Back to touchy-feely music

Is there a swing away from the anonymity of digital files and back to the touchy-feely music formats of the past? This Wednesday (Aug. 26) sees the release of a 4CD definitive edition of Woody Guthrie's mid-1940s recordings. The discs come packaged in the replica vintage suitcase seen below, complete with handle and latches. Inside is a full-color 68 page book and there are also facsimiles of Woody's business card, a postcard sent from Florida to his wife, and a booking card from the 1940s, as seen above.

And yes, the sound did matter then, so the CD transfers are made from newly discovered original metal masters. This touchy feely release comes from Rounder Records and retails for $75.99.

Could touchy-feely be the salvation of the ailing record industry? Will we see LSO Live releasing a definitive Valery Gergiev edition packaged in a carry-on flight bag complete with Lonely Planet Guide to Ossetia and facsimile frequent flyer card? Watch this space while reading more on Woody Guthrie here.

Valery Gergiev conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Schnittke and Shostakovich at the BBC Proms on Monday (Aug. 22). Unless he misses his flight.
With thanks to reader Tim McCarthy for the heads up on the Woody Guthrie box. No review sample has changed hands, so I am putting it on my Amazon wish list. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
More on this box -
Pliable said…
My eyes and ears in the retail trade, Keith Hobday of Prelude Records reports:

Re the Guthrie box, it looks likes Universal are now distributing Rounder Records in the UK. The trade site for Universal shows a release date of 5th October in the UK and it should retail for about £55.99. The number in the UK is 6111622. I'm assuming this will be the deluxe packaging and not a slimmed down version of the same CDs.

What seems a bit unclear is if Universal are distributing all of Rounders products. We're still ordering some of the more unusual titles through Proper Music. I imagine Universal wanted to get their hands on Madeleine Peyroux and Alison Kraus above all else.


One of Keith's many extra curricula projects is the Vaughan Williams concert in Norwich Cathedral on August 29. The programme of truly Henry Wood proportions includes both the Symphony No 7, 'Sinfonia Antartica' and Job - A Masque for Dancing as well as four other RVW works -
Anonymous said…
Pliable, you may well know of other current examples which you don't mention, but I wonder if there are enough to qualify as a "swing."

After all, this sort of deluxe packaging has been around for a long while, often involving "restoration," additional documentation, and unconventional packaging of previously available material. Two examples on CD which I have in front of me are the Armstrong Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings; and the Ken Burns Jazz box.

Moving on back to the LP era, I see 4 examples of the RCA Soria Series here - a Toscanini Schubert 9th, 2 by Bream, and the Beecham Messiah which my late father had.

The Bream and Beecham were new recordings when issued as described, but the others I mention share some characteristics with the Guthrie - material which has been available previously, sometimes in multiple incarnations; a "never sounded better" claim; and enough additional material and elegance to try to get re-purchases of the material.

After all, one could argue that just about everybody who is interested in Guthrie or the Hot Five/Hot Seven recordings already has some or all today. In other words, I suspect (but have no way of knowing) that most of the market for these things is for "upgrades" and not for "new purchases."

I'm not arguing against this sort of thing by any means. The Guthrie box, suitcase looks very attractive. It seems to have the same sort of historical material that made the Armstrong example so attractive. One of my objections to the "digital files only" world is that in many (most?) cases, there are "value add" materials without which the digital files are poorer.

I wish nothing but success for the Guthrie, and hope it sells well enough to justify other such efforts.
Pliable said…
Nice touchy-feely packaging here -

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