Ever heard of The Marcus Hook Roll Band? If not, it’s no real surprise: they only released a handful of singles and a lone studio album – 1973’s Tales of Old Grand-Daddy, produced by Alan “Wally” Waller – in their short lifespan. With that said, however, if you’re an AC/DC fan, you probably should be familiar with The Marcus Hook Roll Band, as the group’s lineup on the album featured Malcolm and Angus Young, who would, in short order (we’re talking before the end of ’73), start their own outfit. As for Tales of Old Grand-Daddy, it’s been pretty hard to come by for the past several decades, but your friends here at Rhino have finally remedied that problem.
We also hopped on the phone with the album’s producer to get his recollection about his experiences on the project, and Waller was nothing short of giddy to chat with us, having already enjoyed the opportunity to talk with several other journalists about his work with The Marcus Hill Roll Band. “I don’t think anybody from AC/DC can or actually wants to speak to anybody at the moment, because I think nobody really knows what’s happening with Malcolm’s health problems at the moment, so that’s why they’ve put me up for all this stuff,” he admitted. “But I’ve had the loveliest week speaking to you guys from all over the place, and…well, anyhow, here I am!”
During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, few teen pop sensations were quite as ubiquitous on the radio as Debbie Gibson. With the insidiously catchy hooks of songs like “Shake Your Love” and “Out of the Blue,” smoldering ballads like “Foolish Beat” and “Lost In Your Eyes,” and – lest we forget – the anthemic “Electric Youth,” Gibson provided the soundtrack to many an adolescence while in the process sending five songs into the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.
That instant familiarity is certainly one of the things that led to her latest gig: serving as a judge on ABC’s new celeb-reality competition series, Sing Your Face Off. Naturally, Gibson chatted with Rhino about her new endeavor – that’s how we came to chat with her, after all – but she was also game to dig into her back catalog to chat about the origins of her sound, writing with Lamont Dozier, getting advice from Ahmet Ertegun, and singing with everyone from Placido Domingo to the Circle Jerks.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Linda Ronstadt, The ‘90s Collection: When Ms. Ronstadt released her Duets compilation last month, the content was decidedly heavy on her ‘70s and ‘80s material, with a bit of a spotlight on Adieu False Heart, her 2006 collaboration with Ann Savoy, but it didn’t do much to remind listeners of the strong work she was continuing to deliver during the ‘90s. Thankfully, this new set does wonders to alleviate that problem by offering up more or less everything she delivered during the ‘90s…or at least the six studio albums she released during the decade, anyway: Mas Canciones (1991), Frenesí (1992), Winter Light (1993), Feels Like Home (1995), Dedicated to the One I Love(1996), and We Ran(1998). Although Ronstadt’s sales figures might not have been through the roof at the time, she continued to receive acclaim for her work, with Frenesí winning the Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album (which really is a thing, honest) and Dedicated to the One I Love winning for Best Musical Album for Children, while both Winter Light and Feels Like Home featured singles which scored some decent success on adult-contemporary radio, including “Oh, No, Not My Baby” and “The Blue Train.” Several of these albums have slipped out of print over the years, too, so it’s nice to know that the whole bunch is available again, but if there’s an underrated gem worth investigating, it’s probably We Ran, which features Ronstadt interpreting tracks by Bruce Springsteen (“If I Should Fall Behind”), Bob Dylan (“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”), and John Hiatt (“Icy Blue Heart” and the title track).
Premiere New Video To “Whole Lotta Love” (Rough Mix With Vocal)
Previously Unreleased Version Featured As Part Of Companion Audio From Upcoming Deluxe Editions Of First Three Albums
Multiple CD, Vinyl, And Digital Formats, Including Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxed Set, Available June 3
At the conclusion of last week’s Led Zeppelin listening event at L’Olympia in Paris, a new video for “Whole Lotta Love” (Rough Mix With Vocal) was premiered following the onstage Q&A session with Jimmy Page. The video is a composite of several classic Led Zeppelin live performances, some well-known and others rarely seen. The “Rough Mix With Vocal” version of “Whole Lotta Love” is featured on the deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin II which is set for release on June 3, along with deluxe editions of the band’s debut album and Led Zeppelin III.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You: This week’s Mono Monday release is a classic by just about anyone’s definition of the word. Don’t believe us? Here’s how AllMusic.com’s review opens: “While the inclusion of ‘Respect’ -- one of the truly seminal singles in pop history -- is in and of itself sufficient to earn I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You classic status, Aretha Franklin's Atlantic label debut is an indisputable masterpiece from start to finish.” In addition to the aforementioned seminal single and the title track, there’s also “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and plenty of other evidence to back up the whole “classic album” theory. What are you waiting for, you mono maniacs? Go get it!
Brook Benton,The Gospel Truth: Although he earned his greatest success by far as a secular artist, scoring significant chart hits in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, Brook Benton took a detour into more spiritual territory in 1971 with this collection of gospel numbers. Given that the set arrived just after Benton had revived his career with the single “Rainy Night in Georgia,” it was a brave decision to switch things up in such a fashion. While it didn’t do much from a commercial standpoint, it’s still a solid entry in his catalog and one fans should definitely check out.