Apr 07

Tommy Leonetti – Sings the Winners (1965/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 31:35 minutes | 697 MB | Genre: Pop, Easy Listening
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Artwork: Front cover | © Capitol Records

Tommy Leonetti (10 September 1929 – 15 September 1979) was an American pop singer-songwriter and actor of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In Australia his most famous song was “My City of Sydney” (written by Leonetti & Bobby Troup) and was used by the Australian TV channel ATN7 in Sydney for station identification into the 1980s. In America he achieved greater success as a songwriter for movies and Broadway plays.

1. Spanish Harlem 2:55
2. So Much In Love 2:09
3. The Wayward Wind 2:19
4. Looking Back 2:56
5. Save the Last Dance for Me 3:26
6. (You’ve Got) Personality 2:40
7. Wonderful! Wonderful! 3:06
8. Moments to Remember 2:15
9. Come Softly to Me 2:42
10. Our Day Will Come 2:42
11. I Can’t Stop Loving You 2:35
12. Oh Lonesome Me 1:50

Tommy Leonetti, vocals
Claus Ogerman, arranger, conductor

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Apr 07

The Beach Boys – Wild Honey (1967/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 24:23 minutes | 777 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © Capitol Records

Released in late 1967, Wild Honey marks the first time the Beach Boys had incorporated elements of soul and R&B into their classic California sound. As the follow-up to the ill-fated and poorly received (at the time) Smiley Smile, there was a lot of pressure on the band to rebound with a hit and Wild Honey did the trick very nicely, earning rave reviews and going on to become one of the most respected and acclaimed Beach Boys albums.

After the Smile sessions shut down, the Beach Boys became much more of a band than they had been in the mid-’60s. They began playing most of their own instruments on record for the first time since 1963, and Brian Wilson was no longer nearly as dominant a production mastermind. The problem was, as Wilson increasingly withdrew from a leadership role (and, subsequently, from the real world altogether), the Beach Boys were revealed as a group that, although capable of producing some fine and interesting music, were no longer innovators on the level of the Beatles and other figureheads. Wild Honey had a looser, funkier feel than any previous Beach Boys effort, at times approaching a kind of bleached-out white soul. The resulting music was often quite pleasant, for the great harmonies if nothing else, but the material and arrangements were quite simply thinner than they had been for a long time. The record does feature a nice Top 20 hit in “Darlin’” (even if it was a rewrite of a song that had been composed four years earlier, and recorded by Sharon Marie). The small hit single “Wild Honey,” with its seductive theremin lines, was also a highlight, and “Here Comes the Night” (a group original, not the Them hit) also had a lot of appeal. But much of the rest was pleasing but inessential. ~~AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

1 Wild Honey 02:40
2 Aren’t You Glad 02:19
3 I Was Made To Love Her 02:08
4 Country Air 02:22
5 A Thing Or Two 02:43
6 Darlin’ 02:15
7 I’d Love Just Once To See You 01:51
8 Here Comes The Night 02:41
9 Let The Wind Blow 02:22
10 How She Boogalooed It 01:56
11 Mama Says 01:06

Mike Love – vocals
Al Jardine – vocals
Bruce Johnston – vocals
Brian Wilson – vocals
Carl Wilson – vocals
Dennis Wilson – vocals

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Apr 07

The Beach Boys – All Summer Long (1964/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 25:41 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © Capitol Records

All Summer Long closed the first chapter of the Beach Boys musical story in 1964: the last of the innocent, carefree odes to surfing and hot rods, it yielded the group’s first American number one hit, I Get Around. The title track, while never released as a single, has become an eternal favourite and was ranked number six in a Rolling Stone readers poll of the 10 greatest summer songs.

