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Release Round-Up: Weeks of December 23 and December 30

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Well, these are incredibly light weeks for new releases!  Thankfully, the Kritzerland and Audio Fidelity labels have stepped up with a quartet of titles to close out 2014 on a high note!

Classical Broadway

Cy Coleman, John Kander, Harvey Schmidt and Charles Strouse, Classical Broadway (Kritzerland) (available for pre-order now)

Kritzerland remasters this 1992 album (originally released on the Bay Cities label) featuring classical compositions from four of Broadway’s most legendary composers including Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, Barnum), John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago), Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade) and Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie).  Though these pieces are for the concert hall and not for the musical stage, they still brim with the melody and flair of the composers’ theatre work.  This title will ship by the second week of February, but pre-orders placed directly through the label typically arrive an average of four weeks early.

Breaking Away

Patrick Williams, Breaking Away: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Kritzerland) (available for pre-order now)

Here’s the world premiere soundtrack release of Patrick Williams’ score (as conducted by the great Lionel Newman) for the beloved 1979 coming-of-age drama.  This deluxe release features Williams’ original cues, classical adaptations, as well as material cut from the finished film.  This title will ship by the second week of February, but pre-orders placed directly through the label typically arrive an average of four weeks early.

Guess Who SACD

The Guess Who, The Best of The Guess Who (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (12/30)

Audio Fidelity premieres the 4.0 quadraphonic surround mix of The Guess Who’s 1971 compilation album on hybrid SACD (meaning a stereo layer is playable on standard CD players) – featuring such songs as “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “Undun” and “American Woman.”  And that’s not the only quad classic coming to CD…

BS&T Quad

Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (12/30)

Following its 5.1 presentation of BS&T’s Al Kooper-helmed debut album, Audio Fidelity revisits the kickoff of the horn band’s David Clayton-Thomas era!  This original 4.0 quad mix of the 1969 smash features “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” all in vivid multichannel on hybrid SACD.

And lastly, we’d like to spread a little holiday cheer courtesy of one of our readers…


The Man Who Saved Christmas: The Original Studio Cast Recording (Take the Cakeable Records) (Amazon U.S.) (available now)

This isn’t a reissue, but what it is, is a charming and unabashedly old-fashioned musical comedy as recorded by a cast of 34 singers and a 14-piece orchestra.  Ron Lytle’s bright musical is inspired by the life story of A.C. Gilbert.  The inventor of the erector set, Gilbert was dubbed “the man who saved Christmas” for his crusade against a proposed ban on toy sales during one pivotal holiday season!  The Studio Cast Recording of this charming show is available now at Amazon, and more information on the show can be found at its website.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Written by Joe Marchese

December 23, 2014 at 08:28

Hi-Rez Round-Up: Audio Fidelity Plans Clapton, Butterfield Reissues; Mobile Fidelity Does Sinatra, Chicago, Hall and Oates

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Clapton - Behind the SunAll that glitters is not (necessarily) gold.  Two of the U.S.’ preeminent audiophile labels, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and Audio Fidelity – the latter a successor to DCC Compact Classics – made their name on Gold CDs, and have in recent years made the gradual change to hybrid stereo SACDs.  These discs, playable on all CD players in standard CD quality, are remastered to the same high standard as the gold releases but also give consumers with SACD playback capabilities the opportunity to listen in high-resolution, superior-to-CD sound.   Both Mobile Fidelity and Audio Fidelity have been busy in 2014.  The former label has released, or will release, hybrid SACDs from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Chicago, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Los Lobos and Daryl Hall and John Oates; the latter label has just offered titles from Heart, Jon Anderson, Alice Cooper and Peter, Paul and Mary, and has announced forthcoming releases from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Eric Clapton.

Though Mobile Fidelity has made the gradual switch to the SACD format, Audio Fidelity has recently issued a statement confirming that the label will no longer manufacture 24K Gold CDs.  Label founder Marshall Blonstein has written in an email to subscribers of AF’s limited edition series that “as many of you know, over the past months we have had many delays with our 24K release schedule. Primarily it’s been due to the inability of our manufacturer to secure the gold target necessary to make 24K discs.  Since 2013, we’ve responded to the encouragement of many of our fans and friends by converting to the Hybrid SACD format.”

