The Second Disc

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Archive for June 13th, 2013

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., P-Funk Offshoot Parlet and More Join Dionne Warwick on Real Gone’s July Slate

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Marilyn and BillyThe July slate for Real Gone Music has been announced, and things are really heating up!  We’ve already filled you in at length about the pair of anthologies coming your way from Dionne Warwick, We Need To Go Back: The Unissued Warner Bros. Masters and The Complete Warner Bros. Singles, two of the most ambitious releases yet from the prolific label.  But that’s not all.  Real Gone is completing their July 30 release schedule with a pair of long-awaited titles from Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., another pair from George Clinton’s Parlet, and two truly outré gems from Tonto’s Expanding Head Band (!) and the Brian Eno-produced Portsmouth Sinfonia.

Real Gone is heading into another Dimension for another pair of reissues – the 5th Dimension, to be exact.  When Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. departed the “champagne soul” vocal group to pursue success as a husband-and-wife recording career, they were quickly rewarded with the success of “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show).”  The song written by James Dean and John Glover, from their I Hope We Get to Love in Time LP, reached No. 1 on both the Pop and R&B charts, winning them a Grammy Award and going Top 10 in the U.K., as well.  But while I Hope We Get to Love in Time has been reissued on CD twice – once by Razor & Tie and once by Collectors’ Choice Music – its two follow-ups have languished on vinyl.  Real Gone is bringing – at last! – The Two of Us (1977) and Marilyn and Billy (1978) to CD for the very first time.  The former has been expanded with the non-LP singles “I’m So Glad I Found You” and “There’s Got to Be a Happy Ending,” as well as with Billy Davis’s solo singles “Light a Candle” and “Three Steps from True Love.”  One bonus track adorns Marilyn and Billy, the extended 12-inch mix of “Shine On Silver Moon.”  Mike Ragogna provides new liner notes for both reissues, and both albums have been remastered at Battery Studios.  Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. remain partners in marriage and music today, and these albums find them in their pop-soul vocal prime.

Hit the jump to dive into the rest of the Real Gone schedule, including pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah! Rhino U.K. Keeps CHIC Fans “Up All Night” with New Two-Disc Compilation

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CHIC Up All Night Greatest HitsWith CHIC co-founder/co-producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers back in the musical spotlight where he belongs – his distinctive funk guitar anchors Daft Punk’s chart-topping single “Get Lucky,” the arguable song of the summer – Rhino’s U.K. arm has done well to introduce another CHIC-oriented compilation to stores.

Up All Night: The Greatest Hits (cheekily named after a lyric in “Get Lucky”) is more than just a set of tracks by the immortal disco band. Sixteen of the album’s 25 tracks are classics produced by Rodgers and late bassist Bernard Edwards on behalf of The CHIC Organization. These include mega hits by Sister Sledge (“We Are Family,” “He’s the Greatest Dancer”) and Diana Ross (“Upside Down,” “I’m Coming Out”) and awesome deep cuts by Norma Jean (“Saturday”), Debbie Harry (“Backfired”) and Carly Simon (“Why”). The title track to the legendary I Love My Lady, a shelved 1981 album produced by CHIC for Johnny Mathis, also makes an appearance. (Though I Love My Lady has yet to be released in full, several tracks from the sessions turned up on 2010’s Rodgers-assembled CHIC box set, which only came out in France, because the rest of mainland Europe or the U.S. apparently have gone insane.)

In fact, one can easily view this as a double-disc distillation of that box – although we have a few familiar names to thank for this compilation: the set’s been compiled by Wayne A. Dickson of Big Break Records and mastered by Dickson and BBR engineer Nick Robbins, with Christian John Wikane providing liner notes. “You will note that these are all the versions released on 12″ or LP,” Dickson posted on BBR’s Facebook page, “and that the the pitch/speed of the tracks is that of the original vinyl releases and not the slower versions on most CD releases up ’til now.” (On this point, we have retained the supplied timings in the track list.)

