Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Music from the Walt Disney Records Archives

Walt Disney Records has been quietly re-releasing long unavailable material from its vast archives on iTunes over the past year or so, and happily, a number of new selections have hit the iTunes store today. The titles are:

Westward Ho the Wagons
Annette Sings Anka
Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

And quite significantly, the original soundtrack from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

According to Walt Disney Records producer Randy Thornton--

"This is HOPEFULLY the beginning of a new line (only time will tell). Also, when you purchase this title, you can download a Digital Booklet with behind-the-scenes photos, and illustrations. I’ve written a brief “Producer’s Note” outlining the background of the project, and there is (the highlight for me) liner notes from my new friend, composer John Debney . . . It’s taken me over 10 years to get this released, and it was definitely worth the wait! Thanks very much for all your patience, enthusiasm and support for this great, classic stuff."

Thornton continues to be one of the true unsung heroes of Disney-related historical preservation. He has been tireless in his efforts to find and restore these vintage recordings and insure their availability to what is undeniably a very small audience of enthusiasts. Thornton is well known to Disney music fans as the person who produces the Official Disneyland and Walt Disney World music collections; he was notably responsible for the amazing and near-definitive Musical History of Disneyland collection, released during the park's recent 50th Anniversary celebration.

In addition, five albums that were previously available at the Disneyland/Walt Disney World Wonderland music-on-demand kiosks have been added to the archive releases available on iTunes. Those titles are:

Meet Me Down On Main Street
A Musical Tour of France with Maurice Chevalier
Songs from Lady and the Tramp
The Disney Afternoon
Country Bear Jamboree

One special note about today's releases--a number of readers have contacted me recently concerning the song "The Ballad of John Colter." Fess Parker performed the song in Westward Ho the Wagons and it is available on the collection released today. It is also included on the archive release Fess Parker - Cowboy and Indian Songs, also available on iTunes.

Special thanks to Greg Ehrbar for communicating this information via both the Magical Music of the Mouse and his own Mouse Tracks web site.


Doc Terminus said...

Jeff! 20,000 Leagues!!!!!! Awesome news... More later, heading to itunes now!


Anonymous said...

That is very awesome! Thanks for passing on the info!

Lou Mongello - WDWRadio.com said...

20K?!! Woohoo! I'll race you to iTunes, Glenn....

Anonymous said...

This is cool news indeed, I've been waiting for more Disney content on iTunes. This is just the ticket.

Purchased the Black Cauldron Soundtrack recently as well.

Paul Bousquet

Johnny Jackhammer said...

Wow! Thanks for the tip! I was glad to read about it, but it was "Meet Me Down on Main Street" that made me shoot over to iTunes and start buying!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, is there any chance that you might do seperate articles talking about each of those different albums, including "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds"?

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Randy Thornton can use better versions of the same songs next time. Italiannette on iTunes was a huge disappointment.

Besides the wretched quality of mp3 sound on a halfway decent system, the iTunes tracks are all mono. Although the original vinyl was released in mono, several (if not all) tracks were restored to perfect stereo for the 1993 Disneyland CD Annette box set.

Those stereo tracks could have been used for iTunes. If they weren't all available in stereo, and if Disney didn't want stereo mixed with mono, they could easily have done a reprocessed stereo.

I've bought a couple of disappointing Disneyland albums on iTunes & had wanted to get the 2-volume anthology, but it's not worth the risk until I know it's going to sound good.