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Archive for the ‘Roy Orbison’ Category

Review: Roy Orbison, “Mystery Girl: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition”

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Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl DeluxeRoy Orbison never intended Mystery Girl to be an epitaph.  Yet The Big O never had the chance to enjoy the overwhelming success of the 1989 album, as he passed away almost two months to the day prior to its release.  Still, as far as epitaphs go, Mystery Girl was – and is – a stunner, a parting gift from one of the most distinctive and resonant voices in rock and roll.  Roy’s Boys, the company formed by Orbison’s sons, and Legacy Recordings have teamed for a 25th anniversary reissue of Orbison’s grand farewell, and the CD/DVD set adds a wealth of never-before-heard or seen material to what was already a rich experience.

Mystery Girl featured Orbison with a little help from his friends – and what friends they were, including fellow Traveling Wilburys Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and George Harrison, plus Bono, The Edge, T-Bone Burnett, The Heartbreakers, and Elvis Costello.  There’s such vibrancy to the original album’s ten tracks that it’s almost impossible to believe that Orbison didn’t live love enough to see their release.   The centerpiece, of course, is its opening track and biggest hit, “You Got It.”  Orbison threw his heart and soul into the sublimely, deceptively simple Wilbury-style composition with a hook to die for and plenty of room for his trademark full-throated vocal attack.  It’s a remarkable piece of pure pop songcraft from producer Jeff Lynne, and songwriters Lynne, Tom Petty and Orbison.  “You Got It” is one of three tracks benefiting from former ELO frontman Lynne’s production.  While it sounds very much of a specific time, it doesn’t sound at all “dated” as many other LPs of the era, relying on synthesizers and electronic textures, now do.

“California Blue” likewise emanated from the Lynne/Petty/Orbison team.  Though it has an easygoing shuffle reminiscent of “You Got It,” it also calls to mind Orbison’s other famous “blue” song, “Blue Bayou.”  Here, Orbison is “doing all I can to get back to you,” but the despair of being away from his loved one is also tempered with a faint ray of hope and Orbison’s steely determination (“One sunny day I’ll get back again/Somehow, someway/But I don’t know when…”)  ELO collaborator Louis Clark’s strings add to the rather beautiful anguish.  Often it seemed as if Orbison drew on all of the tragedies he had survived, pouring his grief into his music.  But there was also a sense of hope and liberation in the survivor’s powerful voice.  Lynne also produced “A Love So Beautiful” which he co-wrote with Roy.  The singer brought his emotional vibrato to the dramatic, rueful ballad, which was embellished with acoustic guitar from George Harrison.

T Bone Burnett was at the helm of “All I Can Do is Dream You,” Billy Burnette and David Malloy’s taut little rocker with a virile lead vocal.  T Bone joined with his fellow Coward Brother, Elvis Costello, to produce Costello’s majestic “The Comedians,” a wonderfully withering, wordy ballad with a martial beat provided by Keltner.  It’s one of the richest tracks on the album thanks to Costello’s pitch-perfect evocation of the classic Orbison style with his own signatures lyrical flourishes.  Like Costello, Bono seized the opportunity to write a “Roy Orbison song.”  The album’s title derives from the dark “She’s a Mystery to Me,” penned by Bono and The Edge, produced by Bono, and featuring Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein of The Heartbreakers with studio veteran drummer Jim Keltner.

The ballad “In the Real World,” from the Richard Kerr/Will Jennings team (“Looks Like We Made It,” “I’ll Never Love This Way Again”) and co-producer Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers, returns to the theme of dreams that play such a key role in Orbison’s early career.  Orbison’s tender, fragile vocal rests in the upward reaches of his range.  Campbell is the most represented producer on the set, working with Roy on four tracks.   (Barbara Orbison joined them to produce “In the Real World.”)  “Windsurfer” from the classic “Oh, Pretty Woman” team of Orbison and Bill Dees is a breezy tune with a mordant twist; the production is in the sonic spirit of the Lynne-produced tracks, and Jeff even joins in on background vocals with Rick Vito supplying Harrison-esque slide guitar lines. There was likely more than a flash of paternal pride when Orbison recorded “The Only One,” co-written by his son Wesley.  The biting track is bolstered by presence of the Memphis Horns arranged by Stax great Steve Cropper. Orbison and Campbell teamed with more surprising compatriots, the hitmaking team of Diane Warren and Albert Hammond, for the pop ballad “Careless Heart” which closed the original Mystery Girl sequence.  It’s not in the overt power ballad mode one might have expected from Warren and Hammond, and the Heartbreakers keep the sound organic.

