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Release Round-Up: Week of October 7

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Stevie Nicks - 24 Karat

Stevie Nicks, 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (Reprise)

2-LP Vinyl + Download Card: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

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

The Fleetwood Mac rock legend dips into her vault for a newly-recorded album of songs composed between 1969 and 1995.  The album features co-production by Dave Stewart and guitar great Waddy Wachtel, and is also available in a deluxe edition exclusive to Nicks’ website.


Various Artists, The Classic Christmas Albums (Legacy)

Legacy has a new batch of Classic Christmas Albums, and the Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra titles both feature previously unreleased and new-to-CD music unavailable anywhere else!  Click on the above link for full track listings and order links for all eight titles from artists also including Barbra Streisand, Perry Como, Il Divo and more!


Shelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne: Deluxe 15th Anniversary Edition (Rounder) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rounder has reissued the 1999 debut of country-pop troubadour Shelby Lynne on 2 discs, expanding the original album on CD with six previously unreleased bonus tracks and adding a DVD of Lynne’s 2000 concert recorded at Los Angeles’ House of Blues!

TV Eyes

TV Eyes, TV Eyes (Omnivore) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

In 2006, Jason Falkner and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., both of Jellyfish, joined with composer Brian Reitzell (Lost in Translation, Hannibal)  in TV Eyes.  The band’s debut album was only released in Japan, however…until now!  Omnivore’s reissue features the nine tracks from TV Eyes, plus 3 bonus tracks from the Japanese only EP Softcore—each of which is a song from TV Eyes, remixed by a member of the band. This set also includes the first CD appearance of “She’s A Study,” which was featured in the film Lost In Translation, and previously only available on a white label promo 12” single a decade ago.  TV Eyes is also available on double-vinyl with a download card, with the first pressing on translucent yellow vinyl!  Both the CD and LP formats boast photos and liner notes from Falkner.

Sleeping Beauty - Legacy Collection

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

Walt Disney Records’ deluxe Legacy Collection series continues for this release coinciding with today’s arrival of a Blu-ray reissue of Sleeping Beauty!  This new presentation on 2 CDs adds previously unissued demos and Lost Chords performances of those demos, as well as a couple of rare tracks previously available only on LP.

Batman TV

Batman: Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album (Mercury/UMe)

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Holy Soundtracks, Batman!  In anticipation of next month’s long-awaited release of the campy, star-studded Batman television series of the 1960s on Blu-ray and DVD, Mercury has brought this groovy 1966 LP back into print on both CD and vinyl.  Originally released on 20th Century Records, this disc includes Neal Hefti’s iconic theme song and Nelson Riddle’s swingin’ orchestral score together with dialogue from Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith and George Sanders!


The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band / Peter, Paul and Mary, In the Wind (Audio Fidelity)

The Paul Butterfield Band: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Peter, Paul and Mary: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Audio Fidelity has two more classic albums on hybrid stereo SACD – the 1965 debut of Paul Butterfield’s searing blues-rock outfit and Peter, Paul and Mary’s chart-topping third album, from 1963!  Steve Hoffman remasters Peter, Paul and Mary, and Kevin Gray handles Butterfield!  These discs will play on all CD players, and will play in high-resolution on those equipped for SACD.

Best of Stylistics

The Stylistics, Best of The Stylistics and More: 30th Anniversary Edition (Amherst) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )

Amherst celebrates 30 years of The Stylistics’ first anthology by adding three new tracks to the original 10-song line-up.  New songs are “Because of You,” “My Heart” and “What Ever It Takes,” while the Philly soul classics still feature Thom Bell and Linda Creed classics like “You Are Everything,” “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “People Make the World Go Round” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”

Monkees in Mono

The Monkees, The Monkees in Mono (Friday Music) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Are you a believer?  The Monkees’ first five mono LPs are boxed up in this new collection from Friday Music featuring 180-gram heavyweight vinyl reissues of The Monkees, More of the Monkees, Headquarters, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., and The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees.

Right As Rain: “Free Soul” Compiles Hits, Deep Cuts For The Stylistics

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Stylistics - Free SoulIn just three albums recorded between 1971 and 1973, The Stylistics positioned themselves at the vanguard of Philadelphia soul, introducing future pop and R&B standards such as “You Are Everything,” “People Make the World Go Round” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New” with multi-hyphenate Thom Bell (serving as producer, arranger, conductor, and composer!) and lyricist Linda Creed. Though Bell parted ways with the group to turn his attentions to The Spinners, ending their hit streak, The Stylistics have endured to this very day. The Japanese Victor label has recently celebrated the vocal greats’ legacy with a new volume in the Free Soul series, which itself is marking its 20th anniversary this year. Free Soul: The Classic of the Stylistics (that’s not a typo, “Classic” is singular) is a rare compilation for the group to span many years (1971-2013) and multiple labels including Avco, Philadelphia International, Amherst and Victor. Following the usual Free Soul format, the anthology blends familiar hits and deeper cuts.

