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Like To Get To Know Them: Real Gone’s July Features Spanky and Our Gang, Lulu, Peggy Lipton, Grateful Dead and More

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Real Gone July

Tuesday – July 1, that is – will never be the same, thanks to Real Gone Music’s slate spotlighting a quartet of famous sixties girls! But that’s not all. The label is also dipping its toes into tropicalia, anthologizing an unsung country-pop hero, going both punk and disco, and returning to the venerable Grateful Dead catalogue!

Complete Singles Collections have become a specialty of Real Gone’s, and the label continues with a new title featuring every Mercury single released by Spanky (McFarlane) and Our Gang – “Lazy Day,” “Like to Get to Know You,” and “Sunday Will Never Be the Same” among them! Spanky’s recordings were much more diverse than just those sunshine pop classics, with folk, jazz and rock influences – and Real Gone has them all. Oh me, oh my…If you ever wanted to hear Duane Allman and Lulu on the same track, you’ll have the chance with the 2-CD reissue of Lulu: The Atco Sessions 1962-1972! This set, originally released by Rhino’s UK imprint and now a pricey collectible, collects every one of the smoldering soul sides such as “Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)” recorded by Lulu with both the Muscle Shoals house band and The Dixie Flyers! Real Gone then goes to Rio with Gal Costa’s self-titled 1969 album for Philips, a key album in the Brazilian tropicalia movement featuring songs from Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben. Country and pop star Ronnie Dove’s chart career began with 1964’s “Say You,” and continued with such hits as “Right or Wrong,” “My Babe,” and “Cry.” In 1965 alone he charted five singles, yet Dove’s output has been largely overlooked on CD. Real Gone rectifies this with a new disc featuring all 21 of the pop hits he notched during the ’60s on a single CD, many remastered from newly available tape sources. Fast-forward to the 1970s for an R&B journey courtesy The New York Community Choir’s 1978 RCA album featuring the hit disco floor-filler “Make Every Day Count.” Continuing to the 1980s, Real Gone has an expanded edition of X’s fourth album, More Fun in the New World, produced by The Doors’ Ray Manzarek. The label then arrives in the 1990s with its latest volume of Dick’s Picks. This entry in the series of live Grateful Dead concert recordings restores to print a 3-CD set taken from a 1991 show at the Boston Garden.

Last but not least, Real Gone has a groovy treat with the American CD debut of Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton’s 1968 self-titled Ode Records release in a first-time expanded edition! Produced by Lou Adler, arranged by Marty Paich and featuring the famed Wrecking Crew, Peggy Lipton: The Complete Ode Recordings reveals the striking beauty as a songwriter of great depth, performing her own evocative compositions alongside those of Carole King and Laura Nyro. I’m thrilled to announce here that I’ve written new liner notes for this lost slice of ornate Southern California pop, which also features five bonus tracks including a previously unreleased recording of Brian Wilson and Tony Asher’s “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” and rare singles penned by Laura Nyro, Donovan, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Jimmy Webb!

After the jump, we have Real Gone’s press release with full information on every title plus pre-order links and more!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Having compiled the singles of such hit-happy artists as Gary Lewis & the Playboys and the Grass Roots, Real Gone Music now turns its attention to another quintessential ’60s singles band with Spanky & Our Gang’s The Complete Mercury Singles, a 21-track collection that includes every unique A and B-side the band released on Mercury during their spectacular 1966-69 stint with the label. Led by Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane, Spanky and Our Gang had a folk-pop sound oft-compared to the Mamas and the Papas, but their harmonies and arrangements were, if anything, a little more sophisticated and varied, incorporating pop and jazz influences (while admittedly lacking a songwriter of the stature of John Phillips). As a result, the music of Spanky & Our Gang has aged better than many of their more self-consciously psychedelic contemporaries; there is a timeless quantity to their sound that explains why songs like “Sunday Will Never Be the Same,” “Lazy Day,” and “Like to Get to Know You” have remained fixtures on oldies radio over the years. You’ll hear all those songs and every other unique single side (include two differently-titled and mixed versions of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin'”) in their original mono single mixes on this collection, which includes liner notes by co-producer Ed Osborne that feature fresh interviews with Spanky McFarlane, producers Jerry Ross and Bob Dorough and arranger Jimmy Wisner along with some great photos. The definitive Spanky and Our Gang single-CD retrospective!

