Real Gone Music is kicking off its summer slate with another batch of eclectic titles. Tomorrow, Real Gone and Second Disc Records release Liza Minnelli's Live in New York 1979 on CD and vinyl as well as the soundtrack to Melvin Van Peebles' groundbreaking comedy Watermelon Man. But that's not all. Real Gone also has another soundtrack and two hard rock LPs coming your way.
First, a refresher on Watermelon Man. In an extraordinary career spanning seven decades, director and "godfather of black cinema" Melvin Van Peebles (1932-2021) only made one studio film. 1970's Watermelon Man shattered conventions with its bitingly satirical story about a white couple, intolerant and obnoxious insurance salesman Jeff Gerber (Godfrey Cambridge) and his seemingly liberal wife Althea (Estelle Parsons). One morning, Jeff awakens to discover that his skin color has changed from white to black-and it's not a result of his daily tanning routine. Unable to successfully change back, he learns what it's like to live in America as a black man, and his eyes are opened.
The uncompromising Watermelon Man shocked audiences in 1970 and remains all too relevant today. Accompanying the scathing comedy was an original soundtrack composed by Van Peebles himself, then recording as a solo artist for A&M Records and about to take on Broadway with a pair of Tony Award-nominated musicals, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death and Don't Play Us Cheap. The soundtrack to Watermelon Man was released on the small Beverly Hills label, preserving Van Peebles' enjoyably eclectic score. Tomorrow, that now-rare album gets a new lease on life when it returns to vinyl for the first time in over 50 years from Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records.
Van Peebles' soundtrack to Watermelon Man blended jazz, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, proto-rap, and even bluegrass - all perfectly complementing the freewheeling onscreen action. The multi-hyphenate talent took the mic himself for the songs "Love, That's America" and "Soul'd on You," while the film's co-star Estelle Parsons made a special appearance on "Where Are the Children." All that and Ry Cooder, too: the slide guitar virtuoso, while uncredited, is said to have played the indelible slide parts throughout the album!
Watermelon Man ultimately came to be overshadowed by Van Peebles' seminal follow-up Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and the album disappeared, too. But the time has never been more right to rediscover Van Peebles' prescient film and its killer soundtrack. Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records' first-ever vinyl reissue of Watermelon Man features remastered audio from Mike Milchner at SonicVision as well as an insert with on-set photos and liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese placing the film and its music within the context of Van Peebles' remarkable, one-of-a-kind career.
The pointed "Love, That's America" was adopted decades after its original release as an anthem for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now, it's your turn to discover this singular soundtrack from visionary filmmaker, writer, actor, songwriter, and musician Melvin Van Peebles. Look for Watermelon Man tomorrow from Real Gone and Second Disc Records in green-and-yellow "watermelon skin" vinyl. Real Gone Music is also offering an exclusive "America Swirl" vinyl version that's strictly limited to 100 units while Barnes and Noble will carry an exclusive color variant, as well.
Next up from Real Gone is a vinyl reissue to the soundtrack of My Best Friend's Wedding. The movie, released in June 1997, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The film, starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett, chronicles the efforts of Juliane (Roberts) to stop her best friend Michael (Mulroney) from marrying Kimmy (Diaz) after she learns of their upcoming nuptials. She receives help in her ill-advised scheme from another friend, George (Everett). Of course, complications arise and Juliane's plans go awry before being resolved in the end. Putting a bit of a subversive spin on the romantic comedy genre, the film garnered respectable reviews and grossed nearly three hundred million dollars.
The soundtrack for the movie relied heavily on music from the 1950s and 1960s and that is reflected on the album, in both original and new recordings. Among the original versions are "Tell Him" by The Exciters and "If You Want to Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul. Among the new recordings are Jann Arden's cover of "You Don't Know Me," first recorded by Eddy Arnold and a new version of "The Way You Look Tonight" by Tony Bennett. (He first cut the Kern/Fields song in 1958 and later recorded it four more times, including this rendition.) This pattern also extended to the five Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs featured on the soundtrack. Jackie DeShannon's classic original version of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" is included along with new recordings of "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Ani DiFranco, "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" by Nicky Holland, and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. A famous scene in the film has the cast singing "I Say a Little Prayer," which is also highlighted on the album. Diana King contributed a new recording of that song for the soundtrack as well. King's reggae cover hit No. 38 on the Billboard chart and a dance remix climbed to No. 8 on the Dance survey. Two contemporary songs, one by Amanda Marshall and one by Sophie Zelmani, joined a short suite of James Newton's Howard score to round out the album. The soundtrack did well on the charts, peaking at No. 14 in the U.S. and going to No. 1 in Australia. For this first-ever vinyl reissue, Real Gone has crafted a new inner sleeve featuring production stills and has pressed the album on black-and-white "tuxedo" vinyl. Amazon has an exclusive white vinyl pressing limited to 1,000 units.
Two hard-rock albums from different decades complete Real Gone's July 1 slate. When the British group The Gun disbanded in 1970, brothers Paul and Adrian Gurvitz moved on to other bands but eventually came back together and formed Three Man Army in 1971. Initially on Pegasus Records, the group went to Reprise for their second and third albums (where they were joined by new member Tony Newman). The third album, entitled Two, was released in 1974. Featuring all original material, the sound is akin to Led Zeppelin, Traffic, Jeff Beck, or early Fleetwood Mac. The group then broke up with the Gurvitz brothers joining Ginger Baker in The Baker Gurvitz Army. After that band dissolved in 1976, Paul and Adrian went their separate ways but kept recording. Adrian would go on to write a hit for Eddie Money and pen a song on The Bodyguard soundtrack. This first-ever vinyl reissue of Two by Real Gone comes on cobalt blue vinyl and is limited to 1,500 copies.
Faster Pussycat was formed in 1985 in Los Angeles. Taking their name from the 1965 Russ Meyer exploitation film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, the group consisted of vocalist Taime Downe, guitarists Brent Muscat and Greg Steele and bassist Kelly Nickels. The glam, hard-rock band signed with Elektra and released their first album in 1987. Whipped! was their third album and came out in August 1992. By this point, Nickels had been replaced by Eric Stacy and Brett Bradshaw had joined on drums. With all the material written by Downe, Whipped! climbed to No. 90 on the Billboard chart while the single "Nonstop to Nowhere" hit No. 35 on the Mainstream Rock chart. After this album, the group broke up as Nirvana was remaking the rock world. They reformed in 2001, and after some legal wrangling among the various members, Faster Pussycat continues today with Downe being the last original member still active. Real Gone's reissue of Whipped! marks the only time the album has appeared on vinyl in the United States. It comes on milky clear "whipped-cream" vinyl and is limited to 2,000 copies.
If you would like to give any of these titles out tomorrow, July 1, a try, we've got the full tracklistings and ordering links below.
Melvin Van Peebles, Watermelon Man: Music from the Original Soundtrack (Beverly Hills BHS-026, 1970 - reissued Real Gone Music/Second Disc Records RGM-1418, 2022)
- Love, That's America
- Great Guy
- Eviction Theme
- Soul'd on You
- Where Are the Children
- Erica's Theme
- Fugue #1
- Fugue #2
- Fugue #3
Various Artists, My Best Friend's Wedding (Music from the Motion Picture) (Black-and-White "Tuxedo" Vinyl Version) (Originally released on Sony Music Soundtrax CD OK 68166, 1997 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2022)
- I Say a Little Prayer - Diana King
- Wishin' and Hopin' - Ani DiFranco
- You Don't Know Me - Jann Arden
- Tell Him - The Exciters
- I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself - Nicky Holland
- I'll Be Okay - Amanda Marshall
- The Way You Look Tonight - Tony Bennett
- What the World Needs Now Is Love - Jackie DeShannon
- I'll Never Fall in Love Again - Mary Chapin Carpenter
- If You Wanna Be Happy - Jimmy Soul
- I Say a Little Prayer - The Cast of "My Best Friend's Wedding"
- Suite from "My Best Friend's Wedding" - James Newton Howard
Three Man Army, Two (Limited Cobalt Blue Vinyl Edition) (Originally released on Reprise Records LP MS 2182, 1974 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2022) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Real Gone Music)
- Polecat Woman
- Space Is the Place
- I Can't Make the Blind See
- Burning Angel
- In My Eyes
Faster Pussycat, Whipped! (Limited "Whipped-Cream" Vinyl Edition) (Originally released on Elektra CD 9 61124-2, 1992 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2022) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Real Gone Music)
- Nonstop to Nowhere
- The Body Thief
- Jack the Bastard
- Big Dictionary
- Madam Ruby's Love Boutique
- Only Way Out
- Maid in Wonderland
- Cat Bash
- Loose Booty
- Out with a Bang