Blonstein continues, “Though it’s possible in the future we could release 24K titles, it’s not likely.  We’ve made this decision after a lot of thought and realistic evaluation of market conditions – our 24K manufacturer is unable to assure us that in the future they would be able to deliver the product you expect and we demand.  Meanwhile, we’re having a great run with our Hybrid SACD titles, our brand remains intact and our unique and appealing slipcase packaging remains consistent with our tradition.

So, it is with great sadness we are informing you that we will leave an old friend, our 24K Gold disc behind, but with also with great joy, knowing that we are moving forward with a much more consistent and broadly appealing format.”

After the jump, we’ll take a look at the recent release slate from both Audio Fidelity and Mobile Fidelity! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of March 4

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Little Feat boxLittle Feat, Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)

The eclectic rock band’s near two-decade run on Warner Bros. is celebrated in this new box set, featuring all the band’s original studio albums, an expanded edition of the live Waiting for Columbus and a bonus disc of recordings sourced from the band’s 2000 box set Hotcakes & Outtakes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dr John - Gris GrisThe Grass Roots, The Complete Original Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles / Irma Thomas, Full Time Woman — The Lost Cotillion Album / Professor Longhair, The Last Mardi Gras / Dr. John, The Night Tripper, Gris Gris / David Ruffin, My Whole World Ended/Feelin’ Good / David Ruffin, David Ruffin/Me ‘N Rock ‘N Roll Are Here to Stay / Marilyn McCoo, Solid Gold (Expanded Edition) / Charley Pride, The Gospel Collection (Real Gone Music)

Real Gone’s March madness features a host of titles, including two Mardi Gras-themed offerings from two New Orleans legends: Dr. John’s first album and a double-disc live set from jazz pianist Professor Longhair.

The Grass Roots: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Irma Thomas: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Professor Longhair: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Dr. John: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #2: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn McCoo: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Charley Pride: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bob Dylan - 30th ConcertBob Dylan, The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (Columbia/Legacy)

This multi-artist live tribute to The Bard, recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1992, is reissued as an expanded CD set as well as in a newly-restored DVD or Blu-Ray version with unreleased performances and behind-the-scenes footage.

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

A Beard of Stars DeluxeT. Rex, A Beard of Stars T. Rex: Deluxe Editions (Universal U.K.)

Before Marc Bolan hit the sweet spot, 1970 saw him cutting two albums – the last credited to “Tyrannosaurus Rex” and the first credited to “T. Rex,” respectively – that saw him moving from psych-folk to the kind of music that made him a legend. Both albums are expanded with unreleased demos, outtakes and single material (including beloved glam cut “Ride a White Swan”).

A Beard of Stars: 2CD (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.) / 2LP (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)
T. Rex: 2CD (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.) / 2LP (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Rufus VibrateRufus Wainwright, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright (DGC/Interscope/UMe)

A greatest-hits compilation from the theatrical singer-songwriter, son of fellow-renowned musician Loudon Wainwright III.

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

Bob FrankBob Frank, Bob Frank / Peter Walker, “Second Poem to Kamela” or Gypsies Are Important (Light in the Attic)

Light in the Attic kicks off its new Vanguard Vault series exploring the “obscure, non-traditional side of the legendary Vanguard Records archive” with the 1972 self-titled album from Bob Frank (“the best songwriter you never heard” per Big Star producer Jim Dickinson) and the rare 1968 follow-up to Peter Walker’s mystical psych-folk Rainy Day Raga LP.

Bob Frank: LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Peter Walker: LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Heart Magazine SACDHeart, Magazine / Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter, Paul and Mary (Audio Fidelity)

New, Steve Hoffman-mastered editions of two classic titles on hybrid SACD.

