10 Questions for Joel Dorn on the new Bobby Darin CD/DVD “Aces back to back!”
by Bob Putignano
Goldmine Magazine 03/05

Joel Dorn the legendary producer and Executive VP for Atlantic records, who has recorded a who’s who of musicians, (Monk, Rahsaan, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Roberta Flack, Duane Allman, Herbie Mann, Junior Mance, and on and on) also adores Bobby Darin. Dorn recalls his days of watching Bobby at the old Atlantic Studios here in NYC, and seeing him perform live, and feels Bobby never got his true acclaim. Joel hopes that will all change now with both the new movie that Kevin Spacey produced, directed and starred in “Beyond The Sea: The Bobby Darin Story” which will be released later this year, and aided by this new Hyena Records CD/DVD “Bobby Darin, Aces back to back” which was just released. Joel tells me he spent months going through hundreds of hours of television video and audio which can now be heard and seen in this double disk package.

Recently Joel Dorn stopped by my radio program “The Sounds of Blue” at WFDU’s studios in Teaneck NJ with Jimmy Scalia (The Darin Family archivist) to talk about the latest Joel Dorn/Hyena Records project.

1-Bob P: Hi Joel, welcome back to the radio station. So finally the Bobby Darin project is completed, you have been telling me about this for almost a year, was it all you hoped for?

Joel: First off, what made doing this project so pleasurable was working with the Darin estate starting with Steve Blauner (Bobby’s long time manager) and the guy sitting next to me Jimmy Scalia who is the official Bobby Darin archivist. Its not easy for a guy like me to work with a co-producer as most of them are nuts, but Jimmy was dynamite and so easy to get along with, thus making the whole project a complete success. Let me tell you how cool Scalia is? Do you know what he brought with him for us to eat today? Fresh mozzarella, non-American/imported pepperoni, and a fresh loaf of Italian bread, hey now!

2-Bob P: I can relate to the food (laughs), but what about the DVD/CD “Aces Back to Back?

Joel: I am thrilled with this project, as I went through so much video and audio. For example, Bobby did one hundred and twenty commercials for the American Dairy Association, where they say – (Joel talking like an announcer) “drink milk its so good for you, your health and your skin”, and bam there would be Bobby wailing away with great bands backing him swinging his butt off. I liked so much of what I had to sift through and that made it made it difficult to choose the best tracks, but ultimately I think we came up with a great product, most of which has not been seen and heard in thirty plus years. I know your listening audience is probably saying, yeah sure what is Dorn peddling now, but when they hear the songs Scalia and I put together here they will dig it. By the way, did you know its been thirty one years since Bobby passed?

3- Bob P: This is the fourth recording you have done for Hyena where you included a DVD with the CD, was this your concept?

Joel: I sometimes think I am Cecil B, (laughs). I think it’s a great concept to include video with the audio CD, and will continue to offer the DVD wherever its possible. You know, when I was a DJ back in the day in Philly, initially I never got nor understood Monk’s music, but as he was being played everywhere, written about so much in magazines & periodicals, and also requested by my listeners, so I played him. But it wasn’t until I got to see him perform live that I got what he was all about, as the visual connected the dots for me. That is what is so cool about the two Monk recordings and the Dr. John package we put out, and now with Darin as not only are we fortunate to hear the lost never heard before audio, we also deliver the video, as due to the technology process it is reasonable to include the extra disk (DVD) which really make these projects so special. Wait till you see the DVD!

4- Bob P: Most TV audio is awful, how did you get these tracks to sound so good?

Joel: That was the recording engineer’s job, and you are right TV audio is pretty rough, and then we had to deal with the fake applause that was added, but I agree with you that the audio we got out of those old TV shows and commercials ultimately sound really good.

5 – Bob P: I loved that duet with Petula Clark, “All I have to do is dream”.

Joel: That track just floored me, glad you liked it, didn’t they really look like lovers sitting across from each, complete with the cute kiss at the end? You know I am the kind of guy who cries at the end of Hallmark commercials (more laughs), so this one brought a happy tear to my eye.

6- Bob P: Speaking of tears, the closing track on the CD was so emotional and quite an appropriate way to end the disk.

Joel: You mean “The Curtain Falls”. You know I did a lot of editing and viewing of the tapes on my treadmill with a big smile on my face, but when that track came on I just knew that was the perfect ending for the Darin package, which also brought me to tears, especial when Darin says: “Good night ladies & gentlemen, and God bless.” it was like he was saying goodbye to all of us, man!.

7- Bob P: Lets play several tracks for the listeners, what would you like to start with?

Joel: Just like the last track “The Curtain Falls” which ended the CD, I felt strong about starting “Aces back to back” with “This Could Be the Start of Something Big” as I felt Bobby never got all the cookies he deserved, and seemed appropo.

8-Bob P: I really enjoyed “This could be the start of something big” as well, lets run off 3-4 tracks and play them all in a row, so what else would you like to play?

Dorn: You know I talk to a lot of DJ’s, but there are two tracks everyone seems to agree on, one we already spoke about “All I have to do is Dream” with Petula Clark, and “Alone again Naturally” so lets play those first.

9-Bob P: That was great, lets do a couple of more and then we have to get out of here for the next DJ?

Joel: Alright, lets take the show out with some of favorites which were also hits for Bobby, “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You”, “Alone again Naturally”, “Your just too good to be true”, “Beyond the Sea”, and the best version Bobby ever did of “If I were a Carpenter” Oh, and lets fade with “The Curtain Falls.”

10- Bob P: Joel as always the listeners and I enjoy our time together with you, any last words for the listening audience?

Dorn: You know at Hyena Records we dig cats like Dr. John, Monk, Eddie Harris, Rahsaan, The Frank & Joe Show, you know the good stuff, and I now I am pleased to offer Bobby Darin’s “Aces Back to Back.” You know coming here is like sitting in someone’s kitchen, and we are just hanging talking about music, so thank you Bob for digging Darin, and to the listeners who tune into this station who continues to support and play real music!

Bob P: Thank you Joel.

Bob Putignano
Radio Host WFDU’s “Sounds of Blue”
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society