Real Gone Music is once again serving up an eclectic array of music for their releases tomorrow, October 1. The four titles coming out include two 1973 albums from Walter Bishop Jr. and Rudolph Johnson as part of the label's ongoing Black Jazz reissue series, a new compilation from 1950s R&B pioneer Little Willie John, and an album from Danish thrash metal group Artillery.
First up is a pair of titles in Real Gone's Black Jazz series. 1973's Keeper of My Soul was Walter Bishop Jr.'s second album for the label after 1971's Coral Keys. While that first album was in a soul-jazz style, Bishop Jr. went in a more spiritual direction with this album after his studies with yogi Parmahansa Yogananda. His band for Keeper included flautist/saxophonist Ronnie Laws, bassist Gerald Brown, drummer Bahir Hassan, percussionist Shakur M. Abdulla, and vibraphonist Woody Murray. The album is credited to "Walter Bishop Jr.'s 4th Cycle", but that is not the name of the band but rather part of Bishop's concept for the album. The styles range from freeform ("Those Who Chant") annd Latin (Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa") to a funky reworking of a standard ("Summertime" from Porgy and Bess). This would be Bishop Jr.'s final album for Black Jazz. The next year he was on Muse with Valley Land. He would record another twelve albums before passing away in 1998.
The second Black Jazz entry from 1973 is Rudolph Johnson's The Second Coming. Saxophonist Johnson recorded Spring Rain for the label in 1971 and returned two years later with this five-song set. He is joined by Kent Brinkley on bass, Douglas Sides on drums, and Kirk Lightsey on piano. Johnson penned all of the songs except for "The Water Bearer," written by Lightsey. Unlike the sound of most Black Jazz records, this one is more in a free, improvisational style. Johnson departed Black Jazz and teamed with Lightsey for an album in 1974: Habiba on Gallo. It would be his final solo credit and he would pass away in 2007.
Both Black Jazz titles are being reissued by Real Gone in CD and vinyl formats. Each is remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision and feature liner notes by Pat Thomas. As to the vinyl: each album is available in black vinyl as well as a limited 750-copy pressing of orange with black streaks exclusive to independent record stores.
Next up is a vinyl collection from Little Willie John: The Complete R&B Hit Singles. William Edward John was born in 1937 and was performing with his siblings in gospel group by his early teens. John's performance at a talent show brought him to the attention of producer Henry Glover, who signed him to King Records in 1955, nicknaming him "Little Willie" for his short stature. The very first recording by John, "All Around The World," became a hit, climbing to No. 5 on the R&B chart. This was the start of a string of over 40 singles for the singer, 17 of which would hit the charts between 1955 and 1961. John was a songwriter as well: his second single, "Need Your Love So Bad," co-written with one of his brothers, also hit No. 5 on the R&B survey and would later be covered by Fleetwood Mac. John's biggest hit on the R&B chart was "Fever" which hit No. 1 and was also his first song to cross over to the pop charts. John was the first to record the song, but certainly not the last: Peggy Lee's cover two years later became an even bigger hit and her signature song. John's biggest hit on the pop chart would also be that year: "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" which climbed to No. 20.
A pioneer in the R&B genre, John was involved in the civil rights movement and also performed at the Cavalcade of Jazz concert in 1958, among numerous other appearances. Unfortunately, John also had many run-ins with law enforcement and was arrested several times before King Records dropped him 1963. He performed at a benefit concert for the NAACP the next year but then stabbed Kendall Roundtree in Seattle later in the year. He was convicted of manslaughter in 1965 and sent to Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla where he died in May of 1968 at only 30 years old. While he was out of prison on an appeal of his conviction, he recorded an album intended to be a comeback. However, his appeal failed and the album did not see release until 2008. Real Gone's vinyl compilation (based on a more expansive 2-CD release from 2012) gathers all 17 of John's songs to hit the charts during his tenure at King Records. It features notes by Bill Dahl and comes on yellow "fever" vinyl.
Finally, we jump nearly thirty years and across the ocean for the third album by Danish thrash metal group Artillery, By Inheritance from 1990. The group got their start in the suburbs of Copenhagen in 1982. Their commercial debut came with a song on a 1985 compilation before being eventually signed to Neat Records where they recorded two albums: Fear of Tomorrow in 1985 and Terror Squad in 1987. For the band's third album, they had moved to Roadrunner Records. By then, the members were the Brothers Stützer, Michael and the late Morten, on guitars, with Flemming Rønsdorf on vocals, Peter Thorslund on bass, and Carsten Nielsen on drums. It featured a cover of Nazareth and is considered by many thrash metal fans to be a classic of the genre. By 1991, however, Artillery had disbanded. After a compilation release in 1998, they decided to reform for a new album in 1999, B.A.C.K. That reunion was short-lived, though, because they broke up the very next year. But in 2007 they got back together again and are still active today. Since then, they have recorded an additional six albums.
Real Gone's vinyl reissue of By Inheritance marks the album's debut in that format in the US. It includes with an inner sleeve featuring lyrics and comes on blue with red splatter vinyl.
If you would like to give any of these titles, all due tomorrow, a try, we've got the full tracklistings and ordering links below.
Walter Bishop Jr.'s 4th Cycle, Keeper Of My Soul (Originally issued on Black Jazz Records LP BJQD/14, 1973 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Soul Village
- N'Dugu's Prayer
- Those Who Chant
- Keeper Of My Soul
- Blue Bossa
- Sweet Rosa
Rudolph Johnson, The Second Coming (Originally issued on Black Jazz Records LP BJQD/11, 1973 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- The Traveler
- Time and Space
- The Highest Pleasure
- The Water Bearer
- The Second Coming
Little Willie John, The Complete R&B Hit Singles (Yellow "Fever" Vinyl Edition) (Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- All Around the World
- Need Your Love So Bad
- Home at Last
- Letter from My Darling
- Do Something for Me
- Talk to Me, Talk to Me
- You're a Sweetheart
- Tell It Like It Is
- Leave My Kitten Alone
- Let Them Talk
- Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me)
- Walk Slow
- (I've Got) Spring Fever
- Take My Love (I Want To Give It All To You)
Side 1, Track 1 from King Records single 4818, 1955
Side 1, Tracks 2-3 from King Records single 4841, 1956
Side 1, Tracks 4-5 from King Records single 4935, 1956
Side 1, Track 6 from King Records single 4960, 1956
Side 1, Track 7 from King Records single 5108, 1958
Side 1, Track 8 from King Records single 5142, 1958
Side 1, Track 9 from King Records single 5147, 1958
Side 2, Track 1 from King Records single 5219. 1959
Side 2, Track 2 from King Records single 5274, 1959
Side 2, Track 3 from King Records single 5356, 1960
Side 2, Track 4 from King Records single 5394, 1960
Side 2, Track 5 from King Records single 5428, 1961
Side 2, Tracks 6-7 from King Records single 5503, 1961
Side 2, Track 8 from King Records single 5516, 1961
Artillery, By Inheritance (Vinyl Edition) (Originally issued on Roadrunner Records CD RO 9397-2, 1990 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- 7:00 from Tashkent
- Beneath the Clay (R.I.P.)
- By Inheritance
- Don't Believe
- Life in Bondage
- Equal at First
- Back in the Trash
I'm getting Little Willie. Too bad he could not control himself.