After a month off to take care of some business (the label changed distribution), Real Gone comes roaring back in May with a release schedule with something for just about every music lover. Two long out-of-print live albums from the Cannonball Adderley Quintet—both produced by the legendary David Axelrod—debut on CD, offering the tenor sax titan’s trademark blend of free jazz, fusion, R&B and always a whole lot of soul. Right on the heels of Mavis Staples’ new solo record comes a twofer containing two classic albums the Staple Singers cut for the Epic label in the mid ‘60s, both also making their CD debuts. And two albums crucial to the development of country rock, The Beau Brummels’ Triangle and Bradley’s Barn, rest cheek by jowl on one impossibly melodic CD.
Then, Real Gone serves up some long sought-after vinyl platters with the limited edition release on 180-gram of the ferocious debut record from Cactus, the supergroup featuring Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, The Detroit Wheels’ Jim McCarty, and Amboy Dukes vocalist Rusty Day, and, on translucent green vinyl, the soundtrack to The Return of the Living Dead (braaiiinsss!) with songs by The Cramps, The Damned, The Flesh Eaters and more.
Finally, the label delves deep into the catalog of singer-songwriter/guitarist Dan Fogelberg with a 2-CD retrospective that pulls 28 tracks from 11 different albums for a comprehensive career retrospective, while country great Johnny Paycheck receives the same thorough treatment with a 40-track set that contains a full 32 of his chart hits. Real Gone then winds down its 36-volume reissue series of the Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks by releasing Vol. 1 (and starting all over again by re-releasing Vol. 36). And, after a two-month delay, the label’s long-awaited retrospective of Bobby Darin’s Motown years finally comes to fruition.
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley first gained notice as the bluesier saxophone voice on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (John Coltrane being the other), and in the late ‘60s and early ’70s, he was engaged in an ongoing artistic conversation with Miles, often trading musicians (e.g. Joe Zawinul) with him and taking the electric innovations of Bitches Brew and filtering them with through his own earthy sensibility. The height of Cannonball’s fusion phase arguably came in 1970, a year that yielded no less than three live albums—all produced by David Axelrod—that have since ascended to cult favorite status. We at Real Gone have already issued one of them, the double-album Black Messiah; now, we’re back with a double-barreled blast of Cannonball, as we reissue for the first time on CD two albums released by The Cannonball Adderley Quintet, The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free and Music, You All. Both releases feature liner notes by Bill Kopp that include quotes from Cannonball’s drummer at the time, Roy McCurdy, and remastering by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. Drawn from a performance at the 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival and “live in the studio” tracks cut at Capitol, the double-album The Price You Got to Pay to Be Free was a testament to Cannonball Adderley’s sprawling artistic vision, embracing abstract improvisation, funky soul-jazz, hard bop, and world music. It also offered the lone lead vocal of the saxman’s entire career (on Milton Nascimento’s “Bridges”), and was the last Cannonball Adderley album to feature keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who contributes the key compositions “Directions,” “Painted Desert,” and “Rumplestiltskin.” The record went to #5 on the Billboard Jazz chart and #169 on the Top 200, quite a remarkable showing given the avant-garde stylings of such numbers as “Out and In” and “Alto Sex,” although the album also did include such trademark populist Cannonball fare as “Down in Black Bottom” and “Get Up off Your Knees.” Music, You All, meanwhile, was put together by Axelrod from the same 1970 Troubadour performances that yielded the album Black Messiah; featuring the same line-up (the two Adderley brothers, Cannon and Nat; keyboardist George Duke; bassist Walter Booker; drummer Roy McCurdy, and special guests guitarist Mike Deasy, percussionist Airto Moreira and saxman Ernie Watts), the album displayed the same uncompromisingly eclectic rock/soul/jazz fusion as did its companion release. But on Music, You All, Cannonball’s warmly iconoclastic stage personality really comes to the fore…witness the two tracks simply entitled “Cannon Raps!” And George Duke fans will flip over this album; check his solo on “Capricorn” for starters. One of those live albums that REALLY makes you wish you were there.
One could make the argument that no gospel group before or since has so successfully straddled the sacred and secular worlds as has The Staple Singers. The enormously influential blues guitar stylings of Roebuck “Pops” Staples, the astonishing, wise-beyond-their-years lead vocals of Mavis Staples, and the exalted harmonies of Cleotha, Pervis, and (later) Yvonne Staples packed a punch whether singing about salvation or civil rights. Now, Real Gone Music welcomes “God’s greatest hitmakers” into the fold with its release of two classic albums by The Staple Singers on a single CD, their second and third releases and first two studio records for the Epic label, both produced by Billy Sherrill. 1965’s Amen! features the infectious title track along with Pervis’ doleful recitation on the powerful “Be Careful of the Stones You Throw,” while 1966’s Why actually scored a minor hit with the timely “Why (Am I Treated So Bad),” and highlights Mavis at her deep, moaning best on “Move Along Train.” CD debuts for both records, with annotation by Gene Sculatti and remastering by Mike Piacentini at Battery Studios in New York. Two fantastic records…get ready to move and be moved.
