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Archive for April 9th, 2014

Ain’t No Stopping Them Now: Sony Acquires Entire Philadelphia International Catalogue, Box Set Coming Soon [UPDATED]

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Philadelphia International Box

UPDATED 4/9 WITH NEW INFORMATION, LINKS AND IMAGES: The love train is pulling back into the station.

Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, distributed by CBS Records, began life in 1971 with the release of Billy Paul’s Going East on LP and The Ebonys’ “You’re the Reason Why” on 45.  (Trivia fans, take note: Gideon Smith’s single “Arkansaw Wife” – yes, you read that right – has an earlier catalogue number, but the quintessentially Philly track by The Ebonys appears to have been released first.)  The R&B empire, which had built a catalogue of some of the most iconic soul music of all time, continued to be distributed by CBS until 1984.  At that time, control of the label’s post-1975 masters went to Gamble and Huff, with initial reissues (as well as new albums) coming under the EMI umbrella.  Pre-1976 recordings remained with CBS successor Sony Music Entertainment.  In 2007, Sony’s Legacy Recordings announced regained rights to the post-1975 recordings, and now, Sony and PIR have come full circle with the announcement that Sony has gained global ownership of all post-1975 PIR masters.

What this means for Sony is clear: the music industry giant now adds key titles to its roster from artists including Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Jean Carn, The Jones Girls, The Stylistics, Archie Bell and the Drells, Jerry Butler, Phyllis Hyman, and others who began recording for PIR in 1976 and beyond.  What does this mean for fans and collectors?  In 2014, Legacy will launch a series of new physical and digital releases created from the combined PIR catalogue including “a definitive Philadelphia International Records box, budget single artist anthology titles, 12-inch and 7-inch vinyl replica collectibles and more.” 

In recent years, numerous PIR album reissues have arrived from Cherry Red Group’s Big Break Records (drawing on the pre-1976 recordings controlled by Sony) and Demon Music Group (the post-1976 recordings controlled by Gamble and Huff).    In early 2012, Legacy thrilled fans with the archival release of Golden Gate Groove, a Don Cornelius-hosted concert that brought together many of the label’s biggest and brightest stars, from the O’Jays to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass.  In 2013, Demon’s Harmless imprint issued a comprehensive (if oddly arranged) 10-CD box set drawing on the entire discography plus rare recordings from Gamble and Huff’s pre-PIR labels including Neptune, Gamble and North Bay and sister labels like TSOP, Golden Fleece, Tommy and Thunder.

The new catalogue activity from Sony starts in May!  What can you expect?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 13:21

Masterworks Premieres Lost Album By Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, Brings Rare Richard Rodgers and Ed Ames To CD

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Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy - Marriage Type LoveSony’s Masterworks Broadway division has announced its spring slate, and it’s filled with surprises. The label is kicking it off with next week’s first-ever release of a shelved album from Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy recorded in 1959 and unreleased until now, and following that in May with the first-ever reissue of a “lost” Richard Rodgers score written for television. That gem, Androcles and the Lion, will be followed in June by a pair of albums from one of its stars: Ed Ames, formerly of the Ames Brothers.

In her 2013 memoir, Academy Award winner and Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones chronicled her rocky marriage to the debonair, troubled Broadway star Jack Cassidy. Though the couple broke up before his untimely death in 1976, Jones concluded, “Both [her companion of 36 years] Marty [Ingels] and I know the truth: I still love Jack Cassidy, and I will carry on loving him until my dying day.” In 1959, the love they shared was in full bloom. The bright young couple had recorded a pair of albums for Columbia Records in 1957 and 1959 (Speaking of Love, with Percy Faith’s orchestra; and With Love from Hollywood, with Frank DeVol’s orchestra). Also in 1957, they co-starred in a studio cast recording of Brigadoon that remains among the score’s finest renderings. In 1959, they announced a new duet album, to be entitled Marriage Type Love after the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the musical Me and Juliet. Yet for reasons that are still unclear today, the mixed and completed LP was shelved.

