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Archive for the ‘The Byrds’ Category

To Everything There Is A Season: Raven Reissues “The Byrds”

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ByrdsWhen the album simply entitled Byrds arrived on David Geffen’s Asylum label in 1973, it had been only about a year-and-a-half since the last record from the California folk-rock heroes. But the original line-up of Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke hadn’t recorded a complete album together since 1965. Byrds would be the group’s first long-player for a label other than Columbia Records – and the final Byrds album to date. Australia’s Raven Records label has recently remastered and reissued Byrds, with two bonus tracks from the solo Gene Clark which also featured the complete five-piece band.

Following the defection of Gene Clark from the band in February 1966, The Byrds’ line-up had been fluid, to say the least. Eleven members had passed through the ranks between 1964 and 1972 with only Jim (later Roger) McGuinn as the constant. The group’s sound had also shifted considerably from folk-rock to psychedelia to country-rock and every style in between. The Byrds’ final Columbia album, 1971’s Farther Along, featured McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin and Gene Parsons (no relation to another former Byrd, Gram Parsons). In July 1972, with no new album in the works, Parsons was let go from the band, replaced on drums by John Guerin. Session pro Guerin remained with the live band through January 1973, though he was never considered a full-fledged member of the band. Skip Battin was next to go, dismissed after a February 10, 1973 show. Roger McGuinn asked Chris Hillman of the original band to step in for two more shows later that month and then called it a day on The Byrds’ touring line-up. But by that time, the original Byrds had already reunited and completed the album that would become Byrds.

McGuinn was still fronting the touring band when he and his four original bandmates entered Los Angeles’ Wally Heider Studios in October 1972, the hatchet having apparently been buried with David Crosby, who was named producer of the upcoming album. Impresario Geffen was the catalyst for the reunion, as he desired for the reformed Byrds to have a place of honor on his label’s impressive roster of SoCal rockers also including Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and Eagles. With Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on indefinite hiatus at that point, it was also perceived that the reformed Byrds could fill their void. By the end of sessions in November 1972, eleven songs had been laid down for Byrds.

With rich, recognizable harmonies in abundance, Byrds naturally featured songs by all four songwriters in the band: McGuinn, Clark, Crosby and Hillman. Clark supplied the mission-statement opener “Full Circle” and another one of the LP’s strongest tracks, “Changing Heart.” (“Full Circle” wasn’t written for The Byrds, per Clark, but might as well have been.) McGuinn co-wrote the haunting folk ballad “Sweet Mary” with Bob Dylan’s sometimes-collaborator Jacques Levy as well as the upbeat, likely autobiographical “Born to Rock and Roll.” (He would return to the song on his 1975 album Roger McGuinn and Band.) Chris Hillman penned two songs, both with his ex-Manassas bandmates. “Things Will Be Better” was written with drummer Dallas Taylor, and “Borrowing Time” with percussionist Joe Lala. (Lala had ever so briefly played with the Byrds in February 1973.) Crosby brought “Laughing,” an original Byrds-era song which he had previously recorded on his solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name, as well as the acerbic music biz commentary “Long Live the King.”

Three covers rounded out Byrds. “For Free” was plucked from the songbook of Asylum label mate Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon; Crosby provided the lead vocal. Gene Clark urged his fellow Byrds to include two compositions by Crosby’s CSNY bandmate Neil Young: “Cowgirl in the Sand,” from Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, and “(See the Sky) About to Rain,” which Young hadn’t yet recorded.  We have more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 16, 2014 at 11:13

Posted in News, Reissues, The Byrds

High Moon Rising: Reissues From Gene Clark and Arthur Lee’s Love Now Available For Pre-Order

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Love - Black BeautyAt long last, High Moon is rising.  Yesterday, on January 2, the long-aborning record label revealed on its Facebook page that pre-orders were being taken for the label’s CD releases of Gene Clark’s Two Sides to Every Story and Love’s Black Beauty. We’ve closely followed the High Moon story here at The Second Disc, from the label’s initial announcements in Spring 2011 through an optimistic status update almost two years ago on January 30, 2012.  Deluxe, 180-gram vinyl LPs arrived for both titles in 2013, but until now, the promised CD releases hadn’t materialized.  Thankfully, these titles look to be worth the wait and are promised to ship this month (January)!  See below for full details on both releases, including complete track listings and further new information in bold.

