Cold weather got you down? Omnivore Recordings is heating things up with a pair of gems – hidden no more – due on March 11. The label will bring a lost Memphis classic from artist Sid Selvidge (and Big Star producer Jim Dickinson) to CD for the first time in over two decades, along with a funk-filled fusion excursion courtesy of Bayeté, a.k.a. Todd Cochran (writer of Santana’s “Free Angela”).
Though born in Mississippi, singer-guitarist Sid Selvidge was a fixture on the Memphis music scene right up through his death last year at the age of 69 following a long battle with cancer. Founder and executive producer of the still-thriving Beale Street Caravan radio program, Selvidge’s recording career included albums for Stax and Elektra, as well as on his own Peabody label. Selvidge played a key role in the recording and release of the late Alex Chilton’s first official solo album, 1979’s Like Flies on Sherbert, and his C.V. also included recordings by Cybill Shepherd and baseball all-star Tim McCarver! The Cold of the Morning, recorded for Peabody in 1975, is soon to be arriving in an expanded and remastered edition by Omnivore.
For the album sessions, Selvidge was joined by Memphis stalwarts Mudboy and the Neutrons, and producer Dickinson on piano. The eclectic tunestack included selections ranging from “Danny Boy” to “Then I’d Be Satisfied with Life” (also recorded by none other than Tiny Tim). But the Cold of the Morning almost didn’t see the light of day. Omnivore explains, “With a cover photo taken by William Eggleston, it was destined for greatness, but when Peabody Records’ benefactor decided not to put the record out at the last minute, he gave the rights to the recently pressed LP to Selvidge, who drove down to the plant, loaded up his car and distributed them himself. The album eventually found its way into regional stores and the national press, even reaching the Cashbox charts, and was enough to take Selvidge to New York, but life intervened, and bigger record deals were not in the cards.”
This expanded reissue has been produced with the cooperation of Selvidge’s son Steve of The Hold Steady, and features six previously unissued bonus tracks from the album sessions. (The CD will contain the full 18 track playlist, while the LP has the original 12 tracks with a download card for the full 18 songs. The initial LP pressing will be on translucent blue vinyl. Finally, the album will also be available in digital form.) Journalist Bob Mehr of The Commercial Appeal provides in-depth new liner notes. Steve Selvidge sums it up: “He said, ‘Look, I’ve made my classic record. It was almost like he was apart from it. It really was the perfect capturing of the perfect moment, and it made for his most perfect statement.”
After the jump: the lowdown on Bayeté’s Worlds Around the Sun!
One of the highlights of Santana’s 1974 live triple-LP psychedelic music explosion Lotus was “Free Angela,” one of the “new” tracks that peppered the tracklist alongside Santana staples like “Oye Como Va” and “Black Magic Woman.” But while “Free Angela” (inspired by controversial activist Angela Davis, also the subject of songs from The Rolling Stones and John Lennon and Yoko Ono) was new to Santana, it had been previously recorded by its composer, Todd Cochran, on his 1972 Prestige Records release Worlds Around the Sun.
Worlds Around The Sun, released under the name of Bayeté, was wholly written and produced by Cochran, who also played keyboards (including, naturally, fusion staple Fender Rhodes!) alongside personnel including percussionist Bobby Hutcherson. Though its reputation has grown over the years, the album has never been released on CD…until now. Not only is Omnivore premiering the album on CD, but the label has added two previously unissued bonus tracks from the original sessions, “Phoebe” and “Shine the Knock,” bringing the total number of tracks from six to eight. The package includes a brand-new conversation with Cochran and author Pat Thomas (Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975) as well as photos from Cochran’s archive.
Cochran recorded one more album for Prestige (Seeking Other Beauty), recorded for CTI as part of Fuse One, and went on to perform with musicians from the jazz, rock and R&B worlds including Stanleys Clarke and Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Teena Marie and Peter Gabriel. But his heart and soul can be found on Worlds Around the Sun. The CD is available on March 11, and it can be pre-ordered below – along with Sid Selvidge’s The Cold of the Morning!
Sid Selvidge, The Cold of the Morning (Peabody LP PS-101, 1976 – reissued Omnivore Recordings, 2014)
- I’ve Got a Secret (Didn’t We Sugaree)
- Frank’s Tune
- The Outlaw
- Boll Weevil
- Wished I Had a Dime – with Mud Boy and the Neutrons
- Judge Boushé
- Then I’d Be Satisfied with Life
- Danny Boy
- Many a Mile
- I Get the Blues When It Rains – with Mud Boy and the Neutrons
- Miss the Mississippi and You
- East St. Louis Blues
- Wild About My Lovin’
- Keep It Clean
- Atomic Power
- Wished I Had a Dime (Alternate Take) – with Mud Boy and the Neutrons
- Ain’t Nobody’s Business
Tracks 13-18 are previously unreleased
- It Ain’t
- Free Angela (Thoughts…And All I’ve Got to Say)
- Njeri (Belonging to a Warrior)
- I’m On It
- Bayeté (Between Man and God)
- Eurus (The Southwest Wind)
- Phoebe (previously unreleased)
- Shine the Knock (previously unreleased)