I was asked the other day why an ‘official’ release of Jean Thomas’s work hasn’t happened. I couldn’t explain it other than the fact that the tracks may not exist now as masters and vinyl dubs are all that would be available.
And then , of course there is the ‘old nutmeg’ of when are we going to see the unreleased Four Seasons…. Philips and Motown tracks pulled together for us.
But from the 60s there seems to be a dearth of companies prepared to ‘go for it’ in terms of early/mid sixties work anymore. With many tracks now no longer existing as ‘masters’ or with the difficulty of licensing the only chance we have of getting the music to enjoy ‘in this lifetime’ is via the Spectropop e-group or various download blogs which in the latter case are clearly breaching copyright.
Why can’t record companies be more prepared to do what Marginal did a decade ago but with one difference and that is to pay the royalties.? Goldmine have also been prepared to dub from vinyl with their Northern Soul compilations with great success.
There is a failure to see the long-term potential of sales year on year as the www establishes the story of the music for everyone to access and discover. These songs have the potential to earn royalties for decades as successive generations discover them.
With I-pod listening also so prevalent……..and destined to be the future collectors medium for their music management, low cost CD’s of vinyl dubbed tracks would find a market just as Marginal and Goldmine found out.
Only ACE continue to lead with great compilations but they generally look for master tapes and they are only scratching the surface of the lost music libraries .
Then there is the lack of compilations of composers work.
One customer review of a recent Brill Building
compilation asked… “Why is it so difficult to find good compilations by songwriters? While the fame and glamour go to the people who sang the songs, some respect is well overdue for the backroom boys and girls who wrote them. After all compilations by artists are two a penny. Although there are some excellent collections of the works of David-Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, where are the decent compilations from Goffin-King, Mann-Weil, Barry-Greenwich, Leiber-Stoller or Holland-Dozier?”
At least ACE have tackled
‘s work in 2 volumes so far and the recent Goffin-King
release is more than welcome. But a ‘Producers’ genre on their web site would
be a start.
And take for example Bob Crewe’s or Sandy Linzer’ s BMI database listing of songs and there is a wealth of great material for compilations. Even as vinyl dubs the material is well worth collecting. And then there are the ‘lost’ tracks produced by Charles Calello through the 60’s and 70s.
Collecting tracks for Jean Thomas based on her logs of songs she appeared on or did demos for has unearthed not only a great source for compilations but some virtually lost songs not available on CD.…..well if ‘Phil’s Spectre’ can succeed (with 3 Volumes) it shows the interest in the early 60s New York sound……and Mick Patrick’s ‘On Broadway’ compilation should have been the first of a series but Westside’s demise prevented that.
The figures for Motown’s re-issues on the likes of Kim Weston, Chuck Jackson and Billy Eckstine show sales in excess of 35,000 each on Amazon alone so the market interest is clear on oldies artists and their ‘Cellarful of Motown’ tracks from the vaults has now reached 3 volumes. There are some terrific compilations if you search them out, but there is no cohesive release strategy amongst any of the record companies to get the tracks …from vinyl if necessary. When is someone in a ‘visionary’ record company going to pledge to support the archiving of early 60s vinyl or is it down to us to preserve what we can find ?. Sorry that was a rhetorical question.
As for the Four Seasons catalogue, the Partnership missed the opportunity to keep it in the marketplace back in the 1990s when they failed to ‘partner’ with ACE. Now however their relationship with Rhino( and through them ‘Collectors Choice’) may eventually lead to the release of unheard Philips material from 1970. And with Universal Motown having a contractual relationship with the Partnership (even though ‘Romancing the 60s’ remains a huge disappointment) they might just ‘negotiate’ a deal to release the Motown Anthology. As Brook Benton famously sings….’It’s just a matter of time!’.
Be sure to check out the links in this post