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Release Round-Up: Week of August 25

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Kinks - Lola

The Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround: Deluxe Edition (Sanctuary/BMG, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

The Kinks’ 1970 classic is expanded with a second album – 1971’s Percy – plus an array of bonus tracks (many previously unreleased) on a new 2-CD set!

Mary Poppins 50

Mary Poppins: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – The Legacy Collection (Walt Disney Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Walt Disney Records’ deluxe Legacy Collection unveils its second release – a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 3-CD expansion of Mary Poppins that promises to be the most comprehensive presentation of the Sherman Brothers’ score yet!

Randy Bachman - Vinyl Tap

Randy Bachman, Vinyl Tap Tour: Every Song Tells a Story (ILS)

Randy Bachman of Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive renown, is “shakin’ all over” with this new release of his 2013 hometown concert at Winnipeg’s Pantages Playhouse Theatre!  This greatest hits-centric set – featuring “Undun,” “No Time,” “Laughing,” “No Sugar Tonight,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” “Takin’ Care of Business” and more – updates a similarly-titled program of Bachman’s from over a decade ago, and melds music with Bachman’s stories behind the songs!  It’s available in a DVD/CD set as well as a standalone CD.  Features Bachman’s band including Marc LaFrance on drums and vocals, Brent Howard Knudsen on guitars and vocals, and Mick Dalla-Vee on bass and vocals.

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

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

Blu-ray:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Esther Phillips - Black-Eyed and Capricorn

Esther Phillips, Black-Eyed Blues/Capricorn Princess (Soul Brother) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Two of Esther Phillips’ CTI/Kudu LPs – including the long out-of-print Capricorn Princess – are combined on one CD from the U.K.’s Soul Brother label!

Switch - Switch BBR

High Inergy – Turnin’ On / Switch – Switch (BBR)

High Inergy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Switch: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Big Break continues its series of Motown reissues with 1977’s Turnin’ On from High Inergy and the self-titled 1978 set from Switch!  Full rundowns of both titles are coming soon!

Wild is the Wind

Dimitri Tiomkin, Wild is the Wind: Music from the Motion Picture (La-La Land)

La-La Land is now shipping its 2-CD expansion of the original soundtrack to the 1957 Hollywood drama, and this set features both the original film recordings composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and the re-recorded Columbia Records soundtrack release including the title song performed by Johnny Mathis!

All That Jazz - Criterion

The Criterion Collection: All That Jazz (Dual-Format BD/DVD Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Criterion Collection has a lavish new edition of Bob Fosse’s 1979 film All That Jazz on tap!  The deluxe BD/DVD edition includes a variety of special features illuminating just how the innovative director/choreographer/auteur turned the movie musical on its ear with the shocking, and shockingly autobiographical, motion picture.

Written by Joe Marchese

August 25, 2014 at 08:25

Practically Perfect: Disney’s Legacy Collection Announces Next Volume

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In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun, and – SNAP!
The job’s a game!

-Julie Andrews, “A Spoonful of Sugar,” Mary Poppins (song written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman)

Mary Poppins 50

There’s certainly an element of fun in catalog music, particularly catalog soundtracks, particularly the somehow oft-ignored discography of The Walt Disney Company. Disney’s somewhat passive approach to a catalog initiative (tempered by their licensing deal with the Intrada label) finally made an about face this spring with the announcement of several titles in “The Legacy Collection”: expanded anniversary editions of classic Disney film soundtracks with gorgeous artwork to match. The Lion King was the first title in the line, released this week, and August will see the release of the next: a 50th anniversary edition of the music to Mary Poppins.

As dramatized in last year’s Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney was an unabashed fan of P.L. Travers’ series of children’s books about a magical nanny. Travers was reticent to allow her books to be adapted, but ultimately allowed Disney to pursue the idea. The result, though somewhat deviated from the books, was pure Disney magic: Julie Andrews (star of My Fair Lady and Camelot on Broadway but untested enough onscreen to be replaced for the My Fair Lady film adaptation by Audrey Hepburn) as the practically perfect heroine, bona-fide TV star Dick Van Dyke as the everyman/one man band/pavement artist/chimney sweep Bert, great supporting turns by David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns and Ed Wynn, a stunning multimedia presentation (that deftly mixed live action with animation in several key sequences)…and the songs.

