Friday, August 13, 2010

Columbia Records Proud to Release the New Johnny Mathis Album

Columbia Records Proud to Release the New Johnny Mathis Album, Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville, Available Everywhere Tuesday, September 21

First "Country" Album From Legendary Pop Vocalist Features Guest Artists Lane Brody and Alison Krauss

NEW YORK, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Records proudly announces the release of Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville, the new pop country album from the legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis, available everywhere on Tuesday, September 21.

For his first full album inspired by the world of country music, Mathis, whose knowledge and love of music crosses all genres, handpicked the songs for Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville, songs that moved him personally and came alive under the Mathis touch.

Johnny and Fred Mollin, the album's producer, assembled a group of the finest musicians in Nashville (or anywhere in the world) to record an album intentionally free of modern studio tricks. With the superb recording engineer Khyle Lenning on board to capture the sessions, Johnny recorded these songs live in the studio over the course of a week. Johnny's approach is sympathetic to the original country arrangements, with each musician performing with an extraordinary sensitivity supporting some of the most intimate vocals Mathis has ever recorded.

Songs on Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville include "What A Wonderful World" (featuring Lane Brody), "Let It Be Me" (featuring Alison Krauss), "Make The World Go Away," "Crazy," "Southern Nights," "You Don't Know Me," "Lovin' Arms," "Shenandoah," "We Must Be Lovin' Right," "I Can't Stop Lovin' You," "Love Me Tender," "Please Help Me I'm Falling" and "What A Wonderful World (Christmas Version)" (featuring Lane Brody).

Signed to Columbia Records in the mid-1950's, Johnny Mathis is the longest-running artist on the label, with 17 million RIAA certified album and singles sales in the US alone. A sublime vocalist whose approach to pop music transcends passing fads and trends, Johnny Mathis has performed songs in an incredible variety of styles and categories -- from music composed for stage and film to golden era jazz standards, contemporary pop hits, and holiday music both sacred and secular -- assuring his reputation as one of the most enduring traditional pop vocalists in music history.

Perhaps best-known for his landmark singles (three of his recordings--"Chances Are," "It's Not For Me To Say," and "Misty"--have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame) Mathis was one of the very first musical artists to embrace the album concept and record fully-realized thematically and sonically coherent collections of songs. His 1958 release, Johnny's Greatest Hits inaugurated the ongoing "greatest hits" anthology phenomenon becoming one of the most popular albums of all time after spending an unprecedented 490 continuous weeks (almost ten years) on the BILLBOARD Top Albums Chart. Johnny Mathis was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2003.

Let It Be Me: Mathis In Nashville is the latest chapter in the unfolding musical saga of Johnny Mathis, where the world's voice of romance finds a home in Nashville.

SOURCE Columbia Records

Michael Fremer Album Review

Preservation (... to Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program) (new release)
Various Artists
Preservation Hall 2 180g LPs+MP3 download
Produced by: Ben Jaffe
Engineered by: Earl Scioneaux III, others
Mixed by: Earl Scioneaux III, others
Mastered by: Bruce Barielle
Lacquers cut by: "WG" at Nashville Record Productions

Stars Line Up For Preservation Hall Benefit Album
by Michael Fremer
August 01, 2010

sound & music
Stars from across the musical universe donated their time and considerable talents to perform with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on this thoroughly entertaining and superbly recorded double LP set celebrating the Hall’s 50th anniversary.

The stars range from veterans like Blind Boys of Alabama (“There is A Light”), Merle Haggard (“Basin Street Blues”), Dr. John (“Winin’ Boy”), Pete Seeger (“Blue Skies”), Richie Havens (“Trouble Mind”), Tom Waits (“Tootie Ma Was A Big Fine Thing”), Steve Earle (“T’aint Nobody’s Business”) and Del McCoury (“After You’ve Gone”) and youngsters Andrew Bird (“Shake It and Break It”), Paolo Nutini (“Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea”), Brandi Carlile (“Old Rugged Cross”) and Angélique Kidjo with Terence Blanchard (“La Vie En Rose”).