POST OF 1/30/12: Some of you with long-term memories might recall our happily breaking the news about High Moon Records back in May 2011.  The New York-based independent label had recently held a release party to announce reissues of Love’s 1973 unreleased album Black Beauty and Gene Clark’s 1977 Two Sides to Every Story.  Both inaugural titles were slated to arrive on June 7.  June came and went, as did 2011, with no sign of either of these much-anticipated releases.

So we’re happy to relate the news shared last month by High Moon’s owners George Wallace and J.D. Martignon.  As of December 9, High Moon was “finalizing the artwork for both releases on LP and CD” and offered new hints as to the talented names working on the albums.  Both albums were remastered by multi-Grammy Award nominee Dan Hersch; the lacquers were mastered and cut by Doug Sax, a name likely familiar to all collectors of audiophile vinyl.  The same care is being put into the albums’ booklets.  The essay for Black Beauty was written by Ben Edmonds (Rolling Stone, Mojo), and Edmonds’ notes will be joined by over fifty never-before-seen pictures of Arthur Lee and the band during the sessions, taken by Herbert Worthington (Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours).   As for Clark’s Two Sides, his biographer John Einarson has provided the new essay.  High Moon will include more never-seen photography, this time by Ed Caraeef from the original album photo session.

Both discs will be packaged in hardbound eco-books for the CDs, while the 180-gram LPs will be housed in tip-on jackets with full-color, 11″x 11″ magazine-style inserts.  For much more on High Moon Records, including track listings and discographical info for these two albums, hit the jump for the salient details! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 3, 2014 at 10:29

Ace Boldly Goes To “Outer Space” and The Bay Area On Two New Themed Collections

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Greatest Hits from Outer SpaceAce Records is Going Wild!…not just with a rip-roaring rock-and-roll compilation of that name, but with a journey to the farthest reaches of the galaxy!  Yes, the London-based label is travelling from the Bay Area to the Milky Way with two of its latest releases: Greatest Hits from Outer Space and Going Wild! Music City Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Based on the 24 tracks of Ace’s Greatest Hits from Outer Space, the final frontier engaged a wide variety of artists in every conceivable musical genre.  On this zany set compiled by Tony Rounce, you’ll hear classical tracks, jazz, soul, folk and rock from one of the most eclectic artist rosters on an Ace release yet.  And that’s saying something!

There are delightfully kitschy song titles a-plenty here: “Maid of the Moon,” from jazz piano great Dick Hyman and vocalist Mary Mayo; “Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer” by the legendarily swinging Ella Fitzgerald; “Destination Moon” from the pop vocal quartet The Ames Brothers (including future solo star Ed, then Eddie, Ames); exotica king Les Baxter’s “Lunar Rhapsody.”

No space-themed anthology would be complete without an appearance from producer Joe Meek’s “Telstar,” which charted simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. in its recording by The Tornados.  The equally famous “Space Oddity” from David Bowie appears in an early alternate version recorded before Bowie’s departure from the Deram label.  Shelved until 1989, it’s a more desolate and eerie version than the hit single.  Considerably jauntier is The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman,” a Top 40 country-esque romp from the group’s psychedelic Fifth Dimension album.

A few famous television themes appear via The Ventures’ surf take on “The Twilight Zone,” Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s “Doctor Who,” and Leonard Nimoy’s “Theme from Star Trek.”  The original Doctor Who theme is heard in its mono mix.  What Nimoy, a.k.a. Mr. Spock, had to do with the rendition of the Star Trek theme included on his Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space LP is up in the air (or in outer space…), but the rendition of the famed Alexander Courage/Gene Roddenberry tune is a faithful one.  Movie themes haven’t been left out, either, even “inherited” ones: the set kicks off with the Berliner Philharmoniker’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” from 1958.  A decade later, Stanley Kubrick famously utilized the performance for the soundtrack to his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, gaining it immortality.

