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Release Round-Up: Week of August 27

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Beach Boys Made in California BoxThe Beach Boys, Made in California (Capitol/UMe)

Six discs of career-spanning tunes – hits and rarities aplenty – from the best band to come out of Hawthorne, California. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dylan Bootleg 10Bob Dylan, Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 (Columbia)

Revisit one of the most polarizing periods of Dylan’s career with the latest Bootleg Series entry, featuring outtakes from Nashville SkylineSelf Portrait and New Morning. A deluxe version includes Dylan and The Band’s complete Isle of Wight performance and a remastered version of Self Portrait, and a vinyl version also exists.

2CD standard edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD deluxe edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP vinyl edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Sly and the Family Stone - HigherSly & The Family Stone, Higher! (Epic/Legacy)

A four-disc box celebrating one of the pioneers of funk and R&B. Intriguing tracks from the vault and little-heard mono mixes are complemented by a really striking visual presentation, and a healthy book of liner notes. Amazon U.S. has got a six-track bonus disc with the box, and there’s also a highlights disc for the less curious.

4CD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD box + bonus disc: Amazon U.S.
8LP box: Amazon U.K.
8LP box + bonus disc: Amazon U.S.
1CD compilation: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Belinda Heaven on Earth DeluxeBelinda Carlisle, Heaven on Earth Runaway Horses Live Your Life Be Free Real: Deluxe Editions (Edsel)

When The Go-Go’s leader went full-on pop, the music world was all the better for it. Belinda’s Virgin discography has now been expanded as 2CD/1DVD sets, Edsel-style.

Heaven on Earth: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Runaway HorsesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live Your Life Be FreeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
RealAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Robert Palmer Pride-RiptideRobert Palmer, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley/Pressure DropSome People Can Do What They Like/Double Fun / Secrets/Clues/Maybe It’s LivePride/Riptide (Edsel)

The Robert Palmer Island Records discography is finally remastered and expanded – not as we’d imagine (as two-fers and one three-fer), but at least this late great is getting the attention he so greatly deserves.

Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley/Pressure Drop: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Some People Can Do What They Like/Double Fun: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Secrets/Clues/Maybe It’s LiveAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Pride/RiptideAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mario Lanza - Toast of HollywoodMario Lanza, The Toast of Hollywood (Sony Masterworks)

A new two-disc compilation celebrating MGM’s beloved actor-tenor features six previously unreleased recordings. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dexter Gordon - Daddy Plays the HornOscar Pettiford, Modern Quintet / Chris Connor, Sings Lullabys For Lovers / Dexter Gordon, Daddy Plays The Horn / Charles Mingus, The Jazz Experiments of Charles Mingus / Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue / Booker Ervin, The Book Cooks (Naxos/Bethlehem)

The first of several batches of reissues from the classic Bethlehem label (additional batches are planned through next summer!) are hitting CD, LP and MP3, back in print after too long. (The above link is being updated with full links as they’re available.)

CHIC Vinyl SinglesCHIC, The 12″ Singles Collection (Atlantic/Rhino U.K.)

Ten tracks of disco goodness spanning the entire, immortal partnership of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, on five pieces of vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Fuel for the FireNaked Eyes, Fuel for the Fire: Expanded Edition (Cherry Pop)

The second and final Naked Eyes LP debuts on CD with rare bonus tracks and unreleased demos for your enjoyment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Edsel Reissues Robert Palmer’s Island Discography for Every Kinda People

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Robert PalmerOne of the most truly odd omissions in catalogue history, the lack of expanded reissues for Robert Palmer’s iconic Island Records catalogue will finally be rectified by Edsel in August.

Palmer’s nine albums for the Island label will be collected onto four two-disc sets, all remastered and featuring a large swath of bonus material. (The albums are grouped in twos, with the exception of a set collating Secrets (1979), Clues (1980) and Maybe It’s Live (1982).)

Taken together, they represent one of the most original British rock and soul voices of the ’70s and ’80s, from the confident blue-eyed soul of his early albums, featuring backing performances by Little Feat and The Meters, to the synthpop-influenced tracks of Clues (aided in part by Gary Numan) and, finally, the MTV-shined Riptide, featuring most of his bandmates in The Power Station (Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor and CHIC’s rhythm section, bassist/producer Bernard Edwards and drummer Tony Thompson).

It’s also a discography that’s practically begged for some sort of expanded editions in the modern CD age. (Island remastered the catalogue in the early 2000s, before Palmer’s passing, and Culture Factory recently took to giving several of his discs the vinyl replica treatment on CD.) Still, one has to wonder if Universal knows just what they have on their hands; though Edsel’s work can be at times brilliant, it seems strange that an artist of this caliber would be licensed to a third-party and rather casually lumped together as two-fers. (Very little of these albums, as grouped together, make much thematic sense; a similar situation was at play when Edsel reissued Palmer’s latter-day works for EMI in the same manner.)

All the same, it is nice to see Palmer’s material from this time period get the expanded treatment it deserves, and with a considerable handful of bonus material – some 25 bonus tracks in all, seven of them previously unreleased and the rest largely new to CD.

