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September 12, 2014


Package available as 2-LP set, CD, digital and DVD,
with notes by Big Star’s Jody Stephens, Ardent’s John Fry,
and director Danny Graflund

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The gig poster said “BIG STAR IN THEIR FAREWELL U.S. PERFORMANCE.”Luckily, this iconic Memphis band’s homecoming show was nothing of the kind. As Jody Stephens points out in his liner notes, “We played Los Angeles three days later and went on to play together for another 16 years. No one ever said anything about the poster.”

Omnivore Recordings is proud to present Big Star’s first appearance in Memphis since 1974, and only known professionally filmed show in its entirety. Live in Memphis chronicles that October 29, 1994 performance on CD, 2-LP (with download card), Digital, and DVD.

All audio formats contain the complete 20-song set, which includes Big Star classics like “Thank You Friends,” “September Gurls,” and “The Ballad of El Goodo,” Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos,” and covers of T.Rex, The Kinks, Todd Rundgren and more, performed by Big Star: Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies.

Also included are notes from filmmaker Danny Graflund, Ardent Studios’ John Fry, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, and Ken Stringfellow in both the CD and LP packaging, as well as in the DVD. Per Omnivore tradition, the first pressing of the LP will be limited to 1,000 colored vinyl, with black to follow.

According to Stephens, “This second life for Big Star begins on April 25, 1993, in Columbia, Missouri. The performance gets recorded and released. We now have a record to support and a reason to tour. A handful of dates far and wide followed, but then an offer came from the

to play Memphis. Pretty exciting! Walking into the New Daisy that night brought on a rush of ’70s friends I hadn’t seen in years. So much support there from well-wishers, which included John Fry and my parents. Stepping onstage that night in Memphis with Alex, Jon, and Ken was an incredibly good time and a bit of magic. It wasn’t so much that we were playing to the audience as we were sharing the music with them, and they were sharing themselves with us. We all cared.”

Stingfellow wrote: “ It might seem intimidating, and at the same time look presumptuous, to step in and complete the lineup of Memphis’ most beloved cult band on their home turf. However, Jon and I were (and to this day remain) absolutely passionate about the music of Big Star, and that sense of devotion and belief propelled us forward and, hopefully, silenced any grumbles about what two kids from Seattle were doing there in that lineup. By the time we rolled into town to play this show, we’d gone from the initial, delightfully fragile, show in Columbia, Missouri, to engagements in London, San Francisco, and Tokyo. There would be more heft to the show, and we were getting to know Alex and Jody in even deeper ways, musically and personally. You might even say . . . we were a band.”

“Omnivore is thrilled to release what may be the only complete Big Star concert ever professionally filmed. The exuberant Memphis hometown crowd reception made this a night to remember, and even though the concert was not recorded with the intent to become an album, we know that fans will want to be in the front row for this show,” says the release’s co-producer, Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawelski.


August 15, 2014


Standards, set for September 30 release
in the U.S. on Omnivore Recordings,
reunites Cole with Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet,
adding Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser and more.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “ I believe you should allow the songs to be boss, ” said Lloyd Cole in discussing the muse behind his new album Standards . “ And the songs were saying, ‘ You need to make a rock record. ’”
It ’ s been 30 years since Lloyd Cole appeared on the radar of music fans around the world with his band,The Commotions, and their stunning debut,Rattlesnakes. Cole has kept busy, releasing solo albums since 1990, and Omnivore Recordings will release to present his latest, Standards , in the U.S. on September 30, 2014.

Though he ’ d never be so gauche as to suggest it himself, Cole has enjoyed something of a renaissance with Standards (see raves below), a gloriously electric rock ’ n ’ roll record that fans and critics alike have hailed as his best work since Rattlesnakes. However, Standards was originally only available overseas. Now Omnivore is correcting that by offering the title here on CD and LP (with download card). A Limited Edition album will be available on clear vinyl, with black to follow.

Recorded in late 2012 to early 2013 in Los Angeles, New York and at his home in Massachusetts, the album is produced by Lloyd and mixed by maverick German producer Olaf Opal. All songs are by Lloyd Cole apart from “ California Earthquake, ” which was written by American folk artist John Hartford.

Inspired in part by the vitality he found in septuagenarian Bob Dylan ’ s acclaimed 2012 album Tempest, says Cole: “ I took it as a kick up the backside . . . I had spent much of the 2000 ’ s focused on making age appropriate music, and I ’ m happy with those albums, but listening to Bob — I don ’ t think he knows how old he is. And I wondered what might happen if I didn ’ t worry about it. Well, this is what happened.

The band Lloyd assembled for Standards comprises Fred Maher (Lou Reed, Material, Scritti Politti) on drums and Matthew Sweet on bass reforming the rhythm section from Lloyd ’ s debut solo album, 1990 ’ s Lloyd Cole and its follow-up Don ’ t Get Weird On Me Babe .

With Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser on piano/backing vocals, and Cole not only singing but playing synths amidst some of the crispest, stormiest, most stinging electric guitar, it ’ s a tight ship with a tight sound that tautens and relaxes according to the temper of the song. Augmenting the basic band are Lloyd ’ s son Will, Mark Schwaber and Matt Cullen on guitars, Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan, percussionist Michael Wyzik and, from Cole ’ s post-Commotions band the Negatives, backing vocalist Dave Derby.

Says Lloyd: “ I wanted to make an album with a small fixed palette of sounds, like a Van Gogh, like Highway 61. The album format is supposedly dead, but I still want to make them. Not bunches of songs — albums. For the last 10 years I ’ ve been primarily an acoustic musician but this is an album for electric guitars, electric bass and loud drums, with piano and synthesizer. Not quite monochrome, then, but not ever-changing either: it has a unique identity — a sound. ”

British press acclaim for Standards :
“… a rocking, reinvigorated return … terrific ” 8/10 — Uncut
"Captivating!" 4* — MOJO
“ Effortless craftsmanship from a gifted storyteller. ” — Q
“ Standards is the work of a bristling, alive and fresh-as-a-daisy master, drawing on all of his experience for a mid-life career high. ” — Daily Mirror
“ A sound replete with twisting, cyclical guitar lines and tints of keyboards … there ’ s a confidence and flexibility to his disparate themes … may be his best album. ”
The Independent
“ Like when Dylan went electric … it ’ s not a fanciful comparison — Cole ’ s lyrics are profoundly poetic and linked to some glorious tunes … terrific. ” — The Big Issue
“ Gloriously, pertinently verbose . . .career-best …” — Record Collector



March 31st, 2014


On May 20, Omnivore Recordings will issue 24 songs and jingles recorded in Nashville, and last heard generations ago.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Omnivore Recordings will soon release the full-length version of The Garden Spot Programs, 1950, featuring 24 performances, unheard for 64 years, from country music legend Hank Williams. Rescued from obscurity, these shows originally aired more than six decades ago; The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 collects material from the four episodes now known to exist. Due out May 20, 2014, the set follows the release of Omnivore’s collectible 10” vinyl Record Store Day EP sampler.

From hits to standards to songs rarely (if ever) performed, this is pure Hank Williams, including playful between-song banter. Featuring fully restored audio, The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 is an exceptional listening experience. Painstakingly transferred, restored and mastered from original transcription discs by Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Graves. Williams’ daughter, Jett, is excited that her father’s lost material is not only seeing the light of day decades later, but will be available on CD, digital and LP.

