Real Gone Music seem to be taking a quick break from their soundtrack series to bring two cult classic albums from jazz and folk-rock: Norma Tanega’s 1966 album Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog spotlights quirky, pop-leaning folk music; while Airto’s 1970 effort Natural Feelings presents the percussion maestro’s debut as a bandleader. Both albums will be reissues in limited quantities on June 7!
First discovered while singing at a summer camp in the Catskills of New York, Norma Tanega won the attention of Herb Bernstein (later arranger and producer for The Happenings and Laura Nyro). Bernstein told manager, producer, and Four Seasons hitmaker Bob Crewe about Tanega and she was quickly signed to his New Voice Records imprint, which was also the home of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog introduced listeners everywhere to Tanega’s strange musical world, with her alternate-tuned guitars and odd-metered time signatures.
It just takes one listen to the album’s opener “You’re Dead” to see that Tanega was unlike her contemporaries. Yet, American listeners seemed to dig her idiosyncrasies, as the album’s title track climbed to No. 22 on the Billboard chart, hit the top ten in Canada, and received attention across the pond, too. In no time, the likes of Barry McGuire, The Jazz Crusaders, Art Blakey, and The T-Bones had cut versions of her hit. With appearances on American Bandstand and Where The Action Is , it seemed Tanega was primed for stardom. After traveling to England for some television spots, Tanega chose to move to London where she instead built a career writing songs for others. Her music was recorded by Tom Springfield (formerly of The Springfields, and co-author of The Seekers’ “Georgy Girl”), and she eventually began living with his sister, Dusty, who also covered her work. In 1971, Tanega released I Don’t Think It Will Hurt If You Smile but it wasn’t received as well as her debut and she soon moved back to the States where she taught music and recorded a number of experimental works. Tracks from her debut continues to reach listeners even more than a half-century on. In fact, “You’re Dead” is currently the theme to the FX program What We Do in the Shadows. Now, Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog will reach even wider audiences with its first vinyl reissue. But for the green color vinyl, Real Gone’s pressing presentation mimics the original, utilizing the 1966 stereo mix and boasting original artwork (which was replaced on prior CD issues). Grab it fast, though: Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog is limited to 1,000 copies.
Also arriving on June 7 is Airto’s Natural Feelings. The seminal fusion album was originally distributed by Skye, the independent label founded by jazz players Norman Schwartz, Cal Tjader, Gary McFarland, and Gabor Szabo. Natural Feelings was Airto’s first musical statement as a bandleader and was released between gigs with Miles Davis (on Bitches Brew) and Weather Report (appearing on their first album). Natural Feelings marries two musical cultures and idioms: the New York jazz world and his Brazilian roots. Among the luminaries who contribute to the proceedings are Ron Carter on bass, famed multi-instrumentalist Sivuca on guitar, versatile vocalist Flora Purim (who is married to Airto), and keyboardist Hermeto Pascoal. The jazz-funk-world music blend is as fresh as it was when it was first released. Though Real Gone released a color vinyl version for Record Store Day in the U.K. last month, their June offering is pressed onto 180-gram black vinyl and retains the original Hieronymus Bosch album art. But make sure you get those pre-orders in; the pressing is strictly limited to just 500 copies.
These treasures return to vinyl on June 7 and are available wherever fine music is sold courtesy of Real Gone Music. You can check out the full track listings and place your pre-orders for Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog and Natural Feelings using the Amazon links below!
- You’re Dead
- Treat Me Right
- Don’t Touch
- Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog
- A Street That Rhymes at 6 A.M.
- I’m Dreamin’ a Dream
- What Are We Craving?
- No Stranger Am I
- Hey Girl
- I’m the Sky
- Xibaba (She-Bá-Ba)
- The Tunnel