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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 MasterworksBroadway.com 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

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Have Yourself a Real Gone Christmas

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Welcome to our Second Disc Holiday Gift Guide, in which we review some titles we might have missed over the past few weeks!  The titles we’re spotlighting in this occasional series just might be candidates on your own holiday shopping list!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to alleviate holiday stress than with the sounds of the season?  Terrestrial radio stations are sending holiday music over the airwaves earlier with every passing year, and by now, it’s hard to turn the dial without hearing Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and Bobby Helms spreading some seasonal joy.    But if you’re in the market for some off-the-beaten-path Christmas tunes, has Real Gone Music got a trio of titles for you!

The recently-launched record label took advantage of the November berth for its initial batch of titles, including in that group no fewer than three Christmas releases.  Each and every one features rare material that’s new to CD, making these true must-haves for the holiday music connoisseur.   Cameo-Parkway Holiday Hits (Real Gone/ABKCO RGM-0009) was previously a digital-only release, and brings together eighteen diverse tracks from the 1960s heyday of the Philadelphia hit factory.  The David Rose Christmas Album (Real Gone RGM-0013) offers eleven slices of orchestral merriment from the man behind “The Stripper,” and Christmas with Ed Ames/Christmas is the Warmest Time of Year (Real Gone RGM-0014) compiles Ames’ 1967 and 1970 RCA albums on one CD.

Though Cameo-Parkway was known for its dance crazes (“The Twist,” “Mashed Potato Time”) and its great vocal group harmonies, Holiday Hits proves that the label had quite a diverse roster.  The eclectic line-up features pop, doo-wop, country, comedy, orchestral and even a hint of Mexico!  Of course, what Cameo collection would be complete without a contribution from Chubby Checker?  We’re happy to report that this one doesn’t disappoint.  Checker joins Bobby Rydell for both sides of a seasonally-themed single, “Jingle Bell Rock” b/w “Jingle Bells Imitations.” Chubby can’t resist shout-outs for a “Jingle Bell Twist” (and a call to Pony Time!) into “Jingle Bell Rock,” but the fun doesn’t stop there; on the B-side, Rydell and Checker offer their best impersonations of Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and even The Chipmunks!

Did you ever wonder what a holiday meeting between Bobby Kennedy and Bobby, er, Bob Dylan would have been like?  Wonder no more.  Dylan is spoofed singing “White Christmas” as Bobby the Poet in the track subtitled “3 O’Clock Weather Report,” itself a parody of Simon and Garfunkel’s “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night.”  If only Dylan had tackled the Irving Berlin standard on his own Christmas in the Heart for comparison’s sake!  The Poet’s rendition, though, is quite credible, as is its harmonica part!  (“And all your Christmases be whiiiiiite, babe!”)

Speaking of wild tracks, they don’t come much more bizarre than a “Deliverance”-style rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” courtesy Bob Johnson and the Lonesome Travelers!  Less outré are the orchestral cuts both staid (the “International Pop Orchestra’s “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing” and “Deck the Halls”) and brassy (The Rudolph Statler Orchestra’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Let It Snow!”).  The pseudonymous Beethoven Ben offers honky-tonk piano on his “Auld Lang Syne, and if The Mexicana Marimba Band didn’t make for a serious threat to the Bajas, the group’s “Twelve Days of Christmas” is an A&M-worthy delight.

Curtis Mayfield appears on the romantic “I’ll Stay Home (New Year’s Eve)” from The Jaynells, and The Cameos offer lushly sung originals, “Merry Christmas” and “New Year’s Eve,” a different song than the one assayed by The Jaynells.  Less romantic is the young Bob Seger’s frenetically-rocking “Sock It to Me, Santa,” a riff on “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”  The holidays don’t get much more fun, and more irreverent, than the best tracks on this compilation!  Bob Ludwig and Joe Yannece have done a solid job remastering.

Hit the jump to continue our yuletide journey! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 13, 2011 at 09:22

The Grateful Dead, Cameo-Parkway Christmas, ? and the Mysterians, Ed Ames On Deck From Real Gone

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Real Gone Music, the label founded by Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana, has announced its debut slate for November, and it’s no surprise that the founders of Collectors’ Choice Music and Hep Cat Records, respectively, are launching their new venture with a broadly eclectic line-up of releases crossing all genre lines. 

With distribution from Razor and Tie, Real Gone’s slate includes releases from The Grateful Dead, a contingent of sixties girls, legendary garage group ? and the Mysterians, and a trio of holiday releases to make your Christmas a bit brighter.

On November 8, three previously-reported singles collections from Shelby Flint, Connie Stevens and Joanie Sommers are joined by a delightfully unexpected release all the way from Hooterville!  Come one and come all, and we’ll take that Cannonball to the junction, Petticoat Junction, with the original Imperial Records singles from The Girls of Petticoat Junction!  Featuring Linda Kaye Henning, Lori Saunders and Meredith MacRae, this collection marks these rare singles’ very first time on CD.  Every track is making its first appearance in stereo, and previously unreleased cuts have been appended.  Look for songs by Jimmy Webb, Neil Sedaka and more!

The following week, come hear Uncle John’s Band for three volumes of the long-running Dick’s Picks series, from the archives of the Grateful Dead!  Named for Dick Latvala, the official tape archivist for the Dead until 1999, these three volumes of Dick’s Picks will be available at retail from Real Gone, and spotlight gigs from Rochester, New York (1977); San Diego, California (1971); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1972). 

The Dead is joined by another band whose career could be summed up as a long, strange trip!  ? (that’s Question Mark to you!) and the Mysterians hit it big with the chart-topping “96 Tears” in 1966.  Real Gone brings the band’s 96 Tears album as well as its 1967 follow-up, Action!, to 180-gram vinyl.  These two LPs are available thanks to Real Gone’s relationship with ABKCO, successor to the original Cameo-Parkway label.  The Cameo-Parkway vaults have also been opened for Cameo-Parkway Holiday Hits, a compilation originally announced for Collectors’ Choice Music.  The 18-track comp boasts 13 new-to-CD cuts from the Philadelphia label’s roster, including  Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker, Bobby the Poet, The Rudolph Statler Orchestra, the Lonesome Travelers and even Bob Seger and the Last Heard!

On November 22, two more Christmas-themed titles will arrive, following in Collectors’ Choice’s grand tradition of bringing rare holiday music to compact disc.  Composer/arranger David Rose (“The Stripper”) is represented with 1968’s The David Rose Christmas Album from the vaults of Capitol Records, and beloved vocalist Ed Ames (“My Cup Runneth Over”) is the recipient of a two-fer bringing his 1967 Christmas with Ed Ames and 1970 Christmas is the Warmest Time of Year to CD, both originally released on RCA Victor.

Are you excited yet?  Hit the jump for the complete schedule!

  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 20, 2011 at 13:21