The best pre-1965 Beach Boys album featured their brilliant number one single “I Get Around,” as well as other standout cuts in the beautifully sad “Wendy,” “Little Honda” (one of their best hot rod tunes, covered by the Hondells for a hit), and their remake of the late-’50s doo wop classic “Hushabye.” The nostalgic “All Summer Long,” another great production, seemed (whether intentionally or not) like a sort of farewell to the frivolous California beach culture that had supplied the lyrical grist for most of their music up to this point, with a longing, regretful chorus that was totally at odds with the bouncy arrangement. Other relatively little-known treasures are the sumptuous ballad “Girls on the Beach,” with some of their best early harmonizing, and “Don’t Back Down,” with uncommonly anxious lyrics. You can’t give an unqualified high rating, however, to an album that also contained such disposable filler as the “Our Favorite Recording Sessions” comedy bit and “Do You Remember?,” a “let’s-pay-tribute-to-rock’s-early-days” number with a sh*t-eating grin wide enough to qualify as an oldies radio ID jingle. –AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

1. I Get Around 02:14
2. All Summer Long 02:10
3. Hushabye 02:42
4. Little Honda 01:55
5. We’ll Run Away 02:03
6. Carl’s Big Chance 02:29
7. Wendy 02:19
8. Do You Remember 01:41
9. Girls On The Beach 02:27
10. Drive-In 01:53
11. Our Favorite Recording Sessions 02:02
12. Don’t Back Down 01:45

Al Jardine – harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar; electric rhythm guitar
Mike Love – lead and bass vocal
Brian Wilson – lead, harmony and backing vocals; piano; harpsichord; Hammond B3 organ; xylophones or marimba
Carl Wilson – harmony and backing vocals; electric, lead, and rhythm guitars
Dennis Wilson – harmony and backing vocals; drums; brushed drums; percussion; opening voice on “Little Honda”
Session musicians:
Hal Blaine – timbales with brush, rim with thin stick
Glen Campbell – 6-string electric bass guitar
Steve Douglas – tenor saxophone
Jay Migliori – baritone saxophone
Ray Pohlman – 6-string electric bass guitar

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Apr 07

The Beach Boys – 20/20 (1969/2015) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/192kHz]


The Beach Boys – 20/20 (1969/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 30:13 minutes | 1,24 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © Capitol Records

This 1969 release fared much better in the UK than it did in the US, spawning the number one British hit Do It Again and a top 10 cover of Phil Spector’s I Can Hear Music, while the album itself peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. Recorded largely without Brian Wilson, who was hospitalized at the time, 20/20 allows his brothers Dennis and Carl to come to the forefront as songwriters, vocalists and producers.

20/20 was not a proper album, being compiled from singles and leftovers in order to fulfill contractual obligations to Capitol. Nonetheless, it’s one of their better post-Pet Sounds records, with a couple of good medium-sized late-’60s hit singles, “Do It Again” and “I Can Hear Music,” that were fun retro sort of exercises. “Time to Get Alone,” with its unusually shifting, jazzy melody, was one of Brian Wilson’s last outstanding compositions. “Never Learn Not to Love” is far more notorious, not for the music (which is average), but for the fact that it was, according to some sources, composed by Charles Manson (although the song is credited to Dennis Wilson). The highlights, however, were a couple of Smile-session-era tunes, especially “Cabinessence,” a suite-like collaboration between Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks that gives some idea of the complex directions that were being explored during that ill-fated project. Therein lay the group’s dilemma: as hard as they were trying to establish their identity as an integrated band in the late ’60s, their new recordings were overshadowed by the bits and pieces of Smile that emerged at the time. –AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

1 Do It Again 2:24
2 I Can Hear Music 2:38
3 Bluebirds Over The Mountain 2:58
4 Be With Me 3:16
5 All I Want To Do 2:02
6 The Nearest Faraway Place 2:36
7 Cotton Fields 2:18
8 I Went To Sleep 1:32
9 Time To Get Alone 2:40
10 Never Learn Not To Love 2:34
11 Our Prayer 1:05
12 Cabinessence 3:33

Al Jardine – lead, backing and harmony vocals; guitar
Bruce Johnston – lead, backing and harmony vocals; piano, bass guitar
Mike Love – lead, backing and harmony vocals
Brian Wilson – lead, backing and harmony vocals; Hammond organ, bass guitar, guitar
Carl Wilson – lead, backing and harmony vocals; guitar, keyboards
Dennis Wilson – lead, backing and harmony vocals; drums
Van McCoy – orchestra arrangement

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Apr 02

Andy Williams – Merry Christmas (1965/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:58 minutes | 1,1 GB | Genre: Pop, Holiday
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital Booklet | © Columbia

“Merry Christmas” is a Christmas album by American pop singer Andy Williams that was released by Columbia Records in 1965. This, his second holiday LP, is focused exclusively on 20th century compositions, unlike 1963’s The Andy Williams Christmas Album, which, of its 12 tracks, had six with origins predating the turn of the century. For the six consecutive holiday seasons from 1965 through 1970, Merry Christmas charted on Billboard magazine’s special year-end weekly Christmas Albums sales chart. The album spent two weeks as the number one selling Christmas album during the holiday season of 1966 and one week atop that same chart in 1969. The single from the album, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, reached number 18 on the Christmas Singles chart in 1965. On May 23, 1968, Merry Christmas was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 500,000 copies in the United States. Platinum certification for sales of one million copies followed on November 10, 1989.

01. “Sleigh Ride” (02:09)
(Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
02. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (03:23)
(Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
03. “Winter Wonderland” (02:09)
(Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith)
04. “My Favorite Things” (02:25)
(Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers)
05. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” (02:16)
(Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne)
06. “Christmas Holiday” (01:51)
(Craig Vincent Smith)
07. “Some Children See Him” (03:21)
(Alfred Burt, Wihla Hutson)
08. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (02:51)
(Gloria Shayne Baker, No?l Regney)
09. “Little Altar Boy” (04:59)
(Howlett Peter Smith)
10. “Silver Bells” (03:09)
(Ray Evans, Jay Livingston)
11. “Mary’s Little Boy Child” (03:53)
(Jester Hairston)
12. “The Bells of St. Mary’s” (02:36)
(A. Emmett Adams, Douglas Furber)

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Apr 01

Rihanna – Anti (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:51:06 minutes | 582 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Westbury Road Entertainment

Rihanna’s first release in three years, the often delayed ANTI was included among Rolling Stone’s most anticipated albums of 2016 and sold over a million copies within two days. Jam packed with guest producers and led off by the hit single Work, another collaboration with Drake, ANTI has been called the best album of Rihanna’s career by several reviewers. This deluxe edition adds three bonus tracks, including Goodnight Gotham, known to fans under its former title Only If For A Night.

Anti existed as an album cycle before it existed as an album — arguably long before Rihanna knew what form her eighth album would take, either. Work on Anti began in the autumn of 2014 and proceeded in semi-public, progress being measured in Instagram posts and tweets, along with intermittent singles, each released to white-hot anticipation but none metamorphosing into massive hits. When Anti finally appeared in January 2016 — three years after Unapologetic and months later than expected — it bore none of these 2015 singles, a move that suggests a tacit acknowledgment that neither the curiously muted Kanye West and Paul McCartney collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” nor the unrestrained roar of “Bitch Better Have My Money” functioned as appropriate anchors for the album. Then again, neither would’ve felt at home on the cloistered Anti, the first of Rihanna’s records to feel constructed as a front-to-back album. Such a sustained sensibility distinguishes Anti from its predecessors, records where album cuts often felt like afterthoughts. That’s not the case with Anti. This is an album whose heart lies within its deep cuts. Mood matters more than either hooks or rhythm: it’s a subdued, simmering affair, its songs subtly shaded yet interlocked to create a vibe caught halfway between heartbreak and ennui. The latter has always been a specialty of Rihanna — her distance from her material was at once appealing and alienating — so hearing her lean into “Love on the Brain” and “Higher” is something of a revelation: her voice is hoarse and ravaged, yet she’s also controlled and precise, knowing how to hone these imperfections so her performance echoes classic soul while feeling fresh. These songs come at the end of the album, after a series of songs that drift and wonder, the sound of an artist trying to figure out not only what her album is but who she is. By the end of Anti, Rihanna may not arrive at any definitive conclusions about her art but she’s allowed herself to be unguarded and anti-commercial, resulting in her most compelling record to date. ~~AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1. Consideration 02:41
2. James Joint 01:12
3. Kiss It Better 04:13
4. Work 03:39
5. Desperado 03:06
6. Woo 03:56
7. Needed Me 03:12
8. Yeah, I Said It 02:13
9. Same Ol’ Mistakes 06:37
10. Never Ending 03:23
11. Love On The Brain 03:44
12. Higher 02:01
13. Close To You 03:58

