Complete Recordings box set with The Sicilian Defense (!!)

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Media Music Mr. Time Complete Recordings box set with The Sicilian Defense (!!)

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    If the I Robot reissue intrigued you, check out this mini-missive posted on the official APP Facebook page while me and the boy were out grocery shopping:

    For the first time ever an APP box set with all 10 albums plus the never before released Sicilian Defence album will be released Summer 2013.

    And what in the exact hell is the Sicilian Defense album? Sherman, set the wayback machine for 1981 – i.e. the gap year between the wildly successful album The Turn Of A Friendly Card and Eye In The Sky. [LINK]

    NEW YORK – Arista Records is suing its top selling AOR act, The Alan Parsons Project, for $45 million in U.S. District Court here, claiming the act is trying to break its contract by employing a variation of “The Sicilian Defense,” a classic chess ploy.

    Indeed, tapes submitted by Alan Parsons and his collaborator, Eric Woolfson, March 5, ostensibly to satisfy contractual obligations were titled “The Sicilian Defense.” The tapes were deemed “unmarketable” by Arista which says in the suit that company officials did find them “amusing” however.

    “The Sicilian Defense” is described by chess experts as a “sharp opening move” involving “unimportant” pieces with three pawns advancing in a gambit that allows for a subsequent attack.

    Arista says the move is “a device to stimulate renewal of discussion” between the label and the act which it says has been trying to renegotiate certain parts of their contract. That contract began in 1976 and has been periodically amended. The label says the act also owes it more than $500,000 in recouped advances which were due in May 1980.

    According to the suit, Woolfson and Parsons have declared that by refusing “The Sicilian Defense” tapes, Arista has breached the contract, and therefore The Alan Parsons Project is now free to negotiate with other companies for recording and publishing rights. Careers Music, Inc., an Arista publishing wing, is also a plaintiff in the action.

    The label claims that Parsons and Woolfson were scheduled to turn over a master recording Feb. 21 to satisfy contractual demands. Around that time, however, the label was also refusing to make changes in the artists’ contract as requested by the act and the suit clearly implies that the chess metaphor was then employed as a bargaining chip.

    Arista says that the contract specifies that the label “has the right to refrain from manufacturing and selling records” submitted by the defendants if they are deemed by the label to be unsatisfactory “for the manufacture and sale of phonograph records.”

    “Upon the basis of experience with defendants, the reason given for their purported termination of their agreements with plaintiffs was not bona fide and defendants have their demands for change in their agreements with Arista. Careers and Ariola were refused.” Ariola is Arista and Career’s corporate parent.

    In asking for the sum of $45 million, Arista says that Woolfsongs Ltd., the corporate entity under which the Alan Parsons Project operates, still owes it five master recordings plus three additional masters at Arista’s option, under terms of their contract.

    The release is interesting in light of this later interview with Parsons [LINK]…

    The Sicilian Defense was our attempt at quickly fulfilling our contractual obligation after I Robot, Pyramid and Eve had been delivered. The album was rejected by Arista – not surprisingly – and we then renegotiated our deal for the future and the next album, The Turn Of A Friendly Card. The Sicilian Defense album was never released and never will be if I have anything to do with it. I have not heard it since it was finished. I hope the tapes no longer exist.

    One song from The Sicilian Defense was included as a bonus track on the 2008 remaster of the 1979 album Eve.

    Either they paid Parsons a boatload of money to suddenly like it, or he no longer has anything to do with his back catalog (which may well be the case, as most of the music was written and published by the late Eric Woolfson anyway). It could be that Woolfson’s estate pulled the strings necessary to get The Sicilian Defense released.

    Steve W
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    Or that he’s now gotten older and wiser and even if the album isn’t good it’s still an interesting curio in the group’s history that fans have probably been asking for for a long time.

    Now I’m wondering how bad the album is. With Parsons badmouthing it and saying he hoped he’d never have to hear another note of it again, it’s got to be pretty terrible. And you have to consider it was a giant “fuck you” to Arista, made so bad that they’d reject releasing it.


    @Steve W wrote:

    older and wiser

    😆 I see what you did there…

    The one track that was released as a bonus… really wasn’t all that bad, but wasn’t terribly impressive either. My prediction is that it’s all very simple instrumentals – probably decent enough music, but not as developed or arranged or as densely performed as you’d expect from other Parsons instrumentals like Mammagamma or Lucifer. Probably just Eric noodling about on piano and Alan in the booth. Minimal effort – like you said, flipping the bird to Arista on tape. The Alan Parsons Basement Tapes.


    Last year:

    For the first time ever an APP box set with all 10 albums plus the never before released Sicilian Defence album will be released Summer 2013.

    This year:

    We are delighted to announce the release date of the first ever complete APP box set (including all 10 albums in mini vinyl replica sleeves, the never released Sicilian Defence album and a 28 page booklet with rare photographs). It will be available 31st March 2014. Happy New Year!

    Took long enough, eh?


    This just in, and it’s ludicrous.

    The already-released albums in the box set will NOT be the recent editions with bonus tracks. They will use the same remasters, but will be the original album tracklists only, minus the bonus tracks from the recent years’ reissues.

    Man, the Sicilian Defense better be really, really good, given that Sony/Legacy is fleecing everyone rather intensely with this set.


    And here is the full tracklist for the Sicilian Defense album. Yes, it’s expressed entirely in chess moves.

    1. P-K4 (5:00)
    2. P-Qb4 (6:22)
    3. Kt-KB3 (3:07)
    4. …Kt-QB3 (1:15)
    5. P-Q4 (3:54)
    6. PxP (3:28)
    7. KtxP (4:01)
    8. Kt-B3 (0:54)
    9. Kt-QB3 (8:16)
    10. P-Q3 (3:30)

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