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Lobo and Debby Boone discuss Time Life recordings

Time Life has released seven collections from Lobo of rerecorded hits and rare releases and a swing album from Debby Boone, both 1970s gold record artists

Time Life has released seven collections from Lobo of rerecorded hits and rare releases and a swing album from Debby Boone, both 1970s gold record artists

PART ONE – LOBO

Lobo 1

GOLDMINE: Welcome back to Goldmine. Congratulations on seven Time Life releases. This is incredible.

LOBO: I understand that they are doing very well. A lot of my recordings were done for Asia and Billy Aerts and I had the rights to the music to offer to Time Life. They wanted more and more, fortunately.

GM: Let’s start with If I Could Do It Over: The Acoustic Hits, where you have redone many of your classic hits and more, beginning with your gold single “I’d Love You to Want Me,” with you singing and strumming on your acoustic guitar.

L: The object of this album that we did several years ago was with ProTracks as a software. I found that I could make better demos than in the old days with a 4 track recorder, so the thought was, if I could do it over and submit demos with this improved software process, here is what my music would sound like.

GM: At the end of “I’d Love You to Want Me” and “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” you changed the vocal a bit to make it a little different.

L: That was really an evolution of playing it on stage for decades. In Nashville a female singer recorded a country demo of “I’d Love You to Want Me” with a bit of a lift at the end and Billy and I liked it, so we began playing it on stage that way, so that is why the ending is updated.

GM: Speaking of country music, you and I talked about Stonewall Jackson’s hit country version of “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,” when he passed away last year.

L: He was straight ahead country. I was starting to receive some country airplay. When I heard his version of my song, I knew I couldn’t compete with that, because that was real country. He did a great job.

GM: Your flip sides of “Am I True to Myself,” “Love Me for What I Am” and “Walk Away from It All” seem to have a similar theme about being your own person.

L: I was told by my producer Phil Gernhard that if I wanted to have a hit, I would have to write it, which I am happy he encouraged me to do. He certainly was happy to have the publishing rights. I thought I was just writing little songs for albums, but when I go back now and listen to them, I find that it is really me. I am what those songs say. You can’t hide from yourself. Your songs show what you are and what you think. 

Lobo flip

Lobo (Kent Lavoie)

Walk Away from It All

A side: Me and You and a Dog Named Boo

Billboard Top 100 debut: April 3, 1971

Peak position: No. 5

Big Tree BT-112

“I thought I was just writing little songs for albums, but when I go back now and listen to them, I find that it is really me. I am what those songs say. You can’t hide from yourself. Your songs show what you are and what you think.” – Lobo

Lobo 2

GM: Timeless: The Very Best has rerecorded hits with “There Ain’t No Way” being a wonderful finale with the acoustic and electric guitars and piano.

L: Songs from that era reflected on some tumultuous days and this one may have been sparked by a conversation.

GM: Well, this song and the album sound wonderful.

L: Thank you. Billy said that enough time had gone by where we can rerecord my masters. I had played acoustic guitar on the original records, and he was familiar with them from playing the songs on stage with me for years, then we could lease the recordings globally. We tried to make them as good as the original records. The dynamics and quality of the new recordings are actually much better than the originals. The acoustic guitar parts sound nicely bright where on the old recordings they sound muted. 

Lobo 3

GM: Faithful has some wonderful songs including “Wide Open Spaces.”

L: Billy and I co-wrote this one with a friend of his, Taylor Dunn, and is one of the few times where I have written a song with more than one person that we actually finished. It has Dann Huff on guitar, who is one of the best producers in Nashville. That sound takes me to the desert. I picture my beautiful wife Susie in our cross-country trip when I hear that song and it doesn’t get any better than that. She is a gentle soul and that is what I am reminded of.

GM: “Love is Approaching” is my favorite on the album. The acoustic guitar reminds me of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Let it Ride” and the female background vocals are great.

L: I had written all the chord progressions and that long acoustic part. Mark Casstevens, who is quite a Nashville session guitarist, played the acoustic guitar on that track. The chords change often, and the sound is so spacious, like a storm coming in and then there is love hitting you right between the eyes. 

