The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Elektra box

Forever Changing – The Golden Age of Elektra Records – 1963 – 1973” (5CD boxed set, Rhino Records R2 74745)

Neat boxed set originated in England, now released in the U.S. – 5 CD’s, 117 tracks! I found a promo of it – alas, the ‘normal’ version, not the ‘big box’ with all the junk in it. The prize here is the music – ephemerals not strictly required!

The highlights are too numerous to mention them all – but I believe this is the CD debut of Goodthunder, one of my favorite Elektra 70’s records – with the song “P.O.W.” – they were an under-rated L.A. band with a neat album produced by Paul Rothchild about ’73 or so. The rare B-side of the psychedelic group Clear Light, “She’s Ready To be Free” is another old favorite of mine – finally unleashed on the digital world. Gotta have some Cyrus Faryar! Must have Crabby Appleton “Go Back”. The fun instrumental “Apricot Brandy” by Rhinoceros. Always ready for more Cosmic Sounds of The Zodiac. And then there’s the famous stuff: The Doors, Judy Collins, Love, Tim Buckley, Bread, Carly Simon

I am a real fan of label retrospectives, and this is one of the nicest. I really loved “Follow The Music” – the book by Elektra founder Jac Holzman. When I wrote to him (about Cosmic Sounds of The Zodiac), he wrote back!

The education to be had from this boxed set is mostly on Disc 1 & 2 – tons of perfectly recorded neat folk music stuff from Judy Henske, Dick Rosmini, Hamilton Camp, Fred Neil, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs…and let’s not forget Koerner, Ray & Glover! The Paul Butterfield Blues Band! The Incredible String Band! Lots of stuff making it’s “CD debut”.

The packaging of the just-plain-folks version ain’t bad – two bills seems like a lot for just some more packaging (this was under $50, deluxe one is $100+) – but I am certain it is worth it, and I would’ve bought the big one, if that’s what would’ve crossed my path.

But it really does point up that “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” – record labels, that is. Where are the visionaries of the 21st century? And, Jac Holzman, if you’re reading this – who was Uncle Dirty? ‘Bout all I know is that his sole Elektra LP “The Uncle Dirty Primer” (Elektra EKS-74097, 1971) was recorded live and was ‘produced’ by Lew Futterman (in so much as a stand-up comedy LP can, in fact, be produced by anybody!). Interesting how the Elektra box credits Jack S. Margolis with the “A Child’s Garden of Grass” material.

But – I am a record collecting geek. I love this kind of stuff. I am just shocked that WEA would agree to release a 5CD boxed set of material of this nature – it might win a Grammy, but…it ain’t even gonna register in SoundScan! Buy it while you can! Anything this good won’t stay in the catalogue for long!


Blogger Brian Ware said...

Crabby Appleton's "Go Back" is certainly one of my "desert island" songs. I cherry picked it off iTunes a year ago.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

This is a fun CD boxed set - I was surprised at how much I liked the 'folk' discs...

10:45 PM  

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