Piano Red’s Lost Atlanta Tapes to be Released August 17 on Landslide Records

ATLANTA, GA – Landslide Records announces an August 17 North American release date for The Lost Atlanta Tapes from the legendary Piano Red, with distribution by Select-O-Hits. The album will be released on August 23 in Europe and distributed there by Proper Music and Sonic Rendezvous.

Produced by Bang Bang Lulu Productions, The Lost Atlanta Tapes features 18 songs recorded live at Atlanta’s Excelsior Mill in 1984, and represents the iconic entertainer’s last known recording. It features some of his best-known classic songs and fan favorites. Eight of the tracks included on the CD are songs that have never been released before on a Piano Red recording.

The release of The Lost Atlanta Tapes will be preceded by a special concert celebrating Piano Red’s life and music on Thursday, August 12th, at Smith’s Olde Bar, starting at 8:00 PM. The event will feature “The Red Rockers,” a band that includes musicians who played with Piano Red and lifelong devotees such as NRBQ keyboardist Terry Adams, bassist Tommy Dean of The League of Decency, and drummer Charles Wolff, formerly of The Brains, plus other guests, including some original members of Piano Red’s early band, the Interns. A donation from album sales and the proceeds of the show will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. More information on the event will be available at www.smithsoldebar.com.

The live tapes have been in the possession of Atlanta-based Michael Reeves, who managed the Excelsior Mill at the time and hosted the artist four nights a week. Reeves, now the co-owner of Smith’s Olde Bar and Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q, says he knew he had a valuable recording in hand, but was waiting for the right moment to share it with the world. When the time came, he asked Atlanta writer and producer David Fulmer to join him in the release.

“Over the past years, Michael and I have worked together on some small projects,” Fulmer says. “This one is by far the most significant. Piano Red was a one-of-a-kind blues and R&B artist and I’m glad I get to be a part of this production.”

Fulmer brings more than a decade in communications to managing local media operations for the CD release and event. National and international media is being handled by Mark Pucci Media in Atlanta.

Reeves trusted restoration of the original four-track tape to Mike Graves at Atlanta’s Osiris Studios. “We were surprised at the quality of the recording,” Reeves comments. “It sounded like Red was in the room. As soon as I heard it, I knew we had to do something special with it.”

Piano Red was born William Lee Perryman in Hampton, Georgia, in 1911, and moved with his family to Atlanta when he was six years old. Red’s older brother, Rufus Perryman, was also a musician, who performed and recorded as Speckled Red. Though he traveled far and wide, Atlanta remained Piano Red’s home through most of his life. He began playing the piano at an early age and by 1930 was performing blues, rags, and popular songs in dance halls, theatres, juke joints, campgrounds, and traveling shows. During the Depression, he took up the trade of upholstery, but never stopped playing.

His career got a huge boost in the post-War years as his style changed from straight-ahead blues to R&B. During a time when early African-American blues and R&B performers were confined to so-called “race record” or independent labels, Piano Red was signed to a major record label, RCA Victor, which continued to release his records for almost a decade. His popularity soared as he helped usher in rock-and roll with early 1950s hits like “Rockin’ with Red” (which reached number five on Billboard’s charts), “Dr. Feelgood,” and his most famous composition, “The Right String (But the Wrong Yo Yo), which has been covered by scores of musicians. He formed a band – Dr. Feelgood and the Interns – and worked R&B circuits all over the country.

Like numerous other artists of the genre, he was more appreciated abroad than at home and toured Europe extensively in the 1960s and 1970s. He secured a nightly gig at Muhlenbrink’s Saloon in Underground Atlanta from 1969 to 1979 and grew his base of local fans as well as tourists. Musicians playing large halls like the Omni and the Fox Theatre visited regularly to pay their respects, including members of The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. Later, he opened shows for Keith Richards’ band, New Barbarians, and for Peter Tosh.

He began a regular gig at the Excelsior Mill in 1981. In 1983, he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and was presented with the Pioneer Award by the Georgia Music Association for his contributions to the state’s musical heritage. He continued to record sporadically and perform around the Southeast and in Europe until his health began to fail. He died at in Atlanta’s DeKalb General Hospital on July 25, 1985.

Atlanta native and Bang Bang Lulu Productions senior producer Michael Reeves co-founded the Mellow Mushroom chain of pizza restaurants in 1974. He went on to co-own and operate the Peanut Palace in McDonough, Georgia, and The Excelsior Mill, The Cotton Club, and The Point, all in Atlanta. Currently, he co-owns Smith’s Olde Bar and Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q. As a partner in Nolen-Reeves Music, he has released projects by Atlanta’s Kodac Harrison and the band Operator. He has been on the Board of the Georgia Epilepsy Foundation, served as a Commissioner on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and has been an active supporter of the Atlanta Community Food Bank for over twenty years.

Co-producer David Fulmer is the author of seven critically-acclaimed music-related novels. He has been nominated for a LA Times Book Prize, a Barry Award, and a Falcon Award, has won a Shamus Award, a Benjamin Franklin Award, and an AudioFile Golden Earphone Award. Most recently, The Blue Door was nominated for the 2009 Shamus Award for Best Novel. His seventh novel, The Fall, was released in March by Five Stones Press. He also wrote and produced “Blind Willie’s Blues,” a documentary about the life and music of Georgia blues legend Blind Willie McTell, and the “Americana” series of vignettes about American music, which aired on NPR affiliate WABE-FM and WMLB-AM, both in Atlanta.

Established by Michael Rothschild in Atlanta in 1981, Landslide Records maintains a catalogue of Southern roots-oriented recordings in genres such as blues, Americana, jazz, jam, and bluegrass. The label has issued releases by a wide variety of notable artists, including Widespread Panic, The Derek Trucks Band, Tinsley Ellis & The Heartfixers, Nappy Brown, Dave Bartholomew, Sean Costello, Webb Wilder & The Beatnecks, Scrapomatic, and Colonel Bruce Hampton. Landslide currently sells to compact disc distributors in the United States and overseas, and its music is available digitally at all major download websites.

Complete Track Listing for Piano Red’s The Lost Atlanta Tapes

1. She’s Gone *
2. Shake, That’s All Right *
3. That’s My Desire
4. Let’s Get It On
5. C.C Rider *
6. Baby, Please Don’t Go *
7. Cotton Fields *
8. Corinna, Corinna
9. Blues and Trouble *
10. Right String (But the Wrong Yo Yo)
11. Let’s Have a Good Time Tonight
12. St. Louis Blues *
13. My Baby’s Gone *
14. Ain’t Gonna Be Your Lowdown Dog No More
15. Pay It No Mind
16. Doctor Feelgood
17. Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone
18. Rockin’ with Red

* Previously Unreleased Songs

– 30 –

David Fulmer

Mark Pucci
Mark Pucci Media

Michael Rothschild
Landslide Records

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM  Leave a Comment  
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