Universal Releases Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack Albums in SACD Surround Sound

Universal Music finished up their series of four consecutive weeks of SACD releases on Tuesday with the release of two new County Music discs. The new Surround Sound SACDs are Shock’n Y’All by Toby Keith and Greatest Hits by Lee Ann Womack. Also newsworthy this week was the launch of a new web site by the Decca Classics Group that highlights the 10 Mercury Living Classics Super Audio CDs that come out this month in Europe. Both moves are part of a program label officials site as on their way to have a hi rez catalog of 350 SACDs and 35 DVD-A discs available worldwide by the end of 2004.

Shock’n Y’All
Toby Keith
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(Dreamworks Nashville B0003266-36)

Shock’n Y’All is the latest album by County singer Toby Keith. It has been one of the year’s top selling country music albums and includes 12 new songs. In addition to being named the ACM Entertainer of the Year, Keith is known for music and endorsements in ads for products including MCI, Coors and Ford Trucks.

For the SACD edition of the album, it features a 5.1 Surround Sound mix by Julian King who also did the original Stereo mix of the album. The SACD was mastered by Hank Williams at Master Mix and made by Sony DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana. The mix makes extensive use of the surround channels and will be enjoyed by country music fans who also enjoy immersive surround sound.

Album Selections
1. I Love This Bar
2. Whiskey Girl
3. American Soldier
4. If I Was Jesus
5. Time For Me To Ride
6. Sweet
7. Don’t Leave, I Think I Love You
8. Nights I Can’t Remember, Friends I’ll Never Forget
9. Baddest Boots
10. The Critic
11. The Taliban Song
12. Weed With Willie

Greatest Hits
Lee Ann Womack
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo

(MCA Nashville B0002840-36)

Lee Ann Womack Greatest Hits is the singer’s latest album and is now available in an SACD Surround Sound edition. It features 12 of her greatest hits as well as two brand new songs.

The sticker on the album notes that it includes the hit single “I Hope You Dance” which I’m told was a hit on both the Country and Adult Contemporary Charts (reaching the #1 position on the Country Charts). It also says that the disc has a “new low price” but I assume that refers to the price of the Stereo CD edition of this album since it is selling for $18.99 as are all of Universal Music’s Single Disc Hybrid SACD releases.

According to the album liner notes, the 5.1 Surround Sound mix on the Greatest Hits SACD was done by Greg Droman. As with the Toby Keith SACD mentioned earlier, this SACD was mastered by Hank Williams at Master Mix and made by Sony DADC in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The 5.1 Surround Sound mix on the SACD places Womack’s vocal in the Center speaker while using the Surround Sound field for solo instruments and to highlight other elements of the mix. On song 7 (I Hope You Dance), the backing vocals are spread across the Surround Channels creating a very full sound field. All in all, an enjoyable SACD for fans of the singer.

Album Selections
1. Never Again, Again
2. You’ve Got To Talk To Me
3. The Fool
4. A Little Past Little Rock
5. (Now You See Me) Now You Don’t
6. I’ll Think Of A Reason Later
7. I Hope You Dance
8. Ashes By Now
9. Why They Call It Falling
10. Something Worth Leaving Behind
11. Mendocino County Line (with Willie Nelson)
12. Does My Ring Burn Your Finger
13. The Wrong Girl
14. Time For Me To Go

The new Surround Sound SACD editions of Shock’n Y’All by Toby Keith and Greatest Hits by Lee Ann Womack are now available at music stores including Tower Records. They are also in stock at web sites that carry SACDs including CD Universe, Elusive Disc and Music Direct.

A New Web Site Featuring the Mercury Living Presence SACDs
Earlier this week we ran a story providing additional information and release dates for the long-awaited Mercury Living Presence SACD Remastered Series from the Decca Classics Group. These upcoming SACDs will feature the original 3 Channel master recordings of each of these albums – presented for the first time in 3 Channel Stereo, using 3 of the Channels available on the SACD disc’s Surround Sound track.

To provide more information to Classical Music fans who are anxiously watching for these discs, Decca Classics has launched a new web site at http://www.deccaclassics.com/music/mercurylivingpresence/index.html On the new web site you’ll find the cover art for each of the first 10 SACDs in the series, along with information on the composers and selections on each disc, the performers on each disc and a brief description of the disc’s significance.

There is also an audio clip which has an interview with Wilma Cozart Fine who produced this series and also was involved in the transfer of these recordings to Super Audio CD. I’d recommend dropping by and checking out this web site for more on these very interesting recordings.

Upcoming Universal Music SACD Release List
With the August SACDs from Universal Music behind us, we’ll have a one week breather in the U.S. before we see the next 3 SACDs from the Universal Music Group. Here’s the complete list of upcoming SACDs from Universal Music in the U.S. market:

September 14, 2004 SACD Releases

  • Pierre Boulez, Berlin Philharmonic – Ravel: Bolero (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Ray Charles with Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Elton John, Natalie Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis & Van Morrison – Genius Loves Company (Concord Records)
  • Anne Sofie Von Otter, Thomas Quasthoff, Claudio Abbado, Chamber Orchestra of Europe – Schubert: Lieder With Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon)

    September 28, 2004 SACD Releases

  • Nick Drake – A Collection [Greatest Hits] (Island)
  • Marvin Gaye – The Marvin Gaye Collection (Motown)

    October 12, 2004 SACD Release

  • Argerich & Pletnev – Cinderella Suite from the Ballet for 2 Pianos & La Mere (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Antal Dorati, Philharmonia Hugarica Orchestra – Respighi: Ancient Airs & Dances for Lute (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Antal Dorati, London Symphony Orchestra – Stravinsky: The Firebird (Complete); Tango; Scherzo а la Russe (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Byron Janis, Antal Dorati, London Sympohny Orchestra, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra – Rachmaninov: Piano Concerti 2 & 3; 2 Preludes (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Paul Paray, Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Suppй: Overtures (+Auber) (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Janos Starker – Bach: Six Suites For Solo Cello (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Bryn Terfel, Claudio Abbado, Chamber Orchestra Europe – Mozart: Don Giovanni (3 SACD Box Set) (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Jaap van Zweden, Residentie Orchestra – Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (5 SACD Box Set) (Philips)

    October 26, 2004 SACD Release

  • The Carpenters – Singles: 1969-1981 (A&M Records)
  • Elton John – Captain Fantastic (Island)
  • Elton John – Elton John (Island)
  • Elton John – Honky Chateau (Island)
  • Elton John – Madman Across The Water (Island)
  • Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection (Island)

    November 9, 2004 SACD Releases

  • Chet Baker – Baker’s Holiday: Chet Baker Plays & Sings The Billie Holiday Songbook (Verve)
  • John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse)
  • Cotrubas, Domingo, Kleiber, Bayerischer, Staatsorchester – Verdi: La Traviata (2 SACD Set) (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Richard Croft, Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre – Gluck: Orphee et Eurydice (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Paul Mc Creesh, Gabrieli Consort & Players – Music for San Rocco (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Herbie Hancock – Gershwin’s World (Verve)
  • Joe Henderson – Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (Verve)
  • Shirley Horn – Here’s to Live: Shirley Horn With Strings (Verve)

    SACD Releases Coming Soon

  • Count Basie & His Orchestra – April In Paris (Verve)
  • Dorati, Enescu, London Symphony Orch – Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies (Decca Classics)
  • Antal Dorati, London Sympohny Orchestra – Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Frederick Fennell, Eastman Wind Ensemble – Sousa Marches (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Renee Fleming – Handel (Decca Classics)
  • Juan Diego Florez – Great Tenor Arias (Decca Classics)
  • John Fogerty – Deja Vu All Over Again (Geffen)
  • Hilary Hahn, Colin Davis, London Symphony Orchestra – Elgar: Violin Concerto Op. 61 & Williams: The Lark Ascending (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Howard Hanson, Eastman Rochester Orchestra – Hanson: Symphonies No. 1 (Nordic) & 2 (Romantic); Song of Democracy (Mercury Living Classics)
  • Tonu Kaljuste – Te Deum (ECM)
  • Eleni Karaindrou – Soundtrack: Ulysses’ Gaze (ECM)
  • Keane – Hopes and Fears (Interscope)
  • Christina Milian – It’s About Time (Island)
  • Motley Crьe – Greatest Hits (Hip-O Records)
  • Anne Sofie Mutter, Andre Previn, London Symphony Orchestra – Tchaikovsky & Korngold: Violin Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Anna Netrebko, Claudio Abbado, Mahler Chamber Orchestra – Sempre Libera (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • Nine Inch Nails – Downward Spiral (Interscope)
  • Paul Paray, Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Chabrier: Espana, Rhapsody & Roussel: Suite in F (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Zimerman, Polish Festival Orchestra – Chopin: Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2 (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • The Romeros, Victor Alessandro, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra – Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez (Mercury Living Presence)
  • Linda Ronstadt – Humming to Myself (Verve)