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SH Forums GIVEAWAY, new CD: "Fred Darian's American Songbook featuring JOHNNY WILLOW"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, May 16, 2007.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Soon to be released on compact disc:

    Fred Darian's AMERICAN SONGBOOK, featuring the hits JOHNNY WILLOW and BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG. Cordak CD-1802.

    My good friend Fred Darian, one of the original VINE STREET IRREGULARS and a talented singer, producer and composer is 80 years old next month. To celebrate, I've finally got him to release some of his great recordings from the 1950's and '60's on compact disc.

    Some of you who have been waiting for this stuff a long time, well it's finally here. Those of you who have never heard these selections might really enjoy them.

    Fred is one of the nicest guys I've ever met in show biz if not THE nicest.

    I've been a big Fred Darian fan ever since I first met him when I attended my first "Gold Star Recording Studio Breakfast" at Froman's Deli a few years ago. Along with eating eggs and pancakes every Tuesday morning with drummer Hal Blaine and other Phil Spector "Wall Of Sound" musicians and recording engineers like Dave Gold (founder of famous Gold Star Recording and inventor of the Gold Star Echo System), Stan "Choo Choo" Ross and legendary Larry Levine there was (is) Mel Levin (Disney songwriter) and a bunch of other fabulous story-telling legends who gather to nosh and chat every week. At first I had no idea who Fred Darian was and had to ask Larry Levine. Well, you will know Fred as the producer and writer of a bunch of DOBIE GRAY hits like "The 'In' Crowd", "Out On The Floor", etc.

    Fred also is the singer we hear at the beginning of Disney's "The Sword And The Stone". He has an amazingly versatile voice (and he still has his chops). In addition, he wrote, produced (and sings background) on Larry Verne's smash hit "Mr. Custer". Best of all, Fred has breakfast with us every Tuesday and is a heckofa great guy. His two Billboard chart hits "JOHNNY WILLOW" and "THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG" I had to track down on eBay because I wanted to hear them. It took some time for me to find them. Those scratchy old 45's on the JAF label were great but I longed to hear his stuff in great sound. Nothing was in print of Fred's music or had been for 40 years. Frustrating. (By the way JAF stood for the first name of the three partners: Joe Van Winkle, Al De Lory, Fred Darian)

    One breakfast morning about 4 years ago, Fred asked me for a favor over eggs. He had asked Larry Levine who I was (just like I had to ask about him) and was delighted that I was "working" in the biz. He "had a bunch of tapes" in his garage and could I look them over and tell him what I thought? Sure thing.

    Well, Fred, unlike most record producers from that era, kept track of everything he ever worked on. Actually, all of his master tapes of the records he produced like "The 'In" Crowd" were safely stored in the vaults of Gold Star Studios in Hollywood until Stan and Dave decided to retire and close the studio in the early 1980's. Since Fred was still in touch with them (loyalties run deep with these people), they were able to get Fred back all of his tapes. Score one for the good guys.

    So, in this treasure trove of stuff I found all of the Dobie Gray hits in their original three-track form along with Fred's chart hits and other great stuff. I knew at that point that this stuff had to be released on compact disc. The Fred Darian AMERICAN SONGBOOK CD was mastered by me from the original Gold Star Studio mixes by Larry Levine and Stan Ross. By the way, the songs are mainly in true stereo, (although they were never released that way originally). Heck, there has never even been an LP of this Fred Darian stuff before, only 45's!

    All that will change now with the release of this album.

    And for Northern Soul fans the DOBIE GRAY Collection is up next at the end of this year and believe me, it's the first time those songs will have ever been released from the original master mixes and I mean the FIRST time; not even on vinyl were they mastered from these pristine tapes! All of this material was long thought lost to the scrapheap of time. So that's something exciting to be looking for on CORDAK Records. R&B fans are going to go crazy when they hear Dobie Gray's (I'm In With) The 'In' Crowd, "See You At The 'Go-Go'" and "Look At Me" in such amazing fidelity.

    At any rate, back to Fred's new release. I had him over to the house when I had finished going through his piles of tapes. I cued up the master of "JOHNNY WILLOW" for him. If you haven't heard the song it's a remarkable patriotic "singing run on sentence" that is quite stirring. After listening Fred looked at me and said: "That guy is not half bad!"

    Quite an understatement. The late Frankie Laine fell in love with the song and tried to cover "JOHNNY WILLOW" but he couldn't do it like Fred, even after hours in the studio trying! He spent a day at Capitol Studios and still couldn't get it! By the way, Fred can still sing the song just like he did back then. Most singers couldn't even do it at the age of 25 let alone 80!

    If you want to buy an advance copy of his CD, PM me and I'll pass the request on to Mr. Darian. Not sure of the price, won't be much.

    I have a few here to give away to SH Forum members. If you want to hear FRED DARIAN'S AMERICAN SONGBOOK just post in this thread and the Gorts will pick three winners.

    Believe me, I spent more time working on this project than I did on many famous albums. I wanted to do it for Fred (gratis, of course) but mainly I wanted the world to be able to hear this great music again.

    Good luck!! Thanks for being on the SH FORUMS!
  2. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Great story! Not familar with Fred Darian, but I'd love to change that with a chance to win your CD of his work :D
  3. imagnrywar

    imagnrywar Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    i'd love to hear this.
  4. Steve-oh

    Steve-oh Forum Resident

    Michigan, USA
    Interesting stuff, Steve. Count me in.
  5. SonicZone

    SonicZone Forum Resident

    Upland, CA
    Count me in for this, Steve -- thanks!

  6. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Im in :)

    And cant wait for the Dobie Gray stuff.Very cool !

    Steve, Im guessing these will be on te Dobie Gray ? :

    Mississippi Rolling Stone, The Time I Loved You the Most, Lovin' the Easy Way and of course Drift Away?
  7. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Oh Yeah !:thumbsup:

    great story Steve!
  8. Green Tea

    Green Tea Sweet Soulful Sounds

    Cool. Count me in, please.
  9. Uncle Harley

    Uncle Harley Active Member

    Please count me in also. Thanks
  10. Dan

    Dan Senior Member

    A feel-good story indeed. I'm in as usual!
  11. James RD

    James RD Forum Resident

    Southern Oregon
    What a nice thing to do, Steve! I'd love to hear this music.
  12. Brian J

    Brian J Active Member

    Great story! I'd love the opportunity to hear what this artist has to offer.

  13. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Wow! What a story.

    Gotta hear this!!!!
  14. indy mike

    indy mike Forum Pest

    I'm in....
  15. bw

    bw Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH, US
    Please count me in! Thanks!
  16. luckyman

    luckyman Forum Resident

    Brick, NJ
    Good story! Count me in!
  17. Santo10

    Santo10 The Hot Corner

    I'll take a shot at this one! Thanks Steve.
  18. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member

    Baton Rouge, LA
    I'm in.
  19. Mike Ga

    Mike Ga Formerly meredrums and MikeG

    Wylie, Tx.
    Thanks for sharing that! I'm in!
  20. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

  21. DougT

    DougT Forum Resident

    Great story! Count me in.
  22. Great story! As a non-American who loves just about anything that in any way makes me feel the piney smell of Americana, I just can't give up a chance to get an album called "Fred Darian's American Songbook Featuring Johnny Willow And Battle Of Gettysburg". I love it before I've even heard a note of the music.
    So, please count me in!
  23. Paul K

    Paul K Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Sounds way cool! I'm interested!
  24. I am in of course.
  25. eelkiller

    eelkiller Not one of the first 100 members

    Count me in - Thanks
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