Top-tier soul man Bobby Womack reinvents Jonathan King’s “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon,” a No. 3 U.K./No. 17 hit in 1965 for its writer.  Womack cut his version in Memphis with co-producer Chips Moman, bringing a new dimension to it in the process.  The similarly-titled “Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon” is a Jimmy Webb tune brought to life by Thelma Houston on the occasion of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.  The moon figures in yet more tracks here, like Moon Mullican’s “Rocket to the Moon” (1953) and Johnny Harris’ dark instrumental “Footprints on the Moon,” also from 1969.  (Mr. Mullican’s name apparently derived from illegal booze, not from the actual moon.)  Neil Armstrong was among those astronauts celebrated by Webb with his song; John Stewart (“Daydream Believer”) took the tribute one step further with his “Armstrong.”  Lightnin’ Hopkins saluted another famous astronaut with “Happy Blues for John Glenn.”

Nick Robbins has remastered all tracks.  You might find yourself rockin’ in orbit with Greatest Hits from Outer Space.  Live long, and prosper!  After the jump, you’ll find the full track listing with discography and an order link.  Plus: ground control to Major Tom – we’re headed from outer space to the San Francisco Bay Area! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 15, 2013 at 09:54

The Fantastic Expedition of Gene Clark: Omnivore Unveils Previously Unheard Demos from Late Byrd

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Gene Clark - Here TonightThough Gene Clark first made his mark as an original member of The Byrds, where he penned such classic folk-rock songs as “Feel a Whole Lot Better,” he left behind as rich a legacy as a solo artist as he did with The Byrds.  Clark’s tenure as a Byrd wasn’t a long one; though the group rose to prominence with its 1965 Columbia debut Mr. Tambourine Man, Clark left the band in early 1966 amid interpersonal strife and a dislike of touring.   He re-emerged quickly on a 1967 Columbia set with The Gosdin Brothers, and followed that LP up as one-half of Dillard and Clark for two albums with Doug Dillard in 1968 and 1969.  It wasn’t until 1971, though, that Gene Clark made his proper solo debut with White Light on the A&M label.  Now, Omnivore Recordings is readying a release that will fill in the gap between the final Dillard and Clark record and White LightHere Tonight: The White Light Demos, due on March 26, traces the development of the compositions that were released on White Light in August 1971.

By early 1970, Gene Clark had left the bustle of Los Angeles for the wide open spaces of Little River, Calif., near Mendocino, with his girlfriend and soon to be wife, Carlie McCummings, in tow.  Clark, a true pioneer of the folk-rock genre, had been gravitating in a more roots-based direction (as had his old band The Byrds) and swore off the electric guitar as he began to compose his latest set of songs.  “There was no deadline,” says McCummings. “He wasn’t under any pressure. And as a result, the songs just flowed out of him. The lyrics were so pure. They don’t come out of any manufactured experience.”

Of the twelve demo tracks on the new release, six (“White Light,” “For A Spanish Guitar,” “Where My Love Lies Asleep,” “The Virgin” “Because Of You,” and “With Tomorrow”) appeared in final form on White Light. Two (“Opening Day” and “Winter”) appeared in final form as bonus tracks on A&M’s 2002 reissue of the album. One track (”Here Tonight”) is an alternate version of a song that appeared on the Flying Burrito Brothers compilation Close Up The Honky Tonks.  The remaining trio of songs (“For No One,” “Please Mr. Freud” and “Jimmy Christ”) have never been issued previously in any form. Liner notes are by John Einarson, author of the 2005 Clark biography Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of Gene Clark.

