Monday, July 25, 2011

Sights and Sounds: Hank Williams, Rory Gallagher, Jellyfish, The Deep Dark Woods

Hank Williams, Jellyfish and The Deep Dark Woods are all set to be featured on forthcoming releases. Here are some recent highlights of exciting updates that have arrived in my stuffed inbox. Enjoy!


This Unique Package Includes The Very First Recordings Of Williams At Age 15 Plus Recordings From His First Syndicated Radio Series in Restored Audio and Much More

Time Life and the Estate of Hank Williams announced this week the September 13, 2011 release of newly discovered historic Williams’ recordings that are meticulously restored with state of the art technology. Hank Williams: The Legend Begins is a 3-CD package that offers one disc entitled “Rare And Unreleased,” which contains the earliest recordings of a 15-year-old Williams and four songs from a home recording in 1940. The other two CDs are from Williams’ first syndicated radio show in 1949, Health And Happiness, that have been restored using the technology that earned so many plaudits for the Grammy nominated project, The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings….Plus! This highly developed sound technology delivers Williams’ performances as they were originally heard more than sixty years ago.

"Talk about a discovery!,” exclaims Hank’s daughter, Jett Williams. “The first recording of my dad when he was fifteen was given to me decades ago, and then the 1940 home recordings followed a few years later. My husband Keith and I finally got up the nerve to get with the best sound people in Nashville to see if we could salvage these extraordinary recordings. It worked! We did it! What a special treat for music lovers around the world to listen to the talent of an evolving genius. These recordings are a God send and very special to me and Hank’s fans.”

“Hank continues to speak to and entertain us across the generations,” says Mike Jason, Senior Vice President of Retail, Time Life. “These recordings give us a rare and special insight as this American music giant begins his career.”

What an incredible experience to hear Hank Williams’ first recordings as a teenager of Fan It and Alexander’s Ragtime Band. This is the first time they have been heard since 1938 when Williams recorded them. Williams had started building a local following in Montgomery, Alabama at the time and the songs display an incredible confidence at such a young age. On these early recordings Williams is joined by his long-time pal and accordionist, Pee Wee Moultrie.

A 1940 home recording shows how much Williams’ voice had matured in two years when he rocks out to four classics of American music; Freight Train Blues, New San Antonio Rose, St. Louis Blues, and Greenback Dollar. The songs ultimately ended up in the possession of Jett Williams, and the tunes show a wide range of musical styles from an ancient Appalachian song to popular charted hits of the era.

By 1949, Williams had two major hits under his belt and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It was at this time he recorded his first syndicated radio series, The Health And Happiness Show. The program’s name was tied to the sponsor of the show…..Hadacol, a patent medicine that contained 12% alcohol. Forty-nine songs from the show have been restored on Hank Williams: The Legend Begins which gives superior quality to these historic CDs. The shows include songs, like Tramp on the Street, that he never performed elsewhere.

Also included on the “Rare and Unreleased” CD is an additional program. The March Of Dimes show features several songs and a touching monologue from Williams, in which he talks about the fear of polio that blighted every summer in the early 1950’s; in particular, he expresses his concern that Hank, Jr. might contract the disease. Williams died shortly before the cure was announced that ended the scourge.


'Defender,' 'Fresh Evidence,' 'BBC Sessions' and 'Wheels Within Wheels' Due August 16

Dedicated to preserving the extensive catalog of the late Rory Gallagher, Eagle Rock Entertainment, in conjunction with the Gallagher family, is proud to announce the final four re-releases on August 16, 2011 of an artist whose stature continues to grow in a day and age where true musical heroes are far and few between.

Rory’s third ‘80s album, Defender, came out in ’87 with the core of the band drummer Brendan O’Neill and bassist Gary McAvoy. Additional flourishes—including piano, harmonica and other keyboards—were effectively utilized depending upon the track. This first effort for his own label, Capo, featured 12 blistering originals including fan favorites “Loanshark Blues” and “Continental Op.”

With the dawn of a new decade, Rory’s Fresh Evidence, in 1990, proved this great artist’s ability to shed skins and pursue different stylistic avenues while remaining true to his original esprit de corps. They say a true artist is always changing and on this final studio recording, Rory tackled genres with the ease of a true master. With his trusty mates of the Defender and Jinx lineups plus the return of pianist Lou Martin, Rory went deep into the American psyche to plumb the depths of zydeco, Louisiana Swamp Rock, jump blues and Boogie Supremo! It’s a veritable tour-de-force of hard rock genius.

BBC Sessions, originally released posthumously in 1999, is Rory rocking out with drummers O’Neill, Rod De’Ath and Ted McKenna (depending upon the track), pianist Martin and bassist McAvoy on 22 songs over two discs, one live, one studio. From Muddy Waters (“Garbage Man”) to Chuck Willis (“Feel So Bad”), Rory has said he performed this show for the BBC in honor of all the years he spent glued to the radio while growing up in Ireland. It’s a debt he was honored to pay back and he did it in spades.

