Real Gone Escapes from LA & Goes On Road Trip with The Dead

Article Contributed by Real Gone Music | Published on Monday, April 17, 2017

Real Gone Music is hitting the road this Summer with a release schedule that’s definitely in full bloom! Having released all 36 volumes of the Grateful Dead’s groundbreaking Dick’s Picks live concert series, the label is now taking the Dead’s Road Trips series to music retail for the first time EVER (and just like they did with Dick’s Picks, the label is starting with the last volume in the series). Then, the label continues its foray into reissuing cult classic soundtracks on vinyl with the first-ever LP release of John Carpenter and Shirley Walker’s soundtrack to Escape from L.A. along with Ry Cooder’s long sought-after score to Paris, Texas. Both titles come in limited edition colored vinyl versions, as does 20 Feet from Stardom legend Merry Clayton’s solo debut album Gimme Shelter, featuring her own take on the Rolling Stones song on which she stole the show from Mick Jagger.

Turning to CD releases, one of the great female singer-songwriters of the ‘70s gets the Real Gone Expanded Edition reissue treatment with the label’s release of Rita Coolidge’s Beautiful Evening—Live in Japan, a 1980 live album that was only released in Asia and Australia, and the first-ever U.S. release of Rita’s classic Full Moon duets album with then-husband Kris Kristofferson. Both albums come with a bounty of unreleased tracks and liner notes featuring fresh quotes from “The Delta Lady” herself.

Real Gone also casts a look back this June to a pair of guitarists whose careers remain a tad underappreciated. Native American axeman Jesse Ed Davis played with Conway Twitty, three of the four Beatles, Gene Clark, Leonard Cohen, and Jackson Browne to name but a few. The 19-track compilation Red Dirt Boogie captures his critically-acclaimed solo recordings for the Atco label with a pair of unreleased tracks. And the late, great Larry Coryell’s most Hendrix-like album At the Village Gate receives a timely American CD debut.

Finally, Real Gone pays tribute to an old friend of the label, Doris Day, with a 95th birthday release of a 32 (!) track CD containing a series of rare duets from her 1952-1953 CBS radio program The Doris Day Show. You’ll hear everybody from Gordon MacRae to Howard Keel to Kirk Douglas to Ronald Reagan singing and laughing along with Doris on this delightful novelty from a little-known chapter in her incomparable career.

It was our great honor at Real Gone Music to issue all 36 volumes of Dick’s Picks, the Grateful Dead’s landmark live concert series; over the four and a half years it took us to release all three dozen titles, we sometimes felt like we were on the greatest Dead tour ever, every single show a classic! Well, our diligence in releasing Dick’s Picks has had a “Ripple” effect, for now the band is entrusting us with releasing its subsequent live concert series, Road Trips! Unlike Dick’s Picks, which saw about two-thirds of its titles go to regular retail in their original incarnations, NONE of the entries in the Road Trips series were offered to retail outlets outside of the Dead’s own website. Since it worked so well with Dick’s Picks, we are reissuing the last titles first, and we have enlisted the series’ original designer, Steve Vance, to convert the original wallet packaging to customer-friendly triple-CD jewel cases. This volume, Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 5—Boston Music Hall 6/9/76, the last entry in the series, revisits June 1976, when the Dead ended its 20-month hiatus from touring with two shows at the Paramount in Oregon, then headed to Boston and the acoustically friendly confines of its Music Hall for a four-night run. This show is from the first night and was hence the third show on the "comeback tour." The band is clearly settling back into a groove here; in particular, Jerry Garcia’s voice is as strong as it’s ever been, and the inclusion of some unusual material (like the only encore version of “Franklin’s Tower” ever performed) makes this a highly collectible show. Among the highlights are a dazzling “Crazy Fingers” from Blues for Allah (which had been released during the band’s hiatus, so new to set lists), and an exceptionally long and tight “St. Stephen” to lead off the second set. The third disc offers bonus gems, like a rare version of “Mission in the Rain,” from the last night of the run, too; excellent sound throughout, long out of print! A timely release, coinciding with the premiere of the Dead documentary on Amazon Prime.

John Carpenter wasn’t just a sci-fi and horror master, one of the best and most innovative directors of his generation—he was and is also a highly accomplished soundtrack composer whose pioneering use of synthesizers to create suspense and dread in his film scores influenced musicians both within the film world and without. And the score he composed—along with Shirley Walker—for his 1996 dystopic sequel Escape from L.A. offered the creeping, atmospheric tension that Carpenter fans crave; although, as this film was set in L.A. and featured plenty of dark humor, Carpenter and Walker threw in a bit of rock ‘n’ roll as well. The original soundtrack release included a mere 16 tracks and came out on CD exclusively; now, Real Gone Music not only has added another 16 tracks to the release, but is also bringing it to vinyl for the very first time! And not just any vinyl; do you remember how in the film Snake Plisskin is infected with the plutoxin virus that will prove fatal within ten hours unless he retrieves the “Sword of Damocles” super weapon and receives the antidote? Well, our limited edition (of 1500) double-LP is being pressed on test tube clear with plutoxin virus green splatter vinyl…just make sure you don’t let the vinyl scratch your skin! Brand new gatefold artwork featuring stills from the film production completes the package.

