TWO LIMITED-EDITION GOLD CDS HIGHLIGHT AUGUST RELEASE FROM AUDIO FIDELITY
Two classic rock albums will be reissued this month in the 24 Karat Gold CD format as part of Audio Fidelity’s ongoing reissues program. James Taylor’s 1970 commercial breakthrough SWEET BABY JAMES and Heart’s 1998 GREATEST HITS compilation will be released as numbered, limited editions that will be available at online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets on August 23.
One of the most acclaimed records in pop music history, SWEET BABY JAMES remains James Taylor’s most successful album. His second solo LP and his first for Warner Bros. Records, it won a Grammy® nomination for Album of the Year (1971), remained on Billboard’s chart for just under two years and is widely credited as the record that ignited the singer-songwriter boom. It contained two of Taylor’s best known ballads, “Fire and Rain” and “Country Road,” both of which became hit singles, and the tongue-in-cheek blues “Steamroller,” which Elvis Presley turned into a Top-20 hit in 1973. SWEET BABY JAMES is also the album that commenced Taylor’s continuing association with Carole King, who plays piano and sings on the album. Other support players include longtime Taylor accompanists Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Russ Kunkel (drums), Leland Sklar (bass), veteran pedal-steel player Red Rhodes and bassist Randy Meisner (of Poco and the Eagles).
The album’s full track list, comprised entirely of Taylor originals except for Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna,” includes the FM-radio favorites “Lo and Behold” and “Sweet Baby James,” as well as “Sunny Skies,” “Blossom,” “Anywhere Like Heaven,” “Oh Baby, Don’t Loose Your Lip on Me” and “Suite 20G.”
Heart’s GREATEST HITS was the first comprehensive collection of Ann and Nancy Wilson’s best-known music from 1976 through 1983. Originally issued in 1998 by Epic Records, the program features such signature single hits as “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” “Dreamboat Annie,” “Barracuda,” “Heartless,” “Tell It Like It Is,” “Straight On,” “Dog and Butterfly,” “Even It Up,” “This Man Is Mine” and “How Can I af Heart CD coverRefuse.” Though it does include material from Heart’s later, more pop period (most notably 1980′s Passionworks), its main emphasis is on the high-energy rock of such ’70s albums as Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Magazine and Dog and Butterfly. GREATEST HITS also features, as bonus tracks, Heart’s live version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” (from 1980′s Greatest Hits Live) and the newly recorded (1998) power ballad, Diane Warren’s “Strong, Strong Wind,” as well as “Little Queen,” “Kick It Out” and “Bebe le Strange.”
The latter track was produced by Peter Asher, a former hit-making artist himself as half of the ’60s British duo Peter and Gordon. Asher also helmed James Taylor’s SWEET BABY JAMES.
Founded in 2002 by Marshall Blonstein, Audio Fidelity specializes in deluxe reissues of classic popular-music recordings for the audiophile and collector markets. The Camarillo, California-based label, which also issues DVD titles, is best known for its 24-Karat Gold CDs and 180-gram virgin-vinyl album editions of classic product that are issued in limited runs of 5000 units that are retired after the 5000 units have been sold. Audio Fidelity emerged out of the pioneering DCC Compact Classics label that Blonstein started in 1986, following stints as president of Island Records and principal of Ode Records (where he helped make Carole King’s Tapestry one of the best-selling albums of all time and helped build the cult-film franchises The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke).
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