Heart: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Peter, Paul and Mary: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 4, 2014 at 08:32

Forever Dusty: Four New Releases Celebrate Springfield’s Musical Legacy

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Dusty Heard Them Here FirstDusty Springfield’s ebullient first solo single, 1963’s “I Only Want to Be with You,” announced just how far the former Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien had come from her pop-folk trio The Springfields and the likes of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles.”  The thunderous production and joyous vocals augured for a significant new talent, and the song was selected as one of the very first ever to be played on the BBC’s Top of the Pops.  And indeed, Dusty Springfield remained at the top of the pops for the entirety of her too-short life and career.  The “White Queen of Soul,” Springfield could be breathily sensual one moment and achingly vulnerable the next.  Though Dusty struggled with personal demons for most of her life, she channeled her inner turmoil to create some of the most thrilling three-minute nuggets ever put down on record.  Springfield’s love of American R&B helped break down racial barriers, and she brought a deeply soulful sensibility and emotional honesty to so-called pop fare.  Her legendary talent is now the subject of four recent releases from four different labels.

Leading the pack is Ace Records’ Dusty Heard Them Here First, anthologizing many of the songs that were reinterpreted by Springfield in her own inimitable style.  Some of Dusty’s own versions of those songs have, in turn, been featured on Starbucks Entertainment’s new Opus Collection volume.  Analogue Productions has revisited Springfield’s 1969 classic Dusty in Memphis as a hybrid stereo SACD.  And lastly, the U.K. public domain label Jasmine has collected many of Springfield’s pre-solo sides with The Lana Sisters and The Springfields on a new 2-CD set, The Early Years.  (Remember: though this is a legal release in the E.U., no royalties are paid to the artist and/or copyright holders of these recordings.)

Ace’s new Dusty Heard Them Here First, following similar collections for artists including Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard, is a wide-ranging and illuminating tribute to Springfield’s greatest influences.  It’s also a history in miniature of the many strands of American pop music and R&B which Dusty synthesized into a singular style all her own.  Naturally, the sound of Motown plays a major part on this disc.  A staunch crusader for equal rights, Springfield was one of the foremost voices in bringing the music of the Motor City to the United Kingdom.  Her 1965 television special The Sounds of Motown introduced artists like The Supremes, The Miracles and Martha and the Vandellas to U.K. audiences, and songs from Berry Gordy’s empire were a crucial part of her repertoire.  Here, you’ll hear Motown originals by The Velvelettes (“Needle in a Haystack”), Marvin Gaye (“Can I Get a Witness”), The Miracles (“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”) and Gladys Knight and the Pips (the rousing “Ain’t No Sun Since You’ve Been Gone”).  Post-Motown R&B from songwriter-producers Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Hot Wax/Invictus label also got attention from Dusty, and this compilation features The Honey Cone’s “Girls It Ain’t Easy” and The Glass House’s “Crumbs Off the Table.”  Dusty didn’t ignore Motown’s southern-soul counterparts at Stax, either, and Dusty Heard Them Here First includes Carla Thomas’ “Every Ounce of Strength,” recorded by Dusty on the flipside of her mega-hit “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” in 1966.

After the jump, we have much more on Dusty Heard Them Here First and the other three above-mentioned titles, including full track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 20, 2014 at 10:32

Hello Hooray: Audio Fidelity Preps SACDs for Alice Cooper, Peter, Paul and Mary, Yes’ Jon Anderson and Heart

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Olias of Sunhillow SACDThis February, the Audio Fidelity label continues to grow its collection of stereo hybrid SACDs with four new releases that touch upon classic rock, progressive rock, and vintage folk.

Jon Anderson‘s debut solo album Olias Of Sunhillow was released in the summer of 1976 and climbed the charts to the U.S. Top 50 as well as to an even more impressive No. 8 in Anderson’s U.K. home.  The Yes frontman and multi-instrumentalist utilized a variety of synthesizers, tape loops, unexpected instruments and sound effects to create the album inspired by Roger Dean’s cover artwork for Yes’ 1972 album Fragile as well as the rich literary world of J.R.R. Tolkien.  Anderson’s Olias is named for the titular character, an architect who designs a spacecraft on which the aliens of Sunhillow can travel to a new land.  Audio Fidelity describes the cosmic concept album as showcasing “Anderson’s uncommon gifts for melody and harmony as well as for songwriting. Together with arrangements that veer from the rustic to sci-fi, the music appears to travel through Earth and Space, incarnating the elements of the material and ethereal worlds. The scope of the music is cinematic, freely pursuing concepts to every corner of its vision and fashioning an experience that is as breathtaking for its range as it is for its depth.”  The SACD package replicates the original artwork by artist David Fairbrother Roe.  Kevin Gray has remastered the album at Cohearant Audio.