Up All Night: The Greatest Hits gets the party started on July 1. After the jump, pre-order your copy and check out the full track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 13, 2013 at 11:44

Gene Pitney Is “Looking Through the Eyes of Love” On New RPM Two-Fers

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Gene Pitney - Blue Gene Two-FerAfter a long hiatus, Cherry Red’s RPM label is continuing its series of reissues dedicated to the late Gene Pitney (“Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa,” “Town Without Pity,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”).  The singer’s long out-of-print albums for Aaron Schroeder’s Musicor label were reissued on CD in a series of two-fers by Sequel Records in the late 1990s, but upon their deletion from the catalogue, they began commanding high prices on the second-hand market. Since then, the Pitney discography has been marked by an inordinate number of budget releases, making it difficult for a new fan or even a longtime collector to know where to start. RPM stepped in and began reissuing the Sequel two-fers in new editions featuring updated liner notes by Roger Dopson as well as redesigned artwork. 2010 brought Pitney’s first two albums, The Many Sides of Gene Pitney and Only Love Can Break a Heart, as RETRO 881, and in 2011, RPM delivered Sings Just for You and Sings World-Wide Winners as RETRO 887.  After a hiatus, the series returns with Blue Gene and Meets the Fair Young Ladies of Folkland (RETRO 926) as well as I’m Gonna Be Strong and Looking Through the Eyes of Love (RETRO 927).

The punningly-named Blue Gene (Musicor 3006/United Artists 1061) continued a busy 1963 for the singer.  Its opening track was also its indisputable highlight.  Pitney delivered a soaring vocal for Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa,” one of the duo’s most truly cinematic story songs.  Pitney perfectly captured the unfaithful character swept away by a beautiful stranger in a roadside café just one day of travel away from his “dearest, darling” girl back home.  Pitney, Bacharach and David had taken listeners on a sly and seductive journey culminating in the singer’s (rueful?) realization that he could “never, never, never go home again.”  But “Twenty-Four Hours,” a No. 5 U.K./No. 17 U.S. hit, was just one of 12 persuasive tracks on Blue Gene.  Chip Taylor played on Pitney’s image as the heartbroken (or heartbreaking) balladeer with his title song.  Ellie Greenwich teamed with Tony Powers and Elmo Glick for “Keep Tellin’ Yourself,” and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were tapped for “Take It Like a Man.”  Pitney even tackled a couple of standards via “Autumn Leaves” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  In the U.S., the album included Lee Pockriss and Fred Tobias’ “House Without Windows.”  Though it was dropped for the U.K. release (replaced by the Leiber/Stoller song), it’s included as a bonus track.

Blue Gene is joined on one CD by Meets the Fair Young Ladies of Folkland (Musicor 3007/United Artists 1063).  This unusual album was issued just one month after Blue Gene, and rather than building on Pitney’s pop successes, it consisted of banjo-strummed, folk-flavored songs dedicated to young ladies: “Those Eyes of Liza Jane,” “Brandy is My True Love’s Name,” “Little Nell,” “The Ballad of Aura Mae,” et cetera.  Though it was soon repackaged as Dedicated to My Teen Queens, with a hipper cover than the original image of Gene and his girls on a bale of hay, the low-key, acoustic album remained destined for obscurity.  Pitney’s commercial fortunes were still riding high thanks to Blue Gene, though, as well as a new single released in January 1964.  “That Girl Belongs to Yesterday” was a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards song shaped by Gene as he hung out with the Rolling Stones in England.  Though it didn’t fare well in the U.S., “Yesterday” hit No. 7 in the U.K., and its original single version has been appended here as a bonus track.  A re-recording of the song appeared on Pitney’s next album, which kicks off the second of RPM’s new two-fers.

After the jump, we’ll explore the next two-fer!  Plus, you’ll find order links and full track listings with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 13, 2013 at 09:55

Posted in Gene Pitney, News, Reissues