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Chris Wood / Wealth of unheard material in new ‘Evening Blue’ deluxe box set

CW Exploded packshot 2

Evening Blue is a forthcoming deluxe ‘bookset’ that chronicles and celebrates Traffic co-founder Chris Wood‘s life in music.

Central to this set, and almost 40 years after Chris compiled and sequenced it, is a first pressing on 180g vinyl of his never-released solo album (long thought lost, the masters were discovered by chance in a barn in the West of England in early 2013). While some titles are known, none of the selections have previously been heard. They are as follows:

Side One: Song For Pete | See No Man Girl | Letter One | Barbed Wire | Don’t It

Side Two: Jam In Butter | Moon Child Vulcan | Tone Blind Rhythm Deaf | Birth In A Day

The four CDs will feature the unreleased album, as well as music drawn from Chris’s entire career with his solo recordings taking centre-stage. Evening Blue also includes alternate takes and mixes as well as previously unheard compositions and never-before-heard home demos and other sketches.

CW FINAL cover 320x320Track listings are still being finalised, but there is music from Traffic as well as recordings by Gordon Jackson, John Martyn, Dave Mason, The Sky, Jim Capaldi, Bobby Whitlock, Airforce, Martha Velez, Shawn Phillips and others. The set also features previously unheard collaborative work with The Wailers’ keyboard player, Tyrone Downie as well as Rebop Kwaku Baah, Remi Kabaka, Dr John and Jeanette Jacobs. Tracks from the only known-to-survive recordings by the short-lived Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog line-up are also included.

With only a couple of exceptions (where the original masters no longer exist) the selections have been re-mastered by Richard Whittaker in the UK from the original 1⁄4”, 1” or 2” analog tapes.

It will be housed in a 200+ page hardback book which includes over 420 images, the majority of which have not been seen before. The text has been abridged and edited from Dan Ropek’s biography of Chris and includes many exclusive interviews with colleagues, friends and fellow musicians.

This set has been curated by Hidden Masters (who produced The Jess Roden Anthology) in close collaboration with Steph Wood, who administers her brother’s estate. The first edition, limited to 1,000 individually numbered copies worldwide, will be issued this summer.

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56 responses to Chris Wood / Wealth of unheard material in new ‘Evening Blue’ deluxe box set

  1. Neil says:

    I had to look him up never heard of him. Apparently he died in 1983 and only released one solo album in 2008.

  2. colm47 says:

    Hi Paul

    I have this ordered from Hidden Masters as I am a big fan of Traffic and want to check it out. Hidden Masters did a great job with the Jess Roden box as well.
    It’s a pity that The Distractions box set from Hidden Masters has been delayed but hopefully that will come out sometime. That is the one I really want!

    My only complaint about this box set is the ridiculous price for the courier delivery.
    Hidden Masters have linked in with Universal whose courier prices put me off buying from them. I never pre-order through Universal because of this but no option with this one.

    • neil storey says:

      Hi Colm.
      Some good news for you – The Distractions is next..! There was a brief-lived plan in November last that we’d try to issue both that and The CW round about the same time but, it just became way too complicated – so that got knocked that on the head. Just too bonkers to try and do both together. The Distractions is planned now for mid-October. Book element more or less done, the music yet to be mastered. And, like there is with Chris’s… a few more surprises in there than people are probably expecting!

      Courier charge? I guess this depends on where you’re ordering from. In the UK, we’ve opted for courier delivery as its actually cheaper than via Royal Mail. Please let me know and I’ll look in to this. The other reason we opted for courier delivery is that safeguards us (and the set) from the more muscular postmen (and ladies)… mainly prevalent in parts of Scandinavia and particularly Belgium where one of the JR sets was returned almost bent in half.

      Best wishes, Neil.

      • colm47 says:

        Hi Neil.

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        I know you’re working hard on Chris Wood box and other projects so I appreciate it.
        I will start saving my money for The Distractions, great news for someone who bought Nobody’s Perfect all those years ago. Still one of my favourite LPs.

