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Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems Special Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Special Edition, September 18, 2007
$149.99 $26.94

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Career-Spanning Rarities & Favourites From The Legendary12X GRAMMYr Winning Artist, Who Personally Selected Every Track! Features Previously Unreleased Material, Duets With A Host Of Stars, Live Cuts, Demos, Videos, And More!

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Emmylou Harris, godmother of the Americana movement, is a phenomenon for any number of reasons, one of which is that she has has managed to conduct more than four decades of her remarkable career without a single misstep. While Harris has always been committed to honoring the roots of old-school, traditional country, she also expanded the music beyond its conservative lyrics and narrow melodic structures without abandoning its core themes of enduring love, family, and prideful sense of place. Throughout, she interpreted and wrote songs of integrity and emotional depth and resonance, surrounding her keening soprano with a Who's Who of players and collaborators, including Rodney Crowell, the McGarrigle Sisters, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Daniel Lanois, and Mark Knopfler. This unusual 4-CD compilation isn't a greatest-hits package, but rather a gathering of Harris's personal favorites, most of which have never appeared on other collections. Some of the most compelling tracks are special collaborations ("Jordan," with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash), previously unreleased live, studio, and demo tracks (the folky "Falling in a Deep Hole," circa 1970), and contributions to tribute projects (Townes Van Zandt's chilling "Snake Song"). Harris's reedy voice is one of the most empathetic instruments in all of popular music, and perhaps no other female performer of the genre has been able to capture the desperate, paralyzing sense of longing and loneliness as well as this greatly revered singer. That may be a red flag of warning for the Prozac generation, but this deeply satisfying set stands as a benchmark of 40 years of artistry, as well as an uncommonly soulful illumination of the human condition. --Alanna Nash
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 2007)
  • special_edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Special Edition
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • ASIN: B000IZK4GC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,335 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Emmylou Harris Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"When Billboard Magazine honored Emmylou Harris in 1999 with its prestigious "Century Award," they appropriately lauded her as a "truly venturesome, genre-transcending pathfinder," whose award was meant "to acknowledge the uncommon excellence of [her] still-unfolding body of work." Billboard

As I was listening to the first couple of hours of this CD, I kept thinking "How to review this unbelievable 78 track CD." For forty years this magnificent voice has been a part of our culture. She has brought so many new and glorious voices with her as she paired country and rock and blues to the rhythm. Most of the voices appear on this CD. Emmylou started her discovery with Gram Parsons many years ago, and in the recent past she has made marvelous music with Mark Knopfler. And, all the in-between is covered nicely. I will divulge one of the best parts of these discs to me are the middle ones, where she pairs with the "Queenston Trio" as they were known , Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton. Sweeter, truer voices have not been heard.

Disc One covers the early years. The early seventies with Gram Parsons and her pairings and covers with and of Dolly Parton, the Beatles, Queen, Rodney Crowell and Waylon Jennings. Those older songs are bliss, true bliss.

Disc Two covers the 1990's- there was an important landmark when she recorded 'Wrecking Ball' which is said to have saved the Ryman theatre from extinction. She continued her writing with Anna McGarrigle at this time. Some of Emmylou's best work is from this decade.

Disc Three goes back to the late 70's and 80's and my favorite disc. Her CD's with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadtare marvelous.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
The music on this set speaks for itself, you don't get the hits, instead you get the rare stuff, duets, tributes, album cuts etc. Incredible music. The packaging for this set matches the music. Inclosed in a hard case with two hard cover booklets inside. One houses the five discs, the other is a 200 page book with track by track notation, filled photos and song info and intro by Emmylou herself. A beautiful set and well worth the price of admission.
Note: The packaging is top notch, however the discs are very difficult to remove from the sleeves. You do have to be careful or risk tearing the sleeve.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My God, I've loved Emmylou since I first heard her at the Chancery in Washington, DC, back in the early '70's - way before Pieces of the Sky. I have everything she's done either on LP or CD. I think this is an amazing collection and love it, with one exception - the package. While 90% of the box set package is first class, Rhino has made it extremely hard to get the discs out of their sleeves. I just tore the case trying to get disc 4 out. I am over 60 years old and my hands don't work as well as they once did.

As a side note, I wish all the CD/DVD manufacturers would give us old farts a break. We love music and movies just like the young ones they're aiming at. Is it really necessary to have all the shrink-wrap and adhesive strips all over every package? My God, if it's shrink-wrapped why do I have to face that damn adhesive strip on the jewel case? At least it's better than the old dog-bone that you couldn't completely get off but it's still unnecessary.
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I liked the bold statement on the casing: "Mastered in Analog" by Brian Ahern & Donivan Cowart. Analog sound is typically warmer than digital and the sound quality here is excellent, with a few exceptions: notably the gorgeous song "Sonny", which has suffered terribly in this process - what happened there Brian and Donovan ? To condense such a varied and exhalted career into 4 CDs is a tough ask, and naturally everyone will have some tracks that they would have liked to have been included. For me, I would have liked a little more from the to-date unissued "Evangeline" and the strangely distributed "Cimarron". In Australia Cimarron was released in the early 90s on CD by EMI, as part of their Legendary Masters collection (432099-2) with typical quality of the period - nothing special. Then in 2000, it was released in the US as 'remastered with bonus track' by the Eminent label. It is hard for the average punter to understand how these two albums were not released on CD by Warner and afforded the proper treatment. It's like why is "Pronto Monto" the only Kate & Anna McGarrigle record never to get a CD release ? Maybe now, fan's feedback will encourage Emmy to get Brian and Donivan to remaster Evangaline and Cimarron completely for release in analog (!), and while they're at it, the original "Trio", as "My dear companion", included in this set,comes up a treat compared to the original and only available pressing? As to everyone's bone of contention, I have to agree with nearly all the previous reviewers - the packaging is appalling.Read more ›
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