2-CD Set Featuring Their Complete Recordings Highlights June 30/July 10 Slate That Also Includes Limited-Edition Releases from the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Viscounts and Banana and the Bunch, a Deluxe Fanny Reissue and a Timely Grateful Dead Release
Nothing says Summer like surf and hot rod music, and on June 30 Real Gone Music is paying tribute to one of the greatest bands ever to come down the (turn)pike, Ronny and the Daytonas, with a 2-CD, 48-track set featuring four unreleased tracks and notes from “Ronny” himself! Being from Nashville, Ronny and the Daytonas tossed a little country twang into their surfin’ sound; our next artist, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, also turned country on its head by injecting an unapologetic hippie ethos into their country-rock sound. On July 10, we are reissuing their classic The Adventures of Panama Red album on limited edition (of 1000) purple vinyl with the fantastic gatefold album artwork intact.
Real Gone Music is also preparing a couple of other long-lost, limited-edition releases on CD, both in mini LP sleeves that exactly replicate the original album artwork. The first, The Viscounts’ Harlem Nocturne, features the definitive hit version of the oft-covered title track along with 11 other tracks of noir-inflected R&B and jazz. The second, Banana and the Bunch’s Mid-Mountain Ranch, is essentially a Youngbloods album without Jesse Colin Young, and is an early alt-country classic.
Finally, Real Gone returns to two artists whose catalogs the label has repeatedly mined with great results. The label is reissuing the Fanny Hill album from the groundbreaking female rockers Fanny in an expanded edition offering six bonus tracks and notes from three of the four band members. And, on June 30, right smack dab in between the band’s reunion shows in Santa Clara and Chicago, the label is releasing another essential live Grateful Dead show from the hallowed Dick’s Picks series of archival concerts.
Ready for a little more octane into your car stereo? Here come 48 tracks from Nashville’s greatest contribution to surf and hot rod music, Ronny and the Daytonas! “Ronny” was singer-songwriter-guitarist John “Bucky” Wilkin, who wrote their first hit, “G.T.O.,” while attending physics class as a senior in high school; his mom, country songwriter Marijohn Wilkin, then landed him a session with producer and former Sun session saxophonist Bill Justis that yielded the #4 chart smash. Justis became the group’s producer for their recordings on the Amy label imprint Mala, which featured Wilkin and a rotating cast of characters, the most prominent of which was frequent co-writer Buzz Cason. Though Ronny and the Daytonas never notched another hit as big as “G.T.O.,” their infusion of country twang put a unique spin on mid-‘60s surf ‘n’ drag music, and their use of strings and willingness to cut ballads alongside the requisite uptempo fare showed that Wilkin refused to be pigeonholed. His move towards a more personal style accelerated with the band’s move to the RCA label, where Wilkin assumed producer duties, culminating in the 1966 solo “Delta Day”/”I Wanna Be Free” single (included here as bonus tracks), which reflected Wilkin’s eagerness to embrace the folk-rock sounds that were in the air at the time. Now, Real Gone Music has assembled a 2-CD set that includes every single A and B-side (many of which have never appeared on CD) and unique album track recorded by Ronny and the Daytonas—just like the title says, The Complete Recordings! But even that title doesn’t really do the set justice; in addition to all the group sides we’ve included Bucky’s solo sides, two tracks (“Tiger-A-Go-Go” and “Bay City”) recorded under the moniker Buzz & Bucky, and four UNRELEASED tracks, all but two taken from the original mono tapes and remastered by Vic Anesini at Sony’s own Battery Studios. Notes authored by Bucky himself plus previously unseen photos drawn from his private collection round out the set. The ultimate look at one of the all-time great surf combos.
If there was ever any doubt that the New Riders of the Purple Sage were the ultimate hippie country rock band—and having had Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead as early members meant that there wasn’t much—The Adventures of Panama Red put them to rest. This 1973 album’s loosely connected tall tales of drug culture, complete with the album’s underground comic book graphics, ensured that this gatefold record was a long-time dorm room favorite for separating out those stems and seeds. But Panama Red (their only gold record) had a lot more going for it than just countercultural kicks—the band, by now consisting of John Dawson, David Nelson, Dave Torbert, pedal steel ace Buddy Cage and Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden—was much tighter than any outfit this stoned had a right to be, and with songwriting contributions from Peter Rowan (the hit “Panama Red” and “Lonesome L.A. Cowboy”) and Robert Hunter (“Kick in the Head”) as well as from the band’s own fine tunesmiths in Dawson and Torbert, the songs were of a uniformly high quality. Production by multi-instrumentalist Norbert Putnam, charts by the Memphis Horns and vocal contributions by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Donna Godchaux helped enshrine this record as one of the finest country-rock outings of the ‘70s. Now, Real Gone Music is reissuing this classic album for the first time on vinyl, remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in NYC and lacquer cut by Kevin Gray, with a limited edition pressing of 1000 in—what else?—purple vinyl, with the original gatefold album and inner sleeve graphics (with lyrics) intact. Time to add to your stash of essential ‘70s vinyl.
