Real Gone Music's April Reissues Include Little Willie John, Ad Libs, Cowboy Copas


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Also due are two more Grateful Dead Dicks Picks sets, Volumes 30 & 31

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Real Gone Music will issue Little Willie John's Complete Hit Singles A's and B's, a definitive compilation of the influential R&B singer's King Records sides as well as King-Starday label mate Cowboy Copas' Complete Hit Singles A's & B's, featuring 30 of the country legends' sides from 1946-63, both slated for April 17, 2012 street date. On May 1, doo-woppers the Ab Libs will be celebrated on The Complete Blue Cat Recordings. And two country hit-makers from the '70s and '70s, Mel McDaniel and Eddie Rabbit, will be reissued—McDaniel with Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On—His Original Capitol Hits, and Rabbitt with 13 Original #1 Hits. Finally, Real Gone continues its acclaimed Grateful Dead Dick's Picks reissues with Volume 30 and Volume 31.

Little Willie John was a genuine architect of soul. Along with Clyde McPhatter, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, the visionary singer stood at the forefront of fusing gospel intensity to rhythm and blues tradition. And had he not died inside a Walla Walla prison at the age of 30, his name would likely be etched in the same soul pantheon as his peers. In his short career, Willie cut a string of seminal sides for Cincinnati-based King Records from 1955- 61 that rank among the finest R&B ever waxed. As Motown legend Lamont Dozier says in Bill Dahl's notes to this collection, “Willie John was just an extraordinary talent. He knew how to touch you with a song, and he knew how to raise the hairs on the back of your neck." Real Gone Music will offer the most comprehensive collection of this overlooked soul superstar ever assembled: two CDs, 32 tracks that include every chart hit plus its accompanying, seldom-compiled B-side. And the B-sides are where some of the real fun is: joining such landmark R&B recordings as “Fever," “All Around the World," “Need Your Love So Bad" and “Home at Last" on this collection are such crackling tunes as “Spasms," “Let's Rock While the Rockin's Good" and “Do You Love Me" (recorded with Little Richard's band the Upsetters).

To many, Lloyd Estel “Cowboy" Copas is just a footnote to the Patsy Cline legend, having perished in the same plane crash that claimed her life and that of Hawkshaw Hawkins; but what many folks don't realize is that Cope had 14 hits during his lifetime while Patsy had but nine. Clearly, the intervening years have burnished and magnified Patsy's legend; they've also unjustly neglected this early Grand Ole Opry stalwart. Now, with Complete Hit Singles A's & B's, Real Gone has assembled the most comprehensive Cowboy Copas collection to date: two CDs, 30 tracks including every hit and its accompanying, rarely-if- ever-compiled B-sides. Cope got his start in Pee Wee King's band, and you can hear a bit of that bandleader's freewheeling approach to country in these songs, among many other influences. In fact, as Colin Escott writes in the accompanying liner notes, “His records were so personable and so unlike any others from that day and time. Not honky tonk, not bluegrass, not Western swing, not hillbilly, not pop crossover, they could be labeled Cowboy Copas records." This Cowboy Copas collection is the one to have—essential country spanning the years from 1946-63, the year Cope died.

On the heels of Real Gone's well-received Red Bird Girls: Very First Time in True Stereo 1964-1966 comes another incredible find for doo-wop and girl-group fans: the first-ever legitimate album devoted to the classic Blue Cat recordings by the legendary vocal group The Ad-Libs, featuring 24 tracks taken by producers Ron Furmanek and Ash Wells straight from the original master session tapes (again, another first) including five unreleased songs and nine unreleased alternate versions! And among those unreleased alternate versions are a full three newly discovered versions of their big hit “The Boy from New York City," highlighted by an a cappella demo version that must be heard. Most tracks make their true stereo debut, while the 12-page booklet boasts great liner notes by James Moniz that offer insights from original Ad-Lib Norman Donegan, plus a foreword from Manhattan Transfer member Tim Hauser.

The late country legend Mel McDaniel scored a string of 41 chartmakers during the '70s and '80s, but there's never been a hits collection worthy of the name until now. Twenty- one original Capitol sides from McDaniel appear on Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On—His Original Capitol Hits, including such good-time anthems as “Louisiana Saturday Night," “Big Ole Brew" (Mel preferred to drink his beer rather than cry in it), “Let It Roll (Let It Rock)," “Stand Up" and, of course one of the great girl-watching songs of all time, “Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." McDaniel was one of the real bright lights of '80s country, and Real Gone is proud to give him his due.

13 #1 Hits compiles the chart-topping hits of Eddie Rabbitt, one of the biggest pop and country music stars of the '70s and '80s. In addition to the great singles Eddie recorded for Elektra and Warner—"Drivin' My Life Away," “I Love a Rainy Night," “Every Which Way But Loose," and more—Real Gone cross-licensed the hits owned by Capitol—"Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight," “You and I," “Best Year of My Life," etc.—AND the #1 hit duet he recorded with Juice Newton for RCA, “Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)." Liner notes and photos recount the story of one of country music's biggest crossover artists. No other Eddie Rabbitt collection packs this hit power.

Real Gone Music continues its Grateful Dead Dick's Picks reissues with two new titles available in stores for the first time: The four-CD set Dick's Picks Vol. 30—Academy of Music, New York City, NY 3/25 & 3/28/72 kicks off with five tracks featuring blues legend Bo Diddley (taken from a 3/25/72 benefit for the Hell's Angels), which ought to be enough to get those Dead collector synapses firing. The final three discs present a complete show from March 28, 1972 that's very Europe '72 in its set list but with that extra edge that playing in New York always seemed to inspire in the band, all recorded by Dead sound guru Betty Cantor-Jackson. The set features HDCD sound and contain the Dead's lone renditions of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" and “Are You Lonely for Me."

The four-CD Dick's Picks Vol. 31׮/4-5 Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, PA 8/6/74, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ captures the Dead right in the thick of the legendary 1974 Wall of Sound tour and only two months away from leaving the road for a year-and-a-half hiatus. The Wall of Sound was, of course, the massive sound system designed by Owsley “Bear" Stanley that was so meticulously constructed that, for example, each string of Phil Lesh's bass had its own speaker. The result was a crystal-clear sound that to this day stirs controversy among the band's fans. It certainly complemented and even encouraged the band's continued move away from the country-rock of Workingman's Dead towards a jazz fusion sound best expressed by the two epic versions of “Playing in the Band" found here. Unlike most Dick's Picks collections, this four-disc set offers highlights from three consecutive nights of shows (again, all in HDCD sound) rather than presenting shows in their entirety.

This story appears courtesy of conqueroo.
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