As the winter season draws to a close, we now look ahead to spring. Real Gone Music has just announced its titles for the first full month of the season. Due on April 7, the new slate features country and spoken word projects together with a few limited vinyl repressings.
First up is a release featuring notes by our very own Joe Marchese. The single disc New Looks from an Old Lover - The Complete Columbia Singles from B.J. Thomas gathers up all of the A and B sides the singer recorded for that label during his tenure there in the 1980s. After scoring numerous pop hits on Scepter in the late 60s and early 70s, including "Hooked On a Feeling," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," Thomas moved onto the Paramount label and then to its successor ABC where he scored his first No. 1 Country single (and first entry on that chart) with "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" in 1975. He then transitioned into the Contemporary Christian arena with a contract at Myrrh (and becoming one of that genre's first superstars) while also continuing his secular recording career at MCA. When those contracts expired, he then joined Columbia subsidiary Cleveland International in 1983. While there, he would record six albums, including one Christmas LP, through 1986. (He moved onto Columbia proper midway through the deal). For his new label, Thomas decided that he should return to country music and he once again had success on that chart with the No. 3 "Two Car Garage" and two No. 1s: "Whatever Happened To Old-Fashioned Love" and "New Looks from an Old Lover." The disc also includes some bonus singles such 1984's "Rock and Roll Shoes," a duet with Ray Charles taken from Charles' Friendship album and international A-side "This Love Is Forever." Joe's notes feature quotes taken from a new interview with Thomas and the disc has been remastered by Sean Brennan at Battery Studios.
Next, Real Gone is releasing The Complete Hits from David Allan Coe. Coe, to put it mildly, has seen some controversy during his career. When one thinks of "outlaw country," Coe is at the forefront, due to the content of his music and also the fact that he actually spent time in prison. During one term in the 1960s, he met Screamin' Jay Hawkins who encouraged him to pursue songwriting. After release from a later prison stay, Coe moved to Nashville and was signed to an independent record label and a music publisher. For several years, Coe had much more success writing rather than performing his music. That changed when Tanya Tucker took his "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field of Stone)" to No. 1 on the Country Charts. He signed with Columbia Records in 1974 and would remain there through 1987. During his tenure, he notched 31 hits on the Country chart including 1983's No. 4 "The Ride" and the No. 2 "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile" from 1984. These 31 hits comprise the tracklisting of Real Gone's new compilation which also features notes from Chris Morris and remastering from Chris LeMonde.
Moving onto the vinyl side of things, Real Gone is reissuing spoken-word recordings from two giants of the Beat Generation movement: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. After writing the landmark On the Road, Kerouac was one of the most famous authors and celebrities in the world. Six years after the book was published, he would join TV personality and musician Steve Allen for a date at the Village Vanguard. While the first performance was not a success, the second received much acclaim. A decision was made to bring the two into the studio to preserve the performance. Poetry For A Beat Generation features Kerouac reciting poetry over Allen's piano music. After several issues, the LP was finally released in 1959 on Allen's own Hanover label. Real Gone's new vinyl edition is colored "beatnik smoke" black-and-white and is limited to 900 copies. Kerouac's Beat compatriot Allen Ginsberg was much more into music and often included it in his poetry. He drew inspiration from several musicians including Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, and actually had a rather lengthy recording career. One of his early projects was the only release on Atlantic Records Verbum series. Released in 1966, Reads Kaddish - A 20th Century Estatic Narrative Poem, features Ginsburg reciting his epic autobiographical poem Kaddish, which was first published in 1961. This new red vinyl edition is limited to 1,700 copies.
Real Gone is also repressing new 500 copy limited vinyl editions of the punk band X-Ray Spex's Germfree Adolescents (radioactive green vinyl) and metal band Angel Witch's self-titled album ("White Witch" vinyl). The label's repressing of Question Mark and Mysterians 96 Tears has also been rescheduled for April.
We've got Real Gone's full press release below with some more information and pre-order links if you'd like to give any of these titles a try!
LOS ANGELES - Along with Howl, Kaddish stands as one of Allen Ginsberg's most illustrious creations. Always a follower of popular trends in music, Ginsberg had spent parts of 1958 digging into Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman" - occasionally doing so while on morphine and methamphetamine. One evening, in this drug-induced state while cranking some Ray, Ginsberg began discussing his mother Naomi with his pal Zev Putterman. Putterman in turn, began reciting the traditional Hebrew "Kaddish" prayer for mourning the dead. Soon after, fueled by Dexedrine, LSD, and caffeine, Allen penned the majority of Kaddish. In early 1959, Kaddish received its debut performance at a poetry reading at Columbia University - in which Allen shared the bill with his lover Peter Orlovsky and fellow beat poet Gregory Corso. Over time, the manuscript was tweaked and adjusted until publication in April 1961 by City Lights. Then, in November 1964, with Orlovsky and Corso in tow, the trio performed several gigs at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, and it was at Brandeis where this recording was made. Released in 1966, Reads Kaddish--A 20th Century Ecstatic Narrative Poem turned out to be the only record in Atlantic's spoken-word Verbum series; but if label head Jerry Wexler changed his mind about the imprint, he remained a big fan of the work, later telling Los Angeles historian Harvey Kubernik that Kaddish had stirred "the Yiddish currents in my own blood" and inspired "joy and anguish...the exaltation that great poetry will bring on." Indeed, Kaddish is an intensely personal and moving work, capturing the complex relationship between Ginsberg, his mother, and his faith, and concluding with a heartrending description of her death. Real Gone Music is very proud to present the first-ever vinyl reissue of this landmark performance, in its original gatefold packaging with an added inner sleeve featuring new liner notes by Pat Thomas and memorabilia provided by the Allen Ginsberg estate...over an hour of one of the towering figures in American poetry reading one of his greatest works. Limited edition of 1700 in red vinyl.
