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Denis Lavrentiev
Denis Lavrentiev

VA Those Classic Golden Years 40 CDBox 2008

When America, the perennial classic-rock favorite, hits the road in 2023, they'll celebrate their 53rd Anniversary with their powerful performances. Founding members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell (along with former band mate, the late Dan Peek) met in high school in London in the late 1960s and quickly harmonized their way to the top of the charts on the strength of their signature song "A Horse With No Name." America became a global household name and paved the way with an impressive string of hits following the success of their first #1 single. Forty plus years later, these friends are still making music together, touring the world and thrilling audiences with their timeless sound.

VA Those Classic Golden Years 40 CDBox 2008

Yet another in the seemingly endless parade of country series from Time-Life. This one however,had a lot more "staying power" than any of the others. After almost 30 volumes of the subscription 2-CDsets, Time-Life launched an extensive series of one-CD retail versions and mix-and-match CD box setsthat expanded the series to almost 100 different individual offerings under the Classic Countrybanner. And it probably isn't over yet, since new CDs in the series were coming out as late as 2007.We do not have all the correct catalog numbers for the subscription set, nor the Special Products labelsor numbers for almost all of these CDs. We would appreciate any information readers can supply. The front of the direct-mail envelope featured a famous picture of Hank Williams, the father of classiccountry music. The back featured Johnny Cash; the edges tried to name every classic country artist ofnote that space allowed. We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an informationweb page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no associationwith Time-Life or Warner Bros. Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in thisdiscography (all of which are out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow theinstructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2004, 2008 by Mike Callahan.

The box includes all of The Seasons' and Valli's solo albums, released on the Vee Jay, Philips, Motown, Private Stock, Warner Bros., MCA, Curb and Rhino labels between 1962 and 2017. Mono and stereo mixes have been preserved - including the first-ever mono release of the 1969 cult classic The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (available on CD and vinyl) - along with single sides, demos, alternate mixes and other rarities. A few of the discs are completely unreleased, including a group of long-coveted mid-'70s Seasons sessions for Motown Records, a lost late '70s disco album and three live sets recorded between 1972 and 1974. Three new compilations of rarities, unreleased tracks and ephemera are also included. (There's even Jersey Babys, a 2008 collection of recordings of Seasons material for young listeners, ostensibly inspired by the runaway success of musical Jersey Boys.)

In addition to all the audio content (all in CD-sized replicas of the original album sleeves), packaging includes a 144-page hardback book featuring liner notes and biographical information by Four Seasons authority Paul Sexton. Another book offers new interviews with key group participants by Ken Sharp, and contributions by famous fans including Brian Wilson, Barry Gibb and Billy Joel - all no doubt inspired by the quartet's harmonic sounds. A third book offers singles and EP art along with chart placements, and the aforementioned Genuine Imitation Life Gazette vinyl features the fully-recreated triple gatefold sleeve of its original issue. Valli (who still tours with the Seasons to this day) and Gaudio (who wrote many of those classic songs) have given this set their full blessing, making this the ultimate official word on Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

The beckoning dirt trail (at just left of center) leads slightly east of due north to the southern end of the Marble Mountains (tallest peak in upper center), Mojave Desert, California, wherein lies one of the most famous fossil localities in all the world--the classic trilobite quarry in the lower Cambrian Latham Shale (roughly 515 million years old). It's a place I first visited as a child with my parents on a weekend camping excursion--the very experience that inspired my life-long fascinattion with paleontology.

Here in the Marble Mountains abundant and well-preserved fossil trilobites can be found dating from the early Cambrian geologic age, or roughly 518 million years old--some of Earth's most ancient identifiable animals with hard parts--those wonderful arthropod trilobites that as a group survived for nearly 300 million years before their eventual extinction just prior to the rise of the dinosaurs some 245 million years ago.

The fossil trilobites in the Marble Mountains occur in a greenish to rusty-brown, platy-weathering shale called the Latham Shale, a detrital rock formation dated as lower Cambrian on the geologic time scale, or roughly 518 million years old. The Latham was named in 1954 by geologist John C. Hazzard for its excellent exposures on the western slopes of the Providence Mountains near an old and famous miner's cabin approximately 40 miles north of the Marble Mountains site--a specific place within the Providence range that is now off-limits to unauthorized collectors due to its inclusion in a federally protected wilderness area (one requires a special Bureau Of Land Management permit in order to collect legally within a federally administered wilderness region). Throughout its "type locality," in the region around the cabin where it was first described in the geologic literature, the formation is at least 60 feet thick and contains an abundant fauna of early Cambrian trilobites and brachiopods. At the classic trilobite quarry in the Marble Mountains, the Latham Shale averages around 50 feet in thickness and is also loaded with fossilized carapaces of trilobites, brachiopods, a siliceous sponge, a soft-bodied coelenterate (perhaps a jelly fish of some sort), an echinoderm and a mollusk or two. Virtually all of the trilobite specimens found at the old quarry--and in other exposures of the Latham outside wilderness boundaries, as well--were fragmental, although a few extraordinarily fortunate individuals reported that a whole, perfect fossil popped out at them from the shales.

The trilobite quarry in California's Marble Mountains holds a special place in my heart. I was taken there as a youngster on my very first fossil-hunting trip (long before the federally established Trilobite Wilderness, of course). We arrived in the dead of night, a winter wind howling from the north, the temperature hovering around freezing; and we pitched our tent on the rock-strewn ground near a prominent, convenient parking area amidst the rugged desert terrain. I found sleep difficult to come by that night, but it wasn't the cold that kept me alert. Nothing as "commonplace" in southern California as a wind chill factor in the teens could have prevented sleep. I was all revved up, ready to find those trilobites right then and there, with a flashlight if necessary. I lay awake listening to the savage whipping of the walls of our canvas tent, envisioning numerous perfect trilobites specimens in my hot little hand, knowing that they represented some of Earth's oldest identifiable remains of an animal with hard parts--a creature who 518 million years ago had actually witnessed its primordial environment through crystal eyes of calcite, an amazing adaption in the progression of life on our planet.

Click on the images for larger pictures. Left to right--Two views of the famous, long-abandoned Vaughn Quarry in the Marble Mountains, near the classic trilobite quarry. For many years high-grade marble from the early Cambrian times, some 530 million years old, was commercially mined here. These are vintage photos taken by my late father during one of his early experiences in the Marble Mountains. Please note that all photographs were taken long before the Marble Mountains became part of the Mojave Trails National Monument.

Neal, Jocelyn R. 2012. Country Music: A Cultural and Stylistic History. New York: Oxford University Press. 530 pp. Contents: I. The early years (1920s and 1930s) The birth of country music The big bang of country music Innovation and change II: World War II and after: nationalism and country music (1940s and 1950s) Honky-Tonk heyday The birth of bluegrass Rockabilly and teen romance III. The big business of country music (1960s and 1970s) The Nashville sound and musical innovation California country and country rock Traditionalists and classic country IV. Expansion: from country to rock and pop and back again (1970s and 1980s) Outlaw country and southern rock rebellion Urban cowboys, countrypolitan, and the Reagan Era Neotraditionalists and remaking the past V: Country music in popular culture (1990s and 2000s) The commercial country explosion Alternative country and roots revival Into the present.


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