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Hey Hey! They’re Boyce and Hart – And You Can Help Complete Their Documentary!

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Boyce and Hart Movie Poster

For a few years in the halcyon days of the sixties, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were on top of the world. Singers, songwriters and producers, Boyce and Hart – individually or collectively – were behind some of the most enduring hits of that era or any other: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone,” “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Hurt So Bad,” “I Wanna Be Free,” “Valleri,” “Pretty Little Angel Eyes,” and of course, the immortal “Theme from The Monkees.” As if turning out hits for The Monkees and so many others wasn’t enough, Tommy and Bobby recorded three hip albums for A&M Records as a performing duo.  They reached the Top 10 in 1967 with “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite,” which crackles with youthful abandon, energy and, frankly, a killer AM radio-ready hook. Yet the Boyce and Hart story isn’t as well-known as the team’s most famous songs. That’s all about to change, however, with the upcoming release of Boyce and Hart: The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em. And this feature-length documentary needs your help.

The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em, for the first time, fixes the spotlight on the lives and career of Tommy Boyce (who died in 1994) and Bobby Hart (who is very much alive and a key participant/narrator in the film). It’s not Boyce and Hart’s first brush with the silver screen; the team wrote music for such motion pictures as The Ambushers and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. On television, the duo also had a high profile. Not only were they The Monkees’ favorite and most recorded songwriters, but the telegenic tunesmiths made appearances on I Dream of Jeannie (opposite no less a personage than Phil Spector!), The Flying Nun and Bewitched. On the latter sitcom, Tommy and Bobby played what was arguably their grooviest concert ever – at the otherworldly affair for the elite “in crowd” of witches and warlocks, The Cosmos Cotillion! Elizabeth Montgomery even joined them during the episode to perform their 1969 single “A Kiss in the Wind” as good witch Samantha’s deliciously scheming cousin Serena. Samantha hoped to send those “howling hippies” back to Earth, but even she couldn’t help dancing along!

In addition to their work onscreen and on record, Boyce and Hart also were active participants in the sixties political revolution. Their final A&M single was entitled “L.U.V. (Let Us Vote),” and advocated for the right of teenagers to vote and the voting age to be reduced to eighteen. But by the end of the decade, the duo had broken up, torn apart by personal and professional conflicts. In the mid-seventies, however, they were reunited with The Monkees’ Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart, touring around the world and releasing both a studio and a live album. After the new group disbanded, they turned their attention once again to solo endeavors. Hart went on to receive an Academy Award nomination in 1983 for his song “Over You” for the film Tender Mercies; Boyce contributed to a number of recordings by artists including Iggy Pop and Darts.

The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em is a labor of love for writer-subject Hart, writer-producer-director Rachel Lichtman and writer-producer Andrew Sandoval. On such indispensable projects over the years as Varese Sarabande’s 1995 various-artists compilation The Songs of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and 2005’s A&M anthology I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight: The Best of Boyce and Hart – not to mention the numerous Monkees projects which he has spearheaded for the Rhino label – Sandoval has kept the B&H flame burning bright.  The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em promises to raise the duo’s profile even higher. According to the film’s official information, it has been compiled from “never-before-seen home movies, photographs and audio interviews combined with one-of-a-kind archival television clips, set against the Boyce and Hart songs that outsold both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined in 1967.” No, that’s not a misprint! Narrator Bobby Hart is joined in the film by Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Kim Fowley and Keith Allison, all of whom have given new interviews. (Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Allison is also the subject of Real Gone Music’s recent release In Action: The Complete Columbia Sides Plus! for which I provided the liner notes based on an interview with Keith. It features “Action Action Action” and “I Wanna Be Free,” both penned by Boyce and Hart!) Vintage commentary from the late Boyce is also featured as an integral part of the film.

