Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
The 1989 “lost” album by Johnny Mathis is lost no more! Renowned producer Sergio Mendes of Brasil ’66 fame and arranger-guitarist Dori Caymmi joined Mathis on The Island to subtly modernize the classic sounds of bossa nova and samba. He delivered some of his most sensual vocals ever for ten smoldering songs by Caymmi, Mendes, Ivan Lins, Brenda Russell, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and others. Featuring a small rhythm section including talents like Robbie Buchanan, Paulinho da Costa, and Toto’s Jeff Porcaro, The Island is one of Mathis’ most beautiful, intimate, and timeless recordings. This world premiere standalone CD release features Mike Piacentini’s remastering and new liner notes by TSD’s Joe Marchese based on fresh interviews with Mathis and his duet partner Dionne Warwick. John Sellards’ artwork includes rare photos by one of the era’s top photographers, David Vance. Read more here!
Barbara Eden, Miss Barbara Eden (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone reissues the impossible-to-find 1967 Dot album from Barbara Eden, the legendary television star of I Dream of Jeannie. Miss Barbara Eden was arranged and conducted by Nashville veteran Bill Justis, and features a variety of songs in country and pop veins including the groovy dance novelty “Bend It.” The LP reissue is pressed on pink vinyl and has been mastered at 45 RPM by Mike Milchner at SonicVision for optimum fidelity. It’s strictly limited to 1,000 units and replicates the original package. For those who prefer CD, the album will be available in that format, too. The CD, also mastered by Milchner, boasts an expanded booklet with rare photography and memorabilia as well as new liner notes from our own Joe Marchese based on a fresh interview with Miss Barbara Eden herself. Read more here!
Real Gone continues its ongoing series of Grateful Dead vinyl reissues with the release of one of the band’s most momentous concerts. Dick’s Picks Vol. 24: Cow Palace Daly City, CA 3/23/74 captures the Dead’s first-ever show with their legendary Wall of Sound, which the label’s press release states gave the band’s live shows unprecedented clarity despite the enormous, near-bankrupting cost of transporting it from gig to gig. For its vinyl debut, Real Gone spreads the concert across four 180-gram LPs, mastered from the original tapes by Jeffrey Norman and cut by John Golden. This pressing was approved not only by Norman and Real Gone’s Gordon Anderson, but also by Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux. Inside the clamshell box is also a four-page insert featuring the original notes from the CD release. This set is limited to only 1,500 copies (each hand-numbered). Get the track listing and more here.
Omnivore is getting righteous with this release from the solo Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield. Stay with Me: The Richard Perry Sessions collects all of the rare singles and unreleased material recorded by Hatfield and produced by Perry for an abortive LP project. The soulful 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. Watch for our review!
This anniversary single features Bowie’s 1980 release (recorded in 1978) of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “Alabama Song” together with two previously unreleased tracks: live versions of “Alabama Song” and “Joe the Lion” from Earls Court 1978.
Following the label’s 2017 release of the original backers’ audition for Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart’s Barnum, Harbinger/The Musical Theater Project returns with another intimate backers’ audition release from the songwriting team. I Love My Wife features Coleman and Stewart narrating and playing the score to the 1977 Broadway musical, with Austin Pendleton and the late Laurie Beechman as the singers performing for an audience of potential investors. With such delicious melodies as “I Love My Wife” (memorably recorded by artists including Frank Sinatra and Bill Evans), “Love Revolution,” “Everybody Today Is Turning On,” and “Hey There, Good Times,” this promises to be a delightful trip back to the swingin’ seventies. The release also includes bonus tracks from demos of Coleman’s Atlantic City and Home Again, showcasing the composer’s tremendous range during this creatively fertile period.
Blixa Sounds brings together the two Warner Bros. albums from singer-songwriter Lauren Wood (1979’s Lauren Wood and 1981’s Cat Trick) on one CD. Wood may be best known from the Cat Trick track “Fallen,” which was included on the soundtrack to the 1990 comedy Pretty Woman. Includes a duet with Michael McDonald, “Please Don’t Leave,” and a cover of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work.”
Barry Manilow, Night Songs II (Stiletto) (Manilow.com)
Barry Manilow is following up his intimate, Grammy-nominated 2014 standards album with another set of 12 songs performed by the singer at his piano with no additional accompaniment. Titles include “Everything Happens to Me,” “Meditation,” “She Was Too Good to Me,” and “I’m Old Fashioned.” As of now, Night Songs II is only available on CD and vinyl exclusively through Manilow’s website at the link above. The digital edition is expected to be released to all streaming and download services.
Huey Lewis and The News return with their first album of original material in 19 years. The album was being recorded when Lewis was diagnosed with Mienere’s disease; he told People recently that “it can get so bad that I can’t hear the phone ring. Those periods can last as long as a week or eight days. I’m really basically deaf. I can hear if you’re a person talking right here maybe, but that’s it. With my hearing pieces, I can hear speech fine. But music is not so easy.” While this may be Lewis’ final recording, he’s staying positive: “I waited, trying to see if I was going to be able to sing again, and I haven’t been able to. So we thought we’d release the record and share with the fans.” Available on CD, LP, and digital platforms.