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Archive for the ‘The Doobie Brothers’ Category

Rare Gems Hidden in New “Playlist” Wave

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Playlist - Box TopsThe latest wave of Playlist releases is almost here from Legacy Recordings, and the series dedicated to collecting “the hits plus the fan favorites” doesn’t look to disappoint.  On January 29, Playlist volumes will be released for an eclectic cadre of artists in a variety of genres: vintage metal (Accept), traditional pop (Andy Williams), blue-eyed soul (The Box Tops), classic rock (Mountain, The Doobie Brothers, Harry Nilsson), country (Sara Evans, The Highwaymen), hip-hop (G. Love and Special Sauce, Nas), rock-and-roll (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis) and even New Age (Yanni).  There are bona fide rarities on the volumes from Andy Williams, The Box Tops, G. Love and Special Sauce, and more.  All Playlist titles are now packaged in traditional jewel cases, and each title’s booklet contains a historical essay plus complete discographical annotation.

The late cult hero Alex Chilton got his start as the deep, soulful voice of The Box Tops, lending his pipes to the band’s classic renditions of Wayne Carson Thompson’s “The Letter,” “Soul Deep” and “Neon Rainbow,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like a Baby,” and so many other stone-cold Memphis classics.  Playlist: The Very Best of the Box Tops offers fourteen selections, all drawn from the group’s singles discography.  Most excitingly, all of these titles (including each song named above) are heard in their original mono single mixes.  Of the lesser-known songs, Playlist includes Chilton’s first composition released on a single, “I See Only Sunshine,” and Chilton favorite “Turn on a Dream,” penned by Mark James of “Suspicious Minds” and “Hooked on a Feeling” fame.  Southern soul-pop doesn’t get any better than this.

Playlist - Andy WilliamsWhen Howard Andrew Williams, better known as Andy Williams, died on September 25, 2012, American popular music lost one of its titans.  Like his Columbia Records contemporary Johnny Mathis, Williams blazed a musical path that allowed him to record everything from early rock and roll to lush renditions of standards, film themes, Broadway hits and MOR pop.  Ten of the fourteen tracks on Playlist: The Very Best of Andy Williams date to Andy’s 1960s heyday, with the remaining four songs from his still-vibrant 1970s period.  In the former category, you’ll hear Academy Award-winning classic “Moon River” (of course) but also three other movie tunes written by Williams’ friend Henry Mancini: “In the Arms of Love,” “Dear Heart” and “Days of Wine and Roses.”  Williams’ pop hits “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and “Music to Watch Girls By” are also included, while two more famous cinema songs are represented from the seventies: “Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather and “Where Do I Begin” from Love Story.  Most exciting for collectors, though, will be a rare 1964 promotional single.  Written by the Li’l Abner team of Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul, “Exercise Your Prerogative” encourages young listeners to “get the vote through on the big Election Day…let liberty and freedom live, go and exercise your prerogative!”  It’s all set to a swinging big-band chart by Dave Grusin.

After the jump: more specs on rarities, plus full track listings and pre-order links for every title! Read the rest of this entry »

Rhino Unleashes “Original Album Series” in Europe

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Ever feel like all the fancy bonus content and packaging on some reissues totally overshadows the music? Rhino’s European division must’ve felt so, too: they released a handful of Original Album Series boxes a few weeks ago, featuring a lot of music with a minimum of frills and a relatively low price.

The titles – five albums by one artist, housed in mini-LP cardboard sleeves and put into a box – are the ideal quick, easy discography builder for new fans or collectors with a few notable gaps on their shelves. A myriad of artists, from the obvious (CHIC, Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers) to the overlooked (Sérgio Mendes, The Young Rascals, Tim Buckley), are represented here. While some of these titles are available in expanded form, a few of these are hard to find on their own on CD. With a price tag that hovers around the £10 mark, it’s certainly something to consider.

All of the titles, with the albums they contain, are after the jump, along with links from Amazon’s U.K. pages.

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Listen To The Music: Doobie Brothers Catalogue Expanded In The U.K.

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Are you ready to listen to the music?

If you are, you’re in for quite a treat.  The U.K.’s Edsel label has just launched a series of expanded Doobie Brothers remasters, encompassing the band’s first eight studio albums (1971-1978) as four 2-CD packages.  Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me/What Once Were Vices were just released this past Monday, while Stampede/Takin’ It to the Streets and Livin’ On The Fault Line/Minute by Minute follow on September 26.  These eight albums nearly represent the entirety of the band’s pre-retirement career; only 1980’s One Step Closer and the live Farewell Tour (1983) would follow before The Doobies took a hiatus of almost seven years.  Each Edsel edition has added bonus material such as demos, single versions and extended remixes for what should be a definitive Doobie reissue program.  Many of these tracks previously appeared on the Doobies’ 1999 Rhino box set Long Train Runnin’, and are now being appended to their proper albums.