After the jump: what will you find on the deluxe CD/DVD edition? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 12, 2014 at 12:39

Release Round-Up: Week of May 19

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Oasis Definitely MaybeOasis, Definitely Maybe: Chasing The Sun Edition (Big Brother/Ngrooves)

Oasis’ debut album is remastered and expanded; the first in a planned series of multi-format reissues from the legendary Britpop band.

1CD remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD deluxe edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD/2LP/1 x 7″ box set: Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.

Billy Joel - BD BoxBilly Joel, A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia (Columbia/Legacy)

The Piano Man’s 1987 sojourn to the USSR is chronicled anew, with expansions of both the original KOHUEPT album and video program and a newly-filmed retrospective documentary on Billy’s trip.

2CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
DVD: Amazon U.S.
BD: Amazon U.S.

Deep Purple Made in Japan boxDeep Purple, Made in Japan: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Editions(Universal U.K.)

No less than six formats of the band’s breakthrough live album are now available overseas. All together now: “Smooooooke on the waaaaaater”!

1CD remaster: Amazon U.K.
2CD deluxe edition: Amazon U.K.
4CD/1DVD box set: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
2LP remaster: Amazon U.K.
9LP box set: Amazon U.K.
Blu-Ray Audio: Amazon U.K.


REM Unplugged CDR.E.M., Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions (Warner Bros.) / Complete I.R.S. Rarities 1982-1987 (I.R.S./UMe)

Originally released as a vinyl box on Record Store Day, both of R.E.M.’s trips to MTV Unplugged are now available as a more affordable two-disc set. Also, a digital compilation nets just about every B-side and bonus track the band put out for their first label.

Unplugged: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
I.R.S.: Amazon U.S.

Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl DeluxeRoy Orbison, Mystery Girl Deluxe (Roy’s Boys/Legacy)

Released weeks after Orbison’s sudden passing, Mystery Girl rightfully restored Roy’s legend and even got him onto pop radio with “You Got It.” It’s expanded with unheard studio demos, an unreleased song completed by Roy’s sons with John Carter Cash, and also available with a DVD packed with a new documentary and rare and unseen promo videos.

Deluxe CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Expanded CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe 2LP: Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.

Hank Williams - Garden SpotHank Williams, The Garden Spot Programs 1950 (Omnivore)

Long-lost radio rarities from one of the kings of country are uncovered for the first time!

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

Doors - Weird ScenesThe Doors, Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine (Elektra/Rhino)

A double-disc 1972 Doors compilation gets its premiere release on CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Essential R KellyR. Kelly, The Essential R. Kelly (RCA/Legacy)

Love him or hate him – yes, we’ve been listening – the 35 tracks on this two-disc set do a good job of pointing out Kellz as one of the best male R&B performers of his generation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Aaron Neville Toussaint SessionsAaron Neville, For the Good Times: The Allen Toussaint Sessions (Fuel 2000)

Fuel collects 22 vintage sides from two New Orleans legends: vocalist Aaron Neville and songwriter-producer Allen Toussaint! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Miles Blue NoteMiles Davis, Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums (Blue Note)

Blue Note’s 75th anniversary program continues with this release collecting Davis’ small but important output, from the period of 1952-1954, for the venerable label. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Someething Else for EverybodyDevo, Something Else for Everybody (Booji Boy)

Fresh factory rejects from the band’s most recent studio album! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

You Got It: Legacy to Expand Roy Orbison’s Final Album with Unheard Audiovisual Content

