Record Label and Music Spotlight 

August 2002

  

 

 


The The on Epic / Legacy

Supertramp on A&M Records

Neal Morse on Radiant Records

LABEL SPOTLIGHT

DREAMWORKS RECORDS - She’s been making records since 1979, but the new album from pop singer-songwriter Louise Goffin may be the one to finally get her to the bigger audience she clearly deserves. The daughter of the legendary songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, she recently released Sometimes A Circle on the L.A.-based Dreamworks Records. Signed by Dreamworks’ A&R guru Lenny Waronker, Ms. Goffin’s solid pop outing is a fitting tribute to the Goffin name. Produced by Goffin’s husband Greg Wells, and recorded in L.A., Sometimes A Circle features great side players—including pedal steel ace Greg Leisz—with Goffin and Wells assuming much of the guitar, percussion and keyboard chores as well as all the songwriting and vocals. Concerning the album, Ms. Goffin adds, “It’s a humorous look at the absurdity of modern life.” www.louisegoffin.com

EARTHDANCE MUSIC -
His albums ring out with the sound of acoustic and nylon string guitars seasoned with recorders, hurdy gurdy, concertina, harpsichord and percussion. Listening to Richard Searles is like taking a colorful trip back to the days of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table. Searles’ most recent album—2001’s The Green Man—is his best yet, while his 1998 Sheltering Stones compilation compiles an hour of superb tracks from various albums topped off with HDCD sound quality. Fans of Celtic, Renaissance and Irish music should also check out Dance Of The Renaissance (1988), Earth Quest (1990), Emerald Castles (instrumental Irish music - 1995) and Ancient Isles (1993) featuring original music from Searles combining guitars, synths, oboe, tabla and recorders. www.earthdancemusic.com

RADIANT RECORDS -
One of the co-founders and main players in the bands Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic, singer-songwriter Neal Morse recently released a second solo album entitled It’s Not Too Late on his self-owned Radiant Records. For fans of progressive pop, the album is an excellent choice. More pop-flavored and song-based than the complex sounds of Spock and Transatlantic, It’s Not Too Late is filled with the same high quality musicianship and melodic approach that made those bands favorites among prog fans in the know. Featuring Spock drummer Nick D’Virgilio (drums), It’s Not Too Late finds Morse playing all the instruments himself including guitars, bass, keyboards and percussion. www.radiantrecords.com

SONY LEGACY
- Sony Legacy features some choice reissues on their Spring 2002 release schedule including a double disc set from the U.K. rock band The The entitled 45 RPM: The Singles Of The The. A prelude to Legacy’s overhaul of the group’s four Epic Records albums coming in July 2002, 45 RPM features fifteen The The singles (including three recently recorded 2002 songs) on disc one, while disc two features eight extended remixes originally released as 12” vinyl mixes. Formed back in 1979, The The—featuring the songs and vocals of Matt Johnson—are still a hot item on the current alternative rock scene with a sound that evokes both Lou Reed and John Cale from the Velvet Underground years. 45 RPM features a cool four color booklet with reproductions of the group’s singles covers as well as lyrics of the three new songs. www.thethe.com
Also on Legacy are a pair of best-of CDs from the Winter Brothers—Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter. Created in collaboration with the artist, The Best Of Edgar Winter features 15 tracks recorded between 1970-81 for Epic Records and Blue Sky Records. The Best Of Edgar Winter features key tracks from classics like Entrance (1970), Edgar Winter’s White Trash (1971) and 1972’s They Only Come Out At Night. During his Epic years, Winter surrounded himself with outstanding players and featured throughout are huge guitar names like Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose (the latter featured on the ‘72 hits “Free Ride and “Frankenstein”). Another Legacy classic is timely best-of from Edgar’s brother Johnny Winter entitled The Best Of Johnny Winter. Kicking off with the 1970 Rick Derringer classic, “Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo” (from the Johnny Winter And days), The Best Of Johnny Winter features 16 of Winter’s classic Columbia Records tracks including “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Memory Pain”—both taken from his 1969 album favorite Second Winter. Both best-of CDs from the Winter brothers feature detailed liner notes and are loaded with period piece photos. www.johnnywinter.com / www.legacyrecordings.com