Others contribute as well. Louis Armstrong makes a “guest” appearance too, on Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rockin’ Chair” backed by the Preservation Hall Orchestra. When it comes on and you hear Louis “performing” in the same wonderful acoustic as the still living musicians, it gets kind of creepy! Armstrong’s voice was very well recorded so it must have been taken from a ‘50s or ‘60s production, but from precisely where and how it was stripped from the backing is not explained. I wish it had been.

That’s about the only criticism one could levy against this superbly entertaining and extremely well-recorded set (well, I do have one more: the setting is absolutely perfect for Ray Davies who has lived in New Orleans for some time, though I'm not sure he's living there now. Why no Ray track here?).

I can’t imagine this was recorded analog, though it sure sounds as if it was. And if it was done digitally, why can't all digital recordings sound this good? You can see an RCA 44 ribbon mike capturing Yim Yames’ singing into a megaphone on his rendition of “Louisiana Fairytale' (Yim Yams is Jim James lead singer of My Morning Jacket) so clearly the engineers had good gear to work with, and more importantly the right sonic values.

While the veterans are uniformly great, so are the youngsters, particularly Paolo Nutini’s performance of “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and Brandi Carlile’s “Old Rugged Cross.” Hell, there’s not a less than brilliant performance on this set (and let’s not leave out the talents of the Preservation Hall Band!) and when you combine that with a stellar, three dimensional, utterly natural, effects-free, timbrally perfect recording that will set your stereo free, I don’t see how you can miss here.

Even United delivered two perfectly pressed, quiet, 180g black biscuits. If you don’t enjoy every drop of this nineteen tune double LP package, you need your head examined.

Because the proceeds benefit Preservation Hall, I didn’t ask for and didn’t receive a promo copy. I bought mine and I’m glad I did both to support the Hall and because it’s a record I’ll be playing repeatedly. You will too if you take my word for it and pick up your own copy.

The set ends with Kidjo and Blanchard’s delightful rendition of “La Vie En Rose” that I promise you will have you heading for the aisles (okay, back to your turntable to lift up the arm), with a big smile on your face. Please read Roger Hahn’s two part article on the history of Preservation Hall and the music it’s dedicated to preserving elsewhere on this site.

Thanks to Michael over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this material.

Copyright © 2008 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted by Permission

This Date In Music History - August 13


Dave "Baby" Cortez ("Happy Organ") turns 72

Cliff Fish - Paper Lace (1949)

Danny Bonaduce - Partridge Family (1959)

LeAnn Rimes (1982)

They Are Missed:

In 1971, saxophonist King Curtis Ousley was stabbed to death by a vagrant on the front steps of his New York home. Ousley had worked with John Lennon and also played on The Coasters "Yakety Yak."

In 1982, American soul singer Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday. Had nine US Top 40 hits including the 1972 US #2 single "I Gotcha."

Francine Hurd Barker (Peaches of Peaches & Herb) died in 2005.

Don Ho was born today in 1930. He died on April 14, 2007.

Also born on this day, Dan Fogelberg, US singer and songwriter (1951). Worked with Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman. Fogelberg died on Dec 16, 2007 at his home in Maine at the age of 56 of prostate cancer.

In 2009, guitarist and innovator, Les Paul, died of complications from pneumonia at age 94. His development of the electric guitar (the Gibson Les Paul is one of Rock’s most popular guitars) and multi-track recording techniques had a profound impact on Rock music. "Les Paul was a shining example of how full one's life can be," reads a statement from Velvet Revolver/ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, a Gibson Les Paul player. "He was so vibrant and full of positive energy." Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitars adds, “I think an appropriate title for Les would be ‘the father of modern guitar."


Robert Johnson played a show at a roadhouse outside Greenwood, MS in 1938. It is speculated that Johnson was poisoned by the bar owner. Johnson died several days later.

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton recorded the original "Hound Dog" in 1952.

Bobby Darin signed a six-picture deal with Paramount Studios in 1959 (worth $1 million).

Brenda Lee recorded "Sweet Nothin's" in 1959.

Drummer Pete Best auditions for The Beatles. He spends just over two years with the group before being replaced by Ringo Starr. 1960

In 1963, the Four Seasons sued Vee-Jay Records for non-payment of royalties.

The Supremes recorded "Baby Love" in 1964, their second US chart topper.