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Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl DeluxeRoy Orbison, a.k.a. The Big O, a.k.a. Lefty Wilbury, a.k.a. “the Caruso of Rock,” never did anything small.  His big, booming voice gave life to a series of painfully heartbreaking yet irresistible ballads that sounded like nothing else in rock and roll or pop.  Orbison brought an authenticity and urgency to the dramatic songs he wrote and recorded, but when he cut loose on an “Ooby Dooby” or “Oh, Pretty Woman,” his voice could also be the sound of freedom and lust and excitement.   With the February 7, 1989 release of Mystery Girl, the music of Roy Orbison was riding high.  The album went Top 5 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the Top 10 success of “You Got It,” which returned the singer to the Top 40 for the first time in 24 years.  Unfortunately, the success of Mystery Girl was bittersweet, as Orbison had passed away a scant couple of months prior to its release, on December 6, 1988.  On May 20, 2014, Legacy Recordings and Roy’s Boys LLC will celebrate this triumphant posthumous comeback with the release of a CD/DVD Deluxe Edition, a 15-track Mystery Girl Expanded Edition on CD, and a double-LP set.

While Roy Orbison didn’t live to see the release of Mystery Girl, he did get to enjoy a resurgence of popularity.  David Lynch’s 1986 cult classic Blue Velvet prominently utilized Roy’s haunting “In Dreams.”  That same year, he reunited with old friends Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the Sun Records reunion disc Class of ’55, and revisited many of his seminal recordings on In Dreams: The Greatest Hits.  1988 was another monumental year for The Big O.  He began the year with the broadcast on Cinemax of A Black and White Night, for which he was supported by a band of admirers.  And this little band was the greatest in the land, featuring James Burton, Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt and Glen D. Hardin from fellow Sun alumnus Elvis Presley’s TCB Band along with T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes and k.d. lang.  (Whew!)  Later in 1988, Warner Bros. released the first album by the mysterious Traveling Wilburys.  Rumor has it that Nelson, Otis, Lefty, Charlie and Lucky were, in fact, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan!

Work on the album that would become Mystery Girl began during The Wilburys’ sessions.  Songs were contributed by Orbison himself along with Diane Warren, Albert Hammond, Elvis Costello, Wesley Orbison, and U2’s Bono and The Edge.  Jeff Lynne, T Bone Burnett, Bono, and the team of Orbison and Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell all produced tracks for the LP.  Campbell, Howie Epstein and Benmont Tench of the Heartbreakers all played on Mystery Girl, as did Al Kooper and George Harrison.  The infectious Orbison/Petty/Lynne “You Got It” became the lead track on the album.  As gleamingly produced by Lynne in the style of the Wilburys’ recordings, it became one of Roy’s biggest hits.

After the jump: full specs and pre-order links for all formats!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 26, 2014 at 13:23

Posted in News, Reissues, Roy Orbison

Release Round-Up: Week of December 4

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Beachwood Sparks - Desert Skies

Beachwood Sparks, Desert Skies (Alive Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

We missed this one last week – and didn’t want you to miss it, too!  The previously unreleased debut album from California psychedelic country-rockers Beachwood Sparks arrives on CD with bonus material, all circa the late 1990s.  For fans of The Flying Burrito Brothers, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, and the West Coast pop-rock sound.

Jones Girls - Coming Back

The Jones Girls, Coming Back (Expansion) (Amazon U.K.)

The Jones Girls, best-known for a string of LPs for Philadelphia International, “came back” with this 1992 album for ARP Records.  Expansion bolsters this rare slice of soulful R&B with six bonus tracks.

Roy Last Concert

Roy Orbison, The Last Concert: 25th Anniversary Edition (Roy’s Boys/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Legacy reissues the very last concert ever given by Roy Orbison, from December 3, 1988, in a special package with a bonus DVD containing The Last Interview (taped with Roy directly after the performance) and selected performances from 1981 and 1986.  The Big O was gone two days later, but his music lives on.

Poco - From the Inside

Poco, From the Inside (Iconoclassic) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

In case you missed it last week (after all, we almost did!), Iconoclassic’s expanded reissue of Poco’s 1971 album features new remastering by Vic Anesini, an essay by John Einarson, and two previously unreleased bonus tracks: the unreleased studio versions of “C’mon” and “A Man Like Me” produced by Richie Polodor.

