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Archive for January 2015

Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely: SoulMusic Reissues, Expands Ronnie Dyson’s Debut

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DysonSoulMusic Records has certainly shown a lot of love for Ronnie Dyson (1950-1990) this year. Following its U.S. release in conjunction with Real Gone Music of the late soul man’s two final albums for Cotillion Records, the label is turning back the clock to Dyson’s very first recordings for Columbia Records. Lady In Red: The Columbia Sides Plus, from SoulMusic and the U.K.’s Cherry Red Group, is in actuality an expanded edition of Dyson’s 1970 debut album (If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You? This 23-track anthology collects that LP’s eleven tracks on CD for the first time, and adds twelve bonuses (many never before on CD) drawn from a selection of Dyson’s single releases issued between 1969 and 1974.

Dyson’s name first became familiar as a member of the Broadway cast of Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado’s groundbreaking Broadway musical Hair. Appropriately, SoulMusic kicks off Lady in Red with the single version of “Aquarius” from the RCA cast recording of Hair. The 18-year old Washington, DC native introduced “Aquarius” in the musical, the song which would later go to the top of the charts for The 5th Dimension in a medley with another highlight of the score, “Let the Sunshine In.” Dyson’s distinctive tenor complemented the gospel fervor in his beyond-his-years voice, a quality which surely brought him to the attention of Columbia Records, then under the auspices of Clive Davis. Columbia signed Dyson, assigning him to producer Billy Jackson (The Tymes). His first single with the label – “God Bless the Children” b/w “Are We Ready for Love” – arrived in 1969; both sides are included here. Jackson also helmed the full Why Can’t I Touch You LP, named for a song from Dyson’s second theatre triumph, Salvation. Though the rock musical by Peter Link and C.C. Courtney only lasted 239 performances off-Broadway, it was another stepping stone for Dyson. Though the cast recording was on rival Capitol Records, Dyson recorded his showstopping “(If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?” as a single on Columbia. It scored him a Top 10 hit on both the Pop and R&B charts.

In addition to the Salvation tune – later recorded by artists as diverse as Johnny Mathis and Billy Paul – Dyson’s debut LP contained familiar covers rendered in pop-soul style overseen by Jackson and arranger-conductor Jimmy “Wiz” Wisner. Dyson brought his smooth but passionate sound to songs associated with B.J. Thomas (Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “I Just Can’t Help Believin’”), Freda Payne (a rare male spin on “Band of Gold”), Laura Nyro (“Emmie”), Peggy Lee (“Fever”), Bread (David Gates’ “Make It with You”) and Simon and Garfunkel (the newly-minted Columbia hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water”). Another album track, Chuck Jackson’s “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” was selected as the follow-up to “Why Can’t I Touch You?” and also went Top 10 R&B. For the B-side of “Touch You,” Columbia picked an arrangement by a man who would figure prominently in Dyson’s later career: the on-the-rise Thom Bell. Billed as “Tommy Bell,” he arranged another male version of a song written for a female: the dramatic “Girl Don’t Come,” written by Chris Andrews for British pop starlet Sandie Shaw. Bell likely recognized the potential of Dyson as a male answer to Dionne Warwick, with a similar cool yet versatile quality to his voice. Bell’s work can also be heard on the frenetically funky version of “Fever.” Dyson’s debut LP may have been too stylistically eclectic – from MOR to spirited R&B with a dash of musical theatre panache – to attract a major audience. His next long-player would be somewhat more consistent.

But first, Columbia brought in producer Stan Vincent (The Five Stairsteps) to record a number of tracks. Five Vincent productions circa 1971-1972 are heard on Lady in Red: Dyson’s R&B hit version of Barry Mann’s oft-recorded “When You Get Right Down to It” and its B-side, Vincent’s own “Sleeping Sun;” Tony Davillo’s hard-driving “Abelene” (B-side of “A Wednesday in Your Garden,” not included here but available on the One Man Band album), and both sides of “Jesus Is Just Alright” b/w Dyson original “Love is Slipping Away.”

We have more after the jump, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 6, 2015 at 11:34

Posted in News, Reissues, Ronnie Dyson

Release Round-Up: Week of January 6

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Jackie Moore - Complete

Jackie Moore, The Complete Atlantic Recordings (2-CD Release) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain: Original Soundtrack Gatefold Double-LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) or CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Dance of Reality: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) or CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Real Gone Music kicks off the new year right with a slate filled with vintage R&B, classic rock and beyond including The Complete Atlantic Recordings of soul songstress Jackie Moore (“Sweet Charlie Babe”), two haunting soundtracks from the films of cinema auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky…

Main Ingredient - LTD and Black Seeds

The Main Ingredient, L.T.D./Black Seeds (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) /Redd Foxx, You Gotta Wash Your Ass (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 13—Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY 5/6/81 (3-CD Set) (Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

…a pair of albums from The Main Ingredient, the bitingly blue comedy of Redd Foxx, and an acclaimed set from Grateful Dead circa 1981!

Aretha - Storm

Aretha Franklin, Through the Storm: Expanded Edition (Funky Town Grooves) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

FTG’s 2-CD expansion of Aretha Franklin’s 1989 Arista album (featuring guests James Brown, The Four Tops, Kenny G, Whitney Houston and Elton John!) – with 18 bonus tracks! – arrives in the U.S. after a brief delay.

