Realworld Records

4-12-12          Realworld Records

Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock born 1940, Steppenwolf singer John Kay born 1944; Jazz.

Are you familiar at all with Peter Gabriel’s Realworld Records?  I remember getting 2 of his Womad LP sets (“Africa” and “Europe”, I think).  I think the first Realworld title I ever saw / got was the original soundtrack to “The Mahabarata”  (1990) – but a Japanese pressing (on CD)!

The next blip on the Realworld radar seemed to be that Peter Gabriel was going to release his 90’s albums on this label, via Virgin Records in England.  I hadn’t listened to too many of his 80’s records, so this didn’t mean much to me.

When unknown titles on the Realworld label began to hit the $1 bin, I started to “investigate” them.  In 2012, I have about 60 – 70 titles on Realworld now.  Top price has been about $2.99 for most of ‘em.

Yes, I file them together, as they all have similar looking CD spines, the modern rainbow.  Recently, when I re-did the shelves in my bedroom, I took all of the Realworld CD’s out of their cartons and put them on a shelf, so they would be visible to me.

I’ve played a handful of them over the years, but now that they’re all up there, I am listening to them “as new”.  They make great ‘falling asleep’ music!

So far:

The Guo Brothers & Shung Tian – Yuan (1990) China

The Musicians of The Nile – Luxor To Isna (1989) Egypt (pictured)

The Terem Quartet – Terem (1992) Russia (pictured)

V.A. – Bliss (1998) International

Paban Das Baul & Sam Mills – Real Sugar (1997) India / England

“Bliss” is a compilation with a not-great cover; I bought it because it’s on the Realworld label – only.  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Grid, Sheila Chandra, Afro Celt Sound System etc.  As a lot of music on Realworld seems to be recorded at their own studios in England, these diverse artists’ works sit nicely next to each other.

So, it’s been a passive, sleepy adventure thus far, but I am definitely enjoying this stuff.  Beautiful recordings, pleasant packaging – clear, concise liner notes – these are quality products.  So if you encounter what passes for a “cheapie bin” of used CD’s, see if you can find anything on Realworld.  The spines aren’t hard to spot.  They’ve had several US distributors, but they always have the modern rainbow on the spine of the CD.

The ones today were released by Virgin Records America (LA) and Caroline Records (NY).

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2 Responses to Realworld Records

  1. I haven’t kept up with Realworld much, but if I don’t already have “Bliss” in storage I should seek out a copy … the bands and artists you mention on it are all very good. I believe the WOMAD festival continues in some form or another, and it sounds like the rest of Realworld’s output makes for a good “crash course” in quality international music.

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    All of the CD’s on Realworld would seem to be recorded beautifully, and, as such, all are conditionally recommended. After a while, all look sort of alike, so carry a list of what you already have, so as to avoid duplication.

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