Wednesday Jun 26

(Almost) complete Sonny Rollins on RCA

On many levels, I'm highly pleased with my recent purchase of Original Album Classics by Sonny Rollins. Let me count the ways.

Rollins Box

  1. It gathers together in one set five of the six LPs Rollins recorded during his tenure with RCA Victor. (The one that's missing is The Bridge, his first RCA LP.)
  2. The CDs aren't totally "original" in that they include additional and alternate performances that expand on the LP issues.
  3. The CDs are packed in mini-LP folders that reproduce the original album covers, front and back. This provides economy, environmental benefits, and ease of handling.
  4. The price is nice. I bought my brand new box from MovieMars (via eBay) for $20.99, including shipping.
  5. The set is manufactured and distributed in the USA by Sony Music Entertainment. I hope that means that my purchase will add a bit to the next royalty check that Rollins gets from Sony.

The music is what it is. I'm not going to second guess Rollins, or for that matter the reviewers, from back in the '60s. The sound on the CDs is just fine, thanks. I haven't compared it to the LP versions I have, but I'm very comfortable when I listen.

There's one thing that rattled me a bit. When I pulled the first CD out of its packet, I found myself looking at a variation of the classic red Columbia six-eye LP label with the name Sonny Rollins on it and RCA logos in the black boxes where the LP eye graphics would have been.

Back in the day, those two companies were direct competitors and Columbia was one of the labels that Sonny Rollins never recorded for. Seeing his name on Columbia red drove home how things have changed in the last 50+ years. I didn't need that.