The Jayhawks' First Two Classic American Recordings Albums Expanded & Revisited
Sep 7, 2010
NEW YORK Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In the aftermath of the Jayhawks' founding members Mark Olson and Gary Louris joining together for a new duo album release in 2009 (Ready For the Flood), and a reunion tour in the spring and summer, interest in the seminal American roots band has been at fever pitch. American/Legacy's release of 2009's career-spanning double-CD anthology Music From The North Country came with a promise of future Jayhawks catalog projects.
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That promise is fulfilled with two new releases that open up worlds of insight into the Jayhawks' creative passion during their early years at American Recordings:
-- HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL, their Def American debut from 1992, in which the original album's 10 songs are augmented with five bonus tracks, two of them previously unreleased and another three tracks previously commercially unavailable in the U.S. -- TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS: LEGACY EDITION, the long-awaited follow-up of 1995, now a deluxe double-CD, as the original album's 13 songs gain five bonus tracks, three of them previously unreleased; plus an entire second CD of "The Mystery Demos," 18 tracks recorded by Olson and Louris in 1992, all previously unreleased and the ultimate treasure for collectors and aficionados.
HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL and TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS: LEGACY EDITION will both be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting January 18, 2011 through American/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
The two new packages cap a high-profile year for the Jayhawks which climaxed with Sony Music's launch this summer of the website http://www.jayhawksofficial.com/. Since the launch it has become a well-traveled portal that presents up-to-date news releases and touring (or general performance) information, message boards, links, mobile applications, album discography, photography, videos, and merchandise.
On May 18, 2010, the Lost Highway label reissued the band's self-titled debut album from 1986, known as The Bunkhouse Record, on CD and vinyl. Only 2,000 vinyl LPs of the 13-song, 38-minute album were originally pressed a quarter-century ago. As the website noted of this first batch of Jayhawks songs, "it is clear why the band became a catalyst in the evolution of what would eventually be coined alt-country. The album has more in common with Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers than it does with later Jayhawks classics Tomorrow The Green Grass and Hollywood Town Hall. It's quite evident where those milestone albums grew out of."
The momentum continued with the July 27th release of Many Colored Kite (on Ryko), the latest solo album from Mark Olson, and the follow-up to his critically hailed Salvation Blues of 2007. Olson is currently on tour through September 24th at Joe's Pub in New York City.
Unraveling the tangled history of the Jayhawks in the first half of the '90s is a challenging project, but producer George Drakoulias sets the stage with his carefully detailed 2,000-word liner notes to HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL. (The new configuration also reprises future mega-producer Joe Henry's homespun original notes to the 1992 album.) Quintessential New Yorker Drakoulias describes his first encounters with Louris and then Olson in Minneapolis, and re-lives the virtual track-by-track recording process of the Hollywood Town Hall sessions in Los Angeles and (full circle) back in the Twin Cities.
Recalling the tail-end of the sessions in L.A., for example, Drakoulias recalls: "I used to joke with the guys that the way I liked to make records is to 'work really hard for a long time and then at the end bring in somebody really talented to make us all look great.' With this project, the designated big leaguer was Benmont Tench, the keyboard player in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The first track we did was 'Waiting For The Sun.' Ben started on the piano, and before the downbeat of the song, he was in there with that lonely signature single note on the piano - dong. Genius."
For TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS: LEGACY EDITION, no less than two separate sets of liner notes were necessary. Covering the original album (and its bonus tracks) on CD one is respected West Coast country-rock scholar Bud Scoppa, who has annotated multiple reissues of Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Matthew Sweet, Little Feat, Neil Young and many others (including Legacy's expanded editions of the Simon & Garfunkel catalog).
As Scoppa writes in his authoritative notes, "The gorgeous ballad 'Two Hearts' would have been perfectly suited for one of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris' unforgettable duets on GP or Grievous Angel, and the hippie/hillbilly twangfest 'See Him On The Street' sounds like it could've been an outtake from the Burritos' Gilded Palace Of Sin, while the blood-close harmonies of 'Anne Jane' recall the early Everly Brothers. If Olson seems to be channeling Parsons, Louris frequently plays the role of Byrds auteur Roger McGuinn, most vividly on the chiming folk-rocker 'Pray For Me,' which is followed in the album sequence by 'Red's Song,' which sounds like The Jayhawks' answer to The Band's 'The Weight'."