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar SACDShock rockers supreme Alice Cooper delivered one of the band’s all-time classics with 1973’s U.S. and U.K. chart-topping Billion Dollar Babies.  Alice’s sixth studio album, the platinum-selling LP produced by Bob Ezrin yielded four Billboard Hot 100 hits including “Elected”, “Hello Hooray,” “Billion Dollar Babies” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”  After the album was released, the band embarked on a tour which reportedly broke U.S. box office records previously held by the Rolling Stones despite not meeting revenue projections.  Magician James Randi designed special effects for the spectacularly horrific production.  Building on the success of the previous year’s School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies (with its songs about everything from dentistry to necrophilia) was the perfect vehicle for Cooper’s hard rock theatre to come alive – or dead.  Audio Fidelity’s SACD edition has been remastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Mastering.

Hit the jump for a look at what’s coming from Heart and Peter, Paul and Mary!  Plus: pre-order links and track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 24, 2014 at 09:53

Celebration of the Lizard: Opening The Doors’ Catalogue on SACD, Vinyl (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (4/26/2013): Wow! A little over a year later, these sets are available to pre-order. Happily, SACD and vinyl configurations will exist for all of The Doors’ studio efforts in this period. Additionally, 2,500 numbered copies of an SACD or vinyl box, entitled Infinite and featuring textured slipcase packaging with a new essay by former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, will be available. Both of these are pre-orderable at the above links with a May 14 release date. Individual pre-order links are still being sussed out for all titles.

Original Post (11/2/2011): A picture often speaks a thousand words.

And so, there you have it.  The Year of the Doors campaign has launched an unexpected new salvo, bringing the band’s catalogue to multichannel hybrid SACD and audiophile vinyl (200-gram, mastered at 45 RPM) from Analogue Productions.  Analogue, of course, is the label responsible for the forthcoming SACD of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.  Of The Doors’ six-album studio catalogue recorded during Jim Morrison’s lifetime, four of the titles will be available in both formats, while the remaining two are vinyl only:

  1. The Doors (Elektra LP EKS-74007, 1967 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP74007, 2011 – SACD and Vinyl)
  2. Strange Days (Elektra LP EKS-74014, 1967 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP 74014, 2011 – SACD and Vinyl)
  3. Waiting for the Sun (Elektra LP EKS-74024, 1968 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP 74024, 2011 – SACD and Vinyl)
  4. The Soft Parade (Elektra LP EKS-75005, 1969 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP 75005, 2011 – Vinyl Only)
  5. Morrison Hotel (Elektra LP EKS-75007, 1970 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP 75007, 2011 – Vinyl Only)
  6. L.A. Woman (Elektra LP EKS-75011, 1971 – reissued Analogue Productions AAPP 75011, 2011 – SACD and Vinyl)

Other than a Japan-only release of the self-titled The Doors on SACD earlier this year, this campaign marks the band’s first appearance in the format.  The Doors’ catalogue has been available in surround before, with 5.1 mixes created for Rhino’s 2006 Perception box set.  Those DVD-Audio discs contained both new 5.1 mixes and stereo mixes, but the latter were engineer Bruce Botnick’s 40th anniversary remixes.  These SACDs (with both stereo and surround on the SACD layer) mark the first time that the original vinyl mixes of The Doors’ albums will be available in advanced resolution.  As always, the stereo layer of the hybrid SACDs are playable on all CD players.

Hit the jump for more details on this new series! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 26, 2013 at 11:20

Yes! Audio Fidelity Rushes to SACD with Prog and Classic Vocalists, Plus: Elton, Scorpions Go for the Gold

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Yes - Close to the Edge SACDThe audiophile specialist label Audio Fidelity has a busy March ahead, kicking off a new series of SACD releases and continuing its long-running series of 24k Gold compact discs.

On March 5, the team at AF is scheduled to return to the high-resolution SACD format with two new hybrid stereo SACDs (playable on all CD players).   Yes’ 1972 album Close to the Edge was the fifth studio album from the progressive rock heroes.  Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar/vocals), Chris Squire (bass/vocals), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion) crafted this epic album around the nearly 19 minute title track which was featured on the original album’s Side One.  That four-part suite was followed on Side Two by another four-part ten-minute opus, “And You and I,” and the nine-minute “Siberian Khatru.”  The last Yes album to feature Bill Bruford before his return to the fold in 1992 reached impressive berths of No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and No. 4 on the U.K. albums chart.  In 2003, Rhino expanded Close to the Edge in an edition with four bonus tracks; Audio Fidelity’s edition hews to the original album line-up.  It’s been remastered by Steve Hoffman.

Rush - Counterparts SACDJoining Close to the Edge is the 1993 album by Rush, Counterparts.  The band’s fifteenth studio album, it became Rush’s highest-charting U.S. release with a peak of No. 2 on the Billboard 200.  The triumvirate of Geddy Lee (bass/vocals/synthesizer), Alex Lifeson (guitars) and Neil Peart (drums/percussion) earned a Grammy nomination for the instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone,” and the album spawned three hit singles, all on the Mainstream Rock chart: “Stick It Out” (No. 1), “Nobody’s Hero” (No. 9) and “Cold Fire” (No. 2).  Composer/conductor Michael Kamen contributed the string arrangements and also conducted “Nobody’s Hero.”  A return to the organic, guitar-driven sounds of earlier Rush albums, Counterparts successfully blended heavy rock tracks with instrumentals and acoustic compositions.  Kevin Gray has remastered the album for its Audio Fidelity SACD debut.

The label’s next two SACD releases, both due on March 19, turn the clock back to the realm of classic pop rather than classic rock.  Hit the jump for details on both of those discs, as well as on the Gold CDs coming soon! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 18, 2013 at 09:54

Not Too Late: Norah Jones Box Set Due On SACD, Vinyl

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Much has always been made of the success rate of Grammy recipients in the Best New Artist category, with some artists damning the prize as a curse.  While some winners have, indeed, been unable to match their initial success, the list of winners also includes such long-running artists as Tom Jones, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, and Sheryl Crow plus unlikely but distinguished names like Bob Newhart and Marvin Hamlisch, and a little band known as The Beatles!

One more recent winner who has certainly been able to dispel the existence of any curse is Norah Jones.  True, Jones hasn’t repeated the titanic success of her 2002 debut Come Away with Me, which topped the Billboard 200, won five Grammys and sold over 10 million copies within its first three years of release.  But she has carved out a dedicated fan base, continues to sell an impressive quantity of records (including 2004’s Feels Like Home and 2007’s Not Too Late, both multi-platinum sellers) and has challenged herself via an array of releases in various genres with various musical foils.  Jones’ latest effort, Little Broken Hearts, arrived this week, and this collaboration with producer Danger Mouse has netted the artist further accolades.  Coinciding with the release of Little Broken Hearts is the announcement of an SACD and vinyl reissue series for Jones’ entire catalogue as a solo artist including this week’s new release.

Analogue Productions, the audiophile specialist label behind acclaimed reissues from artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Nat “King” Cole, is teaming with Jones’ label, Blue Note Records, for the June 18 release of The Norah Jones Vinyl Collection and The Norah Jones SACD CollectionCome Away with Me (2002), Feels Like Home (2004), Not Too Late (2007), The Fall (2009) and Little Broken Hearts (2012) will be included in both packages, all remastered by Kevin Gray from the original sources.  Although these titles will be available individually, those who purchase them as a box set will be rewarded with an exclusive bonus disc.  The ten-track Covers, available only in the vinyl and SACD box sets, features Jones’ “rare or unreleased” interpretations of songs originally performed by  Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Horace Silver, Wilco and others.  The full track listing has not been announced for the bonus disc as of this writing.

Hit the jump for more information on these sets! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 3, 2012 at 09:57

Anyone Who Had a Heart: Shelby Lynne’s Dusty Springfield Tribute, Reissued

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When I Am Shelby Lynne appeared on the Mercury label in 2000, its eponymous singer finally hit on an approach that synthesized her varied influences (country, soul, R&B, rock-and-roll) into a relevant and contemporary whole. Lynne picked up the Best New Artist Grammy, despite having released her first album in 1989, and the album’s title indicated that, finally, the artist knew who she was, and was ready to share her music with the world. Fast-forward eight years, and a number of albums later, and many were surprised to find Lynne releasing Just a Little Lovin’, a countrified tribute to the British chanteuse Dusty Springfield. Journalists and fans alike frequently have invoked the late, great soul goddess when assessing the work of singers like Duffy, Amy Winehouse and even Adele, but the influence of Springfield wasn’t readily apparent in Lynne’s body of work. Yet she transformed what could have been a hackneyed homage into a deeply felt tribute both to Springfield’s indomitable spirit and the timeless songs that figure in her legacy, written by names like Randy Newman, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Upon the album’s release, audiophile guide The Absolute Sound ranked the original CD as one of the best-sounding, while Stereophile ranked it the magazine’s Recording of the Month. Now, Just a Little Lovin’ is reappearing on Hybrid Stereo SACD (playable on all CD players) and 200-gram vinyl LP from Analogue Productions, improving what was already a pristine quality recording.

To craft the album, Lynne teamed with producer Phil Ramone. In his days running New York’s A&R Studios, Ramone became a close ally of Bacharach, and actually engineered the session that yielded Springfield’s “The Look of Love” for the film Casino Royale. Lynne had considered tackling the Springfield songbook for a number of years, and credited her friend Barry Manilow with providing the initial encouragement. Lynne and Ramone reinvented the songs, eschewing the elaborate orchestrations of the original recordings in favor of spare, stripped-down arrangements of guitar, keyboard, drum and bass. Ramone recorded Lynne at Capitol Studios with a microphone once used by Frank Sinatra, and though Lynne could be sensual and sultry in Springfield’s mode, the new treatments rendered them wholly unique. Because of this approach, the singer was free to tackle such all-time staples as “The Look of Love,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” and “I Only Want to Be with You.”

We’ve got more after the jump, including pre-order links with sound samples!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2012 at 13:56

From “Blonde” to “Blue”: Bob Dylan, Miles Davis Classics Coming on SACD and LP

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Any label president would have killed to have Bob Dylan or Miles Davis on his company’s roster, but Columbia Records’ legendary Goddard Lieberson had the good fortune to have had both of these groundbreaking artists making their most important music on the red label under its watchful eye logo.  Since the advent of the compact disc era, there’s been no shortage of reissued music from these giants, and it’s already clear that 2012 will continue the steady flow.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has announced two new campaigns dedicated to Mr. Davis and Mr. Dylan.  Both of these seminal musicians will see a number of their most beloved albums reissued as both audiophile-quality vinyl and hybrid Super Audio CDs (SACDs) sometime in 2012.  (Release dates aren’t yet concrete.)  None of these numbered, limited-edition releases contain surround mixes, and the albums are presented in their original sequences only, with no bonus tracks appended.  All albums are in stereo unless otherwise noted, and as hybrid SACDs, the discs can be played on all CD players.

The jazz trumpeter’s Mobile Fidelity series takes in highlights from his first decade-plus at Columbia, beginning with his label debut, 1957’s Round About Midnight.  1958’s Milestones appears in mono, capturing the quintet of Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.  Kind of Blue (1959, with Davis joined by Adderley, Coltrane, Chambers, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb) has been reissued multiple times on SACD, but has been remastered from the original master tapes for this issue.   Sketches of Spain, from 1960, teamed Davis with noted arranger and orchestrator Gil Evans and his 18-piece orchestra; Mobile Fidelity promises that the new edition “digs deep to eradicate a dryness that many critics have found as an anathema to its overall enjoyment.”  1966’s live album Four and More was one of Davis’ final standards-based projects, recorded in New York in 1964 with Ron Carter, Tony Williams, George Coleman and Herbie Hancock.  Finally, 1969’s In a Silent Way is a departure from the other titles as Davis’ first excursion into fusion.  Williams and Hancock return, and the album also features John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland.

Hit the jump to explore Bob Dylan’s Mobile Fidelity line-up, and also to find track listings for all releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 25, 2012 at 09:58