Ten Years Gone…

Real Gone is ten years old today!

When Real Gone launched back in November 2009, there was no real thought to its longevity. There wasn’t even any real thought as to whether it’d gain an audience much past a few friends. It was always going to be a useful outlet for a love of music, no matter how big or small the audience. Mostly, it going to be a hobby; a distraction.

It originally had one purpose: to highlight great albums that’d somehow been overlooked. Maybe things you might find cheaply online, maybe not, but if Real Gone could spread the word, its work was done. It was that simple.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT: “Everybody’s dead, Dave…”

It is normally customary at this time of year for Real Gone to put together a brief round-up of the year’s high points, detailing our top ten releases of the previous twelve months and drawing attention to a few more great recordings that didn’t quite make the cut.

This year – 2016 – has been somewhat different. Somewhat challenging, to say the least. That’s not to say there hasn’t been good music, since there has been various gems to be discovered throughout the previous twelve months (and we shall be sharing our thoughts on such things with you in due course), but most of the positive feelings surrounding the year have been clouded by the spectre of death.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Do You Remember? – Nostalgia and current state of Hüsker Dü…

For years, Hüsker Dü fans have desperately wanted a reunion. Much like fellow Minneapolis punks The Replacements, the Hüskers became hugely influential, and all too often to musicians who never actually got to see them live. Obviously, for many Replacements fans, that dream eventually came true, but even at a time when Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were on the road bringing maximum nostalgia, each of the Hüsker Dü members dismissed any chance of a reunion.

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FIVE YEARS: What a surprise… (An anniversary editorial)

5This weekend, Real Gone reaches a special milestone – five years of internet presence.  As that famous musical philosopher Mr. David Bowie once sang: “Five years…what a surprise.”  It’s been a really hard road to get so far, but it’s certainly been rewarding – over the recent years, we’ve met a bunch of really great people and heard some amazing music, a huge amount of which might have passed under our radar if we weren’t constantly reviewing stuff.  Who knows…maybe some of those albums would have passed under your radar too?

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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Incomplete (or rambling thoughts on collecting from an obsessive music fan)

Right up to the 1980s, things were fairly simple as a music fan.  Your favourite bands released singles and albums and, as a loyal fan, you bought them knowing you’d kept to your end of the bargain.  Sometimes singles weren’t part of albums and in that case you got something extra.   Things started to change in the 1980s when the picture disc started to make regular appearances, thus meaning an occasional extra purchase.  Labels like ZTT (run by business-minded Trevor Horn and Paul Morley) were quick to capitalise on marketing strategies – with bands like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, they made sure that different formats had different mixes and different edits.  In the case of the fledgling cassette single, they even went an extra step by including unreleased bits and pieces from the cutting room floor, often to fans’ bemusement and eventual delight.

Not everyone was as keen to play the game.  Towards the end of the decade, Morrissey – in a spiteful lyrical snide against his then record company’s repackaging of Smiths material – gave us the lyrical legend “reissue, reissue, repackage…re-evaluate the songs, extra track and a tacky badge”. Some bands stuck rigidly to the old model of single release followed by album…and then a couple more singles (often with something extra on the b-side, sure; but once that was done, you knew that was it, at least until the next outpouring of new material in a couple of years).

By the mid-90s, albums would occasionally appear as special editions.  This usually involved a bonus disc containing a handful of extra songs (or in the case of The Beautiful South’s excellent ‘Carry On Up the Charts’ anthology, a whole disc of hard to find b-sides) or live material.  Another easy choice for the consumer: you chose to buy either the standard release or fork out a few extra quid for that bonus disc – job done, everybody happy.  Bon Jovi’s ‘Keep The Faith’ was among the first to mark a shifting tide towards fan-testing, record company greed when the special edition appeared months after the original album’s release.  This staggered release ensured almost everyone had purchased ‘Keep The Faith’ already…but would they buy it again?  Of course they would – if not everyone, then at least a good proportion of the die-hards would want that extra material.  Why wouldn’t they?  The floodgates were open.

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