Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jayhawks Anthology Due on July 7th...

MUSIC FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY: THE JAYHAWKS ANTHOLOGY, the first compilation ever released on the Jayhawks is a career-spanning assemblage of 20 signature singles and album tracks – from their 1989 debut album on Minneapolis-based Twin/Tone Records, Blue Earth, through all five of their albums on the American Recordings label: the breakthrough Hollywood Town Hall (1992), Tomorrow The Green Grass (1995), Sound Of Lies (1997), Smile (2000), and Rainy Day Music (2003).

Adding provenance to the collection is an insightful liner notes essay by PD Larson, a Minneapolis-based writer who’s been a fan since witnessing the first-ever Jayhawks concert in 1985. Larson sets the scene by laying 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, “the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, anything involving Gram Parsons, connoisseur-grade country, folk and blues sources.”

The 20-song career overview will be released separately as a single CD on its own, and as the cornerstone of a deluxe three-disc set. The eco-friendly three-panel paper foldout “soft pack” (no plastic jewelcase) will contain an additional CD of Jayhawks rarities – out-of-print tracks, demos, outtakes, alternate versions, single B-sides, live material, and one cut from their indie self-released, self-titled debut album of 1986 on the Bunkhouse label (referred to as The Bunkhouse Album).

Fourteen of the 20 tracks on this rarities CD are previously unreleased. All are extensively annotated by Larson, whose knowledge of the Jayhawks sheds light throughout. Citing “Cure For This,” for example, Larson writes: “This Perlman/Louris composition was at least partially a by-product of the widespread fascination at the time with Nick Cave’s 1997 album, The Boatman Calls… A reworked version of ‘Cure For This’ was released as ‘Goodbye Kiss’ in 2009 on 25:32:47, an EP Perlman recorded with Minneapolis singer Janey Winterbauer. There was a song on Golden Smog’s misunderstood 2006 album Another Fine Day also titled ‘Cure For This’ (sung by Muni Loco, wife of AFD’s Spanish producer Paco Loco), but it’s a completely different song than this Jayhawks demo.”

The third disc in the deluxe package is a DVD highlighted by all seven music video clips produced for the Jayhawks: “Waiting For The Sun,” “Settled Down Like Rain,” “Take Me With You (When You Go),” “Blue,” “I’d Run Away,” “Big Star,” and “Save It For A Rainy Day.” Additional video content for the DVD includes two EPKs (electronic press kits) produced for Hollywood Town Hall in 1992 (20 minutes, with full live versions of “Settled Down Like Rain,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason To Believe,” and “Take Me With You (When You Go),” filmed at the Metro in Chicago on Valentine’s Day, 1993) and for Sound Of Lies in 1997 (seven minutes). All DVD content is being released commercially for the first time.

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