There’s more on Gene Clark, including the track listing for The White Light Demos and a pre-order link, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2013 at 10:15

Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio? “The Ramones Heard Them Here First” Arrives

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Ace Records is cheering “Gabba gabba hey!” with the recent release of The Ramones Heard Them Here First, an overview charting the influences behind New York’s seminal punk pioneers.  Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy didn’t exactly try to hide their inspirations when they included a cover of Chris Montez’ 1962 hit “Let’s Dance” on their debut long-player Ramones in 1976 and over the years, they continued to tip the hat to rock and roll heroes from The Ronettes to The Beach Boys.  The new compilation includes the original versions of twenty-four songs covered by Ramones between 1976 and 1995’s Adios Amigos, and as such, is a rollicking stew of pop, rock, bubblegum, and psychedelic sounds absorbed by the Forest Hills foursome (plus later members Marky, C.J. and Richie).

When Ramones arrived on Sire Records, it signaled a return to, and a celebration of, primal rock and roll after the excess of progressive rock and the glitz of disco.  Primitive in its execution but colossal in its ambition, Ramones distilled the previous, pre-Woodstock era of pop-rock into fast and ferocious two-minute nuggets.  Though their productions weren’t as polished or immaculate as those they worshipped, they captured the same energy that turned teenagers onto the rebellious art form two decades earlier.  A classic example of a band whose influence far outweighed its sales, the group continued to recognize the past even as it flirted with subjects like Nazism, violence, drug use and prostitution.  (No hippy-dippy peace-and-love for these boys!)  And even though the surname “Ramone” was adopted by all members, they shared a common “less is more” sensibility that made them a true, if dysfunctional, band of brudders.

Many Ramones albums, including their first five, featured amped-up AM radio-style “cover” songs, many of which appear here.  Compilation producer Mick Patrick has arranged the tracks chronologically in the order that the songs appeared on a Ramones set.  So “Let’s Dance” is followed by The Rivieras’ “California Sun,” covered on 1977’s sophomore effort Leave Home, then by The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” and The Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance,” both aired on Rocket to Russia.  (“Do You Wanna Dance,” of course, was originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman, but it’s likely that the immaculate, Brian Wilson-produced, Dennis Wilson-sung version was The Ramones’ go-to choice.)  1978’s Road to Ruin featured a take on Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono’s “Needles and Pins,” which is also reprised here in its hit version by The Searchers.  But the band’s biggest success on 45 in the U.K. came from 1980’s controversial End of the Century, in which Phil Spector took the production reins.  That hit single was a recording of Spector’s own “Baby, I Love You,” which he originally produced for The Ronettes, and the album itself also became the band’s highest-charting stateside.  The immortal, Ronnie Spector-led track (arranged by the aforementioned Nitzsche) represents the band’s brief association with Phil Spector.  Following End of the Century, a number of albums were recorded of entirely original Ramones compositions, among them Pleasant Dreams (1981), Too Tough to Die (1984), and Animal Boy (1986).

There’s lots more Ramones-mania after the jump, including an order link and complete track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2012 at 10:10

Short Takes, International Edition: INXS Celebrates 25 Years of “Kick” Plus The Byrds Go Mono and Stereo

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Welcome to the working week!  This morning’s Short Takes brings us to the U.K. for the 25th anniversary of a pop classic, and to Japan, where one of the 1960s’ greatest bands is getting the red carpet treatment!

Though we’re reluctant to rush the summer away, it sure looks like this September’s going to be a month with kick!  Kick, that is.  It appears that Universal U.K. will be giving the full, Super Deluxe treatment to Aussie band INXS’ 1987 breakthrough album.  The multi-platinum Kick yielded the band’s only American No. 1, “Need You Tonight,” and three other Top 10 tracks, and established Michael Hutchence’s group as pop hitmakers.  This marks the culmination of a story we’ve been following here at The Second Disc for over two years now.  We first posited, Reissue Theory-style, on an expanded edition back in February 2010 that could possibly improve on Universal’s 2004 Deluxe Edition.  Then, in May 2011, Universal Strategic Marketing veep Andrew Daw told Music Week that a 25th anniversary, multi-format deluxe edition of Kick would arrive in 2012 along with an array of other INXS-related projects.  Mr. Daw is keeping true to his word, as the first details of this Super Deluxe Edition of Kick – due on September 17 in the U.K. and approximately one week later in the U.S. from Mercury Records – have been revealed.

