hatch, should come with a warning label – CAUTION: THESE SONGS WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.   A composer, lyricist, producer, arranger and A&R man (whew!), Hatch was a hitmaker par excellence, and one of no small skill for imparting joy through his music. Petula Clark’s bright 1964 single “Downtown” alone would likely have assured Hatch a place in the Book of Pop, Swingin’ Sixties chapter. But listening to a whopping 25 of his best pop confections back-to-back, it’s apparent how this versatile craftsman deserves a place at the top of the pantheon. It’s also clear just how central the beat is to his work. A Tony Hatch song pulsates with energy, vibrancy, urgency and above all else, abundant heart. That throbbing thump is often surrounded by punchy brass or majestic strings, and always in service of a catchy melody that’s determined to lodge itself in your brain and never leave. Drawing on the period between 1960 and 1974, when Hatch was at his most active, Colour My World is a stunning and effervescent compendium from a songwriter who hasn’t always gotten his full due.

Two women figure prominently in the Tony Hatch story and on Colour My World: Petula Clark and Jackie Trent. Hatch, a key producer and A&R man at the U.K.’s Pye label, recorded enough songs with Clark between 1963 and 1970 to fill a 3-CD box set. About half of those songs featured lyrics by Jackie Trent. A prolific composer-lyricist, Hatch forged a partnership in early 1965 with Pye artist Trent, who would become his wife. In short order, “Hatch/Trent” would become as familiar a credit as “Tony Hatch” and the couple would record a number of successful albums together. Colour My World gives Hatch’s work with both ladies ample time.

Petula Clark was already a star when she began working with Tony Hatch, but 1964’s “Downtown” – written, produced and arranged by Tony – returned her to the U.K. Top 20 (only her first single since 1961 to do so) and earned her not just her first American hit, but a bona fide Number One. It’s one of four Clark/Hatch collaborations here. In two minutes and seventeen seconds, the song has it all: one of the best piano introductions ever, a compelling, inviting vocal, a killer hook, and a universal lyric with which anybody could, and did, identify. “Downtown” hits its ebullient stride with a powerful instrumental break just under the two-minute mark, but its liberating call had already proved irresistible. Though Hatch had scored hits prior to “Downtown,” the time was right for his breakthrough. The Tony Hatch sound was youthful, vibrant and hip enough for the kids, but smart and “safe” enough for the adults.

We have plenty more on the music man after the jump including the complete track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 11, 2014 at 09:56

Release Round-Up: Week of June 10

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Chicago Hit Factory

Various Artists, Chicago Hit Factory: The Vee-Jay Story 1953-1966 (Charly) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This import box set tells the story of great R&B label Vee-Jay Records via a whopping 10 discs, 269 tracks (including 112 hits) by more than 120 different artists, and a 72-page book.  Artists include Jerry Butler, The Four Seasons, The Beatles, Gene Chandler, Little Richard, Betty Everett, The Dells and The Standells!  Jazz, gospel, blues and doo-wop all figure prominently along with the label’s trademark soul and R&B sounds.  The full track listing can be found here.

Louis Armstrong and His Friends

Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong and His Friends (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace has a straight reissue of Satchmo’s 1970 album for the Flying Dutchman label on which the jazz legend was joined by producer and label owner Bob Thiele (co-writer of “What a Wonderful World”) and arranger-conductor Oliver Nelson for a set including standards (“My One and Only Love,” “Mood Indigo”), contemporary material (“Give Peace a Chance,” “Everybody’s Talkin’”) and, yes, a new recording of “What a Wonderful World.”  Of special note is the star-studded rendition of “We Shall Overcome” with a chorus including Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and Tony Bennett!  Armstrong’s ill health prevented him from playing his horn on this LP, but his message of peace and brotherhood came through loud and clear.

Brownie Speaks

Clifford Brown, Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Albums (Blue Note) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The latest Blue Note Select release brings together the jazz trumpeter’s three 10-inch albums from 1953 as recorded with trombonist J.J. Johnson (Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown), saxophonist Lou Donaldson (New Faces New Sounds) and his own sextet (New Star on the Horizon), and adds live recordings from New York’s Birdland.  The 3-CD set presents the three original 10-inch album sequences for the first time since the mid-1950s, with the Birdland shows in their original performance sequence for the first time ever.  Look for more details later today!

