Archive for the ‘Andy Williams’ Category
The Legacy of Harry Nilsson, Andy Williams, Johnny Winter, Jerry Lee Lewis and More Anthologized On “Essential” Releases
Today, Legacy Recordings issues a number of titles from some of music’s greatest artists as part of the label’s ongoing Essential series of anthologies. We’re taking a look at the collections from Harry Nilsson, Andy Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pete Seeger, Mott the Hoople and Midnight Oil! Plus: we have track listings for all titles!
A 2010 documentary posed the question, Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? Well, if you don’t already know the answer, The Essential Nilsson will go a long way in providing it for you. Harry Nilsson was the songwriter’s songwriter, who enjoyed his two biggest hits with songs not written by him: Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” and Pete Ham and Tom Evans’ “Without You.” He was the hard-partying pal of John Lennon’s capable of almost painfully tender moments in song like “Don’t Forget Me.” He was the rocker who penned vaudeville tunes for The Monkees (“Daddy’s Song,” “Cuddly Toy”) and recorded an album of standards with legendary arranger Gordon Jenkins long before such albums were in vogue. And he was the composer of effortless pop melodies like “You’re Breakin’ My Heart,” which he provided with a four-letter punch line as if to torpedo its chances for the Top 40. Harry Nilsson was a man of many contradictions, but they’re all represented in this 2-CD, 40-track collection of his RCA years (1967-1977) produced by Rob Santos and Andrew Sandoval. (Sandoval also contributes the essay.)
By the numbers, The Essential Nilsson falls short of the standard set by 1995’s 49-song survey Personal Best: The Harry Nilsson Anthology. But even those who own Personal Best should invest in Essential, both for Vic Anesini’s revelatory remastering and for a couple of unreleased tracks and a handful of mono single rarities. You’ll savor Nilsson’s perky melody in the new, previously unissued remix of “Girlfriend” (better known as “Best Friend,” the theme to TV’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father), and the touching simplicity of “Life Line” in a never-before-heard piano-and-voice take. There’s plenty of Harry’s trademark humor on The Essential (the aforementioned “You’re Breakin’ My Heart,” the novelty-esque hit “Coconut,” the offbeat television homage “Kojak Columbo”) as well as his tributes to pals Lennon and McCartney (“You Can’t Do That”) and Randy Newman (“Sail Away,” “Vine Street” and the sublime “Living Without You”). That last-named Newman song boasts the lyric “It’s so hard, it’s so hard, living without you.” For fans of intelligent, frequently stunningly-crafted pop, it’s been so hard living without Harry Nilsson. The Essential Nilsson captures Harry –the angel-faced choirboy of his early albums and the bearded, vocally-battered figure of his later albums – in all his many colors. Don’t miss it.
After the jump: plenty more on every title in this batch including full track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »
Shalamar, Friends: Deluxe Edition / The Isley Brothers, Winner Takes All: Expanded Edition / Bootsy Collins Presents Sweat Band: Expanded Edition / The Gap Band, Gap Band VII: Expanded Edition / Billy Paul, Lately: Expanded Edition (Big Break)
The Big Break titles we covered yesterday include a double-disc expansion of one of Shalamar’s most enduring LPs, plus Isleys, P-Funk and albums from Total Experience Records. Full coverage/pre-order links here!
Blue Oyster Cult, Imaginos / Sea Level, Cats on the Coast/On the Edge / Wilderness Road, Sold for the Prevention of Disease Only / David Allan Coe, Texas Moon / Eddy Arnold, Complete Original #1 Hits / Johnny Lytle, The Soulful Rebel/People & Love / Allspice, Allspice / Larry Williams, That Larry Williams (Real Gone Music)
Read all about Real Gone’s latest here.
Midnight Oil, Essential Oils / Indigo Girls, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mott the Hoople, Harry Nilsson, Pete Seeger, Andy Williams, Johnny Winter, The Essential (Legacy)
Two-disc Essential sets for a bunch of artists! Unreleased tracks can be enjoyed on the Andy Williams and Nilsson sets, and the others are solid overviews. Joe reviews ‘em here!
Indigo Girls: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Jerry Lee Lewis: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Midnight Oil: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Mott: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Nilsson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Seeger: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Andy Williams: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Johnny Winter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Eagles, History of the Eagles (Jigsaw)
The new two-part documentary on the legendary rock band, coupled with an unreleased concert from 1977.
