My God! It's Growing!
I've just made a visit over to the mailing list archives, and made a startling discovery: there are now 42 members of the Other Wild Places mailing list. Well, not really, because one of those addresses is mine; so make that count 41. Still, that's a lot of interested people for an almost-forgotten singer/songwriter of the 1970s. Maybe I should think about starting a Paper Lace web site. :)
Bill The Birthday Boy
Only seven weeks until the anniversary of Bill Fries' birthday, which is 15 November (you did know that, right?). Plan ahead, and send him a card at P.O. Box E, Ouray, CO 81427-0589. But if you can't remember that, I'm told that anything sent to "C.W. McCall, Ouray, CO 81427" will find its way to Bill. He'll be 71 this year.
Last year, Bob Norton created a nice card for Bill.
It Must Be The Digital
One of the most common requests that I receive is "Where can I find C.W. McCall records?" Well, that's a long answer; if you look back in the archives of The Legend-News, you'll find a few articles on the subject. Check the editions for the months of March and July 1999; the articles are in there somewhere (I'm too lazy to find 'em).
The best solution to this problem would be a release of the Original Six albums on audio CD. Currently, we have two anthologies on CD, The Best of C.W. McCall and C.W. McCall's Greatest Hits. They're nice, but obviously there are a lot of C.W. songs that don't fall into the 'greatest hits' category. You're not likely to hear those songs unless you can find the old vinyl LPs. Although American Gramaphone holds the rights to the songs, they don't have the master tapes, which are being held for ransom by Polydor/PolyGram. And I don't blame A.G. for their seeming lack of interest in rescuing the tapes: seriously, the possibility of making a profit from a re-release of C.W. McCall albums is low, and A.G. isn't in business to lose money.
But we may still have a chance to interest another record company in acquiring the tapes and releasing the albums. I've written to Rhino Records and Bear Family Records, two companies that specialize in reissues of out-of-print records. I haven't yet received a reply from either outfit; Rhino's autoreply message estimates that I might hear from them in a few months.
If Bear Family Records were to package the albums, the presentation would be excellent, judging by what they've already released. The bad news: the package wouldn't be cheap. Check out the Bear Family web site, and you'll see what I mean. A complete Original Six collection, even on CD, could cost US$100 to $200.
So, if public opinion counts, write to these publishers and we just might convince someone that there's gold in McCall CDs. You can write to Rhino Records at <email@example.com>; pay attention to the autoreply message, because you'll need to send your message twice. Bear Family Records' address is <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Surfin' With The Rubber Duck
Where in the world is C.W. McCall? [Hint: if the name isn't obvious, search the page for the word 'mccall'.]
- The Loess hills, a real treasure. Bill Fries' backyard, when he was a kid. And if you wondered about the real Old Home Fill-er Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Café...
- Hang on for the film ride of your life with these classics. Chase movies with all types of vehicles. Our favorite flick is listed as type 11.
- Mary's Garage Band. Jon Bruschke owned only two record albums before his eighteenth birthday. One of them was the soundtrack to Star Wars.
- "Conference". Okay, so it's not as good as anything by "Weird Al" Yankovic. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)
- Road Movies. You can name that movie in one word.
Song A’ Th’ Week
Out here in McHenry County, Illinois, I'm not exactly in the city, and I'm not exactly in the country. Downtown McHenry is four miles to the east, with the busiest intersection in McHenry County -- Illinois Highways 31 and 120. And three-quarters of a mile to the west of my house there's a cattle farm, which is quite noticeable on warm days with a west wind. :)
And a mile and a half south of here there's another of those let's-cut-down-the-trees-and-pave-the-cornfield housing developments. I hate those developments; quarter-acre lots with beautiful views of your neighbor's backyard. Yeah, I'm in a subdivision, but it's on the side of a hill. Hardly farmland, given all of the flat spaces we have around here. And to see my neighbors, you'd need to walk around the fifty-year old trees, or all the way to the back of my acre-and-a-quarter lot.
I hope that I can see the wilderness in this country before it's all covered with asphalt. But strangely, I might not get to see that wilderness unless I travel over some asphalt. Damned if I do, and damned if I don't. Life's one hell of a compromise.
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wolf Creek Pass.