I've got all
of this great material, and I want to share it with other Hoyt Axton fans,
so I've had to do a lot of thinking about how to make it available and
how much to charge. Obviously, I can't give it away or I'd have to
have 24 hours a day to be creating CDs for everyone, plus I'd soon be broke!
I already spend many, many hours a week on this hobby. So the
fairest way to do this is to charge for the time it takes me to read a
request, create a CD or CDs, create the labels and packaging, and mail
the order. Plus, I need to add the cost of the CDs, labels, packaging,
and postage. This is a "one man operation" and I don't expect to
make a huge amount of sales (this isn't Elvis or the Beatles), so
I can't count on bringing the cost down by volume - it will just continue
to be a slow (but fun) process to create a CD or a set of CDs for other
Over the past few years, I've made quite a few CDs already of Hoyt's early music, since I have everything he ever recorded. I've typically charged $25 per CD because it takes me about an hour to process an order, including creating the CDs, labels, jewel cases, jewel case inserts, and the shipping. For this project, however, it's a bit different for two reasons:
1. There are about 11 hours of music and dialog on the Skip Weshner tapes. I've now determined I can get it all on eight 80 minute CDs.
2. Much of the content of these sessions is dialog, and much of that, unlike Hoyt's music, isn't something that fans will want to listen to over and over. So the value of a full CD just isn't the same as a full CD of Hoyt's music recorded in high quality.
Eight CDs times $25 each is $200, more than most people can afford, and because it's a lot of dialog, it's just not worth that much to all but the most diehard fans. So my dilemma is how can I cut down the cost and time to make this affordable? I think the answer is to offer a number of options, so purchasers can decide what they want and what they want to pay.
This is the best, but most expensive option. Everything on the tapes (except a few parts as noted later) are on eight 80 minute CDs, recorded with CD quality .wav files. All CDs can be played on any home or car stereo or in any computer CDROM drive. The quality of the recordings is exactly what was on the tapes, and in a number of cases improved because some of the tapes had quite a bit of hum (which I removed). The edited CDs are still not perfect, but they range from good to excellent quality. Notes about quality are with each CD's description.
The eight CDs are packaged in a high quality rugged CD wallet as shown above, with an information booklet showing each of the sessions and track list for each CD.
Option 1: Price: $95, including shipping to any U.S. address
Out of 11 hours of tapes, much of the recording time is dialog ranging from funny and interesting to a bit boring. And because all of the sessions were completely live and unrehearsed, a lot of what Hoyt sings isn't close to "studio" quality. He often stops in the middle of a song because he forgot the lyrics or chords, or the song might be disappointing because of recording quality, background noise, or even simply running out of tape. Finally, many of the songs are repeated often in the many sessions of this three year period.
Therefore, another option would be to choose only the best music from the many tapes and offer that music on a couple of CDs. This is definitely music that any Hoyt Axton fan will want to listen to over and over. Much of it is as good a quality as any music on records or CDs today. And most of these songs were never recorded elsewhere or published on any record. Hoyt sang many of the songs live at clubs like The Troubadour, Golden Bear, and others, so early fans will remember a lot of them. But unfortunately, they never made it to vinyl or CD. Until now.
These two CDs have about 2 1/2 hours of the best songs in the best versions in the best quality in all of the sessions. Each song has been remastered by adjusting the channel balance, volume, and sometimes frequency equalization to get this music as close to "studio quality" as possible. By choosing this option, the purchaser gets the cream of the crop for less cost than the total 8 CD package. Plus, listening to the CDs won't get boring, by not having to wade through all of the dialog. Like the first option, both CDs will play in any car or home stereo.
The two CDs are packaged in a double CD jewel case with front and back inserts. Please see the photos above for a complete track listing. Note Disc 2 has a few songs that are also listed on Disc 1, but these are excellent but different versions sung in different sessions.
Option 2: Price: $45, including shipping to any U.S. address.
Option 2a: Include these two CDs with Option 1 in the large CD box instead of the double jewel case for an additional $25 instead of $45. In other words, a total of 10 CDs (all of the sessions plus two music CDs) will be included rather than 8 CDs (total $120).
