The RCA Albums Collection
Limited Edition, Ltd ed.
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Audio CD, Box set, Limited Edition, July 30, 2013
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The profound musical gifts of Harry Nilsson, an artist whose fans ranged from all four Beatles to the Monkees, Randy Newman, Keith Moon, Jimmy Webb, and dozens more, are on full display in THE RCA ALBUMS COLLECTION.
THE RCA ALBUMS COLLECTION will be a must-have for Nilsson devotees, and a seductive lure for those whose awareness is limited to his Grammy Award®-winning versions of Badfinger's "Without You" (#1) and Fred Neil's "Everybody s Talkin'" (a #6 hit from the soundtrack to Midnight Cowboy, 1969). Then there are the notable covers of his own songs by Three Dog Night ("One"), the Monkees ("Cuddly Toy"), the Yardbirds ("Ten Little Indians"), and Blood, Sweat & Tears ("Without Her"). Others will recall the duo of hits that appeared alongside "Without You" on 1971's Nilsson Schmilsson album, "Coconut" (#8) and "Jump Into The Fire." Finally, the playful "Me And My Arrow" (from the soundtrack of his animated film The Point!) and "Girlfriend" (theme of the early '70s sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father) have their own coterie of admirers.
THE RCA ALBUMS COLLECTION presents the definitive 14 albums in Nilsson's RCA Records U.S. discography, from his 1967 debut Pandemonium Shadow Show (among whose high points are his takes on the Beatles' "You Can't Do That" and "She's Leaving Home") to his final album for the label in 1977, Knnillssonn. Bonus material on those albums add up to 65 tracks, of which 26 are previously unreleased. Adding to the box set's historical provenance are three newly-compiled CDs, Nilsson Sessions 1967-1968, Nilsson Sessions 1968-1971, and Nilsson Sessions 1971-1974, containing a total of 58 tracks, exactly half of which (29 tracks) are previously unreleased.
Disc 1 PANDEMONIUM SHADOW SHOW (Stereo and Mono)
Disc 2 AERIAL BALLET (Stereo and Mono)
Disc 3 HARRY
Disc 4 NILSSON SINGS NEWMAN
Disc 5 THE POINT!
Disc 6 AERIAL PANDEMONIUM BALLET
Disc 7 NILSSON SCHMILSSON
Disc 8 SON OF SCHMILSSON
Disc 9 A LITTLE TOUCH OF SCHMILSSON IN THE NIGHT
Disc 10 PUSSY CATS Produced by John Lennon.
Disc 11 DUIT ON MON DEI
Disc 12 SANDMAN
Disc 13 ...THAT'S THE WAY IT IS
Disc 14 KNNILLSSONN
Disc 15 NILSSON SESSIONS 1967-1968
RCA Studios was Harry's professional playground from 1967 to 1977. He spent countless hours sketching, experimenting and composing songs within the confines of 6363 Sunset Blvd., right in the heart of Hollywood. Sessions Schmessions features a sampling of those dates culled from Harry's first two years at RCA. There are 14 previously unreleased tracks with Highlights include five demos taped for The Monkees("1941," "World" "Signs," "Cuddly Toy" and "This Could Be The Night") in March 1967, as well as three outtakes from his RCA debut album, Pandemonium Shadow Show ("As I Wander Lonely," "Butters Lament" and an astonishing "The Family"). Sessions for Aerial Ballet orphaned early takes of such classics as "One," "Together," "Bath" and "I Said Goodbye To Me." Additionally, Harry's cover of the Coasters classic "Searchin'" was left on the cutting room floor, as was his attempt the Addrisi Brothers' "She's Just Laughing At Me" and Procol Harum's "She Wandered Through The Garden Fence." Meanwhile, two rare, single-only tracks "Sister Marie" and the Italian language "Leggenda" make their true stereo debut on this set.
Disc 16 NILSSON SESSIONS 1968-1971
covers Nilsson's studio oddities from mid-1968 through early 1971 including 12 previously unreleased tracks.
