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Archive for the ‘Rodriguez’ Category

Early Albert Hammond, Sixto Rodriguez Songs Featured On The Family Dogg’s “A Way of Life: Anthology”

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Family Dogg - Anthology

Few pop songwriters have proven as adaptable as Albert Hammond.  His string of hits dates from the 1960s straight through the 1990s, and his durable compositions continue to be recorded today.  Yet one chapter of the Hammond legacy has never been properly anthologized until now: his tenure with the British pop group The Family Dogg.  Cherry Red’s RPM label has just delivered A Way of Life: Anthology 1967-1976, named for the band’s U.K. Top 10 hit and including all of the band’s recordings on two CDs.

The London-born, Gibraltar-raised Albert Hammond had recorded in the late 1950s as a member of The Diamond Boys, but came into his own in the 1970s scoring numerous successes as a songwriter with partner Mike Hazlewood (The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding,” The Fortunes’ “Freedom Come, Freedom Go”) even as he was carving out a successful solo career with the U.S. Top 5 single “It Never Rains in Southern California.”  Throughout the seventies, Hammond turned out more hits with Hal David (the AC chart-topper “99 Miles from L.A.”), John Bettis and Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters’ Top 25 single “I Need to Be in Love”) and Carole Bayer Sager (Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You,” a No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic).  Entering the eighties, he began a partnership with Diane Warren for such era-defining power ballads as Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (No. 1 U.S. & U.K., 1987) and Chicago’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” (No. 3 U.S., 1988) reteamed with David for Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” (No. 5 U.S., 1984) and Bettis for Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” (No. 1 U.K., No. 5 U.S., 1988).  Hammond has also turned out hits for Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and even Ace of Base, not to mention fathering Albert Hammond, Jr. of The Strokes.  The roots of this success, however, can be traced to his brief time with Mike Hazlewood and Steve Rowland in The Family Dogg.

American Steve Rowland, a young actor who featured in films including Battle of the Bulge with Henry Fonda and Crime in the Streets with Sal Mineo, was singing with the Spanish band Los Flaps when he first met Albert Hammond of Gibraltar’s Diamond Boys.  Their partnership wasn’t immediate, however.  Rowland’s travels took him to London, where he partnered with Ronnie Oppenheimer and formed Double R Productions.  At Double R, Rowland successfully produced such acts as Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.  It was in London that he ran into Hammond once more, who was in his own partnership with fellow Brit Mike Hazlewood as songwriters and producers.  The trio hatched plans to form a band of their own: The Family Dogg.

Hit the jump for more on the story of The Family Dogg, plus the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 13, 2014 at 10:10

Release Round-Up: Week of January 22

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Billy Joel - Love SongsBilly Joel, She’s Got a Way: Love Songs (Columbia/Legacy)

The romantic side of the Piano Man is featured on this new compilation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Searching for Sugar Man Blu-RayRodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

One of the most captivating catalogue music documentaries of 2012 is now available on DVD  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) and Blu-Ray (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)!

Blue Nile HatsThe Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops / Hats: Deluxe Editions (Virgin/EMI)

Slated for release in the U.K. late last year, these two double-disc expansions of The Blue Nile’s first two LPs, featuring many rare and unreleased recordings, are on the schedule today, as well. (A Walk Across the RooftopsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. – Hats: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Buck Owens - Honky TonkBuck Owens, Honky Tonk Man: Buck Sings Country Classics / Don Rich, Don Rich Sings George Jones (Omnivore)

Two never-before-released sets from two legends of Bakersfield are coming from Omnivore! (Buck Owens: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. – Don Rich: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Very Best of The PoguesThe Pogues, The Very Best of The Pogues (Shout! Factory)

A new Pogues compilation – according to the label, the only one in print in the U.S. right now. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Four Seasons - Gold Vault of HitsFrankie Valli and The 4 Seasons, Gold Vault of Hits 2nd Vault of Golden Hits (Rhino)

Two original 4 Seasons compilations, released by Philips in 1965 and 1966, work their way to CD from Rhino. (Gold VaultAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.2nd Vault: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Say Anything All My Friends Are EnemiesSay Anything, All My Friends Are Enemies: Early Rarities (Equal Vision)

A three-disc set featuring Max Bemis and his emo ensemble’s first self-released albums. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

“Sugar Man” Revealed: Legacy, Light in the Attic Team to Rediscover Lost Folk Hero Rodriguez

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The story of Rodriguez may not be a famous one (yet!), but it’s so big that it takes not one, but two, of our favorite labels to bring it to life!  Legacy Recordings and Light in the Attic have teamed up to release the soundtrack to Malik Bendjelloul’s film Searching for Sugar Man about a “lost” singer-songwriter who made a big, and unusual, impact.  The adjective “remarkable” may be overused, but it certainly applies to the life and career of Rodriguez.

The film, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, following a NY premiere engagement earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.  It follows the artist born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in 1942.  The documentary was also hailed at both Sundance and SXSW, and was described by Q as “stunning. One of the greatest, and most moving documentaries ever made.”

Discovered in Detroit in the late 1960s by Dennis Coffey (the Funk Brothers guitarist and “Scorpio” artist) and his frequent partner Mike Theodore, Rodriguez made his record debut with 1970’s Cold Fact.  Issued on Sussex in the U.S. and A&M in the U.K., Cold Fact featured Coffey and Theodore as producers and arrangers, as well as famed Motown bassist Bob Babbitt.  It captured Rodriguez’ melding of folk with funk, along with a heaping helping of psychedelia.  Rodriguez followed Cold Fact up with 1971’s Coming from Reality, recorded in London by producer Steve Rowland with Chris Spedding on drums, on the same labels.  Despite a more pop-oriented sensibility, it too sunk without a trace.

Or so Rodriguez thought.  In a so-unbelievable-it-must-be-true story, Cold Fact was released in South Africa, at that time torn apart by the apartheid government.  It became a much-bootlegged, much-circulated LP.  Something in Rodriguez’ topical, passionate lyrics (“lysergic gutter poetry,” per Spin) spoke to the oppressed citizens, and Rodriguez became a familiar and inspiring figure among African youth and particularly those entrenched in military conflicts.  Sales of Cold Fact in the country would have earned it platinum status.  (In 1998, it was finally awarded a platinum disc in South Africa, and it found similar success in Australia.  There, it went to No. 23 on the album charts in 1976, and eventually reached 5x platinum status.)  The cold fact, though, is that Rodriguez had no idea of the album’s South African success or its power to inspire there. Just a decade ago, he was found, toiling as a day laborer working on a Detroit building site.  The one-time singer/songwriter was completely unaware that his long-ago album had provided the soundtrack to a revolution far, far away.

Hit the jump for more, including order links and track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 24, 2012 at 09:58

Release Round-Up: Week of July 24

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Booker T. & the MGs, Green Onions (Concord/Stax)

The 1962 album from the Stax legends is expanded with two previously issued, live bonus tracks from Los Angeles in 1965.  Read more here.

David Cassidy, Cherish / Rock Me Baby (7Ts/Cherry Red)

The Partridge Family star was on top of the world when he released his first two solo albums in 1972.  They arrive on American shores today as one two-fer!  Read more here.

The Guess Who, # 10 / Road Food (Iconoclassic)

Iconoclassic’s series of expanded and remastered reissues for the Canadian rockers continues with these 1973 and 1974 RCA albums.  Read more here.

Jerry Lee Lewis, The Killer Live! 1964-1970 (Hip-o Select/Mercury)

This limited edition 3-CD set compiles a bevy of live albums from the piano pounder: “Live” At The Star Club, Hamburg and The Greatest Live Show On Earth, both from 1964; 1966’s By Request: More Of The Greatest Live Show On Earth; and 1970’s Live At The International, Las Vegas.  A full 16 bonus tracks, including 10 previously unreleased tracks, round out the set.

Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man: Original Soundtrack (Legacy/Light in the Attic)

Never heard of Rodriguez?  Let Legacy and Light in the Attic spin this fascinating yarn about a musician who had no idea that his long-lost LP had acquired a new lease on life: as the soundtrack to a revolution taking place oceans away.  We’ll have more on the amazing story of Rodriguez later today!

Neil Sedaka, The Show Goes On: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Rock)

A 2006 set of hit tunes from the “Calendar Girl” and “Laughter in the Rain” hitmaker arrives on CD for the first time.

Sugar, Copper Blue/Beaster (Deluxe Edition) / File Under Easy Listening (Deluxe Edition) (Merge)

American reissues arrive from Bob Mould’s Sugar in modified form from the recent Edsel deluxe editions.   All the DVD content from the Edsel sets has been dropped, along with the BBC session tracks that featured on Copper Blue. All the other copious bonus audio content will be retained, though, with Copper Blue and the Beaster EP brought together as one 3-CD package, and FU:EL as one 2-CD set.  Read more about these Merge Records releases here.

Various Artists, Country Funk 1969-1975 (Light in the Attic)

The anthology experts at Light in the Attic have put together this fun set exploring the crossroads of – yup! – country and funk.  Expect rarities from Bobby (then Bob) Darin, Mac Davis, Tony Joe White, Bobbie Gentry and more!

GZA, Liquid Swords: The Chess Box (Get On Down)

One of The Wu-Tang Clan’s great solo albums from the group’s initial wave, Liquid Swords is expanded with a bonus disc of instrumentals and a collectible chess set package. Read more here!

The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde: Expanded Edition (Delicious Vinyl)

The underrated alternative hip-hop group gets their debut album expanded 20 years later in a three-disc set featuring a deluxe box and two extra discs of B-sides, remixes and other bonus material.

Slipknot, Antennas to Hell (Roadrunner)

The nu-metal band’s first compilation, featuring either straight hits or a bonus live disc to match. Full story is here.

Jennifer Lopez, Dance Again: The Hits (Epic)

The former American Idol judge’s comeback comes full circle with this compilation of some of the hottest dance floor fillers of the past 15 years. Have a look here.