Colour My World

Tony Hatch, Colour My World: The Songs of Tony Hatch (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Look for Joe’s review tomorrow of this hit-packed anthology from Ace dedicated to the British hitmaker behind “Downtown,” “Call Me,” “Sugar and Spice” and so many other songs that defined the sound of the Swingin’ Sixties!  Colour My World features tracks from Petula Clark, Scott Walker, The Searchers, Jack Jones, Chris Montez, and more!

Arthur Prysock - Too Late Baby

Arthur Prysock, Too Late Baby: The Old Town Singles 1958-1966 (Ace/Kent) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace delivers the very first CD compilation of the R&B baritone’s classic singles for New York’s Old Town label. Many of these 24 tracks have never been reissued at all, in any format. A versatile singer who might bring to mind Lou Rawls or Billy Eckstine, Prysock was equally comfortable with R&B and smooth balladry; all sides of his talent are on display on this collection of some of the rarest material in his considerable catalogue.


The Who - Quadrophenia Live Box Contents

The Who, Quadrophenia: Live in London various formats / Quadrophenia (Original Album) Blu-ray Pure Audio (Universal)

Quadrophenia: The Original Album Blu-ray Pure Audio Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Deluxe Metal Box Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single-Disc Blu-ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single Disc DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London 2-CD Soundtrack to the Concert Film: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend bring their epic 2013 concerts celebrating Quadrophenia to Blu-ray, DVD and CD, and also unveil the first-ever complete 5.1 mix of the original 1973 Who album on Blu-ray Pure Audio!  Full details can be found here.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 10, 2014 at 08:32

I Don’t Know Where, But It Sends Me There: “Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook” Arrives

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2012 has been a big year for The Beach Boys, and the fun, fun, fun shows little sign of abating any time soon. While we still wait for more details on the possible U.S. arrival of a series of reissued original albums, Sony Music Japan is celebrating with a unique tribute to America’s band. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a 25-track compilation drawn mostly, but not exclusively, from the Sony family of labels including Columbia, RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah and Bang, and offers a number of lesser-known tracks from many familiar artists. All of the songs chosen just prove the depth of the Beach Boys’ catalogue.

There have been plenty of Beach Boys tribute compilations over the years, from Risky Business Records’ 1995 Got You Covered! Songs of the Beach Boys (with Glen Campbell, Pat Boone and The Surfaris on its roster) to Sanctuary’s 2002 Brit-centric Guess I’m Dumb: Songs of the Beach Boys (featuring P.P. Arnold, The Ivy League and Tony Rivers & The Castaways). The new Good Vibrations shares tracks with both of those, actually, but also offers some rarely-anthologized tracks from a wide range of artists including The Cowsills, Paul Davis, Melissa Manchester, Nick DeCaro, California Music, Petula Clark and more!

The emphasis, naturally, is on the songs of Brian Wilson; he’s the man responsible for writing each of the songs on Good Vibrations with the exception of two renditions of Bruce Johnston’s “Disney Girls.” The nostalgic song first appeared on The Beach Boys’ 1971 Surf’s Up as “Disney Girls (1957).” It’s heard from both Johnston himself, dating to his 1977 solo album Going Public, and from “Mama” Cass Elliot on her 1972 self-titled LP. Johnston makes a number of appearances on the new compilation. He and Carl Wilson both joined Elliot on her “Disney Girls,” and as one-half of the duo Bruce and Terry (with Terry Melcher), he appears on “Hawaii” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” Johnston and Melcher were also key voices in the Rip Chords, and that group is represented with three of the Beach Boys’ best “car songs,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Johnston and Melcher also produced California Music’s 1974 “Don’t Worry, Baby” for their Equinox label. Certain songs are heard in multiple versions; “409,” “Shut Down” and “Don’t Worry, Baby” are all also heard in The Tokens’ recordings.

We have more details after the jump, including track listing with discography and a pre-order link!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 23, 2012 at 09:55

Toast of the Town: The Rolling Stones Visit Ed Sullivan with Petula, Dusty, Ella, Tom, Louis and More

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Long before David Letterman called the former Hammerstein’s Theatre on 50th Street and Broadway in New York City home, the theatre was the showplace of the world, thanks to one Mr. Ed Sullivan.  The former gossip columnist on the Broadway beat might have been an unlikely visitor to American homes each Sunday night between 1949 and 1971, but it was thanks to Sullivan that viewers got their first or most significant taste of such performers across the entire spectrum of entertainment.  On the musical side, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Supremes and The Rolling Stones were all beneficiaries of Sullivan’s exposure, but so were comedians like Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, Broadway musicals like Camelot, and even a little mouse named Topo Gigio.  Though Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Brian Jones are ostensibly the main attraction of the new 2-DVD set, All 6 Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Rolling Stones, these DVDs offer plenty even for those who don’t feel like being Stoned.  An abridged version of this set is also available, containing just four of the six programs.  It’s titled, appropriately, 4 Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Rolling Stones, and drops the Stones’ first and last appearances from its line-up.

Both DVD sets feature full episodes of The Ed Sullivan Show, including original commercials.  Fans of television variety shows on DVD know that this often isn’t the case, with classics like The Dean Martin Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour being forced to release highlights-only as a result of prohibitive licensing costs, usually involving musical performances.  Only the 6-show set includes the Rolling Stones’ first appearance on October 25, 1964, in which the band performed the little-known “Around and Around” as well as their hit cover of the Jerry Ragovoy-penned “Time Is On My Side.”  But viewers will also find a program that defines variety: comedians London Lee, Phyllis Diller and Stiller and Meara, plus the tap-dancing Peg Leg Bates (!), actor Laurence Harvey reciting “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” classical violinist Itzhak Perlman and even the acrobatic Berosinis!

The May 2, 1965 episode is included on both releases.  Four Stones songs are performed (including “The Last Time”) but the same show also presented Dusty Springfield and the smash hit “I Only Want to Be with You” plus Tom Jones with “Whatcha Gonna Do When Your Baby Leaves You,” Leslie Uggams with “Melancholy Baby” and of course, Senor Wences and Topo Gigio!  The Stones next appeared with Ed on February 13, 1966, and that program, too, appears on both versions.  The Stones kick off this episode with their titanic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and return for both “19th Nervous Breakdown” and the ballad “As Tears Go By.”  The Rolling Stones are the sole musical act for this bill, which also includes the still-active Hal Holbrook, applying his distinct tones to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural speech!

The Rolling Stones were back on September 13, 1966, opening the show with “Paint It Black” and later playing “Lady Jane” and “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?”  Red Skelton and Joan Rivers were the comedians du jour, while Robert Goulet musically contributed with “Once I Had a Heart” and Louis Armstrong brought along his famous trumpet for “Cabaret” from John Kander and Fred Ebb’s new Broadway musical of the same name!  Jim Henson’s Muppets are on hand for an early appearance with a rock-and-roll themed sketch.  Appropriate, no?

Next up was the band’s most controversial television appearance, ever.  Hit the jump for the full story, plus the track listing for all six episodes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 14, 2011 at 10:24

UPDATE: Petula Clark’s “Complete Singles” Cancelled

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Way back on July 26, The Second Disc reported on the rumored news that Collectors’ Choice Music was planning an expansive two-CD collection which would feature all of Petula Clark’s Warner Bros. singles recorded between 1964 and 1970. These plans were confirmed on September 13.

After prominent placement in the label’s September and October catalogues displaying the finalized artwork and track listing, the Clark release disappeared from Collectors’ Choice’s website.

Your humble correspondent is disappointed to now bring the news that Petula Clark: The Complete Warner Bros. Singles has officially been cancelled. Collectors’ Choice’s Senior VP and GM Gordon Anderson was kind enough to confirm to The Second Disc that “at the eleventh hour, Petula’s management decided that they did not want the project to come out.”

The label’s similar projects for the Warner Bros. catalogues of Shelby Flint, Joanie Sommers and Connie Stevens are still scheduled for release and available for pre-ordering at the above links. The Second Disc will continue to report on Collectors’ Choice’s exciting plans for catalogue fans, both on the main label and imprints including the burgeoning made-to-order Tartare division. It should be noted that free standard shipping is still available on all of the label’s products through October 10.

