Real Gone Music Announces 9/4-9/11 Releases Including Texas Tornados and 4 Seasons

Article Contributed by Real Gone Music | Published on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Real Gone Music is blowing up a storm with its early September release schedule. First up is a long-awaited, years-in-the-making Texas Tornados collection, a 2-CD, 39-track set that features key tracks from all of their albums and six unreleased tracks. And Real Gone stays down in Texas for the first-ever compilation of Tornados member and conjunto legend Flaco Jiménez’s Arista recordings. 

Then, the label makes a major contribution to the 4 Seasons catalog by reissuing their first two albums, Sherry & 11 Others and Big Girls Don’t Cry and Twelve others, for the first time ever on CD in their original mono mix. Both releases are limited editions inside a mini LP sleeve, too. One of the greatest soul singers of all time, Wilson Pickett, receives a long-overdue look at his criminally neglected 1973-1975 RCA recordings with a 2-CD set containing his complete studio sessions for the label. And Dean Martin’s son, Ricci Martin, enlisted the aid of everybody from Carl and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys to Peter Cetera of Chicago to Gerry Beckley of America on Beached, his solo record from 1977. Real Gone is issuing an expanded edition of this lost classic of California rock.

Finally, Real Gone Music is teaming with GL Music, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé’s own label, to release a 3-CD set of Eydie’s finest and rarest recordings, including an entire unreleased album session. The set is compiled and annotated by Steve Lawrence himself.

Pop music has seen its share of supergroups, but none of them were (and are) as infectious, buoyant and plain ol’ fun as the Texas Tornados. And make no mistake—the Tornados were a supergroup; in fact, when it comes to roots and ethnic music, the pedigree of the band was unmatched. Accordionist Flaco Jiménez is The King of Conjunto Music, and has played with everybody from the Rolling Stones to Buck Owens, while keyboardist Augie Meyers basically is the Vox organ, having played it with the Sir Douglas Quintet and on countless other releases by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, John Hammond…the list goes on. Freddy Fender was the rare Chicano artist to achieve crossover pop success with a style that blended swamp pop, rockabilly, country, and Tejano influences together with a beautiful, crooning vocal style, and Doug Sahm—well, Doug Sahm was Doug Sahm, an American original if there ever was one, a one-man melting pot of country, soul, Tejano and rock and roll. Together, these four legends cut four albums (or five, if you count the Spanish-language version of their debut) for the Reprise label during the ‘90s that were among the greatest roots-rock records ever made, a rollicking, utterly irresistible body of music made for dancing, drinking, laughing, loving and living. Now, Real Gone Music has gone deep into the vaults to present the ultimate Texas Tornados collection, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada—Prime Cuts 1990-1996, a 2-CD, 39-track set that includes prime cuts from all of their albums—the Spanish and English versions of their self-titled debut, plus Zone of Our Own, Hangin’ On by a Thread and 4 Aces—together with rarities and six unreleased sides including four instrumentals and a Miller Lite beer spot! Among the non-album tracks are such Tornados touchstones as “Una Mas Cerveza” and the Fender favorite “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” while the album sides are highlighted by “(Hey Baby) Que Paso,” “Little Bit Is Better Than Nada,” “Who Were You Thinking Of,” the Doug Sahm anthem “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and many more. Friend of the band Randy Poe has penned the notes based on a fresh interview with Doug Sahm’s son Shawn, latter-day leader of the Tornados and authority on all things to do with his dad, while the photos come from the dim recesses of the Reprise label archives. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision and assembled with love by compiler Mike Johnson, A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada—Prime Cuts 1990-1996 is the roots music anthology of the year, and a long-overdue look at a band that has never stopped going strong. 