The Tubes, Remote Control: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)
Ambrosia, Life Beyond L.A.: Deluxe Edition (Friday Music)
G.C. Cameron, Love Songs and Other Tragedies: Expanded Edition / Phyllis Hyman, Somewhere in My Lifetime: Expanded Edition / Meli’sa Morgan, Good Love: Expanded Edition / Nancy Wilson, Music on My Mind / Life, Love and Harmony (SoulMusic Records) (Order all titles here from Amazon U.K.)
Here’s the latest batch from Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records label! Read Joe’s review of Somewhere in My Lifetime here!
The latest in mini-LP replica remasters from Culture Factory.
Fleetwood Mac, Rumours: Expanded/Deluxe Editions (Warner Bros.)
Ahead of the band’s forthcoming tour, a new 4CD/1DVD/LP deluxe box set edition of their most popular album, featuring the original album on CD and vinyl, two discs of studio outtakes (including the one from the 2004 reissue) and an unreleased documentary. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) A three-disc edition collects the album and the two new bonus CDs, so if you own the last expansion and can live sans DVD, you can pick the rest up for a reasonable fee. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Volume 2 (Columbia/Legacy)
This 3CD/1DVD set features Miles’ “lost” quintet lineup (featuring Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland, who never laid down studio tracks on their own) in four European shows from France, Stockholm and Berlin. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Texas Flood: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy)
Destiny’s Child, Love Songs (Music World/Columbia/Legacy)
A new compilation of lesser-known, romantic album cuts, bolstered by – gasp! - the first new Destiny’s Child track since the mid-’00s! Place your bets as to whether Beyoncé will include the tune in her Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday… (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Deep Purple, Paris 1975 (Eagle Rock)
First in a series of upcoming live Deep Purple reissues, this set chronicles the band’s last Mark III-era show, before Ritchie Blackmore left to perform with his new band Rainbow. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Various Artists, Playlist: The Very Best Of (Legacy)
Among the titles in this batch: neat mixes of hits and deep-ish cuts from Andy Williams, The Highwaymen and Harry Nilsson; Sun-era sets for Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins and a disc of Box Tops singles, all in glorious mono.
The latest wave of Playlist releases is almost here from Legacy Recordings, and the series dedicated to collecting “the hits plus the fan favorites” doesn’t look to disappoint. On January 29, Playlist volumes will be released for an eclectic cadre of artists in a variety of genres: vintage metal (Accept), traditional pop (Andy Williams), blue-eyed soul (The Box Tops), classic rock (Mountain, The Doobie Brothers, Harry Nilsson), country (Sara Evans, The Highwaymen), hip-hop (G. Love and Special Sauce, Nas), rock-and-roll (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis) and even New Age (Yanni). There are bona fide rarities on the volumes from Andy Williams, The Box Tops, G. Love and Special Sauce, and more. All Playlist titles are now packaged in traditional jewel cases, and each title’s booklet contains a historical essay plus complete discographical annotation.
The late cult hero Alex Chilton got his start as the deep, soulful voice of The Box Tops, lending his pipes to the band’s classic renditions of Wayne Carson Thompson’s “The Letter,” “Soul Deep” and “Neon Rainbow,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like a Baby,” and so many other stone-cold Memphis classics. Playlist: The Very Best of the Box Tops offers fourteen selections, all drawn from the group’s singles discography. Most excitingly, all of these titles (including each song named above) are heard in their original mono single mixes. Of the lesser-known songs, Playlist includes Chilton’s first composition released on a single, “I See Only Sunshine,” and Chilton favorite “Turn on a Dream,” penned by Mark James of “Suspicious Minds” and “Hooked on a Feeling” fame. Southern soul-pop doesn’t get any better than this.
When Howard Andrew Williams, better known as Andy Williams, died on September 25, 2012, American popular music lost one of its titans. Like his Columbia Records contemporary Johnny Mathis, Williams blazed a musical path that allowed him to record everything from early rock and roll to lush renditions of standards, film themes, Broadway hits and MOR pop. Ten of the fourteen tracks on Playlist: The Very Best of Andy Williams date to Andy’s 1960s heyday, with the remaining four songs from his still-vibrant 1970s period. In the former category, you’ll hear Academy Award-winning classic “Moon River” (of course) but also three other movie tunes written by Williams’ friend Henry Mancini: “In the Arms of Love,” “Dear Heart” and “Days of Wine and Roses.” Williams’ pop hits “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and “Music to Watch Girls By” are also included, while two more famous cinema songs are represented from the seventies: “Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather and “Where Do I Begin” from Love Story. Most exciting for collectors, though, will be a rare 1964 promotional single. Written by the Li’l Abner team of Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul, “Exercise Your Prerogative” encourages young listeners to “get the vote through on the big Election Day…let liberty and freedom live, go and exercise your prerogative!” It’s all set to a swinging big-band chart by Dave Grusin.