Written by Joe Marchese

October 7, 2010 at 11:05

Sixties Girl Bonanza: Complete Petula Confirmed, Plus Connie, Joanie, Shelby and Julie

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I know a place where we can go to finally hear the complete Warner Bros. singles of one of the most acclaimed singers of all-time, Petula Clark. On July 26, The Second Disc reported on Collectors’ Choice’s complete singles collection for Clark’s swinging tenure on Warner. Well, that auspicious project has finally been confirmed, but Collectors’ Choice has sweetened the pot: also coming are Complete Warner Bros. Singles sets for fellow 1960s female icons Connie Stevens and Joanie Sommers, and a Complete Valiant Singles disc for a lesser-known but no less talented lady, Shelby Flint. With the recent news of Rhino’s downsizing, it’s heartening that Rhino/WMG (controlling the Warner Bros. and Valiant catalogues) is still actively licensing to labels like Collectors’ Choice who still have such an interest in getting collector-oriented sets like these to the public when major labels have turned their backs on such releases. All of the singles in every set will be heard in their hard-to-find original, mostly mono mixes; the Petula set has 40 tracks in mono and six in stereo.

Another sixties female superstar is getting a deluxe reissue this fall: none other than Julie Andrews. The hills will be alive yet again when Sony/Legacy reissues the record-breaking soundtrack to The Sound of Music for yet another go-round, this time in celebration of the beloved film’s 45th anniversary. (The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic soundtrack has been reissued on CD with a new track lineup every five years, like clockwork!) Legacy’s latest crack at the soundtrack is timed to coincide with Fox Home Entertainment’s Blu-Ray bow of the film, and the single-disc release is said to contain 24 tracks including a bonus of Glee’s Lea Michele singing “My Favorite Things.” Amazon has a (tentative?) track listing up which appears to eliminate “Edelweiss” as performed by Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp) and Charmian Carr (Liesl), including only the shorter reprise near the film’s end.

It’s also unclear whether this edition has been remastered. The Sound of Music‘s track listing has had many iterations; 1994’s gold CD version from Fox (20th Century Fox 4267-02) had 29 tracks, while the 1995 single disc reissue (RCA Victor 665872) only offered the original 16 tracks from the LP. A two-CD expansion in 2000 (RCA Victor 67972) contained 31: the 16 from the original soundtrack LP and a further 15 expanded tracks from the actual soundtrack tapes on its second disc. Then there was the 40th Anniversary CD in 2005 (Sony, catalog numbers vary), with 27 tracks including interviews with cast and creatives. In various territories, this was released with a second disc containing that country’s dubbed soundtrack. If Legacy opted for 25 tracks including the Lea Michele bonus, the core lineup would be identical to the 40th Anniversary edition. The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition is due November 2. This CD will also appear in Fox’s Blu-Ray Limited Edition Collector’s Set.

Collectors’ Choice is notorious for falling behind on ship dates, but the Petula, Connie, Joanie and Shelby sets are all available for pre-order in the company’s current catalogue or at the above links, for estimated shipping around September 21. In addition, the label is offering free shipping for all orders placed by October 9.

If any of these artists’ recordings are a few of your favorite things, click on the jump for an only-slightly-amended but now finalized track listing to Petula’s Warner Bros. collection, now known to contain two promotional single tracks: “Imagine” and “The Windmills of Your Mind.” We’ve also got track listings with selected discographical information for all titles mentioned! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 13, 2010 at 09:40

British Invasion, Redux: New Sets Due from The Searchers and Petula Clark

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While the original British Invasion is now just a few years south of 50, its music continues to endure. The Second Disc is pleased to report on a trio of new releases coming our way from two of the U.K.’s seminal artists, The Searchers and Petula Clark.

