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Entries in Universal Music (15)

Friday
Jul182014

Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality

Box set release: “Virgin Front Line: Sounds of Reality” (Various)
Release date: 11 August 2014
Label: Universal 

On 10 March 1978 Virgin Records launched a label that, throughout the remainder of the decade, would set the benchmark for Roots Reggae: Front Line.

In the space of just under two years, some 46 albums and 26 singles saw issue on the iconic imprint, with its releases consistently of the highest calibre, and rating among the very best music Jamaica had to offer.

Front Line’s brief but glorious existence as the world’s greatest Roots Reggae label is celebrated with this deluxe box set, which across its 5 discs features many of Jamaica’s greatest talents, performing 92 of the most enduring Roots, Dub, Lovers Rock and DJ sounds of the seventies, with over 31 tracks new to CD, of which a third are previously unissued.

Also included in the package is a 52 page booklet, which opens with a typically captivating foreword from John Lydon, whose talent scouting trip to Jamaica with Richard Branson early in 1978 was key to Virgin’s acquisition of some of the finest Reggae recordings of the era.

Peppered with fascinating imagery, including numerous previously unseen shots from the trip taken by world renowned photographer Dennis Morris, every key episode during Front Line’s brief yet glorious history is disclosed, courtesy of fascinating anecdotes from Don Letts, the label’s original manager Jumbo Vanrenen and its designer Brian Cooke, whose original drafts for the iconic imprint are revealed for the first time ever.

As an added bonus, the set also contains four high quality reproductions of classic posters from the seventies, as well as a car sticker, based on the now impossibly rare Front Line Rockers badge from 1976.

This, the most comprehensive collection of Front Line tracks ever to see issue, pays due homage to the legendary label and flawlessly illustrates just why continues to be widely revered by Reggae fans around the world, more than 36 years after its launch.

Full tracklisting available on request.

Thursday
May082014

Universal announce Orange Is The New Black soundtrack

Album release: Music from The Original Series Orange Is The New Black
Release date: 2 June 2014
Label: Universal 

Featured artists include Regina Spektor, Kelis, tUnE-yArDs, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and more.

UMC will be releasing MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL SERIES ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, from the hit series Orange Is the New Black on May 19.  The line-up of artists includes Regina Spektor, Kelis, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and more.  The soundtrack will come in three configurations including CD, Digital and a limited edition vinyl.  Lionsgate Home Entertainment will also release the Orange Is the New Black: Season One Blu-ray and DVD on the same day.       

The full album track list features an eclectic line-up, including “Walkin Up The Road” by Betty Davis, “Move And Groove Together” by Benny Latimore, “Gangsta” by tUnE-yArDs, “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers, “Milkshake” by  Kelis,  “Walking Backwards” by Leagues, “Kickface” by Little Foot Long Foot, “Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground & Nico, “Living This Life Makes It Hard” by The Duchess and The Duke, “Chicken” by Nancy Cassidy, “Baby Face” by Whispering Jack Smith, and the Grammy® nominated “You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spektor, which was specifically created for the show. Music Supervisor Bruce Gilbert explains, “I feel like it’s truly an inspired work. I loved this song when I first heard it, but I loved it even more once I got to hear and see how beautifully it impacted our main titles. There’s an immediate urgency to it that gives way to an emotion that breathes even more life into the stunning portraits of the prisoners.”

Orange Is the New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman, whose wild past comes back to haunt her and results in her arrest and detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper trades her comfortable New York life for an orange prison jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates.

Friday
Aug302013

The Band: Live at The Academy of Music 1971

CD and DVD collection: Live at The Academy of Music 1971 by The Band
Release date: 30 September 2013
Label: Capitol / Universal 

During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at New York City’s Academy Of Music, ushering in the New Year with electrifying performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan for a New Year’s Eve encore. Select highlights from the concerts were compiled for The Band’s classic 1972 double LP, Rock Of Ages, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and remains a core album in the trailblazing group’s storied Capitol Records catalog. For the first time, all four of the concerts’ multi-track recordings have been revisited for Live At The Academy Of Music 1971, a new 4CD+DVD collection to be released September 17 by Capitol/UMe. The expansive new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19 previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner. Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 takes a deep dive into The Band’s historic shows for a definitive document of the pioneering group’s stage prowess at the apex of their career. On the same date, the collection’s first two discs will also be released as a 2CD set.

Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The collection’s first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year’s Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set’s DVD presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner’s filmed performances of King Harvest (Has Surely Come) and The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.

Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is produced by Robbie Robertson, with co-producers Michael Murphy and Matt D’Amico. The stereo mixes for the first two discs and the DVD’s 5.1 Surround mix were done by Bob Clearmountain, with the stereo mixes for discs 3 and 4 helmed by Sebastian Robertson and Jon Castelli, assisted by Ryan Nasci. The collection was mastered by Patricia Sullivan at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The concerts were originally recorded by Phil Ramone with Mark Harman.

By the late 1960s, The Band had become one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world. Robertson, reflecting on the time and the decision to record the Academy Of Music concerts, recalls, “We were in a huddle of playing music, enjoying what we were doing, and I had a feeling, ‘We should capture this.’ To end 1971 with these shows felt, for all of us, like the right thing to do. This is a fulfillment of that extraordinary musical experience that I feel great about sharing.”

Of the set’s complete New Year’s Eve recording, Robertson says, “This is like being there.  It was the final night; there was a thrill in the air.  We were excited about New Year’s Eve, and then Dylan joined us for the encore. When he came out, we thought we could wing it, and wing it we did. We thought, ‘We’re not gonna fall off this wire.’  That whole night had a bit of magic to it.”

The Band’s members shared an extensive collaborative history. Between 1960 and 1962, the then-teenaged multi-instrumentalists Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin), Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums) and Garth Hudson (keyboards, horns) first performed and recorded together as members of the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins called the Hawks. In late 1963, the Hawks struck out on their own and became Levon & the Hawks, playing and recording under this name in 1964 and 1965.

In 1965, Robertson met with Bob Dylan in New York, just as Dylan was seeking an electric guitarist for his touring band. The Band was born, with all of the former Hawks backing Dylan on the road from October 1965 through 1966 as he incensed audiences in the U.S., Australia and Europe, performing electric sets. Disheartened by the vocally disdainful ‘folkie purist’ audience response to their first plugged-in performances with Dylan, Helm left The Band in November 1965.

After the 1966 tour concluded, The Band woodshedded for the next year in upstate New York, often in the company of Dylan, forging a highly original sound that in one way or another encompassed the panoply of American roots music: country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, Anglican hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk music, modern rock, fused and synthesized in ways that no one had ever before thought possible.  

Helm re-joined The Band in 1967, as the group prepared to record their first full-length album.  Released in 1968, Music From Big Pink received glowing reviews; a journalist for Life magazine wrote that The Band “dipped into the well of tradition and came up with a bucketful of clear, cool, country soul that washed the ears with a sound never heard before.”  While the album only reached No. 30 on Billboard’s chart when it was released, it has become recognized over time as one of the most important albums in the history of rock. 

Between 1968 and 1978, The Band released nine albums. In 1989, The Band was inducted into the Canadian Juno Hall of Fame; five years later they were accorded the same honor by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, The Band was honored with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sadly, three members of The Band, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon Helm, have passed away, but The Band’s legacy lives on, in their recordings and in their tangible influence on popular music since they first hit the scene, wowing not only Bob Dylan, but many other major players of the day, including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Miles Davis. Making Americana music before the term even existed, Rick, Levon, Garth, Richard and Robbie collectively constituted the only ensemble to ever rightfully earn the sobriquet The Band.

View full track listing here.