Of Mamas, Papas, Raiders and Soundtracks: Real Gone’s February Slate Revealed
In addition to an ironclad lineup that includes A Gathering of Flowers, the long out-of-print 1970 collection from The Mamas & The Papas; The Complete Recordings by Brotherhood, an unfairly obscure psych-rock band comprised of Phil Volk, Drake Levin and Mike “Smitty” Smith of Paul Revere & The Raiders that cut three LPs for RCA; a twofer by Smith (A Band Called Smith/Minus-Plus), the L.A. soul band which had a Top 5 hit in a cover of “Baby, It’s You” (arranged by Del Shannon, who discovered the band) and a pair of 1976 Grateful Dead shows for the 20th volume of Dick’s Picks, two intriguing, long out-of-print film soundtracks make their domestic CD debuts: Together? - a Burt Bacharach-led pop feast featuring lyrics from Paul Anka and vocals from Jackie DeShannon and Michael McDonald – and Toomorrow, a 1970 sci-fi movie musical assembled by Harry Saltzman and Don Kirshner with vocals from a very unknown Australian actor-chanteuse named Olivia Newton-John.
And what makes those two soundtrack releases so exciting? The Second Disc is extremely proud to report that our own Joe Marchese is writing the liner notes to these releases! Joe’s insight that served readers so well on a previous post about the Together? soundtrack will now guide fans through the first ever Stateside releases of this and Toomorrow. We’ve rarely been more thrilled for you to read some Second Disc-style work without even needing to open your laptop!
All titles are set for a February 4 release. For the full release schedule, which also includes releases by Canadian trio Troyka and country-gospel crooner Jim Reeves, hit the jump!
REAL GONE FUELS A FEBRUARY THAW
WITH SOUNDTRACKS FROM BURT BACHARACH
AND OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN
February 4 Schedule Also Includes a Classic Album Anthology
from the Mamas and the Papas, the Complete Recordings
from Paul Revere & the Raiders Offshoot Brotherhood,
a Twofer from the Gayle McCormick-Led Band Smith, Cult Canadian Psych Band Troyka,
Inspirational Recordings from Country Crooner Jim Reeves
and another Choice Dick’s Pick from the Grateful Dead
Los Angeles, California – No groundhog shadows darken Real Gone’s February release schedule — the label has once again come up with a slate of titles sure to raise temperatures for music buyers of any stripe and living in any clime. Burt Bacharach’s long-lost soundtrack to the 1979 film Together? featuring Jackie DeShannon, Michael McDonald and Libby Titus makes its domestic debut on CD, while the soundtrack to the cult sci-fi musical Toomorrow starring a young Olivia Newton-John receives its first-ever reissue. The Mamas and The Papas’ superb 1970 album anthology A Gathering of Flowers offering 20 of their biggest hits plus rehearsals, outtakes and interviews also makes its CD debut, as do all three albums of Brotherhood, the band Phil ”Fang” Volk, Drake ”The Kid” Levin and Mike ”Smitty” Smith formed after leaving Paul Revere and the Raiders in search of more adventurous musical pastures.
The label then turns its attention to the L.A. band Smith, the blues-rocking outfit headed by lead singer Gayle McCormick, with a twofer containing both of their albums, and the Canadian band Troyka’s crazed blend of psych, prog, folk, funk and Ukrainian (!) music premieres on a long-awaited release. Then, Real Gone takes its usual hairpin stylistic turn with a 20-track collection featuring the finest inspirational recordings by Nashville Sound superstar Jim Reeves, before winding up with another essential Dick‘s Pickfrom the Grateful Dead.
Sometimes a movie’s commercial flop can condemn a great soundtrack to obscurity. Such was the case with director Armenia Balducci’s steamy 1979 film Amo non Amo. This Italian drama starring Jacqueline Bisset, Maximilian Schell and Terence Stamp was originally scored by Italian prog/symphonic ”horror rock” band Goblin, but when the film was slated for an American release with the title “Together?”, the great Burt Bacharach was enlisted to provide a new, more accessible musical score. And Burt delivered — along with a bunch of friends! The songs’ lyricist was Paul Anka, who wrote lyrics for the dramatic ballads ”I Don’t Need You Anymore” and ”Find Love,” both sung by Jackie DeShannon in a sumptuous reunion with Bacharach, and the soulful ”I’ve Got My Mind Made Up,” performed by Michael McDonald with splendid orchestral backing. For his part, Bacharach’s own instrumental compositions are melodic in his classic fashion but arranged very much in the modernized vein of his late-’70s Futures and Womanalbums, with unusual textures and surprising flourishes. Burt Bacharach: “Together? — Original Soundtrack Recording” makes its worldwide CD debut — outside of a limited, high-ticket Japanese edition — on Real Gone Music, with notes by Joe Marchese featuring contributions from all of the principals involved and remastering by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York. It’s a must for Bacharach fans.
