David Axelrod’s “Earth Rot,” The Definitive Reissue, Out Now

David Axelrod’s personal copy of the Earth Rot LP.

Legendary composer/Arranger/Producer David Axelrod’s essential trilogy on Capitol Records – Song of Innocence (1968), Songs of Experience (1969), and Earth Rot (1970) – officially reissued on Now-Again. Earth Rot – expanded with never-before-issued instrumentals – is out now.


Earth Rot (1970) set Axelrod up for his final stage as an architect of jazz fusion and ensured that his productions would help future architects of hip hop. This reissue is a gatefold 2/LP containing a bonus second album with Earth Rot’s instrumentals, never before released. Axelrod himself requested the release of the instrumentals before his death; it was this request that started the process that led to the issue of his Capitol Trilogy on Now-Again, with his family and Estate’s participation and approval.

David Axelrod (1931-2017) was producer and A&R at Capitol in Hollywood in the 1960s, working with artists Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls, David McCallum, among others, and the infamous group of L.A. session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. In 1967, for Reprise Records, Axelrod composed and “ghost-produced” the psychedelic rock album Mass In F Minor under the guise of The Electric Prunes. This surprise hit earned Axelrod new audience, and the opportunity to release a string of albums under his own name back at Capitol.

His debut, Song of Innocence, is an essential ‘60s masterpiece. Celebrated as psychedelic, the birth of jazz-fusion, the harbinger of hip-hop, the album is a hybrid that no one, not even its creator, could describe.Grounded by the Wrecking Crew vets Earl Palmer (drums) and Carol Kaye (bass), Axelrod’s juxtaposition of musical elements utilizes sweeping arrangements, brass and strings in a way that no one of his era did. Song of Innocence is both violent and sublime.

Songs of Experience (1969) is the visionary composer/arranger/producer’s second album; it was recorded after the death of his beloved son Scott. Experience is an ominous affair, an album concerned with mortality and spirituality – the solitary, pastoral musings of William Blake set to the urban bombast of a full Los Angeles orchestra, with Wrecking Crew vets grounding the proceedings with dark funk.

These are all audiophile reissues, lacquered directly from Axelrod’s original master tapes at Capitol Records by Ron McMaster and Kevin Bartley. Each reissue contains oversized, 28 page booklet that delves into Axelrod’s incredible life and music, replete with never before published photos and an interview with Axelrod by Eothen Alapatt and Waxpoetic’s Brian Digenti.

READ – DAVID AXELROD, 1931-2017 by Eothen Alapatt

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