MACK AVENUE RECORDS RELEASES SIX TITLES BY THE LATE SINGER-SONGWRITER KENNY RANKIN ON THE SLY DOG IMPRINT
Four Titles Digitally Re-Mastered From Original Tapes
MIND-DUSTERS FAMILY LIKE A SEED SILVER MORNING INSIDE THE KENNY RANKIN ALBUM
Today, the Mack Avenue label imprint Sly Dog Records releases six titles by singer-songwriter Kenny Rankin (who died in Los Angeles from lung cancer on June 7, 2009 at 69); Mind-Dusters, Family,Like A Seed, Silver Morning, Inside, and The Kenny Rankin Album, at all popular retailers.
The following four titles--Like A Seed, Silver Morning, Inside, The Kenny Rankin Album--have been pristinely re-mastered from the original analog tapes. Kenny's son, longtime music industry professional Chris Rankin, personally oversaw the transfer from the original tapes with top engineer Joe Gastwirt. Chris Rankin explains: We took the original DBX masters and did straight transfers without using digital processing. Our main concern was with maintaining the sonic integrity and dynamic range from the original recordings. Minimal restoration was done, and everything was transferred through the original DBX processing."
After sorting through the original master mix tapes for each album, Rankin and Gastwirt had to identify either the original master recordings or the earliest generation master safety tapes.
Several of these master recordings were encoded with the DBX noise reduction system," states Gastwirt, and the master safety's were encoded with a version of the Dolby A system that was popular in the '70's. Also, some of these tapes had developed Sticky Tape Syndrome and needed to be baked at a controlled low temperature for more than 8 hours to remove the moisture from the tape. We then located old reconditioned DBX and Dolby decoders to play back the original recordings as they were originally intended. The tape transfer mastering chain resembled the mastering chain from when the original LP's were cut, and we were careful to do very similar processing as done in the original mastering."
Once they were satisfied with the analog sound, the recordings were transferred to 176.4K/24Bit (4 times the rate of CD) digital then converted to the current CD release standard of 44.1/16 Bit.
Kenny Rankin brought a finely tuned sophistication and a capacity for a surprising variety of musical expression to contemporary pop music. His high tenor voice - vulnerable yet capable of conveying many emotional gradations - helped Rankin establish instant intimacy with audiences everywhere. Though he might appear with a trio, Rankin often performed alone. A singer with only his guitar between him and the audience, Rankin was a knight without armor. He seemed to relish the exposed posture; it underscored the emotional nakedness of his performances. Paul McCartney was so taken with Rankin's version of Blackbird" that he invited Kenny to perform the tune when Lennon and McCartney were inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Rankin grew up in New York City and absorbed the many forms of music around him like a sponge. A Greenwich Village apprenticeship brought Rankin into contact with producer Tom Wilson in '65. At Wilson's invitation, Rankin played rhythm guitar on Subterranean Homesick Blues" and Maggie's Farm" for Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home.
His songs preceded him into the national marketplace: Mel Torm recorded Rankin's bright waltz Haven't We Met" on his A Lush Romantic Album of '65 and Helen Reddy took Peaceful" to the Top Ten in '73.
Validation came in the form of a deal with Little David Records. Rankin's struggle suddenly turned into a journey. Founded by Monte Kay, Little David was a boutique label whose main artists were comedians Flip Wilson and George Carlin. Jazz entrepreneur Kay's rsum included the fabled Royal Roost nightclub, the Miles Davis Tentet (the so-called Birth of the Cool band), and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Rankin couldn't have been happier to be in such company.
Chris Rankin sees his father's work this way: I think what my father really tried to do is put a voice to the human experience, in all of its forms. His songs examined those human challenges from every angle with a beautiful voice and a lot of emotional depth. He was willing to share it all with his audience. Love was a predominant theme throughout his work: romantic love, loss of love, and love's redemption. He was never afraid to express his emotions through his work; he loved playing for the people.
He had a unique way of hearing other people's songs and finding new things in them. My family is very proud of my father's musical legacy and we're very appreciative that his albums are going to be reissued."
In closing, Mack Avenue label President Denny Stilwell comments, Kenny Rankin and Sly Dog Records are a perfect match for the prototype singer-songwriter that he embodied. Kenny was a natural musician with a vocal talent that wrung every nuance from deeply evocative lyrics. Lyrics both common and ethereal - everyday and extraordinary. Kenny's gift and these landmark recordings are a treasure, and it's an honor to be involved with their reintroduction. Our cooperative relationship with Kenny's family has been open and unified in our mutual goals - first and foremost, the active care-taking of Kenny Rankin's musical legacy."
Mind-Dusters (SLY 3005) Family (SLY 3006) Like A Seed (SLY 3007) Silver Morning (SLY 3008) Inside (3009) The Kenny Rankin Album (SLY 3010)