Though the Doobie Brothers lineup changed with some frequency, the spirit of musical camaraderie remained, seeing the group through sixteen Top 40 singles (including two at No. 1), seven platinum albums and two Grammy Awards.  The band was originally formed by Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John Hartman and Dave Shogren; Hartman and Johnston had previously played an outfit named Pud, while Simmons was a member of the band Scratch.  Warner Bros. Records’ Lenny Waronker (The Beau Brummels, Randy Newman, Harper’s Bizarre) produced with Ted Templeman, and Waronker may have influenced the group to take a primarily acoustic direction for their self-titled 1971 debut.  Although “Nobody” had potential as a hit, the Doobies’ debut went largely unnoticed, and Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter; Mike Hossack joined, supplementing Hartman as second drummer.  Templeman encouraged the Doobies to pursue a harder Southern rock muse despite their California origins.  The formula worked.  Toulouse Street (1972) included both the AM hit “Listen to the Music” and “Jesus Is Just Alright,” eventually going platinum.  Its follow-up, The Captain and Me (1973), boasted “Long Train Runnin’,” another Tom Johnston song that even bested the chart placement of Johnston’s “Listen to the Music.”  The songwriter/singer/guitarist was on a roll, with “China Grove” another hit from the album.

It was natural that another Tom Johnston song would be selected as lead single for 1974’s What Once Were Vices Are Now Habits, but “Another Park, Another Sunday” failed to repeat the success of its predecessors.  But the band had an ace up its sleeve with Patrick Simmons’ “Black Water.”  The song became the band’s first number one.  Hossack departed the group during the recording of the album, though, and was replaced with the Bay Area drummer Keith Knudsen.  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan was brought in before recording commenced on 1975’s Stampede, featuring the Holland/Dozier/Holland “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)” as its first single.  The Steely Dan connection would soon figure prominently in Doobies lore.

We’ve got much, much more after the jump, including full track listings and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 2, 2011 at 11:02

Eagles, Deep Purple, Yes! Out-Of-Print DVD-Audios Coming To SACD

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It wasn’t so long ago that high-resolution audio formats like SACD and DVD-Audio were shelved alongside CDs at major retailers such as Best Buy, Barnes and Noble and Borders. Yet with today’s retail landscape perhaps irrevocably altered (and still evolving and shrinking, thanks to the likely-imminent liquidation of Borders), those formats have been consigned to niche shoppers. For those who discovered high-rez and 5.1 audio late, the best source for many releases has been eBay, often at outrageously steep prices. Well, slight relief may be forthcoming. The Japanese SACD market has been booming of late, with Universal having issued a number of titles as stereo SACDs, including some new to the format. Now, Warner Japan is one-upping its rival label with the August release of five 5.1 surround SACDs drawn from the long-dormant Warner Bros./Rhino DVD-Audio line and six further additions in September. Unlike the Universal titles, these will be hybrid multichannel SACDs, with the stereo layer playable on all CD players. And while the prices of Japanese SACDs are indeed high, they’re in most cases lower than what the original DVD-Audio titles are currently commanding on the secondhand market.

The five titles launching the series are all bona fide classics of popular music: Eagles’ Hotel California; Deep Purple’s Machine Head; Yes’ Fragile; Chicago’s Chicago V and Linda Ronstadt’s What’s New. These will be followed in September by another round of five acclaimed titles: Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, The Doobie Brothers’ The Captain and Me, Foreigner’s 4 and The Doors’ self-titled debut album. The majority of these titles were originally mixed for surround and released by Rhino on DVD-Audio between 2001 and 2003. The Nightfly was reissued in 2004 as a short-lived experiment in the DualDisc format and again as an “MVI” disc in the 2007 Nightfly Trilogy box set (that last one lacking Advanced Resolution), while the surround mix of The Doors arrived in 2006 as part of Rhino’s Perception box.

For collectors, these could be a great boon. CDJapan (one of the many trusted sites from which to purchase Japanese imports) offers the titles at roughly $38 USD a pop.  At the time of this writing, the least-expensive Amazon Marketplace prices for the original DVD-As (most, used) are much higher: $124.95 for Hotel California, $69.69 for Machine Head, $50.00 for Fragile, and $69.93 for Chicago V. What’s New is the most affordable title of the first batch in the DVD-A format, available now for $25.50. Of the second batch, Foreigner 4 is another high-priced title at $124.97; the others hover around the $50.00 mark, and The Doors is making its stand-alone surround debut.

Three of these titles have been mixed into surround by the dean of the format, Elliot Scheiner. His 5.1 mixes are notable for generous (but not gimmicky!) use of all channels for a truly immersive, atmospheric listening experience. The Scheiner titles included in the first two waves are Hotel California, The Nightfly, and The Captain and Me.  Any of those three would make a terrific introduction to surround music and, in fact, The Nightfly is this author’s reference-quality disc of choice.

Hit the jump for the complete track listings to these titles! We have included the bonus tracks present on the original DVD-Audio releases, as it is thought they will be included on the new SACDs. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 15, 2011 at 09:49

Release Round-Up: Week of June 28

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Queen, News of the World / Jazz / The Game / Flash Gordon / Hot Space: Deluxe Editions (Island/UMC)

The next wave of Queen remasters are out this Monday in England. If you don’t want to get them as imports, you’ll have to wait until September to get these as domestic reissues – by which point I’d imagine the third wave will be out in the U.K. (Official site)

Alice Cooper, Old School 1964-1974 (Bigger Picture)

This desk-sized box includes not pencils, not books, not black eyeliner, but four CDs of unreleased rarities from Alice Cooper’s early years, along with some vinyl goodies and extra swag. (Official site)

Teena Marie, Lady T: Expanded Edition / Irons in the Fire: Expanded Edition / First Class Love: Rare Tee (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The Ivory Queen of Soul is honored with expansions of her second and third Motown LPs plus a double-disc set of unreleased tracks (originally issued as a smaller-scale digital set). (Hip-o Select: Lady T, Irons, Rare Tee)

Alicia Keys, Songs in A Minor: Deluxe and Collector’s Editions (J/Legacy)

To mark ten(!) years since Alicia Keys’ first album was released, it’s been expanded with a host of vault material (and in the case of the collector’s edition, a new documentary). The original album has also been pressed on vinyl, too. (Official site)

The Left Banke, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina / The Left Banke Too (Sundazed)

Two long-out-of-print albums by The Left Banke, newly reissued on CD and vinyl (Sundazed: Walk Away CD, LP; Too CD, LP; CD bundle, LP bundle, CD and LP bundle)

The Doobie Brothers, Live at The Greek Theatre 1982: Farewell Tour (Eagle Rock)

A CD (or DVD – not both, sadly) set of The Doobies’ last tour before Michael McDonald went full-on solo, featuring guest appearances by a handful of former members. (Eagle Rock: CD, DVD)

Deep Purple, Phoenix Rising (Eagle Rock)

A treasure from the vault – documentary footage of the band’s live tour in 1975 – and all the rock and roll insanity that followed. (Eagle Rock: CD/DVD, Blu-Ray)

Various Artists, The Best of Soul Train Live (Time-Life)

I’ve been on a Soul Train kick lately, and it excites me to see this compilation of a handful of live performances on the long-running show get an official CD release. (Amazon)

Buddy Guy with Junior Wells and Junior Mance, Buddy and The Juniors (Hip-o Select/Verve)

The U.S. CD debut of this loose, laid-back record from the Blue Thumb catalogue. (Hip-o Select)

Paul McCartney, Run Devil Run (MPL/Concord)

Not nearly as expansive as the last McCartney reissues – this one’s just a straight-up remaster. (Official site)

Weekend News Round-Up: Doobies, Peter Gabriel, Stax and Kansas

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It was such a busy week that reporting has spilled over into the weekend! Enjoy these tidbits from around the rest of the catalogue music world.

  • Eagle Rock is releasing a vintage live CD/DVD by The Doobie Brothers, from their 1982 farewell tour. Live at the Greek 1982 sees a lineup that included sole original member Patrick Simmons on guitar, longtime co-drummer Keith Knudsen (who shared the kit with Chet McCracken, a member since 1980’s One Step Closer), guitarist/violinist John McFee, percussionist Bobby LaKind, sax/keyboard player Cornelius Bumpus, legendary session bassist Willie Weeks and the one and only Michael McDonald leading the band. Founding vocalist Tom Johnston sings guest lead on the penultimate song in the set, the always-great “China Grove,” and finale “Listen to the Music” features a few more classic Doobies, including original drummer John Hartman, bassist Tiran Porter and drummer Michael Hossack. Sixteen tracks feature on the DVD; the CD omits one track (McDonald’s soon-to-be-hit “I Keep Forgettin'”) but adds four more bonus cuts. The set’s out on June 28 and you can get the full breakdown from the always-great MusicTAP.
  • Yesterday, in two sentences, Peter Gabriel’s website likely got fans to break out their copies of So – released 25 years ago yesterday – and speculate on when the promised “celebratory release” would hit shelves and what might be on it. (We’ve speculated too, naturally.)
  • A little while ago we’d posted that there was a new series of Stax remasters coming from Concord Music Group, who owns the venerable label’s catalogue. Those albums are coming out on Tuesday, and there’s two things to note: one, that full track lists are after the jump on this post, and two, that our friends at Popdose are holding a contest through Tuesday to win these three reissues! What’s not to like about that?
  • I always feel remiss about not giving more attention to Rock Candy Records, a U.K. label specializing in pretty well-done reissues and expansions of hard rock titles. Their latest releases, set for May 25, are remastered editions of Kansas’ final albums for Kirshner/Epic, Vinyl Confessions (1982) and Drastic Measures (1983). These albums saw the band in transition; guitarist/keyboardist Kerry Livgren and bassist Dave Hope had both become born-again Christians, and vocalist Steve Walsh had left the group, replaced by Jon Elefante. The albums – the first of which spawned a Top 20 hit in “Play the Game Tonight” – were remastered with the rest of the band’s Sony-controlled back catalogue by Legacy Recordings in 1996, but those have since fallen out of print, making these sets worth it if you’re a fan who missed these the last time around. Amazon U.K. links are after the jump as well.

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 7, 2011 at 15:10