Posts Tagged ‘Warner Brothers’

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

By today’s standards, or even by the criteria of rock benefit concerts later that decade, George Harrison had no idea what he was doing as a benefit organizer. The Concert for Bangladesh, initiated after the former East Pakistan suffered from massacres and famine, happened because the former Beatle saw the effect the tragedy had on his friend and teacher Ravi Shankar, a Bengali.

Harrison was able to line up Ringo Starr. Would there be a Beatles reunion, the press wondered? Er, no. The mysterious Klaus Voorman, who designed the Revolver cover, and played bass on John’s Live Peace in Toronto, was on board. But John wanted Yoko there too and that was the end of that. The only place the Beatles would all be together would be on the charts.

Longtime session musician Leon Russell was hot off Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A drug-addled Eric Clapton was such an uncertainty that George had Peter Frampton show up at the rehearsals, just in case. Keyboardist Billy Preston, drummer Jim Keltner, the band Badfinger, and some of Russell’s cohorts completed the band. Both Harrison, who never had to be the front man before, and Bob Dylan, who had been out of the spotlight for some time, were nervous.

August 1 was the only available date at Madison Square Garden for the Bangladesh concert before Disney on Parade took over. Two shows at 2:30 and 8 pm. “There were no plans to broadcast the show live on radio or to record for TV.” Of the three cameras used to capture the show, “what survives is largely thanks to the camera that was in the pits.”

Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles was signing up artists with seemingly little concern for their immediate commercial viability. Randy Newman, Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder. Asylum Records, under David Geffen, was signing Jackson Browne and an unnamed group that would become The Eagles.

There were lots of accidental meetings of troubadours. Graham Parsons finds Emmylou Harris. Kris Kristofferson and Paul Anka meet on a plane, see each other’s gigs, and this led to the signing of Steve Goodman and John Prine. Jerry Jeff Walker hears an Anna McGarrigle song and pitches it to Linda Ronstadt; it was Heart Like a Wheel.

It was a magic, synchronistic time.

Listen to:

What is Life – George Harrison here or here

Willin’ – Little Feat here or here

City of New Orleans – Steve Goodman here or here

Hello In There – John Prine here or here

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers here or here

Heart Like A Wheel – Kate and Anna McGarrigle here or here


In the early 1990s, Paul McCartney appeared on Later with Bob Costas, a late night program on NBC-TV. The host asked Paul what Beatles covers that he most enjoyed. We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder was named, as well it should be.

Paul also mentioned Roy Redmond’s version of Good Day Sunshine, which he acknowledged was a rather obscure track. In fact, the ONLY reason I know it is because it appears on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders that I collected in the 1970s. COOK BOOK, from 1977, focused “on Warner’s black acts,” which were negligible only a few years earlier.

This version was released as Loma 2075 way back in July 1967. The B-side of the single was That Old Time Feeling. Oddly, It would appear that Roy Redmond recorded two 45s – both on Loma… – and then, mysteriously, nothing more.

The other single, from April 1967, was Ain’t That Terrible/A Change Is Gonna Come. Yes, the latter is the Sam Cooke song.

“Loma Records was established in 1964 in order for Warner Brothers to capitalize on the emerging soul market – but almost exclusively as a singles label. Bob Krasnow, who ran the San Francisco branch of King Records from 1958-1964, was tapped by Warner Brothers to run Loma Records from its founding until the label ceased operations in 1968.”

Redmond’s Good Day Sunshine was in the middle of three Beatles songs on COOK BOOK, codifying yet again that the effect black music had on the Beatles was reciprocated.

Randy Crawford’s version of Don’t Let Me Down appears on her 1976 album Every Must Change. The Long and Winding Road was a 1976 B-side to a song called Hurry, Hurry by New Birth, “the Detroit band that helped invent American funk music.”

Listen to:

Don’t Let Me Down – Randy Crawford here or here

Good Day Sunshine – Roy Redmond here or here

The Long and Winding Road – New Birth here or here

gibson.bluegrassAs I have noted, I bought a lot of the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders all through the 1970s, where I would discover all sorts of eclectic music at two or three dollars for a double album (LP) set. There was always a track or three that I had to play repeatedly. My absolutely favorite song on the 1979 A La Carte collection was a song by the Gibson Brothers.

No, not those Gibson Brothers, Eric, born October 23, 1970; Leigh, October 11, 1971, in Plattsburgh, NY. The bluegrass music mavens with tight-knit two-part harmonies Read the rest of this entry »


Back in the 1970s, when I was a poor college student, I would occasionally indulge my desire to purchase a new record album. When I’d buy one of James Taylor or Bonnie Raitt or the Doobie Brothers or Seals and Crofts – yes, Seals and Crofts – the record would come with an inner sleeve that would promise an eclectic set of music, a double LP, for only $2, postpaid, from the Warner Brothers roster of artists; the single albums were just $1. Eventually, I was so intrigued that I bought one, liked it, then bought another, and another…so that, to this day, I still possess most of them.

Rather than describe all three dozen of them, 31 of which I own, I’ll refer you to this essay by Charles Hill and his roster of albums. Chaz also links to The 30 Days Out blog’s history of these discs.

I will make brief mention of some of the albums, highlighting my personal history or a notable track. The ones I do not own are in italics.

1969
THE 1969 WARNER/REPRISE SONGBOOK (Warner Bros. PRO 331)
Like several of the early albums, at least one side was dominated by Frank Zappa and his musical allies. But also featured the Everly Brothers. Eclectic.
THE 1969 WARNER/REPRISE RECORD SHOW (PRO 336)
Subtitled “Son of Songbook”, it has one EXTRAORDINARY soul ballad by Lorraine Ellison called Stay with Me. Read about it here and listen to it here.
OCTOBER 10, 1969 (PRO 351)
Chaz wrote: “A single disc slipped into the mix while Warners was trying to decide if the doubles would sell.” By the time I was buying these albums, this disc was no longer listed.
Read the rest of this entry »

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