Bonus Tracks:
14. Goodnight Gotham 01:28
15. Pose 02:24
16. Sex With Me 03:26

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Mar 31

Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra perform Music of The Beatles, feat. King’ Singers (2011)
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST 64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 54:26 minutes | Scans included | 3,7 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,08 GB
Genre: Pop, Classical

From the moment Arthur Fiedler lifted his baton in 1964 to lead the Boston Pops in a wild, surprisingly effective arrangement of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” symphony orchestras have tried to include Beatles music in their “pops” song bags. The trouble is, the Beatles’ brilliant original recordings are so indelibly embedded in our collective mental hard drives that they are a tough act to follow — despite the high quality of the songs on their own merits, despite the good intentions of those who pay them homage. So it is with Erich Kunzel, the Cincinnati Pops and the British early music/classical/pop vocal sextet The King’s Singers — an undoubtedly sincere labor that gets it all wrong. From this album, a visitor from Saturn would get the idea that the Beatles’ music was all about pretty tunes and satin-smooth harmonies. Yes, but … The orchestral arrangements — some of which are actually credited to Beatles producer and catalyst George Martin, others to in-house arranger Steven Reineke, Paul Hart and Andrew Pryce Jackman — may inflate the sound, yet they reduce the colossal impact and free-thinking guiding spirit of these songs to hum-along background music. The King’s Singers’ approach is, unfortunately, too prissy, too deliberately cute, too sentimental, or too impeccably smooth to do justice to any of them. There are two takes of “Eleanor Rigby that sum things up — an overweight one for orchestra that opens the album, the other an a cappella treatment by the King’s Singers — both of which miss the terse, emotional fervor of Martin’s string octet backing on the original Beatles record. Not even the sumptuous, deep, DSD-derived sound can save it.

01. Eleanor Rigby (orchestral version)
02. All You Need Is Love
03. When I’m Sixty-Four
04. Michelle
05. Octopus’s Garden
06. Across the Universe
07. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da
08. Penny Lane
09. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
10. Eleanor Rigby
11. Because
12. Yesterday
13. Here, There, and Everywhere
14. The Long and Winding Road
15. Hey Jude
16. Let It Be

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Mar 31

Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – Got Swing! (2003) [2.0 & 5.1] PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 64:26 minutes | Scans included | 4,59 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,35 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Telarc # SACD-60592 | Genre: Jazz, Pop
with special guests: The Manhattan Transfer, Janis Siegel and John Pizzarelli

The Cincinnati Pops is one of America’s favorite orchestras, playing classical hits, orchestral versions of pop and jazz, movie themes and show tunes…

This is a good, solid pops recording; a disc that’s fun to hear. It’s not necessarily for hardcore jazzheads or swing dancers, but might be just the thing to introduce some of these classic tunes to folks who think they don’t like jazz. Most of these tracks don’t swing hard, but there are a few that even a dedicated dancer would want to try out.

Some real standards of the original swing era are presented here, hot and sweet. “Swingin’ at the Savoy” (this referring to the great Savoy Ballroom of Harlem), “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “Avalon,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and “Flying Home” (Lionel Hampton’s most famous creation) are just a few examples. Many of these songs have great stories behind their creation or earliest recordings. If you don’t love swing already, they’ll start you on your way.

