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From Doris Day to David Peel: Real Gone Slate Includes Rare Apple Records Album, Mathis at Mercury, Como Christmas and More!

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The holiday season must be upon us, for Real Gone Music has announced its Christmas-themed offerings – but that’s not all!  The enterprising label has two offerings with Apple Records ties (one actually from the Apple catalogue!), the complete singles of a soul legend, a counterculture classic, a distinctly non-counterculture classic, and well…just read on about the rest!

First up, four more of Johnny Mathis’ long-unavailable Mercury Records LPs are arriving on CD for the first time!  (Read about the first batch and Mathis’ history with the label here!)  On November 6, Real Gone pairs 1964’s This Is Love, one of the romantic balladeer’s most sublime efforts, with one of his most unusual: 1965’s Olé.   Featuring Latin songs sung in Spanish and Portuguese (including two from the groundbreaking bossa nova film score to Black Orpheus) Olé finds Mathis tackling challenging repertoire, including light classical, aided by Allyn Ferguson’s authentic arrangements. The next two albums arriving from Real Gone are more traditional, yet no less worthwhile.  The Sweetheart Tree (1965) is titled after Henry Mancini’s theme from The Great Race, while The Shadow of Your Smile (1966) takes its cue from the Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster song from The Sandpiper.  The former largely sees Mathis wrapping his velvety vocals around familiar standards, while the latter takes a more contemporary bent with two Beatles tunes, three songs from Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s Broadway musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, “A Taste of Honey” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado.”  (The Sweetheart Tree was issued in the U.K. with a rejiggered track line-up including some additional songs.  Based on the current track listing supplied to Amazon, it doesn’t appear that the non-U.S. tracks have been included, but we’ll report back should we find otherwise!)

Over at Atlantic Records, Barbara Lewis was making her way up the charts with such sensual, memorable soul ballads as “Hello Stranger” (which she wrote!), “Baby I’m Yours” and “Make Me Your Baby.”   The 2-CD The Complete Atlantic Singles is the first truly exhaustive survey of Lewis’ sixties tenure at Atlantic, and contains tracks penned by Lewis, Chip Taylor, Billy Vera and Van McCoy, as well as productions by Bert Berns, Arif Mardin and Artie Butler.  The set contains the A-sides and B-sides of all 17 singles she issued for the label, many of which are making their debut on CD. Lewis has contributed to Richie Unterberger’s liner notes. It’s due on November 6.

After the jump: a veritable feast of Christmas classics!  Plus: Real Gone takes a bite out of the Apple, and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 21, 2012 at 10:07