Rahsaan Roland Kirk's nearly one-dozen long-players on the Mercury Records family of labels – including the Smash and Limelight subsidiaries – are gathered on this massive ten-disc compilation. Actually, it is 11 discs if you count the surprise bonus CD. Additionally, Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings of Roland Kirk lives up to its name by augmenting those albums with more than two-dozen previously unissued sides.
André Cluytens, though born in Belgium, achieved fame as one of the supreme French conductors of his era, renowned for his refinement and the sheer joy of his music-making. In the mid-20th century he built a substantial, varied and distinguished discography and became the first conductor to record the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Berliner Philharmoniker. This 64-disc set, uniting all his recordings of orchestral, concerto and choral repertoire, embraces the mainstream and the esoteric, and includes numerous items making their debut on CD or retrieved from the archives and released for the very first time.
In May 1956, the Texan label Starday issued a wild rockabilly single by Thumper Jones. Its top side, the kinetic “Rock It”, was primal, uncontrolled and wild. The flip, “How Come It”, was less frenzied but still driving and infectious. Original pressings of the two-sided pounder in either its 45 or 78 form now fetch at least Ј200. This is not your usual rockabilly rarity though. The record’s label credited the songs to a Geo. Jones. Thumper Jones was a pseudonymous George Jones (1931–2013), who was cashing in a hip style: the only time he did so with rockabilly.
Following an unsatisfying three-year stint at Mercury Records, Chuck Berry returned home to Chess in 1969, just like Phil Chess predicted. Heading home didn’t necessarily mean retreating, as the four-disc Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974 illustrates. During his time at Mercury, Chuck followed the kids wherever they went, aligning himself with the psychedelic ‘60s in a way none of his peers did. This shift is immediately apparent on “Tulane,” the very first song he cut upon his return to Chess. An ode to a couple of kids who dealt dope underneath the counter of a novelty shop, “Tulane” puts Chuck on the side of the counterculture, and over the next five years, he never strayed back to the other side of the fence, often singing about getting stoned, dabbling with a wah-wah pedal, rhapsodizing about rock festivals, cheerfully telling smutty jokes.
"Between 1980 and his death in 1989, Herbert von Karajan recorded the incredible amount of 78 CDs worth of orchestral and choral music for DGG. In the final decade of his creative life, he made quintessential recordings of major works he had not recorded before: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable” and Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony. Among the highpoints of Karajan’s late years is the major part of his collaboration with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the “wunderkind” Karajan discovered in the late 1970s and mentored throughout the 1980s.
Sony Classical will reissue its recordings by Tafelmusik, the GRAMMY-nominated period-instrument orchestra, in a new box set of 47 CDs. Originally released between 1989 and 1998, the recordings of the famed orchestra's Baroque and Classical repertoire are all being issued together for the first time in a single Sony Classical box set.
There’s much more to Nat King Cole than you know. Nat was surely a smooth singer and a gentle swinger. But he was also a consummate jazz piano player who recorded secretly as a sideman for Keynote and Mercury – using amusing pseudonyms – even as he rose to fame recording hit after hit for Capitol Records. Riffin’: The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings, a 3-CD box set on Hip-oSelect.com’s Verve Select imprint, features Nat backing his many friends in the 1940s, as well as his original King Cole Trio singles on Decca – a total of 53 tracks significantly restored and remastered, and housed in a beautiful 7 3/8” square box set with a 30-page book stuffed with rare photos, a brilliant essay by David Ritz, detailed session notes and reproductions of the original releases’ artwork, from 78 RPM labels to 10-inch LP covers and much more.
As Sarah Vaughan put it herself: 'There's a category for me. I like to be referred to as a good singer of good songs in good taste.' So sit back and enjoy three hours of tasteful, divine songs in a variety of genres.