While San Francisco’s Beau Brummels are best known to casual fans for the British Invasion-style hits “Laugh, Laugh” and “Just a Little,” the two albums they cut for Warner Bros. with producer Lenny Waronker, Triangle and Bradley’s Barn, remain their most artistically ambitious and critically acclaimed records, and continue to exert an influence on modern-day rockers well beyond their modest commercial success. The group was at a low point when they recorded Triangle; they were fresh off the debacle of Beau Brummels ’66, the album of covers that was their ill-conceived Warner debut, and the original quintet had shrunk down to a trio of vocalist Sal Valentino, guitarist and principal songwriter Ron Elliott, and bassist Ron Meagher. But with Waronker as producer, the band was for the first time given the freedom to craft a coherent project from beginning to end, with help from some creative sidemen like Van Dyke Parks; the result was a moody, mysterious masterpiece that spoke to the psychedelic spirit of 1967 yet stood apart from it with such ethereal songs as “Magic Hollow” and “Painter of Women.” Triangle also had hints of the newly emerging country rock style, and for 1968’s Bradley’s Barn, the Beau Brummels (now just consisting of Valentino and Elliott with Meagher off to the military) went to Nashville to record with such crack Music City session men as Jerry Reed, David Briggs, Norbert Putnam, and Kenneth Buttrey. Unfortunately, Bradley’s Barn met the same fate as Triangle, scoring big with critics but not with audiences; today, however, highlighted by such twangy tunes as “Loneliest Man in Town” and “Long Walking Down to Misery,” it’s reckoned as a country rock landmark and a true alt-country precursor. Real Gone Music is proud to present these two classic albums together on one CD for the first time, complete with Richie Unterberger’s liner notes featuring quotes from songwriter Ron Elliott. Essential listening from perhaps the most underrated band of the ‘60s.
Finally back on vinyl where it belongs comes the 1970 self-titled debut record from the supercharged supergroup that melted minds and loudspeakers (not necessarily in that order)! We’re talking Cactus, people, with the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, Amboy Dukes vocalist Rusty Day, and, oh yes, the AMAZING guitarist Jim McCarty, late of the Detroit Wheels but somehow reincarnated here as the speed freak spawn of Alvin Lee, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. McCarty’s frenetic soloing with an impossibly overdriven tone that Jack White only dreams of matching powers (and we do mean POWERS) incredible versions of “Parchman Farm” and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” as well as bloozy, boogie-in’ originals like “Let Me Swim” and “Oleo.” Our Real Gone reissue of Cactus comes in a limited edition (of 700) 180-gram edition that captures every bit of the glorious sonic excess with the original cover art intact (hey, is that cactus giving you the finger?). TURN IT UP!
There are zombies…and then there are brain-eating zombies! And Return of the Living Dead was the film where brain-eating zombies got their first lease on, er, life. Co-written by John Russo, who was George Romero’s writing partner on Night of the Living Dead, this 1985 quasi-sequel introduced more “splatstick” humor to the horror formula as well as the indelible image of ghouls groaning “Braainsss” as they shuffle along. All set to a KILLER score featuring the greatest punk and death rock bands of the era, including The Cramps, 45 Grave, The Flesh Eaters, The Damned, Roky Erickson, The Jet Black Berries, T.S.O.L. and SSQ. This marks the first-ever vinyl reissue of this classic soundtrack, and it is just so Real Gone: 750 copies in limited edition translucent green vinyl! Braainsss!
He’s commonly thought of as the quintessential West Coast singer songwriter, but, as his celebrated collaborations with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg and soundtrack composer Domenic Frontiere demonstrate, the Peoria-born Dan Fogelberg had a restless artistic spirit that took him beyond the typical country-influenced, folk-rock sound of his contemporaries. And it is that constant thirst for experimentation and change that make this new 2-CD career-spanning retrospective such a great listen. From rockers like “Phoenix,” “As the Raven Flies,” and “The Power of Gold,” to chart-topping, radio-friendly fare like “Longer,” “Same Old Lang Syne,” “Hard to Say,” and “Leader of the Band,” to more idiosyncratic offerings like “Tucson, Arizona (Gazette)” and “Heart Hotels,” The Definitive Anthology cherry picks 28 tracks from ten of Fogelberg’s studio releases plus two tracks (“Missing You” and “Make Love Stay”) that first were released on his Greatest Hits album to form a full portrait of a multi-faceted, complex songwriter and musician. Bill Kopp’s liner notes guide the listener through each album and track. Remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York.
Never less than authentic, and irascible to the very end, Johnny Paycheck was one of country music’s all-time great honky-tonkers and most incorrigible outlaws, one of the truly larger than life figures in a genre that’s full of ‘em. Paycheck got his break in the early ‘60s backing up George Jones (who appears on a couple of hit duets on this collection), then changed his name from Donald Lytle to Johnny Paycheck and recorded some cult classic hard country sides with maverick producer Aubrey Mayhew on the Little Darlin’ label. Nashville producer Billy Sherrill brought him to Epic, where he scored a series of pop-flavored smashes, but not even Sherrill could tame him, and by the mid-‘70s Paycheck joined the outlaw country movement, which suited his renegade temperament just fine. “Take This Job and Shove It,” “Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets,” and “I’m the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)” (all included here) were among his biggest outlaw sides. In the end, Paycheck succumbed to some of the self-destructive tendencies he celebrated in song and wound up in jail, but he left behind some of the greatest country of the ‘70s. Now, Real Gone Music has put together the ultimate collection of his seminal Epic recordings; Take This Job and Shove It—The Definitive Collection offers 40 songs including a full 32 of his chart hits for the label featuring such classic tunes as “She’s All I Got,” “Someone to Give My Love To,” and “Mr. Lovemaker.” Chris Morris’ liner notes explore the life, music, and times of one of country music’s most colorful characters, while remastering is by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios. Essential, real country.
With the release of Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol. 1—Tampa, Florida 12/1/73, we at Real Gone Music conclude our reissue campaign of all 36 volumes of the Dick’s Picks series; we went in reverse order, so we’re ending with the first volume in the series, which you know had to have a special place in compiler Dick Latvala’s heart! And right off the bat you’ll hear why; the version of “Here Comes Sunshine” that leads off disc one is pretty much universally considered the best ever. Throw in a great rendition of the rarely-performed “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” that leads into a stellar 16-minute jam that flirts with a full-fledged “The Other One” but dances spacily away, and a moving “Stella Blue” before the “Around and Around” finale and you have another great night—in fact, the LAST night—from a great year (1973) of touring….and, as such, the perfect way to begin and end the long strange trip that is the Dick’s Picks series (in a perfectly symmetrical move, Real Gone is also re-releasing Dick’s Picks Vol. 36—The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA 9/21/72, the volume that started its whole reissue campaign). Out of print for years!
Bobby Darin was so much more than just “Mack the Knife.” In just 37 years, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and entrepreneur raced against the clock to conquer records, film, and television as he successfully transitioned from rock-and-roll teen idol to tuxedoed swinger and then to denim-clad folk troubadour. At the dawn of the 1970s, and still battling the chronic heart problems that had plagued him since youth, the superstar artist signed with Berry Gordy’s renowned Motown Records. At Motown, the versatile artist reinvented himself yet again, recording some of the most vibrant and vital music of his remarkable career. He tackled Hitsville, USA-style R&B and soul alongside original songs and personal re-interpretations of favorites by the day’s top pop and rock songwriters including Randy Newman, Cat Stevens, Paul Williams, and Bob Dylan. Darin released just one studio album and a number of singles at Motown before his untimely death in December 1973; the following year, producer Bob Crewe assembled a posthumous LP to celebrate his friend’s life and music. Yet, as the decades passed, Darin’s artistically wide-ranging Motown recordings were all but forgotten. Now, just two months before what would have been the singer’s 80th birthday on May 14, 2016, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records proudly present the first-ever retrospective of the final chapter of the legendary Bobby Darin’s musical life. The 2-CD Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years brings together the self-titled 1972 Bobby Darin album – never released on CD anywhere in the world – with Crewe’s original, never-on-CD mix of the posthumous Darin 1936-1973. If that’s not enough, this definitive, freshly-remastered anthology also adds every one of Bobby’s Motown singles as well as the remixed tracks from the short-lived CD reissue of Darin 1936-1973! The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese supplies the new liner notes for this landmark release, with remastering by Universal’s Kevin Reeves. Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years is certain to prove one of 2016’s most significant archival collections for fans of Motown, R&B, pop, soul, and classic vocals, and celebrates the singer’s 80th birthday in style. Back on the schedule after a two-month delay!
MAY 6, 2016 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC