If you are a member of Cheryl's e-mail list, ordering instructions can be found below.
Cheryl throws away a large number of songs that many other song writers would love to have written. This 2-disc album that is available only to members of Cheryl's e-mail list demonstrates the depth of Cheryl's "discard pile." In fact, there is easily another full disc of great songs that were not included on this album. Unfortunately, the poor recording quality of some of those songs are too distracting for someone to enjoy them, and since Cheryl no longer performs most of them, it is unlikely we will ever find a good recording.
Much of what follows is a description by Shelly Brisbin of this project:
Like many songwriters, Cheryl Wheeler has penned a large number of songs that have not appeared on any album. More than most touring performers who make albums, Cheryl incorporates unrecorded songs into each of her concerts, and many have become audience favorites. Partly because Cheryl’s shows contain so much unrecorded material (and partly because the shows are just hilarious), fans have recorded lots of them. And a good thing, too.
In 2003, Cheryl gave permission for members of The Cheryl Wheeler Mailing List, a fan-run Internet discussion group, to compile and distribute a collection of songs that had been performed and recorded live, but never released on a commercial album. The only condition she imposed was that the recording not be distributed beyond the mailing list’s membership. The result is No Previous Record, a 2-disc set, containing 51 songs.
The project got its start when Bill Pringle compiled a disc for Cheryl and her manager, containing many songs that Cheryl had been performing in concert during the past 15 years. He hoped, among other things, to convince Cheryl to consider releasing some of these unrecorded gems on a future album. When Cheryl agreed that the disc could be distributed to members of the mailing list, Shelly Brisbin, who runs the list, volunteered to reorganize the songs, add some more, and clean up the recordings. When Bill began sending her CDs containing even more unrecorded material, Shelly realized that one CD would not be enough. With access to Bill’s private collection of soundboard recordings and audience-made tapes, Shelly began choosing the best versions, pouring over countless renditions of many songs and agonizing over inconsistent sound quality. Next, it became clear that she needed to choose songs rather than simply dumping all available tracks to disc—an embarrassment of riches, you might say. The process of choosing became delightfully more complicated when Cheryl took a direct interest in the project, contributing her own tapes from as much as 25 years ago, and listening to draft versions of the discs.
Shelly and Cheryl worked together to finalize the track list and Cheryl gave her public blessing to the project on the mailing list, and by coming up with a title, No Previous Record.
It’s important to note that this project would not have been possible without the recordings that audience members have made, and that Bill has collected. And most importantly, it could not have happened without Cheryl’s support and encouragement.
Here is part of a message that Cheryl sent to the group about this project:
I want to thank all of you for the enthusiasim you're showing for "No Previous Record". I hope you like it.
This is not a studio recording and Bill and Shelly are right, it won't affect any plans for a new one of those. (There are, in fact, some plans along those lines, but they are far too sketchy to relate yet)
I need you all to know what a wonderful experience it has been for me to work with Shelly in selecting the tracks for this project.
I'm sure I've written 5 or 6 hundred songs, and over time, most of them just sort of drift out of the set and into oblivion. I don't know that I would EVER have looked back at them. Getting emails of track lists of what Shelly was putting together and of even more stuff Bill had, and then listening to the initial discs Shelly sent was like getting to go back in time. I sat for hours reading lyrics from old songbooks I hadn't opened for years and then listened to live recordings from as much as 26 years ago, when I was 25. I loved it. I think the word is affirming.
I had dismissed all the old stuff, assuming I was a better songwriter now. I think and hope that I am but after years of certain people (and Bill was a major one) repeatedly asking me to reconsider some of these songs, I think I finally got it, and I love these discs.
It is Shelly who spent god knows how many hours listening to god knows how many shows and then carefully, thoughtfully pieced these discs together. It was a HUGE effort. I am grateful and humbled to say the least.
This is a limited edition, promotional only, compilation album that was created strictly for members of Cheryl's e-mail list. The discs may not be sold. All tracks are from live performances. The audio quality of these recordings varies quite a bit, and the sound quality of some tracks is not particularly good. But these versions represent the best available recordings of these songs.
The songs in this collection come from a variety of sources. Many of the more recent songs were taken from soundboard recordings that Bill Pringle had been collecting. Many of the older songs came from a set of tapes that Cheryl had of when she was a guest on a show on WRIU Kingston called "Live Time". She was a guest on six shows (although the recording of show four has been lost.) Other songs came from audience recordings that Bill Pringle has been collecting over the years. Still more songs that were donated by members of the list.
Only members of the Cheryl Wheeler mailing list can obtain a copy of this album. It is free of charge, but they are not to make additional copies for others. For instructions on joining the list and/or getting a copy of this album, see Shelly's web page about the list. Once you are a member of the list, links to the list FAQs, including how to order NPR, appear at the bottom of each message from the list.
You can download a MS-Word document containing the lyrics to all the songs on this album. You should right-click on the above link and select the "Save As" option. If you don't have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, you can use OpenOffice, which is free software that works just as well (and some say better).
If you have the discs, you can download the CD labels and the booklets for Disc 1 and Disc 2 To download files like this, it is best to right-click on the link, and then do a "Save As" to save it to your local disk. Make sure you pick a place on your hard drive that you will be able to find later. You can then open the file by double clicking on the file name or icon. You will need Adobe Acrobat to open the file. You can use that program to print the file, also.
Remember, though, that there is not to be any charge for distributing the CDs, and they should be limited to members of Cheryl's E-Mail list.
|Title||No Previous Record, Disc 1|
|1||One Side Free||2:52|
|3||First of September||4:09|
|4||Can't Pay the Piper||2:56|
|6||Those Songs Again||1:41|
|10||I Will Try||2:47|
|13||Wish I Had A Reason||1:42|
|15||Wheel on a Wire||2:41|
|16||Blue Summer Day||1:34|
|17||His Mother was a Rabbit and His Father was a Businessman||2:12|
|18||Once a Month 'till Jesus Comes||3:53|
|21||You Won't Let Me Dance||2:27|
|22||Nerves of Steel||2:23|
|24||Runnin' Over Me||4:25|
|25||What We Saw||3:47|
|Title||No Previous Record, Disc 2|
|1||Drifting In The Maritime||2:30|
|3||Over My Head||3:23|
|4||Cow Pattern Clothes||5:32|
|6||You're the One||4:04|
|8||Must Be Sinking Now||4:16|
|11||Just Like God||1:18|
|12||This is Me||4:22|
|13||Cheyenne & Sugarfoot||1:59|
|18||Here Come Floyd||1:40|
|19||Please Play Me A Folk Song||0:54|
|20||On the Plane||2:55|
|21||It's the Phone||1:23|
|23||Summer's Almost Over||2:46|
|24||My Cat's Birthday||2:33|