After the jump: more specs on rarities, plus full track listings and pre-order links for every title! Read the rest of this entry »
Rip It Up! “The London American Label: 1956″ Spotlights Rock and Roll from Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, More
Did any label impact the taste of record-buyers in the United Kingdom in the early rock-and-roll era than that of London? Ace Records has been chronicling the activities of the London American label on a series of definitive releases culling the best of the label’s 45s from one given year. Previous volumes have covered every year between 1957 and 1963, and for the most recent addition to the series, Ace has turned the clock back to 1956. In that year, London’s output included American singles first issued on Dot, Atlantic, Liberty, Imperial, Cadence, Sun, ABC-Paramount, Chess and Specialty, meaning that one label alone introduced the U.K. to classics from Little Richard, The Drifters, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Andy Williams. All of those artists and many more are represented on The London American Label: Year by Year 1956.
Compilers Peter Gibbon and Tony Rounce have taken pains throughout this ongoing series to showcase every facet of the London American label. For those readers not yet up-to-date on its story, The London label first appeared in America in 1934 representing British Decca’s operations in America. Back in Britain, the London logo made its debut in 1949 releasing material from its American counterpart, but also from early U.S. independent labels. It was in 1954 that a new prefix (HL) and numbering system (8001) was introduced, and it’s this series that is the focus of the Ace compilations. Some American hit records appeared on EMI’s Columbia, Parlophone and HMV labels, but the cream of the crop was usually on London.
In 1956, London American issued 139 singles, which the fine liner notes inform us was 33 more than in 1955 but far short of the 242 in 1958. Of those 139 releases, 23 made the U.K. Top 40 and 10 made the Top 10, not a bad percentage at all! Rock and roll and R&B were starting to take hold in 1956, and this volume opens with Little Richard’s searing admonishment to “Rip It Up.” Then there’s Chuck Berry’s atypically haunting “Down Bound Train,” Carl Perkins’ Beatle-influencing “Honey Don’t,” and Bobby Charles’ original version of his rockin’ New Orleans sing-along, “See You Later, Alligator,” more famously recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets. The “white R&B” of Pat Boone, later to prove controversial, was still going strong in 1956. The compilers here have chosen a comparative rarity: Boone’s recording of the Five Keys’ “Gee, Whittakers.” Boone actually scored London its very first chart-topper of the rock-and-roll age with his 45 of The Flamingos’ “I’ll Be Home,” also the best-selling record in the U.K. in all of 1956. Both The Drifters and original lead singer Clyde McPhatter received their first U.K. releases in 1956 on London; the group is included here via “Soldier of Fortune” and McPhatter with “Seven Days,” both originally on Atlantic in the United States. Blues great “Big” Joe Turner appears here with another Atlantic platter, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “The Chicken and the Hawk,” a song also covered by artists as unlikely as Steve Lawrence!
There’s plenty more after the jump, including a full track-listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s tempting to say “they don’t make ‘em like they used to,” but truth to tell, they never made ‘em quite like Andy Williams. Howard Andrew Williams, the favorite son of Wall Lake, Iowa, died yesterday at the age of 84, having valiantly fought bladder cancer. But Williams leaves behind a rich and reassuring legacy of music and entertainment that recalls a gentler time in American life, of huckleberry friends and caroling out in the snow.
If any popular singer defined Christmas in the 1960s, it was Andy Williams, whose style blended the intimacy of Bing Crosby and the relaxation of Perry Como with a soaring tenor that was all his own. 1963’s The Andy Williams Christmas Album began a close association with the holiday music genre for Williams, who recorded a string of perennial Christmas albums and extended his presence to television sets. His annual Christmas specials became a tradition, with the sweater-clad, blue-eyed vocalist warmly welcoming viewers for an evening of homespun entertainment dedicated to “the most wonderful time of the year.” His variety show ran from 1959 through 1971 (taking a break in 1968), introducing viewers to the Osmonds (not to mention the Cookie Bear!) as well as to Williams’ favorite music. His impeccable vocals were often shared with his guests. Williams deftly blended with the likes of Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Judy Garland and Sammy Davis, Jr., but also with The Association, Simon and Garfunkel, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Williams wasn’t primarily known for his performances of standards, though he brought polish and confidence to those songs. He embraced many of the day’s most successful songwriters and performers both on his TV show and on his Columbia Records albums, and was an outspoken defender of John Lennon when the U.S. government sought to deport the Beatle in the 1970s.
