Here at Second Disc HQ, we know that we can count on Omnivore Recordings for some of the most colorful and fun releases for Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday shopping event! On the day after Thanksgiving, you might find yourself at your local indie record store to pick up one of Omnivore’s three Black Friday collectibles. As usual, it’s a diverse trio, with releases from two late troubadours – Townes Van Zandt and Gene Clark – and one legendary late comedian, Ernie Kovacs.
This past March, Omnivore unveiled The White Light Demos from The Byrds’ Gene Clark, which traced the development of the music that was released on Clark’s August 1971 LP for A&M Records, White Light. For Back to Black Friday, The White Light Demos arrives as a limited edition orange vinyl pressing. Clark’s second post-Byrds solo record, White Light was a rootsy collection of intensely personal, and frequently transcendent, music. Of the twelve demos on Omnivore’s release, 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 A&M’s 2002 CD reissue of the album. One track (“Here Tonight”) is an alternate version of a song that appeared on the Flying Burrito Brothers compilation Close Up The Honky Tonks. The remaining trio of songs (“For No One,” “Please Mr. Freud” and “Jimmy Christ”) had never been issued previously in any form prior to Omnivore’s CD release. This is the first appearance of The White Light Demos on vinyl.
After the jump: what’s coming from Townes Van Zandt and Ernie Kovacs?
Reviewing Omnivore’s February release of Townes Van Zandt’s Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Sessions & Demos 1971 – 1972, we wrote, “This labor of love…is a revealing look into an artist whose depth is still being discovered by generations of younger songwriters and fans alike.” Indeed, the 2-CD Sunshine Boy was a years-in-the-making project which finally unveiled a treasure trove of Americana from the late, troubled singer-songwriter who died in 1997. The 28-track collection was drawn from both demos and studio recordings, all never before released in any format. Sunshine Boy includes versions of some of Van Zandt’s most beloved songs, including “To Live Is To Fly” (presented in both alternate take and demo form) and “Pancho and Lefty” (in a mix made concurrent with the familiar version, but without its strings and horns). “Pancho” was first recorded on The Late Great Townes Van Zandt but first popularized by Emmylou Harris in 1977 on her album Luxury Liner. But Emmylou was merely setting the stage. Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson titled their 1983 duets album after the song, and the title track went all the way to No. 1 on the country charts. For Back to Black Friday, Sunshine Boy arrives as a 3-LP set, with the first pressing on clear vinyl.
Last but not least – or leasth? – Omnivore spreads the holiday cheer with Ernie Kovacs, in character as the inimitable Percy Dovetonsils. One of the great personality’s most beloved creations, the lisping poet Mr. Dovetonsils was usually seen reciting his unusual odes in thick glasses with glued-on eyeballs, and a stylish, zebra-patterned smoking jacket. In June 2012, Omnivore issued Ernie Kovacs Presents Percy Dovetonsils…thpeaks, an unreleased album from the 1960s which we wrote “offered plenty of good humor and keen wit to go around.” One of the tracks from that CD, “The Night Before Christmas on New York’s Fashionable East Side,” is joined here by five holiday poems from the Kovacs Unlimited show, all of which are previously unissued. This 1,000-unit limited edition 10-inch full-color picture disc also includes a download card for your digital enjoyment. It’s the perfect complement to The Edie Adams Christmas Album Featuring Ernie Kovacs, available on CD from the Omnivores.
All three titles will be available at finer independent record stores everywhere on Black Friday, November 29, 2013!