Scherrie and Susaye - Partners

Scherrie and Susaye, Partners (Motown/Universal Japan) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Two former Supremes – Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene – joined with producer Gene McDaniels for this 1979 LP which featured special guest Ray Charles and addition vocals from Joyce Vincent of Tony Orlando and Dawn.  Partners updated the Supremes sound with a sleek, modern R&B vibe, and makes a long-overdue appearance on CD here.

Written by Joe Marchese

December 3, 2013 at 08:53

Give ‘Em a Spin: The Second Disc’s Essential Back to Black Friday 2013 Release Guide

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Another year…another Black Friday. Yes, it’s that time of year again in which consumers start off the holiday shopping season on a mad, frenetic note. This year is another one in which numerous big-box retailers in the U.S. have made headlines by blackening Thursday, or Thanksgiving Day itself, by sales starting on the holiday. So many might give thanks that the folks behind Record Store Day are waiting until the traditional Friday to release their twice-yearly slate of exclusive releases.

As usual, many top artists are represented, from Bob Dylan to U2, with titles aimed coming from both the new and catalogue ends of the spectrum. With that in mind, Mike and I have once again selected our picks for the crème de la crème of titles being released this Friday. Don’t hesitate to head over and drop by your local independent record store, and don’t fear the crowds. With everybody at the mall, the Black Friday RSD event is usually a bit more manageable than the April festivities. You can find a full list of RSD Back to Black Friday exclusives (and a list of participating shops) here.

Without further ado, we’ll kick things off with five of Joe’s favorite slabs of vinyl due on Friday…

Nilsson Sessions LPNilsson, Sessions 1967-1975: Rarities from the RCA Albums Collection (RCA/Legacy)

Let’s go ahead and say it: 2013 has been The Year of Nilsson. Legacy’s well-curated sampler The Essential Nilsson whetted appetites for its crown jewel box set The RCA Albums Collection, and that landmark collection was followed by the first-ever CD reissue of Flash Harry on Varese Vintage. Now, Legacy caps off this yearlong celebration with the 180-gram vinyl release of a Nilsson album that never was. Sessions 1967-1975, adorned with Steve Stanley’s wonderful original artwork created for the box set, features twelve of the best Nilsson tracks you might not have known – and won’t soon forget. An alternate of “One” (“…is the loneliest number you’ll ever know”) and a demo of “Coconut” sit alongside John Lennon’s “Isolation” and Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me a Little” on this remarkable distillation of a singular musical life. To vinyl collectors who already own the box, Sessions is a fine complement. To those who don’t…you’re in for a treat. Doctor’s Orders: Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning.

Van Dyke Parks - Come to the Sunshine

Van Dyke Parks, “Come to the Sunshine” b/w “Farther Along” 7-inch single (Sundazed)

Musical iconoclast (and close pal and collaborator of Harry Nilsson) Van Dyke Parks returns with a replica 45 of his 1966 single, originally on the MGM label. “Come to the Sunshine” has proved a rallying cry for the sunshine pop genre, covered by artists including Harpers Bizarre – who included it as the very first track on their debut album. One part jazz, one part vaudeville, one part psychedelia and all- infectious, the intricately arranged “Come to the Sunshine” is packaged by the Sundazed crew in a new sleeve with a period photo of Parks and new liner notes from California pop historian Domenic Priore.

Percy Dovetonsils Christmas

Ernie Kovacs, A Percy Dovetonsils Christmas (Omnivore)

Omnivore has our candidate for the wackiest release of the Christmas season – or is that the Christmath theathon? Yes, everyone’s favorite lisping poet is back. And if Ernie Kovacs’ kooky creation isn’t your favorite lisping poet, he might well be once you take a chance on A Percy Dovetonsils Christmas. “The Night Before Christmas on New York’s Fashionable East Side” is a most unique Christmas Eve tale, and it’s joined on this festive vinyl 10-inch picture disc by five more of Dovetonsils’ rather refined poems. Grab your smoking jacket (zebra pattern not required) and your glasses (painted-on eyeballs optional, as well) and rest in your easy chair with some of the strangest – and most strangely enjoyable – odes you’ll hear this holiday season.

