Yesterday we told you about Second Disc Records’ and Real Gone Music’s July 1 release of Eddy Arnold’s Chet Atkins and Lee Hazlewood albums from 1970 and now we’ve got the news of the rest of Real Gone’s line-up for right before Independence Day.
First up is a compilation featuring notes by our very own Joe Marchese: 40 Classic Soul Sides from The Delfonics. When Stan Watson introduced a group (including brothers William and Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain) he was managing to a young Thom Bell at Cameo in the late 1960s, magic was born and a major force in a new genre emerged. Collaborating with lead singer William on songwriting duties, Bell produced three groundbreaking LPs in the new Philly Soul genre on Watson’s Philly Groove label from 1968-1970, containing such classics as “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “La-La (Means I Love You).” Bell would go on to eventually work with The Stylistics and The Spinners while the Delfonics would record two more albums for Philly Groove before disbanding in 1975. They have reunited sporadically for various projects in the ensuing decades. This new compilation remastered by Vic Anesini has tracks from The Delfonics’ first four Philly Groove LPs and features Joe’s brand new interviews with the legendary Thom Bell and iconic Philly soul guitarist/producer/songwriter/arranger Bobby Eli.
After The Ides of March went on hiatus in 1973, lead singer/guitarist Jim Peterik had to find a new direction. He released a solo album on Epic in 1976 but soon decided to form a new group. Recruiting bassist Dennis Keith Johnson, drummer Gary Smith, singer Dave Bickler and guitarist Frankie Sullivan, Survivor was born. They began playing clubs in Illinois in 1978 and were soon signed to Atlantic Records. Their self-titled debut was released in the Scotti Brothers imprint in 1980. Their second album, Premonition, was released in 1981 and achieved better sales. By this point, Bickler had become the lead singer for the group. Their breakthrough and largest success came when Sylvester Stallone, after hearing “Poor Man’s Son” from Premonition asked them to record the theme to Rocky III. “Eye of the Tiger” was the result. The song would top the Billboard charts for 6 weeks in 1982 and win a Grammy Award. The success propelled the Eye of the Tiger album to No. 2. 1983’s Caught in the Game, unfortunately, did not match its predecessor’s sales success and Bickler had to leave the group due to vocal health problems and was replaced by Jimi Jamison. Survivor would record three albums with Jamison through 1988 and achieve more success with songs such as “The Search is Over,” “Burning Heart” and “Is This Love.” The group went on hiatus after 1988 and has reunited for recordings and tours under various iterations over the years. The 2-CD Definitive Collection features 35 tracks from the 1978-1988 period and has new liner notes by Bill Kopp containing quotes from a new interview with Jim Peterik. Both this and the Delfonics compilations are making their physical CD debuts after being available as digital-only exclusives under Sony’s Essential series.
Next up is another 2-CD set, this time from soul great Brook Benton. When Benton signed with Cotillion Records in 1968, his commercial fortunes were on a downturn but was still recording strong material. He had enjoyed great success with Mercury in the late 1950s and early 1960s with songs such as “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” “Endlessly” and “The Boll Weevil Song.” Benton would move to RCA and then to Reprise in the mid-1960s where he would teamed with producer Jimmy Bowen during a creative high time for Bowen which would see him produce Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night.” Unfortunately, Benton did not achieve those commercial heights and would move to Cotillion to work with producer Arif Mardin. Chart fortunes would turn around for Benton with the release of “Rainy Night In Georgia” in 1970. The southern soul cover of the 1962 Tony Joe White song would top the Billboard Soul Chart and reach No. 4 on the Hot 100. Benton would stay with Cotillion, working with Mardin and the Dixie Flyers and having several more singles make the charts. Rainy Night In Georgia – The Complete Reprise and Cotillion Singles As and Bs gathers Benton’s 31 single sides for these two labels together for the first time.
Back in 2013, Real Gone reissued Sea Level’s second (1977’s Cats on the Coast) and third (1978’s On the Edge) albums on a single CD. Now they are following that up with a twofer of the southern rockers’ first and fourth efforts: Sea Level/Long Walk Off A Short Pier. Sea Level grew out of the breakup of the Allman Brothers band in 1976. Brothers band members pianist/keyboardist/vocalist Chuck Leavell, bassist Lamar Williams and drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson decided to strike out on their own and added guitarist Jimmy Nails to the lineup. Taking the name Sea Level (as a pun on Leavell’s name), the band would sign with the Allmans’ label Capricorn and release their self-titled debut in 1977. By the time of their fourth album in 1979, the initial group’s lineup had changed several times and was now a sextet comprised of Leavell, Williams and Nails, joined by saxophonist/keyboardist/vocalist Randall Bramblett, guitarist Davis Causey and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Joe English. Unfortunately, due to contractual problems with Capricorn, Long Walk Off A Short Pier remained unreleased in the US for over 20 years. The group would move to Arista in 1980 for one more album before calling it quits.
