Soul with a Purpose: New Label Opens Up the Music Vaults with Womack, Dyson, Hartman
Purpose Music Group is introducing a new player in the reissue field, something that always brings us a great deal of excitement here at The Second Disc. But how about we sweeten the pot by telling you that the first three releases from Purpose Music Vaults are all rare soul classics from the Sony Music Entertainment library, all feature new-to-CD material, and all are newly remastered by engineers including Vic Anesini and Sean Brennan? On top of that, all three of Purpose’s first limited-edition releases feature deluxe packaging and booklets containing interviews with key participants. The label launches on October 30 with a trio that’s likely to excite soul enthusiasts everywhere: Bobby Womack’s Pieces and Ronnie Dyson’s One Man Band, completing the rollout with Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire on November 20.
Bobby Womack received a considerable amount of attention earlier this year when the 68-year old soul legend released a new studio album. The Bravest Man in the Universe was his first in twelve years and his first of original material in nearly twenty years, and was greeted with acclaim for artfully bridging the gap between the past and present. Purpose looks back to 1978 for Pieces, originally released on Columbia Records. Don Davis produced the album, while Candi Staton and David Ruffin joined Womack on “Stop Before We Start,” and “Trust Your Heart,” respectively. Bobby was joined on songwriting duties by his brother Cecil, as well as Leon Ware, Allee Willis and Ronnie McNeir for this mellow soul LP with a dance-ready beat. Though Pieces has been on CD before, Purpose’s new edition has been remastered by Vic Anesini from the original two-track master tapes, and includes four bonus tracks never before available on CD: single edits of three album tracks (“Wind It Up,” “Trust Your Heart,” “Where Love Begins, Friendship Ends”) plus the promotional 12-inch mix of “Trust Your Heart.” Darnell Meyers-Johnson’s new liner notes incorporate fresh quotes from Candi Staton and Bobby Womack himself! Pieces is a 1,500-unit limited edition.
After the jump, you’ll find a track listing and pre-order link for Pieces, as well as all the info you need on the titles from Ronnie Dyson and Dan Hartman!
Ronnie Dyson (1950-1990) was already a seasoned performer before he turned 20 years old; at the age of 18, he was selected to lead the company of Broadway’s groundbreaking Hair in introducing the epochal “Aquarius.” The actor/singer soon turned his attention to recording, scoring a Top 10 hit with a song from another rock musical (“(If You Let Me Make Love to You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You” from 1969’s Salvation) and inking a deal with Columbia Records. In 1971, he notched another success with “When You Get Right Down to It,” the rare Barry Mann song penned without wife Cynthia Weil. The New York label then sent Dyson to Philadelphia in 1973 to work with Thom Bell, perhaps intuiting that Bell’s lush productions would prove a perfect match with Dyson’s silky smooth yet powerfully strong falsetto vocals. And they did! Bell wrote and produced a number of sides for the album that became One Man Band, and the LP was rounded out with remixed versions of Dyson’s past recordings including “When You Get Right Down to It.” Among Bell and partner Linda Creed’s contributions were the title track (No. 28 Pop, No. 15 R&B) and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” (No. 60 Pop, No. 29 R&B), both as irresistible as Bell and Creed’s best for the Stylistics and the Spinners.
No slouches themselves, Stan Vincent and Billy Jackson also contributed productions to One Man Band. Other songs included tracks written by George Harrison, Randy Bachman and the team of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Purpose’s first-time-on-CD reissue expands the album with six new-to-CD singles, including two Philly soul sides produced by the Baker-Harris-Young team. All tracks have been remastered by Sean Brennan at Battery Studios from the original 2-track master tapes. Kevin Goins has interviewed Melba Moore, Stan Vincent, and Bell’s collaborator Vinnie Barrett (“Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely”) for his new liner notes. One Man Band is a prime slice of the kind of Philadelphia soul only Thom Bell could craft, and a reminder of an underrated artist who left us too soon. It’s a 1,500-unit limited edition.
Lastly, Purpose brings back Dan Hartman’s 1979 disco triumph Relight My Fire in its full-length CD debut. A veteran of the Johnny Winter Band and the Edgar Winter Group, Hartman wrote the latter’s smash hit “Free Ride,” and successfully completed the transition to solo stardom with 1978’s “Instant Replay,” a No. 1 Disco hit that also reached the Pop Top 30. The title song of “Relight My Fire” proved that Hartman could capture the disco magic twice, as the song remained atop the Billboard dance chart for six weeks. For “Relight,” Hartman was joined by Salsoul star Loleatta Holloway on vocals; in 1993, the song became a hit all over again for Take That and Lulu. The rest of the album is equally impressive. Edgar Winter joined Hartman as a guest on the LP, as did Stevie Wonder. Hartman gave “Free Ride” a makeover!
Purpose’s reissue is expanded by six bonus tracks, including the never-commercially available (on LP or CD!) “Boogie All Night,” from a Hartman publishing sampler. Sean Brennan has again transferred from the original 2-track masters at Battery Studios for this limited edition of 1,500. Legendary remix gurus Tom Moulton and John Luongo contributed to the new liner notes by Lewis Dene.
The Purpose Music Vaults collection kicks off on October 20 with Pieces and One Man Band, while Relight My Fire will arrive at a later date TBD. You can order those first two titles below!
Dan Hartman, Relight My Fire (Blue Sky JZ-36302, 1979 – reissued Purpose Music Vaults, 2012)
- Hands Down
- Love Strong
- Vertigo/Relight My Fire
- Just for You
- I Love Makin’ Music
- Free Ride
- Boogie All Summer
- Relight My Fire (Single Edit) (Blue Sky single ZS9-2784, 1979)
- Hands Down (12-Inch Version) (Blue Sky 12-inch 4Z8-2778, 1979)
- Hands Down (Hands-Up Version) (Blue Sky 12-inch 4Z8-2778, 1979)
- Relight My Fire (The Historical 1979 Remix) (Blue Sky 12-inch 12-6896, 1979)
- Vertigo/Relight My Fire (The Progressive Instrumental Remix) (Blue Sky 12-inch 4Z8-2790, 1979)
Bobby Womack, Pieces (Columbia JC-35083, 1979 – reissued Purpose Music Vaults, 2012)
- It’s Party Time
- Trust Your Heart
- Stop Before We Start
- When Love Begins, Friendship Ends
- Wind It Up
- Is This the Thanks I Get
- Caught Up in the Middle
- Never Let Nothing Get the Best of You
- Wind It Up (Single Edit) (Columbia single 3-10732, 1979)
- Trust Your Heart (Single Edit) (Columbia single 3-10672, 1978)
- When Love Begins, Friendship Ends (Single Edit) (Columbia single 3-10672, 1978)
- Trust Your Heart (12-Inch Promotional Extended Version) (Columbia AS-438, 1978)
Ronnie Dyson, One Man Band (Columbia KC-32211, 1973 – reissued Purpose Music Vaults, 2012)
- One Man Band (Plays All Alone)
- I Think I’ll Tell Her
- Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely
- Give in to Love
- When You Get Right Down to It
- A Wednesday in Your Garden
- Girl Don’t Come
- Point of No Return
- The Love of a Woman
- We Can Make It Last Forever
- Just a Little Love From Me
- Life and Breath
- The Captain of Your Soul
- Lady in Red
- Cup (Runneth Over)
Tracks 11-12 from Columbia single 4-46021, 1974
Tracks 13-14 from Columbia single 10071, 1974
Tracks 15-16 from Columbia single 3-10211, 1975