Harrison/Shankar – “Collaborations” Announced

And so, the ever-growing list of forthcoming releases swells with yet another interesting title….

George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records has just announced a new box-set package called “Collaborations”. And yes, it too is coming in October.

From the official press release:

Dark Horse Records announced today the October 19th release of a limited edition deluxe box set, entitled “RAVI SHANKAR GEORGE HARRISON – COLLABORATIONS“. The release honors the sitar master’s 90th birthday.

“Collaborations” is a 3 CD and 1 DVD uniquely numbered limited edition box set. All compositions were composed by Ravi Shankar and produced by George Harrison over a period of 20 years.

The DVD is a rare concert performance of the Ravi Shankar’s “Music Festival From India”, recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1974. The albums include the acclaimed “Chants Of India” (1997), “The Ravi Shankar Music Festival From India” (studio version 1976), and “Shankar Family & Friends” (1974). The 56-page book includes a foreword by Philip Glass, a history of George and Ravi “in their own words”, and rare photographs from both family archives.

"Chants of India" - original cover (1997)

"Music Festival from India" - original cover (1976)

"Shankar Family and Friends" - original cover (1974)

The official website has the full press release. Steve Marinucci has details in his Examiner column, and Wog Blog also has information on his site.

I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time that “The Ravi Shankar Music Festival From India” and “Shankar Family & Friends” have been issued on CD.

Speaking of Ravi Shankar, the master sitar player (who had such an influence on George Harrison and the Beatles) has embarked on a huge archival project of his own – with a series of discs being released on his East Meets West label.

The first in the series is a single disc CD titled “Nine Decades, Vol. 1: 1967-1968”:

"Nine Decades" - out now

The next release in the series will be the soundtrack to the movie “Raga” – which was originally issued on Apple Records in 1971 and features George Harrison. Details about the release schedule so far is here, and it looks like the “Raga” release will be a CD and DVD double which is good.

"Raga" - original cover (1971)

“Raga” is due in the “American fall” – which is a bit vague but I guess that could mean yet another October release?

October is going to be one very expensive month for us die-hard, complete-ist collectors. We’ll have to put out hands in pockets for the 70th birthdate Lennon “Gimme Some Truth” material; the remastered Apple Records catalogue; the Shankar/Harrison “Collaborations”, and “Raga” now as well. That’s not to mention “Band on the Run”, the first of the Paul McCartney re-issues on Concord Records that is due sometime in August…..

Weird “Concert for Bangladesh” LP

Every so often you come across a CD or LP where you just can’t identify the country it was released in. Its kind of frustrating because collectors usually like to know this kind of detail…especially when you come across unusual or different packaging of a release you think you know well.

That’s the case here with this three-LP set from 1971 of George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”.

Every copy I’ve seen to date comes in a hard cardboard box, with a lid that lifts off and looks like this:

The usual "Concert for Bangladesh" box

The box contains the three vinyl discs, and the white-covered 64-page book of concert photos, text and credits for the album. The rear of this box is plain and has no writing on it.

However, I have a copy in the collection that’s a bit different. Its a box, but made of soft cardboard that doesn’t have a lid. The front cover looks familiar enough:

Front cover "Concert for Bangladesh"

So far so good. But this release has flaps on the back which you pull out to get access to the records and book inside:

The flaps in the closed position

You flip open these flaps and the “box” looks like this:

"Concert for Bangladesh" open

From what I can tell the US, UK and Australian versions all have the lidded box, and not this top-opening, slide-out style box. Also the US and UK versions have dark khaki brown inner sleeves in which the records sit (the Australian release doesn’t have any paper sleeves).

Inside this box  though the LPs are in light yellow colored thin paper sleeves:

The LPs are in yellow paper sleeves

The place you can usually tell the country of origin is in the small print on the labels of the records themselves. This one has no hints – with no mention of a country of origin. However, it does have a lot more copyright information on each disc, located just near the record number information (see top the left-hand side in the pics below as compared to the Australian release):

The label of the "strange" version - with copyright info top left

Compare this to the official Australian release:

The Australian release label - note no copyright info

The final main difference is that the words “Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd” are written on the labels and prominently across the back of the box. The image below is from the rear of the box:

"Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd" printed on the rear of the box

So, a weird one.

Being a huge worldwide Apple release, this concert disc set would have been issued in a large number of countries. I have my suspicions that this one here could be either the New Zealand or the Indian release.  But I don’t have anything to prove that.

If anyone has any information on this release please let me know by submitting a comment. Cheers for now.