It’s unsurprising that the lion’s share of this Free Soul volume is dedicated to Thom Bell’s sublime productions. His work with The Stylistics defined the sweetest strains of Philly soul, but these sumptuously melodic grooves crossed over to pop in a major way. In fact, every single release Bell produced for the group hit the Top 10 R&B chart, and many also went Top 10 pop. Bell and lyricist Creed recorded The Stylistics at his home base of Sigma Sound, featuring MFSB’s best on all three albums: Norman Harris and Bobby Eli on guitar, Ronnie Baker on bass, Larry Washington on percussion, Vince Montana on vibes, Earl Young on drums, Jack Faith on flute, Don Renaldo’s Horns and Strings, The Sweethearts of Sigma on background vocals, and Bell himself on piano/keyboards.

All but one of Bell’s productions from the group’s 1971 Avco debut The Stylistics appear here, including “Betcha by Golly Wow” (introduced by Connie Stevens as “Keep Growing Strong”), “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart),” “You Are Everything” and the haunting “People Make the World Go Round.” (The “missing” song is “Point of No Return.”) From follow-up Round 2 (1972), Free Soul reprises “You’re as Right as Rain,” “Break Up to Make Up” and “You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart).” The latter, of course, is the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song introduced by Dionne Warwick; Bell’s arrangement was the rare orchestration of a Bacharach song to best the composer’s own. (“I’m Stone in Love with You” from Round 2 is absent.) Bell and Creed’s farewell to the group was 1973’s Rockin’ Roll Baby, from which “Let Them Work It Out,” “Love Comes Easy,” “Rockin’ Roll Baby” and the immortal “You Make Me Feel Brand New” have all been included.

When Bell moved on, The Stylistics found themselves somewhat adrift. Bell instinctively knew how to deploy Russell Thompkins Jr.’s soaring falsetto with the group harmonies of Airrion Love, James Smith, Herb Murrell and James Dunn; other producers (including luminaries Van McCoy and Teddy Randazzo) failed to channel the magic as successfully. Free Soul overlooks much of the post-Bell period during which the group remained at Avco, but the strong title cut of 1974’s Let’s Put It All Together (by the “Lion Sleeps Tonight” team of Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss) has made the cut. It continued the group’s winning streak, but subsequent efforts yielded diminishing returns stateside. U.K. fans were more loyal; 1975’s “I Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)” went to No. 1 there, The Stylistics’ first ever chart-topper. From their brief period at H&L Records, Free Soul taps “Shame and Scandal in the Family,” produced by the Hugo and Luigi team for the 1977 Sun and Soul album.

After a short stint at Mercury, the group (sans Dunn and Smith, who departed in 1980, and with new member Raymond Johnson) even reunited with Bell, among other producers, for a three-album stint at Philadelphia International Records between 1980 and 1982. Two tracks have been taken from 1980’s Hurry Up This Way Again: the Top 20 R&B title song written by producer Dexter Wansel and Cynthia Biggs, and “Found a Love You Couldn’t Handle,” produced by its co-writer Sherman Marshall.

There’s much more after the jump, including the complete track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 6, 2014 at 09:20

Betcha By Golly Wow: The Stylistics Go “Streetwise” On New Reissue

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“You Are Everything.”  “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”  “Betcha By Golly Wow.”    The songs of Philadelphia’s Stylistics are still prominent in the fabric of American music, largely thanks to a three-album run between 1971 and 1973 on the Avco label.  With Thom Bell as the producer, arranger and composer, and Linda Creed as lyricist, the group defined the sweetest strains of Philly soul.  Every single Bell produced for the group hit the Top 10 R&B chart, and many also went Top 10 pop.  When Thom Bell turned his attentions in 1973 to The Spinners, however, the group found itself somewhat adrift.  Of the group’s hits, only the 1970 single “You’re a Big Girl Now” had been produced without him.  Bell instinctively knew how to deploy Russell Thompkins Jr.’s soaring falsetto with the group harmonies of Airrion Love, James Smith, Herb Murrell and James Dunn.

1974’s Let’s Put It All Together, with its strong title track from Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss (the trio responsible for “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) continued the group’s winning streak, but subsequent efforts kept yielding diminishing returns.  Top-tier producers like Van McCoy and Teddy Randazzo attempted to recapture The Stylistics’ glory days, and the group (sans Dunn and Smith, who departed in 1980, and with new member Raymond Johnson) even reunited with Bell, among other producers, for a three-album stint at Philadelphia International Records between 1980 and 1982.  Following that return to the City of Brotherly Love, The Stylistics soldiered on, signing to Maurice Starr’s Streetwise Records label.

The two albums recorded by The Stylistics at Streetwise, Some Things Never Change (1984) and A Special Style (1985) have just been released on CD for the very first time by Phase One Music and Streetwise Records as The Streetwise Recordings.  Though this CD brings more of the Stylistics’ catalogue to CD, the two-albums-on-one-CD package is oddly incomplete.  Hit the jump for more details! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 30, 2012 at 09:46