Sunday, October 13, 2019

Rankin/Bass' Mad Monster Party vinyl release Vs. 1998 CD Soundtrack release

      A few years back a vinyl version of the Mad Monster Party soundtrack came out and I never said anything about it.   In the mid-1990s, I asked Maury Laws about the Mad Monster Party soundtrack and to that point, no one had ever done that before.   He was very guarded for some reason, but ultimately made me a copy of the unreleased soundtrack, I believe around 1995.   I wrote about it in my first book The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass:  A Portfolio, which was released November 20, 1997.  In 1998, Percepto Records decided to issue the Soundtrack on CD.   I wrote very detailed liner notes with interviews with Maury Laws, Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Sara Karloff, Phyllis Diller, etc.  The sound quality was Excellent, because Maury lent us his original master recordings.  The CD booklet included archival photographs, production art, new art by Lane Smith (James & The Giant Peach, The Stinky Cheese Man) and much more!  Everyone was very pleased with the way it turned out.   I remember taking copies to Phyllis Diller, when I was out there doing a book/CD signing at the San Diego Comic Con.  Maury in particular was ecstatic about the ultimate release of his long shelved soundtrack and very happy with the quality.  So much so, that we released the Daydreamer next.  

 Like I said, the liner notes were very detailed and included rare photos like this photo Sara gave me of her and her boys with her Dad, around the time of the release of Mad Monster Party.

   When I heard about this LP release a few years ago, I contacted Maury right away.   He said he talked with someone, but wasn't sure when and if it was going to be released.  Then I saw pictures of the product and the first thing that caught my eye as an artist, was that the cover art and liner notes insert were all bad, new art?   Not the Rankin/Bass archival photos or production art from my book and original liner notes, but some really bad renderings by a new artist. 

     Then my Co-Author Wes Garlatz picked a copy up and to our surprise the liner notes in this vinyl were written by some guy who has no association with the film or Rankin/Bass Productions in the UK, writing about why he liked the film and soundtrack???   He didn't even interview Maury or anyone?  This UK guy even mentioned the CD release and said it was a fan release?  This album was a fan release.

     Lastly, the thing that surprised us the most about this Vinyl release, was the poor sound quality.   The first time I heard it was at my Mad Monster Party signing at the West Hollywood SHAG Store in October of 2017.   The DJ was playing all vinyl and was spinning this disc and I thought to myself "What in the hell?"   It was definitely not off the master that Maury had so graciously lent us.   There was a lot of distortion and the highs and lows were missing.  Our 1998 CD release is far superior!

     So many people brought the vinyl up at my Mad Monster Party Dragon Con panel in Atlanta and at my recent appearances and I realized I never said anything about it.   I guess I was waiting to formulate an opinion and I don't like to say bad things, but in this case I must.  It Sucks!  I don't even own or want a copy and I am the expert on the film.   As Maury always said, "Onward and Upward!"

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