The Complete MCA Studio Recordings

The Complete MCA Studio Recordings

by Nanci Griffith


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The standard line on Nanci Griffith's five-year sojourn at MCA Records is that Griffith, a Texas-born singer/songwriter, earned a major-label Nashville contract after four independent folkie releases on the basis of Kathy Mattea's Top Ten country recording of her song "Love at the Five and Dime," at a time when country music seemed more open to new sounds and MCA's Tony Brown was also signing such mavericks as Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett. But after two albums, Lone Star State of Mind (1987) and Little Love Affairs (1988), met resistance, failing to produce a major country hit, Griffith was transferred to the label's pop division, where Storms (1989) showed promise but Late Night Grande Hotel (1991) turned out to be too much of a pop move and turned off her existing fan base without attracting a new one. Then MCA dropped her. After a sojourn at Elektra Records, Griffith returned to indie status with Rounder in 2002, which oddly landed her back at MCA, since the major had a distribution deal with Rounder. MCA has also reissued Griffith's early albums, which gives the label a considerable stake in her catalog. So, there is a full-priced one-disc compilation of her actual MCA recordings (From a Distance: The Very Best of Nanci Griffith), a discount-priced Millennium Collection best-of, and now this two-disc package combining all four MCA albums with a few rarities. And when you listen to it from beginning to end, the standard line no longer seems to hold. The first two albums are no more country than Griffith's early "folk" albums, and the last two are not so "pop." The distinctions have more to do with production approaches, which pale before the dominant aspects of the music -- Griffith's sweet and sour voice with its distinctive twang and the terrific songs. Maybe there was something to the notion that Griffith, who delighted in showing listeners what novel she was reading on her album covers, was a bit too erudite for a Nashville thrush, but the result is a set of songs, written by her and some well-chosen others, that stand up well a decade later and are likely to sound just as good many decades hence.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/17/2003
Label: Mca
UPC: 0008817038124
catalogNumber: 000044702
Rank: 70575

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nanci Griffith   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Pat Alger   Guitar,Hi String
John Stewart   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Albert Lee   Vocal Harmony
Tanita Tikaram   Vocals
Mo Foster   Electric Bass
Rod Argent   Synthesizer,Keyboards,Vocal Harmony
Jerry Donahue   Electric Guitar
Phil Everly   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Lloyd Green   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Jon Goin   Electric Guitar,Classical Guitar,Hi String
Levine Andrade   Viola
Mark Berrow   Violin
Fran Breen   Drums
Charlie Bundy   Vocal Harmony
John Catchings   Cello
Ben Croft   Violin
Mitch Dalton   Classical Guitar
Pat Donaldson   Electric Bass,Mandocello
Philip Donnelly   Guitar,Electric Guitar
David Emanuel   Viola
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Pat Flynn   Acoustic Guitar
Roger Garland   Violin
Wilfred Gibson   Violin
Tim Good   Violin
Emory Gordy   Mandolin,Electric Bass
Peter Gorisch   Cello,Fretless Bass Guitar,Upright Bass
James Hooker   Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ
David Hungate   Electric Bass
John Jarvis   Synthesizer,Piano
Paul Kegg   Cello
Russ Kunkel   Percussion,Drums
Bernie Leadon   Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Mandocello,Vocal Harmony
Helen Liebmann   Cello
Martin Loveday   Cello
Mac McAnally   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Neill MacColl   Electric Guitar
Rick Marotta   Drums
Pat McInerney   Percussion
Mark O'Connor   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Mandolin,Violin,Viola,Mandola
Anthony Pleeth   Cello
Johnathan Rees   Violin
George Robertson   Viola
Robert Smissen   Viola
Peter Van Hooke   Percussion,Drums
Billy Joe Walker   Acoustic Guitar
Barry Wilde   Violin
Gavyn Wright   Conductor
Roy Huskey   Upright Bass
Byrd Burton   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Marc Donahue   Emulator
Lucy Kaplanski   Vocal Harmony
Danny Flowers   Slide Guitar
David Woodcock   Violin
Rick West   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Nanci Griffith   Composer,Producer
Fred Koller   Composer
Pat Alger   Composer
Tom Russell   Composer
John Stewart   Composer
Eric Taylor   Composer
Tom Waits   Composer
Bert Kaempfert   Composer
Rod Argent   Producer,String Arrangements
Phil Everly   Vocal Engineer
Roger Brown   Composer
Tony Brown   Producer
Glyn Johns   Producer
Julie Gold   Composer
James Hooker   Composer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Simon Hurrell   Engineer
Robert Earl Keen   Composer
Paul Kennerley   Composer
Mac McAnally   Composer
Jack Joseph Puig   Engineer
Mike Ross   Engineer
Steve Tillisch   Engineer
Peter Van Hooke   Producer
Ben Weisman   Composer
Fred Wise   Composer
Vince Bell   Composer
Vartan   Art Direction
Chuck Ainlay   Engineer
Gene Levine   Composer
Don Lowery   Composer
Danny Flower   Composer
Kay Twomey   Composer
Kelly Martinez   Licensing
Scott Schinder   Liner Notes
Rick West   Composer

Customer Reviews

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The Complete MCA Studio Recordings 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Many years ago I picked up an anthology of Nanci Griffith's recordings for MCA titled Best Of The MCA Years. When I went to CD it was not available, so I bought this double CD set instead. The first two albums compiled on Disc 1 had more of a country feel and instrumentation. After that Griffith and her producers tried for a keyboard based pop rock sound and the songs seemed to sound much the same from track to track. Although they tried, she just never broke into the artistic eminence of an Emmylou Harris or Rosanne Cash. I think it may have been her little girl voice that held her back. I believe the single disc set is back in print, and it is probably a better deal for everyone but Nanci devotees; there's just too much average music on The Complete MCA Studio Recordings, probably because both discs are almost 80 minutes long.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, let me say that this collection is certainly worth your money. It is built around the novel approach of four complete albums on two CD's (not just nebulous highlights), and captures some of Nanci's most poignant and well-written work from her "high-pitched" period in the late 1980s and into the 90s. My favorite material from this collection appears on disc two of the album, which covers the albums "Storms" and "Late Night Grande Hotel." These songs were recorded during her tumultous time at MCA Records, when, after failing to capture a mainstream audience through country music, she began to dabble in a more synth-piano-pop sound. The best songs on disc two are "I Don't Want to Talk About Love," "It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go," "Just Another Morning Here," and of course, the hauntingly lonely "Late Night Grande Hotel." The album will enable you to gain a more transparent insight into Nanci's broad and sometimes comlicated discography. Buy this collection if you like Nanci in general, and particularly if you want to discover more of her music but just don't know where to start.