Williams, always true to his convictions, was an also an entrepreneur. He purchased the catalogue of his original label, Cadence, and ran the Barnaby label which scored hits for Ray Stevens and first signed the young Jimmy Buffett. His accomplishments were many; Williams opened Caesars Palace in 1966, and was once signed to Columbia for what was then the biggest recording contract in history. He scored three platinum records and eighteen gold ones, and popularized not only “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” but “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Music to Watch Girls By,” “Happy Heart,” “Love Story (Where Do I Begin),” “Speak Softly Love,” and of course, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s immortal “Moon River.” His delicious, lounge-style 1970s reworkings of pop hits led to a surge in popularity in the 1990s and particularly in the U.K., where a greatest hits album reached the Top 10 as recently as 2009.
Every year, Andy Williams’ holiday recordings reappear on radio in November and December, ready to hook a new generation on the man and his music. Look deeper in his catalogue, though, and you’ll be richly rewarded, whether you find his stirring “Battle Hymn of the Republic” released in tribute to his dear friend Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; his sunshine-pop duet “Small Talk” with then-wife Claudine Longet; or his truly groovy take on the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Hearts have long been happier for the time we’ve known Andy Williams. Thanks, Andy, for always reminding us, with uniquely American optimism and spirit, that we all can strive to reach what’s waiting for us at that same rainbow’s end.
Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #1-13 (Zappa/UMe)
The iconoclastic musician’s catalogue is back in print thanks to a new agreement with Universal, and his first 13 albums (most of them newly remastered from the original analog masters) are available today. Joe gave us a great breakdown of what’s what on these new masters, which also has convenient links to both these new titles and the forthcoming second wave of remasters next month.
Blur, Blur 21 (Virgin/EMI)
21 refers not only to the legendary British band’s lifespan to date, but the amount of discs in this collection: all seven studio albums expanded with bonus discs (which are available separately, if that’s your thing), plus another four discs of rarities and three mostly live DVDs.
Neil Diamond, Hot August Night: 40th Anniversary Edition (Geffen/UMe)
Hard to believe it’s been 40 years since Neil’s second, terrific live LP was issued! This two-disc edition adds four unreleased tracks, offering just about every minute of that fateful night at LA’s Greek Theatre.
Elvis Presley, I Am An Elvis Fan (RCA/Legacy)
The latest Elvis compilation was fan-sourced, leading to some slightly different track choices than your typical Elvis fare, including a nice handful of live cuts from the latter half of the King’s career.
Charles Mingus, The Complete Columbia & RCA Studio Albums Collection / The Thelonious Monk Quartet, The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection / Weather Report, The Complete Columbia Albums 1971-1975 (Columbia/Legacy)
PopMarket’s latest complete boxes showcase some of the best jazz/fusion players to ever grace the Columbia label, and there are some great surprises in these boxes, including two rare tracks in the Mingus box and the first-ever domestic release of a Japanese live album in the Weather Report set.
20/20, 2o/20/Look Out! ; Clover, Clover/Fourty Niner ; Jimmy Griffin, Summer Holiday: Expanded Edition ; Sanford & Townsend, Smoke from a Distant Fire/Nail Me to the Wall ; Charles Bukowski, Charles Bukowski Reads His Poetry ; Jackie Gleason, Music for Lovers Only (Real Gone)
A diverse selection of releases from the eclectic reissue label: “The Great One,” the future Bread frontman, an American poet, a future Elvis Costello backing band and more!
Various Artists, Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook (Columbia/Sony Music Japan)
A quirky compilation from Japan (on Blu-Spec CD, no less) featuring some intriguing Beach Boys covers from the likes of Todd Rundgren, The Tokens, Andy Williams and others.
2012 has been a big year for The Beach Boys, and the fun, fun, fun shows little sign of abating any time soon. While we still wait for more details on the possible U.S. arrival of a series of reissued original albums, Sony Music Japan is celebrating with a unique tribute to America’s band. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a 25-track compilation drawn mostly, but not exclusively, from the Sony family of labels including Columbia, RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah and Bang, and offers a number of lesser-known tracks from many familiar artists. All of the songs chosen just prove the depth of the Beach Boys’ catalogue.