This option is the least expensive way to get all of the sessions, but the CDROM will only include compressed .mp3 files which will not play on most car or home stereos. If you have a Windows computer with .mp3 decoding software, you can listen to each .mp3 file on your computer. Further, if you have a CDRW drive and recording software, you will be able to make your own CDs of these sessions. The .mp3 files are not quite CD quality, but most fans will be happy with the result if they are willing to spend the time to create their own CDs. The single CDROM will be supplied in a slimline jewel case. I will include a Microsoft Word .doc file and a .txt file on the CDROM, listing all of the sessions and their associated files.
I have one request for those who choose this option. Please do not proliferate this rare and significant music on sites like Kazaa and Napster. This music should be appreciated by Hoyt's serious fans and not spread everywhere where just anyone can easily grab it with no effort.
NOTE: This CDROM is NOT formatted to play in some of the newer CD and DVD players that will play .mp3 discs. For those players to read .mp3 discs, the discs need to be formatted a certain way for that purpose. This CDROM has all of the files you need, plus a Microsoft Word .doc file and a text .txt file for the song titles. To create a playable .mp3 disc for these newer players, you must use this CDROM in your computer and create your own disc formatted for your player. The files on this CDROM will however, be accessible on any Windows based computer.
Option 3: Price: $30, including
shipping to any U.S. address
Pamela Bareuther of Mayfield, New York, placed the first order for Option 1, the 8 CD set of the complete tapes. With her permission, here are her unedited comments:
"I've listened to all the CDs and here's my review.
Excellent!! The packaging is very professional. The CDs sound
as good as any "store bought" CD. On some of the CDs I can even hear
a cigarette being lit! It's like Hoyt is sitting in my room singing.
My son says Hoyt sounds like a hippie. He's getting a laugh about
words like, bread, chick, jive, groovy. Being an old hippie myself
I can translate! These are definitely my favorite CDs of Hoyt!
People should know how awesome these CDs are and how much joy they bring just listening to them! If you love Hoyt, you'll love these CDs!"
Boris Will, of Berlin, Germany had this say:
the CD Set arrived today - i am just listening to it
, while i write these lines ....
ITīS FANTASTIC, GREAT, JUST WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
thanx very, very much !
i think you did a damned good job !
sorry , i forgot the address of your homepage !? what again was it ???
a friend of mine is interested only in the music included ... what else do you offer
- which other cd sets and offers do you have concerning hoyt ?!
thanx again and best regards
Now, the complete track listing of each CD
1. Introduction by Skip discussing his friendship with Hoyt and how it got started. This is from a cassette tape made sometime in the mid-1970's. This cassette tape included two examples of the sessions taped with Hoyt. The first is "Mad Hoyt" taped during a full moon on August 18, 1967 (081867). The second is an excellent quality session taped with Hoyt and Arnie Moore, Hoyt's bass player with the Hollywood Living Room Band, in September, 1970 (090070). Both sessions listed below are from the high quality reel-to-reel tapes.