Brothers Richard and Robert Sherman were already known quantities in both the songwriting world (“You’re Sixteen”) and on the Disney backlot (Annette Funicello’s Top 10 hit “Tall Paul,” simple, singable and sincere tunes for 1964 World’s Fair and Disneyland attractions) when Walt asked “the boys” to compose a song score for Poppins. But who could have imagined just what a triumph it would be? With instant standards like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (a song this author is proud to have typed from memory) and “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)” – a song that Walt would often ask the Shermans to play for him, just because – Mary Poppins remains one of the brightest works of art in the Disney canon. Ultimately, the film won five Oscars, including two trophies for the Sherman Brothers and one for Julie Andrews, winning Best Actress over – you guessed it – Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. (Disney passed away in 1966, leaving Poppins as the company’s last major work he lived to see to completion.)

So how is Disney’s Legacy Collection celebrating this soundtrack masterpiece? Hit the jump to find out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 26, 2014 at 10:39

Release Round-Up: Week of December 10

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Eric Clapton - Give Me StrengthEric Clapton, Give Me Strength: The ’74/’75 Recordings (Polydor/UMe)

One of Clapton’s most prolific periods is revisited with this six-disc box, featuring expanded versions of 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), There’s One in Every Crowd (1975), a remixed and expanded double-disc version of live album E.C. Was Here (1975), a disc of sessions at Criteria Studios with blues legend Freddie King and a Blu-Ray featuring new 5.1 surround and original quadrophonic mixes.  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ella The Voice of JazzElla Fitzgerald, The Voice of Jazz (Verve/UMe)

A ten, count ’em, ten-disc overview of one of the greatest jazz vocalists ever. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Radio JellyfishJellyfish, Radio Jellyfish (Omnivore)

Join the fan club! The power-pop cult legends took a stripped-down approach for a 1993 radio tour, and we now get to enjoy these performances for its first official release.

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

Mellencamp big boxJohn Mellencamp, John Mellencamp 1978-2012 (Mercury/UMe)

All of Mellencamp’s official studio albums for Riva, Mercury, Columbia and Rounder – from 1979’s John Cougar to 2010’s No Better Than This – plus the out-of-print soundtrack to his 1992 acting and directorial debut, Falling from Grace. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

White Light - White Heat Box SetThe Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat: 45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMe)

The VU’s second album gets the deluxe treatment as a triple-disc set, featuring the album in mono and stereo with 11 bonus tracks, plus a third disc recorded live at New York’s Gymnasium in 1967. (A double-disc version omits the mono disc.)

3CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Neil Young - Cellar DoorNeil Young, Live At The Cellar Door (Reprise)

A previously-unreleased disc culled from Young’s late-1970 run at the small Washington, D.C. club – the latest in his ongoing Archive Performance Series.

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

Saving Mr BanksThomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records)

The deluxe version of this new release – from a new Disney film telling the tale of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) brought P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson)’s classic children’s novels to the screen – contains never-before-released “pre-demos” from the original 1964 film! (In the U.K., those demos are available on a new double-disc reissue of the original Mary Poppins soundtrack.)

The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12BVarious Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12B: 1972 (Hip-O Select/Motown)

The final volume in the long-running box set series features five discs of soul-pop classics from the back end of 1972. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Verve The Sound of America Box SetVarious Artists, Verve – The Sound of America: The Singles Collection (Verve/UMe)

A new five-disc anthology from one of America’s most notable jazz labels. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Magic in a Box: Decades of Disney Compiled on New Set

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Disney ClassicsA new box set released today chronicles the musical legacy of The Walt Disney Company with a variety that hasn’t been seen in quite awhile. The new Disney Classics celebrates nearly every medium of entertainment the animation studio-turned-film-titan has dabbled in, from film and television to revolutionary theme park attractions.

Disney Classics is touted in a press release as being released in honor of 90 years of musical history as it pertains to the work of Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966). However accurate that might be – Disney’s most meaningful musical contributions really began 85 years ago, when Mickey Mouse whistled a jaunty tune while piloting Steamboat Willie down the river – it’s hard to argue the studio’s contribution to popular song in the 20th century. Virtually any child of any generation can probably commit one Disney song to memory, whether it’s the endlessly singable Mickey Mouse Club theme or the showstopping, Broadway-esque numbers written for animated features in the late ’80s and early ’90s. And while there’s no shortage of beautiful sound to treasure onscreen, those lucky enough to have attended Disneyland, Walt Disney World or any of their international sister parks knows that there’s practically another dimension of music to enjoy on the many rides and attractions you can experience on vacation.

