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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

Philadelphia Freedom: Dexter Wansel Is “Captured” By Robinsongs

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Welcome to our second feature today spotlighting artists of the Philadelphia International label!  First we looked at The O’Jays’ pre-PIR period!  Now it’s time to look at a lost post-PIR album from Dexter Wansel!

The name of Dexter Wansel may not be as famed as that of Thom Bell, Bobby Martin, Vince Montana, Norman Harris or any of the other talented gentlemen who helped shape the Sound of Philadelphia with Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.  But the Philadelphia-born Wansel made quite an impression in the City of Brotherly Love, eventually becoming one of the leading lights of the Gamble and Huff organization’s “second golden age” of 1976-1983.  A keyboard virtuoso equally at home as a composer, arranger and producer, Wansel recorded four well-regarded albums for Philadelphia International Records’.  Between 1976’s Life on Mars and 1979’s Time is Slipping Away, the versatile Wansel made stabs at funk, jazz, soul and disco, all of which were major components of the Philly Sound.  He also found time to serve as PIR’s director of A&R and contribute to albums from Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle and others on the label roster.

Robinsongs, a label of the Cherry Red Group, has just turned its attention to a rare post-PIR effort from Dexter Wansel.  Captured was the musician’s 1986 10 Records release which reunited him with PIR alumni Bunny Sigler, The Jones Girls and Cynthia Biggs.  The Wansel/Biggs team had previously penned songs for The Jones Girls including “Nights Over Egypt” in addition to tracks by The Jacksons (“Jump for Joy”), Lou Rawls (“Lover’s Holiday”), Grover Washington Jr. (“The Best is Yet to Come”) and Patti LaBelle (the chart-topping “If Only You Knew”).  A couple of tracks for the album were even recorded at Philadelphia’s hallowed Sigma Sound Studios.  Robinsongs’ edition marks the first appearance of Captured on CD, and includes the 12-inch mix of the title song as a bonus track.

Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2012 at 13:46

Release Round-Up: Week of August 16

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Breaking Benjamin, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin (Hollywood)

A decade of Breaking Benjamin is collected on this new compilation, available in both standard and deluxe editions.  The deluxe edition offers an additional disc of rare and unreleased bonus material. (Amazon)

Dazz Band, Hot Spot: Expanded Edition (Funkytowngrooves)

The Dazz Band’s 1985 swan song on Motown Records is expanded with five remixes. (Amazon)

Nick Heyward, Tangled and The Apple Bed (Cherry Red)

Heyward’s 1995 and 1998 albums get the deluxe treatment from Cherry Red.  Tangled adds a brace of bonus tracks including an EP of Beatles covers, while The Apple Bed adds B-sides and one previously unreleased cut. (Official site)

The Jones Girls, On Target: Expanded Edition (Funkytowngrooves)

In 1983, the Detroit-born Jones Girls – Brenda, Valorie and Shirley – decamped from Philadelphia International to RCA for this album, which has been expanded with three instrumentals and remixes. (Amazon)

Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band, Hoodoo Man Blues (Delmark)

This 1965 studio album finds Junior Wells joined by Buddy Guy for 12 smoking blues workouts.  Delmark expands the original album with three previously-available alternate takes and two never-before-released performances. (Amazon)

Various Artists, Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl (Verve Select)

Norman Granz brought his all-star Verve roster to the Hollywood Bowl in 1956 where this classic album was recorded.  Louis, Ella, Art, Oscar and co. all appear, and eleven Armstrong tracks premiere on American CD on this deluxe edition. Read the full story here. (Amazon)

Written by Joe Marchese

August 16, 2011 at 08:33