January 17, 2020
Real Gone Music Newsletter


Last Summer we offered the complete Woodstock set of  Jefferson Airplane  on vinyl for the first time ever. And for our customers, we offered a little bit more…a pillbox emblazoned with a suitably psychedelic band logo free with any purchase (because, after all, one pill makes you smaller). Well, both the LP package and the pillbox were gigantic hits, as we sold out immediately of the first pressing…so we decided to offer them again! Except this time, the vinyl color on our  Woodstock Sunday August 17, 1969  3-LP set is “vibrating” violet, to commemorate Grace Slick’s comment from stage that “everyone’s vibrating.” The records come inside a gorgeous, double-gatefold jacket sporting photos of the band at Woodstock, mostly by the legendary Henry Diltz, and with liner notes by folk-rock expert Richie Unterberger. And, yup, the pillbox is free if you buy the vinyl! (Please note: if you order the LP to ship Media Mail the pillbox will ship separately). There are going to be lots of “Volunteers” for this package…so don’t wait too long because we have limited quantities!

Jefferson Airplane was one of those bands that, for many people, embodied and symbolized the ‘60s. But you could make an argument that the cultural impact of  Rod McKuen  during that decade was every bit as significant. He was the true Renaissance man of the ‘60s generation: a poet, writer, performer, songwriter, singer, producer, actor, even businessman. And, besides selling millions (and we do mean millions) of books, he wrote songs that were covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Frank Sinatra to Barbra Streisand. Now, Real Gone Music is releasing two key albums from his catalog on CD for folks to rediscover in these similarly turbulent times: an expanded  Greatest Hits  record and his most popular (and best) Warner Bros. studio album New Ballads ! Rod’s 1969  Greatest Hits   release didn’t exactly just feature his greatest hits. Instead of the usual music biz cash-in strategy of lifting songs from preceding albums to create a best-of, Rod—ever the artistic striver—chose his most popular songs to re-record with new arrangements with Arthur Greenslade. His unconventional move paid off with a gold record, which we at Real Gone have supplemented with six bonus tracks to create a fully fleshed-out portrait of the singer-songwriter-performer. McKuen fans can recite many of the lyrics to these songs; the spoken word piece “Stanyan Street;” “The Ivy That Clings to the Wall,” first heard in the 1969 film  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ; “The Lovers,” which Jacques Brel translated and recorded; “Lonesome Cities,” later covered by Frank Sinatra on his all-McKuen album; “Seasons in the Sun,” which Terry Jacks took to #1; and, among the bonus tracks, “Jean,” which Oliver Swofford took to #2 on the charts in 1969. McKuen biographer Barry Alfonso contributes insightful liner notes. A year later, Rod released  New Ballads , which is reckoned among McKuen fans as one of his very best albums. It’s a masterful collaboration with ace arranger Don Costa, whose subdued, sublime instrumentation sets the perfect tone for McKuen’s intimate, romantic musical ruminations. Among the highlights is one of Rod’s celebrated collaborations with Jacques Brel, “I’m Not Afraid,” while “As I Love My Own” is a signature McKuen exploration of the tension between love and lust, set to his beloved nature imagery.  New Ballads   was the highest charting of Rod’s studio albums during his decade with Warner Bros., and rightly so…it’s arguably the most consistent and coherent of all of his collections. Joe Marchese contributes liner notes to this CD debut, punctuated by period photos. 
All right, so we’re releasing some legendary performances and recordings from a pair of ‘60s icons. But you know we at Real Gone like to shake things up. So here’s one for the R&B collector crowd, a cult classic from an unsung soul man!  If  It’s Just a Matter of Time , his 1972 record for the Paula label, was the sum total of Dallas, Texas soul singer  Bobby Patterson ’s career output, then he’d still be reckoned something of a god among R&B fans. In fact, the album is so good that the fact that he went on to cut five other albums and produce artists ranging from Fontella Bass to Chuck Jackson to Little Johnny Taylor almost seems besides the point. This is a stone soul masterpiece, full of grit and groove, with a breathtaking stylistic breadth stretching from funky soul (“If You Took a Survey”; “How Do You Spell Love”) to romantic soul balladery (“I Get My Groove from You”) to James Brown-style workouts (“Make Sure You Can Handle It”) to socially-conscious, wah wah-drenched commentary (“The Whole Funky World Is a Ghetto”) and all points in between. But what really makes this record mind-blowing is that Patterson wrote all but one song (the one he didn’t write, “Right On Jody,” is an answer song to Johnnie Taylor’s big hit “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone”). For its first-ever LP reissue, we’ve pressed up 700 copies in transparent purple vinyl (yeah, we’re kind of in a purple mood these days) and re-created the original album art complete with lyric sheet. Every soul searcher needs this one!
Back soon with more music to help you weather the winter chill!

Real Gone Gordon and Gabby