December 05, 2008


I have a bit of a direction-less piece to ramble about that many of you SACD aficionados might find common ground with.  But before we get to that, I want to take a moment to eulogize Odetta, who died earlier this week from  heart disease at the early but fruitful age of 77.

Commonly known as Odetta, Odetta Holmes at an early age began a musical path that would eventually earn notice by emerging folk talent like Bob Dylan, as well as others of the early 60s.  Influenced by her voice and style, many well-known stars used her music as a starting point to their own careers.  With a wide-ranged vocal talent, Odetta provided the voice that expressed her state of mind, communicating that to an audience that could relate to the same issues.  Her part in a stage that hosted Dylan, Seeger, Elliott, Baez, and a myriad of others folkies, while long ago diminished in force, was as important as the brighter, better-known names that came after her.  It is a noticeable flame that is now extinguished even as the light is now carried by the infinite legacy that she begat.  Odetta is one that will be missed.  All I can say is that is she joins one well assembled band made up of great individuals that have gone before.

Odetta (Holmes)

My “direction-less” piece is without direction because it concerns a dying – or greatly diminished – format known as SACD and DVD-Audio.  I bring this up in response to several emails that I have received concerning several anticipated classic titles being re-released, at least we kind of thought that they would be.  The titles that I'm referring to are the Black Sabbath Deluxe Edition of Paranoid with SACD tracks and the ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) best-seller, Brain Salad Surgery Deluxe Edition, coming in SACD form.  Originally announced many months prior to this piece, many had pre-ordered these SACD only to have the titles delayed until recently, when many received cancellation notices from Amazon, who was concerned whether or not the albums would actually materialize (within their inventories in order to ship out).

But I have also received an email stating that a copy of these had been received as ordered from an international site.  And while I do need to check further (I have asked around) on whether these WILL be available at some point, this piece is not about our obvious inability to get these or whether they're vapourous but rather the seemingly senseless way that labels, particularly in the US, have shunned these formats that many of us would love to have and would buy.  There are enough of us SACD/DVD-Audio aficionados that we would easily deplete any inventories of limited production. 

Blu-ray is achieving more popularity by leaps and bounds, which would essentially ask end-users to repurchase their already accumulated movie libraries.  And people are not having problems with this.  In fact, the beginning of the Holiday shopping has already placed Blu-ray players as one of the Top 5 purchased and otherwise sought after items.  And yet SACD and DVD-Audio languishes.  It is just something that I don't understand, I guess.  Why would an industry (Sony, in general) push Blu-ray as its future and just let SACD be dependent on finding its own way (SACD is also a Sony creation).

OK.  Let's say that SACD eventually bites the dust, which I've no doubt it will.  With the emergence of Blu-ray as a powerful sales item, shouldn't Sony take the steps to further build the emerging format by beginning to tout the player's ability to also play SACD-like albums?  Let's start producing Blu-ray albums starting with popular Sony artists and catalogues.  Use DSD (it's a perfect sound solution already, right boys?) and begin to develop and release hi-resolution albums in the Blu-ray format.

Or better yet, how about re-releasing all of the ALREADY finished SACD titles in the new Blu-ray format and re-sell already finished titles?  Using that as a starting point, labels can then begin to bolster their own flagging physical sales with hi-def releases of older titles that many of us already WANT and crave.  And are willing to pay for.  Since this is the year of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, take the DSD version of that album and re-release it in a Blu-ray format.  Try to kick-start that engine.  Makes sense to me to see how that might work with a more accepted hardware that is filling up in homes now as we speak, and faster than SACD hardware ever had.

Maybe it's just me.  But I really don't get it.

For reviews today, we have a look at a Various Artists collection called You Heard It Here First! as reviewed by continuing contributor (we like him!), Mark Squirek. In addition to that one, we have a reviews of Cosmic Universal Fashion by Sammy Hagar, and Hit Man with David Foster & Friends. We'll see you again on Monday with a few more reviews and some more news.

