Monday, December 28, 2020

Year-End Delights: 'Wonder Woman 1984' soundtrack, 'Morrison Hotel' reissue, 'Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein,' Omnivore Recordings' doo-wop sets

Before 2020 disappears in the past, be sure to check out these essential late-year titles available now. 

Hans Zimmer
Titles: Wonder Woman 1984  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (WaterTower Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Hans Zimmer, John Williams
Tell me more: Anyone who loves the memorable music in the new film "Wonder Woman 1984" will obviously love the 18-track motion picture soundtrack featuring famed Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer's stellar score. The music is dramatic, arresting and — often — deeply affecting. The track "Games" begins with the drive of a rock track before magically venturing into a stirring Neo-classical detour. "1984" has the joyful and triumphant feel that recalls some of composer John William's music heard in "Superman" (released in 1978) in its first section; the decidedly dark and edgy second half brings chills and tension that work even apart from hearing it in the context of the Patty Jenkins-directed film (which this writer enjoyed upon its Christmas Day release). Other highlights on this soundtrack include the poignant "Wish We Had More Time," ambitious "Cheetah," soaring "Fireworks," propulsive electronica-meets-orchestral sortie "Open Road" and tender "Without Armor." The gorgeous "Already Gone" and "Truth" as well as the set-ending bonus track "Lost and Found" are among the other standouts on this brilliant soundtrack. Information:

The Doors
Titles: Morrison Hotel: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Elektra / Rhino)
You might like if you enjoy: The Doors, classic rock 
Tell me more: Back in February 1970, The Doors released what was to be their second-to-last studio album featuring singer Jim Morrison. Now the band's fifth album  Morrison Hotel — is available via a terrific 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition that includes the original album newly remastered by The Doors' longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick, plus a bonus disc of unreleased studio outtakes along with the original album on 180-gram virgin vinyl. There are 19 previously-unreleased studio outtakes providing more than an hour of material that will be new to followers of the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame quartet (Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore). Among the must-hear tracks on the reissue are early versions of "Peace Frog" and "Blue Sunday" along with the bona fide rarity "I Will Never Be Untrue." Get this limited edition title while you can. Information:

Bobby Bare
Title: Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein, Plus (Bear Family Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein  
Tell me more: Packed with eight audio CD discs and a wealth of related riches, Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein, Plus features 137 tracks, including 25 previously-unreleased recordings and more than 100 Silverstein-penned songs recorded by Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare from 1972 to 1983. Fans of traditional country music and top-tier songwriting will love every minute of this expansive release including the moving "Lullabys, Legends and Lies," timeless "Hard Time Hungrys," sobering "The Unemployment Line," lovely "February Snow" and affecting "Childhood Hero" and "Yard Full of Rusty Cars." In addition to all the great songs, an accompanying 128-page hardcover book features a new interview with Bare (now 85) by Hank Davis, an overview of the late Silverstein's life and work by Dave Samuelson along with lyrics to the 137 songs in the collection. Information:

Adam Wade, t
he Crests, the Duprees, the Rivieras
Titles: Five collections featuring recordings originally released by Coed Records in the '50s and '60s (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Doo-wop music released via the Coed Records label
Tell me more: Five outstanding collections revisiting vocal and doo-wop artists featured on the influential New York-based Coed Records label in the late '50s and '60s have been released via Omnivore Recordings. Adam Wade is celebrated via his 1960 debut album And Then Came Adam and its 1961 follow-up Adam and Evening compiled on a single disc  Wade's wonderful voice and style draws favorable comparisons with a young Johnny Mathis. Highlights include the lush "Tenderly," uptempo "Just In Time," his first hit "Ruby" and the sweeping "Gloria's Theme" (from the Elizabeth Taylor-starring film soundtrack "Butterfield 8"). Remastered by Grammy-winning engineer Michael Graves, the disc sounds amazing.

The Best of the Crests featuring Johnny 
Mastro: 16 Fabulous Hits showcases the talents of an integrated '50s vocal group best known for their huge doo-wop hit "16 Candles." That track is one of many smooth selections on the collection. Other standouts include the sweet "Six Nights a Week," heartfelt ballad "Gee (But I'd Give The World)," romance-minded "I Thank the Moon" and uptempo "Trouble In Paradise."  

The other releases include The Duprees: The Coed Singles, The Duprees: The Coed Albums: You Belong To Me/Have You Heard and The Rivieras: The Coed Singles. These releases feature stellar highlights from top-tier doo-wop artists (doo-wop is a genre of rhythm and blues centered around vocal harmonies and a minimum of instrumentation that was extremely popular in the '50s and '60s). The Duprees' hit single "You Belong to Me," "My Own True Love" (a song also known as Tara's Theme from "Gone With The Wind") and "Take Me As I Am" are among the gems that showcase their winning sound; The Rivieras: The Coed Singles gathers together all of that quartet's singles (including the warm ballad "Count Every Star" and evocative remake of "Moonlight Serenade") along with two bonus tracks ("My Silent Love," "Serenade In Blue").  

All five titles  which each include detailed liner notes  are available on audio CD and via digital. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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