The Doors - RSD

The Doors, Curated by Record Store Day (Elektra/Rhino)

This 180-gram LP offers eight rare studio and live tracks from Jim, Ray, Robby and John including four mono mixes (“Break on Through,” “Soul Kitchen,” “Moonlight Drive” and “When the Music’s Over”) plus the LP version of “Love Street,” “The Unknown Soldier” from the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, “Roadhouse Blues” from New York’s Felt Forum in 1970, and “Five to One” from Boston, also 1970. All tracks have been remastered by Bruce Botnick, and surviving Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore have hand-written the track listing on the artwork.

Roy Orbison - Monument Vinyl

Roy Orbison, The Monument Vinyl Box (Legacy)

Here, then, is a Monumental 4-LP box for a Monumental artist. The Big O immortalized such heartbreakingly dramatic mini-operas as “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “Running Scared” and “Blue Bayou,” all of which you’ll hear on the first three LPs in this new vinyl box set: Lonely and Blue, Crying and In Dreams. The fourth LP is a wholly new creation: an Oh! Pretty Woman album featuring the title track, “Ooby Dooby,” “Claudette,” and other tracks handpicked by Orbison’s sons. This one will sure look great under the tree – wrapped in some pretty paper, of course.

After the jump: Mike selects his five picks for Back to Black Friday! Read the rest of this entry »

Legacy Expands Orbison’s “Last Concert” with Rare Video, Reissues “A Black and White Night”

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Roy Black and White NightRoy Orbison’s catalogue has been the subject of some interesting reissues of late from Legacy Recordings: the label recently reissued In Dreams: The Greatest Hits, a 1987 compilation of newly recorded versions of his old classics, and will reissue all three of his Monument Records albums (with a bonus “fourth,” posthumously assembled by his family) in a vinyl box set for Record Store Day. Legacy now adds two more latter-day archival projects to the schedule: a DVD reissue of the 1988 special A Black & White Night and a newly-expanded CD/DVD edition of the last concert Orbison put on from the same year.

Both sets help capture the magic of Orbison’s stunning late-career comeback in the late ’80s: the pop singer with the Ray-Bans and the chill-inducing tenor who propelled “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Only the Lonely” and “Crying” to the uppermost reaches of the charts in the 1960s had been beset by personal tragedies for some time, including the death of his wife Claudette and two sons between 1966 and 1968. As the 1980s began, the rock world slowly but surely came back around to his talents, with Van Halen covering “Oh, Pretty Woman” to great success and director David Lynch using “In Dreams” for a pivotal scene in his 1986 classic Blue Velvet.

The stage was set for a massive, multi-pronged Orbison comeback, beginning with In Dreams: The Greatest Hits and continuing with inductions into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Then, on September 30, 1987 at Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove, Orbison and producer T-Bone Burnett assembled a galaxy of stars to accompany Orbison at a special concert event. Named for the colors in which it was filmed, A Black and White Night featured Orbison trading licks and vocals (and a whole lot of admiration) with Bruce Springsteen, k.d. lang, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne and others, all backed by Elvis Presley’s TCB Band. The special was broadcast on Cinemax in early 1988 and a resultant live album was a Grammy Award winner in 1991.

After the jump, learn how Legacy’s expanded Roy’s Last Concert with some rarely-seen performance and video!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 13, 2013 at 12:59

Posted in DVD, News, Reissues, Roy Orbison

Back to Black: Legacy Unveils Record Store Day Black Friday Exclusives From Simon, Dylan, Davis, Nilsson, Hendrix & More

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Record Store Day Black Friday

It’s that time of year again!  Though Black Friday has taken a backseat in recent years to the once-unheard-of Thanksgiving Day sales, the folks at Record Store Day still hold the day after Thanksgiving in high esteem.  News has begun to trickle out about this year’s RSD Back to Black Friday exclusives, and the team at Legacy has certainly put together a collection of special vinyl releases – and a handful of CDs, too – that look back to recent releases from the label and forward to future titles.  All titles are available in participating Record Store Day locations on November 29!

