SKIP BATTIN: TOPANGA SKYLINE
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Item Number: CD 6031
Sierra Records is proud to announce the compact disc release, "SKIP BATTIN: TOPANGA SKYLINE". More than 40 years ago on October 17, 1969, Skip Battin made his first concert appearance as a member of the Byrds at Carl Edward King Memorial Gymnasium, Morris Harvey University, Charleston West Virginia!
This was to be Skip's second solo album, recorded in late July 1973, just days after the tragic death of Clarence White. Produced by the legendary Kim Fowley and co-writer with Skip, it would include backup for the most part by the Country Gazette (Byron Berline, Roger Bush, Alan Munde and Roland White) along with Al Perkins. The album unfortunately never saw the light of day, until now. A decade ago Skip and I talked about releasing the album but it took all this time to make his dream come true. After Skip's passing in 2004, his son Brent took up the cause to see this album become a reality.
Taken from the original master audio tapes, each song (mostly Battin/Fowley originals) is as sharp and pointed as ever. Just wait until you hear Skip's bluegrass version of "Hully Gully", the old 1959 "Olympics" rock and roll classic. With the help of the Country Gazette's bluegrass chops, this album's sound could have predated Leon Russell's "Hank Wilson's Back" effort.
"Topanga Skyline" also boasts some additional bonus material. Two Battin/Fowley songs from Skip's 1981 release on the Italian Appaloosa label have been added, "Willow in the Wind" and my favorite all time Battin song,"China Moon" with the late, great Sneaky Pete on pedal steel.
At the end of the last song, there is a hidden track from Skip's rehearsals for the album with Clarence White on guitar. It is brief and very rough but it was was recorded just a few days before Clarence's untimely death, his last recordings in any form.
To further enhance this release, there is also a bonus MPEG video clip on the disc (accessed by PC or MAC computer only) of a rare 1965 solo appearance of Skip on a local L.A. TV teenage dance party show! With a 12-string guitar in his hand and sporting an Elvis hairdo, Skip lip syncs his latest 45 single back then on the Groove label, "Searchin" and "She Acts Like We Never Have Met" (actually Bob Dylan's song,"I Don't Believe You," turned folk-rock, pre-dating the release of the Byrds "Mr. Tambourine Man").
"Skip Battin: Topanga Skyline" was to be part of a five album release back in 1973 that would include the album releases of Gene Parsons' "Kindling", Country Gazette's "Don't Give Up Your Day Job", Gram Parsons' "Sleepless Nights" later released as "Grievous Angel", and what turned out to be the never released "Clarence White" solo album on Warner Bros. Records. All five releases were to promote a Fall 1973 Concert tour with all these performers on stage with Skip providing the bass playing and adding his vocals. I wonder what a Gram Parsons/Skip Battin duet would have sounded like! The tour was to be kicked off by a "Folk/Bluegrass/Country" Festival in September 1973 in Lancaster CA. Sadly, it too never materialized because of "city fathers" did not want a music festival with "long hairs" and by then Clarence and Gram were gone.
AUDIO:SALTY DOG BLUES/BOLTS OF BLUE/STONE SOBER/WILLOW IN THE WIND/RELAX WITH ME/DON'T GO DOWN THE DRAIN/ROLL IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS-PART 1 & 2/HULLY GULLY/FOGGY MOUNTAIN TOP/WINTERGREEN/CHINA MOON
MPEG VIDEO: SEARCHIN'/SHE ACTS LIKE WE NEVER HAVE MET