Now, after more than fifty years, Marriage Type Love is being unveiled on digital download and CD-R from Masterworks. The 12-song set features Marty Gold and His Orchestra backing up the on this loose concept album built around the themes of love and marriage. In addition to the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen tune “Love and Marriage” (best known to one generation as the theme song to television’s Married…with Children), the album contains showtunes and standards by Frank Loesser, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. Marriage Type Love will be released exclusively for purchase via on April 15 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand CD-Rs as well as digital download. The CD-R gets wider release through Arkiv Music on May 13, and downloads through other digital service providers will become available the same day.

After the jump: full details on Androcles and the Lion and the Ed Ames two-fer! Plus: track listings for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 12:16

Would You Believe: Three Records From The Hollies’ Allan Clarke Collected By RPM

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Allan Clarke - SideshowRPM Records, an imprint of Cherry Red Group, continues to leave no stone unturned in its explorations of every corner of the British pop-rock map with three recent collections from Hollies leader Allan Clarke, “Pied Piper” Crispian St. Peters and beat combo The Scorpions. Today, the spotlight is on Sideshow from Allan Clarke, who began singing in Manchester as a youth with his pal Graham Nash and never looked back.

Sideshow: Solo Recordings 1973-1976 collects three early solo albums from Allan Clarke on two CDs. The Hollies had not only survived the departure in late 1968 of founding member Nash, but had thrived thanks to singles like “Sorry, Suzanne” and the international smash “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” But soon, Clarke felt the same urge that Nash had, to explore life outside of The Hollies. His songwriting partnership with Roger Cook on the Hollies hit “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” inspired him to leave the band in late 1971, to be replaced by Mikael Rickfors. Following a debut solo effort for RCA in the U.K. and Epic in the U.S. (My Real Name is ‘arold), Clarke returned to the band’s home base of EMI for the three albums included in this set.

Headroom was released in 1973, just prior to Clarke’s return that year to The Hollies. Almost entirely written by Clarke and guitarist Ray Glynn, Headroom found Clarke joined by a band including Tony Newman on drums, Elton John Band member Dee Murray on bass and Kirk Duncan on keyboards. In addition to the clutch of original songs, Clarke revisited “Would You Believe” from The Hollies’ Butterfly album. He also recorded a fine version of Mentor Williams’ “Drift Away” after having heard it on a demo. But by the time of the album’s release, Dobie Gray had already scored the hit record.

Ensconced in The Hollies once again, Clarke persevered with another solo set. The self-titled Allan Clarke reteamed him with Roger Cook (of the Cook and Greenaway team behind such pop favorites as “You’ve Got Your Troubles”) as well as with Glynn and Newman. Herbie Flowers assumed bass duties and Peter Robinson took over piano, while future Nashville transplant Cook also added the great B.J. Cole on steel guitar for a country-rock flavor. Flowers and Cook also welcomed their Blue Mink bandmate Madeline Bell to the album sessions. Clarke’s compositions were curiously absent from the LP, but Cook contributed five songs, three co-written with Flowers. In John Reed’s liner notes, Clarke confesses, “I felt a little like I should have had some of my songs on the album, but…Roger had other ideas about how to showcase me. [Allan Clarke] was Roger’s baby.” Clarke did bring a song by the young, pre-Fleetwood Mac team of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the project (“Baby Don’t Let Me Down Again,” from the infamously out-of-print Buckingham Nicks LP). It also featured songs by Randy Newman (“I’ll Be Home”), Little Richard (“Send Me Some Lovin’”) and Bruce Springsteen (“If I Were the Priest”). Clarke was an early champion of the future Boss’s, also recording “Fourth of July Asbury Park (Sandy)” with The Hollies in 1975.

There’s more on Allan Clarke after the jump, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 10:06