According to an image now available at Amazon, the 3-CD/1-DVD Kick 25 set includes, on CD, the original album plus two discs of “remixes, demos, [and] unheard tracks.”  The DVD will feature a “documentary, unseen band home footage and promos.”  A hardback book will tell The Story of Kick, and a poster and sticker sheet will be among the swag.  It’s likely that this set will be distilled into other formats, as well, so be sure to watch this space for the latest developments on Kick 25 as well as news on whether Rhino, the U.S. rights holders to INXS’ catalogue, has any celebrations in the works!  In the meantime, you can pre-order the Super Deluxe Edition right here!

Our next item is for you Byrdmaniax out there!  Hit the jump to venture into the Wayback Machine for a flight – or flyte – to the sixties with The Byrds! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 16, 2012 at 09:49

Posted in INXS, News, Reissues, The Byrds

A Whole Lot Better: Sundazed Announces Singles Slate for Record Store Day

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Sundazed Records, one of our favorite independent catalogue labels, has announced their exclusive titles for Record Store Day.

This year, the label has prepped some killer cuts from some of the best ’60s folk and garage-rock ensembles – including a few rare tracks making vinyl debuts and even some unreleased treasures.

The late, great Gene Clark is the standout artist in the batch, with a three appearances on Record Store Day – one with Doug Dillard (in which two non-LP A-sides are released on one vinyl platter) and two with The Byrds (a single with two alternate takes from the Mr. Tambourine Man sessions, and one, credited as a solo single, featuring two tracks cut with the band in 1970 before the band officially reunited three years later.)

Elsewhere, outtakes and rarities from Paul Revere & The Raiders, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Blues Magoos, Chocolate Watch Band and The Blues Project make appearances on vinyl singles.

In true collectible fashion, each single features a period-accurate label (from A&M, Verve Folkways, Tower and Columbia Records). Additionally, the Byrds and Raiders singles will be colored vinyl releases.

Hit the jump to check out the Sundazed slate, and as always, keep it here for more Record Store Day news!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 14, 2012 at 16:31

Tomorrow Is A Long Ways Away: The Byrds’ “Preflyte” Expanded For U.K. Reissue

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On November 10, 1964, The Byrds inked a deal with Columbia Records.  Or more accurately, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby signed to Columbia Records, with Michael Clarke and Chris Hillman officially joining the roster later.  But before that auspicious major label signing, The Byrds’ bags were packed, pre-flyte, it was zero hour…and after that day, they were destined to be high as a kite…eight miles high.  (Pardon the mixing of musical metaphors.)  The band’s pre-Columbia days have been anthologized over the years almost as extensively as their “official” catalogue, with the earliest release coming in 1969 on Together Records, simply titled Preflyte (Together ST-T-1001).  The recordings were compiled in 1988 for the CD era in an expanded version by Rhino Records as In the Beginning (Rhino CD 70244), also including some rare Elektra sides from the band’s days as The Beefeaters.  Other assorted tracks trickled out over the years, and in 2001, Sundazed issued a 2-CD, 40-track version, The Preflyte Sessions (SC 11116).  On February 27, the U.K.’s Floating World Records will assay these early Byrds tracks as Preflyte Plus, retaining the 40 tracks on The Preflyte Sessions but adding an additional eight songs.

The first 40 tracks on Preflyte Plus are identical to the 2001 Sundazed issue, compiled by Roger McGuinn and Bob Irwin.  You’ll hear embryonic versions of some familiar songs, produced by Jim Dickson at Los Angeles’ World Pacific Studios, including “You Showed Me” (the McGuinn/Clark composition later popularized by The Turtles) and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the group’s first Columba hit.  Dino Valenti’s oft-recorded “Get Together” premiered on the Sundazed set in a solo rendition by the young David Crosby, the singer who first caught Dickson’s attention.  Four of Crosby’s early solo performances are included. It was at the famed Troubadour that Crosby first sang with McGuinn and Clark, and in short order he introduced them to Dickson.  They were christened The Jet Set, although a brief liaison with Elektra Records led to a British Invasion-leaning single (“Please Let Me Love You”/”Don’t Be Long”) under the name The Beefeaters.   David Fricke’s copious liner notes to the Sundazed edition indicate that there’s still confusion as to whether Michael Clarke or Chris Hillman joined the group next, but either way, The Beefeaters vanished and The Jet Set’s rank expanded to five.  The Byrds was soon born.

Columbia Records’ Terry Melcher re-cut six of the World Pacific tracks for the band’s first two major label albums: “It’s No Use,” “Here Without You,” I Knew I’d Want You,” “You Won’t Have to Cry,” “It Won’t Be Wrong (Don’t Be Long)” and “She Has a Way.”  The latter languished in the vaults for nearly thirty years.  All of the original versions of these songs are present on Preflyte Plus.

What new tracks have been added to Floating World’s reissue?  Hit the jump, and you’ll also find a full track listing with discographical info, and a pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 20, 2012 at 10:05

Release Round-Up: Week of August 29

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Spin Doctors, Pocket Full of Kryptonite: 20th Anniversary Edition (Epic/Legacy)

The “Two Princes” guys…hey, stop laughing…have their hit debut album remastered and expanded – cut that out! – with a bonus disc of demos and rarities. (Official site)

Aerosmith, Celine Dion, The Byrds and Carole King, The Essential 3.0 (Columbia/Epic/Legacy)

Four Essential compilations get the third-disc treatment. Note that the Celine Dion title is identical to 2008’s My Love: The Essential Collection and the Aerosmith set is identical to 2002’s O Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits. (Amazon: Aerosmith, Celine, Byrds, Carole)

Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott: From the Vault – Volume 1 (Hidden Beach)

The R&B singer’s original label, having recently lost her after a nasty court battle, decides to raid its vaults and finds 14 good tracks. (Official site)

The Association, Renaissance: Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition (Now Sounds)

Another great Association LP, nearly doubled in length by bonus tracks! (Now Sounds)

Alberta Hunter, Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery (RockBeat)

The legendary blues singer with a great story (Hunter sang from the ’20s to the ’40s before leaving the music scene to become a nurse – and then made a surprise comeback after retiring from that career in the ’70s) is represented on CD with this hard-to-find performance from 1981. (Amazon)

Ice Cube, Kill at Will (RockBeat)

Cube’s beloved 1990 EP is now available on CD and vinyl from one of our new favorite reissue labels. (Amazon)

Written by Mike Duquette

August 30, 2011 at 08:09

Byrds, Cooke, Corea, Getz “Complete Album Collections” Coming from Legacy

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This morning, Sony’s Legacy division kicked off a new catalogue initiative that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows!  The Complete Album Collection box sets bring together an artist’s entire tenure at a label (in these cases, Columbia and RCA Victor) in one tidy box set, with albums in individual mini-LP sleeves.  The first four artists to receive this treatment are The Byrds, Sam Cooke, Stan Getz and Return to Forever, and the boxes are available for pre-order now exclusively through PopMarket.  While many of the titles included have been released on CD in the past, other albums will be making their U.S. CD debuts.  (The Cooke is the most exciting set in this respect, with six of the eight albums new to American CD.  The Getz set has a special surprise, too, in the form of a bonus disc with stray Getz selections.)

We’ll fill in the details later, but in the interest of passing this information to you as quickly as possible, hit the jump for the titles included in each box set and the label-supplied information for each title!  All titles can be pre-ordered now at PopMarket. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 24, 2011 at 12:41