081867 Mad Hoyt - one of the early sessions
2. A Rusty Old Halo
3. Alouette (children's song), a commercial, and dialog with Hoyt
4. Story about Jim McGuinn (Roger McGuinn of The Byrds) and the Mercedes
5. One Coffee Please (a GREAT song, but Hoyt forgets the words after a few bars)
6. Hoyt's Zen Poems (One Day a Biddle Gorkle, I'm a Very Farthy Chap, As I was Gringling Cradnids, etc.)
7. Hoyt talking about a big cheese and doing a commercial
8. Long introduction to Blind Fiddler (a new song to Hoyt) and other dialog
10. Knoxville Girl
11. Comments by Skip from cassette tape about the "Mad Hoyt" tape
12. Comments by Skip from the cassette tape about the session with Hoyt and Arnie Moore and the song Never Been to Spain
090070 - a recording session at Skip's house after his show
13. Never Been to Spain
14. Ease Your Pain (first cut)
15. Ease Your Pain (second cut)
16. Ease Your Pain (third cut)
17. Alice in Wonderland
18. Chat with Arnie Moore about their upcoming concert
19. Big Mac
20. Chat with Skip about hamburger meat and Murph Shubin, the butcher
21. Mexico City Hangover
22. More chat about the upcoming concert at Artie Fatbuckles
Total time on CD - 76 minutes
010168 New Years Day show - an excellent tape with some great music
1. New Year's Day Dialog
2. Blind Fiddler
3. Hoyt talks about football and his dad
4. Ode to Jefferson Airplane
5. Down and Out
6. On the Natural (very early version)
7. Hoyt talks about Crested Butte Colorado
8. Dialog about John Cassavettes
9. Kingswood Manor (best version ever, but the tape ended before he could finish!)
10. Searching for a Soul (a second tape started)
11. Blow Down the Moon
12. Seven Come
13. Goin' Down to Frisco
14. Some Cool Blue-Iced Shore
15. Singing High
16. As I Was Gringling Cradnids (poem)
17. One Day a Biddle Gorkle (poem)
18. I'm a Very Farthy Chap (poem)
19. It's All Right Now
20. Lots of dialog and commercial
21. On the Morning Side of Never
22. Goodnight dialog
Total time on CD - 79+ minutes
072769 Quiet Hoyt - another excellent tape with great music
1. Quit Telling Lies
2. Sometimes in the Morning
3. Down and Out
4. You've Had Your Day
5. Satisfied Mind
6. Gospel of the Highway (funny monologue)
7. Farther Along
8. Dialog about religion
9. Jelly Coal Man
10. Hoyt playing dulcimer
11. Searching for a Soul
12. Country Anthem
13. When I Get to Heaven
14. Mexico City Hangover
15. The Griffin Song
16. Rain Don't Fall on Me
17. Up a Spiral Rainbow
18. Shortnin' Bread
19. Dialog about Bob Lind, Hoyt's Bessie Smith album, and Exodus Records
20. Blue Spirit Blues (Skip plays a cut from the album Hoyt Axton Sings Bessie Smith)
21. Hoyt sings some childrens songs
22. Green Green
23. My Carolina Sunshine Girl
24. Brisk Young Farmer (later known as Thomas Hall)
25. Dialog about Odetta and John Hartford plus I Shall Be Released
Total time on CD - 79+ minutes
043070 Drunk Hoyt - this tape has some good music on it, but it's the dialog with Skip that is funny and interesting
1. Dialog with Skip
2. Nothing to Lose
3. Hoyt talks about politics and war
4. Alice in Wonderland
5. About Arlo Guthrie's new baby Abraham, Jack Elliot, and Doug Dillard
6. Short song dedicated to Cindy Shubin's cat Cloudy
7. About Hamilton Camp
8. Hoyt talks about joining the Navy
9. Country Anthem
10. Snowblind Friend
11. About John Cassavettes
12. Some Cool Blue-Iced Shore
13. Farther Along
14. About Grandfather Boren
15. The Okie Philosopher about Regis Philbin, war, politics, religion, and Billy Graham (15 minutes)
Total time on CD - 79 minutes
070067 - this tape is the earliest session of the collection. In order to fit the session on a CD, I had to cut a bit of dialog, mostly about a guitar belonging to Cindy Shubin, a close friend of Hoyt's and Skip's. (Click here if you would like to read about Cindy's 12-string acoustic guitar, formerly owned by Hoyt and Byrd founder, Roger McGuinn.) This is the only tape with Cocaine Blues, San Fernando, Ten Thousand Sunsets, and a few others that Hoyt used to perform frequently. It also includes one of the two versions of Top of the World.
1. It's All Right Now
2. Time of the Dove
3. Basic Changes
4. Cocaine Blues
5. Call Him Now
6. Morning Side of Never
7. Kingswood Manor
8. San Fernando
9. Lady of the Burning Green Jade
10. Hoyt and Skip goofing around
11. I'm a Very Farthy Chap (poem by Hoyt)
12. Hoyt from Broken Bow (story by Hoyt)
13. We Survived the Madness
14. Story about Ivan Ulz (Hoyt's friend and writer of a number of Hoyt's songs)
15. It's Not Heavy But It's Fun
16. Short commercial break
17. Up the Spiral Rainbow
18. Rain Don't Fall on Me
19. Morning Star (beginning only)
20. Searching for a Soul
21. Sunshine Fields of Love
22. Mexico City Hangover
23. Top of the World
24. Ten Thousand Sunsets
Total time on CD - 79+ minutes
000070 13th Anniversary Show - this tape has both good dialog and music on it. The Great Mandella, The House Song, I Ride an Old Paint, and Goin' Down to Frisco are the musical highlights
1. The Great Mandella
2. Dialog about Hoyt's TV appearance in the Iron Horse - his knife fight
3. Lady with a Rose
4. Roses and Moonlight
5. The House Song
6. Dialog about poems
7. Bombed in Bombay
8. Morning Star
9. Dialog about missing lyrics sheets in new album
10. Country Anthem
11. I Ride an Old Paint
13. Dialog about Epistle
14. Rain Don't Fall on Me
15. Goin' Down to Frisco
102368 - this tape was recorded shortly after Hoyt's new album, My Griffin is Gone, was recorded. Hoyt is hoping for a November release, but notes it probably won't be until January, 1969. Shortnin' Bread, Angel Cake and Wine, and Life's Evening Sun are very good.
17. Dialog with Hoyt about his upcoming free concert at USC in November '68
18. Snowblind Friend
19. Shortnin' Bread
21. On the Natural
22. Angel Cake and Wine
23. Life's Evening Sun
Total time on CD - 71 minutes
091968 - this session was recorded on two tapes shortly before Hoyt recorded My Griffin is Gone. Twelve songs were to be chosen for the album from sixteen on his list. Hoyt does an excellent job on a number of these songs, but he couldn't complete She's a Flying Thing, a new song by Jackson Browne. In order to fit this session on a CD, I omitted two songs (Saturday's Child and Rise Up) and a short political dialog. Although those songs are excellent*, they were only played from a record, rather than live, and didn't sound that great. Top of the World is on this disc.
1. Hoyt talks about
his new record to be recorded on Columbia (My Griffin is Gone)
2. She's a Flying Thing (Hoyt forgets the words halfway through)
3. Gypsy Will
4. It's All Right Now
5. Top of the World
6. Dialog plus Childhood's End
7. Way Before the Time of Towns
8. Some Cool Blue-Iced Shore
9. As I Was Gringling Cradnids (poem)
10. One Day a Biddle Gorkle (poem)
11. I'm A Very Farthy Chap (poem)
12. Sunshine Fields of Love and dialog
13. Seven Come
14. Popsicle Sticks and Lily Pads
15. Beelzebub's Laughter
16. She's a Flying Thing (another try)
17. On the Natural
18. Kingswood Manor
19. Bathtub LSD
20. Morning Star
22. Above Laughter
23. Mexico City Hangover
24. Baby the Rain Don't Fall (incomplete)
Total time on CD - 79+ minutes
*If you want Saturday's Child, Rise Up, and many other rare and early
songs by Hoyt on excellent quality CDs, click
here for my samples page.
032069 - this tape was recorded shortly after the release of My Griffin is Gone. Hoyt does a good job on a number of these songs, including She's a Flying Thing (the only version he was able to finish in these sessions).
1. She's a Flying Thing
2. Dialog about drugs and smoking
4. Country Anthem
5. Dialog about Country Anthem and Odetta
6. Lady with a Rose
7. Air Mail
8. The House Song
9. Morning Star plus the story of Eric
10. Some Other Time
11. More about Ivan Ulz
12. Popsicle Sticks and Lily Pads plus goodbye dialog
050070 - I couldn't hear Skip on this tape, but it seemed to be recorded at his house. I omitted a short dialog about a lost bird, due to the space available on the CD.
13. Country Anthem
14. Some Cool Blue-Iced Shore
15. Seven Come
16. Blow Down the Moon
17. Searching for a Soul
000070 Party with Hoyt, Gordon Lightfoot, and Doug Dillard - this tape had great potential due to the artists involved, but there were only a few cuts that were worth recording. For whatever reason, Skip didn't pay enough attention to his recording levels and most of the tape was too loud and distorted. I was able to salvage two good cuts by Gordon Lightfoot, but they are far from perfect. Hoyt had too much Jim Beam, but a few songs were pretty decent. I omitted quite a bit of this tape because it wasn't worth an extra CD to record a bunch of distorted music, laughing, and background noise.
19. Pleasures of the Night
- Gordon Lightfoot
20. Left My Gal in the Mountains - Hoyt
21. Gonna Get My Act Together - Hoyt
22. Goofing around with Doug Dillard
23. Farther Along - Hoyt with Doug Dillard
24. The Auctioneer - Gordon Lightfoot
Total time on CD - 79+ minutes
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