Remember how, when we told you about Jersey Boys: Music from the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical, we warned you that the publicity train was going to be making another stop this week? Well, consider this the blowing of the whistle, because it’s time for that additional announcement, and it’s a big one... and when we say “big,” we’re talking three new releases which, between them, feature 28 discs worth of material.
Now, is that big, or is that big?
First of all, let’s shine the spotlight on the biggest of the big: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Classic Albums Box, which contains 18 albums released by the group between 1962 and 1992. We’re not going to get into a debate over the definition of the word “classic,” since hopefully we all know by now that it’s a highly relative concept, but we will tell you what albums are contained within this decidedly substantial set, which comes in a clamshell box:
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
112, Peaches & Cream – To kick off this week’s column, we’ve got the first of a few new additions to our digital catalog from the Bad Boy Entertainment archives, and this particular song remains the biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit to date from the Atlanta R&B quartet known as 112, having made it all the way to #4 back in 2001. In addition to the original version the guys did with P. Diddy, you’ll also find the radio and club mixes of the track, which feature Ludacris, as well the club mix of “Dance with Me,” which was actually a #1 hit in Belgium. (True story!)
Faith Evans, You Used to Love Me – Now’s your big chance to revisit Ms. Evans’ debut single in its original form as well as in two separate club mixes and in instrumental form. Remember how they used it to score the scene in Notorious where she catches Biggie with another woman? Good times.
Faith No More, Live at Brixton Academy – Released as the band was still riding high on the out-of-nowhere success of “Epic,” this is the 10-track UK version of the album, which means that it’s actually eight live tracks (“Falling to Pieces,” “The Real Thing,” “Epic,” “War Pigs,” “From Out of Nowhere,” “We Care a Lot,” “Zombie Eaters,” and “Edge of the World”) and two additional tracks taken from the recording sessions for The Real Thing (“The Grade” and “The Cowboy Song”).
Say, have you heard about this Jersey Boys movie?
Yeah, yeah, we know, there’s been just the teensiest bit of publicity about it, but we hope you’ll forgive us if we offer a little bit more today…and, uh, then some more next week, come to think of it. (Look, it’s kind of a big deal, y’know?) After next week, though, we’re pretty sure we’ll probably be done talking about it…at least ‘til it hits home video, anyway.
Today, though, we wanted to make sure that you were aware that the soundtrack to Jersey Boys is now available for your purchasing pleasure, and – better yet –it feature a mix of the music from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that’s featured in the film as well as performances from cast members John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Kyli Rae. And don’t give us that “but I just wanted the original versions” or “but I just wanted the cast’s versions,” because, what, like you don’t have the options to get those already? (The answer, of course, is “yes, you do.”) Besides, this way, you get a nice healthy blend of the two, which makes for a very nice sampler if you’re looking for a gateway drug into the group’s music, so you’re welcome.
Hey, kids, remember how we hooked you up on Record Store Day by releasing 180 Gram: Alternate Takes from GP and Grievous Angel? We know that we thrilled a lot of Gram Parsons fans when we did that – heck, it made us pretty happy, too! – but we also know that a lot of those same fans have been wondering when we were going to offer the same treatment to the albums from which those alternate takes originated in the first place. If you’re one of those fans, then you need wait no longer: the “when” is “now.”
Make no mistake, there’s a lot to be said for Parsons’ work with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers (it might not be part of our catalog, but we’d never deny the brilliance of The Gilded Palace of Sin), but you really just can’t go wrong with the one-two punch of GP and Grievous Angel. Listening to the vocal interplay between Parsons and Emmylou Harris on songs like GP’s “A Song for You” and “That’s All It Took” will take you to the verge of something approximating a religious experience, and don’t even get us started on the cover of “Love Hurts” the duo does on Grievous Angel, which is just too lovely for words.
When discussing singer-songwriters who started their careers in full creative bloom and stayed the course for several albums, you can’t chat about the ‘70s without citing Jackson Browne, but while his self-titled debut in 1972 was outstanding and 1973’s For Everyman can in no way be viewed as a sophomore slump, it’s often been said – and it’s not hard to understand why – that it’s Browne’s third album, 1974’s Late for the Sky, where he first truly soars.
With cover art inspired by René Magritte’s painting "L'Empire des Lumieres,” Late for the Sky may not have earned Browne any traction on the Billboard Hot 100 – neither “Walking Slow” nor “Fountain of Sorrow,” the two songs released as singles, even so much as charted – but when Bruce Springsteen calls an album your masterpiece, Martin Scorsese borrows its title track for use in Taxi Driver, and Rolling Stone includes it on one of their lists of the 500 greatest albums of all time…well, all we’re saying is that Browne probably hasn’t been bothered by Late for the Sky’s lack of hit singles in many moons, if he ever was to begin with.