For the long promised Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! list (#17), I will be posting a letter each post until exhausted (there were only 17 21 25 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 emails).  Some were only a few titles, some only one.  But there were more than a few that were massive and a few extended, well-detailed lists.  I’ll post them as I received them.  Today, I have a basic list of 20 classic choices:

Coldplay -  A Rush of Blood to the Head
Radiohead – The Bends
Aimee Mann – I’m With Stupid
The Who – Live At Leeds
Badfinger – Straight Up
The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
John Coltrane – Blue Train
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Oasis – Definitely Maybe
Nick Drake – Pink Moon
Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
Rosanne Cash – Interiors
Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes
Three Dog Night – Harmony
Sheryl Crow – The Globe Sessions
Golden Earring – Moontan
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Uriah Heep – Demons and Wizards

We're going to keep the Best Album of ALL Time up for a long while as we continually update it. But I'll say this: The Beatles took the lead with not only The White Album but also the fact that they have been selected with two albums. Like The Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! run, which does not show signs of stopping (I'm still getting emails, which I have no problem with and encourage - Send Them In), I'm hoping that this new thing stays strong. Send in your selection (one only, please) for the album that is the ruler of all.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






On January 13, Blue Note will mark their 70th Anniversary (wow!!) with a single disc, eight-song collection of music called Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records.  This set will draw from the list of notable Blue Note artists by re-recording some of their more classic songs with the assist of The Blue Note SevenThe Blue Note Seven is comprised of current Blue Note artists (Bill Charlap, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane, Steve Wilson, Peter Bernstein, Peter Washington, and Lewis Nash.  This group will embark on a huge, 51-date tour as a result.  The album's eight tracks should be quite a thing to hear.

There seems to be a lot of excitement for a band called Late of the Pier, a band from Nottingham, UK.  They are assesses with a sound that is similar to Eno-era Roxy Music, Queen, Zappa, even Prince.  Those are quite heady references and influences and so they sound like they should be worth checking up on.  In any case, their US album debut is expected on January 13 from Astralwerks Records.  Having already been released in the UK, this US-released album, which is called Fantasy Black Channel, will be laden with two bonus tracks (“Very WAV,” “The Bears Are Coming (Emperor Machine Remix)”).  The band has garnered plenty of attention in the UK and is making noise with prominent websites like Pitchfork, Spin, and BrooklynVegan.  This album will also release in DD, as well as a Limited Edition LP.

Capitol Records is planning the release of Life In-Between, the new album by Royal BlissRoyal Bliss is a band with a lot of energy and might be of interest to you with comparisons to Buckcherry, Hinder, Seether, and Saving Abel.  The album is planned for January 13.

Universal Republic will release a debut Pop album from newcomer, Erin McCarley called Love, Save the Empty on January 6McCarley, who has had songs featured on Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Ghost Whisperer, amongst others, will also have this album's title track heard in the final scene of the upcoming film called He's Just Not That Into You (Aniston, Goodwin, Connelly, Johanssen).

Mentioned before, ECM is releasing Cartography by Norwegian trumpeter, Arve Henriksen on January 13.  This album will have some heavy hitters on the team including renown Rock musician, David Sylvian (reading several of his poems), and other notables.

ECM will also release several previously announced titles in 3CD Box collections.  Included in these are works by Steve Kuhn (Ecstasy (1974); Motility (1977); Playground (1979)), packaged as Life's Backward Glances – Solo and Quartet; and Don Cherry/Nana Vasconcelos/Collin Walcott (Codona (1978); Codona II (1980); Codona III (1982), packaged as The Cordona Trilogy.  These Box sets are planned for January 13.

ECM also has a DVD coming for Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette called Live in Japan 93/96.  It will tracklist 2 separate shows (hence the titling of 93/96) with ten song performances from 1993 and 15 from 1996.  Previously, these titles were available as separate DVDs (Live at Open Theater East – 1993; Trio Concert 1996) but have since been OOP (Out of Print) for several years.  This reintroduction as a specially priced is welcomed and is expected on January 13.



Review - Various Artists - You Heard It Here First! - CD

You may have thought that you have heard the songs listed on this collection. And you'd be right. But these songs were sung first by artists not know before the artist that made them famous did. What a difference. Check this Various Artists review out to see just who might have done a great job on songs that you thought that you knew. Remember...You Heard It Here First!





Review - Sammy Hagar - Cosmic Universal Fashion - CD

Sammy Hagar has done quite a bit as an individual. Fronted Montrose and then Van Halen (Mark II), as well as a wide body of solo work. The music found on his latest, Cosmic Universal Fashion shows why he is still playing in the game.




Review - David Foster & Friends - Hit Man - CD/DVD

David Foster has crafted some of the world's finest Pop songs and has produced some of the world's great Pop singers. On this CD and DVD collection, assembled from an upcoming PBS Special, is a wide selection of friends that have utilized the talents of David Foster. Hear their songs and watch some magic on Hit Man.










Copyright 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe.
All rights reserved.All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
" best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)