Real Gone’s March schedule boasts a series of double-CD sets that rank among the most momentous releases in the label’s five-plus year history. After years of planning, the complete singles by the all-time great rock ‘n’ soul band The Rascals—including both their Atlantic and Columbia seven-inches—are coming out on one comprehensive and thoroughly annotated collection. Then, the label is releasing ALL of the seminal early recordings that Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes cut for the Epic label, newly remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios with commentary by Southside Johnny himself. Similarly, the complete Columbia recordings by the long-lost power pop band Artful Dodger receive a long-overdue retrospective, with brand-new remastering by Maria Triana, also at Battery Studios. And the bombshell to end all bombshells, Ann-Margret, has her classic RCA recordings anthologized on one picture-packed, 30-track set.
Then, Real Gone is putting out a couple of limited-edition platters. The soundtrack to Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight, which boasts otherwise unavailable tracks from such artists as Megadeth, Melvins, Ministry and Biohazard, is finally reissued on limited edition (of 1100) opaque green vinyl. And the classic debut album by Question Mark and the Mysterians, 96 Tears, gets a limited-edition (of 600) repress on orange vinyl.
Finally, the label is releasing a couple of old favorites on CD. Star of the TV Western Cheyenne, Clint Walker crooned quite a nice country gospel record for Warner Bros. in 1959 called Inspiration, which Real Gone is reissuing in an Expanded Edition featuring Walker’s single-only rendition of “Silver Bells” as a bonus track. And the label is releasing the mood music album to end all mood music albums, Jackie Gleason’s Music for Lovers Only, in its full, 16-track mono version.
With two fantastic singers and songwriters in Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, an underrated guitarist and songwriter in Gene Cornish, and the great Dino Danelli on drums (plus a pair of studio Svengalis in engineer Tom Dowd and arranger Arif Mardin to rival George Martin), The Rascals were the closest answer America had to The Beatles during the ’60s. The resemblance wasn’t limited to the composition of their line-up and the profusion of hit releases, either; like the Fab Four, The Rascals were able to author chart-topping singles while simultaneously crafting albums that held together as artistic statements. Witness the fact that The Rascals’ albums have seen numerous reissues by multiple labels; their singles, on the other hand, have eluded a comprehensive collection, in large part because the band had two phases to their career, one with the Atlantic label, the other on Columbia. Now, just over 50 years after they first hit the top of the charts with “Good Lovin’,” Real Gone Music is proud to present the first-ever compilation to collect all of the band’s single sides in one place. At 47 songs strong, The Complete Singles A’s & B’s includes the A and B-side of every single The Rascals ever cut, both their hit Atlantic tracks and their later Columbia 7” releases. Along the way you’ll hear such legendary songs as “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’” (also here in its Spanish and Italian versions!), “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “A Girl Like You,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “A Beautiful Morning,” “People Got to Be Free,” “See,” and more, the earlier tracks in their original mono single mixes (termed “the money mixes” by Cornish), the later songs in their stereo single mixes (28 of the 47 songs on the collection are mono). Such a monumental release deserves annotation commensurate with its importance, and for this 2-CD set Ed Osborne has penned a 4500-word essay containing exclusive quotes from Cavaliere, Brigati, and Cornish, punctuated with rare European picture sleeve singles and photos. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, and featuring a total of 19 charting songs, The Complete Singles A’s & B’s takes its place as the definitive career-spanning collection from America’s greatest blue-eyed soul outfit.