Now, 95 of those tracks – some familiar to longtime collectors of Disney on CD, others exciting, offbeat selections – are collected in this new set. After the jump, we’ll take a look at each of the themed discs and what they have to offer in terms of musical magic!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 11, 2013 at 13:55

Live From D23: New Albums for Disneyland, Walt Disney World Due in August, Premiere New-to-CD Tracks

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Disney Official Albums

Today, you’ll find The Second Disc at the Anaheim Convention Center for the D23 Expo, “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.”  Naturally, every arm of The Walt Disney Company has something to offer here, and naturally, that includes music!  Tonight, Disney Theatrical President Thomas Schumacher will host Broadway and Beyond, celebrating Disney on Broadway’s legacy of musicals from Beauty and the Beast to Newsies.  Tomorrow, American Bandstand legend Dick Clark will be honored as a Disney Legend, and two composers who need no introduction – Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken – will unite for a one-night-only concert event.  And on Sunday, Randy Thornton, the Grammy Award-winning producer who has spearheaded the exciting catalogue projects at Walt Disney Records, takes the stage to reveal Secrets of the Lost Chords.  What’s The Lost Chords?  It’s the series of releases that has excavated numerous outtakes from Disney films like Cinderella and The Aristocats, in both original demo versions and newly-recorded renditions.

In addition to all of this fun, however, the Walt Disney Records team is now gearing up for the release of two long-awaited albums.  The Official Albums of Disneyland and Walt Disney World have long been staples of souvenir shops at Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, collecting music from the Disney theme parks for take-home enjoyment.  New volumes have been absent from shelves since 2008, however, naturally raising concerns about the series’ future.  But on August 20, all worries will have been assuaged.  That’s the date when new 2013 Official Albums are released in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Both volumes are 2-CD, 36-track sets with the usual blend of classic theme park favorites and new additions.  The Disneyland Resort Official Album, including tunes from both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, boasts 13 new-to-CD tracks from attractions both vintage (It’s a Small World) and recent (Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Toy Story: Midway Mania and Cars Land).

What will you find on these two new releases?  Hit the jump for more details, including a complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 9, 2013 at 11:22

Special EPCOT 30th Anniversary Reissue Theory: “The Official Album of Walt Disney World – EPCOT Center”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see.  Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Epcot at Walt Disney World with a look back at its first and only Official Album!

“There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow/Shining at the end of every day/There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow/Just a dream away…”

Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman may have written those words, but Walt Disney lived them.  Less than two months before his untimely death in late 1966, Walt Disney took his place in front of the cameras for a short, promotional film describing his vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  EPCOT was designed as a utopian city of the future which 20,000 residents would call home as a PeopleMover or monorail whisked them to the workplace.  It would anchor Disney’s “Florida Project,” and its creator intended, in every way, to make tomorrow today.   Following Disney’s unexpected death, his brother Roy O. Disney shepherded the newly-christened Walt Disney World to the opening of the Magic Kingdom and two resort hotels in 1971.  But EPCOT remained on the back burner without its chief visionary.

Today, October 1, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of EPCOT Center, known today simply as Epcot.  Though EPCOT the city never became a reality, the theme park that opened on October 1, 1982 sought to embody the ideals of Disney’s planned community in an immersive, interactive campus.  EPCOT’s “Future World” area embraced and celebrated technology and innovation, while “World Showcase” brought nine countries (later expanded to eleven) to Florida with indigenous dining, retail and educational experiences.

Music, of course, was a major part of the EPCOT experience.  Walt Disney had always sought to give his theme parks a musical identity, much as he had given his films.  Though songwriters such as Robert Moline, Buddy Baker, Xavier Atencio and the Academy Award-winning team of Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn all penned songs for EPCOT Center, the heart and soul of the project’s musical side may have been the team of Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman.  The composer-lyricists of “It’s a Small World,” “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” and “It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” supplied a number of songs for EPCOT Center, returning to the Walt Disney Company at the behest of legendary Disney imagineer Marty Sklar.  The Sherman brothers, Sklar intuited, would be able to bring their universal touch to tell the stories behind the very different pavilions being intended for EPCOT, both in Future World and World Showcase.  A handful of their contributions, as well as those by the above-named individuals, could be heard on a 1983 Disneyland Records release that is, to date, the only album released solely to consist of the music of EPCOT Center.  It was only released on LP and cassette, and never reissued or updated for commercial CD release, though a number of its tracks survived to later Walt Disney World compilation albums.

