Real Gone Music Releases: Blue Oyster Cult, David Allan Coe & More

With titles ranging from hard rock to proto-jam band to outlaw country to modern jazz to funk-- and a classic soundtrack to boot -- Real Gone Music's April 30 releases proudly uphold the label's tradition of eclectic handpicked repertoire. Rock fans will welcome the reappearance on CD of Blue Oyster Cult's wildly ambitious Imaginos album with a brand-new remastering job and two long out-of-print albums on one CD from Sea Level, the band founded by Allman Bros. Band members Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe and Lamar Williams. And for collector types, the first appearance on CD of Chicago-based psychedelic satirists Wilderness Road's Sold for the Prevention of Disease Only will be a much anticipated and unexpected treat. For fans of the country genre, Real Gone presents its most unregenerate outlaw and its #1 hit maker of all time in the persons of David Allan Coe and Eddy Arnold, represented, appropriately enough, by a wildly obscure album and a 28-track collection of #1 hits, respectively.

Real Gone then renews its partnership with famed Chicago-based retailer Dusty Groove for a trio of soul, funk and jazz reissues. The lone album from Allspice, released on ex-Crusader Wayne Henderson's At Home imprint, is a soul-funk-jazz nugget, while one-time '50s R&B star Larry Williams ("Slow Down," "Dizzy Miss Lizzy") resurfaced in the late '70s with an album that added large doses of George Clinton and Johnny Guitar Watson to his uniquely irreverent style of R&B. And the label offers two long-lost albums from the man none other than Lionel Hampton called the greatest vibes player in the world, Johnny Lytle. Finally, Real Gone resurrects one of Henry Mancini's most beloved film scores, the soundtrack to "10" starring Julie Andrews, Dudley Moore and Bo Derek.

The tangled history of "Imaginos," Blue Oyster Cult's last (1988) album for Columbia, has passed into legend for BOC fans. The name and concept comes from late-'60s sci-fi/fantasy writings by band manager/producer Sandy Pearlman that inspired the original band name; they then became the basis for a planned trilogy of solo albums by BOC drummer/songwriter Albert Bouchard. After Bouchard was fired from the band in 1981, he recorded a 90-minute album with such sidemen as Aldo Nova and the Doors' Robbie Krieger, but this version of the album was rejected by Columbia execs in 1984. Pearlman then resurrected the idea and began production in 1986, adding vocals by BOC's Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom and guitar parts by Joe Satriani among many others. The result was -- no surprise -- BOC's most controversial album (and ironically, the first in years to feature the original line-up), probably their heaviest and most proggy outing, and an appropriately complex swan song for a complex band. Our Real Gone reissue features a new 2012 remix and new notes by BOC expert Scott Schinder, along with the original album and inner sleeve art.

Sea Level started as an Allman Brothers offshoot, boasting three members (keyboardist Chuck Leavell, percussionist Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson and bassist Lamar Williams) from the mid-'70s edition of the band, but became a major act in its own right with its tasty blend of jazz, blues and Southern rock (in other words, they would have fit nicely into today's jam band scene). These two albums both came out in 1978 but chart major changes in the group; "Cats on the Coast" saw the addition of guitarist David Causey, percussionist George Weaver and multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett to the line-up, while Jaimoe and Weaver left and drummer Joe English joined for "On the Edge." Despite the changing line-ups, these two records are remarkably consistent affairs featuring such signature Sea Level songs as "That's Your Secret" and "A Lotta Colada;" they have, however, both been out of print for about a decade. Our Real Gone reissue offers both records on a single, 70 minutes-plus CD, with notes by Scott Schinder.

Wilderness Road's Warren Leming and Tom Herman were satirists and fixtures on the Windy City bluegrass scene when they started the group to raise funds for the Chicago Conspiracy Trial in the aftermath of the 1968 DNC convention; after making a self-titled concept album for Columbia, they signed to Warner-Reprise and made "Sold for the Prevention of Disease Only" in 1973. Though the front cover displayed them as futuristic glam-rockers, Wilderness Road actually played a mutant hybrid of mountain music, psychedelia, rock, country and avant political satire, sort of Chicago's answer to Country Joe & the Fish and the Fugs...except they might have been funnier. For example, Sold... includes "The Gospel," a suite of songs, fake commercial and spoken word interludes pointedly parodying religious radio, while "The Authentic British Blues" is a devastating takedown of the white boy blues genre. Never before on CD, this one-of-a-kind album appears here complete with the original gatefold album art (and art from their rare, condom-festooned promo EP) and new liner notes by Richie Unterberger featuring an interview with Warren Leming.