The CD packaging contains rare photos and liner notes from the collection of set co-producer and Williams biographer Colin Escott. Also available on LP, the first pressing will be on limited edition, translucent red vinyl (with black vinyl to follow), containing Escott’s informative notes and a download card.

Escott writes in his notes: “Set the time machine for early morning on KSIB-AM, Creston, Iowa. February 1950. Country radio was beginning its slow transition from live music to DJ shows. Live music and DJ shows were augmented by transcribed shows. After buying 15 minutes of airtime on small-market stations, sponsors would prerecord shows with well known artists, duplicate them, and ship them out on 12 or 16-inch transcribed discs.”

“That’s how Hank Williams came to be on KSIB in February 1950. Sandwiched between the local ‘live’ acts, it was almost as if he were visiting with Skeets and those Radio Rascals. His sponsor was one of the nation’s largest plant nurseries, Naughton Farms, seven hundred miles south in Waxahachie, Texas. Given that Naughton was a big player in the nursery business, Hank’s shows were almost certainly shipped to many small stations, but only KSIB’s copies survived. Those of us who have studied Hank’s life and career had no idea that these recordings existed.”

Any music from Hank Williams is worth celebrating. Discovering material that has been unheard for generations is monumental.

“It’s incredible to me that we’re still finding new recordings by my dad — great ones at that,” says Jett Williams. “No one even suspected that these recordings existed. We partnered with Omnivore Recordings for this release, and I especially love it that they’re taking my dad back to vinyl.”

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March 6th, 2014


Making their debut on Record Store Day (April 19), CD and LP feature liner notes from set co-producer Robert Trujillo (Metallica) and Jaco biographer Bill Milkowski

Release coincides with the upcoming documentary, Jaco, the official Record Store Day film for 2014

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — When Jaco Pastorius’ solo debut appeared in 1976, a new standard in both jazz and the electric bass guitar was born. Many of the tracks on that eponymous album had their genesis two years earlier when a 22-year-old Pastorius and friends used after-hours time at Criteria Studios to work out songs and jam. Eventually, six of those session tracks were pulled to an acetate. Many of the songs would later find their way onto Jaco’s self-titled debut, but some remained unreleased until now. All tracks appear here in their full, unedited form for the first time.

Omnivore Recordings will release Modern American Music . . . Period! The Criteria Sessions on April 19, 2014 — Record Store Day. Produced in conjunction with the Pastorius estate and Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, this release contains 11 revolutionary tracks from one of the world’s greatest musicians. The CD and LP feature 11 tracks from the Criteria sessions, essays from Trujillo and Pastorius biographer Bill Milkowski (writer for DownBeat and Jazziz), and unseen photos from the family’s archives.

According to Milkowski, from his notes, “Raw and uninhibited, these Criteria demo sessions showcase a working band reveling in the energy that they brought to the bandstand on any given night in 1974 while revealing a young, fully-formed Jaco Pastorius standing on the verge of taking over the world.”

The original six-song acetate is being reproduced for Record Store Day in a special multi-colored vinyl version that will include a sought-after bonus track, "Havona/Continuum." The special Record Store Day LP will also contain a download card for the entire CD program (being released the same day), as well as an insert with both essays and rare photos.
This material was unearthed and restored in conjunction with the upcoming documentary, Jaco, the official Record Store Day film for 2014. Director was Stephen Kijack; producers, Rob Trujillo and John Battsek.

While these tracks, recorded at the beginning of Pastorius’ incredible career, may be from the past, they, like all of Jaco’s music, transcend time and space.

According to Metallica’s Trujillo: “Omnivore’s release of Jaco Pastorius’ ‘Criteria Sessions’ is a raw unique statement — a statement that lets you know you are experiencing a powerful historical musical moment. Jaco’s sound, and facility alone, take you on a trip that is totally new and fresh! This is punk at its best, and the attitude and edge is pure.” Record Store Day director Michael Kurtz said: “I fell in love with Jaco Pastorius in 1976 when I heard Weather Report’s Black Market being played in my local record store. In 1977 I caught the band on its Heavy Weather tour and heard Jaco perform live. It was like I had been exposed to a force bigger than life. Performing on the Fender bass he’d personally stripped of frets, Jaco propelled the band with ferocity and finesse. He was shirtless, with an axe bold as love. Thirty-seven years later it is a dream come true to be a part of helping Omnivore unearth and release the recording of a very young Jaco performing with his own band in Miami’s Criteria Studios.”

Mary Pastorius, Jaco’s daughter, added: “Once I allowed the memories associated with records to come in, it was like opening the proverbial floodgates — especially so when I started looking through my own records, having a visceral sensory overload experience with every one. Them records is powerful stuff!”


January 4th, 2014


Produced by Jim Dickinson, featuring Mudboy & the Neutrons (on two tracks), and with photos by William Eggleston, the album portended greatness. Perhaps now it will find its audience.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sid Selvidge’s The Cold Of The Morning is a mid-’70s Memphis classic that almost never saw the light of day. Selvidge and producer Jim Dickinson (Big Star, Ry Cooder, The Replacements) created this 12-track song cycle live in the studio in 1975, with Selvidge on vocals and guitar, plus Dickinson on piano with Memphis’ iconic Mudboy and the Neutrons on two tracks. The cover photo was by William Eggleston. The record seemed destined for greatness. But when Peabody Records’ benefactor decided not to put it out at the last minute, he gave the rights to the recently pressed LP to Selvidge, who drove down to the plant, loaded up his car and distributed the discs himself. The album eventually found its way into regional stores and the national press, even reaching the Cashbox charts; this was enough to take Selvidge to New York. But life intervened, and bigger record deals were not in the cards.

On March 11, 2014, Omnivore Recordings will issue this indelible piece of the Memphis music canon on CD (unavailable for more than two decades and with newly discovered bonus tracks) and on LP for the first time since its original release. The LP, the initial run of which will be pressed on blue vinyl, will contain a download card for the entire album plus bonus tracks.

Co-produced by Sid’s son, Steve (The Hold Steady), The Cold Of The Morning has been expanded to include six previously unissued tracks from the original sessions. (The CD/digital contains the full 18-track playlist; the LP has the original 12 tracks with a download card for the full 18 songs.) Consisting of originals, blues standards, and Broadway classics, the record is not only a snapshot of a time and place, but of Selvidge himself. The package includes rare photographs and an in-depth essay by Bob Mehr of Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.

Selvidge would eventually turn Peabody into a boutique label, issuing records by Cybil Shepherd, and even Alex Chilton’s solo debut, Like Flies on Sherbert. He continued to record, releasing a 1993 album on Elektra and a triumphant swan song, I Should Be Blue, in 2010. The Greenville, Miss. native and former DJ also co-founded the syndicated Beale Street Caravan radio program, beaming the influential music of Memphis to the world.

But it all began on The Cold Of The Morning. “He said, ‘Look, I’ve made my classic record,” recalls his son, Steve. “It was almost like he was apart from it. It really was the perfect capturing of the perfect moment, and it made for his most perfect statement.”

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December 3rd, 2013


Both titles set for CD and 180-gram vinyl formats,
with 19 bonus tracks between them,
on Omnivore Recordings February 4, 2013

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — When indie superstars Camper Van Beethoven signed with Virgin Records in the late ’80s, it seemed inconceivable. How could that irreverent act, a band with great wit and wide-ranging instrumentation, move to a major label without “selling out” and sacrificing all that made them great? As it turned out, the first three tracks on Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart were a pop song, an instrumental and an adaptation of a dirge about death. Heck, the release even had a love song for Patty Hearst. No, Camper Van Beethoven hadn’t sold out. They just had better distribution now.

On February 4, 2014, Omnivore Recordings will proudly revisit a time when Camper Van Beethoven helped pioneer American alt-rock, with reissues of the band’s first two Virgin albums: Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie.

Produced by Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Counting Crows, Modest Mouse), Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart finds itself reissued on CD with 10 bonus tracks, and on vinyl for the first time since its original issue.

Featuring new photos and liners in both the CD and LP, the album is being released in tandem with its acclaimed follow-up Key Lime Pie, with full cooperation from the band itself.

Key Lime Pie, also produced by Herring, was a logical next chapter in the saga of CVB while offering higher production value. From a track about Jack Ruby to a cover of Status Quo’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” Key Lime Pie was a slice above the rest and a fitting dessert for the 1980s.

This reissue contains nine bonus tracks on the CD. The nearly hour-long album was originally pressed on one LP, but Omnivore has expended it to two LPs (for better sound) and added a bonus track to Side 4 that plays at 45 rpm.

It’s been a few years since the end of the ’80s but Camper Van Beethoven has proved timeless. Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart attests to that. It’s even spelled out in the title: beloved, revolutionary and a real sweetheart.

The band, which broke up after the two Virgin recordings, has reunited and continues to record and tour today.

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November 14th, 2013


“Will be my last solo album.
It will however, not be my final recording,”
says the U.K. singer/songwriter of session recorded in Au

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — While probably best remembered in the United States for his 1978 smash “Shake It” (#13 Billboard Pop Singles), Iain Matthews has been a worldwide music icon for more than 45 years. Whether as a founding member of Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort (who hit #23 with their cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” in 1971), Plainsong or as a solo artist, Matthews has taken listeners on a journey with each recording.

Welcome to The Art of Obscurity, Iain Matthews’ first new release in his staggering fifth decade of recording and performing music, and his first American album in 15 years, due out January 28, 2014 on Omnivore Recordings. Recorded in his adopted home of Austin, Texas with producer Bradley Kopp (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Tish Hinojosa), this 12-track release highlights Matthews’ knack for acoustic folk with jazzy undertones — capped off by his rich singing voice and reflective and insightful lyrics.

Matthews declares that The Art of Obscurity “absolutely sits up there with my four or five finest recorded moments.” In his liner notes, he states, “The Art of Obscurity will be my last solo album. It will however, not be my final recording. Music is in my blood. Music motivates me. Music is my mistress.”

We hope Iain reconsiders. If not — he has left us with a glistening gem in his crown of musical achievements. While “obscurity” translates as “the state of being unknown,” The Art of Obscurity will put you in a state of bliss.

“The realization that The Art of Obscurity is my 25th solo album prompted me to do some deep thinking about where I am, where I’m going and what I still want to achieve from this life in music,” says Matthews. “In my heart I feel vital and passionate about the creative process and that my best work is the next one I finish. It doesn’t necessarily work out that clean, but for me, it can be the only touchstone.”

Matthews will launch the new album with a PledgeMusic campaign

Through PledgeMusic, he will offer his fans opportunities to talk directly to him, buy his new music (with access to additional bonus material), and acquire rare personal treasures from his archives.

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November 4, 2013



Twelve tracks, including nine unissued performances,
set for release on CD, red vinyl and digital.
Liner notes include testimonial from Dolly Parton, a fan of the band.
Street date January 14, 2014

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — It can be difficult to capture the live power of band in a studio recording. Luckily for us, Lone Justice (Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni, and Don Heffington), forerunners of the alt-country movement, went to Suite 16 Studios in December of 1983 and laid down much of the set list with which they were packing Los Angeles area clubs.

Recorded direct to two-track tape by engineer David Vaught and with no overdubs, those 12 tracks can finally be heard in their entirety as This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 , out January 14, 2014 on Omnivore Recordings. As Los Angeles music journalist Chris Morris writes in his liner notes, the release “offers the best representation of the band in its infancy — hot, full of piss and vinegar, and ready to take on the world.”

Nine of the tracks are previously unissued, and include originals (such as “Soap, Soup and Salvation,” which would appear on their Geffen debut two years later) as well as the covers they made their own in concert (Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s “Jackson” and “Nothing Can Stop My Loving You,” written by George Jones and Roger Miller).

Available on CD, LP (the first pressing is on translucent red vinyl) and digitally, the package includes, in addition to Morris’ liners an essay from the band’s Ryan Hedgecock, as well as a remembrance of David Vaught from Marvin Etzioni — even a loving endorsement from Dolly Parton, who writes, “I have loved Lone Justice and Maria McKee since they first started out as a group. I remember going to see them at the Music Machine in Los Angeles in 1983; I was so impressed. I especially love this album. It has some of my favorite old songs on it and some new favorites that I've never heard. Hope you enjoy Lone Justice, everybody! I know I will.”

With unseen photos and memorabilia (including images from the band’s personal archive), this collection is what Lone Justice fans have been waiting for. This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 takes us back to a time when music had an energy that was hard to contain.

Thanks to that studio in Van Nuys, Calif., and this release, Justice has been served!

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August 2, 2013

Watch out, punk is coming!


Features 20 songs by CBGB pioneers Talking Heads, Television, Dead Boys, Joey Ramone, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, Wayne County & the Electric Chairs, The Dictators, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, MC5, The Police and more, plus a new version of “Sunday Girl” by Blondie.
Movie opens nationwide in October.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — By the end of 1973, New York City was bankrupt, Watergate had compromised the credibility of the U.S. government, and the Carpenters were the best-selling young recording act in America. Rock ’n’ roll was dead! The story of Hilly Kristal and his legendary club that put the punk back in rock will come to movie theaters this October when CBGB hits the big screen. Omnivore Recordings will release CBGB: Original Motion Soundtrack on October 8 with deluxe digital version coming the same day from Rhino.

The film features an all-star ensemble cast headed by Alan Rickman (the Harry Potter series, Die Hard), who plays Kristal. Co-starring with Rickman are Malin Akerman (The Proposal, Suburgatory), Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy), Ashley Greene (The Twilight series), Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Stana Katic (Castle), Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror, Six Feet Under), Rupert Grint (the Harry Potter series), Mickey Sumner (Francis Ha), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Donal Logue (Grounded For Life), Richard DeKlerk (Repeaters), Bradley Whitford (West Wing) and Joel David Moore (Avatar). CBGB is written and produced by Jody Savin and Randall Miller and directed by Miller (Bottle Shock). The movie, distributed by XLrator media, opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and other select cities on October 11.

Omnivore Recordings is proud to present CBGB: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on CD and, naturally, double-LP (with first pressing on translucent pink vinyl). An essential collection of songs that made the punk movement, CBGB presents 20 classics of original American punk and new wave, many rarely compiled or unavailable for years. A deluxe digital exclusive version featuring an expanded track list will be available from Rhino.

The soundtrack contains music from influential artists who informed the scene
(The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and MC5) as well as acts who broke through to huge commercial acclaim (Talking Heads, Blondie and The Police). And there’s even music from bands whose legendary status will forever be linked to the club that gave them a voice (Dead Boys, Television, Wayne County, The Dictators and more).

Hilly Kristal dreamed of running a country and blues bar in the Bowery. Instead, the club he opened, CBGB (Country, Bluegrass, Blues) became the birthplace of punk and underground music. CBGB was the modern-day salon for the disenfranchised youth of New York City and Kristal offered these young local bands a stage.

The album contains a performance by Kristal (“Birds and the Bees”) and a new version of “Sunday Girl” by Blondie.

The soundtrack CD and LP will be in stores in time for the CBGB Music Festival October 9–13, in New York.

Track Listing:
1. Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
2. Kick Out the Jams (Uncensored Version) – MC5
3. Chatterbox – New York Dolls
4. Careful – Television
5. Blank Generation – Richard Hell & The Voidoids
6. Slow Death – Flamin’ Groovies
7. I Can’t Stand It – The Velvet Underground
8. Out of Control – Wayne County & The Electric Chairs
9. Psychotic Reaction – The Count Five
10. All For the Love of Rock ’n’ Roll (Live) – Tuff Darts
11. All By Myself – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
12. California Sun (Original Demo) – The Dictators
13. Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth – Dead Boys
14. I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up) – Joey Ramone
15. Get Outta My Way – The Laughing Dogs
16. Sunday Girl (2013 Version) – Blondie
17. I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges
18. Sonic Reducer – Dead Boys
19. Roxanne – The Police
20. Birds and the Bees – Hilly Kristal

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May 2, 2013


With movie opening July 3, 22-song CD, 2-LP and digital soundtrack
contain all previously unissued versions of classic songs
from pop music’s greatest cult band.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The story of Big Star will finally hit the big screen in the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures) After years in the making, the movie comes to theaters, On Demand and iTunes on July 3.

On June 25, Omnivore Recordings will release the soundtrack to the film featuring 22 tracks, all of which are unissued versions of classic Big Star songs. The soundtrack will be available on CD, double-LP in a gatefold sleeve with a download card included, and digitally. A limited edition of the LP version was made available on Record Store Day and sold out immediately, following previous successes with the 2011 Record Store Day release of the legendary Third [Test Pressing Edition] and Alex Chilton's Free Again: The "1970" Sessions in January of 2012.

An official selection of the SXSW Film Festival (2012), winner of the Best Documentary at Indie Memphis (2012), and a hit at the BFI London Film Fest and DOC NYC, the Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me film chronicles the initial commercial failure and subsequent critical acclaim of Big Star, further solidifying the enduring legacy of one of pop music’s greatest cult bands.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me traces the origins and history of the legendary group — from 16-year-old Alex Chilton skyrocketing to stardom in the late ’60s with the Box Tops and their #1 hit, “The Letter”; to the serendipitous meeting of Chilton and local Memphis singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Bell; through the tumultuous recording of Big Star’s landmark albums, #1 Record, Radio City, and Third; culminating with the band’s implosion due to lackluster record sales, personal breakdowns, and the tragic death of Bell in 1978.

The three original Big Star releases, each of which charted on Rolling Stone’s “Top 500 Albums of All Time,” have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by R.E.M., The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Beck, Jeff Buckley and The Flaming Lips, to name just a few. With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews and a rousing musical tribute by some of the bands they inspired, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is a story of artistic and musical salvation.

The Omnivore Recordings soundtrack plays like an audio version of the documentary, capturing its essence. It features previously unissued versions of classic Big Star, Chris Bell and Alex Chilton songs, including demos, plus alternate original and new mixes made especially for the film.

Track listing:
1. O My Soul (Demo, 1973)
2. Give Me Another Chance (Control Room Monitor Mix, 1972)
3. In The Street (Movie Mix, 2012)
4. When My Baby ’s Beside Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
5. Studio Banter (1972)
6. Try Again (Movie Mix, 2012) Rock City
7. My Life Is Right (Alternate Mix, 1972)
8. The Ballad Of El Goodo (Alternate Mix, 1972)
9. Feel (Alternate Mix, 1972)
10. Don’t Lie To Me (Alternate Mix, 1972)
11. Way Out West (Alternate Mix, 1973)
13. Thirteen (Alternate Mix, 1972)
14. You Get What You Deserve (Alternate Mix, 1973)
15. Holocaust (Rough Mix, 1974)
16. Kanga Roo (Rough Mix, 1974)
17. Stroke It Noel (Backward Intro, 1974)
18. Big Black Car (Rough Mix, 1974)
19. Better Save Yourself (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
20. I Am The Cosmos (Movie Mix, 2012) Chris Bell
21. All We Ever Got From Them Was Pain (Movie Mix, 2012) Alex Chilton
22. September Gurls (Movie Mix, 2012)

All tracks by Big Star except where noted. All tracks previously unissued.

More information about the movie:

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April 11, 2013


Early ’70s albums are re-mastered, available on CD
and 180-gram vinyl, with notes by Colin Escott

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Even though Townes Van Zandt may not be a household name, he is a legend to songwriters and the music fans who love them. As the recently issued Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972 proved — receiving five-star reviews from American Songwriter and Mojo, along with a ten-out-of-ten-star piece from Uncut — the world was ready to rediscover not only Van Zandt, but the studio albums those sessions came from.

Omnivore Recordings now offers reissues of Townes’ two seminal recordings: High, Low and In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, each available on CD and — for the first time in decades — on high-quality, 180-gram vinyl, with a release date of May 21, 2013.

High, Low and In Between, Townes Van Zandt’s fifth album, originally released by Poppy Records in the fall of 1971, was an album that saw Townes becoming the songwriter revered today. Full of original material, including “You Are Not Needed Now,” “Blue Ridge Mountains,” and “To Live Is To Fly,” it opened eyes and ears to his abilities. His backing band included folks like Larry Carlton, who would play on Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark, who accompanied Steely Dan on The Royal Scam (playing that solo we all know and love on “Kid Charlemagne”), and who was a member of Jazz’s elite Crusaders. High, Low and In Between is, in the end, a classic Townes Van Zandt album. And one that should be re-examined.

The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, his sixth effort, hit the shelves in 1972. The album built on High, Low and In Between, adding texture in both song and production. It’s probably best known for “Pancho & Lefty” — the song Emmylou Harris covered for 1977’s Luxury Liner and which Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings would take to the top of the charts in 1983. Full of originals, as well as covers like Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonkin’,” the release was Van Zandt’s perfect storm, with every element in place. The Late Great Townes Van Zandt might be his masterwork. This release should be in every collection of great American music.

The gloriously remastered editions of High, Low and In Between and The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt will be available on CD, in a digipak with liner notes from award-winning scribe Colin Escott, as well as on 180-gram vinyl, with the first 1000 pressed on orange and clear colored vinyl respectively. (Future pressings will be on standard weight, black vinyl.)

It’s not too late to know and love the Late Great Townes Van Zandt.

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May 28, 2013

(featuring RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz)

April 20 is RSD. Support your local brick-and-mortar record retailer
with these incredible collectibles. Supplies won't last!

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Record Store Day (April 20, 2013) is an opportunity for music fans across the nation to re-experience the lost art of purchasing music over the counter. But it’s more than that. Record stores, while scarcer than they were ten years ago, remain a place to hear about new music, discuss it with fellow fans, and experience non-virtual face-to-face social networking.

Here are three more reasons to get to a record shop on April 20: Omnivore Recordings will release limited-pressing vinyl collectibles that are musts: The soundtrack to the long-awaited feature-length Big Star film documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me will be available in a special, limited edition (4,000 worldwide) 180-gram, two-LP translucent yellow vinyl pressing ahead of its standard release configurations; a collaboration between the Old 97’s and Waylon Jennings will be released as disc one of a double 7" 45 rpm gatefold single on yellow vinyl (the second disc features two Old 97’s demos) in a limited edition of 1,500 world wide; and the North Carolina band Three Hits will issue Pressure Dome, a 12" five-track EP of released and previously unreleased material (1,000 world wide). Their original 45 release by the same name came out originally on the Hib-Tone label (home of R.E.M.’s debut single), and the band bears other connections to the early era of American indie-rock.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Original Soundtrack): After years in the making, the band’s story will finally hit the big screen in the feature-length documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures), coming to theaters this summer. An official selection of the SXSW Film Festival (2012), winner of the Best Documentary at Indie Memphis (2012), and a hit at the BFI London Film Fest and DOC NYC, the film chronicles Big Star’s initial commercial failure and subsequent critical acclaim, further solidifying the enduring legacy of one of pop music’s greatest cult bands. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me traces their origins and history — from 16-year-old Alex Chilton skyrocketing to stardom in the late ’60s with the Box Tops and their #1 hit “The Letter,” to the serendipitous meeting of Chilton and local Memphis singer-songwriter-guitarist Chris Bell, through the tumultuous recording of the landmark albums #1 Record, Radio City and Third, culminating with the group’s implosion due to failed record sales, personal breakdowns, and the death of Chris Bell in 1978.

Those three records (all of which are on Rolling Stone’s list “Top 500 Albums of All Time”) have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by R.E.M., The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Beck, Jeff Buckley, and The Flaming Lips, to name just a few.

With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews, and a rousing musical tribute by some of the bands they inspired, the film is a story of artistic and musical salvation. The Omnivore Recordings soundtrack captures the essence of the documentary and plays like audio version of the film, featuring all previously unissued versions of classic Big Star, Chris Bell and Alex Chilton songs. The soundtrack includes 21 previously unheard period mixes, new mixes made specifically for the film, and alternate takes and demos.

For this special, limited, first-edition Record Store Day pressing, the double LP will be released on 180-gram RTI HQ translucent yellow vinyl (download card included), with mastering by Larry Nix at L. Nix Mastering. The project was overseen by the documentary’s executive producer, John Fry, at Ardent Studios in Memphis. The additional standard configurations (CD, CD/DVD deluxe, double-LP standard weight black vinyl and digital) will be available at a later date to be announced.

Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings: Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings: Imagine if Waylon Jennings came to see your band. Imagine if Waylon Jennings liked your band. Liked them enough to talk you up in press like The Austin Chronicle. Imagine your A&R guy telling you to write Waylon to thank him and see if he wanted to record some music with you. Imagine if Waylon said yes.

Waylon Jennings attended an Old 97’s gig in 1996, and later that year joined Ken Bethea, Murry Hammond, Rhett Miller and Philip Peeples in a studio in Nashville to cut two tracks. Imagine the youthful energy of Old 97’s with the classic delivery of Waylon Jennings. Sadly, Waylon passed away and these recordings — some of Jennings’ last — never saw the light of day. Until now.

Omnivore Recordings will issue the first-ever release of those two songs, “Iron Road” and “The Other Shoe.” “Iron Road” would eventually arrive as a live version on 2005’s Alive & Wired along with “The Other Shoe” (which first appeared on Old 97’s second album, 1995’s Wreck Your Life.) Two more previously unissued demos are added: “Visiting Hours” (a live version appeared on 2011’s The Grand Theater Vol. 2) and “Fireflies” (re-recorded by Rhett Miller for his acclaimed 2006 solo album The Believer). These four songs will be available on double yellow vinyl 7" set, packed in a gatefold sleeve with art from Jon Langford (of the Mekons and Waco Brothers, and renowned painter of Country Music icons) and insightful and hilarious liners from the band’s Rhett Miller, which put you right there in the studio. The package also includes a download card, offering digital files of the four tracks.

Alt-Country, Outlaw Country, or just plain Awesome Country, the Old 97’s & Waylon Jennings double 7" is a must for fans of any or all of those genres. These historical documents finally see the light, 17 years after being recorded!

Three Hits: Pressure Dome: It’s pretty cool to be label mates with a band like R.E.M. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers’ first single was released on Atlanta’s Hib-Tone Records in 1981. Four years later, a band named Three Hits would also be on that label’s roster with the 7" single “Pressure Dome” b/w “Numbers,” produced by Don Dixon at Mitch Easter’s Drive-In Studio, much like R.E.M.’s. Three Hits was started by Sheila Valentine and Michael Kurtz at Appalachian State University. Along with classmate Jim Biddell, they began rehearsing between the bins at Schoolkids Records, eventually adding Michael’s brother Danny and touring up and down the East Coast — even sharing the bill with Alex Chilton at CBGB’s in New York. Twenty-two years after “Pressure Dome” was released, Kurtz co-founded Record Store Day — a yearly feast for music junkies, where references to labels like Hib-Tone are commonplace — it’s only fitting that Three Hits’ classic single should be available for the first time in nearly three decades for Record Store Day 2013.

Now wait, why is it on a 12" purple piece of vinyl if it was just a single? Well, in addition to the original singles’ two tracks, there’s a third song from the Dixon sessions, “Picture Window,” plus and additional two tracks produced by Huw Gower (The Records) from their long out of print 1989 E.P. Fire in the House. The download card also offers up two previously unissued songs, “Just One of the Guys” and “Wild Volcano,” for a total of seven downloadable tracks. In a celebration of independent music, independent labels and independent record stores, Omnivore Recordings is proud to present the Three Hits 12" EP Pressure Dome for Record Store Day 2013.

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January 23, 2013


In 1970 former Byrds singer and songwriter moved to Northern California to escape Los Angeles. There he found inspiration for the songs that became his first solo album of the ’70s, White Light.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — By 1970, weary and wary of the fame game in Los Angeles with the trappings of “the star-maker machinery” surrounding him at every turn, ex-Byrds songwriter and singer Gene Clark was looking for a refuge. On March 26, 2013, Omnivore Recordings will release Clark’s Here Tonight: The White Light Demos, a glimpse into the songwriting craft of Clark at the inception of the compositions that would become his first ’70s solo album, White Light, for A&M Records, released in August of 1971.

Of the tracks on this 12-song album, six (“White Light,” “For a Spanish Guitar,” “Where My Love Lies Asleep,” “The Virgin” “Because of You” and “With Tomorrow”) appeared in final form on White Light. Two (“Opening Day” and “Winter”) appeared in final form as bonus tracks on the 2002 A&M/Universal reissue of the album. One track (”Here Tonight”) is an alternate version of a song that appeared on the Flying Burrito Brothers compilation Honky Tonk Heroes.[J1] <#_msocom_1> And three songs (“For No One,” “Please Mr. Freud” and “Jimmy Christ”) have never been issued previously in any form. Liner notes are by John Einarson, author of Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of Gene Clark (Backbeat Books, 2005). The collection is being reissued with the full cooperation of the estate of Gene Clark.

Precipitating Clark’s move to a secluded life in Northern California, events of the prior four years had elevated the reclusive Kansas-raised boy to the top of the rock ’n’ roll pantheon. The Byrds had topped the charts with their 1965 debut single, “Mr. Tambourine Man” and followed it with a string of folk- and country-influenced songs, many of them from Clark’s own pen. With a little help from Bob Dylan, the Byrds gave rock a literary sensibility. In his own songwriting, Clark had come to embrace the Dylan style of oblique lyric poetry and accrued considerable attention for his songs, to the chagrin of his band mates. Fissures in the band hierarchy ensued.

With his sudden departure from the Byrds in 1966, Clark withdrew from the public eye. His attempt at a solo career later that year was hampered by a reluctance to tour or fly (earning him the title of “the Byrd who wouldn’t fly”). Teaming up with banjo demon Doug Dillard in 1968, the Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark recorded two trail-blazing country-rock bluegrass band around Gene’s well-crafted songs. By early 1970, he left the band, left L.A. for the open spaces of Little River, Calif., near Mendocino, accompanied by his girlfriend Carlie McCummings. The two were equally captivated by the tiny seaside community and were married in June of that year.

Away from the pressure of the music business and inspired by the pastoral beauty of the area, Clark began to write songs that took on a reflective, introspective direction. His songs became more folky and stripped down as Clark swore he’d never again play electric guitar. “There was no deadline,” says McCumming. “He wasn’t under any pressure. And as a result, the songs just flowed out of him. The lyrics were so pure. They don’t come out of any manufactured experience.” Clark also began exploring the nature of spirituality and the human condition in his lyrics, inspired by friend Philip O’Leno. At the end of the Dillard & Clark partnership, Gene owed A&M Records two additional albums. Company co-founder Jerry Moss himself paid Gene a visit in Little River and managed to entice him and Carlie back to L.A. to record. Jesse Ed Davis, with whom Gene had struck up a friendship during the Dillard & Clark sessions, was enlisted to produce.

Clark first recorded the songs meant for the White Light album in demo form on acoustic guitar. It’s these demos, lost for decades and recently discovered, that comprise Here Tonight: The White Light Demos with the songs presented as Clark had originally conceived them in his Mendocino Coast cabin. “His voice was absolutely perfect at that point,” notes Carlie. Included are songs that would later appear on the A&M debut, as well as several that failed to make the cut. Jesse Ed Davis maintained much of the simplicity and honesty of the demos in producing the finished album. Rolling Stone drew comparisons to Clark’s mentor Bob Dylan. It was voted “album of the year” in the Netherlands, whereupon Clark boarded a rare airplane to tour internationally.

Sadly sales were slim. Clark returned to Northern California to write the next album at his own pace. Eventually he returned to L.A. to sustain his career. The rigors of the road eventually tore his marriage apart, leading to a tailspin of alcohol, drugs and death in 1991. He was 46.

As biographer and reissue annotator John Einarson writes, “In the intervening decades, the songs Gene Clark wrote and demoed for White Light, offered here, stand as a deeply personal statement to an enduring talent at peace with himself, his surroundings and his life choices.”

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December 11, 2012

Omnivore Recordings



Ten-inch vinyl EPs made available on Black Friday provided a sneak preview of Merle Haggard’s The Complete ’60s Capitol Singles, George Jones’ The Complete United Artists Solo Singles,and Wanda Jackson’s The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Omnivore Recordings will release definitive compilations by three giants of country and rockabilly music — Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard and George Jones — on February 12, 2013. Having released musical appetizers in the form of ten-inch vinyl EPs on Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday, Omnivore will serve the main course on compact disc in the form of Merle Haggard’s The Complete ’60s Capitol Singles, George Jones’ The Complete United Artists Solo Singles, and Wanda Jackson’s The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles. All three compilations feature A & B sides from the artists’ most influential years. The vinyl EPs were companion pieces, containing rarities not found on the CDs.

Wanda Jackson’s The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles contains 29 songs from her Capitol stint, which began in 1956. Each was taken from the original analog mono 45-rpm masters. Idolized by three generations of rockers, the Queen of Rockabilly made musical side-trips into country and gospel. For every A-side rave-up like “Mean Mean Man” or “Fujiyama Mama,” she offers B sides of equal intrigue: a weeper like “(Every Time They Play) Our Song” or the hillbilly tragedy of “No Wedding Bells for Joe.” She tore through songs that Elvis sang, and also drew from the jazz greats, R&B legends, doo-woppers and the Nashville hit machine. And she made each song her own.

In the ’50s, Capitol Records ad men scratched their heads, looking for a way to position Wanda Jackson’s sound, gamely settling on “jumping rock ’n’ waltz novelty.” Today, as she plays before indie-rock-aged crowds, supporting recent albums produced by Jack White and Justin Townes Earle, we know she’s no novelty. The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles, with extensive liner notes by Daniel Cooper, is her most definitive career retrospective to date.

Jackson’s Capitol label-mate Merle Haggard became one of country music’s greatest stars while recording his Bakersfield-honed songs at the tower at Hollywood & Vine from 1965 until 1976. The Omnivore compilation The Complete ’60s Capitol Singles features 28 A & B sides taken from the original analog mono 45-rpm masters. Neo-rockabilly artist and part-time journalist Deke Dickerson, a longtime Haggard fan, wrote the liner notes.

From “Swinging Doors” in 1965 until the end of the decade, Haggard had an impressive string of hits. “The Fugitive” (b/w “Someone Told My Story”), his first #1 single, was a composition by the esteemed songwriter Liz Anderson (Lynn Anderson’s mother). “I Threw Away the Rose” b/w “Loneliness Is Eating Me Alive” went to #2 on the charts in 1966. Other chart-toppers on this volume include “You Don’t Have Very Far To Go” b/w “Good Times” and “The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde” b/w “I Started Loving You Again.” “Working Man Blues,” written when Haggard “needed (his) own ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’” became a blue-collar anthem and shot to #1. The collection closes with “Okie From Muskogee,” the unlikely political pop crossover that sent mixed signals to younger listeners. Most have since delved deeper into Haggard’s five decades of music and consider him a hero. He continues to record today.

United Artists Records was eventually married to Capitol when it, along with parent label Liberty, was acquired by EMI in 1978. But when country star George Jones recorded for the label (following stints at Starday and Mercury) from 1962 til 1966, United Artists and Capitol were Hollywood crosstown rivals. It was at UA that Jones mastered all the flavors of country: lovelorn ballads, inspirational gospel, uptempo honky tonk, humorous novelty numbers, old-timey murder ballads — even holiday and Western songs. Most of his UA work was done in Nashville featuring the city’s A team: guitarist Grady Martin, pianist Hargus “Pig” Robbins, bassist Bob Moore, drummer Buddy Harman and Hal Rugg on pedal steel. The Jordanaires provided background vocals.

Omnivore’s 32-song George Jones compilation, The Complete United Artist Solo Singles, leads off with chart toppers “She Thinks I Still Care” b/w “Sometimes You Just Can’t Win,” produced by the legendary Cowboy Jack Clement. Both sides of the single pointed the way to the sound that would mark his signature style in decades to follow. The collection also includes Jones’ 1965 smash “The Race Is On.”

“Country music is like a religion to me,” he told Holly George-Warren, author of this compilation’s liner notes. Jones’ early ’60s work for United Artists will make a believer out of you.

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November 27, 2012

Townes Van Zandt



Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972
is a 28-track set featuring versions of notable songs from the artist’s most prolific period, 1971-72. Liner notes by Colin Escott.

AUSTIN, Texas — As musicologist Colin Escott writes in his liner notes for the upcoming Omnivore Recordings release of the late Townes Van Zandt’s Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972, “The art of Townes Van Zandt reveals a little at a time. Every hearing brings forth something you can’t believe you missed all the other times, or something that rings even truer today than way back when.”

Omnivore will give listeners more to discover in Townes Van Zandt when the 28-song, two-CD set is released on February 5, 2013. The recordings that comprise the set have been hidden away in the vault since their initial recording and are now presented with the cooperation of the estate. Due to acquisitions by various labels of the initial Poppy Records recordings, these session recordings have sat on the shelf with no one knowing quite where to find them — until now.

Following ten studio albums, several singles and several live albums, the troubled life of the influential singer-songwriter, performer and poet came to a close on New Years Day 1997.

Omnivore is pleased to finally be able to present, after many years in the works, a two-CD set of previously unavailable music from the Texas singer-songwriter’s classic albums High, Low & In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. One disc features outtakes and alternate takes/mixes of tracks from the sessions for those LPs; the other highlights solo demos. The set offers a window into the work that went into those two brilliant recordings, from a time when Van Zandt was at the height of his songwriting powers.

With alternate takes and mixes of songs like “To Live Is To Fly” (presented in both alternate take and demo form) and the classic "Pancho & Lefty" a mix made alongside the known version, but without the strings and horns of the commercial version), Sunshine Boy is an essential release for all true Townes Van Zandt fans. The quiet and largely solo demo disc provides an intimate portrait of Van Zandt demo-ing songs, some of which would become his best-known compositions.

As Escott explains, “alternate versions add an entirely new dimension, like seeing someone you thought you knew so well in a new light. The new songs are simply good to have when it seemed the barrel was empty. And so here are more than two hours of Townes Van Zandt — music unheard since the engineer peeled off a little splicing tape to seal the box 40 years ago.”

Escott’s comprehensive liner notes, unseen photographs from the era and some entirely unheard songs, make this collection a must-have for fans of one of the best songwriters of his time.

November 12, 2012


Owens’ 18 tracks from the Hee Haw era and Rich’s only solo album
were never released until now. Street date is January 23.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The San Joaquin Valley city with a population of just over 300,000 served as the Western counterpart to Nashville from the ’50s on through the ’70s, producing such stars as Buck Owens & The Buckaroos, Merle Haggard, and the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Owens and Haggard topped the country charts for decades while retaining their Central California roots. But it wasn’t until 2012 that Omnivore Recordings, digging a little deeper, found two albums worth of never-before-released music from the Buckaroos camp: Buck Owens’ Honky Tonk Man and Don Rich Sings George Jones. Both CDs are set for release January 23, 2013.

The 18 tracks on Buck Owens’ Honky Tonk Man were culled from the vast trove of material he recorded at his Bakersfield studio for the rural hit comedy TV series Hee Haw in the early ’70s. The set is a concise tutorial on the history of country music — from “In the Jailhouse Now,” a song first popularized by Jimmie Rodgers in 1928, to “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” a hit for Johnny Russell in 1973. Many of the songs Owens did for Hee Haw were originally recorded by his biggest and earliest influences: Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys’ “Stay a Little Longer”; Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” “Jambalaya” and “Hey Good Lookin’”; Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On”; and Jack Guthrie’s “Oklahoma Hills.” Owens also nodded to fellow Bakersfield Sound stalwart Merle Haggard on “Swinging Doors.”

The CD’s title track, “Honky Tonk Man,” is a song first popularized by Johnny Horton in 1956. Thirty years later it became an even bigger hit for Dwight Yoakam, an avowed Bakersfield Sound disciple.

An unreleased Owens track is a rare thing indeed. To have 18 previously unreleased sides collected in one CD is a Bakersfield-sized bounty of riches for Buck Owens fans everywhere.

Until his tragic death in 1974, guitarist, fiddler and vocalist Don Rich appeared on nearly all Buck Owens’ hit records, beginning in the late ’50s. Don Rich Sings George Jones is one of the most exciting country music discoveries in decades — the only solo album ever recorded by the legendary lead guitarist and harmony vocalist for Buck Owens & the Buckaroos. Even more amazing is the fact that this album sat in Owens’ tape vault — unreleased and long forgotten — until now.

In the mid-’60s, with Owens a key part of the Capitol Records roster for a decade, the Buckaroos were issued a separate recording contract with the label, allowing the band to make its own recordings. The band recorded a dozen LPs, over half of which hit Billboard magazine’s best-selling album chart. While primarily known for sizzling instrumental tracks, almost all these albums featured vocals by Rich and other members. With Don’s vocal songs becoming charting singles in their own right, making a Don Rich solo album became pretty much a foregone conclusion.

As fellow Buckaroo Jim Shaw recalls, “Buck went to Don and said, ‘Why don’t you do an album of George Jones covers?’ I suspect Buck thought, ‘That’s a good commercial way to go. George Jones has a huge pile of hits to choose from.’” As to why the album languished in the tape vault for over 40 years, since Owens and Rich are both gone (Rich died in a 1974 motorcycle accident while leaving the Bakersfield studio), there’s no one to provide the answer. But Jim Shaw points out that Rich wouldn’t have bothered to remind anybody about the recording: “Don didn’t have a lot of ambition to be a solo artist. He just wanted to read books about military airplanes and ride his motorcycle.”

The album features such Jones hits as “A Girl I Used To Know,” “White Lightning” and the fittingly Bakersfield-esque “The Race Is On.” In addition are four never-before-released George Jones covers by Buck himself: “The Race is On,” “Four-O-Thirty Three,” “Root Beer” and “Too Much Water.”

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October 30, 2012


Also from Omnivore, Jellyfish’s two-CD set Stack-a-Tracks offers
rare glimpse of band in an instrumental mode

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Record Store Day comes but once a year, but its Back to Black Friday event in November brings the focus back to independent record stores during the biggest shopping day of the year. And for Omnivore Recordings, it’s an important and fun event.

“Everyone at Omnivore is a fan and a collector, most of us have worked at a record store at some point in our career, and as a label, Back to Black Friday gives us an opportunity to make something that we might not otherwise get the chance to make,” says the label’s Cheryl Pawelski. “We love supporting record stores because we all grew up in them and feel that they are an important part of how people learn about music.”

In order to celebrate Black Friday Record Store Day (November 23, 2012), Omnivore has prepared four ten-inch vinyl EPs by country legends Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson, George Jones and Buck Owens, with much of the material making its vinyl debut. At another end of the musical spectrum, Jellyfish’s Stack-a-Tracks presents never-before-heard instrumental mixes of the band’s two studio albums in a limited-edition, numbered, first edition digipak.

On November 23, 2012, Omnivore will release these ten-inch discs, which will preview full albums due in 2013: George Jones’ United Artists Rarities; Wanda Jackson’s Capitol Rarities; Merle Haggard’s Capitol Rarities; and Buck Owens’ Buck Sings Eagles. Jellyfish’s Stack-a-Tracks also hits the racks on the same day.

According to Pawelski, “Our very first Omnivore release, the Big Star — Third [Test Pressing Edition] is an example of being a little extra creative for Record Store Day. It was an expensive release to make, and without the event that is RSD, we probably couldn’t have pulled it off. It gave us that extra latitude to be able to push the creative limits as far as we could go and justify it.”

The November 2012 Record Store Day Back to Black Friday releases:

George Jones – United Artists Rarities: As Jones prepares for his farewell tour in 2013, Omnivore is planning the release of The Complete United Artists Solo Singles. Jones had two label homes prior to signing to UA in 1962, and while his tenure there was short (four years), it produced hits like “She Thinks I Still Care” and “The Race Is On.” The United Artists Rarities ten-inch vinyl EP in a beautiful picture sleeve presents four alternate versions of UA recordings plus two previously unissued duets with Melba Montgomery (“There Will Never Be Another” and “Alabama”).

Wanda Jackson – Capitol Rarities: 2012 was a big year for the Queen of Rockabilly on the heels of career-reinvigorating new albums produced by Jack White and Justin Townes Earle. While Omnivore puts the crowning touches on its 2013 release The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles, the six-song vinyl EP Capitol Rarities sets the stage. Included are previously unissued versions of songs recorded between 1956-62 including “Step by Step” “In the Middle of a Heartache,” “The Wrong Kind of Girl” and three more.

Merle Haggard – Capitol Rarities: One of the pioneers of the Bakersfield sound, Haggard toured with Buck Owens in the early ’60s and in 1965 was signed to Capitol Records (already home to Buck) by producer Ken Nelson. Omnivore is planning a full-length CD The Complete Capitol ’60s Singles for 2013 release, to which the Capitol Rarities ten-inch vinyl EP sets the stage. The EP contains songs never released back in the day, and alternate versions of well-known tunes. All six songs emanate from unique Nashville and Hollywood recording sessions, making this EP a very cool, collectible piece.

Buck Owens – Buck Sings Eagles: If Buck Owens, Father of the Bakersfield sound, wasn’t already a household name by 1968, the advent of the hit TV series Hee Haw cemented his fame. Music for the show was recorded in Buck’s studio and then played back on the show with live-to-track vocals. Omnivore will issue these previously unissued made-for-TV recordings as Honky Tonk Man: Buck Owens Sings Country Classics in 2013. Among these recordings were four previously unissued cover songs by the California country-rock torch-carriers the Eagles that comprise the ten-inch vinyl EP.

Jellyfish: Stack-a-Tracks: While recording their two pivotal studio albums, 1990’s Bellybutton and 1993’s Spilt Milk, “instrumental” mixes of each record were created by Jellyfish and their producers. Unheard and untouched for decades, these recordings will finally see the light of day on Omnivore Recordings’ Jellyfish – Stack-a-Tracks. This is not a “re-imagining” of what these records “might” sound like as instrumentals. They’re the real deal, transferred from the original 1/4-inch masters. With an individually numbered edition of 2,500 units, housed in a digipak for the limited first edition with new illustrated artwork (created for the release by artist Mike McCarthy), this two-CD set is destined to become the newest gem in the collection of power-pop fans everywhere.

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October 25, 2012


Available on limited edition vinyl and as a two-CD set combining the original with a previously unissued 14-track live show from 1981

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Omnivore Recordings will release a newly remastered 30th Anniversary limited edition LP and two-CD set of the long lost, out-of-print, landmark 1981 album Heartbreak, by seminal Scottish folk guitarist, singer, and composer Bert Jansch on November 6. The first pressing of the LP will be issued on 1,500 pieces of clear vinyl (with subsequent pressings on black vinyl), while the two-CD collection includes the original Heartbreak album in its entirety along with 14 previously unreleased tracks recorded during an intimate live show in June 1981 at the storied venue inside McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, Calif.

Set for release just days after what would have been Jansch’s 69th birthday (November 3), this is a collector’s must-have, featuring extras including special photos and liner notes by legendary English folk musician Ralph McTell and the album’s original producers.

Recorded in June 1981 (and released in 1982), Heartbreak was produced by two enthusiastic fans, Rick and John Chelew. This was the first time in the studio for Rick and his brother John (producer of the pivotal John Hiatt album Bring the Family, three Grammy award-winning albums for The Blind Boys of Alabama, and many others). They borrowed money from their mother to finance the sessions and to pay enlisted musicians like renowned guitarist Albert Lee (Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, The Everly Brothers, Bill Wyman) and noted singer/songwriter Jennifer Warnes to accompany Bert in the small Silverlake Studio where the album was recorded. During the sessions, Bert played a few live solo shows around California, including the legendary folk club McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. Fortunately, Rick and John had the foresight to document these concerts, and now the 30th Anniversary Edition of Heartbreak has been further enhanced by a previously unreleased, complete live show from McCabe's Guitar Shop.

Bert Jansch was one of the most important and central figures in folk music, both for his solo recordings and his work with influential British folk group, Pentangle. Born in Scotland, he was steeped in American blues and jazz, North African music, and folk early in his career, and by the beginning of the ’60s he was playing the British folk clubs, extending his musical education. Artists like Martin Carthy and Anne Briggs turned him on to songs in the British folk tradition.

By the mid-’60s Jansch had set up residence in London where he began and playing live shows, and began making the studio recordings that would come to influence a generation of songwriters, singers, and guitar players. Classic artists like Jimmy Page, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Donovan, Elton John, and Nick Drake, all the way up to present artists like Fleet Foxes and Devendra Banhart, have acknowledged Jansch as a major influence and innovator of acoustic guitar playing.
By his second album, Jansch was collaborating with John Renbourn, another seminal British folk guitar giant. Together in 1967, they formed Pentangle, one of the most important British folk groups of the ’60s. Bert Jansch is listed as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Top 100 Guitar Players of All Time.”
According to McTell on his liner notes, “Around this time, Bert was in a very dark place. . . Heartbreak marked an opening up in Bert’s approach to his work, and from here on, although times were often difficult, Bert began to sort out his life through his music.”

Jansch died on October 5, 2011.

About Omnivore Recordings:
Founded in 2010 by longtime, highly respected industry veterans Cheryl Pawelski, Greg Allen, Dutch Cramblitt, and Brad Rosenberger, Omnivore Recordings preserves the legacies and music created by historical, heritage, and catalog artists while also releasing previously unissued, newly found “lost” recordings and making them available for music-loving audiences to discover. Omnivore Recordings is distributed by EMI.



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