Of All the Things--The Complete ABC/Dunhill Masters
Almost to the day we released our The Mamas and The Papas: Complete Singles—50th Anniversary Collection back in January 2016, fans of the group (and they are legion!) started asking us about reissuing Papa Denny Doherty’s criminally overlooked 1971 solo album on the ABC/Dunhill label, Watcha Gonna Do. This record came out on CD only in Japan back in 2002, and commands hundreds of dollars online, so a straight reissue would have worked just fine. But that’s not how we do things at Real Gone Music…and so we aren’t stopping with the album. We’re adding six bonus tracks, five of ‘em previously unreleased, to fashion a brand-new compilation, Of All the Things—The Complete ABC/Dunhill Masters! Arranged by Jimmie Haskell, produced by Bill Szymczyk, and featuring songs written by Denny with his first wife Linda Woodward with such session players as Barry McGuire, Buddy Emmons, Russ Kunkel, “Fast” Eddy Fischer, and Eric “The Doctor” Hord, Watcha Gonna Do is truly a lost gem of early ‘70s roots rock, sort of The Mamas and Papas meeting The Band and The Eagles (Szymczyk went on to produce all of The Eagles albums). The bonus tracks include the rare single of the non-LP track “To Claudia on Thursday”—with additional vocals supplied by Spanky McFarlane of Spanky & Our Gang—plus five other tracks unearthed from both album session tapes and follow-up recordings left in the vaults. Joe Marchese provides liner notes featuring quotes and reminiscences from Eddy Fischer, Denny’s daughters, Bill Szymczyk, Michelle Phillips, and others. Artwork includes previously unpublished period photographs. Remastered by Mike Milchner/Sonic Vision, this release is a must for any fan of The Mamas and The Papas and of that gorgeous Doherty tenor!
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The booklet gives an overview of Doherty's post- M&P career as well as information on the recording of the album and the unreleased material included here. As far as I know Doherty only released one other album aside from the one included here and it's a pity that isn't available on CD or as a vinyl reissue as well.
Doherty co-wrote many of the songs here and, while he was an occasional co-writer of material for The Mama's and The Papa's (often with primary songwriter John Phillips) and there's no denying that he had talented it's a pity though that he didn't write more material and continue his solo career.
This is a terrific album along with bonus material of an often forgotten and important part of the Mama's and The Papa's.
Real Gone Music has hit it out of the park with this disc, which includes the entirety of Doherty's solo debut (previously only available on CD as a pricey Japanese import), a few single sides, and a number of surprisingly strong outtakes recorded around the same time. My favorite bonus is "To Claudia on Thursday", a superior remake of a Millennium's 1968 cut, which rivals anything the M&Ps ever did.
The booklet is also a good read, explaining how the LP came together (basically, Doherty was looking for something to do while he waited to see if the M&Ps had broken up or not...) and explaining where the bonus material came from (with special appearance by Steely Dan, who wrote some of the outtakes).