Long before she was Sandy, the good girl of Rydell High, or Kira, the Olympian muse of the roller disco Xanadu, Olivia Newton-John was just plain Livvy, the girl singer with dreams of the big time in the 1970 sci-fi movie musical “Toomorrow”. This little-known motion picture was the brainchild of music impresario Don Kirshner and Harry Saltzman, best known for co-producing the first nine James Bond films with Albert R. Broccoli. And Toomorrow wasn’t just the movie’s title. After a lengthy talent search, Kirshner and Saltzman assembled the band Toomorrow, whom the music mogul modestly described as ”the best-looking total group that ever existed.” Why the misspelling? As drummer Karl Chambers put it in the film itself, ”I dig it! We’re too much, we’re too morrow!” At least Kirshner thought so — he had visions of Toomorrow achieving the success of his previous creations the Monkees and the Archies, and enlisted the aid of songwriters Mark Barkan and Richie Adams (along with composer Hugo Montenegro) for the movie’s bubblegum-meets-rock tunes. But, weighed down by legal problems surrounding Saltzman, and a premise — Toomorrow was going to save a race of aliens called the Alphoids from an existence-threatening ”sterility of sound” — that was silly even by late-’60s B-movie standards, the movie went nowhere. The soundtrack, however, boasting the nascent superstar Newton-John, has attained serious cult status over the years, and our Real Gone release of “Toomorrow: From the Harry Saltzman-Don Kirshner Film ”Toomorrow” — Original Soundtrack Album” marks its first reissue in any format, with notes by Joe Marchese and remastering by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in NYC.
Though “A Gathering of Flowers” was put together by ABC/Dunhill Records in 1970 immediately after the demise of The Mamas & The Papas, it was much, much more than the typical record label greatest hits collection cash-in. Not only did the 20-song double-album include classic ’60s cuts like ”California Dreamin’,” ”Monday, Monday,” ”I Saw Her Again,” ”I Call Your Name,” ”Creeque Alley” and ”Dedicated to the One I Love,” but it served as something of an audio documentary of the band, offering rehearsals, outtakes and interview snippets from John Phillips and Cass Elliot in between the tunes. The boxed-set also offered a photo-packed, 16 page booklet with excellent liner notes by Andy Wickham alongside the dozens of rare images, all of which we have reproduced here on Real Gone Music for this historic collection’s CD debut. Composed of four outsized personalities — Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty — The Mamas and The Papas were always about more than just the music;The Mamas and The Papas: “A Gathering of Flowers” preserves and presents their full legacy better than any single-CD anthology available. Remastered from the original tapes by Mike Milchner at SonicVision.
Right at the height of popularity for Paul Revere and the Raiders, the band’s core power trio of Phil ”Fang” Volk (bass), Drake ”The Kid” Levin (guitar) and Mike ”Smitty” Smith (drums) left to pursue their own more ambitious musical goals. Subsequent lawsuits and a run of bad luck meant that the first, self-titled album by their new band, Brotherhood, would be delayed, and received little notice at the time. Yet, by mixing a wealth of socially-conscious original numbers with hard-rocking reinterpretations of tunes by the Mamas and the Papas and Joe South, Brotherhood was a band brimming with promise. Between 1968 and 1969 the band released two more albums, one under their own name, the other a third, wildly experimental record (Friend Sound / Joyride) that drew upon Cage, Zappa and Stockhausen (and acid) for its influences. Bringing together music that has been out of print for over 40 years and never available on CD until now, Brotherhood: “The Complete Recordings” includes all three albums the group cut for RCA on two CDs, plus a definitive history of the band by Bill Kopp, based on extensive research and a lengthy interview with Phil Volk, who contributes a note of his own. Remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in NYC…one of the great, lost bands of the late ’60s.
