Tomorrow, Real Gone Music releases what might be its most exciting batch of titles yet, with offerings from Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., Tonto's Expanding Head Band, and George Clinton's Parlet. The line-up will be one title short, however, from that of the original announcement. The scheduled reissue of Portsmouth Sinfonia's Plays the Popular Classics has, according to the label's Facebook page, been "canceled until further notice." On June 13, we described this release as follows:
"Last but not least comes what might be the oddest entry yet in Real Gone's growing catalogue. Portsmouth Sinfonia was the brainchild of composer Gavin Bryars, who wished to bring classical music to the masses - by involving the masses. He seized upon the frankly unusual notion of forming an orchestra composed of non-musicians, or of musicians playing a totally unfamiliar instrument. He then led that orchestra in renditions of well-known classical pieces despite the fact that most of the orchestra members couldn't sight-read. According to Real Gone, 'the result was, ironically, hailed by some in the classical establishment as a profound exploration of the nature of music, as the trained musicians kept the orchestra more or less hewing close to the melody, while the untrained players' earnest attempts to perform the compositions, and the resulting missed notes, formed atonal 'clouds of sound' with a bare suggestion of the piece.' Others merely felt that Portsmouth Sinfonia was 'the world's worst orchestra.' But something about Bryars' vision caught on. The group played a sold-out concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, landed a recording contract, and caught the ear of one Brian Eno. The ambient music innovator and soundscape creator extraordinaire produced Portsmouth Sinfonia's 1974 debut Plays the Popular Classics, and even joined the aggregation to play clarinet! Real Gone's reissue is the first-ever rediscovery of this offbeat album, and includes new liner notes from Tom Pickles in addition to the original notes by Eno and conductor John Farley. Fans of The Langley Schools Music Project or even The Shaggs might want to check this out...chances are you've never heard another album quite like this one!"
On Thursday, July 25, Real Gone shared about the cancellation, "Sorry for the disappointment...we're disappointed, too!" One day later, the label added, "One more note on the Portsmouth Sinfonia title -- When we have any further news about the release we will let you know, In the interim, you can get in touch with the orchestra through their website." We urge you to do the same: if you would like to see Real Gone bring its reissue plans to fruition, let Portsmouth Sinfonia know!
After the jump: Real Gone addresses - and resolves - a recent audio problem with Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys' Albion Doo Wah! If you purchased this title, you'll definitely want to read on!
In its press release, shared here on April 25, Real Gone announced a reissue of Albion Doo-Wah, the sophomore set from Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. It arrived on the heels of Real Gone's excavation of the group's Jimi Hendrix-produced debut The Street Giveth...and the Street Taketh Away (reviewed here). The press release went as follows:
"After the success of their Jimi Hendrix-produced debut album The Street Giveth...and the Street Taketh Away (also available from Real Gone) and its hit 'Good Old Rock 'N' Roll,' the members of Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys repaired to their Woodstock cabin (pictured in the album gatefold reproduced here) and started writing songs for Albion Doo-Wah. The record had much more pastoral, country feel to it, no doubt in part due to the replacement of Charlie Chin by multi-instrumentalist folkie Jay Ungar, who also brought several songs to the group. But there was definitely something in the air in the late'-60s/early '70s Woodstock scene; Albion Doo-Wah has several scoops of that timeless, Americana-laced Basement Tapes/Music from Big Pink fairy dust. CD debut, and one long, long requested by the band's fans, with a gorgeous remastering job by Maria Triana at Battery Studios."
On Friday, July 26, Real Gone confirmed reports that two tracks (Track 2, "Turkish Taffy," and Track 9, "Albion Doo Wah") on the Albion Doo Wah reissue were mastered at a significantly lower volume than the rest of the album. On its FB page, the label posted:
"We listen to a reference master for all of our releases, and the reference master for this one sounded perfect; we wouldn't have approved the project for release if it didn't. But somewhere in the process [at] the studio (Battery Studios, Sony's own mastering studio)...these two tracks dropped out in volume. To their credit, they (and Universal, the licensor), have worked with us to speedily supply a new master, and we are happy to announce that we have a brand new, corrected pressing in house and ready to ship."
If you ordered the title directly via Real Gone's website, the fine folks there will automatically ship you the corrected edition, complete with CD, jewel case, booklet, and tray card.
If you ordered from another source, Real Gone will also supply you with a replacement. All you have to do is drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of purchase - a scan or photo of the receipt, even just a photo of your CD - and Real Gone will mail you the corrected disc only to insert into your existing package.
Per Real Gone, "we stand by our label and our releases and sincerely apologize about this; it truly was a fluke, the first time this has happened in our careers of releasing thousands of records." We applaud the Real Gone team for handling this matter in such an expeditious and worry-free manner. Don't forget to contact Real Gone to obtain your corrected issue!