After the jump, you’ll find pre-order links and track lists for these four sets, which will be available in the U.K. on August 26.

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 1, 2013 at 12:37

Culture Factory Reveals “Supreme” Slate with Motown, James Taylor, Robert Palmer and More [UPDATED]

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Supremes - Cream of the Crop Paper SleeveUPDATE: In the days since this article has been posted, Culture Factory has revised the street dates for all of the titles mentioned here.  See below for corrected information as of March 28, 2013.

ORIGINAL POST OF 3/25: Since its inaugural wave of releases in 2011, the Culture Factory label has carved out a niche in the catalogue field. Artists such as Robert Palmer, Hot Tuna, Paul Williams, Bob Welch, The Flamin’ Groovies, Sylvie Vartan, Rare Earth and The Motels are all among the recipients of the Culture Factory treatment. The label’s modus operandi finds the original album with no bonus tracks or additional liner notes packaged in a Japanese-style paper sleeves with an OBI strip. The CD label itself resembles black vinyl with period label art. All discs are remastered with 96 kHz/24-bit technology (although playback in that high resolution is not possible as these are standard “redbook”44/16 compact discs playable in all units). The next waves of releases from Culture Factory widen the label’s scope further, with campaigns dedicated to a classic singer-songwriter, some diverse and well-chosen rockers, and perhaps most tantalizingly, choice offerings from the “Sound of Young America.”

On April 30, Culture Factory will reissue two albums from West, Bruce and Laing, another two from Walter Egan, and a trio of titles from James Taylor.  Amped-up blues-rock was the order of the day when Jack Bruce of Cream joined forces with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain to form a new power trio.  The union was short-lived but burned brightly; Clive Davis recalled fierce competition in signing the band to CBS/Columbia.  West, Bruce and Laing ultimately recorded just three albums (two in the studio, and one live) before disbanding, though Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm replaced his dad in a revised band line-up years later, in 2009.  WB&L’s second studio album, 1973’s Whatever Turns You On, and the 1974 live album/swansong Live ‘n’ Kickin’ have both been selected for the Culture Factory treatment.

1977’s Fundamental Roll and 1978’s Not Shy kicked off the career of singer-songwriter Walter EganNot Shy was co-produced by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut and yielded the gold-selling single “Magnet and Steel,” for which Egan is still best known today.  “Magnet and Steel” was, of course, inspired by Stevie Nicks.  She sang background vocals on the song, and had worked with Buckingham and Egan on Fundamental Roll.

James Taylor - JT Paper SleeveJames Taylor’s first three albums for Columbia round out Culture Factory’s April 30 slate.  1977’s JT was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, and Taylor picked up the trophy for his sublime revival of Otis Blackwell and Jimmy Jones’ “Handy Man.”  Other highlights include the upbeat “Your Smiling Face” and reflective “Secret o’ Life.”  JT followed JT with 1979’s Flag, which included his two songs for the Broadway musical Working (“Millworker” and “Brother Trucker”) as well as covers of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof.”  The latter became a Top 30 U.S. hit and is still a signature song for Taylor.  1981’s Dad Loves His Work introduced the No. 1 Pop single duet with co-writer J.D. Souther, “Her Town, Too.”

After the jump: the lowdown on titles from Robert Palmer, the New York Dolls, Edgar Winter, .38 Special, and a certain Miss Ross!  Plus: pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2013 at 13:04

Simply Irresistible: Edsel Plans Expanded Robert Palmer Two-Fers

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The point is irrefutable! Edsel is releasing two double-disc sets containing all of the late, great Robert Palmer’s albums for EMI, with a few audio extras.

One of the best blue-eyed soul singers from across the pond, Palmer had been well-known among pop gurus for his eclectic discography on Island Records in the 1970s and 1980s, including hits like “Every Kinda People” and “Bad Case of Loving You.” His big break in the U.S., however, came when Andy and John Taylor, the guitarist and bassist for Duran Duran, hired Palmer to sing as part of supergroup The Power Station with CHIC drummer Tony Thompson (and bassist Bernard Edwards in the producer’s chair). The Power Station’s “Some Like It Hot” and a hard-driving cover of T. Rex’s “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” were U.S. Top 10 hits, which inspired Palmer to bow out of a Power Station tour and get back into the studio.

The result, Riptide (1986), was his last record for Island and a continuation of The Power Station sound (with all but John Taylor, who’d continued on with Duran Duran, joining in the sessions). Armed with another clutch of hits and an unforgettable, model-filled promo video for chart-topper “Addicted to Love,” Palmer left for EMI on a high note. His first album there, Heavy Nova, released two years later, was more of the same eclectic rock sound with another peppy single and video, the U.S. No. 2 hit “Simply Irresistible.” Heavy Nova also included U.K. Top 10 hit “She Makes My Day” and a cover of the Michael Omartian co-composition “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming,” made famous by Jermaine and Michael Jackson on Jermaine’s Dynamite album in 1984.