One of the best and most successful bands to come out of Liverpool, The Searchers may have toiled in the shadow of that other band from Liverpool, but hits like “Sugar and Spice,” “Pins and Needles” and “When You Walk in the Room” remain some of the strongest recordings to come out of the mid-1960s. Now, Universal U.K.’s Sanctuary arm is bestowing the band with the lavish box set treatment. Entitled Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles, the box turns the spotlight on 120 tracks over four discs. Those tracks include rough demos, BBC recordings, solo turns by group members and material from the late-1970s power pop discs released here in the USA on the Sire label, not to mention all of those classic hit singles.

This box set comes hot on the heels of a recent single-disc anthology which saw the band back in a Top 10 position on the British pop charts, but this box set should satisfy fans both abroad and stateside. The Searchers may have suffered for a lack of original songwriting, but the cover versions they chose were almost uniformly top-notch, whether emanating from the East or West Coasts of America. Sun-kissed songs like Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono’s “Needles and Pins” and Jackie DeShannon’s “When You Walk in the Room” both were reworked a la Merseyside, while the Brill Building catalogs of Pomus and Shuman (“Sweets for My Sweet”) and Leiber and Stoller (“Love Potion No. 9”) were likewise beneficiaries of the Searchers’ hitmaking prowess. Release date information and the track listing for Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles hasn’t been revealed to the public yet (although favorable reviews have shown up at both Record Collector and Mojo), but watch this space for such news when it arrives.

Under the pen name Fred Nightingale, Pye Records staff producer Tony Hatch wrote and produced one of The Searchers’ most enduring hits, “Sugar and Spice.” But Hatch’s biggest claim to fame may be the landmark recordings he wrote and produced for Petula Clark, often in tandem with then-wife and collaborator Jackie Trent, and sometimes with Petula herself. Clark was to Hatch what Dionne Warwick was to Burt Bacharach, or Nancy Sinatra to Lee Hazelwood: a muse and perfect interpreter. The Petula Clark Newsletter is reporting some most exciting news: Collector’s Choice is said to be preparing an entry for Petula in its acclaimed Complete Singles series. Past volumes have seen the singles of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Tommy James and The Shondells, Jan and Dean, and Gary Lewis and The Playboys collected; Clark’s large, diverse body of work is the perfect candidate for this expansive treatment.

The 2-CD set will comprise all of Petula’s American singles released on the Warner Bros. label, with many tracks different than their album counterparts. The B-sides frequently featured Clark’s own compositions, with strong production from Hatch and company. (Hatch isn’t the only producer represented, however.) Like Collector’s Choice’s past complete singles sets, this should be a must-buy for any fan of the era. It’s currently unknown whether Warner-era EPs, promos or other ephemera will be included. But the label has offered exclusive Clark releases in the past, including last year’s collection of Christmas recordings and a love songs compilation, and neither release disappointed, so this set is likely to be filled with whatever material is available. The release date is rumored to be this fall, and more updates will be posted as they arrive.

But this isn’t the only exciting news for Petula Clark fans. Clark actually began her recording career in 1949 while in her teenage years, reinventing herself as the exciting mod girl of “Downtown” and “I Know A Place” under Hatch’s aegis in Swinging London circa 1964. After her impressive run of hit singles concluded, Clark remade herself yet again, turning her talents to the musical theatre stage. While in recent years she has starred in such productions as Blood Brothers and Sunset Boulevard, and even written a musical of her own (Someone Like You), Petula’s first stage triumph was headlining a 1981 London revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. While CBS/Epic recorded the production, it’s remained unreleased in the compact disc era. Joe Boy Records, typically devoted to the “Rehab Soul Movement,” has unearthed this long-lost LP and will be releasing it via “Pet Sounds International” on September 27 in the United Kingdom. As Maria, the role originated by Mary Martin and immortalized on film by Julie Andrews, Petula sings on 10 of the album’s 18 tracks. Other cast members include June Bronhill, Michael Jayston and Honor Blackman. As a special bonus, the CD will include both sides of the Epic single pressed to celebrate Petula’s run in the show: “Edelweiss,” from the musical, b/w the non-LP side “Darkness.”  The B-side is especially rare, and a welcome surprise.

Hit the jump for a look at Petula Clark’s Warner Bros. singles, plus the track listing and discographical information for Petula’s The Sound of Music! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 26, 2010 at 08:27