We’ve already told you about the two September releases from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music – Wilson Pickett’s The Complete RCA Studio Recordings and an expanded edition of Ricci Martin’s all-star California rock classic Beached – but we know that you’re going to be just as excited about the entire action-packed Real Gone slate!
For starters, it’s a line-up that’s always in season – with new deluxe mono mini-sleeve editions of The 4 Seasons’ first two albums for the first time ever on CD, with fresh sound courtesy of the one and only Mr. Bill Inglot! And that’s not all. A definitive anthology for Tejano supergroup The Texas Tornados – a.k.a. Doug Sahm, Freddy Fender, Augie Meyers and Flaco Jiménez – is joined by Flaco’s Complete Arista Recordings! Plus, Real Gone is bringing Steve Lawrence’s recently-announced release on his own GL Music label, a collection dedicated to his late wife, Eydie Gorme, to stores everywhere.
Ready for all the details? You’ll find Real Gone’s press release for the above-mentioned titles just below, plus pre-order links for all titles due in September!
LOS ANGELES – Pop music has seen its share of supergroups, but none of them were (and are) as infectious, buoyant and plain ol’ fun as The Texas Tornados. And make no mistake–the Tornados were a supergroup; in fact, when it comes to roots and ethnic music, the pedigree of the band was unmatched. Accordionist Flaco Jiménez is The King of Conjunto Music, and has played with everybody from the Rolling Stones to Buck Owens, while keyboardist Augie Meyers basically is the Vox organ, having played it with the Sir Douglas Quintet and on countless other releases by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, John Hammond…the list goes on. Freddy Fender was the rare Chicano artist to achieve crossover pop success with a style that blended swamp pop, rockabilly, country, and Tejano influences together with a beautiful, crooning vocal style, and Doug Sahm–well, Doug Sahm was Doug Sahm, an American original if there ever was one, a one-man melting pot of country, soul, Tejano and rock and roll. Together, these four legends cut four albums (or five, if you count the Spanish-language version of their debut) for the Reprise label during the ’90s that were among the greatest roots-rock records ever made, a rollicking, utterly irresistible body of music made for dancing, drinking, laughing, loving and living.
Now, Real Gone Music has gone deep into the vaults to present the ultimate Texas Tornados collection, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada–Prime Cuts 1990-1996, a 2-CD, 39-track set that includes prime cuts from all of their albums–the Spanish and English versions of their self-titled debut, plus Zone of Our Own, Hangin’ On by a Thread and 4 Aces–together with rarities and six unreleased sides including four instrumentals and a Miller Lite beer spot! Among the non-album tracks are such Tornados touchstones as “Una Mas Cerveza” and the Fender favorite “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” while the album sides are highlighted by “(Hey Baby) Que Paso,” “Little Bit Is Better Than Nada,” “Who Were You Thinking Of,” the Doug Sahm anthem “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and many more. Friend of the band Randy Poe has penned the notes based on a fresh interview with Doug Sahm’s son Shawn, latter-day leader of the Tornados and authority on all things to do with his dad, while the photos come from the dim recesses of the Reprise label archives. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision and assembled with love by compiler Mike Johnson, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada—Prime Cuts 1990-1996 is the roots music anthology of the year, and a long-overdue look at a band that has never stopped going strong.
King of Conjunto Music and sideman to the stars, Flaco Jiménez is responsible for taking the humble, much-maligned accordion and making it hip. His early regional recordings for a multitude of labels including Corona, D.L.B., Norteño, Dina and Joey made him a local music legend in the San Antonio area. But, after being tapped by fellow Texas icon Doug Sahm to play on the landmark album Doug Sahm and Band (the beginning of a long artistic partnership with Sahm that wound up with the Texas Tornados), Flaco quickly became the accordionist of choice for everybody from Ry Cooder to Buck Owens to the Rolling Stones. His celebrated status among fellow musicians did not escape notice from the major labels. Warner Bros. signed him for 1992’s Partners, and Arista signed him shortly thereafter, at first attempting to make a crossover country star out of the conjunto master. Flaco Jiménez, his 1994 self-titled debut for the label, featured such guest stars as Raul Malo of the Mavericks (singing lead on “Seguro Que Hell Yes”) and Radney Foster (singing a duet with Flaco on “Jealous Heart”), supplementing Flaco’s core band of Oscar Tellez on bajo sexto and vocals, Fred Ojeda on vocals, Max Baca on bass and Flaco’s son David on drums. Perhaps due to its mix of country and conjunto styles, the album didn’t chart, but it did win a Grammy for Best Mexican-American/Tejano Performance. It’s also prime Flaco, as the tension between the country and conjunto stylings actually makes for a very engaging and intriguing album. When it came time to make 1996’s Buena Suerte Señorita, however, all thoughts of building a bridge between Nashville and San Antonio were out the window, and Flaco and his core band settled in to make, as co-producer Cameron Randle put it, “a 100% turbo conjunto record.” (Another choice quote from Randle: “How long does it take to listen to this record? To paraphrase Flaco, about a six-pack and a half.”) Fan favorite “Borracho #1” leads off the album, followed by one propulsive, kick-ass conjunto song after another, highlighted by the title tune that features a rare solo vocal turn by Flaco. Both of these albums that comprise Real Gone’s new collection, The Complete Arista Recordings, have long been out of print, and for this release (remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios), we’ve added liner notes by Randy Poe that feature quotes from Flaco taken from Poe’s fresh interview with the legend. Essential stuff, and a key, missing part of the Flaco Jiménez discography.
The 4 Seasons were and are one of the greatest vocal groups in the history of pop music, and their music has been plentifully available since the “dawn” (pun intended) of the CD reissue era. But there remains a very large gap in their catalog: their original albums have NEVER been available on CD in their original mono mixes! Which really makes no sense; not only were most consumers buying and listening to mono albums during the early and mid ’60s, when the bulk of the 4 Seasons’ albums were released, but also the mono mixes were what the group and its producer Bob Crewe concentrated on and approved. Now, Real Gone Music is embarking on a monorail, er, monaural ride through the 4 Seasons’ album catalog, releasing the original mono album mixes on CD in chronological order, all taken from tape, and housed inside mini LP sleeves with old-style, “tip on” printing that replicates the original album art all the way down to the original Vee Jay logos. And handling the sound for us? The one and only Bill Inglot, who has been working with the 4 Seasons’ catalog for years (and each master has been approved by The 4 Season’s Bob Gaudio)! Each release is a strictly limited edition of 2,000 units, and we’re starting with the two albums that made them stars and introduced their legendary harmonies to the masses, 1962’s Sherry & 11 Others and 1963’s Big Girls Don’t Cry & 12 Others.
The title of GL Music’s new 3-CD Eydie Gormé collection is An American Treasure, and the late, great singer was that indeed, so much so that the job of anthologizing her long, legendary career looms as a formidable task for any compiler. In fact, there is only one man who is really qualified for the job: Steve Lawrence himself! The long-time husband (for 56 years!) and singing partner of Eydie has drawn upon his intimate knowledge of her catalog and reached deep into the vaults for some rarities in putting together this 3-CD set on their own GL Music label, which Real Gone Music is distributing to retail. The first disc, “The Hits,” presents Eydie’s most famous recordings, including such gems as “Blame It on the Bossa Nova,” “If He Walked into My Life,” “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have” and “Yes. My Darling Daughter,” while disc two, “Steve’s Favorites,” offers the songs he most loved hearing Eydie sing, like “Don’t Go to Strangers, “The Friendliest Thing,” “Softly As I Leave You” and “Hello Young Lovers.” But it’s disc three that is pure catnip for Eydie fans: a recently discovered, completely unreleased album session that she cut during the ’60s! Steve’s heartfelt, nakedly personal liner notes inside digipak packaging complete the experience. An American Treasure is a love letter from Steve to his dear, departed wife, and a beautiful summation of a one-of-a-kind career and artist. (Note: all of GL’s proceeds will go to benefit The Lawrence Foundation).
SEPTEMBER 4 RELEASES:
SEPTEMBER 11 RELEASES: