LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Real Gone Music is hitting the election season with a slate of releases designed to appeal to every party. The mind-bending soundtrack from the movie El Topo will return as a deluxe CD and 180-gram LP on October 30. Northern soul legend Barbara Lewis’ Atlantic years are collected on The Complete Atlantic Singles. Lower East Side habitué and John Lennon crony David Peel’s Have a Marijuana makes its U.S. CD album reissue debut. On the other end of town (and political spectrum), SSgt. Barry Sadler’s Ballads of the Green Berets album finds new life on compact disc, while Real Gone continues its acclaimed reissue of Johnny Mathis’ Mercury material with a pair of twofers coupling This Is Love and Olé and The Sweetheart Tree and The Shadow of Your Smile. And just in time for Christmas, Real Gone Music offers Percy Faith’s The Complete Music of Christmas, Doris Day’s The Complete Christmas Collection, and Perry Como’s Complete RCA Christmas Collection.
Championed by everybody from John Lennon to Peter Gabriel, though decried by critics, El Topo remains one of the controversial movies ever made. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s bizarre, blood-soaked blend of spaghetti Western, druggy surrealism, Christian allegory, Zen Buddhist themes and avant-garde sensibilities gave rise to the entire “Midnight Movie” counterculture phenomenon of the early ’70s and forever changed the way adventurous audiences viewed film. Or, for that matter, heard film, for no soundtrack, before or since, has embraced so many styles in its pursuit of spiritual and artistic goals. Atonal, Tibetan Buddhist thighbone trumpets clash with beautiful, even sentimental, chamber orchestra pieces alongside pan flute rhapsodies, brass bands and parlor jazz; that Jodorowsky himself composed the score is nearly as impressive an artistic achievement as the film itself. Real Gone Music, in partnership with ABKCO Music & Records, will issue this one-of- a-kind soundtrack album on LP and as a stand-alone CD for the first time since the original 1971 Apple Records release. All design elements of the original packaging — including a four-page booklet boasting some of the film’s hallucinogenic imagery — will be reproduced on the LP reissue and incorporated into the design of the CD booklet. Out October 30, 2012.
With her purring passionate voice and arrangements both spare and sumptuous, Barbara Lewis recorded some of the best soul-pop of the 1960s. Though best remembered for her hits “Hello Stranger” (which she wrote, along with a number of her early singles), “Baby I'm Yours” and “Make Me Your Baby,” she recorded a wealth of fine material for Atlantic Records throughout the 1960s that remains beloved among devotees of both the Beach Music and Northern Soul scenes, with such esteemed producers as Bert Berns, Arif Mardin and Artie Butler behind the board. The two-CD collection The Complete Atlantic Singles is the most comprehensive anthology of her Atlantic recordings ever assembled (and the only one available), featuring the A-sides and B-sides of all 17 singles she issued for the label, many of which have never appeared on CD. Richie Unterberger’s notes feature exclusive quotes from Barbara Lewis herself. A soul essential, available November 6.
Spawned by the same anarcho-street-folk-punk movement that gave rise to such colorful personalities as the Fugs and Holy Modal Rounders, David Peel has been singing songs and politically agitating on the streets of lower New York for more than 45 years (he recently was a fixture at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations). This album marked his debut; recorded with his band David Peel & the Lower East Side on the streets of New York for Elektra in 1968, it scraped the lower reaches of the charts in 1969 and brought Peel no small measure of notoriety, which culminated with his being signed to Apple Records and produced by John Lennon (the infamous The Pope Smokes Dope) in the early ’70s. Have a Marijuana took no prisoners then and doesn’t now; such songs as “Up Against the Wall,” “I Like Marijuana” and “Here Comes a Cop” may embody for some the worst excesses of the hippie movement while reminding others of the enduring struggle for social justice and personal freedom. Or they might just provoke a guffaw or two—or maybe a Yippie. Have a Marijuana makes its domestic stand-alone CD debut on October 30, with original album art and new liner notes featuring quotes from Peel himself.
Real Gone Music continues its reissue campaign featuring CD debuts of Johnny Mathis’ classic Mercury albums with a pair of single-CD twofers streeting November 6. 1964’s This Is Love was one of the last and greatest of the romantic ballad albums Johnny Mathis had been recording throughout his career to that point, with three tracks (“Poinciana,” “The Touch of Your Lips” and “The End of a Love Affair”) paying tribute to another all-time great romantic balladeer and early role model, Nat “King” Cole. 1965’s Olé, meanwhile, marked a daring artistic turn for the artist, as it presented Latin songs sung in their native languages of Spanish and Portuguese (including two from the film Black Orpheus) with authentic, stripped-down accompaniment. Mathis’ next two albums were among his most successful with Mercury: The Sweetheart Tree boasted the Academy Award-nominated title track penned by Mathis and Henry Mancini for the film The Great Race, and The Shadow of Your Smile was, with the exception of his Christmas record, the most popular of the albums Johnny recorded for Mercury, reaching #9 on the charts. Highlights include the singer’s first forays into Beatle-mania (“Michelle” and “Yesterday”) and three songs from the hit Broadway musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Both albums hail from 1965.
You know a Christmas album is classic when it gets re-recorded in stereo five years after its initial release, when that re-recording hits the charts a full five years after its initial release, and when the record company goes to the trouble of giving a subsequent Christmas album the same name a full seven years after its initial release under a different title. There’s only one Christmas album (or one album, period) that fits all these criteria: Percy Faith’s 1954 masterpiece, The Music of Christmas. Majestic and sumptuous, this recording brought the arranging, orchestrating and conducting prowess of the young maestro to bear on some of the most beloved hymns and carols of all time. Yet the original mono recording of this holiday essential — and its iconic cover art — has never been issued on a legitimate CD until now. (The 1959 stereo re-recording, which charted in 1964, has never gone out of print). Disc Two presents the original stereo version of the 1958 release Hallelujah! together with its original cover art; a Christmas classic in its own right, it shows what holiday magic Percy Faith could wield in the stereophonic realm. That album was re-named The Music of Christmas Volume 2 in 1965; Real Gone Music offers both The Music of Christmas and Hallelujah! as The Complete Music of Christmas, a two- CD set featuring new remastering by Maria Triana that just leaps out of the stereo. Street date is November 13.
Given the international success of her 2011 album My Heart, ’tis the season to re-release Doris Day’s The Complete Christmas Collection, a 22-track collection containing Doris’ complete, holiday-themed recordings, plus some real rarities. The first 12 tracks hail from her beloved 1964 release The Doris Day Christmas Album — issued in its entirety here for the first time in the U.S. — followed by two hard-to-find tracks she recorded with Frank DeVol in 1959 and five non-LP Columbia singles. But the next two songs are even rarer — unreleased prior to this collection, in fact — “Silent Night” and “Christmas Greeting from Doris” hail from her early-’50s radio show and her late-’60s CBS-TV show, respectively. The set winds up with an emotionally charged reading of “Let No Walls Divide” taken from the all-star Christmas album We Wish You the Merriest that Columbia released in 1961 to promote stars like Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin and Andre Previn as well as Doris. Release date is October 30.
A roaring fire, something warm to wear (probably a cardigan) and the crooning call of Perry Como — such has been the comforting recipe for countless Christmas celebrations across generations. And now here’s a collection to pass down through those generations: all of the holiday-themed recordings Perry made for RCA over 36 years taken from the original tapes, with notes by longtime admirer (and co-producer of this compilation) Richard Carpenter. The first eight tracks hail from the original 78-rpm album Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas (1946), followed by six non-album singles. Next up is the 1953 album Around the Christmas Tree, plus, as a bonus, two spoken-word radio introductions from Perry. That’s disc one; disc two leads off with three more singles, then the 1959 stereo album Season’s Greetings From Perry Como, which hit the Pop album charts for four straight years and the Christmas album charts for six more years after that! And disc three offers two single sides, then the chart-topping 1968 release The Perry Como Christmas Album, a rare album outtake (“Some Children See Him”) and another single before fittingly winding up with Perry’s final holiday recording from 1982, the appropriately-titled “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever.” Only 1,000 copies of this 53-track collection were made in 2010 before it went out of print, now fetching $400 online for a new copy (don’t worry, this Real Gone Music reissue sells for a lot less than that). The three-CD set Complete RCA Christmas Collection, slated for October 30 release, is destined to become an enduring Christmas classic.
Depending upon your age, political persuasion and/or aesthetic sensibility, the 1966 album SSgt. Barry Sadler’s Ballads of the Green Berets could be viewed as a courageous, patriotic rejoinder to the antiwar fervor then sweeping the nation, or as a jingoistic, war- mongering screed, or as an unintentionally hilarious camp classic. Through any filter, though, it’s a genuine ’60s artifact, proof positive that Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority” really did exist back in the ’60s, as it sold two million copies in five weeks and the title track reached #1 and #2 in the pop and country charts, respectively. The Real Gone reissue, to be released October 30, includes the original artwork, new liner notes and a bonus track, SSgt. Sadler’s hit follow-up single, “The ‘A’-Team.”
About Real Gone Music
Real Gone Music, formed and helmed by industry vets Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana, is an eclectic and prolific catalog and reissue label with distribution through Razor & Tie. Anderson and Castellana each started businesses in 1993 — Collectors’ Choice Music and Hep Cat Records & Distribution, respectively — that became two of the most important outlets for buyers and sellers of vintage music recordings. They joined forces in 2011 to launch Real Gone Music, which serves both the collector community and the casual music fan with a robust release schedule combining big-name artists with esoteric cult favorites. Real Gone Music is dedicated to combing the vaults for sounds that aren’t just gone — they’re REAL gone.