15-CD Elektra Records Rarities Series
Collectors’ Choice Music, one of the most venerated pop music reissue labels, will launch a series of 15 CDs from the vaults of Elektra Records on February 21. Carefully curated with the input of Elektra founder Jac Holzman, and licensed from Rhino, each of the reissues will be mastered from the original tapes with original album art plus liner notes featuring quotes from Holzman himself.
The series features What’s Shakin’, a long-out-of-print 1966 anthology that featured the Lovin’ Spoonful, Eric Clapton’s Powerhouse (featuring Steve Winwood, Manfred Mann and Paul Jones, produced by Joe Boyd), Al Kooper, Tom Rush and the Butterfield Blues Band.
The series also includes a two-CD reissue of comedian David Frye’s I Am The President/Radio Free Nixon, plus single CD volumes by Phil Ochs (All The News That’s Fit to Sing and I Ain’t Marching Anymore); alt-powerpop precursors Roxy and The Wackers; O.C. singer/songwriter Steve Noonan; The Charles River Valley Boys with a bluegrass Beatles tribute from 1966; plus singer/songwriters Erik Darling, The Travelers 3, Cynthia Gooding and Theodore Bikel.
Elektra and Nonesuch founder Jac Holzman, who merged his labels into what what is now Warner Music Group in the early ‘70s, has remained involved in the music industry both as Sr. VP and Chief Technologist to WMG and as head of the revived Discovery Records label in the ‘90s. His acclaimed book on the history of Elektra Records, entitled Follow The Music, is available in hardback and paperback. Presently, Holzman is back full-time at WMG immersing himself in a wide range of digital music initiatives, including the creation of the WMG’s recently announced eLabel, Cordless Recordings.
Collectors’ Choice Music enlisted Holzman’s expertise and passion for these recordings, and his voice is heard throughout the volumes’ liner notes.
A few notes on the individual CDs:
• What’s Shakin’ is a rare 1966 compilation featuring The Lovin’ Spoonful, Eric Clapton’s Powerhouse (featuring Steve Winwood, Manfred Mann and Paul Jones, produced by Joe Boyd), Al Kooper, Tom Rush and the Butterfield Blues Band. At the time, the Spoonful were considering signing with Elektra. When they went with Kama Sutra Records instead, the band’s John Sebastian gave Elektra the four tracks contained herein. The Butterfield and Rush tracks are outtakes from respective Elektra albums. And Al Kooper’s track is a dress rehearsal for a later, fuller Blues Project version. A true collector’s dream, never previously available on CD.
• Great Lost Elektra Singles, Vol. 1 is another collector’s must-have featuring The Beefeaters (comprised of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark, precursors to The Byrds), The Stalk-Forrest Group (the band that mutated into Blue Oyster Cult, and featuring songs penned by Richard Meltzer, Albert Bouchard and Allen Lanier), plus rare non-album singles by Judy Collins, David Ackles, Eclection (featuring Sandy Denny’s husband Trevor Lucas), Phil Ochs and Judy Collins. Collectors’ Choice is making this volume available commercially PLUS offering it free to those who purchase three of the other Elektra collections through its catalog.
• Phil Ochs’ 1964 All The News That’s Fit To Sing and 1965 I Ain’t Marching Anymore chronicle some of the most passionate and pointed protest songs of the decade. With topics ranging from civil rights and labor struggles to American militarism and the Vietnam War, the album may sound dated . . . or maybe not!
• Roxy and The Wackers. This is one of Jac’s favorite series. Never before reissued on CD, these are four albums singer-songwriters Bob Segarini and Randy Bishop made for the Elektra label — one with the late-’60s band Roxy and three with The Wackers. These Creem Dreem recordings, hailed on their original release by critics like Lester Bangs and Dave Marsh, are manna for fans of early-’70s bands like The Raspberries and Big Star — or, for that matter, British Invasion bands like the Beatles, Kinks and Hollies. The liner notes contain extensive (and entertaining) quotes from Bob Segarini.
• David Frye’s I Am The President and Radio Free Nixon: Let us make ourselves perfectly clear — both of David Frye’s classic, charting albums of Richard Nixon impersonations are here on one low-priced 2-CD set. Alongside his uncanny Tricky Dick impressions are equally dead-on vocal likenesses of LBJ, Nelson Rockefeller, Wiliam F. Buckley, Spiro Agnew, Billy Graham, Hubert Humphrey, Truman Capote, Jimmy Stewart, Howard Cosell, George C. Scott and other early ‘70s luminaries. So, no matter which side of the aisle you sit on politically, you’ll find plenty to chortle at here if you lived through those surreal and occasionally silly times. Nobody ever did Nixon better than this guy. In retrospect, Jac says he would have preferred the ersatz Nixon to the real thing — less picking away at the constitution and far funnier.
There’s all of that, plus influential recordings by Theodore Bikel, Steve Noonan, The Charles River Boys, The Travelers 3, Erik Darling and Cynthia Gooding.
Commenting on the series, Holzman said:
“For me, the opportunity to again experience these records in full bloom was like meeting former loves and finding that they had remained beautiful and overflowing with spirit.”
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