UMG
- The hits keep coming from Universal Music Group and their huge name label affiliates. Back in the ‘70s, the English rock group Supertramp burst onto the scene with their third A&M Records Lp, Crime Of The Century. Perhaps the best example of the songwriting and vocal skills of group founders and chief composers Rick Davies (keyboards) and Roger Hodgson (guitar), 1974’s Crime Of The Century is still considered the benchmark Supertramp album by many ‘70s rock fans. After the massive success of Crime, the band went on to release Crisis? What Crisis in 1975. Afterwards, Even In The Quietest Moments went gold in 1977 yielding the huge hit “Give A Little Bit” and in 1979 the group reached another pinnacle with Breakfast In America, which reportedly sold some 18 million copies. With each of those Supertramp albums being reissued in June 2002, interested newcomers and completists can also hear The Very Best Of Supertramp, released by A&M as a warm-up to the label’s 2002 Supertramp reissue campaign. The 15 track Best Of disc features all the group’s biggest hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s, while good liner notes offer fresh perspectives on all the key albums represented here. After Roger Hodgson left the band, Rick Davies carried on the Supertramp name, the story of which is broadly examined on the 2002 A&M DVD Supertramp - The Story So Far—the companion DVD for the new Supertramp Very Best Of CD. Featuring highlights of the 1983 Supertramp World Tour, the 104 minute DVD also documents the friendly departure of Hodgson from the band. The first half of the DVD features the original ‘70s band in prime form caught live on their massive ‘83 tour, while the latter half retraces the band’s activities shortly after Hodgson’s departure while also including some nice MTV-style videos. Interestingly, the 2002 incarnation of Supertramp—still featuring Rick Davies and most of the ‘70s band, plus guitarist Carl Verheyen—makes a valiant attempt, with pretty good results, to recreate the classic ‘70s Supertramp sound on their recent 2002 studio album on EMI Records in England entitled Slow Motion. Slow Motion follows the group’s 1999 double disc live set—also released by EMI in the U.K.—entitled It Was The Best Of Times. In light of their 2002 tour of Europe, the Supertramp story continues. www.supertramp.com
The UMG catalog also boasts numerous album classics from the vaults of Motown Records. Newly released on the Motown Classic Albums - Remastered And Revisited series is Going To A Go-Go / Away We A Go-Go from R&B superstars Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Featuring The Miracle’s December ‘65 smash “Going To A Go-Go” and their all-time classic from June, ‘65, “The Tracks Of My Tears” (two Robinson originals from the Going To A Go-Go album), the single disc 27 track CD features all the songs and artwork from both Going To A Go-Go (November ‘65) and Away We A Go-Go (November ‘66) albums along with incisive liner notes and fabulous period piece photos. www.motown.com
A significant 2002 release on the UMG-related Hip-O label is Phase One: The Early Years 1958-1964 by rock and roll pioneer Waylon Jennings. A protege of rock and roll legend Buddy Holly, Jennings—had he not given up his plane set, would have perished with Holly on the ill-fated flight that took the lives of Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens. For rock and roll historians, the main attraction on Phase One are a pair of Jennings tracks that Buddy Holly produced and played guitar on back in September 1958, followed by Jennings’ late 1960 tribute to Holly entitled “The Stage (Stars In Heaven)”. With 20 tracks recorded in the years just before Jennings moved over to RCA Records and producer Chet Atkins, Phase One finds Jennings in comfortable surroundings covering music by Holly, The Big Bopper, Roy Orbison (“Crying”), Bob Dylan (“Don’t Think Twice”) and Buck Owens. A fine introduction to Jennings during his brief time with Holly as well as his pre-country music, early ‘60s rock and roll and folk-rock years, Phase One compiles 20 tracks with fine liner notes. The mighty UMG catalog also features a pair of 2002 compilations from country and country-rock innovators from different eras. The Flying Burrito Brothers united Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons after they both left The Byrds in 1968. Sin City: The Very Best Of The Flying Burrito Brothers on A&M / UME compiles every track from the group’s first two A&M albums along with rare b-sides. An amazing story indeed and a fine 16 page booklet revisits a most incredible era in country-rock music. Another Summer 2002 reissue from UME is the two CD Hank Williams: The Ultimate Collection on Mercury / UTV Records. With it’s 28 page booklet filled with timeless period piece photos, the 42 track double disc set unites all of Williams’ 32 Top 10 hits with a number of rare tracks all of which clearly underscores the ever present influence of the late great country music superstar nearly 50 years after his death on January 1, 1953. www.umusic.com


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