Lobo 4

GM: Your voice and the arrangement on “Come with Me” from Why Is It Me? is so polished.

L: That was at the end of my time with Phil Gernhard and Curb Records. I went to Atlanta, and I decided that I would make an album by myself, producing it, and had a string arranger to do those arrangements. That was me with the purest sound I could deliver. The album was originally called Come with Me, named after the love song you mentioned, and it was released all over the world except for the U.S. Now it is finally available under the name of Why Is It Me

Lobo 5

GM: From the album That Shows You What I Know, “Overnight Rider” is a fun traveling song and you even mention Richmond, Virginia, where my wife Donna and I were just at visiting our daughter Brianna.

L: How about that! “Overnight Rider” is actually one that I didn’t write. Billy co-wrote that one with Don Goodman and D.A. Winter. I demoed it and this song stuck in my head. I love that guitar part. When we recorded it, I hired the same guitarist who was on the demo. 

Lobo 6

GM: From Let Me Leave You, “Back Bay” is a great and catchy country song.

L: When I first moved back here to Florida, I decided that I was going to live on Pine Island, which is off the coast of Fort Myers, which you can drive to, but it is still a big island. There is a town called Matlacha, which is on the way, and there was this waitress with long blonde hair who would take care of Susie and me and she was an inspiration for the story along with the town. 

Lobo 7

GM: When the songwriter Alex Harvey passed away, you and I talked about his composition “Rings” from the early 1970s that you covered in the middle of that decade. On Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, you covered another song from the early 1970s, Christie’s “Yellow River.” There is a slow introduction you wrote called “I Long to See My Home” before it blends to “Yellow River,” that I have also recently heard another cover of by the group The Armoires, which I enjoy. Your medley offers a nice contrast.

L: Thank you. I learned fifty years ago, with my album Of a Simple Man, that you received the same songwriter royalty payment for an intro as you do for a song. There is a 24 second organ intro that goes into “There Ain’t No Way” on that album and the royalty payment is the same for both. So, I thought I wouldn’t record someone else’s song where I don’t have something in there and that’s why that came about. I thought the song was about the Vietnam War but later learned that Jeff Christie wrote it about the Civil War. We talked with him and worked out a deal about the introduction. The guitarwork that Dann Huff played on that song is just phenomenal. Billy and I have so much fun playing “Yellow River.”

GM: Dann’s guitar solo is great.

L: Yes. After he played it, he said, “You know I have never played a solo like that. It was a very unique part.” He did it in one take. He’s a musical genius. It is wonderful working with musicians like him.

GM: Let’s conclude with one song not on the Time Life series, pre-Lobo, under your name of Kent Lavoie. My best friend John, who is a big Lobo fan and baseball fan, was in college in the mid-to-late 1970s, at the Bowling Green State University library in Ohio he learned about your song “Happy Days in New York City.” John stumbled into this baseball team inspired recording, saw your name, which he recognized and wondered if it could be the same person, which he quickly confirmed when he heard your voice.

L: Phil Gernhard was my connection to the business. That was the first time that I wrote a song which Phil liked and sent to New York. The people who heard it liked it and wanted me to travel from Florida to New York to record it the following week. We got on a plane. The limousine met us at the airport and took us to the hotel to meet with the arranger. The next day we went into the recording studio with the best musicians in New York. Phil said, “Well. I got these kids to sing background for you. They are in the group The Left Banke. Do you remember ‘Walk Away Renee?’” I thought, wow, the guys who sang “Walk Away Renee” want to sing with me? I was in a little booth and the strings were playing live. It was like the absolute maximum thrill that I could ever have when I was trying to be a songwriter and an artist. It was phenomenal. Then I watched the guys from The Left Banke and it was bizarre seeing and hearing them sing the song I wrote. They were such nice guys. Unfortunately, the record was a big stiff and never got on the charts. 