        Anyway, the courier delivery charge to Dublin is 50 euro 35 cent.
        It just seems a bit steep when the box I ordered is 120 euro.
        I was going to order the Really deluxe one but sadly a bit short on cash!!

        I find that, as I said earlier, Universal website charge way too much for delivery.
        I e mailed them before re this issue when I was going to order from them.
        I’m afraid I ended up going elsewhere due to their charges.

        • Tim O'Regan says:

          hi,
          I’m the same – they want €50.75 for delivery to Ireland – almost half the price of the set. I would also avoid the Universal site for ordering – I want the Alex Harvey Box but I won’t be getting it from them. I got the Jess Roden set and was delighted with it. I also had the Distractions on order and was disappointed when it was cancelled/delayed.

          • colm47 says:

            Hi Tim

            Universal range from 25 to 70 euro for delivery for these items to Ireland:

            Deep Purple vinyl box 25.04
            Alex Harvey cd box 31.99
            Eric Clapton vinyl box 70.41
            Amy Winehouse vinyl box 70.66

            Just a random sample! Do they calculate by weight? I know the Amy box has fewer LPs than Clapton but costs a few cent more!!!
            I would rather pick them up at my local record store and carry them home myself!

        • neil storey says:

          Hi Colm,
          My pleasure. I’ve spoken to the people at Digital Stores this morning and asked that this is looked in to. Don’t have an answer for you yet but hopefully within the next 24 hours. Below is a more generalised answer regarding shipping. The Distraction will be a slimmer volume, book size is approx 96pp – still vinyl sized like all HiddenMasters editions are… and we’re aiming for it be around the £65 mark. Don’t hold me to that (!), thats the plan… Neil.

          • colm47 says:

            Thanks Neil.

            I really do appreciate you taking the time to reply and listen to your customers.

            I’m looking forward to both box sets but especially The Distractions.
            Can’t wait to be able to walk around with Nobody’s Perfect on my headphones!

    • Eric Thiessen says:

      SpinCds was offering it for sale without the courier service. I cancelled my order with Universal over the courier issue/costs myself. They told me there were no other shipping options.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I think Neil confirmed that this box was exclusive to uDiscover and there was no agreement for Spin to sell it. Seems like they just bunged it up on their site anyway. Doesn’t surprise me. Unscrupulous organisation.

  3. michelle says:

    was thinking about preordering this but then looked at the price!! maybe the price will come down

  4. Phil Cohen says:

    $200 ($75 of it for shipping)? I’ll pass. And, by the way, other sources are saying that there will only be 750 sets produced. And what will the result be (for releasing a set that it outrageously overpriced)? The same result as the $600 Dylan set: most consumers will get the music from unofficial download sites.
    4 CD’s, a vinyl record and a book for $200?

  5. Willy says:

    This looks like a beautiful set. I can’t afford to buy it in this form, but a very well deserved tribute.

    I wonder if the Berkshire Cottage tapes will ever surface!!

    • neil storey says:

      Michelle… Phil… Willy.
      Thanks for the comments… Michelle, I’m sorry to inform you, the price on the 1st edition won’t come down. If we could price the basic set for less, we would.

      Phil – I’m not sure which other sites are claiming this is a limited run of 750 – there was talk a couple years ago that it might be a 750 run but… that was then. The first edition is 1000. If we limited it to the lower number, our production costs would escalate to such a degree it would be pointless issuing the set. Those costs are high enough as it is – I’m sorry you feel it is *outrageously priced* but… perhaps, if you better understood the real outlay involved in putting something like this together for a tiny company like ours over the time its taken (four plus years), you’d better understand why it is priced as it is. Someone much wiser than I said, ‘running a small record label is the quickest way to go broke.’ It saddens me that you feel most will get the music from download sites… That was something I was fearful of when we issued our Jess Roden set. However, I’m flattered to say, those who bought in to what we put together for Jess, didn’t disrespect the project. The general feeling I have from those who have been following this particular project, the same goes. And I’m supremely grateful for those who believe in what we do and how we do it. Finally, if you’ll allow, the basic set isn’t $200 as you’ve said.

      Willy… thank you. The Cottage tapes… haha..! First, I can 99.9% guarantee they’d never be issued – certainly in Steve’s lifetime. Second, I’d be pretty surprised if they even exist… personally speaking, it’d be far nicer they remain as they are – mythical. A bit like the place itself – it looks more or less the same but, it doesn’t feel the same. Having heard some very stoned… and I mean, seriously stoned ‘jams’ while working on various HiddenMasters projects, I can assure you, it never sounds as good as you think (hope) it will. Factor in dogs barking in the background, doors opening and shutting… all that malarkey… together with music that probably sounded great to those making it but… listening back straight… trust me, its not great at all… and certainly nothing that we’d ever consider including in any set we prepare. Very, very occasionally, I’ll find something that has worth in situations like that but that is the exception, not the rule. What we do is all about quality – dumbing down by including every last bum-note is not what we’re about!

      Shipping I’ll respond to in a separate post as I wouldn’t want this to become an issue.
      NS

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Hi Neil… I think the 750 confusion may have come from the fact that on the uDiscoverMusic site it reads “Numbered 265 – 1000″.

        • neil storey says:

          Ahhh right… gotcha. Thats ‘cos what we call the ‘enhanced editions’ – where by the customer gets the basic set plus… something else of their choosing (in this instance we’ve put together some really beautiful Giclee prints) and they’re all number variously 1/ 264.
          N

          • michelle says:

            @Neil. Hi do you have a personal/work email I could email you if you are directly involved with universal people please over a separate matter please

  6. Simon F says:

    Hummm. I’d prefer a proper full Traffic anthology set. Do you know those albums have not been updated since 1999!!

    • neil storey says:

      Shipping etc:

      One thing does need to be, perhaps, explained a bit better – the actual size of the package plays a large part in the cost of shipping, as does the weight… a 200+ page vinyl-sized hardback book + 180gsm vinyl + CDs + bespoke packaging to ensure it arrives in optimum condition is neither small nor light. It weighs considerably over 2 kilos.

      Second, I’ve spoken to the people who run Digital Stores this morning and asked that the shipping costs that are being quoted are looked in to – the figures I’m hearing don’t equate to what I was told a couple months back. Further, I’ve asked that they look into different ways of fulfillment as opposed to next day courier to offer as an alternative.

      NS

  7. Richie says:

    I pondered over getting this but the thing is I have to have it and the fact that Hidden Masters and Neil Storey is involved decided it. No more CDs/LPs in February for me.

    I can understand those in the US re: postal charges because it’s the same for us in the UK, £20 to send a CD from the US – that is robbery, it’s £1.26 with Amazon Market Place.

  8. Willy says:

    Neil Storey… thanks for your reply! Yes I’d heard something a good many years ago that Mr Winwood was not to keen on said tapes being released, not that they exist at all! Perhaps Mr Fantasy has them!

    • neil storey says:

      My pleasure. You’re probably right in the Mr F supposition! I’ve never seen ’em and I know where most of this stuff is… if they have survived, I’d say they’re under serious lock and key ‘cos nothing has ever emerged even as the worst possible sounding bootleg. Maybe one day we’ll all be pleasantly surprised!

  9. Neil R says:

    I was ready to order this set until I figured in the shipping charge. Too much money to ship the box to the US for me. Box was 200 and shipping 100? That’s nuts! Have they thought about making a digital copy available to those who want the music but not the very expensive artifact?

    Neil

  10. neil storey says:

    CW Evening Blue shipping (confirmed by Digital Stores this pm):

    UK is 6.95 – next day courier service
    Mainland EU is 17.99 – courier service (between 2 and 6 working days)
    US is 35.99 – courier service (between 2 and 6 working days)
    NZ/AUS/JAP is 35.49 – courier service (between 2 and 6 working days)

    Please NB:
    1. All delivery times may vary based on actual destination.
    2. All prices are quoted in GBP.
    3. IF customers choose to change currency (eg € or US$) then it will convert to that tender.
    4. Price is calculated on size and weight – this is a substantial set thus its also as protected within shipment as we can make it (bespoke packaging + courier service is safer all round than trusting to conventional mail). We’ve taken the utmost care to make this as good as we humanly can, the last part of that is ensuring as best we can, the care extends in getting it to you guys.

    Hope that helps,
    Neil.

    • colm47 says:

      Hello Neil

      That’s great news. I presume that will be adjusted for those like me who have already ordered?
      Thanks again for taking the time to sort this out.

  11. Mark says:

    Colm and Tim,

    Have you tried using parcelmotel? Used it last time I bought from Universal and it worked out quite a bit cheaper.

    • colm47 says:

      Hello Mark

      Universal never give you an option. Only the option of courier delivery at whatever crazy price they set!

      Anyway, Neil Storey has done a great job in listening to his customers and getting the delivery charges to a lot more reasonable level so I’m happy with that!

  12. Phil Cohen says:

    Disappointed that you squelched my post from appearing, but the bottom line is this: don’t expect Universal to release Traffic vault material. Steve Winwood won’t permit it.
    I was only trying to explain the specific reasons why Winwood says “No”.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Phil, it was all fine except for your rather unsavoury way of describing SW.

    • richie says:

      Why does SW say no Phil?

      • Phil Cohen says:

        Disagreements over artist and song publishing royalties as granted by Winwood’s original 1960’s Island Records contract. Universal did come to the negotiating table and granted some increases, but not everything that Winwood wanted.
        For a while, Winwood relaxed his restrictiveness and permitted a 2-CD expanded edition of “Traffic-John Barleycorn Must Die”, but since then, he has again said “no” to releasing vault material.

  13. Richard Clegg says:

    Neil, if you’re still reading this thread, any updates on the Robert Palmer project? (any clues or titbits would be appreciated)

  14. neil storey says:

    @ Michelle… sure, neilstorey@aol.com will reach me.

  15. neil storey says:

    @Richard… Of course I’m reading (!)… its endlessly fascinating to see what people are saying. Currently studio bound working on inclusions for the Chris Wood CDs + we approve (or otherwise) the vinyl tomorrow. And, appropriately as I type this, we’re working on one of the (never before heard) Tyrone Downie tracks called Steph’s Tune. Steph was completely taken aback when we found it, she’d no idea there’d ever been a tune written for her… until these particular reels were unearthed.

    Robert… of course… We make decent progress, the deep research goes on in the background. Picture research under way as well. Have we found goodies… of course! Am I going to say what they are… nope, not just yet. I think I can safely now say, it’ll be 3 distinctive sets. It’ll be way too complicated to issue them all together so, I’m equally fairly safe in saying we’ll stagger them. I don’t want to put a time-frame on this – it’d be idiotic actually,

    As you can probably imagine my concentration and primary focus is ensuring we have the CW set as good as we can; deadlines loom so its round the clock now. Neil.

    • Richard Clegg says:

      Neil, thanks for that. 3 separate sets for RP? To paraphrase the man himself, that fills my heart with joy, and makes my day. I’ll start saving now.

  16. Andrea says:

    I’m a bit confused about the content of this set.
    It is described, here and in the (almost word by word identical) official press release as “his never-released solo album (long thought lost, the masters were discovered by chance in a barn in the West of England in early 2013)”.

    But a solo album (“Vulcan”) was actually released, in 2008, by Esoteric. According wikipedia this new edition “will include the album, Vulcan, as Chris originally sequenced it in 1978″.

    So, is the vinyl/Cd album in this set the same as released as “Vulcan” on Esoteric, just differently sequenced? Or are these different versions? Or different masters/tapes for the same versions?… Or what?… Thanks for any insight, for it’s quite puzzling actually…

    • neil storey says:

      Andrea… There shouldn’t be too much confusion (!). Chris, along with engineer Terry Barham compiled / sequenced (however you like to term it) his solo LP for presentation to Island on Sunday, 1st October 1978. Those two 1/4″ reels lay dormant for 30 years in, yes, a barn in the West Country.

      When we began this project, well over 4 years ago, we digitised all the reels that Steph (Wood) had – and, as soon as we got to the end of that process, it was glaringly apparent that there were reels missing. Initially, I thought they might be just missing mixes – ‘cos at that point, I hadn’t located Terry Barham but, when that occurred, he confirmed he and Chris had sequenced the album. Fantastic. But, where were the reels then?

      At that point it was a question of following up every clue that could be found; lots of blanks and leads that led nowhere until… one quirky coincidence led to another and… bingo. They were discovered along with another 11 reels… all 1/4″ reels for exactness sake. Covered in dust and cobwebs but, after the usual time being baked… they scrubbed up perfectly! ‘phew…

      So… the tracks here on the vinyl I can 100% confirm have never been heard before. Some of the song titles will be familiar (if you have a copy of the Vulcan CD). Unfortunately and for reasons I can’t really understand, the titles for Chris’s tunes weren’t accurate on that release.

      The vinyl will be replicated on CD1 (for those who don’t own a record player) but will be an extended version of the vinyl – we’re working on that as I type… its probably going to be an extra 4 tracks, three completely different mixes one of which I can confirm as being a nearly 10 minute version of See No Man Girl with one track which I found on one of Chris’s cassettes. its a short ambient piece and has a particularly odd title (very Chris!)… No 4 B Side. Make of that what you will…! Its quite short and kinda ambient. And no, no one has ever heard that before either.

      As soon as we have CD1 mastered, I’ll post the track listing with an explanation about the ‘bonus tracks’. Once we have the other three CDs mastered, I’ll do the same… Running orders are chopping and changing all the time as you can probably imagine. Lastly, we’re aiming not to duplicate any recording on the Vulcan CD.

      Hope that helps,
      Neil.

  17. Andrea says:

    Yes, that helped…I guess… and yes, it IS a bit confusing if even you, admittedly, can’t say what went wrong with the Esoteric CD, and why was it “not accurate”… ;-)

    So, trying to put together the pieces, is it reasonable to infer that the tapes you digitised 4 years ago were probably the same tapes “in possession of Wood’s sister, Stephanie [from which] in 2008 […] a CD titled Vulcan […] was released by Esoteric Recordings” (wikipedia)?… plus, of course, there’s this newly discovered bunch of 1/4″ reels.

    Anyway, thanks for your answer, I love Chris’ music and this does look like a labour of love… I already preordered my copy.
    Thanks!

    • neil storey says:

      Andrea, there’s an e-address above in these posts which’ll reach me direct. Sorry for slow response, studio bound over the last 48 hours and concentration had to be on everything going on there.

      Best,
      Neil.

  18. Willy says:

    Thanks for all this info, Neil. This is fascinating stuff.

  19. Sam says:

    Thanks for all the information, Neil. Traffic is one of my favorite groups of all time and I’m really interested to see what will be. Those Mason-Frog-Wood sessions sound interesting for sure! Being an unemployed student with an unemployed student’s budget for music, though, this is may have to go on the Christmas list. I have a few questions, though: 1) Will there be a CD-only version of this set in the future? 2) Is the track list published somewhere?

    • neil storey says:

      Hi Sam.
      I think it was always imagined the MCWF studio sessions either probably never took place or, if they did, more than likely the reels had been lost (like so many others). Thankfully, and as with much of this, it was one lead that led to nothing followed by another similar before, eventually, we struck gold. There are, from memory, either three or four reels but, annoyingly, it seems Chris only turned up at Morgan for one session. How annoying is that! So thats what happened and thats what we have. There were the two BBC sessions (as doubtless you know) but only parts of one of those has survived. Shame… sadly, the way it is.

      Your questions – yes, if we do issue a 2nd edition (and I most certainly hope we will), it’ll be CD only. Will it be a stripped down book? Hmmm… I think not… For me, it rather devalues the whole. The track listing – nope, its not published anywhere in full yet because we’re still working on parts of it. Yes, we’re pretty settled on most of it but a) running orders will chop and change until the moment we’ve finished mastering each CD; b) we’ve still a small handful of tracks to be cleared (ones where rights aren’t owned by the Estate) and we can’t include them until that process is complete; c) there are a couple we’re debating on pure quality issues.

      As this is an ongoing process we’ll issue the CD track listings as we move along. CD1 will certainly be announced next week, possibly CD2. CD3 and CD4 will be the week following.

      Hope that helps,
      Neil.

  20. Phil Cohen says:

    Maybe it was too soon to begin promoting the project or accepting preorders, especially considering that it hasn’t exactly been decided what the musical contents will be.

    • neil storey says:

      Hello Phil,
      I don’t think so… Further on from the reply above to Sam, we took a very deliberate decision not to publish precise track listings until we’d completed the mastering of the individual CDs – not least ‘cos we wanted to avoid confusing people by saying we’re including track X when, at the very last moment, its replaced by track Y. For what its worth, that happened as recently as the last 48 hours… I’d been 99.9% certain for months that track Z would make it… then, that .1% came in to play… and that particular track is not on the list.

      When you’re at the point we are right now – and especially because this project is as hugely complex as it is – things change and change about right up to the very last moment when we sign off on the CDs mastering.

      Be patient (!)… everything will be revealed… soon!

      All the best,
      Neil.

  21. steve says:

    Some great and interesting posts
    Just to go back on postal charges Spin cds are doing Free UK postage on the Chris Wood Box Set,how can they do it and HM can’t.

    • neil storey says:

      Thanks Steve… but… don’t you think thats a bit odd? (yes, I saw their newsletter a week ago). I mean, isn’t it a bit peculiar Spin are advertising it in the first instance? That means they’re saying they’re able to order it in and then sell it on – or, rather, offer it for sale to consumers ‘cos it won’t be physically issued ’til June 24 – at less than its on pre-order for?

      The only way they’d be able to do that would be to bulk buy at (I’d imagine) quite a serious discount and be prepared to somehow loose the postage along the way.

      Firstly, I’d have to sign off on that – and I haven’t been approached.

      So that no one is being misled here, the Chris Wood | Evening Blue book (not box) set is only available to pre-order via one place… Digital Stores. The pre-order link on our (HiddenMasters) website will take you there as will links from elsewhere – just like Paul has posted above here on SDE.

      IF anyone reading this has pre-ordered via any other supplier – and had that order accepted, I’d urge you to double check your order because no third-party has been authorised to sell this set.

      Secondly, UK delivery via courier service is significantly cheaper than via Royal Mail or similar other carrier. Which is why we’ve chosen that method.

      Hope that helps and best wishes
      Neil.

    • Rik says:

      Spin’s estimated shipping cost to Canada (presumably about the same to the US) is £20.00, which is quite a bit more reasonable.

      Unfortunately the Canadian dollar has been shockingly devalued over the past year (thanks OPEC), meaning this set along with the shipping would cost me *double* what it will cost UK buyers.

      Tragic Magic indeed.

  22. Eric says:

    I don’t see any listing for the session he did with FREE….

  23. Pingback:Robert Palmer / 5 Classic Albums | superdeluxeedition

  24. Wayne Klein says:

    I love the music that Chris made with Traffic (and “Vulcan” was a nice surprise even if it was truly unfinished) but this is really too rich for my blood. It seems like these big boxed sets are aimed more and more at niche markets (i.e., the boomer who retired with too much money on his hands) and is buying less and less new music.

    Still, if the company decides to issue this in a less expensive set vinyl or CD only down the road, I’d be interested.

    As far as other live shows from Traffic, Winwood’s relationship is a bit frosty at the moment with the label. I don’t see that changing anytime soon myself.

  25. Wayne Klein says:

    I do, by the way, think the set as a collectable is nice but, u less this trickles down to a less expensive set, it’s unlikely I will be buying it.

  26. Scarlett JayJay says:

    Will the deluxe enhanced (including a numbered giclée print) Evening Blue issue be available for purchase in the U.S.? Cost is not an issue. Thank you.

  27. Pingback:Chris Wood / Evening Blue box delayed | superdeluxeedition

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