The story behind Poetry for the Beat Generation, which marked Jack Kerouac's debut as a recording artist, is almost as fascinating (but not quite) as the performances it contains. Kerouac had completely bombed in his first set during a 1957 engagement at the Village Vanguard when TV personality, comedian, and musician Steve Allen volunteered to accompany him on piano during the second. The results were so impressive that legendary engineer Bob Thiele then brought the duo into the studio to record an album for Dot Records. In true, stream-of-consciousness, Beat fashion, the entire album was cut in one session with one take for each track, Allen's piano weaving in and out and occasionally commenting on Kerouac's verbal riffs to great effect. However, when Poetry for the Beat Generation was ready for release in March 1958, Randy Wood, the president of Dot Records, was appalled by the then-daring language and subject matter and canceled the release...but not before 100 promo copies got out (and if you have one you're set for life)! Thiele then left the company over the dispute and got the master tape in the bargain, which he finally released on the Hanover label which he founded with Allen in June 1959. That release still stands as one of the most momentous spoken word albums not just of the '50s but of all time...and we at Real Gone Music are proud to bring it to you in a black and white "beatnik smoke" vinyl version limited to 900 copies!
We'd be the first to admit that a David Allan Coe hits collection is something of an oxymoron. Despite having written some of the most hallowed songs in country music, tunes like "Take This Job and Shove It" and "Would You Lay with Me (in a Field of Stone)," nobody would ever confuse Coe with a popular country artist. The man is outlaw to his core, having offended just about everybody inside (and a lot of people outside) the country music business during the course of his riotous career. But because he is such a great songwriter and honky tonk singer, he did manage score 31 chart hits despite his best efforts at career sabotage (that some of these gripping performances didn't score higher on the charts is testimony to just how far out of the country mainstream he was and is). And you'll find all of them here on this 2-CD collection entitled (natch) The Complete Hits, which serves not only as a great career overview but also takes its place as the most comprehensive Coe collection to date. Among the highlights here: "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "You Never Even Called Me by Name," "The Ride," "She Used to Love Me a Lot," "Longhaired Redneck," and his hit with Willie Nelson, "I've Already Cheated on You," most of them produced by countrypolitan producer par excellence Billy Sherrill, who definitely had his hands full trying to sand off the rough edges of David Allan Coe! Chris Morris supplies the notes for The Complete Hits, which features photos and remastering by Chris LeMonde. Some of the hardest country ever recorded.
Having documented B.J. Thomas' early sides with our 2-CD Set The Complete Scepter Singles, and followed his late '70s/early '80s foray into inspirational music with a pair of album twofers from the Myrrh label, it was only a matter of time till we at Real Gone Music tackled the next big phase in the career of this all-time great American singer, namely the classic country-pop sides he cut for Columbia in the '80s. This is a stage in B.J.'s career that has seen little attention in the CD era, which is strange because he was just killing it on the Country charts with #1 hits like "Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love" and "New Looks from an Old Lover" and the #3 hit "Two Car Garage." In fact, out of the 21 songs on New Looks from an Old Lover--The Complete Columbia Singles --which includes the A and B-side of every Columbia single plus sides from the Cleveland International and Priority labels --eight were chart hits, among them the Top 20 duet "Rock and Roll Shoes" with Ray Charles plus "The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely" and "The Girl Most Likely To." We've also added a pair of bonus tracks including his rare original solo version of "As Long as We've Got Each Other," the theme to the TV show Growing Pains, and his early version of "Wind Beneath My Wings," which ended up being a hit for Gary Morris and Bette Midler among others. Remastered by Sean Brennan at Battery Studios, peppered with rare photos, and annotated by Joe Marchese based on a fresh interview with the artist himself, New Looks from an Old Lover--The Complete Columbia Singles is a must for any B.J. fan and anybody who wants to hear some of the best country-pop the '80s had to offer.
APRIL 7, 2017 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
Allen Ginsberg, Reads Kaddish--A 20th Century American Ecstatic Narrative Poem (Limited Red Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Jack Kerouac and Steve Allen, Poetry for the Beat Generation (Limited Black & White "Beatnik Smoke" Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
David Allan Coe, The Complete Hits (2-CD Set) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
B.J. Thomas, New Looks from an Old Lover--The Complete Columbia Singles (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents (Limited Radioactive Green Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Angel Witch, Angel Witch (Limited "White Witch" Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 10, 2017 TO APRIL 7, 2017
Question Mark and the Mysterians, 96 Tears (Limited Orange Vinyl Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
David Allen Coe is a creep, but he made some great music. Nice to see a definitive hits compilation because the other ones have been incomplete.