Wheels Within Wheels was lovingly put together in 2003 by Rory’s brother Donal who knew just how much the late guitarist wanted to put out an all-acoustic album of traditional blues, bluegrass, and Irish folk. He may have never had the opportunity during his tragically short life to complete this project, but Wheels Within Wheels stands as a beautifully crafted gem, with not only songs by Robert Johnson and Bill Monroe, but originals and re-arranged versions of tunes so old, they’re in the Public Domain. The album features various guest artists, such as Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch, Lonnie Donegan, Bela Fleck, and The Dubliners. Exquisitely sung and played, it’s also a sad reminder of what this great artist might have gravitated towards had he the pleasures of growing old gracefully.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is an international media production and distribution company operating across audiovisual entertainment programming. Eagle Rock Entertainment works directly alongside talent to produce the highest quality programming output covering film, general entertainment and musical performance. Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices based in London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Hamburg, & Paris.

Omnivore Recordings to release Jellyfish "Bellybutton" and "Spilt Milk" exclusively on vinyl LP on Sept. 27, 2011




Omnivore Recordings has announced they will release influential power pop band Jellyfish's debut album Bellybutton and follow up Spilt Milk exclusively on vinyl LP. The only two full-length studio albums in the band's short, storied history, each release has been cut directly from the album's original analog masters. Distributed by EMI, this will be the first time Bellybutton and Spilt Milk will be made commercially available in the U.S. on vinyl.

Bellybutton, originally released at retail in the U.S. only on CD, will be limited to 1,500 copies pressed on translucent blue vinyl complete with replicated original album tri-fold sleeve. The band's 1990 debut album was released to rave critical reviews, hailed for its fresh, effervescent, power pop sound, and charted three singles: "The King Is Half-Undressed" (#19 Billboard Modern Rock Chart), "That Is Why" (#11 Billboard Modern Rock Chart), and "Baby's Coming Back" (#62 Billboard Hot 100 chart) each of which spawned a music video that would go into rotation on MTV (yes, they actually played music videos in 1990).

Spilt Milk, originally released at retail in the U.S. only on CD, will also be limited to 1500 copies pressed on translucent purple vinyl. The bands follow up release took up where Bellybutton left off, an elaborate and complex studio creation described as a "flawless pop gem" with comparisons to The Beatles and The Beach Boys for its lush vocal harmonies. The album yielded the top 10 single "The Ghost at Number One" (#9 Billboard Modern Rock Chart).

Even though the group lasted for only two albums, over four years, their influence on power pop bands since has been as profound as the bands that Jellyfish were influenced by (Cheap Trick, Big Star, Badfinger, Raspberries) - all part of a power pop tradition being handed down one generation at a time.

Formed in San Francisco by singer/songwriter Andy Sturmer and singer/songwriter Roger Manning, the duo rounded out the band's initial lineup with guitarist Jason Falkner (The Three O'Clock, The Grays)and Roger's brother Chris Manning on bass. Following Bellybutton's support tour, Falkner and (Chris) Manning left the band due to creative differences and exhaustion from life on the road. Their next album Spilt Milk was created by Andy and Roger with help from then session men Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Spoon), Lyle Workman (Beck, Todd Rundgren) and T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates). Following a tour in support, the group disbanded in 1994.

About Omnivore Recordings:

Founded in 2010 by longtime, highly respected industry veterans Cheryl Pawelski, Greg Allen, and Brad Rosenberger, Omnivore Recordings' vision is to preserve the legacies and music created by historical, heritage, and catalog artists while also releasing previously unissued, newly found "lost" recordings and making them available for music-loving audiences to discover. Omnivore Recordings is distributed by EMI in North America and Ace Records UK in Europe. The label's first releases included the limited LP release of Big Star Third, a limited-edition Buck Owens 7" of previously unreleased material, The Motels shelved third album Apocalypso, legendary Bay Area soul singer Darondo's unreleased Music City Sessions and the first official stateside release of Leon Russell's 1971 Live in Japan album, originally released and available only in Japan.

Omnivore Recordings official website:

The Deep Dark Woods to release 'The Place I Left Behind'


The Deep Dark Woods wake the ghosts of Appalachia with their prairie gothic pyre-side tales. On their new record, The Place I Left Behind, the band finds continuity in themes of temporal and geographic alienation, neglected inward trails, and the scars of abandoned intimacies.

Buoyed by the success of working with mastermind recording engineer Darren Van Niekerk, on their self produced CBC Songquest single “Charlie's (is Coming Down)” the band decided to approach their new album the same way. Recorded in Halifax with Van Niekerk behind the board once again, The Deep Dark Woods’ first self produced album allowed them to experiment in the studio as never before. Toying with numerous reverbs, vintage amps, instruments and mellotron, they also tried some never before played versions and arrangements of some of the album's songs. While more physically and mentally exhausting than previous albums, it turned out exactly the way the band wanted it to and the reward is their most realized album to date.

The record opens with a song about Saskatoon’s rougher edges. “West Side Street” is a study in contrasts – finespun vocals and a gently rolling melody cushion the gloomy story. “The Place I Left Behind” is loosely based on an old folk standard. Gorgeously morose, the title track confirms that The Deep Dark Woods capture lonesome yearning at its loveliest. “Sugar Mama” is a sweet and lively invitation to tap toes and shake off the blues; a seeming coming-of-age story is treated with playful banjo and an airy gait.

A rainstorm over the desert of modern music, The Place I Left Behind offers murder ballads alongside scrappy rockers, lovesick hymnals and slow-dance waltzes. The album illuminates folk traditions without stripping the shadows of roots music history. The Place I Left Behind echoes with traces of time and space that are never fully abandoned or forgotten.

The Place I Left Behind will be released on Six Shooter Records in Canada on August 2nd and Sugar Hill Records in the US and worldwide on October 18, 2011.

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