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Bread Winners: Early Songs of David Gates Compiled By Rare Rockin’ Records

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David Gates - Early YearsLong before “Make It With You,” “Everything I Own” and “If” became soft-rock standards for his band Bread, David Gates had toiled behind the scenes as a songwriter, producer, arranger and musician on the Hollywood scene.  He worked with everybody from The Monkees to Captain Beefheart before striking out with Robb Royer and James Griffin to form Bread.  The band’s debut album was released in 1969, featuring the original version of “It Don’t Matter to Me.”  The song soon mattered quite a bit for Bread, though, when it charted Top 10 Pop in a single version.  Now, the Australian label Rare Rockin’ Records is turning the pages back to David Gates’ pre-Bread days with the March 18 release of David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967.  It follows the label’s two previous songwriter retrospectives, one each for Burt Bacharach and Billy Meshel (who wrote for Del Shannon, Lenny Welch and Dion before moving on to a long, successful career in music publishing).

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-born Gates first found success on the local music scene, backing Chuck Berry while still in high school and even releasing a regional hit single, “Jo-Baby.”  The siren call of Hollywood soon persuaded Gates to make the move west, and beginning in 1961, he soon found gainful employment.  By 1964, he had achieved his first major success as a songwriter when The Murmaids took his “Popsicles and Icicles” to No. 3 on the Hot 100 under the aegis of the frequently colorful impresario Kim Fowley.  In 1966, The Monkees included Gates’ “Saturday’s Child” on the group’s first album, and he even contributed the title song to Hanna-Barbera’s big screen romp Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear in 1964.  As an arranger, Gates worked his magic on Glenn Yarbrough’s “Baby the Rain Must Fall” in 1965.

All the while, he was developing a solo career, recording for labels like Mala, Del-Fi and Planetary both under his own name and under pseudonyms like Del Ashley and The Manchesters.  When Gates was hired to produce, arrange and conduct the Uni Records LP debut of Los Angeles pop group The Pleasure Fair in 1967, though, it turned out to be more than just another assignment.  One member of The Pleasure Fair was Robb Royer, whose song “Say What You See” would be arranged by Gates and produced by Royer’s sometimes-songwriting partner James Griffin in 1968 for the group The Curtain Calls.  Soon, Griffin, Royer and Gates teamed up as Bread.  The group went on to score 13 hits on the Hot 100, and Gates notched a further seven as a solo artist.

After the jump: what will you find on David Gates – The Early Years 1962-1967?  Hit the jump for more details plus the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2013 at 10:25

Review: A Real Gone January – Bill Medley, Jody Miller and The Tymes

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Among the first releases of 2012 from newbie label Real Gone Music is a two-on-one collection offering the compact disc debut of Bill Medley’s 100% and Soft and Soulful.  But those titles are apt to describe the entire Real Gone line-up for January, as the young label has given 100% to make available a wide variety of music: soft and soulful, yes, but also jazzy, twangy, and folky.  There’s something for everyone in this array of once-neglected titles.

As 1968 began, The Righteous Brothers were still an ongoing concern.  But the split of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield couldn’t have seemed too far off, at least judging from the March release of their LP Standards.  The LP was composed entirely of solo tracks, six by bass-baritone Medley and five by tenor Hatfield.  Later that year, a live LP was entitled One for the Road, and the solo Righteous Brothers were off and running.  Real Gone has brought together Medley’s first two solo albums for MGM Records, 100% and Soft and Soulful, on one CD (RGM-0016).

1968’s 100% marked a tentative beginning for the singer as a solo act, and he hadn’t severed all ties to his former “brother,” even announcing on his recording of “Let the Good Times Roll” that “Bob Hatfield’s in town!”  Always an accomplished producer, Medley took the controls himself, with arrangements provided by Bill Baker. The Medley/Baker team had previously taken the Righteous Brothers’ reins after the duo parted ways with Phil Spector, and even aped Spector’s Wagnerian style on the majestic “Soul and Inspiration.”

It’s odd, then, that Medley seemed a bit tentative about the musical direction he should pursue on 100%.  There’s Bill Medley, the finger-snapping, supper-club swinger of “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” and “That’s Life.”  There’s Bill Medley, the Broadway balladeer of “Who Can I Turn To” and the ubiquitous “The Impossible Dream.”  Most familiar is Bill Medley, the blue-eyed soul man of George Fischoff and Tony Powers’ “Run to My Loving Arms,” the rocking “Show Me” and the full-throttle “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”  The album’s strongest track is, ironically, “I Can’t Make It Alone,” a Carole King/Gerry Goffin collaboration also recorded by Bobby Hatfield in his first year of freedom.  (Hatfield’s version is still unreleased to this day; paging Real Gone Music?)  Medley’s vocal proves that he certainly could make it alone, though this terrific performance was outdone by the unlikeliest of performers, the trouser-splitting British star P.J. Proby!  Though the song was specifically written for The Righteous Brothers, Proby cut the original in 1966, and tapped arranger Jack Nitzsche to repeat the magic he’d created on songs like the Spector-produced “Just Once in My Life.”  Although Medley scored a small hit with his rendition, Proby out-Righteous’d the Brothers.  A bigger hit for him was 100%‘s  “Brown-Eyed Woman.”  It was eritten by the same all-time great team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had already penned the Righteous Brothers’ two No. 1 hits (“Soul and Inspiration” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”).

Hit the jump to explore Medley’s Soft and Soulful, plus new reissues from Jody Miller and The Tymes! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 24, 2012 at 15:23