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Of Mamas, Papas, Raiders and Soundtracks: Real Gone’s February Slate Revealed

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Together OST CDThe announcement of Real Gone Music’s release schedule for February 2014 would be cause for celebration any day of the week. But this particular day is special, as you’re about to find out.

In addition to an ironclad lineup that includes A Gathering of Flowers, the long out-of-print 1970 collection from The Mamas & The Papas; The Complete Recordings by Brotherhood, an unfairly obscure psych-rock band comprised of Phil Volk, Drake Levin and Mike “Smitty” Smith of Paul Revere & The Raiders that cut three LPs for RCA; a twofer by Smith (A Band Called Smith/Minus-Plus), the L.A. soul band which had a Top 5 hit in a cover of “Baby, It’s You” (arranged by Del Shannon, who discovered the band) and a pair of 1976 Grateful Dead shows for the 20th volume of Dick’s Picks,  two intriguing, long out-of-print film soundtracks make their domestic CD debuts: Together? – a Burt Bacharach-led pop feast featuring lyrics from Paul Anka and vocals from Jackie DeShannon and Michael McDonald – and Toomorrow, a 1970 sci-fi movie musical assembled by Harry Saltzman and Don Kirshner with vocals from a very unknown Australian actor-chanteuse named Olivia Newton-John.

And what makes those two soundtrack releases so exciting? The Second Disc is extremely proud to report that our own Joe Marchese is writing the liner notes to these releases! Joe’s insight that served readers so well on a previous post about the Together? soundtrack will now guide fans through the first ever Stateside releases of this and Toomorrow. We’ve rarely been more thrilled for you to read some Second Disc-style work without even needing to open your laptop!

All titles are set for a February 4 release. For the full release schedule, which also includes releases by Canadian trio Troyka and country-gospel crooner Jim Reeves, hit the jump!

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Review: Paul Anka, “Duets”

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Paul Anka - DuetsWhether you prefer your “My Way” by Sinatra or Sid (Vicious, that is), you have Paul Anka to thank.  It was Anka who took the melody to the chanson “Comme d’habitude” and crafted the ultimate anthem of survival and tenacity with his English-language lyrics.  When Sinatra recorded the song, a gift to him from Anka, he was just 53 years of age yet could still ring true when singing of that “final curtain.”  Today, Paul Anka is 71, and his new memoir is entitled, what else, My Way.  Thankfully, the end seems far from near for the entertainer, who has kept busy not only with the book, but with an album from Legacy Recordings.  Duets (88765 48489 2) is a blend of new and old tracks with one thing in common: the unmistakable voice of Paul Anka.  (He also wrote or co-wrote all but two of its songs.)

The Ottawa-born pop star scored his first hit at the ripe old age of 15 with 1957’s “Diana.”  It earned him a No. 1 in the U.S. Best Sellers in Stores and R&B charts, as well as No. 1 in the U.K., Canada and Australia. But overnight sensation Anka was a teen idol with a difference: he was a true singer/songwriter, writing both music and lyrics for his own songs. By the age of 20, Anka was reportedly raking in $1.5 million a year and selling some 20 million records, but he knew that he had to take himself to the next level. The singer poised himself for a reinvention for the adult market with more mature material aimed at the supper club crowd.  Throughout his chart career, Anka has successfully balanced contemporary pop with timeless showbiz tradition.

To its credit, Duets isn’t a rehash of the formula enjoyed by so many superstars, from Frank Sinatra to Tony Bennett, of remaking “greatest hits” with familiar partners.  There’s no “Puppy Love,” no “Times of Your Life” or “One Woman Man/One Man Woman.”  Nor is Duets a career retrospective, per se, as the only vintage tracks are drawn from 1998’s A Body of Work.  In many ways, Duets is an update of that Epic release.  A Body of Work included seven duets among its eleven tracks, and four of those have been reprised on Duets.  (That album also included a posthumous duet with Sinatra on “My Way.”  Frank and the song are here, too, but in a newly-created recording.)  None of Anka’s hit seventies duets with Odia Coates like “One Woman Man” or “You’re Having My Baby” are heard here.  Though Jay-Z reportedly denied Anka’s invitation to participate, a number of top talents did show up to celebrate Anka’s 55 years in entertainment, including Dolly Parton, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson and Michael Bublé.

Come join us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

He Did It His Way: Paul Anka Joins Friends For “Duets”, New CD Features Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Leon Russell and More

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Paul Anka - DuetsDo you remember the times of your life?