Disc 17 NILSSON SESSIONS 1971-1974
wraps up all of the remaining bonus tracks, demos and alternate takes that have trickled out on international r
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Thankfully, you had the insight to do something Major, Indeed, like assemble and release this monument to Harry Nilsson. Admittedly, it took me by some surprise when I heard about it being in the works. I would be the first to say that Harry certainly was deserving of treatment like this, but had not ever considered that something like this would happen in today's music-world. Kudos to you, Indeed!
That said, while I already knew this was a massive set, I must say that I was knocked over by the size of the box, but said to myself "ah, it probably is only half full" as many sets are in these clamshell boxes. Imagine my surprise upon opening it when I saw that it was Jammed Full! And, not only the box itself, but each disc in this supurb set is overflowing with alternate takes and unreleased songs as well! Further, waaaaaay in the back of the box are the three discs of extra and unused demos and other previously unknowns! It blows my mind that All This still exists and that it was available. (HINT HINT, perhaps you can convince who-ever is holding "Papa's Got a Brown New Robe" Nilsson's true LAST album, vocals finished but not ever released (produced by Mark Hudson) to ALLOW you to release that final word from truly the greatest talent of the 70's, Harry Nilsson.
I had many of these LP's, and adored them...nobody delivered like Harry with his unbelievable voice and knack for delivery that could bring tears to your eyes one moment and make your heart smile big enough to break the next. He has never been equalled.
Over the past week I have been once again revelling in the "world of Harry" and it is as delightful as it ever was, and with these masterings and ALL the extra stuff, it is a Treasure-Trove to "treasure" indeed. Some of these recordings I had already added to my cd collection, but they were previous masterings, so I can honestly say that these gems from Harry have never sounded this good, and there is much to enjoy here....clarity and even background that was previously lost and some unknown comments that I had no idea were there. Supurb, indeed.
Everything from RCA is here with the exception of the soundtrack for "Son of Dracula" which I am sad about. Why, with all this detail, etc., SONY, have you chosen to omit this "oddity"? Oddity, indeed, was Harry's calliing card, was it not? Perhaps it will come in time.
Harry was a truly very special person when I was young, as was Neil Diamond and a couple others, but over the years with no "new exposure" through re-releases, he had faded significantly. So, digesting these long-ago lovelies from Harry has been a labor of love, all over again. How can anybody not love Harry? As I mentioned in another review earlier, Eric Idle surely put it all in a "perfect" nutshell with his opening song to Harry on Flash-Harry, "Everybody Loves Harry" and they did and still do.
What? Over $80.00 for a bunch of "old records"? YES! and guess what, that comes out to roughly $5. per disc, with ALL that extra stuff, included! Looks like a Real Bargain to me, folks! Do yourself a favor, especially if you were a Harry Fan, jump in here right away, the water is warm and fine, but who knows how long the pool will be open?
Harry. The RCA Albums Collection. Perhaps the finest treat to be released all this year. A question to you at this point, I guess, would be: "Do you know how special this set really is?" or "Do you know how really lucky we are that Sony has had the insight to put all this lovely effort in this very special set for our enjoyment?"
You certainly could do a lot worse with your music-money!
In late 1971 I first heard "Without You" on the radio, completely blown away by this singer I never heard of before; so off I went to buy the album. After hearing the album Nilsson Schmilsson, I discovered not only did this guy have a pitch perfect voice, but he could rock. From there, I went backwards to hear his early work, then followed him throughout his career until he left us.
Harry Nilsson collided with almost every type of music there is, while never emulating others. What is clear is a diversity of genres explored throughout his career.
This wonderful collection finally gives Harry his due. It offers the world a chance to discover an amazing artist.
If you know Harry's music, this box set is essential. If you love the hits and have an adventurous spirit, this set will knock your socks off.
Many thanks to everyone responsible for putting this set together; job well done indeed.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves genre bending music.