Re: Mark Henley's "Riversong" CD.


Someone much more talented at the mechanics of dubbing material from one source to another made me a set of Danny's first four albums some time back, and they sound wonderful. No, they don't have the cosmic remastering that so many discs are known for these days, but this, I'm afraid, is about as good as it gets. Another friend made a gift of his album, "Sunny", to me about a week ago, different material from what I had, and that sounded great.

There are just too many people who, for the national stage, were on the second tier, and Danny, although immensely popular in Kansas City as well as some other markets, was one of them. I made copies of the first four discs for Danny specifically, and sent them to Mike Brewer (of Brewer & Shipley) to give to Danny. Michael and Tom got the discs as well, by their request and at no charge from me. The idea of the musicians reaping rewards for these old recordings is noble, but misplaced. MJ will tell you catagorically that he made nothing on his recordings because the production costs were never completely paid off. Writing and publishing royalties are something else, but with all the "illegal" duplicating, I can assure you it isn't going to amount to much. Even the Brewer & Shipley catalogue is woefully incomplete on compact disc, and dubbed cd-r's of their commercially released as well as bootlegged material is making the rounds as I am writing this to you. Now, is it right? Probably not. But are we going to have access to it commercially before we are all dead and gone? I highly doubt it. The owners of the masters save money by keeping this and so much more material in the vault, instead of marketing it and taking a huge loss. I would love to have Henley's album on a commercially released, remastered compact disc...and so would you. I understand that somehow, the album has surfaced overseas on compact disc. Gee, how did that happen? What do they know over there that we don't.

I am a former ASCAP licensing rep of ten years (1980-90) from the DC area. I am a founding member of the Songwriters Association of Washington, DC. I am also a singer/songwriter/guitarist. Those three things should tell you that I have great respect for what the spirit of copyright law says. I really do. But if Mark Henley is so concerned about how his material is being pirated, why doesn't he take it upon himself to reissue it? Michael was good enough to get his first three albums reissued on his own, and God bless him for that. The two-disc set is absolutely affordable, compared to the imported versions, and they did a crackerjack job of making it sound fabulous! The best part is, all the money of the sale of these recordings is Michael's. Hooray for independent music!!! The merging of BMG and Sony a few months ago ought to tell us something very important...that the day of the big dog is almost over. Anything worth listening to, for the most part, in my humble opinion, is being released at the independent level. The major labels are producing least 95% of it is. I pray for the day when the Nashville Machine comes to a screeching halt, unable to be repaired, and the suits have to go do something honest for a living. And if I can find a copy that's priced reasonably of Mark's old vinyl album, I will snap it up in a New York minute! But since I listen to compact discs almost exclusively, I plan to keep my eyes open for one of those releases from overseas as well (sorry, Mark!). Life is just too damned short, and when you're pushing 60, and you haven't had the privilege of hearing some classic material because it was unavailable to you, or you didn't know about it, and it can be had in other ways, I just do not have a problem with finding it in alternative ways. If every major label were to close their doors next week, I would go to the funeral and dance on their graves for being the dishonest, greedy S.O.B.'s they have been for so long.

I do not encourage any of you to take the stand that I have. I would only ask that you consider it before registering an opinion.

Pleasant dreams.