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Rick Nelson & Mark Lindsay – Former Teen Idols Return with New CD Collections from Real Gone Music

8 Apr

Most of us 50 and over types remember Paul Revere and the Raiders. We also remember the 1970 smash “Arizona.” A singer by the name of Mark Lindsay was the voice behind most of those hits. Just Like Me, Good Thing, Steppin’ Out, Hungry, and Kicks were all solid rockers — driven in part by Lindsay’s snarling, cocksure vocals. Mark had plenty of swagger in those days. But he also had a sensitive side. That side of him didn’t fully emerge until he embarked on his solo career in 1969.

Casual music fans may be hard pressed to name any of Lindsay’s solo tracks after Arizona. He never gained much traction after that initial success. However, this new collection reveals that Mark recorded several near misses that are worthy of being heard today. His success with the Raiders put him in touch with some of the industry’s most talented songwriters and session players. Tim Hardin, Jimmy Webb, Jerry Fuller, Sonny Curtis, David Gates, Burt Bacharach, and the storied team of Mann/Weil all contribute songs in this 24 track compilation. Lindsay even wrote a few himself — including the memorable “Man from Houston.”

Mark Lindsay’s versatility is evident on songs like Reason to Believe, Miss America, Been Too Long on the Road, and Small Town Woman. He at turns evokes comparisons to everyone Gary Puckett and the Grass Roots to B.J. Thomas and Blood Sweat and Tears’ David Clayton Thomas. It certainly caused me to re-think my earlier position that Lindsay was a dime a dozen 60s garage shouter. This guy could really sing! But don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen for yourself – we think you’ll be impressed.

After a spectacularly successful stint as the lead singer and saxophonist for Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mark Lindsay commenced a solo career for Columbia that cemented his reputation and legacy as one of the truly great pop-rock singers of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Now, for the first time, all of his singles for the label—plus an unreleased track, a stunning version of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” that was originally slated to be one side of Mark’s first solo single—have been collected on to CD in one place in chronological order and in their original commercial format (which means mono on the first five tracks, stereo on the rest). Most of these original single mixes have never appeared on CD before.

The accompanying booklet features photos from Mark’s private archive, and liner notes by Ed Osborne that feature interviews not only with the artist himself but also with Jerry Fuller, Artie Butler and Tom Bahler, all of whom worked on these singles.

Spanning his entire solo career with Columbia, carefully mastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York, and representing his finest work for the label, these recordings render all other Mark Lindsay solo collections superfluous.

Reason to Believe (Previously Unreleased); First Hymn from Grand Terrace; The Old Man at the Fair; Arizona; Man from Houston; Miss America; Small Town Woman; Silver Bird; So Hard to Leave You; And the Grass; Won’t Pay No Mind; Funny How Little Men Care; Problem Child; Bookends; Been Too Long on the Road; All I Really See Is You; Are You Old Enough; Don’t You Know; Something Big; Pretty, Pretty; California; Someone’s Been Hiding; Mamacita; Song for a Friend; Photograph

I have long been a fan of Rick(y) Nelson. Some consider him a lightweight. Others write him off as a teen idol who solely benefited from his parent’s show biz clout and endless TV exposure on the hit show, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” I beg to differ. Nelson had a pleasing voice and delivery, surrounded himself with great musicians, and consistently displayed a great ear for quality material and winning arrangements.

Never one for relying on his past success, Nelson was always looking forward. This caused friction between Rick and some diehard fans and eventually led to the writing and recording of the biting song “Garden Party.”  Just listen to “Change Your Mind” on this collection. It is a far cry from Be Bop Baby — that’s for sure. Or check out Nelson’s unique arrangement of the Arthur Alexander pop standard “Every Day I Have To Cry Some.” This is certainly not an artist resting on his laurels.

I really enjoyed this collection — especially the Al Kooper produced tracks on “Back to Vienna.”

Rick Nelson’s short, late-‘70s tenure at the Epic label was an exceptionally creative and productive period for him, but you wouldn’t know it by what has been released, especially in this country. He recorded three albums’ worth of material, but only one, 1977’s Intakes, was released during his lifetime; the tracks he laid down the next year met a much less kind fate.

The first, the Al Kooper-produced Back to Vienna, was never released as an album at all; the next, originally titled Rockabilly Renaissance, a startling return to his rockabilly roots and a forerunner to the cow-punk and alt-country movements to come, was released in 1986, the year following his death, in watered-down, overdubbed form as The Memphis Sessions. Some of the unreleased material leaked out on the 18-track 1993 CD release Stay Young—the Epic Recordings, but much of his work for Epic remained buried in the vaults—witness the fact that 11 of these 41 tracks see their first American release right here (and another 12 tracks make their American CD debut)! In fact, NONE of these three albums has ever been on CD in this country, and, even better, Memphis Sessions has been remixed under Richard Weize’s supervision to eliminate the posthumous studio dubbing that adulterated Rick’s original vision. Produced and annotated by renowned Rick Nelson expert James Ritz and featuring photos from the period, Rick Nelson: The Complete Epic Recordings offers a long-overdue look at a neglected period of a true rock legend’s career.

DISC ONE: INTAKES LP SESSIONS

1. You Can’t Dance; 2. (Love Is) Something You Can’t Buy; 3. I Wanna Move With You (1st US CD Release); 4. Five Minutes More; 5. Gimme Little Sign; 6. Stay Young; 7. Wings; 8. It’s Another Day (1st US CD Release); 9. One X One; 10. Change Your Mind (1st US CD Release)

BACK TO VIENNA SESSIONS

11. Everyday I Have To Cry Some (1st US Release); 12. Love You So (1st US Release); 13. Chump Change Romeo (1st US Release); 14. What Is Success (1st US Release); 15. Carl Of The Jungle; 16. No Words Of Love (1st US Release); 17. New Delhi Freight Train; 18. Mama You’ve Been On My Mind; 19. Getting it On (1st US Release); 20. Conversation

DISC TWO: ROCKABILLY RENAISSANCE (aka MEMPHIS SESSIONS)

1. That’s All Right Mama; 2. Send Me Somebody To Love; 3. Stuck In The Middle (1ST U.S. Release); 4. It Shall Remain (1st U.S. Release); 5. It’s All Over Now (1st U.S. Release); 6. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone; 7. That Ain’t The Way Love’s Supposed To Be; 8. In My Heart (1st U.S. Release); 9. Almost Saturday Night; 10. Dream Lover; 11. True Love Ways (1st U.S. CD Release); 12. Sleep Tight Goodnight Man (1st U.S. Release); 13. Rave On; 14. Dream Lover (with conga overdub) (1st U.S. CD Release); 15. Send Me Somebody To Love (alternate mix) (1st U.S. CD Release); 16. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone You Love (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 17. Almost Saturday Night (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 18. Rave On (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 19. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone You Love (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 20. Almost Saturday Night (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 21. Rave On (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release)

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