Jefferson Airplane made their live stage debut at San Francisco's Matrix Club in 1965.

The Beatles album "Help!" was released in the United States in 1965.

Also in 1965, the Beatles arrived at Kennedy International Airport for a tour of North America. The set list for the tour was "Twist and Shout," "She's a Woman," "I Feel Fine," "Dizzy Miss Lizzie," "Ticket to Ride," "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Baby's in Black," "Act Naturally," "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!" and "I'm Down" and "I Wanna Be Your Man." The tour was not a happy one for The Beatles, John Lennon took to screaming off-microphone obscenities at the audiences.

Lovin Spoonful started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1966 with "Summer In The City."

The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" was released in 1966.

In 1967, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Joan Baez to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. because of her opposition to the Vietnam War.

Fleetwood Mac made their live debut when they appeared at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor in 1967. Also on the bill - Jeff Beck, Cream, Small Faces, The Move, The Pink Floyd, Donovan and Chicken Shack.

The Guess Who recorded "American Woman" in 1969.

John Lennon flew from Heathrow Airport to New York in 1971, he never set foot on British soil again.

In 1972, John Lennon and Stevie Wonder performed at New York's "One-To-One Concert" to aid the retarded.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played a five night stand at NY’s Bottom Line in 1975. The concerts generated a buzz around Springsteen in the days just before “Born To Run” was released.

The Clash played a private gig for the press at Chalk Farm rehearsal studios, London in 1976.

Bachman Turner Overdrive split up in 1977.

In 1980, four masked robbers broke in to Todd Rundgren's New York house and proceeded to steal Hi-Fi equipment and paintings after tying the musician up. It was reported that one of the intruders had been humming his hit "I Saw The Light."

In 1982, major American record companies including CBS Atlantic and Warner Brothers all made staff cut-backs as the industry plunged into 'the worst shape in its history'.

Curtis Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down in an onstage accident in Brooklyn on August 13, 1990. The day Mayfield was doing something he’d done a thousand times, the soundcheck for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn. But high winds toppled the stage lighting rig and Mayfield was underneath. He survived but paralyzed from the neck down, his spine crushed in three places.

Jane’s Addiction unveils their “Ritual De Lo Habitual” album in 1990.

Neil Diamond played the first of six sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1992. Diamond would bring in over $40 million from touring this year, the second highest in the music industry.

Members from Oasis and The Verve were arrested in 1994 after smashing up a hotel bar and breaking into a church to steal communion wine. Both bands had been appearing at Hulsfred Festival in Sweden. Communion wine???

Woodstock '94 was held in Saugerties, New York in 1994, attended by over 350,000 fans, the festival featured Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tickets cost $135.00.

The movie "Detroit Rock City" opened in 1999.

In 1999, Mick Jagger's marriage to model Jerry Hall was been declared null and void at the High Court in London. Neither Jagger nor Hall were present for the 30-minute hearing before Mr Justice Connell. After hearing evidence on behalf of Hall the judge ruled their "marriage" in Bali in 1990 was not valid either in Indonesia or under English law, and a decree of nullity was granted to Hall. The annulment avoided what had been expected to be a long and costly court battle, in which Ms Hall, 43, was reportedly seeking a £30m share of Jagger's wealth.

In 2002, Adam Ant pleaded guilty to threatening drinkers at The Prince Of Wales Pub in London in January of this year. The former 1980's pop star had returned to the bar with a starting pistol after being refused entry. He had also thrown a car alternator through the window of the pub. How bad can a man be who calls himself Adam Ant?

It's the first day of the Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp in New York in 2006. The “instructors” include George Thorogood, Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, ex-Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner and former Allman Brothers Band singer-guitarist Dickey Betts. The counselors are Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau and ex-KISS axe-man Bruce Kulick. The five day camp costs a mere $8,499.

Bob Dylan launched his second summer tour of U.S. minor league baseball stadiums in 2006. Dylan takes his first swing in Comstock Park, MI. The tour supports Dylan's “Modern Times” album.

In 2007, Amy Winehouse pulled out of two Rolling Stones gigs in Hamburg Germany citing exhaustion, British group Starsailor replaced Winehouse for the shows.