The days are getting shorter, but Real Gone Music's release schedule sure isn't, with seven new titles set to drop on September 30. Most famous for the indelible "Brother Louie," and fronted by Ian Lloyd and ex-Left Banke leader Michael Brown, the band Stories receives its first-ever retrospective, featuring 19 tracks drawn from all versions of the band and its various offshoots. Then, the label goes soul vault spelunking for a collection of Southern soul songstress Barbara Lynn's complete recordings for the Atlantic label, 25 tracks strong with an unreleased side. And Real Gone stays in the R&B groove for a single-CD twofer sporting both albums that star soul vocalist Ronnie Dyson cut for the Cotillion label in the early '80s. Both albums make their worldwide CD debut.
Then, the label delves back into the album catalog of disco trio Faith Hope & Charity for the second album they released on the RCA label, garnished, like the first, with several bonus 12" single sides. West Coast soft rocker turned Nashville hit songwriter Kerry Chater sees the two classic, "light mellow" albums he made for Warner Bros. in the late '70s receive their first-ever reissue. And Real Gone revisits what was quite possibly the greatest year of touring the Grateful Dead ever had, 1977, for a 3-CD set featuring the first concert the band played after the release of Terrapin Station.
They had a #1 hit and one of the most enduring (and controversial) hits of the '70s in "Brother Louie" -- the groundbreaking song about an interracial love affair recently heard (in a re-recorded version) as the theme song of Louis C.K.'s hit TV series Louie -- but Stories have never had any kind of collection devoted to their work. One reason for that might be that the band had two distinct eras: the first two albums with Ian Lloyd and the Left Banke's Michael Brown as co-leaders of the band, and the third and final album with Lloyd as the sole frontman. Which we have kept in mind in putting together in this compilation, which features four single sides that have never been on CD. "Stories Untold -- The Very Best of Stories" starts with the "Two by Two (I'm Losing You)"/"Love Songs in the Night" single taken from the Ultra Violet's Hot Parts soundtrack that was purportedly recorded by the Left Banke but was credited to Steve Martin, who was a founding member of that group along with Brown. We also include the solo singles that Brown and Lloyd released on the Kama Sutra and Scotti Bros. labels, respectively. But at the heart of the collection are the songs the band released as Stories and Ian Lloyd & Stories -- the original hit single versions of "Brother Louie," "I'm Coming Home," "Darling," "Mammy Blue" and "If It Feels Good, Do It," plus key album tracks, all remastered at Sony's Battery Studios in New York. Larry Watts' notes untangle the story behind Stories, with quotes from Ian Lloyd. 19 tracks of superb progressive pop from the '70s.
Texas-born Barbara Lynn has long been considered one of the finest performers of the style known as "Southern Soul," the gritty, traditional R&B style of singing and playing associated with artists whose careers began in the '60s and early '70s. Her career began in her late teens, when Barbara turned a poem she'd written in school into #1 R&B hit, "You'll Lose A Good Thing," in the Summer of 1962, launching a career that has now spanned over five decades. Produced by Huey P. Meaux, the now-classic recording (also covered by Aretha Franklin and Freddy Fender among others) was cut for Philadelphia-based Jamie Records, for whom Barbara (a left-handed guitarist and writer of much of her own material) went on to record two albums and a number of singles, half-a-dozen of which charted. After a brief spell with producer Meaux's Tribe label, Barbara was signed to Atlantic Records in 1967, recording an entire album, Here Is Barbara Lynn, which yielded the Top 40 R&B and Top 100 pop charted single, "This Is The Thanks I Get." A popular touring artist, Barbara continued recording for the label, scoring her last Top 40 R&B hit in 1971 with "(Until Then) I'll Suffer," from her original 1967 Atlantic sessions. A one-off session with producer/songwriter and keyboardist Spooner Oldham in 1968 spawned six tracks, one of which, an upbeat version of the 1967 Box Tops' hit "Soul Deep," finally makes its appearance here as part of "The Complete Atlantic Recordings", reissued by Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records. Barbara returned to working with Huey Meaux for her final Atlantic sessions in 1972, which resulted in two singles before the then-mother of three began a hiatus from recording and performing that ended with a 1984 Japanese tour. As its title implies, "The Complete Atlantic Recordings" features all 25 tracks Barbara Lynn cut for the label between 1967-72. Notes by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan include quotes from Barbara, who remains an active live performer. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision...essential Southern soul.
The late Ronnie Dyson (1950-1990) began his career when he landed a lead role in the famed Broadway musical Hair, singing "Aquarius" (the song most associated with the show) at the age of eighteen. Signed to Columbia Records in 1968, Dyson continued his stage career in Salvation, achieving his first chart single with the US Top 10 with "(If You Let Me Make Love to You) Why Can't I Touch You" from the show. The young singer then cut a cover version of The Delfonics' "When You Get Right Down to It," -- produced and co-written by Thom Bell -- which became a Top 40 R&B US hit and a Top 40 UK charted single. In the wake of its success, Columbia teamed Dyson with Bell and the result was the 1973 best-selling album One Man Band, the title track for which was another pop and soul hit for the Washington, DC native. After recording a number of singles and three more albums for Columbia, Ronnie signed with Cotillion Records in 1982, teaming up with producer Bobby Eli to record "Phase 2". For the occasion, Eli used top-notch New York musicians including drummer Yogi Horton, guitarist Doc Powell, bassist Francisco Centenato and keyboardist Ray Chew, along with famed MSFB arranger/conductor Don Renaldo's strings and arrangements by Richie Rome and Eli. The album included a revival of the Gamble & Huff-penned Soul Survivors' 1967 hit, "Expressway to Your Heart," and the double-sided R&B charted single, "Heart to Heart" and "Bring It on Home." In 1983, Ronnie teamed up with another renowned Philadelphia producer, Butch Ingram, for his final Cotillion album, "Brand New Day". Recorded in Philly with members of the Ingram family, the eight-song set focused on a mix of dance-oriented material ("You Better Be Fierce"), ballads ("Tender Loving Care" and "I Gave You All of Me"), a duet with premier Philly background vocalist Barbara Ingram on "Let the Love Begin," and spawned Ronnie's final Top 30 R&B charted single, "All Over Your Face." The Real Gone Music reissue of "Phase 2/Brand New Day" in association with SoulMusic Records marks the worldwide CD debut for both albums, featuring liner notes by noted American journalist Roshod Ollison.
Piggybacking on the 2014 worldwide premiere reissue of the self-titled 1975 RCA debut album by the trio Faith Hope & Charity, Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records presents the follow-up set, "Life Goes On", in an expanded edition featuring four bonus tracks also produced by the renowned producer/singer/songwriter Van McCoy. The original group (then known as The Lovelles) was from Tampa, Florida, and formed in 1966 with a line-up of Albert Bailey, Brenda Hilliard and Zulema Cusseaux. Their first hit single in 1970 was on Maxwell Records with "So Much Love," produced by McCoy who had been instrumental in securing their first record deal. After switching to Sussex Records, Cusseaux left for a solo career, and in 1975, Hilliard ('Faith') and Bailey ('Hope') were joined by Dianne Destry ('Charity') just prior to signing a new contract with RCA, reuniting with Van McCoy as their producer. Following the success of the No. 1 R&B single "To Each His Own" and their best-selling first RCA LP, McCoy brought the trio back into Media Sound Studios in New York to record a follow-up album. Imaginative in its scope and production, each track on "Life Goes On" included a short "live spiral" based on the opening "Life Goes On" overture that preceded the title cut; among the highlights are an upbeat medley of the pop classics "Cherish" and "Monday, Monday," along with the McCoy-penned ballads "I Want A Man" and "You've Gotta Tell Her" (both with additional background vocals from former original member Zulema). This expanded edition includes a shortened version of "Life Goes On" along with extended mixes of "You're My Peace Of Mind" (close to eleven minutes in length), "Gradually" and "Positive Thinking" (both in excess of seven minutes each). Liner notes are by SoulMusic Records' founder David Nathan. Another worldwide CD debut.
In between his stint as bass player and arranger for Gary Puckett & the Union Gap and his emergence as one of Nashville's leading songwriters (Lee Greenwood's "I.O.U."; George Strait's "You Look So Good in Love"; Reba McEntire's "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving"), Kerry Chater cut two albums for Warner Bros. that enlisted some of the West Coast's top session and producing talent and have since become minor classics of the singer-songwriter "light mellow" genre. Both "Part Time Love" (1977) and "Love on a Shoestring" (1978) were produced by the legendary Steve Barri (Grass Roots, Turtles) with assistance from fellow former ABC/Dunhill staffer Michael Omartian (co-producer of "We Are the World" with Quincy Jones), and featured both legendary jazzmen like Ernie Watts and Victor Feldman and more rock-oriented studio stars like Jeff Porcaro (Toto) and Mike Botts (Bread). Each of these records makes a long-overdue, worldwide CD debut here, with notes (featuring copious quotes from the artist) by Gene Sculatti, who was working at Warner Bros. at the time. Another pair of Real Gone finds.
1977 was a great year of touring for the Dead, and it's been the source of some of the most acclaimed live recordings the band has released (the complete set of June Winterland shows comes to mind, as do Dick's Picks Vols. 34 & 29). Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Vol. 15 -- Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ 9/3/77 keeps the streak going, despite the fact that this was the first concert the band had played in almost three months, and that it took place in front of a crowd estimated at over 100,000! It was also the first show after the release of Terrapin Station, and several numbers (the title track, "Samson and Delilah" and "Estimated Prophet," which segues into a really unusual and stellar "Eyes of the World") surface from the album. "The Music Never Stopped," "Peggy-O," "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo" and "He's Gone" are all given what could be characterized as definitive renditions as well, and the band closes the night by playing "Truckin'" for the first time in two years before the "Terrapin Station" encore. One more miraculous night from the Grateful Dead.
September 30, 2014 Releases from Real Gone Music
Stories: Stories Untold -- The Very Best of Stories
Barbara Lynn: The Complete Atlantic Recordings
Ronnie Dyson: Phase 2/Brand New Day
Faith Hope & Charity: Life Goes On (Expanded Edition)
Kerry Chater: Part Time Love
Kerry Chater: Love on a Shoestring
Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Vol. 15 -- Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ 9/3/77