A few have been arranged until their original character is somewhat obscured (“Blues in the Night” now sounds like something from a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical); but the mix is excellent, and the musicians even better, whether the prevailing sound is pops-oriented or swinging.

John Pizzarelli gives particularly standout performances on guitar and vocally. His clever manipulations of music and words mark some of the really swinging tracks. “Avalon” is a great hot take. Pizzarelli, son of jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, is in good company. Other guest artists include the vocalise group the Manhattan Transfer in various guises, from the ensemble to solo voice and rhythm section.

Got Swing! is an excellent example of why pops orchestras continue to flourish (they’re just fun) and it’s liable to make the listener want to go out one night and see Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops live.

01. String of Pearls
02. Stompinn’ at the Savoy
03. Choo Choo Ch’Boogie
04. Straighten Up and Fly Right
05. Sugar
06. Skyliner
07. Blues in the Night
08. Avalon
09. It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
10. Clouds
11. Jumpin’ at the Woodside
12. Flying Home
13. I’ll Be Seeing You
14. Sweet Georgia Brown

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Mar 31

Mylene Farmer – Interstellaires (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:40:07 minutes | 484 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Universal Music

„Interstellaires“ is the 10th studio album by French singer, songwriter and pop culture icon Mylène Farmer. Includes the single ‘Stolen Car’, a duet with British rock veteran Sting. This version of the much-loved Sting track has been completely reimagined by producer, The Avener. In the span of her 30-year career, French superstar, Mylène Farmer has sold over 11 million albums worldwide, released nine studio albums and six live albums, all of which reached diamond status in France. Mylène is the first female artist in history to sell out the 80,000 capacity ‘Stade de France’ two nights in a row. On her last arena tour, Mylène’s tickets were sold out a full year in advance. She has cultivated her fervently loyal fan base through consummate songwriting, classic melodies and ground-breaking videos.

1. Interstellaires 03:11
2. Stolen Car 03:23
3. A rebours 04:11
4. C’est pas moi 03:41
5. Insondables 02:38
6. Love Song 04:34
7. Pas d’access 03:17
8. I Want You To Want Me 03:06
9. Voie lactée 03:17
10. City Of Love 04:26
11. Un jour ou l’autre 04:27

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Mar 31

Mylène Farmer – Timeless 2013 (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:32:01 minutes | 1.88 GB | Genre: Pop
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Stuffed Monkey

Timeless (stylized as Timel3ss) was the sixth concert tour by French recording artist, Mylène Farmer. The tour supported the singer’s ninth studio album, Monkey Me. The tour began on September 7, 2013 and ended on December 3, 2013. It played 39 shows in 5 countries. Over 535,000 people saw Myléne Farmer live on this tour.

01 – Timeless Genesis (Live-Lyon-2013)
02 – A Force De… (Live-Lyon-2013)
03 – Comme J’Ai Mal (Live-Lyon-2013)
04 – C’est Une Belle Journée (Live-Lyon-2013)
05 – Monkey Me (Live-Lyon-2013)
06 – Slipping Away (Crier La Vie) (Live-Lyon-2013)
07 – Oui Mais Non… (Live-Lyon-2013)
08 – Mad World (Live-Lyon-2013)
09 – Les Mots (Live-Lyon-2013)
10 – Désenchantée (Live-Lyon-2013)
11 – Bleu Noir (Live-Lyon-2013)
12 – Diabolique Mon Ange (Live-Lyon-2013)
13 – Sans Contrefaçon (Live-Lyon-2013)
14 – Je T’Aime Mélancolie (Live-Lyon-2013)
15 – XXL (Live-Lyon-2013)
16 – A L’Ombre (Live-Lyon-2013)
17 – Inséparable (Live-Lyon-2013)
18 – Rêver (Live-Lyon-2013)

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