McCartney to Concord Records

Paul McCartney has announced he’s to reissue his extensive post-Beatles catalogue through the independent label, Concord Music. It means that the struggling EMI Group, his former label, misses out on a potentially huge revenue spinner, though they still remain in control of the lucrative Beatles material.

Concord, which started life in 1973 primarily as a jazz label, has previously released McCartney material. In 2007 it was the album Memory Almost Full, and last year it was the CD and DVD standard and deluxe editions of the live performance release Good Evening New York City. Both albums were distributed under the Hear Music brand, a partnership between coffee chain Starbucks and Concord. A fact I wasn’t aware of until I started to research the announcement is that there’s now a strong Australian connection to Concord, and hence a direct connection to Paul McCartney. In 2008 the label merged with Australia’s Village Roadshow Pictures Group. Veteran TV producer and writer, Norman Lear (co-owner of Concord from 1999), is still chairman of the label following the merger.

So, McCartney has turned over his substantial catalogue of about two dozen albums to Concord. The deal includes all his releases from 1970 to 2006.

Concord has announced that the first reissue they’ll produce is 1973’s Band on the Run. The CD is scheduled for an August 2010 release and will be remastered, featuring enhanced packaging and rare bonus tracks.

“I’m always looking for new ways and opportunities to get my music to people and Concord share this passion,” McCartney said of the new deal.

According to the label’s website fans “can expect both physical and digital distribution of gems from solo offerings like McCartney, Ram, Pipes of Peace, Give My Regards to Broad Street, and Flaming Pie, as well as Wings landmarks such as Wildlife and Red Rose Speedway. In addition, the re-releases will include stuff done under McCartney’s pseudonyms: Percy ‘Thrills’ Thrillington, The Fireman and Twin Freaks.”

The Los Angeles Times has a really interesting article about the journey of the Concord label to this point, and how they’ve expanded their stable of artists significantly, including the acquisition of the legendary folk and roots label Rounder Records, and deals with artists as diverse as Macy Gray, John Fogerty, Joni Mitchell, Loudon Wainwright III, Eric Bibb, Stanley Clarke, Carole King and James Taylor.  The company has some well-known record labels in it’s stable, including Milestone Records, Fantasy Records, Pablo, Prestige, Stax and Telarc.

(Sources: Concord Group website; New Music Express; the Gibson website; LA Times; and BBC News)

UPDATE:  New Release Date Announced.

Good Evening New York City (Deluxe Ed) – Unboxing Pics

OK. I know this Paul McCartney release has been out a while now….but there’s a story behind why I am so late in showing you some un-boxing pics of my copy of the Deluxe Edition.

I ordered this online via Paul McCartney’s very own website pretty much the day it came out. It was released in the US on November 17 and in the UK on November 23. However, my copy didn’t make it into my mailbox until mid-January. I had a lot of correspondence with the McCartney organisation, plus the company they hired to carry out online distribution of the disc, trying to find out what the delay was and where my order had got to. It really was a lot of hassle over what I thought should have been a quick and easy transaction – especially since I’d ordered it directly from the official site….

I have to say though that it was worth the wait. For US$23.99 it is a fair bit of product for your money. Now that I actually have Good Evening New York City I’m very impressed with the packaging, plus you get 2 CDs and 2 DVDs of content. It comes in a thick hardback book-style that is taller than a standard CD:

Carefully cutting open the plastic cover

I always like to cut around and keep any stickers on the outside packaging:

GENYC Sticker

As you can see in the photo below the Deluxe version is in a hardback format and the spine is quite thick:

The "spine" of the CD/DVD package

Inside the plastic on the rear is a cardboard insert listing all the songs featured in the two concert CDs and DVD. A lot of people would just throw this insert away but I’ll be hanging onto it (for more reasons than that I just like to keep this sort of stuff – see below). I’ll just slip it in amongst the pages inside:

The loose rear card

If you look really closely you’ll see a little surprise I got when opening this one up. Despite this package taking ages to get to me, and after many complaint letters, they’ve actually sent me  (I guess accidentally) a PROMO copy of the disc! Go figure. Check out the close-up of the sticker on the rear card:

The sticker saying "Promo Only - Not For Sale"

Inside the hardback Deluxe version is a 40-page book with lots of great photos and an essay by Michael Azerrad:

Book open to pages 12 and 13

There is a re-worked shorter version of this essay in the Standard edition. The Deluxe version also has some amazing fold-out double pages with photo montages and historic shots of the Beatles at the old Shea Stadium, and McCartney playing the brand new Citi Field stadium – which is practically on the same site:

The Deluxe version gets some double fold-out pages in the book

Each CD gets a baseball image and signature in different colours:

Sticking with the Citi Field theme - baseball CD's

The DVD’s also get the baseball look (these all slip into the cardboard pockets you can see inside the front and rear covers):

The two DVDs

One DVD is the entire concert filmed live over two nights. The other is a bonus DVD featuring Paul McCartney and band’s appearance live on the Late Show with David Letterman where they played out in the open before a huge crowd, perched on an awning above the street outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre TV studios. The performance is an echo of the famous Beatles final roof-top concert of 1969…. If you’d like a peak at some of the Letterman material have look here.

Finally, a comparison photo of the Deluxe Edition (2 CDs and 2 DVDs) alongside the Standard Edition (2 CDs and 1 DVD):

Deluxe alongside Standard