Omnivore Recordings is getting righteous – make that Righteous – with an upcoming release. In 1971, Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers was on his own. He and partner Bill Medley had split in 1968, and while Medley quickly struck as a solo artist, Hatfield persevered as a Righteous Brother with the enlistment of The Knickerbockers’ Jimmy Walker. But the new duo’s Re-Birth album hadn’t achieved much success, and Hatfield decided to go it alone (again; he had previously released a number of solo singles as well as the 1970 album Messin’ in Muscle Shoals). Enter Richard Perry. The prolific producer had a busy year: in 1971, he helmed Barbra Streisand’s pop-rock breakthrough Stoney End, two albums from pioneering all-female band Fanny, Harry Nilsson’s seminal Nilsson Schmilsson, and even Johnny Mathis’ You’ve Got a Friend and Percy Faith’s Black Magic Woman. What’s less-well known is that Perry teamed with Hatfield for an unfinished Warner Bros. LP that year which was never released. One single was all that escaped the vaults …until now.
On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, Omnivore Recordings will release Stay with Me: The Richard Perry Sessions, collecting the material recorded by Hatfield and produced by Perry. The tracks on Stay with Me were primarily recorded at Apple Studios in December of 1971 with a top-flight group of musicians including Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, and Al Kooper.
Stay with Me premieres on CD the master takes of the two single sides released in spring and fall 1972 (“Stay with Me” and “Oo Wee Baby, I Love You”) as well as a selection of multiple takes of the remaining six songs recorded. Perry’s eclectic tastes are reflected in the track listing, as Hatfield brought his instantly recognizable pipes to renditions of George Harrison’s “What Is Life” and “Sour Milk Sea” (the latter written in Rishikesh, India, demoed with The Beatles, and introduced by Jackie Lomax on Apple), Marvin Gaye’s “Baby Don’t You Do It,” and Cole Porter’s sophisticated standard “In The Still of the Night.”
Omnivore notes that Stay With Me: The Richard Perry Sessions is “primarily a collection of previously unissued work. Some tracks are complete, some are works in progress. But the record gives the listener an opportunity to be a fly on the wall while great music is being made.” Hatfield and Medley famously reunited in 1974 and immediately scored a hit with the nostalgic “Rock and Roll Heaven.” Here’s a rare chance to enjoy Hatfield’s solo blue-eyed soul. Look for the CD on February 14 from Omnivore. Amazon links will be provided once they’re live; in the meantime, it’s available for pre-order directly from the label at the link below!
Bobby Hatfield, Stay with Me: The Richard Perry Sessions (Omnivore, 2020) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Links TBD)
- Stay With Me (Take 1)
- Oo Wee Baby, I Love You (Take 2)
- Run to My Lovin’ Arms
- What Is Life (Take 7)
- In the Still of the Night
- Sour Milk Sea
- Baby Don’t You Do It (Takes 4 & 11 – Edit)
- Oo Wee Baby, I Love You (Take 3)
- What Is Life (Take 4)
- Baby Don’t You Do It (Take 2)
- Stay With Me (Single Version) (Warner Bros. single 7649-A, 1972)
- Oo Wee Baby, I Love You (Single Version) (Warner Bros. single 7566-A, 1972)
- Rock’n Roll Woman