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Release Round-Up: Week of August 28

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Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #15-26 (Zappa Records/UMe)

FZ’s 1972-1979 discography, almost entirely sourced from original analog masters. (Joe breaks it all down for you here!)

Various Artists, A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection (A&M/UMe)

Three discs of hits and favorites from a most eclectic of major labels.

Elvis Presley, A Boy from Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Follow That Dream)

The King’s complete Sun tenure, with single masters, alternates, live takes and more – not to mention an enormous book of liner notes spanning over 500 pages.

Art Garfunkel, The Singer (Columbia/Legacy)

You know the voice; now, take a dive into Art Garfunkel’s career with this double-disc overview, curated by the man himself and featuring Simon & Garfunkel tracks, solo recordings and two brand-new tunes.

Johnny Mathis, Tender is the Night/The Wonderful World of Make-Believe Love is Everything/Broadway (Real Gone)

The first of a series of two-fers bringing Mathis’ Mercury discography back into print, including an unreleased LP of Broadway standards!

David Cassidy, Cassidy Live / Gettin’ It in the Street / Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Complete Liberty Singles / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volume 28 (Real Gone)

The rest of Real Gone’s monthly lineup includes two David Cassidy discs on CD for the first time ever.

The Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection / Etta James, The Complete Private Music Blues, Rock ‘n’ Soul Albums Collection / Sarah Vaughan, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Legacy)

The latest PopMarket boxes include a Brecker Brothers box entirely full of discs making their CD debuts.

Andrew W.K., I Get Wet: Deluxe Edition (Century Media)

2001’s ultimate party soundtrack, with a bonus disc of live and alternate material.

A&M Records Celebrates Half-Century Mark with Three-Disc Compilation

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Ask the most voracious of music trivia buffs what “A&M Records” stood for and they’ll tell you simply: Herb Alpert, noted jazz trumpeter and bandleader; and music promoter Jerry Moss, a duo who crafted the label from Alpert’s garage in 1962.

50 years later, with the upcoming release of the three-disc A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection, it’s clear that A&M stood for something else, too: one of the most intriguingly eclectic rosters in pop history, encompassing everything from jazz and modern R&B to New Wave and singer/songwriter pop. (There’s been a great amount of activity surrounding the label’s anniversary in Japan, like this compilation of Works by longtime A&M arranger Nick DeCaro.)

The three discs are rather cleverly themed: Disc 1, “From AM to FM,” chronicles some of the label’s earliest and most potent pop radio hits, from Alpert’s “The Lonely Bull” with The Tijuana Brass to the Carpenters’ beautiful “Close to You” all the way to Sheryl Crow’s inescapable “All I Wanna Do.” Things get great on Disc 2, “A Mission to Rock,” which features some of the best rock and New Wave acts of the ’70s and ’80s, including The Police, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, Split Enz, Styx, Free, Joe Cocker and many more. Disc 3 loops around to “Soul, Jazz and More,” showcasing the likes of Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Gato Barbieri, Milton Nascimiento, The Brothers Johnson and Jeffrey Osborne. (All in all, the set covers roughly 30 years of works, with most of A&M’s output after the sale to PolyGram and break-up throughout Universal Music Group – overlooked.)

While there’s not a lot particularly rare on all three discs (save for some of the deep cuts on the ’70s side of things, including tracks from Alpert and Hugh Masekela as well as Alpert’s talented wife, Lani Hall), what does raise eyebrows are some song choices: “Roxanne,” not “Every Breath You Take,” is The Police’s entry, as “Caught Up in You” by 38 Special is included over “Hold On Loosely.” Minor quibbles aside, this looks to be a really fun keepsake of a deservedly-treasured label.

A&M 50 is out on August 28 and can be pre-ordered after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 23, 2012 at 11:48

They Walk The Line: Johnny Cash Celebrated By Crow, Nelson, Kristofferson, Plus Four New Compilations Due

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Much like the train Johnny Cash so often sang about, the celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday year rolls on.  Following the issue of Bootleg IV: The Soul of Truth earlier this year, Legacy Recordings has just announced the CD/DVD and Blu-ray releases of We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash.  Due on August 7, these preserve the concert held on Friday, April 20, 2012 at Austin, Texas’ Moody Theater in which a wide-ranging roster of musicians paid homage to the music of The Man in Black.

Don Was served as the event’s musical director, and brought along a number of his famous friends to celebrate their friend Johnny.  Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne all were among the headliners, while Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson fit the bill as the evening’s requisite legends.  Younger talents like The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Pat Monahan of Train, and Amy Lee of Evanescence all paid their respects via new interpretations of Cash standards.  Was’ band included many distinguished musicians in their own right: Buddy Miller, Kenny Aronoff, Greg Leisz and The Faces’ Ian McLagan.  Of the evening’s star-studded “I Walk the Line” finale, Rolling Stone wrote, “It was a scene so loaded with talent that an A-list artist like Crow was left singing backup vocals off-mike and clapping while her peers led the crowd in a sing-along.”

In addition to solo songs, many performers seized the opportunity for duets.  Shelby Lynne and Pat Monahan stepped in for June and Johnny on Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”  Jamey Johnson joined Kris Kristofferson for Kristofferson’s own “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and Lynne traded off with Willie Nelson on Tim Hardin’s folk standard “If I Were a Carpenter.”  Nelson and Kristofferson reunited on Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman,” enlisting Johnson and Shooter Jennings as new Highwaymen for the song.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops enlivened another favorite duet between June and Johnny, “Jackson.”

Hit the jump for details on the CD/DVD and Blu-Ray editions, plus news of four new Cash compilations and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 28, 2012 at 13:57