Providing an equally astute liner notes essay for "The Mystery Demos" on CD two is PD Larson, a Minneapolis-based writer who's been a fan since witnessing the first-ever Jayhawks concert in 1985. Larson wrote the revealing 2,000-word liner notes essay for last year's Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology. There he laid out the roots and branches of the Jayhawks influences in folk, rock and country - Bob Dylan, the Hawks (the source of the Jayhawks' name, the backup group for Ronnie Hawkins and later Dylan, as they became the Band), the Flying Burrito Brothers, and (in Larson's words) "the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, anything involving Gram Parsons, connoisseur-grade country, folk and blues sources."
Larson explains the genesis of "The Mystery Demos": two different sessions from 1992, the first by Louris and Olson that took place at a local commercial studio in downtown Minneapolis in early February 1992; and a second session eight months later in October in Los Angeles, "under the helm of George Drakoulias." A total of 46 demos (44 different songs) were first unearthed in 2002 by "some long forgotten Jayhawks insider," of which 11 were cut by the Jayhawks during their existence. Another 11 were used for non-Jayhawks projects, leaving 22 unreleased. Larson then painstakingly details the 18 tracks on this package, "a representative sampling of the best of the Mystery Demos" that includes some of the "Jayhawks' finest best known songs...nascent versions of songs that were used years later by side project Golden Smog, various Mark Olson post-Jayhawks endeavors or the 2007 Olson/Louris Ready For The Flood collaboration," and so on.
"With the release of this special bonus disc," Larson concludes, "the world at large will get a chance to further share in the unadulterated quintessence that the Mystery Demos represent. Given the quality of some of the remaining unreleased Mystery Demo material - and the fact that Olson and Louris' collaboration is ongoing - there surely are chapters of this once-mysterious story left to be written."
HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL by THE JAYHAWKS (American/Legacy 88697 72731 2, originally issued September 1992, as Def American 26829) Selections:
1. Waiting For The Sun 2. Crowded In The Wings 3. Clouds 4. Two Angels 5. Take Me With You (When You Go) 6. Sister Cry 7. Settled Down Like Rain 8. Wichita 9. Nevada, California 10. Martin's Song Bonus tracks: 11. Leave No Gold (previously commercially unavailable in the U.S.) 12. Keith And Quentin (previously commercially unavailable in the U.S.) 13. Up Above My Head (previously commercially unavailable in the U.S.) 14. Warm River (previously unreleased) 15. Mother Trust You To Walk To The Store (previously unreleased).
TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS: LEGACY EDITION by THE JAYHAWKS (American/Legacy 88697 72732 2, originally issued February 1995, as American 43006):
CD One - Selections: 1. Blue 2. I'd Run Away 3. Miss Williams' Guitar 4. Two Hearts 5. Real Light 6. Over My Shoulder 7. Bad Time 8. See Him On The Street 9. Nothing Left To Borrow 10. Ann Jane 11. Pray For Me 12. Red's Song 13. Ten Little Kids Bonus tracks: 14. Tomorrow The Green Grass (non-album European single B-side) 15. You and I (Ba-Ba-Ba) (previously unreleased) 16. Sweet Hobo Self (previously unreleased) 17. Last Cigarette (non-album European single B-side) 18. Sleep While You Can (previously unreleased). CD Two: "The Mystery Demos" - Selections: 1. Pray For Me 2. Won't Be Coming Home 3. No Place 4. Precious Time 5. Poor Michael's Boat 6. Ranch House In Phoenix 7. Cotton Dress 8. She Picks The Violets 9. Bloody Hands 10. Up Above the River 11. Over My Shoulder 12. Blue From Now On (take 2) 13. Hold Me Close 14. Turn Your Pretty Name Around 15. You And I (Ba-Ba-Ba) 16. Red's Song 17. Nothing Left To Borrow 18. White Shell Road. (All songs previously unreleased). jayhawksofficial.com www.thejayhawks.org www.facebook.com/thejayhawks www.garylourismusic.com www.facebook.com/garylourismusic www.facebook.com/markolsonmusic
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SOURCE: Legacy Recordings
CONTACT: Tom Cording, Legacy Media Relations, +1-212-833-4448
Web Site: http://www.jayhawksofficial.com/