Next, Real Gone is releasing some limited vinyl editions of titles from their back catalogue. The soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surrealist 1970 western El Topo will receive a “Coke Bottle” clear vinyl edition limited to 450 copies replicating the original LP’s packaging while the soundtrack to Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain from 1973 will get a white vinyl limited to 500 copies and featuring liner notes by New York Times contributor Eric Benson. ? and the Mysterians’ 1967 album Action was released by Real Gone in a 180-gram vinyl version back in 2011, but is now being repressed in a yellow vinyl version limited to 500 copies. And rounding out the vinyl reissues is a tobacco-brown colored vinyl limited to 500 copies of Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites from 1963.
Real Gone is also putting back into print on CD some titles which were no longer available. These include The Complete Reprise Singles from The Electric Prunes (originally released in 2012), The Tubes second and third albums Young and Rich and Now (originally released in 2012), The Complete Album Collection by Patty Duke (originally released as two separate CDs in 2013, now in one 2-CD set) and two volumes in the Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks series: the three-CD Volume 27–Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 12/16/92 and the six-CD Volume 29 – 5/19/77 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA 5/21/77 Lakeland Civic Center Arena, Lakeland, FL.
We’ve got Real Gone’s complete press release below which has some more information and we’ve also preorder links if you’d like to give any of the titles a listen!
LOS ANGELES – He’s one of the all-time great soul balladeers, with 58 pop and 38 R&B hits to his credit, and his beautiful baritone is one of the most recognizable voices in all of pop and soul music, but Brook Benton has never had any kind of collection devoted to his last great body of work, the Jimmy Bowen-produced sides he recorded for Reprise and the Arif Mardin-produced material he recorded for Cotillion during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Now, in true Real Gone fashion, we’ve put together a two-CD package that includes the A and B-side of every single side Benton recorded for the two labels, all but one (see below) in their original mono single mixes and, after an exhaustive vault search, all but three from original tape sources. These 31 sides display a staggering stylistic versatility ranging from R&B takes on pop standards like “My Way” (yes, that song can be funky, and it’s here in a rare stereo single mix!), “I Gotta Be Me,” and “The Glory of Love,” to gospel songs like “If You Think God Is Dead,” topical tunes like “Heaven Help Us All” and “A Black Child Can’t Smile,” and, of course, some Southern-dipped soul like the #1 R&B hit “Rainy Night in Georgia” and the seven single sides he recorded with the Dixie Flyers, including the hits “Shoes” and “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home.” Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision and annotated by Gene Sculatti, Rainy Night in Georgia–The Complete Reprise & Cotillion Singles A’s & B’s is a major soul find and deserves a place on the shelf right next to Brook’s classic Mercury material.
The countrypolitan crooner Richard Edward Arnold–better known as Eddy Arnold–scored 147 U.S. chart hits between 1945 and 2008, sold over 85 million records, and earned inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry. Yet, in 1970, the superstar known as “The Tennessee Plowboy” found himself at a crossroads. That year, he released two remarkable albums ending one chapter in his career and beginning another. Love and Guitars would be his final full-length collaboration with Nashville-based producer and legendary guitar man Chet Atkins, with whom he had first worked in 1950. Standing Alone marked his first and only project with hip maverick Lee Hazlewood – a pairing which inspired some of the finest vocals Arnold ever committed to record. Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records’ Each Road I Take–The 1970 Lee Hazlewood & Chet Atkins Sessions boasts both of these seminal, never-before-reissued albums together with Arnold’s singles from the landmark year, as well as two previously unreleased tracks produced by cult hero Hazlewood. Love and Guitars departed from the usual lush sound of Arnold’s recordings, surrounding his burnished baritone with a cadre of Nashville’s top guitarists including Jerry Reed, Harold Bradley, Ray Edenton, and Atkins himself (who rarely played on Eddy’s records by that point), and tackling a dazzling array of material from Merle Haggard, John Denver, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Kris Kristofferson, and Henry Mancini in a raw, acoustic-based setting. Standing Alone then moved Eddy to Hollywood for his first session outside of Nashville in six years. He was joined by Hazlewood and the fabled Wrecking Crew for a contemporary-flavored set of strong, adult material by writers such as John Stewart, Steve Young, Ben Peters, and Mac Davis which blurred the lines between country, folk, and pop-rock. Four rare single sides including the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned “Ten Times Forever More” round out this first-time-on-CD collection. Each Road I Take features new liner notes by The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese as well as fresh remastering by Mark Wilder. Its 27 tracks present two distinct roads taken by Eddy Arnold – both showcasing the resonant storyteller’s voice that turned The Tennessee Plowboy into a legend of popular music.
