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Viva Morello: Cherry Red Label Reissues Roy Rogers, Porter Wagoner, Ray Price, More

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Roy Rogers - Bob NolanThe Viva vaults are open! Viva Records, formed by producer Snuff Garrett (“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “This Diamond Ring”), released a diverse catalogue of music during its roughly two-decade existence – light instrumental pop, garage rock, comedy, and more. But the label might be best-remembered for its string of country successes in the early 1980s, most notably from David Frizzell and Shelly West. Earlier this year, Varese Sarabande reissued a trio of Viva soundtracks featuring artists including Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Chet Baker and Glen Campbell, and Cherry Red’s Morello label tapped Viva (by special arrangement with Varese) for titles from Frizzell and West. Morello has added four more vintage LPs from the Viva and Snuff Garrett Enterprises vaults to its collection. These titles hail from bona fide country-and-western greats: Ray Price and Porter Wagoner, and Roy Rogers and Bob Nolan.

Happy Trails to You/The Sound of a Pioneer presents on one CD the 1975 and 1980 albums by Roy Rogers and Bob Nolan, respectively. Rogers (1911-1998), of course, was one of the most famous cowboys of all time thanks to his appearances on radio, television and film, and also charted hit singles between 1946 and 1991. But long before lending his name to a chain of chicken restaurants and even before meeting and marrying Dale Evans, Rogers co-founded western singing group The Sons of the Pioneers with Bob Nolan (1908-1980). Morello’s new two-fer presents the Garrett-produced albums recorded by both men late in their careers. Happy Trails to You, arranged and conducted by Garrett’s frequent collaborator Stephen Dorff, took its title from Rogers’ signature song composed by his wife and first released as a single in 1952. In addition to a remake of “Happy Trails,” the 20th Century Records LP featured Roy’s recording of Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart,” a fitting western movie medley, and original songs penned by Garrett and Dorff.

Five years later, in 1980, Garrett and arranger-conductor Al Capps (Cher, Vikki Carr) gave a similar treatment to Bob Nolan. His The Sound of a Pioneer, a rare solo outing, also blended classic and contemporary material with an emphasis on his own material including western standards “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water.” Nolan initially resisted re-recording those tunes, but Garrett insisted on it and earned the singer’s grudging acceptance. He also covered Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ride Me Down Easy” and Rex Allen Jr.’s nostalgic 1976 hit “Can You Hear Those Pioneers.” (Allen Jr. was the son of another famous singing cowboy, Rex Allen.) For Nolan’s recording of Marty Robbins’ “A Man Walks Among Us,” Robbins himself added harmonies. Nolan passed away months after the release of the album on Elektra Records, but it was a fitting final statement by a true Pioneer.

After the jump: a look at the two-fer from Ray Price and Porter Wagoner, and full track listings and order links for both releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 16, 2014 at 10:02

Release Round-Up: Week of May 13

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Michael Jackson - XscapeMichael Jackson, Xscape (Epic)

Where was this three years ago? This collection of eight outtakes, augmented with tasteful future-retro production by Timbaland, Stargate, L.A. Reid and others, is possibly the best project to escape the MJ vaults yet. For the discerning fan, Epic’s done you a solid, offering a deluxe package with the same songs in their untouched demo form. It’s really something.

Standard CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Brain Salad SurgeryEmerson, Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery: Deluxe Edition (Sony Music U.K.)

One of ELP’s defining albums is now available in an imported deluxe multi-disc box featuring original and new stereo remixes of the album, an alternate assembly from rare and unreleased outtakes and DVDs featuring documentary footage and a 5.1 mix of the album.

3CD/2DVD/1LP: Amazon U.K.
2CD/1DVD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (on Razor & Tie 7/1)

A Boy Named Charlie BrownThe Vince Guaraldi Trio, Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Fantasy)

Before A Charlie Brown Christmas, this was Vince Guaraldi’s first album devoted to Charles M. Schultz’s lovable comic strip hero – the score to a never-aired documentary. It’s been remastered and expanded for its 50th anniversary, and a full story is forthcoming!

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

Porter Dolly boxPorter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967-1976 (Bear Family)

A brilliant six-disc box set chronicling the dozen-plus RCA Victor albums created by this immortal country duo, not to mention more than a dozen rare and unreleased tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Beat - Complete BoxThe Beat, The Complete Studio Recordings (Edsel)

Edsel’s no stranger to The (English) Beat’s catalogue, but this smart new box keeps it to the essentials: all three original studio LPs, plus a disc of essential B-sides and remixes. (Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.)

Elaine Paige - Ultimate CollectionElaine Paige, The Ultimate Collection (Warner Music UK)

A brilliant career-spanning compilation from the U.K. musical theatre star, available in standard and deluxe editions with some choice rarities to boot.

Standard Version:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Special Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Delicate Sound of ThunderPink Floyd, Delicate Sound of Thunder (Parlophone)

A new remaster of Pink Floyd’s 1988 double live album, recorded on the Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ned Doheny - Separate OceansNed Doheny, Separate Oceans (Numero Group)

A cult favorite on the edges of the California rock sound of the ’70s, Ned Doheny is celebrated with a new compilation combining some previously released tracks for Columbia and Asylum with ten unreleased demos – three of which feature the talents of Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles.

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


The Sound - Jeopardy Plus BoxThe Sound, Jeopardy/From the Lion’s Mouth/All Fall Down…Plus (Edsel)

A criminally underrated British post-punk band gets their due on a new set from Edsel collating the band’s first three albums, all expanded, with a DVD of BBC performances. (Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.)

Glad All Over BDThe Dave Clark Five, The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over DVD & Blu-ray (PBS Home Video)

Fifty years after the DC5 took part in the British Invasion, this documentary features new testimonials from famous fans and contemporaries plus great, rarely-seen archival footage.

DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Androcles OST

Original Television Soundtrack Recording, Androcles and the Lion (Masterworks Broadway)

The RCA Victor soundtrack recording of composer/lyricist Richard Rodgers’ 1967 television musical Androcles and the Lion – starring Ed Ames, Noel Coward, John Cullum, Inga Swenson and Norman Wisdom is receiving its first-ever reissue in any format exclusively from Masterworks in a limited quantity of MOD CD-Rs as well as digital download.

Dave Van Ronk - Monterey

Dave Van Ronk, Live in Monterey 1998 (Omnivore)

Omnivore presents sixteen never-before-released live tracks from the great folk troubadour who inspired Inside Llewyn Davis. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)


Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Chet Baker, Peggy Lee Featured On Soundtrack Bumper Crop From Varese

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Any Which Way You CanVarese Vintage is going any which way they can with an exciting trio of soundtrack releases from the library of Snuff Garrett’s Viva Records label.  Garrett, of course, was the producer behind major hits from Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”), Cher (“Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves”) and future “Mama” Vicki Lawrence (“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”).  At Viva, he oversaw an eclectic array of releases from artists like the Midnight String Quartet, Alan O’Day, Ray Price and even crooner Rudy Vallee.  (If you ever wanted to hear Vallee warbling “Winchester Cathedral” and “Michelle,” look no further than 1967’s Hi-Ho Everybody on Viva!)  He also helmed a number of film soundtracks, three of which are arriving on CD from Varese: 1980’s Any Which Way You Can, 1981’s Sharky’s Machine, and 1982’s Honkytonk Man.  Collectively, these feature original music by an all-star roster including Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Fats Domino, Marty Robbins, Ray Price, The Manhattan Transfer, Chet Baker, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan – to name a few!

Music has played an important part in the career of Clint Eastwood since his earliest days.  Though the actor-director has limited his onscreen musicals to one (1969’s Lerner and Loewe adaptation Paint Your Wagon), Clint recorded an album of country-and-western songs (Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites) in 1963 and has appeared in, or directed, a number of films with prominent musical moments or scores.  Think The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Play Misty for Me, Bird, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and so on.  Eastwood has composed the scores for numerous films including J. Edgar, Changeling and Mystic River, and this June, he returns to musicals as the director of the big screen adaptation of Jersey Boys.  So it’s no surprise that music was front and center in Every Which Way But Loose and Honkytonk Man.

The comedy-action film Any Which Way You Can, a sequel to 1978’s Every Which Way But Loose, again paired Eastwood’s Philo Beddoe with his pet orangutan Clyde for a series of misadventures.    Audiences couldn’t get enough of Philo and Clyde, as the movie became the fifth highest grossing picture of the year.  The soundtrack, an Eastwood-Garrett production overseen by Snuff and arranger-conductor Steve Dorff, hit the Country Top 5 and spawned seven (!) charting C&W singles out of just twelve tracks.  The album, remastered by David Shirk, is a breezily enjoyable listen.  Eastwood reminisces with Ray Charles on “Beers to You” (No. 55), Fats Domino laconically dreams not of “My Blue Heaven” but of “Whiskey Heaven” (No. 51), and Johnny Duncan turns things tropical on “Acapulco” (No. 16).  Jim Stafford also scored with “Cow Patti” (No. 65) and Gene Watson with “Any Way You Want Me” (No. 33).  But the two biggest hits came from Glen Campbell and the duo of Lefty’s younger brother David Frizzell and Dottie’s daughter Shelly West.  Frizzell and West had recorded a few albums both jointly and separately for Viva, and took the soundtrack’s “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” all the way to No.1 Country.  Campbell’s rendition of the soaring MOR-country Dorff/Garrett/Milton Brown title ballad went to No. 10.  The soundtrack is rounded out by a couple of performances from Eastwood’s onscreen and offscreen co-star Sondra Locke, a bluegrass selection from The Texas Opera Company, and even an ode to the “Orangutan Hall of Fame” by Cliff Crofford.

After the jump, we’ll dive into Honkytonk Man and Sharky’s Machine – plus we have full track listings and order links for all three CDs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 12, 2014 at 09:19

Bear Family Making Plans for Box Set of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton Recordings

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Porter Dolly boxJohnny and June. George and Tammy. Porter and Dolly. The world of country music had some of its greatest successes in pairs – duets whose songs projected all the joy and pain of love and loss, just like any good country song should. Whether the joy or pain was real or simply projected very well is another matter, as anyone who’s seen Walk the Line can attest.

In the case of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, their relationship was never romantic and often turbulent, but it did yield one of the most bountiful dual discographies in the genre. This year, Bear Family Records will celebrate that union with Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967-1976, a six-disc box set featuring every one of Porter and Dolly’s recordings for the RCA Victor label.

In 1967, Porter Wagoner was left with the unenviable task of replacing singer Norma Jean Beasler, an RCA Victor artist and co-star of his long-running syndicated television show since its inception in 1960. Audiences were quick to judge the blonde, buxom Parton, who’d been previously signed to Monument Records as a bubblegum pop artist despite a desire to pursue her country roots. But Parton’s intoxicating, vibrato-laden voice and natural on-stage chemistry with Wagoner made her a natural starlet, both as part of Wagoner’s line-up and on her own. By the early 1970s, she was a bona-fide country legend, with singles like “Just Because I’m a Woman,” “Mule Skinner Blues,” “Coat of Many Colors” and the incomparable “Jolene.”

Porter and Dolly would record a dozen records for RCA in a decade, often featuring songs they wrote themselves. They logged 20 singles on Billboard‘s Country Top 40, including “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man,” “Just Someone I Used to Know,” “If Teardrops Were Pennies” and the chart-topping “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me.” But the duo did not always get along offstage. Dolly told The Los Angeles Times in 2008, “He was in charge, and it was his show, but he was also very strong willed. That’s why we fought like crazy, because I wouldn’t put up with a bunch of stuff. Out of respect for him, I knew he was the boss, and I would go along to where I felt this was reasonable for me. But once it passed points where it was like, your way or my way, to prove to you that I can do it, then I would just pitch a damn fit. I wouldn’t care if it killed me.”

Ultimately, Dolly parted ways with Porter by 1976, although her respect for him as a partner as well as one who gave her a chance to break through in the country world led to the writing of one of Parton’s greatest compositions: “I Will Always Love You.” And the duo would patch up their personal and professional differences in later years: a 1980 album, Porter & Dolly, was comprised of outtakes from the pair’s partnership including the No. 2 smash “Making Plans.” And Dolly was there to induct Porter into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002, and joined his family to say goodbye when he passed away in 2007.

Just Between You and Me features every track from the duo’s 13 albums, several compilation-only tracks, a few rarities – namely a 45 RPM single recorded in honor of The American Freedom Train that ran for the country’s bicentennial and live cuts from 1970’s A Real Live Dolly – and 13 unreleased tracks, including alternate takes. Alanna Nash, author of 1978’s Dolly: The Biography, pens the set’s liner notes.

The box is available May 5. Order it here and hit the jump for a complete track list! (Thanks to super reader Richard Eric for the tip!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 17, 2014 at 14:03