One thing the folks at Omnivore Recordings are, well, omnivorous about is country music. For Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, the label previewed four upcoming releases with special vinyl EPs from Buck Owens, Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard and George Jones. Following the January 23, 2013 release of Owens’ Honky Tonk Man and Don Rich Sings George Jones, Omnivore will issue three new compilations on February 12: Haggard’s The Complete ‘60s Capitol Singles, Jones’ The Complete United Artists Solo Singles, and Jackson’s The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles. The vinyl EPs will remain as companion discs to these new CDs, containing unique rarities not available elsewhere.
2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wanda Jackson released her 31st studio album, Unfinished Business, just a couple of months ago, just the latest success in a long recording career dating back to 1954. The Queen of Rockabilly signed with Capitol Records in 1956, and remained with the label until 1973. The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles contains 29 songs from her Capitol tenure, all derived from the original analog mono masters. Expect rockabilly, country and gospel in a distinct Jackson stew which Omnivore promises will include rockers like “Fujiyama Mama” (1957) and “Mean Mean Man” (1958) as well as three-hanky tearjerkers like “No Wedding Bells for Joe” (1957) and “(Every Time They Play) Our Song” (1958). Daniel Cooper puts Jackson’s groundbreaking country-and-western stylings into perspective via his new liner notes.
While Jackson hailed from Oklahoma, her Capitol labelmate Merle Haggard hailed from California, where he remained to become a central proponent of the back-to-basics Bakersfield Sound alongside Buck Owens. 2010 Kennedy Center Honoree Haggard called Capitol home from 1965 to 1977, where he notched an impressive string of hits including many country No. 1s. “The Fugitive” kicked off Haggard’s run of chart-toppers in 1966, his sixth single to have reached the country charts. He ended the decade with another No. 1, the politically incendiary (and oft-misunderstood) “Okie from Muskogee.” Like Jackson, Haggard is still going strong today, and his pivotal first decade in music is definitively chronicled on The Complete ‘60s Capitol Singles. The new anthology features 28 A & B sides taken from the original analog mono masters, and musician Deke Dickerson has written the liner notes.
After the jump, we look at what’s coming from George Jones! Plus: pre-order links and more!
Another complete string of singles is arriving from George Jones. The third living legend recognized by Omnivore in this batch of releases, 2008 Kennedy Center Honoree Jones has recorded for multiple labels over the years, but called United Artists home between 1962 and 1966. (Jones’ recordings at UA came under the Capitol umbrella when UA and Liberty Records were acquired by Capitol parent EMI in 1978.) This seminal period fell between tenures at Mercury and Musicor Records, and predated the tabloid notoriety of his marriage to Tammy Wynette and a long spell on the Epic label. Yet for all of the label changes, Jones’ style was always consistent, practically the definition of a pure country vocalist. At Capitol, the Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member tackled honky-tonk, gospel, ballads of love lost and found, and even comic and holiday novelties. The 32-track The Complete United Artist Solo Singles kicks off with chart-toppers “She Thinks I Still Care” b/w “Sometimes You Just Can’t Win,” produced by “Cowboy” Jack Clement and takes in familiar hits including 1965’s sizzling “The Race Is On.” For George Jones, the race has never ended.
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 arrive from Omnivore Recordings on February 12. All three titles are available now for pre-order at the Omnivore webstore, where a holiday sale is going on between December 17 and 30! You can also order from Amazon.com by clicking on any of the album covers above, and we’ll be sure to update soon with full track listings!