Record Reviews

THE BEATLES REVISIT ABBEY ROAD WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY RELEASES SEPTEMBER 27th

Abbey Road Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos 

By Harvey Kubernik © 2019 

It was 50 years ago today, on August 8, 1969, that the world’s most famous band stepped out from London’s EMI Recording Studios to

Courtesy Universal Music Enterprises/ Apple Corp. LTD

stride, single-file, across the black and white stripes of Abbey Road’s nearby zebra crossing. With photographer Iain Macmillan balanced on a stepladder and one policeman stopping the street’s light traffic, The Beatles crossed back and forth three times, led by John Lennon, followed by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Just six photos were taken, with the fifth selected as the cover shot for The Beatles’ penultimate studio album, Abbey Road, named after the tree-lined street in which the studios are located. 

Released September 26, 1969, Abbey Road was not The Beatles’ final album, as Let It Be followed in 1970, but it was the last one John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together as a band. The Beatles will celebrate Abbey Road’s anniversary with a suite of beautifully presented packages to be released worldwide on September 27 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. the album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased.

This is the first time Abbey Road has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings and demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The BEATLES (‘White Album’) released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. To create Abbey Road’s new stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios. All the new Abbey Road releases feature the new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original eight-track session tapes. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin. Continue reading

The Ramones: New Deluxe It’s Alive Out In September

End of the Century 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition Scheduled  

BY HARVEY KUBERNIK © 2019 

With the new September 2019 deluxe edition of the 1979 Ramones’ tour album, It’s Alive, and the planned last quarter 2019/early 2020 40th

Courtesy Rhino/WMG

anniversary of the original Phil Spector-produced End of the Century, with producer Rick Rubin now involved for an expanded reissue of the initial pressing, multi-instrumentalist David Kessel and his cavehollywood.com website asked me to re-visit End of the Century, cut at the landmark Gold Star Recording Studios in Hollywood. 

I was in attendance at just about all End of the Century sessions, as a food runner, and on occasion, supplied hand claps and percussion, and was credited on a few tracks.  

 I eventually penned the liner notes for a 2002 Rhino Records repackage of the album.  It was an assignment that came just after ownership changes at the label. The late great Gary Stewart graciously insisted that I do them knowing I covered the Ramones/Spector relationship for the London-based Melody Maker.   

So, before we hear the upcoming “revised” Rhino/WMG label End of the Century in a handful of months, cavehollywood.com is displaying portions from my 2002 product text with additional and un-published 2002 interviews with Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky Ramone.     Continue reading

LITTLE STEVEN AND THE DISCIPLES OF SOUL WORLD TOUR

FIRST ALBUM OF NEW MATERIAL SUMMER OF SORCERY IN 20 YEARS VIA WICKED COOL/UME Label;  

BY HARVEY KUBERNIK © 2019 

Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul’s  Summer Of Sorcery was just released during May on CD, digitally and on vinyl as double LP on 180-

Courtesy of UMe Records

gram black vinyl via Wicked Cool/UMe label.  

A wide-ranging world tour began May 16 at Liverpool, UK’s 02 Academy and then made  stops across the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

The first leg of the North American tour started July 2 at the London Music Hall in Ontario, Canada and take Van Zandt and band all across Canada and the Eastern U.S., culminating at Outlaw Jam in Annapolis, Md. 

They will return to Europe in August for more shows and return to the US in September for the second leg of the tour that will culminate at New York City’s Beacon Theatre on November 6th

Each show on the American tour will benefit Van Zandt’s TeachRock education initiative and offer an introduction to the Teachrock.org curriculum. Before the show, the TeachRock staff will host free professional development workshops designed to engage educators with techniques and content through which they can comfortably use music to inspire students, even if they’ve never touched an instrument. 

The free, multimedia K-12 interdisciplinary curriculum meets prevailing standards in English Language Arts, Social Studies/History, the Fine and Performing Arts, and also includes STEAM and advisory material suitable for K-12 teachers of all disciplines, interdisciplinary best practices and group activities.

Summer Of Sorcery – which arrives just two years after Little Steven’s acclaimed 2017’s solo return, Soulfire, and its 2018 live follow-up, Soulfire Live! – was written, arranged, and produced by Van Zandt at his own Renegade Studios in New York City; the album was co-produced and recorded by Geoff Sanoff and co-produced by Disciples of Soul musical director and guitarist Marc Ribler. 

Courtesy of UMe Records

Summer Of Sorcery was mixed and mastered respectively by Van Zandt’s career-long collaborators and friends Bob Clearmountain and Bob Ludwig (. The album – which features an exclusive introduction written by Van Zandt – is adorned with Frank Frazetta-inspired cover art by Steven’s longtime art directorLouis Arzonico.

“I know it sounds a bit silly but I do believe Rock ‘n’ Roll can change the world,” Van Zandt volunteered. “It’s about bands, and that for me suggests brotherhood, family, friendship, and community” 

In addition to his ongoing role as a touring and recording member of The E Street Band, the past two decades have seen the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer expand his personal parameters to include legendary work as an actor on The Sopranos and Lilyhammer as well as host-creator of Sirius XM’s one-and-only Little Steven’s Underground Garage creator of Sirius XM’s long-running Outlaw Country format).  Continue reading

VERVE, IMPULSE! RECORDS AND UMe LAUNCH VITAL VINYL SERIES TODAY

FEATURING 180-GRAM VINYL REISSUES OF THE ICONIC LABELS’ CLASSIC ALBUMS;    DAVID KESSEL ON VERVE RECORDS FOUNDER NORMAN GRANZ

By Harvey Kubernik © 2019

In 2019 Verve and Impulse! Records, together with UMe, launched their new series Vital Vinyl, a celebration of essential jazz LPs from the iconic labels’ enduring catalogs.

Throughout the year, the labels are making some of their most beloved must-have albums from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s available once again as non-limited editions LPs, pressed on audiophile grade 180-gram black vinyl and showcased with their original cover artwork, track listings and liner notes.

The records will be released in three batches with the first available today followed by the second on May 3 and the final installment on June 7.  Continue reading

David Bowie and Space Oddity: 50 Years On

By Harvey Kubernik c 2019

On February 20, 1969, singer/songwriter David Bowie recorded an early studio version of “Space Oddity” for his 1969 promotional film, Love You Till Tuesday.

After departing Deram Records, Bowie then signed to Mercury/Phillips Records in London in the late spring of 1969 by manager Kenneth Pitt to record producer and label executive Lou Reizner.

The Mercury/Phillips studio recording of “Space Oddity” was then cut on June 20, 1969 at Trident Studios in the UK produced by Gus Dudgeon and arranged by Bowie and Paul Buckmaster.

“I met Gus Dudgeon while preparing some arrangements for a female vocalist,” explained the late arranger, conductor and composer Paul Buckmaster in a 2014 lecture at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Songwriters On Songwriting: Killer Hooks, Essential Songs & Songwriters of the Rock Era class taught by Professor David Leaf.  

“It wasn’t an audition for her so much as for me.  Tony Visconti hired me to work on [David Bowie’s] ‘Space Oddity.’ 

“I was obsessed with Kubrick’s 2001. I saw it at least a dozen times and really tried to bring that quality from the movie’s score, which featured Richard Strauss and in particular, Gyorgi Ligeti.  Unfortunately, that cheesy mellotron swamped my strings and you can’t really hear my work.”  

Ken Scott engineered the Trident session. Continue reading