As the 1990s dawned, Palmer drew less from the bag of tricks he’d dug into on the last two albums and opted for back-to-basics soul (and even some eclectic standards!) on 1990’s Don’t Explain, an ambitious double-length album bolstered by U.K. hits “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” with UB40 and a medley of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “I Want You.” 1992’s Ridin’ High leaned even harder on standards (including three tracks that appeared on Don’t Explain), covering the likes of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Witchcraft.” 1994’s Honey saw him return to a more soul-oriented rock sound, with originals “You Blow Me Away” and “Know by Now” as well as a cover of Devo’s “Girl U Want” making minor U.K. chart impact. Palmer briefly regrouped with The Power Station for 1996’s ill-conceived Living in Fear (marred by the failing sobriety of John Taylor, in turn replaced by Bernard Edwards, who tragically passed away during a CHIC tour in Japan that year) and released several more records independently before a heart attack silenced his great voice at the too-young age of 54.

Edsel’s double-disc reissues feature all four EMI albums and bonus tracks between three of the four albums, including remixes and non-LP tracks, and new packaging including new essays and single artwork. Look for these in the U.K. on January 14 and a week later as U.S. imports. Order links and full track details are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 2, 2013 at 15:07

Entering the Culture Factory: New Reissue Label Launches with Robert Palmer, Paul Williams’ “Paradise”

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Despite the spurious reports of the “death of the CD,” the reissue biz is still thriving on the little silver platter, offering up all manner of deluxe editions for the discerning customer.  (That means you, dear reader!)  In 2011, we’ve seen the launch of such heavyweights-to-be as Real Gone Music, Omnivore Recordings and RockBeat Records, and we’re now happy to welcome another name to the fold.  Culture Factory USA quietly launched this past September, with releases from Mink DeVille, Moon Martin, Kim Wilde and the Motels.  This month brings deluxe audiophile reissues of five consecutive albums from the late rock/jazz/soul giant Robert Palmer as well as a cult classic soundtrack from the pen of Mr. Paul Williams.

Each Culture Factory reissue contains the original album sequence plus a Japanese-style OBI strip and a “vinyl replica deluxe” design.  The CD labels are adorned with period label art, and the titles have been remastered using 96 kHz/24-bit technology (although playback in that high resolution is not possible as these are standard “redbook” 44/16 compact discs).  Though Culture Factory’s website is currently on the sparse side, to be kind, each title so far has been available from the label itself on at very reasonable prices, especially compared to the high stickers being charged by Amazon proper.

In the heady atmosphere of 1970s Hollywood, the new breed of film auteurs taking the town was finally able to follow some rather radical muses.  This impulse of exploration led to the cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, a rock musical written and directed by Brian De Palma.  At the time of Phantom’s filming, De Palma was perhaps best-known for his Hitchcock-inspired 1973 thriller Sisters (with a score by no less than Bernard Herrmann!), and films like Carrie (1976) and Scarface (1983) still to come.

Phantom took clear inspiration from early Hollywood horror and most notably the film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, much as De Palma had channeled Hitchcock in past efforts.  The film follows Winslow Leach (William Finley), whose rock treatment of the Faust legend catches the attention of the demonic producer known as Swan, portrayed by songwriter Paul Williams.  After getting his head caught in a vinyl press (!), Leach is transformed into the scarred Phantom.  But rather than the Paris Opera House, Winslow’s Phantom haunts The Paradise, Swan’s hot new concert palace.   In the words of critic Robert Horton, “the movie seems to predict the Studio 54 scene, MTV, and punk rock–the last, especially, in the figure of Beef, a screeching singer played by the unhinged Gerrit Graham.  [Williams’] performance is a reminder of his peculiar, self-spoofing presence… Comedy, musical, horror film, ’70s artifact–this movie isn’t quite definable, and that’s what’s wonderful about it.”  The original 10-track soundtrack album, released on Williams’ then-home of A&M, preserves his freewheeling score which draws on both pop and glam sounds, with some tracks recalling Alice Cooper’s theatrical horror-rock sound.  Williams performs three of the songs himself.  The only drawback to Culture Factory’s reissue is that it wasn’t out in time for Halloween!

Hit the jump for information on the Robert Palmer reissue series, plus track listings and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 23, 2011 at 10:22

Reissue Theory: Robert Palmer – “Riptide”

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge Duran Duran fan (these upcoming reissues are seriously a thing of beauty). But I also credit them with opening me up to a whole lot of other acts. Had I not started listening to them in middle school, I would not have been drawn to other synth/New Wave bands, CHIC, Madonna, David Bowie or Robert Palmer.

Palmer in particular was quite the performer. His Duran connections were smallish – he was the lead vocalist for DD side-project The Power Station – but he was a soulful singer who put out a very diverse body of work. I’ll be honest; his death in 2003 made me more than a little sad.

Sadder still is the relative lack of love given to Palmer’s discography on the catalogue side of things. Maybe it’s because his material (on his own and with The Power Station) was split up between multiple labels, but his solo records definitely deserve the kind of reissue attention that the Power Station LP got. (Bonus remixes and a DVD? Yes, please.) As a tribute to Robert Palmer, I present a Reissue Theory look at Riptide, one of his most commercially successful albums with enough hits and rarities to appeal to every kinda people. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 4, 2010 at 14:04

Posted in Features, Reissues, Robert Palmer

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