Lobo Kent

GM: There is a new Left Banke archival release called Strangers on a Train on Omnivore, with some of the guys you met. These archival releases including your seven recordings on Time Life are certainly of interest to Goldmine readers.

L: That is so good and encouraging to hear. The Time Life people keep me real organized and busy. It was so nice talking with you again. Thank you so much.

  

PART TWO – DEBBY BOONE

Lobo Debby Swing

GM: Welcome back to Goldmine and congratulations on Time Life’s reissue of your Swing This album, with an updated recording of “You Light Up My Life” as a new finale or bonus track after the original fourteen song collection.

DEBBY BOONE: Thank you. I am thrilled that Time Life has given the album some new life. I was never able to get the kind of exposure I had hoped for this project. I was inspired to get the album streaming so that a wider audience could hear what John Oddo and I worked so hard to create. Time Life jumped on it!

GM: In our 2017 Goldmine interview, we talked about “Sway,” “Mack the Knife,” “Cry Me a River” and “’Round Midnight” from Swing This. Let’s discuss four more songs from this classy collection. “You and the Night and the Music” is such a melodic match to the lyrics and the arrangement has a nice Latin beat. Jim Saporito's drumming is amazing.

DB: This song was something that John thought would be a great fit and I totally agreed. I loved Frank Sinatra’s version of it, but John came up with a magical arrangement that had the energy and excitement of the beginning of a romance, and for me it was the perfect song to sing to an audience, “After the night and the music die, will I have you?” I couldn’t agree with you more on Jim’s drumming. He is a protege of Joe Cocuzzo and even inherited Joe’s cymbals. I worked with Joe because he was not only my late mother-in-law Rosemary Clooney’s drummer, but he also worked with greats like Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and on and on. Both of those guys shared a sensitivity that never overwhelmed a singer but supported and energized. Jim is always so present and attentive. I look back at him when I am performing and he is always with me in the moment, fully present and joyful. 

GM: “More Than You Know” is such a beautiful and gentle piece.

DB: This is a song I have loved since I was a young girl. Barbra Streisand’s version was probably my first introduction and I love the verse that opens up the song. When I was in Las Vegas as a very young girl, my dad let me peek into a lounge where I saw a beautiful woman standing at a piano in a gorgeous gown singing a torch song, and I just knew that was what I wanted to do someday. This was the perfect song to go along with that story. It also has a lyric that becomes very personal for me, and I never sing it when I am not thinking of my husband Gabri. It is actually done with a trio.

GM: “Be Careful It’s My Heart” is another beautiful piece with just John accompanying you on piano.

DB: This song has the same kind of attraction for me as “More Than You Know.” It has a beautiful melody with lyrics that breathe and allow me to wrap myself up in them. It was not originally a choice for this project but when I did the show at The in New York City, Bucky Pizzarelli showed up opening night and played the song for me as an encore. From then on, we used it as an encore with just John playing to achieve the same quiet intimacy and ended up adding it to the recording. I will forever be grateful to have recorded this album and particularly this song alone with John. It was the last thing I would record with him. We lost John suddenly in 2019. I miss him terribly.

GM: Like you and Gabri, Donna and I also got married in 1979 in our early 20s. At the wedding reception in the church basement, we played two of your songs. After your 2017 concert here in Florida, I told you that my favorite song in that night’s performance was the fun version of “Get Me to the Church on Time” with chimes. You quickly pointed out that this was the Nelson Riddle arrangement.

DB: “Get Me to the Church on Time” was added to talk about the fact that Las Vegas became our nation’s wedding capital. I put together a video to show from the stage of pictures and video clips of the many celebrity weddings that took place in Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland twice, Elvis and Priscilla and more. Yes, this arrangement is adapted from one that Nelson Riddle created for Rosemary which adds to the fun and energy of the song. I appreciate your support so much. Thank you for giving some more of your time and talent to this Swing This album.

Lobo Debby list
Debby Boone and band photos courtesy of Time Life

Debby Boone and band photos courtesy of Time Life

  

Related Links:

fansoflobo.com

debbyboone.com

Goldmine Debby Boone 2017 interview

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