Atco/Atlantic had struck artistic and commercial gold when they brought Dusty Springfield to the States to record with Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and topnotch Southern session musicians, so it made sense for the label to introduce another great British pop-soul singer, Lulu, to the same stellar production team. And Lulu, who had just married Bee Gee (and Atco label-mate) Maurice Gibb, didn’t need much convincing given the success of Dusty in Memphis. The result was two overlooked classics: New Routes paired the Scottish singer with the classic Muscle Shoals session squad of Barry Beckett, David Hood, Roger Hawkins and Jimmy Johnson, with Eddie Hinton, Cornell Dupree and Duane Allman all sitting in on guitar. And Melody Fair, which also came out in 1970, retained the same production team but moved the sessions to Miami with the Dixie Flyers the back-up band. Those two albums comprise disc one of Lulu: The Atco Sessions 1969-1972; the other disc features almost an album’s worth of unreleased material produced by Dowd, plus alternate takes, the great single “It Takes a Real Man (to Bring Out the Woman in Me)”/”You Ain’t Wrong You Just Ain’t Right” and other stray tracks. Real Gone’s reissue of this compilation (which came and went in a heartbeat in the U,K. about seven years ago and sells for a queenly sum) includes new liner notes by Richie Unterberger; it’s a fascinating look at forgotten phase in the career of one of the British Invasion’s leading female figures.

Model-turned-actress Peggy Lipton was (and is) one of the great beauties of her generation, and in her role as flower child Julie Barnes on The Mod Squad, became the “It Girl” during the show’s late-’60s/early-’70s run. The same year (1968) that she premiered on the show, Peggy also unveiled her formidable singing talent on a self-titled album produced by Lou Adler and released on his Ode record label. The album yielded a charting single in “Stoney End” and led to some other “Bubbling Under” non-album single releases for Ode including evocative covers of Laura Nyro’s “Lu” and Donovan’s “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” plus a collaboration with writer-producer Jimmy Webb on his song “Red Clay County Line” — all of which we’ve collected on Peggy Lipton: The Complete Ode Recordings, which features everything she released on the label plus an unreleased track, a version of Brian Wilson’s “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” Our Real Gone reissue of this lost gem (which has only come out on CD in Japan as a straight album reissue without the bonus tracks) replicates the original album’s gatefold art with wallet packaging that includes a booklet displaying rare photos and single picture sleeves, with notes by Joe Marchese. An earful and an eye-full from the multitalented Ms. Lipton.

With arrangements by the legendary Rogerio Duprat, and featuring songs by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben (with musical contributions by both Velose and Gil), it’s no surprise that Gal Costa, the 1969 album by the Brazilian chanteuse, is considered a landmark tropicalia album. But it’s not just her highly esteemed collaborators that set this record apart; Costa herself is light years beyond her earlier bossa material, and emerges here as a powerful vocalist who deftly straddles jazz and psychedelia, electronic and acoustic settings, and all the other criss-crossed styles that make up the tropicalia polyglot. This Real Gone Music/Dusty Groove reissue of this classic record features new liner notes by Peter Margasak. A cornerstone of any tropicalia collection, released in timely fashion during the World Cup tournament!

He notched over 20 hits and was a fixture on the charts throughout the mid-’60s, but to date Ronnie Dove has not received the definitive retrospective he deserves, as inferior-sounding album reissues and compilations have cluttered up the marketplace. Now, at last, Real Gone is filling a BIG gap in ’60s pop collecting with the release of The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969,a 21-track collection (16 in stereo) that includes every pop hit this Baltimore-based legend had during his sterling career, remastered by Evren Göknar and Marty Wekser at Capitol Mastering Studios mostly from newly available Diamond label tape sources. Joseph Lanza’s liner notes include quotes from Ronnie himself as well as never before seen photos and memorabilia from his and co-compiler Tom Diehl’s personal collections. By far the most comprehensive and best-sounding Ronnie Dove collection ever compiled, with several tracks appearing on CD in first-time stereo.

1983’s More Fun in the New World marked yet another masterpiece for X; produced, like their first three albums, by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, it offered a surplus of great songs, highlighted by the riposte to the Reagan years ballad “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” and the rockers “Breathless,” “Devil Doll” and “Hot House.” This is the Expanded & Remastered Edition (complete with four bonus alternate demo/remix tracks and great liner notes/lyrics and photos) that went out of print years ago; it’s an essential part of any rock library.

Formed in the late ’60s, The New York Community Choir – originally consisting of some eighty members under the direction of Benny Diggs — first came to national prominence in the U.S. in 1971 on a much-acclaimed album by renowned poet Nikki Giovanni, The Truth Is on Its Way. Primary members of the group included Diggs and prominent writer Arthur Freeman along with Philip Ballou and Arnold McCuller, who were part of the 1966 Grammy-nominated Isaac Douglas Singers. The quartet formed the basis for Revelation, who were signed in 1974 to RSO Records, where they recorded one album. Then, in 1977, NYCC signed with RCA Records; their self-titled debut LP included the dance hit, “Express Yourself”. Released in 1978, their follow-up set, Make Every Day Count, was produced — like its predecessor — by RCA executive Warren Schatz. The album boasted arrangements by Leon Pendarvis (the co-leader of the Saturday Night Live band) and featured such stellar New York session musicians as Paul Shaffer and Richard Tee on keyboards, Jeff Mironov and John Tropea on guitars, Errol “Crusher” Bennett on percussion, Will Lee on bass and Steve Gadd on drums. The album’s infectious title track became popular particularly in East Coast discos, and has remained a popular inspirational anthem among gospel and R&B music lovers. The original LP is making its worldwide CD debut with this release by Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records, and this Expanded Edition includes six-minute plus 12″ single versions of “Make Every Day Count” and “I’ll Keep My Light in My Window,” with liner notes by SoulMusic Records founder David Nathan and remastering at Sony’s Battery Studios.

Funky, soulful, spiritual. Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks Vol. 17 – Boston Garden 9/25/91 was, at the time it was released, chronologically the latest live show in the Grateful Dead discography, and it’s still the second latest concert to be officially released in their vast library. And it chronicles a very special period in Dead history, when Bruce Hornsby sat in with the band to form, along with former Tube Vince Welnick, a formidable, two-pronged keyboard attack. This particular volume – culled from a complete 9/25/91 show at the Boston Garden (a consistently good “stadium” venue for the band) and a bonus half hour from a 3/31/91 show in Greensboro, NC – is also notable for including the first-ever performance of Paul McCartney’s “That Would Be Something” and the first-ever appearance of Dylan’s “The Mighty Quinn” on a Dead album. Add to that the stunning, 23-minute version of “Eyes of the World” that caps off the third disc and Dick’s Picks Vol. 17 is a exemplary document of late-period Dead. Out of print for years!

July 1, 2014 Releases from Real Gone Music

Spanky & Our Gang, The Complete Mercury Singles (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lulu, The Atco Sessions 1969-1972 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Peggy Lipton, The Complete Ode Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Gal Costa, Gal Costa (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Ronnie Dove, The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

X, More Fun in the New World (Expanded & Remastered Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The New York Community Choir, Make Every Day Count (Expanded Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 17 — Boston Garden 9/25/91 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Joe Marchese

May 16, 2014 at 12:34

6 Responses

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  1. So many great releases! Looking forward to the Lulu and Peggy Lipton releases especially. I sure hope RGM will consider Lulu’s albums from Alfa label as well.


    May 16, 2014 at 16:21

  2. Looking forward to that Lulu release too. Lulu and Duane! Man, that guy got around!

    Chief Brody

    May 16, 2014 at 17:03

  3. I’ve had the UK Lulu set for a few years and I’ve never stopped loving it. The price of admission is covered with her incredible take on Disc 2 of “Come Down in Time,” the Tumbleweed Connection track from Elton and Bernie. Lulu’s soft, sensual approach is like the touch of a lover in early morning light. Don’t miss this one!

    Sean Anglum

    May 16, 2014 at 17:44

  4. The Peggy Lipton album with expanded tracks is like a dream come true. An underrated sunshine-pop masterpiece!


    June 8, 2014 at 19:29

    • I agree…I can’t wait!

      Chris O

      July 21, 2014 at 02:18

  5. The Spanky and Our Gang comp is literally Disc Four of the previously released Complete Mercury Recordings.


    July 7, 2014 at 18:51

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