Effortlessly blending pop, country, and rock, Rita Coolidge is one of the great female singer-songwriters of our time, but crucial parts of her recorded legacy have remained fallow in the CD era. Now, Real Gone Music is releasing two long-sought after highlights from her catalog. Beautiful Evening—Live in Japan, an extremely rare 1980 concert album that was originally released on LP only in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, captures Rita Coolidge at the height of her powers and international popularity, with a crack band featuring Booker T. Jones, Michael Warren, Salvatore Guglielmi, Mike Utley, Richard Adelman, Phyllis Battell and Carlena Williams. The set list is just killer, with big hits from throughout her career, like “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher,” “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love,” a solo version of her then-current hit duet with Glen Campbell, “Somethin’ ‘Bout You, Baby I Like,” her smash version of the Chiffons’ “One Fine Day,” “Fever,” and “Fool That I Am.” And for an “encore,” we have rounded up five studio tracks issued on various Japanese singles and albums that have never before surfaced in the U.S. Worldwide CD debut and first U.S. release of any kind. Then, would you believe that the famed Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge duets album Full Moon— which went to #1 on the country charts and #26 on the pop charts and garnered a Gold Record—has never been reissued on CD outside of Japan?  This was a love album par excellence, as the two stars had just gotten married weeks prior to the record’s release in 1973; interestingly, though Kris Kristofferson, fresh from recording his country chart-topper “Why Me,” was the bigger star at the time, Full Moon really played to Rita Coolidge’s strengths, as it was produced by her long-time producer David Anderle and set its songs in a higher key more suited to her dreamy vocals. The album scored a huge hit with Kristofferson’s “A Song I’d Like to Sing,” and followed that up with a smash version of Tom Jans’ “Loving Arms;” the duo’s rendition of Kristofferson’s “From the Bottle to the Bottom” also won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. In short, Full Moon was and is a stone-cold classic; and our Real Gone Expanded Edition adds a no less than six unreleased tracks from the A&M vaults including a Kris & Rita duet from the album sessions and five more Rita solo recordings from the period! Both releases include detailed liner notes by Joe Marchese that offer exclusive insightful quotes from The Delta Lady herself. Cornerstone ‘70s pop.

Seldom has any artist captured that ineffable “high, lonesome sound” quite as beautifully as Ry Cooder did on his landmark soundtrack to Wim Wenders’ 1984 film Paris, Texas. Not quite blues, not quite bluegrass, not quite ambient, Cooder’s haunting, evocative score mirrors the existential journey of Harry Dean Stanton’s Travis Henderson as he wanders through the empty Texas prairie landscape in pursuit of his irretrievable past. With the able help of multi-instrumentalists David Lindley and Jim Dickinson, Cooder crafts a soundscape (much of it based on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground”) that is profoundly sad yet leavened with bits of humor and whimsy. Real Gone Music is proud to present this classic soundtrack in a translucent blue vinyl edition limited to 900 copies.

As the Academy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom made abundantly clear, Merry Clayton is one of the greatest and most distinguished female backup singers in rock and soul history, having sung with everybody from Bobby Darin to Ray Charles to Joe Cocker to Linda Ronstadt to Neil Young to Lynyrd Skynyrd (on “Sweet Home Alabama”). But her most famous vocal turn, of course, was her 1969 duet (“It’s just a shot away!”) with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter.” The notoriety she gained from that led to a recording contract with Lou Adler’s Ode label, and to this 1970 debut solo record, which took its title from the Stones track and featured Merry’s own hit solo version of the song. But don’t stop there—produced by Adler, arranged by the great Gene Page, and featuring Billy Preston on keyboards, Gimme Shelter is an overlooked soul classic, with Merry’s indomitable voice taking songs like James Cleveland’s “Here Come Those Heartaches Again,” The Doors’ “Tell All the People,” and James Taylor’s “Country Roads” to dizzying heights (she also turns “Bridge over Troubled Water” into the sanctified gospel hymn it truly is). First-ever vinyl reissue, in limited edition (of 900) opaque white vinyl.

Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, Native American guitarist Jesse Ed Davis was the “go-to” sideman for a remarkable group of musicians. Starting in the mid-‘60s, he toured with Conway Twitty, then become a key part of Taj Mahal’s band, playing on several albums and tours including an appearance on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and his historic pairing with Leon Russell to play on Bob Dylan’s  “Watching the River Flow” at the Concert for Bangla Desh (after which he accompanied George Harrison). By now, he’d caught the eye of ATCO Records, which released his debut LP Jesse Davis in 1971 featuring Russell, Eric Clapton, Gram Parsons, Merry Clayton, Ben Sidran, John Simon (producer of The Band), Alan White (of Yes), and many others including Delaney Bramlett behind the mixing desk. A year later, Atco released Ululu containing some of the same all-stars, plus Duck Dunn, Jim Keltner, and Dr. John—and a version of George Harrison’s “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” before even George recorded it. Next up, Jesse become John Lennon’s guitarist on Walls and Bridges and Rock n Roll, plus Harrison’s Extra Texture and Ringo Starr’s Goodnight Vienna. Davis also produced and played on Gene Clark’s 1971 album White Light and appeared on Clark’s No Other, Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man, and that’s Jesse taking the solo on Jackson Browne’s 1972 breakout hit “Doctor My Eyes.” However, despite his status as one of the all-time great session guitarists, Jesse Ed Davis’s solo LPs have been out of print for years and hard to find on CD—so for the very first time, the best of the ATCO material has been collected together, coupled with some unreleased gems!  Real Gone Music proudly presents Jesse Ed Davis: Red Dirt Boogie—The Atco Recordings 1970-72, a 19-track collection featuring liner notes (festooned with photos from the Atco vaults) by Pat Thomas that trace the ups and downs of this supremely talented musician whose life ended tragically at the age of 43 from a drug overdose. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision to bring out every stinging lead. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, as Davis is featured in a new documentary that debuted at Sundance a few months ago: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World—including Robbie Robertson and John Trudell.

Larry Coryell unexpectedly passed away earlier this year right after our Real Gone reissue of his second solo album, Coryell, and with the renewed attention given to his monumental recorded legacy, we decided to move up our long-in-the-works domestic CD debut of his album At the Village Gate in order to expose this classic record to the largest audience possible. This is the recording where Larry really went axe-to-axe with Jimi Hendrix, who had passed away four months prior to the January 1971 gigs that formed the basis of this release; perhaps in response, Coryell formed his own power trio of his own composed of himself, drummer Harry Wilkinson, and bassist Mervin Bronson to play material that stylistically wasn’t too far removed from the funk/jazz/rock of Jimi’s Band of Gypsys. The result was a fan favorite that somehow has never been issued on CD in the U.S. (and came out overseas over a decade ago on a couple of lightly-distributed labels of suspect provenance). Coryell’s Gibson 400 has seldom sounded as slashing as it does here, while Wilkinson’s playing (aptly described as “busy” by Downbeat) is a cross between Mitch Mitchell, Tony Williams, and Buddy Miles; Bronson keeps things rooted when Coryell heads for the stratosphere. Which is often…this is maybe the most “heroic” of this underappreciated guitar hero’s records. Mike Milchner’s remastering captures every coruscating note, and Bill Kopp’s liner notes feature an interview with drummer Wilkinson. One of the truly great jazz-rock guitarists, loud, free ‘n’ fiery!

One couldn’t imagine a better opening number for the CBS radio program The Doris Day Show than “It’s Magic,” for each week between March 1952 and May 1953, the versatile song stylist and beloved motion picture star Doris Day cast a spell over listeners worldwide with an intimate gathering of famous friends filled with music and laughter. Over the course of five dozen broadcasts of The Doris Day Show—recorded in Hollywood in front of a  live audience and happily preserved on 16-inch transcription discs—Doris joined her special guests at the piano for performances of songs she often had never commercially recorded. This is a largely unknown and scarcely documented facet of Doris’ career, and Day Time on the Radio brings to light no less than 32 rarities including 27 duets and five solo performances—most of which have gone unheard for over six decades! Among her notable foils are frequent leading man Gordon MacRae, who starred in five pictures with Doris; here the two of them sing a total of four duets, highlighted by their medley of “Cuddle Up a Little Closer”/”Till We Meet Again.” Movie stars Kirk Douglas, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan (!), and Broderick Crawford all prove willing and able duet partners, while the more musically-inclined Tony Martin, Howard Keel, Smilin’ Jack Smith, and Frank Loesser lend their formidable talents to a mix of traditional and Broadway-inspired fare. Doris’ sparkling lost solo performance of “Till I Waltz Again with You” finishes Day Time on the Radio with a flourish before a couple of hidden bonus tracks: her renditions of the opening “It’s Magic” and closing “Love to Be with You” radio themes sans announcer. Joe Marchese’s detailed notes and rare photos round out what is a fantastic addition to the Doris Day discography, the first authorized release ever of her long-lost radio performances.

JUNE 2, 2017 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC (all releases single CD unless otherwise noted)

GRATEFUL DEAD: Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 5—Boston Music Hall 6/9/76 (3-CD Set)

SHIRLEY WALKER & JOHN CARPENTER: Escape from L.A.—Music from the Motion Picture Score (Limited Test Tube Clear with Plutoxin Virus Green Splatter Vinyl Edition) (2-LP Set)

RITA COOLIDGE: Beautiful Evening—Live in Japan (Expanded Edition)


RY COODER: Paris, Texas—Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Limited Translucent Blue Vinyl Edition) (LP)

MERRY CLAYTON: Gimme Shelter (Limited Opaque White Vinyl Edition) (LP)

JESSE ED DAVIS: Red Dirt Boogie—The Atco Recordings 1970-1972

LARRY CORYELL: At the Village Gate

DORIS DAY: Day Time on the Radio—Lost Radio Duets from The Doris Day Show (1952-1953)