An inmate of the state of Ohio's penal system from the age of nine until 27, David Allan Coe has charted probably the most uncompromising course of any artist in popular music, provoking charges of misogyny, indecency (e.g. his infamous X-Rated Hits) and racism (a characterization Coe strenuously denies), while at the same time recording and writing some of the most radical and personal country music ever waxed. At first glance, "Texas Moon," which was released in 1977 but recorded before Sun Records sold Coe's contract to Columbia in the mid-'70s, is the product of "bad" David-- not only does the "Moon" in the title refer to the prominently displayed naked posteriors of Coe and band (and dog) on the front cover, but the back cover displays his prison record and mug shot. But this record actually plays it straight; it's a beautiful assortment of originals and well-chosen covers (e.g. Jackson Browne's "These Days"), played with a sound and authenticity that latter-day alt-country bands would die for. Our Real Gone reissue of this long-lost album features notes by Chris Morris featuring fresh quotes from David Allan Coe and added photos.

He's the #1 country hit maker of all time. And here's the collection that proves it. "Eddy Arnold: Complete Original #1 Hits" presents all 28, count 'em, 28 chart toppers the Tennessee Plowboy notched during his storied career, as distilled a dose of '40s, '50s & '60s country hit power as you could ever find. That's the "Complete" in the title; what about the "Original?" Well, instead of the overdubbed re-records that have populated so many Arnold compilations through the years, this Real Gone retrospective features the actual versions of songs like "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)," "There's Been a Change in Me" and "I Want to Go with You" that dominated country radio for three decades. Eddy Arnold scholar Don Cusic provides the notes.

Real Gone Music teams with Chicago retailer Dusty Groove for three releases this month that will whet the appetite of any soul, funk and modern jazz fan. Ex-Crusader Wayne Henderson produced the one and only album by Allspice for his At Home label; the 1977 self-titled release is similar to his more famous productions for Side Effect and Pleasure, but with an even deeper sound featuring sublime vocals laced with warm harmonies and a mix of male and female leads, backed by the impeccable instrumentation that is characteristic of a Henderson production. Liner notes by Bill Dahl examine the career and work of this one-off. The album title asks if it's "That Larry Williams," and indeed it is the same guy who wrote "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," "Slow Down" and "She Said Yeah." Except that on this 1978 record, his last album before his mysterious death by gunshot wound in 1980, his outrageous sense of humor and showmanship are married to funk stylings that recall George Clinton and Johnny Guitar Watson, with Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker on horny horns, and Rudy Copeland on keyboards. Gene Sculatti's notes explore the curious life and career of the R&B legend that was Larry Williams. Finally, none other than Lionel Hampton called Johnny Lytle "The greatest vibes player in the world," and our Real Gone twofer of "The Soulful Rebel/People & Love" rescues two long-lost, early '70s albums for the Milestone label from oblivion. Soulful Rebel has a great blend of Hammond and Fender Rhodes along with the vibes -- soaring out in a massively funky sextet with bass from Ron Carter and congas from Ray Barretto -- both of whom take Johnny's earlier groove into a '70s jazz funk mode. 1972's People & Love is even more impressive -- and has Lytle's vibes working with impressionistic larger arrangements -- in a style that's like Bobby Hutcherson on mid-'70s Blue Note, or Milt Jackson on CTI. Scott Yanow supplies the liner notes.

It is hard to believe that Henry Mancini's score to "10" has never been out on CD in the U.S. (and only briefly out on CD in Europe on a spotty-sounding release). This soundtrack has so much going for it -- it was written by one of the greatest soundtrack/pop composers of all time, it featured the great Julie Andrews on vocals, a beautiful piano solo from Dudley Moore, and it was a charting soundtrack to a hit movie. And Mancini fans LOVE his work on this film, counting it among his best soundtrack efforts. Our Real Gone reissue of this classic score -- which also includes the film's smash version of Ravel's "Bolero" -- features liner notes by Frank DeWald.

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