Paul Anka posed that musical question in 1975, taking Roger Nichols and Bill Lane’s onetime Kodak film jingle all the way to the Top 10 Billboard pop chart and No. 1 Easy Listening.  At that point, Anka could rightfully reflect on the times of his own storied life, nearly two decades in the music business.  But could he have imagined that he would still be going strong almost forty years after “Times of Your Life” hit?  The Canadian-born singer, songwriter, producer and manager is celebrating 55 years in the music business with the release on April 9 of Duets, a 14-track collection of vocal pairings both old and new.  The Legacy Recordings album coincides with the same day’s debut of his autobiography, naturally entitled My Way after the song he co-wrote for Frank Sinatra.

Ottawa-born Anka had his first hit with 1957’s “Diana.”  When the song was released, Anka was just shy of 16 years old, and it earned him a No. 1 in the U.S. Best Sellers in Stores and R&B charts, as well as No. 1 in the U.K., Canada and Australia.  But overnight sensation Anka was a teen idol with a difference: he was a true singer/songwriter, writing both music and lyrics for his own songs.  In 1962, Anka departed his home of ABC-Paramount for the more lucrative pastures of RCA Victor, which is now under the same corporate umbrella of Sony Music Entertainment as Legacy Recordings.  Anka followed up his ABC hits like “You Are My Destiny,” “Lonely Boy,” “Puppy Love” and “Put Your Head on My Shoulders” with a string of charting pop singles (“A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine,” “Remember Diana,” “Goodnight, My Love”) that continued through 1964 when The British Invasion threatened to cut short the careers of artists like Anka and his RCA Victor compatriot Neil Sedaka.

Of course, Paul Anka bounced back.  Hit the jump for the rest of the story, plus the full track listing, pre-order link and more about Duets! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 5, 2013 at 15:09

Listen To The Music: Doobie Brothers Catalogue Expanded In The U.K.

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Are you ready to listen to the music?

If you are, you’re in for quite a treat.  The U.K.’s Edsel label has just launched a series of expanded Doobie Brothers remasters, encompassing the band’s first eight studio albums (1971-1978) as four 2-CD packages.  Doobie Brothers/Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me/What Once Were Vices were just released this past Monday, while Stampede/Takin’ It to the Streets and Livin’ On The Fault Line/Minute by Minute follow on September 26.  These eight albums nearly represent the entirety of the band’s pre-retirement career; only 1980’s One Step Closer and the live Farewell Tour (1983) would follow before The Doobies took a hiatus of almost seven years.  Each Edsel edition has added bonus material such as demos, single versions and extended remixes for what should be a definitive Doobie reissue program.  Many of these tracks previously appeared on the Doobies’ 1999 Rhino box set Long Train Runnin’, and are now being appended to their proper albums.

Though the Doobie Brothers lineup changed with some frequency, the spirit of musical camaraderie remained, seeing the group through sixteen Top 40 singles (including two at No. 1), seven platinum albums and two Grammy Awards.  The band was originally formed by Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John Hartman and Dave Shogren; Hartman and Johnston had previously played an outfit named Pud, while Simmons was a member of the band Scratch.  Warner Bros. Records’ Lenny Waronker (The Beau Brummels, Randy Newman, Harper’s Bizarre) produced with Ted Templeman, and Waronker may have influenced the group to take a primarily acoustic direction for their self-titled 1971 debut.  Although “Nobody” had potential as a hit, the Doobies’ debut went largely unnoticed, and Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter; Mike Hossack joined, supplementing Hartman as second drummer.  Templeman encouraged the Doobies to pursue a harder Southern rock muse despite their California origins.  The formula worked.  Toulouse Street (1972) included both the AM hit “Listen to the Music” and “Jesus Is Just Alright,” eventually going platinum.  Its follow-up, The Captain and Me (1973), boasted “Long Train Runnin’,” another Tom Johnston song that even bested the chart placement of Johnston’s “Listen to the Music.”  The songwriter/singer/guitarist was on a roll, with “China Grove” another hit from the album.

It was natural that another Tom Johnston song would be selected as lead single for 1974’s What Once Were Vices Are Now Habits, but “Another Park, Another Sunday” failed to repeat the success of its predecessors.  But the band had an ace up its sleeve with Patrick Simmons’ “Black Water.”  The song became the band’s first number one.  Hossack departed the group during the recording of the album, though, and was replaced with the Bay Area drummer Keith Knudsen.  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan was brought in before recording commenced on 1975’s Stampede, featuring the Holland/Dozier/Holland “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)” as its first single.  The Steely Dan connection would soon figure prominently in Doobies lore.

We’ve got much, much more after the jump, including full track listings and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 2, 2011 at 11:02