Real Elvis

Elvis Presley, The Real Elvis Presley: 60s Collection / Billy Ocean, The Real Billy Ocean / Perez Prado, The Real Perez Prado (Sony U.K.)

Elvis: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Billy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Perez: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Sony’s U.K. arm continues its series of budget-priced 3-CD compilations with entries for Elvis’ ’60s catalogue plus Billy Ocean and Perez Prado.

Written by Joe Marchese

January 6, 2015 at 09:04

Closing Time: Morello Reissues Lacy J. Dalton’s Final Two Columbia Albums

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LacyContinuing its reissue series drawn from her catalogue, Cherry Red’s Morello Records has recently released a twofer collecting Lacy J. Dalton’s Highway Diner and Blue Eyed Blues.  Dalton’s tenure at Columbia spanned eight albums and two greatest hits compilation between 1980 and 1987.  Morello has previously collected Dalton’s middle period at the label with twofer of Takin’ It Easy and 16th Avenue (Morello Records CD MRLL33).  This release closes out her time at the label with her final two albums under the Columbia banner.

Lacy J. Dalton was born as Jill Byrem in 1948 in Pennsylvania.   Following her musical muse, she eventually ended up in San Francisco in the latter part of the 1960s performing psychedelic rock with a band known as Office.  She married the band’s manager, becoming Jill Croston, but he sadly died in an accident.  Deciding to reinvent herself as a country singer, Croston adopted the name Lacy J. Dalton.  Her demo was heard by Billy Sherrill, the influential country producer who had worked with George Jones and Tammy Wynette.  He liked what he heard and Dalton was signed to Columbia Records in 1979.

Dalton’s first single was “Crazy Blue Eyes” which hit No. 17 on the U.S. Country charts.  The song was included on her eponymous debut which also featured two additional Top 20 Country hits:  “The Tennessee Waltz” and “Losing Kind of Love.”  Adding to her strong start at Columbia, she was also named “Best New Female Vocalist” at the 1979 Country Music Association Awards.  Dalton hit the country Top 10 for the first time with the No. 7 placing title track off of Hard Times from 1980 and achieved her highest charting Country single at No. 2 with 1982’s “Takin’ It Easy” off the album of the same name.

By the time of 1986’s Highway Diner, Dalton had decided to go back to her roots and add more rock and R&B to her music, similar to Bonnie Raitt.  The album was produced by Walt Aldridge (writer of Ronnie Milsap’s “(There’s) No Getting Over Me” and Earl Thomas Conley’s “Holding Her and Loving You”) and recoded at the venerable Fame Recording Studio in Alabama.   “Working Class Man” and “This Ol’ Town” were released as singles and peaked at No. 16 and No. 33 on the Country charts.  The album itself got to No. 32 on the Country LP charts.

Dalton’s last album for Columbia was 1987’s Blue Eyed Blues.  Following a pattern for many end-of- contract affairs, the album mixed new tracks with previously released material.  The new material consisted of the two songs “Have I Got a Heart For You” and “I’ll Love Them Whatever They Are.”  Four tracks were included from her previous albums (“Blue Eyed Blues,” Hillbilly Girl With the Blues,” “16th Avenue” and “My Old Yellow Car”). Duets with Bobby Bare, George Jones, David Allan Coe and Earl Scruggs rounded out the LP.  These songs had originally appeared on albums and singles by the duet partners.

Continue Lacy’s story after the jump!  Plus: the track listing with discography and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 5, 2015 at 14:42

Let’s Pretend: Edsel Unveils Deluxe Multi-Disc Reissues For Pretenders’ Catalogue

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PretendersEdsel isn’t just playing pretend.  On February 16, 2015, the Demon Music Group label will reissue all eight albums from The Pretenders as originally released by the Warner Bros. family of labels between 1979 and 1999 as deluxe editions.  (Or: that’s to say 8/10, or 4/5, of the entire Pretenders discography!  Only two albums have arrived since 1999, in 2002 and 2008.)  Every one of the eight titles is housed in a digipak, with six of the titles as 2-CD/1-DVD sets and two as 1-CD/1-DVD sets.

These “everything but the kitchen sink” reissues will bring together B-sides, live tracks, soundtrack one-off recordings (for films including The Living Daylights, Fever Pitch, G.I. Jane, Indecent Proposal and Boys on the Side), demos, promotional videos and BBC-TV appearances (most of which have never been commercially released) for the English-American band founded in 1978 by Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon and Martin Chambers.  The DVDs feature 30 rare BBC performances, 21 promo videos and the complete 18-track Isle of View concert. The material first issued on Rhino’s expanded reissues of the group’s first four albums has been included, as have rare tracks from the Pirate Radio box set.  The Pretenders made their first splash in February 1979 with their debut single, a cover of Ray Davies’ “Stop Your Sobbing” produced by Nick Lowe. By the time their Chris Thomas-helmed debut LP arrived in January 1980, the band’s third single “Brass in Pocket” was on its way to No. 1 in the United Kingdom.  The album would reach that plateau as well.  (It reached the Top 15 of the U.S. Pop chart, and the album made the Top 10.)

After the jump, we have more details including the complete track listings for all eight multi-disc sets and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 5, 2015 at 11:09