We’ve told you about the first batch of Real Gone Music’s releases for September, including the Second Disc Records collection of Melissa Manchester’s Arista singles. Now, we’ve got the final two releases on Real Gone’s September slate to share.
First up, due on September 8, is an expanded edition of 1988’s He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The group began when Will Smith (“The Fresh Prince”) and Jeff Townes (“DJ Jazzy Jeff”) met at a party where Townes was acting as DJ. Smith stepped in to serve as the hype man, and the pair hit it off. Smith brought in his friend Clarence Holmes (“Ready Rock C”) to be the beatboxer and the group was born. They had their first hit on Word Up with “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” before Smith even graduated high school. The group became known for their light-hearted storytelling style of rap with profanity-free lyrics. They attracted the attention of Russell Simmons and Jive Records and signed with the label, who re-released their debut Word Up record Rock the House in 1987.
Their second album, He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper would be their breakout hit and is also recognized as the first major double album in hip-hop history. Released on March 29, 1988, it would go to #4 on the Billboard 200 and be certified 3x Platinum, making it one of the first crossover successes in the rap genre. This success was spurred on by the two hit singles from the album: “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Nightmare on My Street.” “Parents,” which featured a humorous music video that got heavy play on MTV, would go to #12 on the charts and win the first Grammy for Best Rap Performance. “Nightmare,” which told the story of the group battling the villain Freddy from the Nightmare on Elm Street series, would climb to #15. (The song was not endorsed by the producers of the Nightmare films, New Line Cinema). For its CD release, the album was cut by 13 minutes with seven songs receiving edits and “Another Special Announcement” being omitted entirely. The full versions of the songs have only appeared on a German CD pressing, although to make room, two songs were left off entirely.
Real Gone’s new 2-CD set restores the album to its full, original length on CD for the first time. Eleven bonus tracks have been added, including two versions of “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” two of “Nightmare on My Street” and four of “Brand New Funk,” the other single from the album. Three versions of “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” have also been appended as the song was re-released on a single in remixed form to tie in with the album. The CD has been remastered by Sean Brennan at Battery studios. A booklet is also included featuring singles artwork and new liner notes from Aaron Kannowski.
1989 saw the release of And in This Corner. Holmes would leave the group 1990, the same year that Smith began to star in the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Townes making frequent guest appearances. The duo would produce two more albums which included the hits “Summertime” and “Boom! Shake the Room” but Hollywood called to Will Smith and he left to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He and Townes collaborated on Smith’s solo record Willenium in 1999, one of Smith’s three Columbia albums. Townes has remained a successful DJ and producer. The duo are reuniting next month to headline MTV’s Summerblast in Croatia and the Livewire Festival in London.
The other new Real Gone release, also due on September 8, is a twofer of albums by the great jazz alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman: 1969’s Ornette at 12 and 1972’s Crisis, which have never before appeared on CD. Coleman, who began recording in the late 1950s, was a major figure in avant-garde jazz and coined the term “free jazz” with the title of his 1961 album Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. Free jazz was a response to the structures of modal jazz, bebop and hard bop, and often lacked fixed chord changes and tempos.
By the end of the 1960s and the time of Ornette at 12, Coleman had already lead several quartets and quintets and had two major record deals with Atlantic and Blue Note. This would be his first album for the Impulse! label. Despite being billed as a studio album, it was in fact a concert recording taken from a May, 1968 performance in Berkeley, California. Coleman is joined for this four-track, thirty-minute set of his original compositions by longtime collaborator Charlie Haden on bass, Dewey Redman on tenor sax and Coleman’s son Denardo on drums. Denardo had first appeared on 1966’s The Empty Foxhole. The fact that he was only 10 years old at the time caused some controversy in jazz circles. The title for this album probably comes from Denardo’s age at the time of the recording: twelve.
1972′ Crisis is also a live recording, recorded three years earlier in March, 1969 at New York University. The same line-up from Ornette at 12 is featured, but they are now joined by flautist/cornetist Don Cherry who has a solo on “Comme Il Faut.” The nearly 45-minute set once again features four Coleman originals, together with one of Haden’s tunes: “Song for Che.” Some consider this the finest recording of the song. These two albums would be his only recordings for Impulse! He moved to Columbia in 1971 (Impulse! released Crisis after he had left the label) to record the acclaimed Science Fiction album and would remain there until the mid-1970s where he would then jump to a variety of labels including Arista, A&M, Caravan of Dreams, and Verve, among others into the mid-1990s. He would win the Pulitzer Prize for Music with 2006’s Sound Grammar album and would receive the Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2007. Coleman passed away in 2015.
Real Gone’s new CD collection has been remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. It also contains a booklet featuring the original gatefold album art and liner notes by Howard Mandel, author of the book Miles, Ornette, Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz.
If you would like to give these two or any of Real Gone’s other September releases a try, we’ve got the pre-order links below!
SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC