Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Single of the Month - "Kathy McCord"
Kathy McCord (CTI)
Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder
Cover Photo: Price Givens
Artwork: Tony Lane
One of the rarest and sought-after singles in the entire CTI catalog, this gem includes McCord's own "New York Good Sugar/Lyric #7" on Side A, and The Beatles hit "I'm Leaving Home" (John Lennon-Paul McCartney) on Side B.
Featuring: Kathy McCord (vocals), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), John Hall (acoustic & electric guitars), Paul Harris (piano & organ), Wells Kelly (drums), Ed Shaugnessy (drums & tabla), and Hubert Laws (flute)
Strings & Brass arranged & conducted by Don Sebesky
For decades, Kathy McCord's self-titled debut album for CTI (recorded on five sessions in November and December 1969, and released in March 1970 as the first project that Creed Taylor produced at Van Gelder Studio as the LP that started a new era for CTI as an independent label, after a 3-year association with A&M) remained as one of the most hard-to-find vinyls in the past century.
Then, out of the blue, an unauthorized CD reissue came out in Japan back in 1999. And, exactly on March 2, 2010, the UK-based label Ace-Big Beat Records released in Europe a 2-CD set titled "Kathy McCord: New Jersey to Woodstock," a 28-track collection with the complete CTI album plus a whole CD of previously unissued recordings. But with a completely different cover art.
Then, on June 24, 2011, "Kathy McCord" was once again being reissued on CD in Asia, in a limited edition of 3,000 copies issued by the Seoul-based label Media Arte Korea. Better: in a mini-LP sleeve restoring the original LP cover art (conceived by CTI art director Tony Lane, who also did the cover to Jobim's "Stone Flower" before being replaced by another master, my friend Bob Ciano), with the beautiful pic by photographer Price Givens on the front cover. And there are bonus tracks too; 10 of the 18 songs extra songs added to "New Jersey to Woodstock."
Alain Manuel, a French CTI historian from the CTI Fan Blog (http://alain70.unblog.fr/), was the first who alerted me about this new reissue. But I was on my way to Canada, and only some days later, in Montreal, I had the chance to contact Kathy McCord. To my surprise, that's what she told me: "I'm fine...but was not aware of any release in Korea...??? I will have to tell BV (Billy Vera, her brother and unofficial business manager). What label, do you know? I know there was a pirated CD some years ago (the one from the Vivid Label)...didn't know then either, I never saw a dime :( When I find out what the story is I will let you know."
For those who aren't aware, Kathy McCord's lone 1969 for Creed Taylor's CTI Records (arranged by Don Sebesky & engineered by Rudy Van Gelder) has long been a cult folk-psych classic, rated highly by all those who enjoy artists such as Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and their ilk. Its cult status has been boosted by its incredible scarcity - a true holy grail in collector circles, if ever there was one.
Aside from its original vinyl issue in early 1970, the only other time it's been available in 40 years was via an almost impossible-to-find, limited Japanese CD reissue (released in 1999 by Vivid Sound Corporation) that is, if anything, harder to find than the original album now!
The London-based Ace Records reinstated this precious music to catalog in 2010. Besides the 10 tracks from the CTI LP (recorded at Van Gelder Studios, in New Jersey, on November 18, 19, 20 & 24 and December 2, 1969, featuring Harvey Brooks - the bassist who recorded on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" -, John Hall, Paul Harris, Wells Kelly, Ed Shaugnessy and Hubert Laws, who had just been signed to CTI too), that 2-CD set also included both sides of an even rarest pre-CTI single (recorded in 1968 for the Rainy Day label) and nearly 20 demos that Kathy cut in Woodstock during the 1970s. All were from Kathy's own collection, and none had ever been released commercially prior to that CD.