Smith were discovered in an L.A. nightclub by none other than Del Shannon, who got them signed to ABC-Dunhill and arranged their smash hit cover of ”Baby, It’s You.” They also boasted one of the best albeit largely unknown female singers of the ’60s in the person of Gayle McCormick, who, with her blonde good looks and powerful, bluesy voice, seemed destined to lead Smith to big things (she did go on to record a series of solo albums for Dunhill). However, the band broke up after recording just two albums, A Group Called Smith and Minus-Plus, and while the first album was reissued on a long out-of-print (and now very expensive) CD, the second album has never been reissued in any format until now.Smith: “A Group Called Smith/Minus-Plus” is remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, with liner notes by Richie Unterberger and added photos. One of the missing links in the late-’60s L.A. scene.
One could say that Troyka’s self-titled 1970 Cotillion album came out of left field, but that wouldn’t quite do it justice. It really belongs on its own planet. Though there are strong elements of hard rock and psych that have made it a favorite among collectors, Troyka’s mad concoction also stirs in elements of folk, traditional Ukrainian music, Polish spoken-word bits, prog and even funk. And in spite of the musical aptitude required to achieve such diversification, the Edmonton, Alberta trio manages to do it all with a sense of humor — including a few double-entendres underscored by horny gruff vocals. It is, quite simply, a singular achievement in the annals of music history that’s unlikely to ever be remotely imitated, let alone duplicated. After a number of shoddy bootlegs, this first-ever legitimate reissue of Troyka: “Troyka”offers remastered sound from the original tapes and detailed liners by Doug Sheppard of Ugly Things magazine, plus pictures and a bonus track supplied by the band. A cult classic extraordinaire.
Gentleman Jim Reeves wasn’t just the voice of the ”Nashville Sound;” his honey-smooth tone and intimate delivery were the perfect vehicle for a series of country gospel and inspirational recordings, recordings that have stood the test of time as among the finest of their kind. Jim Reeves: “A Beautiful Life — Songs of Inspiration” cherry-picks the top 20 tracks from Jim’s gospel albums Songs to Warm Your Heart, God Be with You, We Thank Thee and My Cathedral to create the ultimate Jim Reeves inspirational collection. Among the many highlights are ”In the Garden,” with backing by the Anita Kerr Singers; ”May the Good Lord Bless You and Keep You,” which rivals Eddy Arnold’s version, and Stuart Hamblen’s song ”It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)”, in which Reeves’ voice embodies the sound of true faith and devotion. John Alexander supplies the notes to this essential collection, which is gloriously remastered by Tim Sturges at Battery Studios in New York.
At a mere two songs short of two complete shows — and those two songs, ”Bertha” and ”It’s All Over Now,” were played at both shows, so they appear on the set at least once – Grateful Dead: “Dick’s Picks Vol. 20 — Capital Centre, Landover, MD 9/25/76 — Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY 9/28/76″ is one of the more jam-packed (or is that packed with jams?) entries in the series. But this volume has a lot more going for it than just five hours-plus of music — 1976 marked the return of the band to the road after a 20-month hiatus with Mickey Hart back in tow for the first time in five years, and it is a newly rejuvenated outfit we hear playing a mix of the new (”Lazy Lightnin’,” ”Supplication”) and old (”St. Stephen” and the rare ”Cosmic Charlie,” which appears on the Landover show’s set list for the last time ever). Perhaps the most sublime moment is the transition from ”Comes a Time” to ”Eyes of the World” (and then to the out-of-nowhere ”Orange Tango Jam”) during the second set of the Syracuse show, but both shows are full of sparkling performances propelled by the newly reunited Rhythm Devils. Another keeper from the vaults.
February 4, 2014 Releases from Real Gone Music
Burt Bacharach, Together? — Original Soundtrack Recording (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Toomorrow: From the Harry Saltzman-Don Kirshner Film “Toomorrow” — Original Soundtrack Recording (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Mamas and the Papas, A Gathering of Flowers (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Brotherhood, The Complete Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Smith, A Group Called Smith/Minus-Plus (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Troyka, Troyka (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Jim Reeves, A Beautiful Life — Songs of Inspiration (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 20 — Capital Centre, Landover, MD 9/25/76 — Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY 9/28/76 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)