No April Fool: Real Gone Announces Packed Line-Up For Month with Grateful Dead, Whiting, Jans, Atkins, More
April is known for showers, so why shouldn’t Real Gone Music shower collectors with a big line-up encompassing not just some super-rare rock and soul, but also country, film soundtracks, pop vocals and even crossover classical? Nine releases, all due on April 2, run the gamut for this busy label.
On the rock front, fans will likely snap up the first-time domestic CD release of the 1971 solo album by Memphis music legend Don Nix. Featuring the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, Living by the Days was originally released on the Elektra label. Nix, who began his career playing saxophone with the Mar-Keys, went on to play a major role behind the scenes at Stax while also finding time to work with a “Who’s Who” including Leon Russell, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Isaac Hayes. For Living by the Days, the composer/arranger/musician was joined by Donald “Duck” Dunn, Roger Hawkins and Barry Beckett. Real Gone’s reissue of this lost southern soul classic, with flourishes of both folk and gospel, recreates the original release’s gatefold artwork and adds new notes by music historian Colin Escott.
From the same year, Real Gone is reissuing the funk-soul-rock-folk stew Barbara & Ernie: Prelude To… This unusual LP, first issued on Cotillion, paired guitarist Ernie Calabria and soul singer Barbara Massey. Calabria had played on sessions for Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone and Anita Carter, while Massey had shared the microphone with Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Cat Stevens. Real Gone describes this lost album as a “funky, folky, psychedelic soul gem graced with a stellar list of sidemen (e.g. Joe Beck and Keith Jarrett) that vanished without a trace in the more stratified world of early ’70s music retail.” Calabria and Massey’s talents were enhanced by the orchestrations of Brazil’s Eumir Deodato, whose credits prior to his own solo breakthrough included arrangements for Wes Montgomery, Astrud Gilberto and Frank Sinatra. The repertoire on Prelude consists of originals plus a cover of the Great Society/Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” Real Gone’s release marks its first legitimate release on CD, with liner notes written by Pat Thomas.
After the jump: Tom Jans, Grateful Dead, Margaret Whiting and more! Plus: pre-order links to all titles!
Tom Jans (1948-1984) might be best known for his song “Loving Arms,” recorded by everybody from Elvis Presley to Petula Clark. But none of his albums are currently in print domestically, setting the stage for Real Gone’s reissue of his first two solo albums for A&M Records. 1971′s Take Heart was recorded in collaboration with Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez’s younger sister. It was a “comeback” for Mimi following the death of her husband Richard in a motorcycle accident and the collapse of her second marriage. Jans flew solo for 1974’s self-titled album with which Take Heart has been paired. Tom Jans featured support from guitarist Lonnie Mack and keyboardist David Briggs, and included Jans’ own recording of “Loving Arms.” Richie Unterberger supplies the new notes, and Vic Anesini has remastered.
Dick’s Picks Vol. 24 — Cow Palace Daly City, CA 3/23/74 continues Real Gone’s trawl through the Grateful Dead vaults. First released in 2002, this volume of the series curated by late archivist Dick Latvala spotlights the first-ever appearance of the Grateful Dead’s well-remembered “Wall of Sound” concert audio system. (Alas, the system was abandoned after less than two years as a result of its high costs!) The concerts preserved on Vol. 24 also capture the first-ever performances of “Cassidy” and “Scarlet Begonias,” and the band also covers Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” and Johnny Cash’s “Big River.” Dead favorites include “China Cat Sunflower,” “Uncle John’s Band” and “Sugar Magnolia.” This volume of Picks is a 2-CD set.
Real Gone’s next releases are particularly exciting. The late Margaret Whiting has been well-represented on CD, but her 1960s recordings made for the London label have never been available in the format. That’s all about to change with two 25-track volumes representing Whiting’s complete London recordings. Made with early Phil Spector associate Arnold Goland at the helm, these recordings find the beloved vocalist tackling contemporary sounds head-on. The Wheel of Hurt gave Whiting her final hit single with the Charles Singleton/Eddie Snyder title song, which hit No. 26 on the Top 40 and reached pole position on the Easy Listening chart. (As did so many other artists of the time, Whiting covered “Winchester Cathedral” on the LP!) A whopping 13 single sides have been added to the original album for Real Gone’s Deluxe Edition. It’s being joined by a two-fer of 1967’s Maggie Isn’t Margaret Anymore and 1968’s Pop Country. The former offered her take on Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Only Love Can Break a Heart,” as well as “There’s a Kind of Hush,” made famous by Herman’s Hermits. She also covered “Something Stupid,” “This is My Song” and “My Cup Runneth Over,” from the Broadway musical I Do! I Do! on this LP. On Pop Country, the title was self-explanatory as Whiting brought her signature style to then-current hits such as “Release Me” and “Gentle on My Mind.” American Songbook expert Will Friedwald brings his perspective to the new liner notes. (Read our Back Tracks tribute to Margaret Whiting for a look at many of her other recordings!)
Country is also the order of the day on a new reissue from the duo of Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Following their 1976 Grammy-winning Chester and Lester, the guitar gods reunited in 1978 for Guitar Monsters on RCA. They traded solos with gleeful one-upmanship on standards like “Over the Rainbow,” “Limehouse Blues” and “Lazy River,” and even brought Nashville spirit to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Meditation.” Though Guitar Monsters has been on CD before, Real Gone’s reissue marks its first standalone appearance in the format. It’s been remastered by Mark Wilder and includes new notes from Chris Morris.
That’s not all from Atkins, however. Chet teams with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops for the first of the albums on a two-fer presenting a pair of 1960s releases from the renowned conductor. 1966’s The Pops Goes Country brought the Nashville Sound to the Pops, with Atkins on his Gretsch and Fiedler on the podium. Two years later, Fiedler turned his attention to the then-popular western genre for The Pops Goes West. Ed Osborne has written new liner notes, and Vic Anesini has remastered.
Finally, Real Gone jumps into the soundtrack realm with the legendary Alfred Newman’s score to 1959’s The Diary of Anne Frank. Nine-time Oscar winner Newman provided a lush, melodic and heartfelt score to director George Stevens’ drama, and was nominated for an Oscar for his work. The film starred Millie Perkins as Anne Frank, and the young actress was joined by familiar faces including Shelley Winters, Richard Beymer, Ed Wynn and Lou Jacobi. The tragic true-life tale took home three statuettes on Oscar night including one for Best Supporting Actress Shelley Winters. Real Gone’s remastered reissue of the original 20th Century Fox stereo LP is its first time on commercial CD, and adds new liner notes by Frank DeWald to the original album artwork.
All of Real Gone’s April 2 releases can be ordered at the links below!
Real Gone Music April 2 Releases
Chet Atkins and Les Paul, Guitar Monsters
Barbara and Ernie, Prelude To…
Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, The Pops Goes Country (with Chet Atkins)/The Pops Goes West
Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 24 — Cow Palace Daly City, CA 3/23/74
Tom Jans, Take Heart (with Mimi Fariña) / Tom Jans
Alfred Newman, The Diary of Anne Frank: Original Film Soundtrack
Don Nix, Living by the Days
Margaret Whiting, The Wheel of Hurt (Deluxe Edition)
Margaret Whiting, Maggie Isn’t Margaret Anymore / Pop Country