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  #16  
Old 05-03-2009
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from New Zealand article GI found

Fans can get excited about a heap of Jayhawks-related activity - in terms of album reissues and DVD projects. "I've been involved in a lot of that," Louris says enthusiastically. "We've been scouring the archives and organising. There's a lot about to happen, fans should be pleased. There's the Sony Legacy Editions happening, meaning the first few albums are all getting a makeover and there'll be DVD content to go with them and rarities and B-sides. And there's a solo best-of coming out really soon and a box-set with rarities and DVD content."

He tells me watching old tapes has been a nice rush of nostalgia ("we were a great live band")
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  #17  
Old 05-04-2009
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Originally Posted by Precious Time View Post
And there's a solo best-of coming out really soon
LOL, I read this as "a best of solo stuff" and thought "he's only got one album out!!"...

I take it it really means a 1 disc best of.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Precious Time View Post
("we were a great live band")
They still are, last I saw. They had the biggest crowd at Azkena as far as I could see and they brought the rock!
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Precious Time View Post
There's a lot about to happen, fans should be pleased. There's the Sony Legacy Editions happening, meaning the first few albums are all getting a makeover and there'll be DVD content to go with them and rarities and B-sides. And there's a solo best-of coming out really soon and a box-set with rarities and DVD content."

Does anyone know exactly WHEN this will happen?
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  #20  
Old 05-04-2009
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Originally Posted by Mort View Post
Does anyone know exactly WHEN this will happen?
When Norwegians stop setting fire to their shitters and learn to respect the environment!
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2009
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When Norwegians stop setting fire to their shitters and learn to respect the environment!
Damn. I was really looking forward to these releases! And now you're telling me it won't happen?
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  #22  
Old 05-04-2009
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Originally Posted by JayB View Post
LOL, I read this as "a best of solo stuff" and thought "he's only got one album out!!"...

I take it it really means a 1 disc best of.
+1. Had one of these on my face --->

Although, a mix of Vagabonds, Salvation Blues Janey & Mark's thing and Tim's album might be cool....
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2009
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Originally Posted by Haggischomper View Post
+1. Had one of these on my face --->

Although, a mix of Vagabonds, Salvation Blues Janey & Mark's thing and Tim's album might be cool....
How about a mix of all their internet-only bonus tracks and Euro-only, b-sides, etc. Throw in a couple live performances, that would be "Down In The Groove" of them...
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  #24  
Old 05-05-2009
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Why is this such a big job? SR, maybe you can shed some light. I just thought "Greatest Hits" or Anthologies or "extras" just sort of popped out. Pick 10 songs, take 'em to press, and go.

Obviously, I'm not that sophisticated when it comes to the music industry. Is this, like, an all encompassing full-time job? Or is Herculean only in the volumes that will be produced by a relatively minor effort? Is it about rights and suits and contracts and royalties? Is that where the effort really lies?
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  #25  
Old 05-05-2009
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I think the answer might be ALL of the above. Seems like we are talking a Best Of, a (remastered??) reissue of all the albums with extra tracks (bsides?) as well as some form of boxset with a DVD too. They won't have a huge buncha record-company people working on this I would imagine so chasing down the orginal tapes, all the legalities etc etc is gonna take time.

Would be sweet if Coot got the cover job.
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  #26  
Old 05-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggischomper View Post
I think the answer might be ALL of the above. Seems like we are talking a Best Of, a (remastered??) reissue of all the albums with extra tracks (bsides?) as well as some form of boxset with a DVD too. They won't have a huge buncha record-company people working on this I would imagine so chasing down the orginal tapes, all the legalities etc etc is gonna take time.

Would be sweet if Coot got the cover job.
Oh yes!!!!! That would be major!!!! His work is the best I've seen!!!! I hope to see him at the Basilica Block Party...it's been awhile since I've seen him.
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  #27  
Old 05-05-2009
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I kind of wonder if they're going to redo Blue Earth as well, seeing as that one has already been reissued before. Not that I'd be adverse to having to get another copy of it (of course what do I then do with the other 2).

Phil
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  #28  
Old 05-05-2009
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Could the "Herculean" part refer to the legal releases, negotiations, etc.?

(When in doubt, blame a lawyer... or Bush.)
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  #29  
Old 05-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggischomper View Post
I think the answer might be ALL of the above.
Haggi's answer is pretty spot on. This project has been “herculean” in virtually every sense of the word. When consumers buy greatest hits, reissues, etc they rarely have much insight into what it actually takes to make these kinds of things happen.

The process started last summer when Gary mentioned the possibility of a Jayhawks reissue project that would entail re-releasing the individual albums (with “extras”), a greatest hits collection, a “rarities” compilation of some kind and possibly some video content. After some initial discussions, Gary asked me to prepare a series of memos outlining the various facets of this potential project – what form it might take, number of discs, market analysis, what the term “rarity” would encompass, possible problems, etc. After a few months of batting things around with management, archivists and reissue “specialists” the green light was given and the fine people at Sony/Legacy came into the picture. By the way, Sony/Legacy has done a great job with many projects of this type over the years (all of the Dylan archival stuff for example) – they are “pros” in every sense of the word.

The next order of business was to come up with a tracklisting for a single disc “best of.” The next time you’re with a bunch of Jayhawks fans, open the floor for debate on what 18-20 tracks should be included and you’ll have some insight on what proved to be a task that was far more difficult than anyone thought it would be. There are many different criteria that can be used in the decision-making process for such a collection – and most of them are valid in one way or another. The final list will undoubtedly inspire more debate and discussion but it’s nearly impossible to come up with a list that will please novices and hard-core fans alike. Now i know what King Solomon felt like.

The decision was also made at this time to offer a “deluxe” version of the anthology with a rarities disc and a dvd, i.e. a “mini box set.” For “business” reasons I don’t pretend to fully understand, it was determined that a standalone collection of Jayhawks rarities material wasn’t viable in the current market. So, like everybody from The Replacements to REM and U2, buyers will have to purchase a collection that has one disc of material that they already own. As a fan/consumer, I’m not happy about such things, but it’s an unfortunate reality of the current music “bizness.” Better to have this compromise solution than one with no rarities disc at all. Hopefully, the “upcharge” won’t be too severe for the deluxe edition, so the actual price of the greatest hits disc will be minimal.

The plan for the reissues was to cover everything from HTH to RDM, i.e. the American/Columbia era. BE obviously falls outside this timeframe, not to mention it was just reissued with bonus tracks not too long ago. Interestingly, there is no shortage of useable “rarity” material from the BE era -- only the “Smile” era has more hours of material in the can – so another reissue of BE would be viable from a strictly archival perspective. There are literally scads of O/L originals from this period that are either unheard by the public or last played in concert 20 years ago. Sadly, many of the recordings (both live and studio) from this period aren’t in the best quality, although a fair number are, including an entire “lost” album in between the first album and BE that exists solely on two inch tape. The biggest stumbling block with an updated BE reissue are licensing issues – this is just one of many “behind the scenes” factors for this kind of project that your average joe is blissfully unaware of. As is the norm, the reissues would sport 5-6 bonus tracks – a mixture of contemporaneous, previously released “b-sides” and “rarities.” The option was also left open for 2 disc “legacy editions” for some of the releases if there was sufficient material to warrant it.

Once the basic format of the project was firmed up, the real fun began.

When people think of an "archive," many probably think that everything (recording and demo sessions, rehearsals, live recordings, etc) is all in one place, neatly organized and labeled, and stored in a climate-controlled vault. If only that were true in this case [insert image of your long-suffering archivist dreamily fantasizing]. Like so many bands that have been around for 20+ years, the state of the Jayhawks' archive is far from perfect. Gary has been threatening to let me loose in his basement for years; when the idea of this project was first floated last year, he finally made the decision to open the floodgates, so to speak. Imagine box after box full of cassettes, DATs, CD/CDRs, 2-inch tapes -- some marked, many not -- scattered around and mixed in with other stuff in a cluttered basement and you'll have some idea of the state of the Jayhawk's archive 6 months ago. After some initial sorting, we began a very time-consuming process of listening to the various recordings -- sometimes up in his living room, sometimes in his basement studio next to the "piles." Notes were made, ideas discussed, potential candidates were debated. Each time I’d go over to his house, he’d be armed with another pile of stuff that he had just found somewhere. The amount of material grew at an alarming rate; I quickly surmised that this wasn’t gonna be “quick and easy.”

When Gary and his family went to Spain in January, I took several boxes home with me and began the even more labor-intensive process of transferring everything into the digital domain. With the DATs and cassettes, this, of course, had to be done in real time. For several weeks I was basically a transfer zombie. When I came home from my day job, I’d fire up the cassette decks and DAT machine (which Ed Ackerson from Flowers kindly lent me) and zap everything onto a dedicated hard drive using an expensive digital sound card. While that was taking place in the background, I’d review material that had already been transferred. In some cases I had tracklistings to go by; in many cases all I had was source material marked “demos 1988” or “practice 86” or “batch 1” or “gary’s demos” or “song ideas 2.” I painstakingly cataloged everything and took notes about sound quality, song identification, etc.

Aside from Gary’s “archive,” other avenues were explored, too. Marc and Tim both had a fair amount of stuff, including a stack of DATs containing demo sessions from the Smile / RDM era recorded at the former NE Mpls Jayhawks rehearsal space. These DATs had been mixed down from ADAT (an obsolete digital multi-track recording format) and were generally of superb quality. There's a logbook for the ADATs that lists a truly staggering amount of material laid down to tape during this period. Some of it was never mixed down to two track and some of the mixed down DATs are missing, but there were still several full DATs that had to be examined. Some material was located at Flowers (where the Jayhawks did a lot of demo and mixing work for the last two albums) and there also is a lot of material in the Columbia vaults (mostly b-side type stuff but some outtakes, too).

After a few months of transferring/ cataloging and careful examination, I prepared a series of 6 “reference” CDRs (2 discs for just the “Smile” era) of demos, outtakes, rehearsals, radio sessions and a few live tracks containing what I thought were the best candidates for a rarities collection and the reissue bonus tracks. Added to this “pile” were all of the previously released “rarities” (b-sides, bonus tracks, soundtrack and compilation tracks, etc) plus some crucial last-minute additions that Gary located right before the deadline (including a killer alternate version from the SOL era, a period for which, sadly, there is almost nothing of sufficient quality in terms of “rarities”). From this universe, the final selections were made – 20 “rarities” tracks for the deluxe Anthology edition and approximately 30 bonus tracks for the 5 album reissues.

The final technical phase for rarities material was done last month. This involved Fed-Ex-ing the pertinent source material to NYC so professional transfers could be done before everything was mastered at Sterling Sound. The mastering was done by the legendary Greg Calbi and the results are amazing; some of the older material has literally come back to life. The “Mystery Demo” material was also transferred at this time using DAT copies of the original session tapes and analog safety copies to patch in a few spots where the DATs were damaged. None of the “Mystery Demo” material was used for the rarities disc or bonus tracks – 18 of those are slated to appear on the second disc of the TTGG “legacy edition” (the selection process for that was practically a mini-herculean project by itself; more on that – maybe – at a later date).

From the beginning, this project involved countless email exchanges, phone conversations and brainstorming sessions. There were basically just 3 of us involved in hammering out the musical side of this project: me, Gary and John Jackson, the project manager at Sony/Legacy. Valuable input came from the other band members and a variety of other people – studio personnel, technicians, tape vault librarians and even a few fanpagers. This process was further complicated due to the fact that Gary has been away from home for virtually all of 2009 so far. Nothing like management by committee when the members were usually in different time zones if not continents. The communication process by itself was enough to push this project into the “herculean” zone.

When I get the OK from the Sony people I’ll pass along whatever other info I can, as soon as i can – it would be cool, if not fitting, if the Fanpagers get the scoop on this.
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  #30  
Old 05-05-2009
Haggischomper
 
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Best board post ever. I think I just wet my shorts.
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