Carole King has been a household name for three decades now, thanks both to her early success in the '60s writing hits for other bands such as "Go Away Little Girl" and "The Loco-Motion" as well as to her 1971 breakthrough solo masterpiece, Tapestry, which stayed on the charts for six years and won four Grammys.
Tapestry's songs like "I Feel The Earth Move," "It's Too Late," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "You've Got A Friend" remain as emotionally moving today as they were at their release. Modern artists including Richard Marx, Celine Dion and Amy Grant even recorded a song-by-song homage "cover" album of Tapestry a couple of years back.
Now Epic's Legacy label has reissued the original disc with two bonus tracks, a previously unreleased studio song from the Tapestry sessions and a live recording of "Smackwater Jack." All the songs are remastered from the original studio tapes. In addition to the famed Tapestry album, Legacy has also released King's 1978 hits disc, Her Greatest Hits (Songs of Long Ago) and two other 1970s studio albums, the soundtrack to Really Rosie, an animated mid-'70s TV animated show created by Maurice Sendak, and her 1968 album with the band The City titled Now That Everything's Been Said. The latter disc has been an unavailable collectors item for 30 years and includes songs covered at the time by The Byrds and Blood, Sweat & Tears.
While she's no household name, Julia Fordham has put out a handful of soulful, jazzy albums over the past decade, and now Virgin has released The Julia Fordham Collection, a 15-song retrospective of her fine catalogue, the liner notes of which even quote a Pop Stops review from several years ago. The disc opens and closes with two different versions of "Happy Ever Every" originally released on her 1988 debut album (the re-recorded version here updates some of the song's Apartheid-oriented lyrics). There is also a re-recording of "Where Does The Time Go?" from that first album, turning the already stirring song into a strong duet with Curtis Stigers.
While some of Fordham's more upbeat recordings like the gospel-powered "River" and poppy "Hope Prayer & Time" have been ignored in favor of her nightclub-smooth jazz stylings, the disc includes a new track, "Love Moves In (Mysterious Ways)" which turns out to be one of the finest soaring ballads Fordham has recorded to date. If you like a little "night music" and haven't ever heard of Fordham, you owe it to yourself to pick up this fine collection.
Rhino Records has recently unveiled a couple of fine new box sets, each about 180 degrees apart stylistically — one features '50s rockers and the other the work of Alice Cooper.
The new Loud, Fast & Out of Control box features "The Wild Sounds of '50s Rock" and includes a host of long familiar sock-hop favorites. The first disc offers Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an' Wail," among many others.
Disc Two has Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire," Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven," Buddy Holly's "Rave On" and Little Richard's "The Girl Can't Help It."
Disc Three leads off with Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues," and also includes Bobbie Darin's "Splish Splash," Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't!," and The Coasters' "Yakety Yak."
Disc Four offers Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee," The Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie" and Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba."
There are 104 tracks in all on this box set which also includes an 84-page booklet. This oughta cure any yearnin' for the days of hot rods, pompadours and drive-in movies.
On the other end of the spectrum, Rhino has also released The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper — another four-CD box from the artist who most obviously inspired Marilyn Manson. The box set covers 84 tracks from 21 Cooper albums released between 1969-1997 and includes Rob Zombie's remix of the Cooper/Zombie collaboration for the 1996 X-Files tribute album, "Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)" along with classic Cooper songs like "School's Out," "I'm Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," and the Wayne's World favorite, "Feed My Frankenstein."