King of Conjunto Music and sideman to the stars, Flaco Jiménez is responsible for taking the humble, much-maligned accordion and making it hip. His early regional recordings for a multitude of labels including Corona, D.L.B., Norteño, Dina and Joey made him a local music legend in the San Antonio area. But, after being tapped by fellow Texas icon Doug Sahm to play on the landmark album Doug Sahm and Band (the beginning of a long artistic partnership with Sahm that wound up with the Texas Tornados), Flaco quickly became the accordionist of choice for everybody from Ry Cooder to Buck Owens to the Rolling Stones. His celebrated status among fellow musicians did not escape notice from the major labels. Warner Bros. signed him for 1992’s Partners, and Arista signed him shortly thereafter, at first attempting to make a crossover country star out of the conjunto master. Flaco Jiménez, his 1994 self-titled debut for the label, featured such guest stars as Raul Malo of the Mavericks (singing lead on “Seguro Que Hell Yes”) and RadneyFoster (singing a duet with Flaco on “Jealous Heart”), supplementing Flaco’s core band of Oscar Tellez on bajo sexto and vocals, Fred Ojeda on vocals, Max Baca on bass and Flaco’s son David on drums. Perhaps due to its mix of country and conjunto styles, the album didn’t chart, but it did win a Grammy for Best Mexican-American/Tejano Performance. It’s also prime Flaco, as the tension between the country and conjunto stylings actually makes for a very engaging and intriguing album. When it came time to make 1996’s Buena Suerte Señorita, however, all thoughts of building a bridge between Nashville and San Antonio were out the window, and Flaco and his core band settled in to make, as co-producer Cameron Randle put it, “a 100% turbo conjunto record.” (Another choice quote from Randle: “How long does it take to listen to this record? To paraphrase Flaco, about a six-pack and a half.”) Fan favorite “Borracho #1” leads off the album, followed by one propulsive, kick-ass conjunto song after another, highlighted by the title tune that features a rare solo vocal turn by Flaco. Both of these albums that comprise Real Gone’s new collection, The Complete Arista Recordings, have long been out of print, and for this release (remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios), we’ve added liner notes by Randy Poe that feature quotes from Flaco taken from Poe’s fresh interview with the legend. Essential stuff, and a key, missing part of the Flaco Jiménez discography.

The 4 Seasons were and are one of the greatest vocal groups in the history of pop music, and their music has been plentifully available since the “dawn” (pun intended) of the CD reissue era. But there remains a very large gap in their catalog: their original albums have NEVER been available on CD in their original mono mixes! Which really makes no sense; not only were most consumers buying and listening to mono albums during the early and mid ‘60s, when the bulk of the 4 Seasons’ albums were released, but also the mono mixes were what the group and its producer Bob Crewe concentrated on and approved. Now, Real Gone Music is embarking on a monorail, er, monaural ride through the 4 Seasons’ album catalog, releasing the original mono album mixes on CD in chronological order, all taken from tape, and housed inside mini LP sleeves with old-style, “tip on” printing that replicates the original album art all the way down to the original Vee Jay logos. And handling the sound for us? The one and only Bill Inglot, who has been working with the 4 Seasons’ catalog for years (and each master has been approved by The 4 Season’s Bob Gaudio)! Each release is a strictly limited edition of 2000 units, and we’re starting with the two albums that made them stars and introduced their legendary harmonies to the masses, 1962’s Sherry & 11 Others and Big Girls Don’t Cry and 1963’s Big Girls Don’t Cry and 12 others.

Between 1964 and 1972, Wilson Pickett established himself as one of the greatest soul men of all time with a string of incendiary pop and R&B smashes like “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” “Mustang Sally” and “Funky Broadway.”    But the Wicked Pickett’s scorching career didn’t stop when he left Atlantic Records.  Beginning with 1973’s Mr. Magic Man, Pickett recorded four soulful studio albums for RCA Records, where, in an extremely productive two years, he notched his final Hot 100 hits as well as a string of R&B chart successes.  Yet, Pickett’s RCA discography has been all but ignored in the compact disc era.  Now, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are proud to present the first-ever appearance on CD of all four of Wilson Pickett’s sizzling, funky RCA studio platters on Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Recordings.  This 2-CD package includes Mr. Magic Man (1973), Miz Lena’s Boy (1973), Pickett in the Pocket (1974) and Join Me and Let’s Be Free (1975) plus four rare, never-on-CD bonus singles to paint a full portrait of this exciting era.  For these sessions, Pickett teamed with producers including Brad Shapiro, Dave Crawford and Yusuf Rahman, and recorded at legendary venues including Muscle Shoals Sound and Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios, where Pickett had recorded some of his most indelible Atlantic sides.  The collection takes its title from the hit single written by the team of Bobby Eli (“Sideshow,” “Love Won’t Let Me Wait”) and Carl Fisher, which captured Pickett in a smooth Philly groove.  Vic Anesini at Sony’s Battery Studios has remastered this first-of-its-kind collection, while Joe Marchese has penned the liner notes. Mr. Magic Man: The Complete RCA Studio Albums adds up to 42 tracks and 148 minutes of wicked good—and wickedly rare—soul from the iconic voice of Wilson Pickett.

What if key members of The Beach Boys, Chicago, America, and Wings had teamed up to create one of the greatest California rock albums you’ve never heard?  Well, they actually did!  Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and director Ricci Martin, the sixth child of legendary “King of Cool” Dean Martin (and younger brother of Dino, Desi and Billy’s Dean-Paul Martin!), got a little help from his friends to craft 1977’s Epic Records release Beached.  And the all-star cast was, indeed, epic.  Recording at The Beach Boys’ own Brother Studios in Santa Monica, Ricci assembled his core team from the band’s axis (Ricci’s history with the Boys went way back; he even took the famous photograph adorning the group’s Sunflower album)!  Carl Wilson co-produced, played and sang on Beached alongside longtime sideman Billy Hinsche (the Billy of “Dino, Desi and…”), while Dennis Wilson, making a rare appearance outside of The Beach Boys, shared drumming duties with Ricky Fataar, a member of The Beach Boys’ most adventurous 1970s line-up.  From Chicago, Ricci invited Peter Cetera along with the entire horn section of Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walter Parazaider.  America’s Gerry Beckley and Wings’ Jimmy McCulloch dropped into the sessions, too, along with Van Dyke Parks.  Other names on the album sleeve, such as Bobby Figueroa, Carli Muñoz and Ed Carter, will be familiar to Beach Boys aficionados, not to mention fans of Dennis Wilson’s cult classics Pacific Ocean Blue and Bambu. This very special album of sun-flecked SoCal pop-rock was entirely composed by Ricci Martin, with one song co-written by Carl Wilson.  While Beached made a brief appearance on CD in Japan roughly a decade ago before quickly going out-of-print, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are thrilled to keep the summer alive with its first-ever American reissue.  This expanded edition adds four rare bonus tracks including the mono and stereo single mixes of “Stop, Look Around” and “Moonbeams” (the mono mixes make their worldwide CD debuts).  It’s all been freshly remasteredby Vic Anesini at Sony’s Battery Studios, and features new liner notes by Joe Marchese featuring quotes from. Ricci himself. Martin’s Beached can now finally take its rightful place in the canon of Beach Boys lore as well as in the illustrious musical legacy of the Martin family.

The title of GL Music’s new 3-CD Eydie Gormé collection is An American Treasure, and the late, great singer was that indeed, so much so that the job of anthologizing her long, legendary career looms as a formidable task for any compiler. In fact, there is only one man who is really qualified for the job: Steve Lawrence himself! The long-time husband (for 56 years!) and singing partner of Eydie has drawn upon his intimate knowledge of her catalog and reached deep into the vaults for some rarities in putting together this 3-CD set on their own GL Music label, which Real Gone Music is distributing to retail. The first disc, “The Hits,” presents Eydie’s most famous recordings, including such gems as “Blame It on the Bossa Nova,” “If He Walked into My Life,” “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have” and “Yes. My Darling Daughter,” while disc two, “Steve’s Favorites,” offers the songs he most loved hearing Eydie sing, like “Don’t Go to Strangers, “The Friendliest Thing,” “Softly As I Leave You” and “Hello Young Lovers.” But it’s disc three that is pure catnip for Eydie fans: a recently discovered, completely unreleased album session that she cut during the ‘60s! Steve’s heartfelt, nakedly personal liner notes inside digipak packaging complete the experience. An American Treasure is a love letter from Steve to his dear, departed wife, and a beautiful summation of a one-of-a-kind career and artist. (Note: all of GL’s proceeds will go to benefit The Lawrence Foundation).


Wilson Pickett: Mr. Magic Man—The Complete RCA Studio Recordings (2-CD Set)

SEPTEMBER 4 RELEASES FROM GL MUSIC (Distributed by Real Gone Music)

Eydie Gormé: An American Treasure (3-CD Set)


Texas Tornados: A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada—Prime Cuts 1990-1996 (2-CD Set)

Flaco Jiménez: The Complete Arista Recordings

The 4 Seasons: Sherry & 11 Others (Limited Mono Mini LP Sleeve Edition)

The 4 Seasons: Big Girls Don’t Cry and 12 others (Limited Mono Mini LP Sleeve Edition)

Ricci Martin: Beached (Expanded Edition)