Hey Philly Soul fans–we are going to blow your minds this time! Here is (by far) the biggest anthology ever afforded the trio that pioneered the Philadelphia Sound, The Delfonics, featuring 40 sweetly soulful tracks, most of ’em recorded under the watchful eye of the great Thom Bell and featuring the potent songwriting team of Bell and lead singer William Hart. In fact, 40 Classic Soul Sides is so comprehensive that it’s missing only six tracks from the group’s four classic Philly Groove studio albums, and has thrown on three non-LP sides to boot! Every key track is here, including “La-La Means I Love You,” “You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine,” “(Didn’t I) Blow Your Mind This Time,” “Trying to Make a Fool of Me,” “I’m Sorry,” “Break Your Promise,” “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love),” and more, all beautifully remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York. And for an extra special treat, Joe Marchese’s notes include exclusive quotes from Thom Bell, William Hart, and legendary Philly Soul sideman Bobby Eli. Undeniably definitive Delfonics!
After leading The Ides of March (“Vehicle”) and recording a solo album for Epic in 1976 (whose liner notes termed him “a survivor,” thus inspiring the band name), vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Jim Peterik formed Survivor in 1978 along with guitarist Frankie Sullivan. After recording a couple of moderately successful albums for the Scotti Brothers label, the band struck gold when Sly Stallone tapped them to record the theme song for Rocky III. “Eye of the Tiger” went to #1, took the album of the same name to #2, and cemented Survivor’s place in rock history. Now, Real Gone Music is proud to present the most comprehensive collection ever devoted to this Windy City legend, a 2-CD set offering 35 tracks taken from the peak 1978-1988 years, featuring key tracks from both the Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison lead vocalist eras. All but two of the band’s hits are here, including such indelible tracks as, of course, “Eye of the Tiger,” “Poor Man’s Son,” “American Heartbeat,” “I Can’t Hold Back,” “High on You,” “The Search Is Over,” “Burning Heart” (from Rocky IV), “Is This Love,” and more. Liner note writer Bill Kopp sat down for a nice, long interview with Jim Peterik, and we’ve included photos and album art. The Definitive Collection indeed…get your ’80s groove on!
Having put out the second and third albums from Sea Level, we’re now polishing off their Capricorn album catalog by releasing the first and last albums (Sea Level and Long Walk on a Short Pier) on a single CD. Sea Level had begun as a Allman Brothers spinoff, with three members of the mid-’70s ABB (keyboardist Chuck Leavell, percussionist Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and bassist Lamar Williams) leading their proto-jam band mixture of jazz, blues, and rock on the debut record, which was highlighted by such instrumentals as “The Rain in Spain” and “Tidal Wave” as well as the Leavell organ showcase “Grand Larceny.” And though the band had changed quite a bit between the first and fourth record–Jaimoe and drummer George Weaver had left, and guitarist Davis Causey, saxophonist/keyboardist Randall Bramblett, and drummer Joe English had joined–the band maintained its superb “level” of musicianship, even though Long Walk on a Short Pier didn’t come out in the U.S. for 20 years due to contractual problems with Capricorn. Both albums have been out of print on CD for over a decade and command huge prices on the reselllers’ market; they appear here with notes by Scott Schinder featuring exclusive quotes from Chuck Leavell himself.
One of the ironies of the career of Chilean-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is that while he is best known as a visual stylist, his most avid and loyal champions have often been musicians. When Jodorowsky arrived in New York from Mexico City in 1970 carrying a copy of the then-unreleased El Topo, it was the jazz producer Alan Douglas who bought the distribution rights to the film. When Jodorowsky and Douglas were looking for a venue in which to screen the picture, it was John Lennon and Yoko Ono who asked for it to run at midnight following their short-film festival at New York’s Elgin Cinema. After six months of sold-out midnight screenings at the Elgin, it was Lennon’s manager, Allen Klein (ABKCO’s founder), who bought the rights to El Topo and agreed to produce its follow-up, The Holy Mountain. Now, Real Gone is releasing limited colored vinyl editions of the soundtracks to both of these groundbreaking and provocative movies. Championed by everybody from John Lennon to Peter Gabriel–and decried by “Establishment” critics ranging from Vincent Canby to Gene Siskel–El Topo remains one of the controversial movies ever made. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s bizarre, blood-soaked blend of spaghetti Western, druggy surrealism, Christian allegory, Zen Buddhist themes and avant-garde sensibilities gave rise to the entire “Midnight Movie” counterculture phenomenon of the early ’70s and forever changed the way adventurous audiences viewed film. Or, for that matter, heard film; for no soundtrack, before or since, has embraced so many styles in its pursuit of spiritual and artistic goals. Now, Real Gone Music, in partnership with ABKCO Music & Records, is issuing this one-of-a-kind soundtrack album on LP in limited edition (of 450) “Coke Bottle” clear vinyl. What’s more, the release replicates the gatefold packaging of the LP and includes the four-page booklet boasting some of the film’s hallucinogenic imagery that came with the original release. For The Holy Mountain, Jodorowsky wanted, in his words, “another kind of music–something that wasn’t entertainment, something that wasn’t a show, something that went to the soul, something profound.” Forward came jazz legend Don Cherry and crack studio musician (and one-time Archie) Ron Frangipane to share composing and (along with Jodorowsky) conducting duties. And, boy, did they deliver–the score to The Holy Mountain is every bit as hallucinatory as the fantastic visual imagery in the film itself. Now, Real Gone Music, in association with ABKCO Music & Records, Inc., presents the original soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 masterpiece The Holy Mountain in a limited (of 500) pressing of white vinyl, with liner notes by New York Times contributor Eric Benson that include exclusive quotes from Jodorowsky himself, festooned with copious production stills.
Hailing from Saginaw, Michigan, Question Mark and The Mysterians will forever be anointed as the garage band’s garage band, with all the bona-fides collectors of ’60s cool cherish–the name, derived from a Japanese horror film; the sound, an insistent, three chord beat powered by that unmistakable Vox organ tone; and, of course, the sunglasses-shod Question Mark himself, who claims to have been born on Mars and lived among the dinosaurs in a past life. By exclusive arrangement with ABKCO Music and Records, we at Real Gone Music are releasing their 1967 album Action in limited edition (of 500) yellow vinyl; this one didn’t see any chart “action,” but did notch a couple of hits with “Girl (You Captivate Me)” and “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby.” Mastered at 45 rpm for maximum sonic effect!
Clint Eastwood? That Clint Eastwood? Well, sure…Clint has demonstrated a deep love and aptitude for music as both an actor and a director (e.g. Play Misty for Me; Bird) during his entire career, and on Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites you catch him right at the beginning of it, fresh from his success on the TV series Rawhide, crooning (and quite competently so) a collection of country & western favorites. And since Clint was often seen in those days clutching a cheroot between his teeth, we’ve pressed up 500 copies of the LP in tobacco brown vinyl! A little-known side of one of Hollywood’s biggest icons, courtesy of Real Gone Music and ABKCO Music and Records.
Though The Electric Prunes were responsible for some of the boldest and most experimental pop of the late ’60s, they always were, more than just about any band of their ilk, a singles-oriented act, at least in their earliest incarnation. In fact, according to vocalist James Lowe, the engineers at American Recording, where many of their early singles were recorded, used to transmit the single mixes to a radio in a car parked outside the studio to make sure the songs sounded good in the medium through which most people would hear them. As a result, the Prunes singles were punchier than their album counterparts, and were, above all, mono–yet., until this collection came along, many of them had never been on CD in their original mixes. The Complete Reprise Singles assembles all 23 of their original single sides for Reprise, which span several band line-ups and several legendary producers (Dave Hassinger, David Axelrod) with very different visions, yet remain of remarkably consistent high quality. Richie Unterberger’s notes include track commentary from the band and shots of the original singles themselves. Special bonus: the band’s demonstration of the Vox Wah-Wah Pedal!
The fact that Young & Rich and Now, the second and third releases from The Tubes, were out of print for years is eloquent testimony to the fact that they are one of the most underrated bands of the ’70s. This was a group that blended disparate strands of Album-Oriented Rock into a vision all their own. Salacious Zappa-like satire? Check. Over the top theatricality a la Alice Cooper? Check. BOC-like hard rock? Check. Even avant-garde, Beefheart-ian atonality cropped up in unexpected places. Yet underneath all the pomp and circumstance this San Francisco outfit was still just a bar band, and it was these radically different stylistic directions that held back these records from widespread commercial success even as they rewarded those listeners that hung on for the ride. Whether live, with the various personas adopted by Fee Waybill, or in the studio, the Tubes approached each song as a conceptual art piece; such songs as “Don’t Touch Me There,” “Slipped My Disco,” “Cathy’s Clone” and “God-Bird-Change” attest that they damn well pulled it off. One CD wasn’t enough to hold these records; we’ve given them each their own disc, and added liner notes by Gene Sculatti drawn from a new interview with drummer Prairie Prince along with the original inner-sleeve art. Essential ’70s artifacts whose vision remains vital and relevant.
There was a lot of competition in the mid-’60s for the title of America’s Most Popular Teenager, but a convincing case can be made that Patty Duke was IT. In 1962, at the age of 16, she became the youngest actress ever to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the film The Miracle Worker, a role she originated on Broadway. Then, in 1963, she was given her own series, The Patty Duke Show, in which she played two different leading roles of “identical cousins” (an ironic circumstance given Patty’s bouts of manic depression and her later championing of the cause). Like so many teen stars before and after her, stardom on television quickly translated into a recording contract and appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig!, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, resulting in four albums for United Artists, all of which we are reissuing with bonus tracks inside The Complete Album Collection. Don’t Just Stand There and Patty came out in 1965 and 1966, respectively; besides the first album’s Top Ten title track, they included the hits “Say Something Funny” and “Whenever She Holds You” (we’ve included another hit, “Funny Little Butterflies,” as a bonus track). 1967’s Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls was a darker, more mature album as befitting her controversial role in the film Valley of the Dolls; we’ve paired that album with the then-shelved album of folk songs she recorded with United Artists in 1968. All four albums in this 2-CD set are taken from the original master tapes; they feature additional photos and liner notes with quotes from Patty Duke herself. Long-lost music from one of the truly iconic figures in ’60s pop culture.
Start talking tours to any Deadhead you know and just say “Spring ’77”–chances are a big smile will steal across his or her face. That’s because of all the road trips in the Grateful Dead‘s long history, arguably the one that saw the most consistently high level of playing was the Spring ’77 tour the band undertook in support of its forthcoming Terrapin Station album. And that’s why, out of the 36 volumes in the Dick’s Picks series, only one, Dick’s Picks Vol. 29–5/19/77 Fox Theatre Atlanta, GA 5/21/77 Lakeland Civic Center Arena Lakeland, FL is a 6-CD set (there isn’t even a 5-CD set)! Inside are two complete shows minus one encore (from the Florida show), plus some equally fantastic, unlisted bonus tracks from a 10/11/77 show in Norman, Oklahoma, all impeccably recorded by Betty Cantor-Jackson. Comes with original slipcased packaging. Real Gone is also releasing Dick’s Picks Vol. 27–Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 12/16/92 ; this is the only Dick’s Picks volume to feature the final Dead line-up, with Vince Welnick assuming all keyboard duties after the departure of Bruce Hornsby, and, fittingly enough, it provides quite the showcase for the ex-Tubes keyboardist’s vocal chops on the unexpected covers of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows!” Those are two of the four bonus songs taken from the next night’s show at the same venue; the rest of this 3-CD set presents the complete 12/16/92 Oakland show, which offers among its treasures a rare (albeit abbreviated), ’90s reading of “Dark Star.” One of the best ’90s Dead shows, presented in HDCD sound.
JULY 1, 2016 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
Ajejandro Jodorowsky, El Topo: Soundtrack Album (Limited “Coke Bottle” Clear Vinyl Edition) (Links TBD)
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain: Original Soundtrack (Limited White Vinyl Edition) (Links TBD)
Question Mark and The Mysterians, Action (Limited Yellow Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada TBD)
Clint Eastwood, Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites (Limited “Tobacco Brown” Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada TBD)
The Electric Prunes, The Complete Reprise Singles (Links TBD)
The Tubes, Young & Rich/Now (2-CD Set) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada TBD)
Patty Duke, The Complete Album Collection (2-CD Set) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada TBD)
Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 29–5/19/77 Fox Theatre Atlanta, GA 5/21/77 Lakeland Civic Arena Lakeland, FL (6-CD Set) (Links TBD)
Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 27–Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 12/16/92 (3-CD Set) (Links TBD)