Hit the jump to explore The Official Album of Walt Disney World – EPCOT Center! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 1, 2012 at 09:53

Be Their Guest: “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” Digital Album Offers Souvenir of New Exhibition

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57 years ago today, on July 17, 1955, The Happiest Place on Earth became a reality when Disneyland opened its doors in Anaheim, California!  What better day to take a virtual trip to the Walt Disney Archives?

Touted as “the largest Disney archives exhibit in the world,” Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives officially opened on July 5 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.  At over 12,000 square feet, the exhibition boasts 500+ artifacts from every area of the Walt Disney Company, from animation to theme parks to motion pictures and, of course, music.  Currently scheduled to run at the Reagan Library until April 30, 2013, the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives was attended by Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO, and Nancy Reagan, former First Lady.  The exhibition also celebrates the friendship between Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan; the then-actor and future President even served as one of the celebrity hosts of Disneyland’s opening day on July 17, 1955.  At the Library, you can expect to see original correspondence from Walt Disney, Mary Poppins’ dress, retired theme park vehicles, props, models and even Walt’s office.  Now, Disney’s D23 fan club, the sponsor of the Treasures, has teamed with to offer a digital album soundtrack to the archival showcase. A Musical Tour: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Reagan Library is available exclusively at the online retailer and offers 23 tracks from the Walt Disney Company’s considerable audio vault.

A Musical Tour offers highlights from each era of the company’s successes in non-chronological sequence.  It, appropriately enough, opens with “Turkey in the Straw” from 1928’s animated short subject, Steamboat Willie, which introduced the world to Disney’s cultural ambassador, Mickey Mouse.  It then takes in musical moments from a number of the studio’s pioneering motion pictures including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the complete soundtrack to which was recently reissued by Walt Disney Records and Intrada) as well as modern classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story.  The Walt Disney Pictures story is even brought up to date with the inclusion of tracks from 2010’s Tron: Legacy and 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.

Hit the jump for much more, including the full track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 17, 2012 at 10:15

Friday Feature: “The Orange Bird” Returns to Walt Disney World

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Earlier this week, Walt Disney World welcomed back an old friend: Florida’s Orange Bird, absent from the World since 1987!  We thought this would be a great time to bring back the Friday Feature, which is usually dedicated to film soundtracks but occasionally takes a Disney diversion!  Today, we’re turning the spotlight on the little Orange Bird’s one moment of recorded glory, on which he was joined by a future Oscar winner!

Move over, Jose, Fritz and Pierre.  There’s a new bird in Adventureland.  Well, this new bird is actually an old bird, but he hasn’t aged a day!  On April 17, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom officially welcomed back the Orange Bird. Though the winged little fellow was a symbol of the Florida theme park since its 1971 debut (and actually made his debut a few months before Walt Disney World itself!), he flew to retirement in 1987 with only infrequent appearances since.  With the adorable Orange Bird now restored to a place of prominence in the same land as those other, more famous birds of The Enchanted Tiki Room, we’re taking a Second Disc-style look at our feathered friend’s history and, of course, his distinguished musical career on record!

In 1969, the Florida Citrus Commission signed on to sponsor the Magic Kingdom’s Sunshine Pavilion, which included the Tropical Serenade  attraction (known today as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room) and the Sunshine Tree Terrace refreshment stand serving Citrus Swirl, a delectable blend of vanilla ice cream and orange slush.  The notion was hit upon to create a character to represent both Florida’s history and the soon-to-be-iconic theme park.  That character would not only be visible in Walt Disney World, but throughout the state, on billboards and in advertisements for Florida Orange Juice.  Designed under the supervision of Bob Moore, now a Disney Legend, the little Orange Bird with the leafy wings could also count Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman among his fathers.  The Academy Award-winning songwriting duo had already penned the theme song to the “Tiki Room” and numerous other park attractions including, of course, “It’s a Small World.”  They were dispatched to create the bird’s origin, if you will, in a story with music that would be released on Disneyland Records and introduce him to the world-at-large.

The Sherman Brothers composed six songs for The Story and Songs of the Orange Bird, a “magnificent book and long-playing record from the Walt Disney Studio,” as the album cover trumpeted.  Jimmy Johnson adapted the script from a story by Vince Jefferds.  Tutti Camarata, who had produced many of the Sherman Brothers’ songs for Annette Funicello, handled the same duties for The Orange Bird.  Studio stalwarts The Mike Sammes Singers functioned as the chorus.  But the Orange Bird couldn’t speak or sing; his thoughts instead appeared in the form of orange puffs of smoke above his head.  (Orange Haze?)  How would the story be told, then?  To narrate his story and sing a bit, too, Walt Disney Productions and the Florida Citrus Commission chose Anita Bryant.  A former Miss Oklahoma and second runner-up in 1959’s Miss America pageant, Bryant had placed a number of songs on the Hot 100 chart including a cover of Meredith Willson’s “Till There Was You” from The Music Man.  In 1969, she became a spokeswoman for the Citrus Commission, so she was a natural selection.

In retrospect, Bryant’s presence on the album may leave a taste that’s not as sweet as Florida orange juice.  When a law prohibiting discrimination against gays was passed in Florida in 1977, Bryant became an outspoken crusader for its repeal, succeeding in having the law overturned.  Her contract with the Citrus Commission was allowed to lapse in 1979, thanks to the overwhelmingly negative publicity surrounding her political actions and the ensuing boycotts on Florida orange juice.  Bryant has maintained a low profile in the past three decades.  In 1998, the anti-discrimination ordinance was reinstated in Florida.  When interviewed by authors Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar for their definitive 2006 study of Walt Disney Records, Mouse Tracks, Bryant still harbored fond memories of the LP.

Bryant was joined by a future Academy Award winner as part of the album’s cast.  You’ll find out all about him after the jump when we delve into The Story and Songs of the Orange Bird on Disneyland Records in 1971! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 20, 2012 at 11:55

A World of Laughter, A World of Tears: The Second Disc Remembers Robert B. Sherman

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Sher ·man ·ism (sher’maniz’em)


  1. The creation of music abundant in optimism and heart, written for kids of all ages.

sher man·ist (Noun), sher man·esque (Adjective)

Okay, so that’s not really in the dictionary.  But then again, neither is “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “fortuosity,” “fantasmagorical” or “gratifaction.”  But perhaps they should be.  Have any other songwriters broadened the English language as much as Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman?  The older of the Sherman Brothers, Robert, died yesterday morning at his home in London, aged 86, survived by younger brother Richard, 83.  It’s both comforting and ironic that Sherman, writer of some of the most uniquely American songs ever, died in his beloved England, a land which he so frequently immortalized in song.

Though inextricably linked with Walt Disney, the Sherman Brothers carved out a niche of their own in virtually every medium possible.  There were the Academy Award-winning triumphs in film, the Grammy-winning contributions to record, the teevee tunes entertaining generations of children, the showstoppers on the Broadway stage.  But Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman’s greatest contribution to popular culture just might and be the song generally considered the most-performed song on earth: “It’s a Small World,” written for a World’s Fair attraction in 1964 and now permanently ensconced in California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.  And simple though the song may be, its sentiment certainly isn’t.  Bob and Dick, known to their employer Walt Disney as “The Boys,” first imagined the song as a mournful prayer for peace in a rapidly changing world.  A change of tempo and an ingenious performance concept (imagine, the tune will be sung by children of various ethnicities in various languages!) allowed it to register on a level thought truly unimaginable to its writers.  Those famous words were largely written by Bob Sherman, the wordsmith, while the infectious melody was primarily composed by Dick Sherman, the music man.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears/It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears/There’s so much that we share/That it’s time we’re aware/It’s a small world, after all.”  The Boys had the gift of communicating on a direct level with children and adults alike, but the lyric’s concision shouldn’t be confused for superficiality.  The language is easy to swallow but the message runs deeper.  Wherever we are, whoever we are, we have in common the gifts of hope and laughter.  And we all endure life’s more frightening realities.  So we should emphasize these similarities rather than dwell on our differences.  The “after all” is gently admonishing.  The theme of “It’s a Small World” extended to the brothers’ other work, as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 7, 2012 at 09:44

A Fantasmagorical Second Disc Interview! Bruce Kimmel Talks New, Expanded 2-CD “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”

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When Richard M. Sherman introduces his Academy Award-nominated song “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in concert, he often has to remind his audience that the film of the same name wasn’t a Walt Disney production.  Producer Albert R. Broccoli, best-known for the James Bond series of films, signed Richard and his brother Robert M. Sherman for their very first film score outside of the Disney sphere.  Like the Bond films, United Artists’ Chitty was based on the writing of Ian Fleming.  For Fleming’s story of a most fantasmagorical flying car, “Cubby” Broccoli envisioned an extravaganza that could even top Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins.  With something of a “James Bond-Meets-Mary Poppins” mindset, Broccoli enlisted heavy hitters from Disney’s 1964 classic: the Sherman Brothers, musical director/arranger Irwin Kostal, choreographers Dee Dee Wood and Marc Breaux, and pivotally, star Dick Van Dyke in the central role of Caractacus Potts.  From the world of 007, the producer brought aboard production designer Ken Adam and cast members such as Desmond Llewellyn and Goldfinger himself, Gert Frobe.  Beloved children’s author Roald Dahl was tapped for the screenplay.  Though the big-budget film didn’t match the success of Poppins at the time of its release in 1968, it’s as beloved today as many of Disney’s best films.

The profiles of both Richard and Robert Sherman and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang itself have been high in recent years.  The musical stage adaptation of the movie (with additional songs penned by the brothers) concluded runs in both London and New York.  The Shermans were the subjects of 2010’s acclaimed documentary The Boys, and Chitty was released on Blu-Ray the same year.  In May of this year, Richard Sherman took the stage at the Walt Disney World Resort to perform the title song to Chitty for the crowds at the Destination D convention held by the Walt Disney Company fan community, D23.  It sat comfortably alongside his Disney songbook.  At Anaheim, California’s D23 Expo in August, Van Dyke performed both “Chitty” and “Me Ol’ Bam-Boo” with Sherman beaming from the audience.  Of course, nobody minded that the film isn’t actually a Walt Disney movie!  Now, thanks to the efforts of producer Bruce Kimmel and Richard Sherman himself, another jewel is being added to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s considerable crown.

Hot on the heels of the Kritzerland label’s landmark 100th release, Kimmel today announced a Very Very Special Special Edition release as No. 101, and the producer isn’t one known for hyperbole.  Kritzerland’s remastered and expanded Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will pack a wealth of unreleased and new-to-CD material over two compact discs in a limited edition of 1,200 copies:

  • The original soundtrack recording, remastered from the first generation album master and expanded by the film’s Entr’acte, original Main Title (with sound effects) and film mix of the Exit Music;
  • The Leroy Holmes-conducted Song and Picture Book album released concurrently with the soundtrack, featuring Richard M. Sherman himself on vocals, opposite Lola Fisher;
  • Richard M. Sherman’s original demo recordings; and
  • Several of the mono playback tracks utilized by the cast to lip-synch on set, including another version of the title song (with quite a long instrumental), an instrumental called “The Vulgarian Anthem,” an instrumental of the “Chu-Chi Face” waltz, and a bit of the “Doll On A Music Box” not included on the original LP.
  • The first 100 copies ordered at Kritzerland will be signed by Richard M. Sherman!

That means you’ll hear multiple versions of Sherman classics sung by a cast including Dick Van Dyke (Caractacus Potts), Sally Ann Howes (Truly Scrumptious) and Lionel Jeffries (Grandpa Potts).  The memorable songs include the showstopping “Me Ol’ Bamboo,” charming “Truly Scrumptious,” delightful “Toot Sweets” and haunting lullaby “Hushabye Mountain.”  That’s not even mentioning the title melody, which like Fleming’s onomatopoeia, was inspired by the actual sounds of a sputtering car.  The songwriters added “fantasmagorical” to the lexicon, one in a long line of uniquely Sherman words like “fortuosity,” “gratifaction,” and of course, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”  (Not to mention phrases like “substitutiary locomotion,” “protocoligorically correct” and the wizard Merlin’s favorite exclamation, “Higitus Figitus!”)

Just prior to the release of this fantastic and comprehensive 2-CD set, available now from the label at a special single-disc price, Kimmel spoke to The Second Disc about the process of assembling his labor of love.  Hit the jump for the complete interview! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 24, 2011 at 11:04