Here at last is the anthology Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes fans have been waiting for, the one that not only includes all four albums the group cut with Miami Steve Van Zandt (including the CD debut of the promo-only LP Jukes Live at the Bottom Line), but also finally, finally presents this seminal body of work in newly remastered form. Indeed, the Epic recordings of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the crucial early sides that made their reputation (and featured a ton of Springsteen/E Street Band spillover), have long suffered from indifferent sound and packaging, as all reissues have been taken from the same digital masters made at the dawn of the CD era. The Fever—The Remastered Epic Recordings changes all that—all four Epic albums including I Don’t Want to Go Home, Jukes Live at the Bottom Line, This Time It’s for Real, and Hearts of Stone (plus the single version of “Havin’ a Party”) appear here in brand-new, sparkling versions remastered from the original master tapes by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York. What’s more, the 2-CD, 40-track collection offers new liner notes by Chris Morris that feature fresh quotes from Southside Johnny himself, and Bruce Springsteen’s original liner notes for I Don’t Want to Go Home. Speaking of Springsteen, his fingerprints are all over these projects, with such songs as “The Fever,” “Little Girl So Fine,” “Love on the Wrong Side of Town,” “When You Dance,” “Talk to Me,” “Trapped Again,” and “Hearts of Stone” all written or co-written by The Boss, while Van Zandt not only produced all four Epic albums but wrote much of the repertoire. But the real star here, of course, is Southside Johnny himself, one of the great white R&B singers of this or any other time, backed by a crack band including The Miami Horns and with such special guests as Ronnie Spector, The Coasters, The Drifters, and The Five Satins. Joyful, soulful music finally sounding the way it oughtta!
Artful Dodger was a band ahead of its time, casting hard-edged hooks into a mid-‘70s pond that wasn’t quite ready to bite on the genre that came to be known as power pop. Had they come along a few years later, things might have been quite different for this outfit hailing from Fairfax, VA, for their three albums for the Columbia label hold up to this day as shining examples of the style. Their first two records, 1975’s Artful Dodger and 1976’s Honor Among Thieves, combine Beatle-esque pop and driving rock in the finest Raspberries tradition (interestingly, Artful Dodger had a big following in Cleveland, the Raspberries’ home town); they feature refreshingly straightforward production from Jack Douglas (Aerosmith) and/or Eddie Leonetti and some really tremendous songwriting especially on tracks like “Wayside” and “Scream.” And 1977’s Babes on Broadway, while showing some signs of a group frustrated with its lack of commercial success, definitely has its moments, particularly on the song “Can’t Stop Pretending.” Unfortunately, without a stylistic pigeonhole to place them in, Columbia was unable to move any copies and dropped them, which explains why Artful Dodger has been so hard to find in the digital era, with CDs of their first two albums commanding huge sums online and the third one never coming out at all. Now, Real Gone Music is shining a long-overdue spotlight on this seminal power pop band with The Complete Columbia Recordings, a 2-CD set that includes all three albums plus a couple of single versions, their COMPLETE recordings for the label, newly remastered by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York. Jeremy Cargill’s notes feature fresh quotes from band members Steve Cooper and Steve Brigida, plus we’ve dug up some rare photos from the Columbia vaults. Power pop fans, prepare to have your minds blown!
She was the ultimate bombshell, a Swedish seductress with flame-colored hair, a fulsome figure, and a taste for Triumph motorcycles. But with Ann-Margret, her irresistible beauty took a back seat to her incandescent talent; this was no mere starlet, but a performer whose singing, dancing, and acting skills—all imbued with a devil-may-care charisma—caused record execs to groom her as the female Elvis Presley. Now, finally, here is a comprehensive collection that captures those magical early days of Ann-Margret’s career, a 2-CD set that includes 30 tracks carefully chosen from her 1961-1966 RCA recordings. Among the featured tracks: chart hits like “I Just Don’t Understand,” “It Do Me So Good,” and “What Am I Supposed to Do;” her famous duets with Elvis from Viva Las Vegas, “You’re the Boss” and “The Lady Loves Me” (which, as legend has it, Col. Tom Parker withheld from commercial release because he was afraid she would overshadow The King); four tracks from Beauty and the Beard, her charting album with trumpeter Al Hirt; soundtrack recordings from Bye Bye Birdie, Every Night at Eight, Thunderball, The Swinger, and The Pleasure Seekers; and much more. In fact, the 30 songs on The Definitive Collection—which includes single sides as well—hail from nine different albums, and liner note writer Joe Marchese walks you through each and every one of them on this sumptuous package, which includes vintage album artwork. An earful and an eye-ful…viva Ann-Margret!
Wanna hear the soundtrack to Armageddon? The 1995 film Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight starred William Sadler as the Demon Knight, who, along with his new recruit, Jada Pinkett Smith, is charged with fending off The Collector (Billy Zane) and his army of demons from acquiring an ancient relic that is the only thing preventing the complete destruction of the human race. While the flick did meh box office and was panned critically, the soundtrack was easily one of the best of its era and of its kind, an all-star line-up of thrash and heavy metal acts mostly doing otherwise unavailable material (only the track by Pantera appears to have been released prior to the movie). The Pantera, Megadeth, Melvins, and Biohazard entries are particulary good, and the one hip hop tune on the collection, Gravediggaz’ “1-800-Murder,” is an archetypal “horrorcore” rap song. But perhaps the best tune is “Hey Man Nice Shot” by Filter, an outfit that hadn’t released anything prior to this soundtrack. Since this movie came out in 1995, it only came out on LP in Europe; our Real Gone reissue brings it back on opaque green vinyl limited to 1100 copies!
By exclusive arrangement with ABKCO Music, Real Gone Music is proud to present the garage band to end all garage bands, Question Mark and the Mysterians! Hailing from Saginaw, Michigan, this group of Mexican-American teenagers had all the bona-fides collectors of ‘60s cool cherish—the name, derived from a Japanese horror film; the sound, an insistent, three chord beat powered by that unmistakable Vox organ tone; and, of course, the sunglasses-shod Question Mark himself, who claims to have been born on Mars and lived among the dinosaurs in a past life. And their 1966 debut album, 96 Tears, hit the Top 100 on the Billboard charts thanks to its legendary title tune. We’re presenting this all-time classic record on orange vinyl (cuz after all, orange is Question Mark’s color) limited to 600 copies and mastered at 45 rpm for maximum sonic effect!
Much like his namesake Clint Eastwood (whose sole album is also a Real Gone release), Clint Walker was the star of a TV western (Cheyenne) who parlayed his TV stardom into a recording contract, and, like Clint, being a TV cowboy he went country on the 1959 Warner Bros. release Inspiration. Or rather country gospel, for Clint’s Crosby-like croonings reveal a somewhat gentler soul than his steely-eyed counterpart. In fact, Clint is a heck of a singer, and the label surrounded him with top-notch talent, in this case arranger/conductor Ralph Carmichael, vocal arranger Jimmy Joyce and Hollywood's finest session men including organist Buddy Cole for what is an unexpectedly musically satisfying affair that has since become something of a cult classic. And for this Expanded Edition, we’ve added Clint’s single-only rendition of “Silver Bells!” Notes by Todd Everett featuring quotes from Clint plus photos round out the set.
Probably the most popular, iconic mood music album ever made, and the go-to make-out record for an entire generation, Jackie Gleason’s Music for Lovers Only set the stage for untold imitators to come with its evocative album artwork and lush, sweeping soundscapes. Released as a 10” LP in 1952 as the debut album from the television comic superstar, it set the record—which still stands!—for most weeks in the Top Ten Album charts at 153, and hit the charts yet again in 1955 when it was released as a 12” LP. But here is where the history of Music for Lovers Only becomes, like most romances, complicated. The original 10” included only eight tracks, but Capitol’s first 12” issue of the album added eight more for a total of 16; subsequently, however, the album was reissued on LP with 12 tracks, and the out-of-print initial CD release of Music for Lovers Only featured just the eight tracks from the original 10” release. Now, Real Gone Music is restoring this classic album to its full, 16-track length, with its glorious, original artwork intact (back cover quote: “A wisp of cigarette smoke in the soft lamplight, the tinkle of a glass, a hushed whisper…and music for lovers only”) and in its original mono. As for those wondering what musical contribution Mr. Gleason made to the album, some say Gleason conceived of melodies in his head and described them vocally to his assistants. But when Bobby Hackett, whose wistful trumpet lines were the focal point of the Gleason sound and of this album, was asked what Jackie contributed to the recordings, he replied: “He brought the checks.” Either way, Music for Lovers Only stands as The Great One’s greatest musical achievement.
MARCH 3, 2017 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
MARCH 10 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC