Real Gone Music's September Releases Include The Meters, The Isley Bros

Article Contributed by Real Gone Music | Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

September means back to school, and Real Gone Music spent its Summer vacation rounding up some far out, funky sounds from every end of the musical spectrum to get everybody back in the groove! At the top of the curriculum is an unprecedented double-CD collection from the prototypical New Orleans funk band The Meters, precursor to The Neville Brothers and backing band on so many classic sides to come out of the Crescent City. We’ve rounded up their complete Josie, Reprise, and Warner Brothers singles to fashion a 40-song set that spans their entire recording career and provides the last word on this seminal outfit. And the label has uncovered a gem from another seminal funk band, The Isley Brothers, offering the CD debut of a long-lost live-in-the-studio album the group cut in 1980.

Real Gone then continues its string of comprehensive, two-CD collections from the Sony vaults with releases from Porter Wagoner and Robert Goulet. At 40 tracks, the Wagoner set is the definitive look at his solo career, featuring every Top 10 solo hit and some of those wildly eccentric album tracks, while the Goulet set covers his recording career for Columbia by including singles, key album tracks, and a bunch of soundtrack performances by this multi-talented performer. And the label has combined the two previous collections it released of Dionne Warwick’s Warner Bros. recordings to fashion the definitive look at this underappreciated period of the diva’s career.

Then, the ever eclectic label casts its stylistic net a little wider with two limited edition colored vinyl releases, one from punk rock legends X-Ray Spex, and one from New Wave of British Heavy Metal luminaries Angel Witch.

How would you like to hear a new side—or should we say sides—of the world’s greatest funk band, The Meters? This 40-track set presents the A and B-side of every single that organist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bassist George Porter, Jr., and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste cut for the Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. labels, virtually their entire singles output save for a few odds ‘n’ ends issued mostly overseas. That means that you not only get every hit along with its hard-to-find B-side but also the rare single mixes, including the especially rare original mono single mixes of the 1968-1971 Josie sides, very few of which have appeared on CD (the first CD is all mono; the second, featuring the later Reprise and Warner Bros. singles, presents all stereo single mixes). These songs represent the mother lode of New Orleans funk, classic tracks like “Sophisticated Cissy,” “Cissy Strut,” “Look-Ka Py Py,” “Chicken Strut,” “Hand Clapping Song,” “Hey Pocky A-Way,” and more. And, with liner notes by Bill Dahl featuring quotes from Nocentelli, Neville, and Porter, A Message from The Meters—The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 offers probably the best retrospective to date of this enormously influential band. And how’s the sound? Well, after extensive and exhaustive tape research, we were able to come up with original tape sources for all but five of these single sides, and the remastering—by Mike Milchner at SonicVision—is tight! Just maybe the year’s most indispensable R&B release.

“The Great Lost Isley Brothers Album?” You bet! In 1980, Ronald, Rudolph, O’Kelly, Ernie, and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper were riding high with their electrifying fusion of rock, funk, and soul.  After having transformed in 1973 from a three-man vocal group to a self-contained six-man band, The Isleys cranked out hit after hit: original powerhouses like “That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” and “For the Love of You,” and dramatic covers of pop songs introduced by Seals and Crofts, Carole King, and Todd Rundgren.  “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time for Love)” had given the Isleys their longest stay atop the R&B charts since 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” and savoring its success, they decided to follow in the footsteps of The Commodores, Parliament, and Earth Wind & Fire to record a live album.  Rather than bring a mobile truck to a concert venue, however, The Isley Brothers chose to cut Groove with You…Live! at Bearsville Sound Studio in Woodstock, New York.  The resulting recordings had all of the incendiary thrills of a live performance, but with pristine studio fidelity.  The band overdubbed an audience’s frenzied reception and the energetic introduction of MC “Gorgeous” George Odell to create an in-studio live album as captivating as the real thing.  It was presented to CBS for release on the band’s T-Neck imprint, but the label opted to wait for an original studio record.  Groove with You…Live! was shelved.  Fast forward to 2015, and the Bearsville sessions were remixed, sans crowd ambiance, for inclusion as one disc of a massive Isleys CD box set.  Later that year, Groove with You…Live! was restored and released in its originally-intended “live” version on limited edition vinyl.  Now, this sizzling, swooning, and immersive double-album document of The Isleys at the peak of their powers comes to CD for the very first time as The Isley Brothers originally intended it!  Featuring classic hits like “Take Me to the Next Phase,” “Summer Breeze,” and “Livin’ in the Life,” the record has been remastered by Mark Wilder and Chris Le Monde and features new liner notes from The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese featuring quotes from Ernie Isley and Chris Jasper.  This must-have for fans of R&B, soul, funk, and rock will, without a doubt, make you want to shout! A Real Gone Music/The Second Disc release.

No one, but no one, painted a picture in song of despair and desolation like the Thin Man from the West Plains, Porter Wagoner. Forget the Nudie suit and the pompadour; Waylon Jennings once said that Wagoner couldn’t go pop with a mouthful of firecrackers, and these 40 songs prove it.  Sure, the hits—27 of ‘em in all and every Top Ten solo smash—are here, like “A Satisfied Mind,” “Misery Loves Company,” “Skid Row Joe,” “The Cold Hard Facts of Life,” and “The Carroll County Incident,” but what elevates The Definitive Collection above a mere best-of are the tracks lifted from Wagoner’s starkly compelling concept albums (complete with their amazing album art, some of which we’ve included here) like Confessions of a Broken Man, Soul of a Convict and Other Great Prison Songs, and The Bottom of the Bottle. Grammy-winning writer Colin Escott contributes notes to the package, which is newly remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York. Country music never got harder than this…this ain’t cry-in-your-beer country, it’s more like punch-in-the-gut poetry.

How else to lead off a Robert Goulet compilation than with his breakthrough performance of “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot? But that song was only the beginning for our fair Sir Lancelot; indeed, Robert Goulet was truly one of the singular talents of his generation, owner of one of the truly great baritone voices and winner of Grammy, Tony, and Emmy awards during a nonpareil career spanning six decades. The Definitive Collection contains 36 highlights drawn from his prime recording years at the Columbia label, including singles, album tracks, and performances drawn from movie soundtrack and Broadway cast albums: “My Love Forgive Me (Amore scusami),” “The Happy Time” (the title track to the Kander and Ebb musical that brought him a Tony Award), “The Impossible Dream,” “The Daydreamer,” “Mon Amour…mon amour,” “The Girl That I Marry,” “She Touched Me,” and many more. Flawlessly remastered by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York, and annotated by Goulet aficionado Joe Marchese with rare pictures and album art drawn from the Columbia vaults, this truly is the best-sounding, best-looking, and, yes, definitive collection that Robert Goulet fans have been waiting for.

When Dionne Warwick signed to the Warner Bros. label in 1971 (bringing her legendary songwriting and production team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David with her), success seemed preordained for probably the greatest pop-soul singer of all time. However, like so many other ‘60s superstars, Dionne fell prey to the changing tastes of the ‘70s marketplace and exited the label five years later sans her production team or any major chart hits. Subsequent anthologies have, understandably, focused on the Scepter label hits she recorded with Bacharach and David during the ‘60s and the more contemporary smashes she recorded for Arista with during the in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, while roundly ignoring her Warner Bros. sides. Now, with its release of The Warner Bros. Recordings containing with two separate collections of Warwick’s complete Warner Bros. singles and previously unreleased tracks recorded for the label, Real Gone Music is at last shining a light on a body of work that, despite its lack of commercial prowess, ranks as some of the finest this pop-soul diva’s nonpareil career has to offer. The singles collection includes all 21 of the “A” and “B” stereo single sides that Warwick recorded for Warner Brothers featuring such tracks that hit Billboard's Hot 100, R&B and Easy Listening charts as "Once You Hit The Road" and "If We Only Have Love." The rarities package, meanwhile, presents 19 tracks that never came out on LP or as singles, and present Warwick working with such legendary producers as Ashford & Simpson, Thom Bell, Jerry Ragavoy, and Holland-Dozier-Holland. Paul Howes supplies the liner notes to these missing chapters of the Dionne Warwick story.

Real Gone Music is proud to present Germfree Adolescents, one of the signature albums of the early (1978) British punk movement, in the format (vinyl!) and color (shocking pink!) it belongs.  The one and only LP release from X-Ray Spex and its irrepressible frontwoman Poly Styrene has been deemed by everybody from Greil Marcus to Robert Christgau to Spin to Mojo as one of the greatest punk albums ever made, yet, somehow, this is its first vinyl reissue (and you can tell because prices for the used vinyl are insane)! And we’ve done it right; besides the colored vinyl, we’ve reproduced the inner lyric sheet, where you can read Poly’s brilliant observations about the plastic, corporate nature of modern society. All of which she sings in a passionate yowl all her own (with Lora Logic among others backing on saxophone); this is not only one of the most penetratingly observant punk records, it’s also one of the most passionate, and, surprisingly enough, catchy. Check out “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo” and “Germ Free Adolescents” if it’s hooks you’re after; if it’s righteous anger and a noisy racket you’re seeking, every track will do ya. Limited edition of 900!

One of the first and greatest “black metal” albums, and one of the records that helped launch the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, the 1980 self-titled debut from Angel Witch still packs a wallop some 36 years later. Unlike, say, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, songwriter Kevin Heybourne’s lyrical imagery just doesn’t dabble in the occult, it lives (dies?) there, with abundant sword and sorcery themes and tales (e.g. “Angel of Death”) of damnation. Yet, as on the title track, the band is not above crafting some catchy hooks, though the raw production ensures that those hooks have barbs. Real Gone Music is proud to present the first vinyl reissue of this classic metal album, in limited edition (of 1000 copies) sporting red-and-yellow “flame” marbled vinyl. Buy or be eternally condemned!


The Meters: A Message from The Meters—The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 (2-CD Set)

The Isley Brothers: Groove with You…Live!

Porter Wagoner: The Definitive Collection (2-CD Set)

Robert Goulet: The Definitive Collection (2-CD Set)

Dionne Warwick: The Warner Bros. Recordings (2-CD Set)

Angel Witch: Angel Witch (Limited “Flame” Vinyl Edition)