I Been Searchin’
Every week, I get requests from people who ask me where they can acquire a copy of one or more of C.W. McCall’s albums. My answer is usually generic: buy the anthologies C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits or The Best of C.W. McCall, both of which are currently in print on CD (The Best of is also available on cassette), and read the March 3rd edition of The Legend-News, wherein I give a few starting places in which to look.
Why can’t you just jump to Amazon.com, or to American Gramaphone itself, and find CDs of the Original Six albums? Because American Gramaphone doesn’t have the master tapes of the original albums; PolyGram does. And without those tapes, there is no way to remaster the songs for a release on audio CD. You may have noticed that all of the anthologies are products of PolyGram, and not of American Gramaphone.
Not that American Gramaphone hasn’t tried to get the rights to the master tapes. In 1989, according to my exhaustive research [insert snicker here], Chip Davis did attempt to negotiate with PolyGram for the tapes. At that time, Chip had the idea of remastering some, if not all, of the original C.W. McCall songs, and reissuing them on CD. But for reasons unknown (to me, anyway), the negotiations failed. Chip then decided to re-record several of the songs and add a new one, “Comin’ Back For More”. The resulting album was released in 1990 as The Real McCall: An American Storyteller, and that album has recently been rereleased (see the advertisement at the top of this page).
I Want My C.W.
But although The Real McCall: An American Storyteller is a good album to have, it doesn’t have the original recordings. And the anthologies, with minor differences, each have almost the same songs. Which means that there are some songs that many people have never heard, like “Sloan”, “Oregon Trail”, “Milton”, and everything on Roses For Mama except for “The Gallopin’ Goose”.
So last week Ken Thompson — one of the subscribers to the Other Wild Places mailing list — made a suggestion:
Hmmm… with the advent of CD boxed sets and all, wonder what it’d take for PolyGram to release a 25 year anniversary boxed set of CW’s music.
Wonder what type of grass-roots support could come out of a handful of folks who like CW’s music… and there are some of us who have never heard the entire catalog!
Well, the current membership of the Other Wild Places list is only 29 people, not counting myself. But I know that there are a lot of lurkers out there, ’cause I’ve checked my site logs and I can tell that someone out there is visiting this site! So if you’re reading this, I’ve got a mission for you: tell American Gramaphone that you want your C.W. McCall, and that you want all of it.
You can write to American Gramaphone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you prefer to send paper, their surface address is
9130 Mormon Bridge Road
Omaha, Nebraska 68152
You could also call A.G. at 800.446.6860, but I'd discourage that. Mail, whether e-mail or snail mail, has a greater impact than a telephone call. But don’t spam! Send A.G. a nice letter, asking them to consider remastering the original albums for CD, but don't flood their mailbox with flames or spam. Be nice.
To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, from “Alice’s Restaurant”:
“If one person does it, they’ll think he’s crazy. If two people do it, they’ll think they’re both crazy. But if three people do it, they’ll think it’s a movement.”
As always, should you or any member of the OWP team be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck. :)
Song A’ Th’ Week
Well, today was Mother’s Day.
(Johnny Wilson, Gene Dobbins, Wayne Sharpe)
From the album Roses For Mama