There have been plenty of Beach Boys tribute compilations over the years, from Risky Business Records’ 1995 Got You Covered! Songs of the Beach Boys (with Glen Campbell, Pat Boone and The Surfaris on its roster) to Sanctuary’s 2002 Brit-centric Guess I’m Dumb: Songs of the Beach Boys (featuring P.P. Arnold, The Ivy League and Tony Rivers & The Castaways). The new Good Vibrations shares tracks with both of those, actually, but also offers some rarely-anthologized tracks from a wide range of artists including The Cowsills, Paul Davis, Melissa Manchester, Nick DeCaro, California Music, Petula Clark and more!
The emphasis, naturally, is on the songs of Brian Wilson; he’s the man responsible for writing each of the songs on Good Vibrations with the exception of two renditions of Bruce Johnston’s “Disney Girls.” The nostalgic song first appeared on The Beach Boys’ 1971 Surf’s Up as “Disney Girls (1957).” It’s heard from both Johnston himself, dating to his 1977 solo album Going Public, and from “Mama” Cass Elliot on her 1972 self-titled LP. Johnston makes a number of appearances on the new compilation. He and Carl Wilson both joined Elliot on her “Disney Girls,” and as one-half of the duo Bruce and Terry (with Terry Melcher), he appears on “Hawaii” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” Johnston and Melcher were also key voices in the Rip Chords, and that group is represented with three of the Beach Boys’ best “car songs,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Johnston and Melcher also produced California Music’s 1974 “Don’t Worry, Baby” for their Equinox label. Certain songs are heard in multiple versions; “409,” “Shut Down” and “Don’t Worry, Baby” are all also heard in The Tokens’ recordings.
We have more details after the jump, including track listing with discography and a pre-order link!
Though the A&M stands for (Herb) Alpert and (Jerry) Moss, A&M Records has meant a great many things to a great many people since its founding in 1962. Those who came of age in the 1980s may think of the famous logo adorning records by Sting, Janet Jackson or Bryan Adams. In the 1970s, the label was home to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens and Joe Cocker. In the 1960s, A&M was not only a label but a “sound.” That sound was a certain, beguiling style of sophisticated adult soft-pop epitomized by founder Herb Alpert as well as Burt Bacharach, Sergio Mendes, Chris Montez and Roger Nichols. Though Alpert and Moss sold their label (at one point the largest and most successful independent record company in the world) to PolyGram in 1989 and it is now a unit of Universal Music Group, its classic artists and albums have never fallen out of favor.
Universal Music Japan has launched an A&M 50th Anniversary Collection as well as a series of releases under the Nick DeCaro Posthumous 20th Anniversary umbrella. A prolific arranger, composer and producer, DeCaro (1938-1992) was a mainstay of the early A&M era. Among the titles already released in the series are albums by The Sandpipers, Chris Montez, Tijuana Brass offshoot The Baja Marimba Band, and DeCaro himself. (Many of these titles are making their CD debuts.) One new compilation has emerged, though, that celebrates DeCaro as well as some legendary artists from the A&M roster and elsewhere.
Nick DeCaro: Works is a 23-track anthology of DeCaro’s output as a producer and arranger between 1967 and 1982, and if it proves anything, it’s just how eclectic and adaptable the man’s style was. Though he largely toiled behind the scenes in America, DeCaro became a star in Japan thanks to his 1974 solo effort Italian Graffiti, so it’s only fair that Japan is celebrating him with this diversely curated new release.
Mel Carter’s 1965 “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” on the Imperial label was Nick DeCaro’s first major hit as a producer and arranger, but it was the tip of the iceberg of his work at Imperial. He produced records for studio groups like The Sunset Strings and a pre-Philadelphia O’Jays, and befriended young staff songwriter Randy Newman, who would later enlist him to write arrangements for his Good Old Boys album in 1974. When he decamped for A&M, he became a primary architect of the label’s pop style, producing and/or arranging six albums for Claudine Longet, four for Chris Montez and six for the Sandpipers. His work with Longet naturally brought him to the attention of her husband, Columbia Records artist Andy Williams, for whom DeCaro produced and arranged three LPs. DeCaro also amazingly found time to arrange at Warner Bros. and Reprise, and he reunited with his old friend Newman writing charts for Harpers Bizarre’s renditions of Randy’s songs.