Where do you come in? Hit the jump for full information on how you can be a part of this important undertaking! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 14, 2014 at 09:55

Release Round-Up: Week of April 1

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Cyndi Lauper - She's So UnusualCyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration (Portrait/Epic/Legacy)

One of MTV’s first queens wears the crown anew on this deluxe set featuring new remixes, rarities from the vault, rare photographs and a fun expanded package with a diorama and reusable sticker set.

Amazon U.S.: 1CD / 2CD / LP
Amazon U.K.: 1CD2CD / LP

Keith AllisonReal Gone slate: Doris Day, Music, Movies & Memories / Doris Day, Sings Her Great Movie Hits / Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, The Complete Atlantic Sides Plus (2-CD Set) / Cowboy, Reach for the Sky / Keith Allison, In Action — The Complete Columbia Sides and More!/ The Ohio Express, Beg, Borrow and Steal — The Complete Cameo Recordings / Eddie Kendricks, Love Keys / Vicki Lawrence, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia — The Complete Bell Recordings / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 19 — 10/19/73 Oklahoma City Fairgrounds Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

The latest Real Gone slate includes two compilations to celebrate Doris Day’s 90th birthday, soul rarities from Eddie Kendricks and Patti LaBelle and a great new Keith Allison set featuring new liner notes from Joe!

Doris Day/Music, Movies & MemoriesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Doris Day/Great Movie HitsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Patti LaBelle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cowboy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Keith Allison: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ohio Express: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Eddie Kendricks: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vicki Lawrence: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Alan Parsons Project - CompleteThe Alan Parsons Project, The Complete Albums Collection (Arista/Legacy)

The complete Alan Parsons Project discography in one box, including their non-Arista debut, 1976’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allen Poe and the unreleased 1981 instrumental album The Sicilian Defence. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dylan's GospelThe Brothers and Sisters, Dylan’s Gospel (Ode/Light in the Attic)

Ten gospel-fied covers of Bob Dylan tunes, featuring singers from Merry Clayton to Patrice Holloway, arrangements from Gene Page and contributions from Ode artists and friends including Carole King and John Phillips. First time in print in more than a decade!

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Andy CappAndy Capp: Original West End Cast Recording (Stage Door Records)

Stage Door revives the original London cast recording of the 1982 musical based on Reg Smythe’s long-running comic strip. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

TCM Play It Again SamVarious Artists, Play It Again: The Classic Sound of Hollywood (TCM/Masterworks)

Joe will have a full rundown of the latest title in Masterworks and TCM’s vintage Hollywood series later this week! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Action, Action, Action! Real Gone’s April Release Schedule Announced

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Keith Allison

Second Disc HQ may be surrounded by layers of detestable snow, but a new release schedule from Real Gone Music is as good as any sunshine! (Plus, these titles are due in April, by which everything will have melted…WE HOPE.)

You’ve already read about two of the label’s new April releases courtesy of Joe’s post about Doris Day earlier today, but that’s not all they’re offering. A complete singles collection by Patti LaBelle and The Bluebells – featuring the three future members of LaBelle with future Supremes member Cindy Birdsong – is forthcoming, as are chronicles of The Ohio Express on Cameo Records, Vicki Lawrence (“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”) on Bell, and a tempting reissue of Eddie Kendricks’ 1981 final solo LP, his only for Atlantic Records.

But we have to confess we’re a little excited about In Action: The Complete Columbia Sides and More, a new collection devoted to Keith Allison, an underrated rock legend who sat in with The Monkees on some of their best albums, and whose Columbia works were produced by Gary Usher, featuring songs written by Boyce & Hart (the iconic theme to TV series Where the Action Is), Neil Diamond and Mark Lindsay, who’d later recruit him into Paul Revere & The Raiders. In addition to being an airtight, rarity-packed set, we once again can reveal a Real Gone Music release has liner notes penned by our own Joe Marchese, featuring excerpts from a new interview with Keith himself!

So what are you waiting for? Full specs on all titles, including Jacksonville band Cowboy (a favorite of Duane Allman’s) and another Grateful Dead Dick’s Picks title, are after the jump, and all of them are released on April 1 (no foolin’!).

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