Monday, February 11, 2008

Missing From the CD Reissues

Category: Review

Last week I was transferring some albums onto CD. One of my favorites was in the pile, and it made me wonder: why do I have to put this on CD? Why hasn't it been reissued?

The album in question is At the Country Club, the 1960 live album by Homer and Jethro. This album is a riot. It begins with Archie Campbell introducing the duo as "one of the biggest has-beens in the business" before Homer and Jethro take the stage, with Jethro introducing themselves as "the Everly Brothers of the Stone Age." From there, it only gets funnier. "The Billboard Song," "The Battle of Kookamonga," and "How Much is That Hound Dog in the Window" are all here, along with many others and marvelous between-song banter (barbs and jabs) that shows just why these two extremely underrated musicians and funny men were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

That brings up an interesting point. Homer and Jethro stand as the one Hall of Fame act with the fewest issues on CD. When Richard Weitz attended the ICMC conference in 2007, I specifically asked him about the possibility of a Homer and Jethro box set. He replied, "No, I can't. I'd lose money." That's sad, because people need to know just where Weird Al learned to spoof.

Perhaps someday some record label, be it RCA (their original label) or an overseas reissue company will see fit to put one or two of Homer and Jethro's albums out on CD. If so, here's hoping they begin with At the Country Club. This is not just a funny Homer and Jethro album, it's a great, funny album by anyone's standards.

1 comment:

Clyde said...

Nice article. I'm not surprised at Mr. Weitz's comment about losing money on such a reissue. The man has a right to his bottom line, no matter how badly we musicologists and fans might want such a release.

As a subscriber to an on-line music subscription service, I am constantly dismayed at how much country music product is simply not available (or available only as dreadful re-recordings). I'm not referring to just some obscure release from the 1940's, but also major label product from medium to heavyweight artists from as recently as the 1980's. (RCA is a good example, although they're certainly not alone.) Aside from the dollar issue, are there other reasons for this? Licensing? Availability? Ignorance and apathy?

Might make for an interesting follow-up article some day.