His own fitful solo career was less successful than his work for others, particularly when his 1969 solo debut Happy Heart went head-to-head with Andy Williams’ own version of its title song. Williams had wanted his friend DeCaro to produce and arrange his recording, but DeCaro demurred, and Williams created a successful record of the song without DeCaro’s participation. 1974’s Italian Graffiti earned him cult status in Japan, but DeCaro continued to make his biggest hits for others. Just a few of the names on the arranger’s client list reads like a “Who’s Who” of popular music: Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown), James Taylor (Gorilla, In the Pocket), Little Feat (Time Loves a Hero), Neil Diamond (Beautiful Noise), Helen Reddy (I Don’t Know How to Love Him), Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were, Barbra Joan Streisand, Wet), Rickie Lee Jones (Rickie Lee Jones, Pirates), Dolly Parton (Here You Come Again). DeCaro was also in demand for his abilities on the accordion and concertina, adding the instrument to recordings by everyone from The Rolling Stones to renowned multi-instrumentalist Prince! Before his passing in 1992, DeCaro returned to solo recording in Japan, toured the country twice and produced Japanese artists, as well. But The Works focuses on some of his most renowned American work, with an emphasis on his productions during the golden years of A&M.
Hit the jump for the full run-down on Works, including the track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »
Aces High! “The London American Label: 1957,” “Mod Jazz Forever” and “Smash Boom Bang: Feldman-Goldstein-Gotteher” Available Now
The ace compilation experts at, well, Ace Records are offering up plenty of Smash, Boom and Bang (both in impact and in label name!) for your buck with their diverse slate of February releases. You’ll find top-drawer pop, rock and soul for connoisseurs and beginners alike among the label’s latest. Perhaps the most unexpected is the new entry in the label’s long-running Songwriters and Producers series. Smash Boom Bang! The Songs and Productions of Feldman-Goldstein-Gotteher (Ace CDCHD 1317) turns the spotlight on those three named gentlemen who supplied hits for The Strangeloves, The McCoys and The Angels, not to mention the young Ronnie James Dio.
Although the surnames of Bob, Jerry and Richard didn’t have the easy ring of “Mann and Weil” or “Goffin and King,” they travelled the same New York streets. Encouraged early on by Snuff Garrett and Wes Farrell, the F-G-G team hustled songs to a wide variety of artists across genre lines. If you don’t know the names of Messrs. Feldman, Goldstein and Gotteher, you’ll undoubtedly know “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Hang On, Sloopy” and “I Want Candy,” and you just might be surprised to find that all three songs were the work (either in songwriting, production or both) of the same team. Smash Boom Bang takes its name from three prominent labels, the last of which was founded by Bert Berns. As Berns’ tragically short-lived career has already been anthologized by Ace, this collection makes the perfect companion to those earlier two volumes.
Producers Rob Finnis and Mick Patrick have curated the set to include the most famous recordings by the team, but there are expectedly delicious rarities blended in, as well, including Dion DiMucci’s demo of “Swingin’ Street,” a F-G-G song with a barroom sing-along feel. Even “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “Hang On, Sloopy” appear in their original, unedited versions, adding value for the collector.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are plenty of choice “sixties girls” sounds. Patty Lace and the Petticoats’ “Girl, Don’t Trust That Boy” is a quintessential, if largely unknown, girl group record from 1964, but it’s no surprise that the team had mastered the girl group genre, having written “My Boyfriend’s Back” the previous year. The story behind that masterwork is still one shrouded in mystery, but Finnis goes a long way in explaining the brouhaha in his copious notes. When The Angels fell out with F-G-G, they attempted to replicate the group’s sound on a variety of records such as The Pin-Ups’ delightful “Lookin’ for Boys,” though their mileage varied. One standout track is Debra Swisher’s 1965 take on The Beach Boys’ “You’re So Good to Me,” with Swisher’s recording tougher than the original. Her piercing lead vocals lend the song an entirely new dimension. The track was arranged by one “Bassett Hand,” proving that the F-G-G team couldn’t resist a good pun! F-G-G tried to combine the best of both worlds with The Powderpuffs’ rather humorous “You Can’t Take My Boyfriend’s Woody” (“It don’t look like much, but when he pops that clutch/You’ll think you’re in reverse!”) slyly aping the early Beach Boys style.
We continue with this hitmaking trio, plus lots more – including track listings and order links for Smash Boom Bang, Mod Jazz Forever and The London American Label 1957 – after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »