Posts Tagged ‘Real Gone’

Norma Tanega – Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog

Tanega’s arc is unfortunately all too familiar among ‘60s pop acts. The singer was discovered as a music counselor at camps in the Catskills and brought to producer Bob Crewe. Despite possessing uniquely robust voice, that recalls Nico at times, Tanega was pushed towards the lighthearted single that gives this album its name. “Walkin My Cat Named Dog” wasn’t exactly representative of her other works, but it would be the song that she’d long be associated with. The single was rounded up alongside material that was much more a fitting environment for her strong vocal style, mixing folk with lush pop arrangements that swerve through Brill Building sounds. I’m sure that anyone coming to the album on the heels of the single might be a bit surprised. Its a lovely, melancholy record that might find some shelf space next to Wendy & Bonnie or The Proper Ornaments.

The album wasn’t exactly a chart success when it was released in 1966, but the label kept her on a few more years. She’d record several other singles through the end of the ‘60s and into the beginning of the ‘70s when she issued the album I Don’t Think It Will Hurt If You Smile for RCA in 1971. Her other singles “Bread” and “Run, On The Run” are included here as well. While the record has been on CD in the past few years this edition from Real Gone marks a return to vinyl for the songs here. Norma’s voice, alongside the whimsical production, paint a picture of an artist that was much more than just a novelty hit. In recent years the album’s opening track “You’re Dead” has found some life on television as the theme song to the Matt Berry show What We Do In The Shadows. However she gets it, though, Tanega’s well worth the attention. I’d definitely recommend nabbing a copy of the LP and letting the bittersweet glow wash over your day.




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Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

A long running Paisley Underground classic gets a second life via Real Gone this week. The Rain Parade fully embraced the jangled and jeweled psych sounds that predated them by a good two decades, falling out of fashion for the times, but winding up timeless as a result. The band’s debut on Enigma Records is the long discussed and often influential Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, a complete oddity in 1983, but also a conduit from the soft-psych and Byrdsian janglers through to the next wave of Elephant 6-ers and beyond. The band’s true genus lay in wrapping those jangles around a more modern hum – a soft pink fuzz wave that came crashing through in earnest reverberations that would setup the next generation to push the sounds even further past the gauzy glow already forming around a bygone era. In their early years, the band never pretended to be anything other than a psych-pop act and that influence-on-their-sleeve aesthetic probably makes them one of the most enduring Paisley bands.

The band would follow this up with the arguably great sophomore LP Explosions in the Glass Palace, which leaned a bit further into the College Rock impulses springing up in 1984, but it still stands apart as an essentially Paisley platter. They’d issue the live record Beyond The Sunset and sign to a major (Island) for 1986’s Crashing Dream but neither would live up to any sort of reputation that those first two releases have garnered. Guitarist David Roback went on to play in Mazzy Star, keeping the hazed psychedelic vein flowing and the band would reassemble (as all bands seem to do) in 2012 and 2013 for a tour. There’s even a new record on Yep Roc this year. Third Rail (despite Ryley Walker’s assertion that Glass Palace is the true masterpiece) remains probably the most essential Paisley release of the short-lived movement. Though, labels notwithstanding, it’s just a great pop record to have on the shelf, and now, after 30-years, you can nab one again.

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Gun – Gun

Real Gone have put Gun’s eponymous debut LP back on vinyl for the first time in three decades and its good to have it home on wax. The record’s been subjected to CD reissues several times and remains a solid slice of the UK hard rock canon. The band is most notable for being started by Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, a pair of brothers who’d wind their way through plenty of heavy hitters – going on work with Ginger Baker and Buddy Miles in later years, while also popping up in UK nuggets Rupert’s People and The Knack (“Time Waits for No One,” rockers, not “My Sharona”). For a short time Gun also counted YES’ John Anderson among the ranks, which might go some length to explain how the record also served as Roger Dean’s entry to cover art. The band’s sound embraced a towering post-psych, pre-prog aesthetic that drew in symphonics, dripping blues solos and a power-pounded rhythm section that keeps the energy pushed to the cliff.

The band released a follow-up, Gunsight, in 1969, but the album failed to capture audiences as they did with the often-covered single “Race With the Devil.” The band were branded as counterculturists by their label, CBS, but often found themselves at odds with that pitch, even working in a slightly anti-acid song on Gunsight. When the second album sunk, it pushed them away from the Gun name. The brothers formed Three Man Army, which would eventually become Ginger Baker’s Three Man Army after a few albums. This debut Gun album still stands as the pinnacle of their works, though. Tough, almost theatrically over the top in places, and willing to experiment with horn arrangements that weren’t necessarily the norm at the time. The label’s packed it up in a dedicated reproduction of the cover art and some limited red vinyl. There have been boots out there over the years, but this one’s sounding better than any unauthorized issue ever could. Its a grand reminder of when rock had no need to edit itself or even thing about reigning it in.



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