Real Gone Releases: David Cassidy, Dion and The Grateful Dead
Real Gone Music’s early fall releases, due out October 2, 2012, are highlighted by Dion’s The Complete Laurie Singles, featuring the multi-decade superstar’s most famous and influential solo recordings (both A and B sides), and 35 Years: The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012, a 21-song chronicle of both indie and major label recordings by Midwest power-pop legends Shoes.
If that weren’t enough, Real Gone Music also resurrects David Cassidy’s 1985 Romance album, and anticipates Halloween with a twofer (Monster Mash/Scary Tales) from the Cameo-Parkway catalog of the cool ghoul, John Zacherle. Finally, the Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks series continues with Dick’s Picks Vol. 27—Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 12/16/92, the only volume of the Dick’s Picks series to feature the final Dead line-up featuring Vince Welnick on keyboard.
“Dick” was Dick Latvala, the official tape archivist for the Grateful Dead until 1999, whose inspiration and encyclopedic knowledge of the band’s vaults spawned the fabled Dick’s Picks series of live Dead concert recordings. The 36-volume Dick’s Picks follows the band on its long, strange trip through a multitude of eras, tours and venues, featuring handpicked shows that display the band at its visionary, improvisational height. Dick’s Picks Vol. 27—Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA 12/16/92 is the only Dick’s Picks volume to feature the final Dead line-up, with Vince Welnick assuming all keyboard duties after the departure of Bruce Hornsby, and, fittingly enough, it provides quite the showcase for the ex-Tubes keyboardist’s vocal chops on the unexpected covers of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Those are two of the four bonus songs taken from the next night’s show at the same venue; the rest of this 3-CD set presents the complete 12/16/92 Oakland show, which offers among its treasures a rare (albeit abbreviated), ‘90s reading of “Dark Star,” a great, Pigpen-tribute rendition of “Good Lovin’,” Bob Weir’s reading of Willie Dixon’s “The Same Thing” and a marvelously exploratory “Playing in the Band/Drums/Space” segment. The set preserves one of the best ’90s Dead shows, presented in HDCD sound, previously unavailable in stores.
Dion DiMucci’s original Laurie singles, the very tracks that established him as a superstar solo act during the ’60s, have never been collected in one place. Real Gone Music’s 36-track The Complete Laurie Singles collection features all the single sides, both A and B, that Dion recorded for Laurie in their original mono single mixes, including the early singles that sparked his solo success, the sides that Laurie released after Dion signed with Columbia in 1962 (Dion was the first rock ’n’ roll artist to sign with that hallowed label), and, finally, the radically different and progressive singles from his triumphant return to the Laurie label, beginning with “Abraham, Martin and John” in 1968. It would be hard to find the original mono single mixes of any of these songs except for the big hits, and some of these songs (e.g. the later singles and the B-sides) aren’t on CD at all. Remastered from the original tapes at Capitol Studios by Kevin Bartley with assistance from Andrew Sandoval, and featuring liner notes by compilation producer Ed Osborne that include vintage photos of Dion, shots of the original singles and exclusive quotes from Dion himself, this two-CD set is a must for any Dion fan or collector, and encapsulates the Laurie years of this legendary artist like no other release. Highlights include such chart-top hits as “The Wanderer,” “Little Diane,” “Love Came to Me,” “Sandy,” “Lonely Teenager,” “Lovers Who Wander” and of course “Abraham, Martin & John.” (Dion is still making credible music today as the solid new blues album titled Tank Full of Blues attests.)
Improbably hailing from the dry, church-dominated town of Zion, Ill. on the banks of Lake Michigan, Shoes were formed, like a lot of rock bands, by three kids who were just looking for something to do. The difference? Very few bands — none actually come to mind — write and perform perfectly crafted power pop songs for 35 years and counting. Indeed, Gary Klebe and brothers John and Jeff Murphy reign as deans of the entire power pop scene. And now, concurrent with the release of Ignition, their first new studio album in 18 years, and Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes, a behind-the-scenes biography detailing their odyssey through the musical industry, Shoes and Real Gone Music have teamed to release the first-ever career-spanning retrospective of the band. 35 Years—The Definitive Shoes Collection includes 21 tracks chosen by Shoes from the eight studio albums that saw an official release, starting with the DIY masterpiece of 1977, Black Vinyl Shoes, through the three albums (Present Tense, Tongue Twister and Boomerang) released on Elektra, the three albums (Silhouette, Stolen Wishes and Propeller) the band self-released in the ’80s and ’90s, and culminating in a newly-released track, “Say It Like You Mean It,” from Ignition. Included are classic Shoe-tunes like “Tomorrow Night,” “Too Late,” “She Satisfies,” “In My Arms Again” and “Feel the Way That I Do.” The liner notes by Stephen "Spaz" Schnee feature fresh, exclusive interviews with the band and pictures from their private archives. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to Shoes’ sublime power pop pleasures, 35 Years—the Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012 is essential.
Straight from the crypts, er, vaults of Cameo Parkway comes this fiendish find, a gruesome twosome of vintage albums, Monster Mash/Scary Tales, from the Cool Ghoul himself, the original TV horror host, Zacherle. The first of these albums hit #44 on the charts, as it boasts Zach’s Top Ten hit “Dinner With Drac” (plus, as one of four bonus tracks, its flipside, “Dinner with Drac Pt. 2”). His sleeve notes alone are worth the price of admission — and these albums come to you in original “moan-o.” None other than Zach acolyte (Zacholyte?) John Sebastian chips in with new notes, too. The albums are back in print in America following a long absence, just in time for Halloween.
The Romance album, David Cassidy’s first and only for Arista, was withheld from the American market upon its original release in 1985. Which, one suspects, may have sparked some second guessing in the label’s corporate suites after it scored a Top 10 hit in the U.K. with “The Last Kiss,” which featured George Michael on vocals. “She Knows All About Boys” was a European smash as well, while the album itself went to #20 on the British charts. Romance is also notable for being the only ’80s release from the former Partridge Family teen idol, and for the production and songwriting work of Alan Tarney (a-ha, Squeeze, Leo Sayer, Matthew Sweet). Nevertheless, this reissue marks the first time Romance has been released in any form in the U.S. Mike Ragogna’s liner notes place this long-lost recording in context of Cassidy’s one-of-a-kind career.