Classic rock releases, naturally, are at the forefront of the Legacy slate:

RSDproductShot(*) denotes numbered edition

Cheap Trick, The Classic Albums 1977-1979 * (Epic/Legacy) – A new box set of five 12” 180-gram LPs includes the first five Cheap Trick records: Cheap Trick (1977), In Color (1977), Heaven Tonight (1978), At Budokan (1978) and Dream Police (1979), all newly mastered in 2013 from the original analog tapes and packaged with original album artwork.

Clash - London Calling

The Clash, The Clash / Give ‘Em Enough Rope / London Calling / Sandinista! / Combat Rock (Epic/Legacy) – These five classic Clash albums, included in the Sound System box set, are released separately as vinyl-replica CDs.


Bob Dylan, Side Tracks * (Columbia/Legacy) – The two-disc set of non-album material from The Complete Album Collection Vol. One is available as a numbered, 200-gram vinyl triple-LP set.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fire b/w Foxey Lady (Live at The Miami Pop Festival) * (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) – This 7” single contains two performances from the Experience’s previously-unreleased set at the Miami Pop Festival in 1968, which is coming to CD very soon from Experience Hendrix and Legacy.

Still Crazy - Paul Simon

Paul Simon, Paul Simon / There Goes Rhymin’ Simon / Still Crazy After All These Years (Columbia/Legacy) – Rhymin’ Simon’s first three post-Simon & Garfunkel studio albums, recently on CD as part of The Complete Albums Collection, all arrive in remastered 180-gram LP editions, each also containing a download card.

After the jump: Legacy gets funky with Sly and the Family Stone, plus vintage rock and roll from Roy Orbison, classic pop from the one and only Harry Nilsson, Miles Davis in mono, and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of September 17

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The Band - Academy of MusicThe Band, LIve at the Academy of Music: The Rock of Ages Concerts (Capitol/UMe)

This five-disc box set (four CDs and a DVD) features selections from The Band’s famed four-night run in New York in 1971. Though these shows would create the live Rock of Ages album, this box instead features highlights from the shows on two discs (including guest appearances by Bob Dylan), another two discs of the complete soundboard mix of the final concert on New Year’s Eve 1971, and a DVD with 5.1 surround mixes and newly-discovered film of two of those performances.

4CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD highlights: Amazon U.S.

Sunshine Daydream packshotGrateful Dead, Sunshine Daydream (Rhino)

One of the most sought-after Dead shows, from the summer of 1972, is released in full on CD and in 5.1 surround sound.

3CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. deluxe version with 40-page booklet and Grateful Days documentary: DVD / BD
4LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Alternate MonroMatt MonroAlternate Monro (Parlophone U.K.)

Twenty-seven alternate takes of classic songs from the underrated British crooner. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

I Robot Legacy EditionThe Alan Parsons Project, I Robot: Legacy Edition (Arista/Legacy)

The Alan Parsons Project’s sophomore album (and first for Arista) featured the band’s second Top 40 hit, “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You,” amid a narrative structure on artificial intelligence. This Legacy Edition features a bonus disc with all the tracks from the 2007 reissue plus even more bonus material.

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

Roy Orbison In DreamsRoy Orbison, In Dreams: Greatest Hits (Legacy)

A rare example of acclaimed re-recorded versions of an artist’s earlier hits! In Dreams, first released in 1987 after Orbison’s unexpected popularity boost by way of Blue Velvet, was the catalyst to a remarkable comeback for the Big O – one that lasted well beyond his sudden passing in 1988. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Pablo ReissuesDizzy Gillespie, Dizzy Gillespie’s Big 4 / Zoot Sims, Zoot Sims and The Gershwin Brothers / Art Tatum, The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces Volume 1 / Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, The Ellington Suites / Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli, Skol (Original Jazz Classics)

Five titles originally released on the Pablo Records label and featuring some of the century’s biggest names in jazz are reissued on CD; all but the Tatum title have been expanded with unreleased material!

Dizzy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Zoot: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Tatum: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Duke: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Oscar: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Glen Campbell ICON ChristmasGlen Campbell, ICON Christmas (Capitol/UMe)

Typically, news of an ICON title gets flung into the sun; however, this disc features, for the first time on CD, Campbell’s 1968 album That Christmas Feeling. The product line comes through! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace Label Tunes In “Radio Gold” and Heads to the “Hall of Fame”

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Radio Gold - Bigger in BritainAce Records has another pair of aces (Aces?) up its sleeve with two recent releases, both of which continue ongoing series for the label.  The sixth installment of the long-running Radio Gold series turns the spotlight on those American records which were Bigger in Britain, as it’s subtitled, while the second volume of Hall of Fame takes in 24 rarities (20 previously unreleased) from deep in the heart of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The 24 tracks chosen for Radio Gold: Special Bigger in Britain Edition all hail from the pre-Beatles era (1956-1963) of rock and roll and feature some of that period’s biggest names: Buddy Holly, Del Shannon, Bobby Darin, Bill Haley and His Comets, Roy Orbison, and Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers.  It might come as a surprise that Roy Orbison’s beautiful “Blue Bayou” bested its No. 29 placement with a No. 3 showing in Britain, or that Haley’s rather unknown “Rockin’ Through the Rye” (No. 78) also hit that same lofty perch.  Del Shannon’s “Two Kinds of Teardrops” was an intentional sound-alike to his “Little Town Flirt,” but whereas it stalled at No. 50 in the U.S., Shannon’s constant U.K. touring saw it rise to No. 5 there.  (As for “Flirt,” the No. 12 U.S. hit was No. 4 in the U.K.!)

Compiler Tony Rounce hasn’t limited himself to rock-and-roll chestnuts, though.  You’ll find country artists represented, including Conway Twitty (“Mona Lisa”) and Jim Reeves (“Welcome to My World,” later popularized by Elvis Presley) and crooner Perry Como (the rock-ish “Love Makes the World Go Round (Yeah Yeah)”).  Even more surprising than Perry is an appearance by the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme.  His breezy 1956 live recording of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s 1926 standard “Mountain Greenery” didn’t make waves in the U.S., but accomplished an impressive No. 4 showing on the British chart. Rounce helpfully points out in his detailed track-by-track notes that Mel’s recording was the very first live recording to make a major dent on the U.K. survey.

On the R&B front, there’s a track from Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (“I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent”).  Straight from the Brill Building, Bobby Vee offers Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “How Many Tears” (No. 63 U.S., No. 10 U.K., 1961).  Two famous television western themes are also included.  “The Ballad of Paladin” from Have Gun, Will Travel only made it to No. 33 at home, but across the pond, “Paladin” hit No. 10.  The occasionally overwrought pop star Frankie Laine specialized in musical tales of the Old West, and he brought his big pipes to Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington’s “Rawhide” from the program of the same name.  Its September 1958 release in America didn’t chart, but when “Rawhide” was issued in Britain in November 1959, it began an ascent to No. 6.

This entry in the Radio Gold series is accompanied by a thick 22-page booklet with plenty of label scans, photographs and sheet music covers.  Duncan Cowell has remastered all tracks.

Hit the jump for the full track listing and discography for Radio Gold, plus the details on Hall of Fame Volume 2! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 27, 2013 at 10:08

In Case You Missed It: Sun Turns 60 with New Compilation

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The success of rock and roll has many fathers, but for many, it has one birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, the home of Sun Records. Sam Phillips’ label was crucial in bringing blues and rock music to a mainstream audience, providing early breaks for artists like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins.

Last month, Curb Records released a special double-disc set chronicling the label’s heyday in the ’50s and early ’60s, in honor of the label’s anniversary back in March. Sun Records 60th Anniversary features early recordings from future blues legends King and Wolf (recorded at Sun Studios and released on the RPM and Chess labels), early sides by future superstar Presley (including “That’s All Right” and Elvis’ first two private demo recordings for the label), a track from the famous “Million Dollar Quartet” session (when Presley, Lewis, Cash and Perkins all enjoyed an impromptu collaboration in 1956), two tracks by Harold Jenkins – who would later enjoy success under the name Conway Twitty – and much more.

You can check it all out after the jump. (Thanks to Eric Luecking of Record Racks for the tip.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2012 at 13:56