A lot of folks covered Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers’ classic composition “Harlem Nocturne”—there are over 500 recorded versions by some estimates—but the definitive take was laid down by a little-known R&B combo out of New Jersey named The Viscounts, who had a hit with the song for two different labels, for Madison in 1959 and for Amy in 1965. The latter release, which cracked the Top 40, spawned an entire album—also named Harlem Nocturne—to go with it, and if you are looking for the perfect soundtrack to set a bleary, late-night mood straight out of a Raymond Chandler novel (or a film by David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino—you can bet both of those guys have listened to this record), look no further—guitar dripping with reverb and tremolo, minor-key Hammond organ fills and sleazy saxophone create a mutant musical love-child of the Ventures, Link Wray and Earl Bostic. The original Amy album makes its worldwide CD debut on this Real Gone Music release, and we’re putting it out exactly as it was originally issued, in a limited-edition mini LP sleeve that re-creates the original album art to the T. Remastered from the original mono tapes at Sony’s own Battery Studios and LIMITED TO 1200 COPIES.
Recorded right after the Youngbloods broke up, and released on their own Raccoon label, 1972’s Mid-Mountain Ranch was the sole solo album from the band’s multi-instrumentalist Banana a.k.a. Lowell Levinger. Except that it wasn’t really a solo album, because the Bunch included Joe Bauer and Michael Kane from Banana’s former outfit! So, Mid-Mountain Ranch really was a Youngbloods album sans Jesse Colin Young; and the absence of their former front man allows Banana and the Bunch to stretch out with some bluegrass and jazz licks alongside their patented folk rock sound. It’s something of an early alt-country cult classic, reissued here on CD for the first time ever in a limited-edition mini LP sleeve that re-creates the original packaging right down to the label on the CD. LIMITED EDITION OF 1000.
Fanny had already stepped into some big shoes by being the first all-female rock band signed to a major label, but with the release of 1972’s Fanny Hill, they took things to a new level, recording at Abbey Road with producer Richard Perry and famed Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick (the album includes a Beatles homage with a cover of “Hey Bulldog”). And the result was Fanny’s most varied and ambitious album, sporting a beautiful mix of ballads and rockers and a mature, socially conscious lyrical approach. Not coincidentally, it’s long been the most-requested reissue in the Fanny catalog, and we’re adding six bonus tracks to the original release along with new liner notes from the band and rare photos. Another essential, expanded Fanny album from Real Gone Music.
Taken, like Dick’s Picks Vol. 10, from one of the Grateful Dead’s annual year-end runs of Bay Area concerts, Dick’s Picks Vol. 5—Oakland Auditorium Arena 12/26/79 marked five straight volumes of ‘70s shows selected by archivist Dick Latvala to start the series, and as it was from one of the very last days of the decade, it was the perfect way for Dick to complete his own mini “tour” of the ‘70s (Vol. 6 would break the string by forging ahead to the ‘80s). But Vol. 5 has a lot more going for it than just a convenient spot on the calendar; this is one of the rawest and most energetic Picks, a complete show anchored by a second set that is in essence one big medley that begins with “Uncle John’s Band” and ends with it two hours later, with a supercharged “The Other One” and the first appearance of “Brokedown Palace” in two years among many high points in between. Set one is no slouch, either, with a great, Garcia-led rendition of “Alabama Getaway” four months before it appeared on record and a passionate vocal by Bob Weir on “Looks Like Rain” leading to a spirited, set-closing “The Promised Land.” And throughout it all you’ll hear Brent Mydland serving notice in one of his first shows with the band that he is fully up to the task of replacing Keith Godchaux. Out of print for years, and a perfectly timed release for the Dead reunion shows (the label is also pressing up a 300-unit limited-edition run of Dick’s Picks Vol. 29, the only 6-CD set in the series, consisting of two monster May 1977 shows with stellar bonus material).
JUNE 30 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
Limited Edition 300-Unit Repress
Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol. 29--5/19/77 Fox Theatre Atlanta, GA 5/21/77 Lakeland Civic Center Arena Lakeland, FL (6-CD Set)
JULY 10 RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
New Riders of the Purple Sage: The Adventures of Panama Red (Limited Edition Purple Vinyl Release)
THE CONTENT OF THIS SECTION WILL HOLD NEWS ITEMS, CONCERT AND FESTIVAL REPORTS, SPECIAL ARTICLES OR INTERVIEWS