Here at Album Liner Notes.com, we like to see a specific type of Liner Note. Liner Notes with details and bits of information that really make the purchase of the CD worth it.
Ideally, the notes should include some very important information. Here's what we like (this is from Linda Thompson's "Versatile Heart," by the way):
(1. Song Title and Songwriting Credits)
(Written by Rufus Wainwright, Put Tit On Music/WB Music Corp)
(2. This particular Liner Note has a special note from the artist. This is nice to read and can actually make the song more memorable, since the listener will understand the song from a different perspective.)
Rufus Wainwright wrote this song for me. What a gift. Thank you Rufus, Martha and especially Kate. Antony got out of his sickbed to do this session and still sang like an absolute angel.
(3. Performance Credits. It's important to have the complete musician credits. This is the DNA, pure and simple. It can be very informative to know who performed on a track and then see their contribution elsewhere.)
Strings arranged by Maxim Moston.
Linda Thompson: vocals and harmony vocals
Antony: harmony vocals
Maxim Moston: violins
Antoine Silverman: violin
David Creswell: viola
Anja Wood: cello
Byron Isaacs: double bass
Rob Moose: nylon string guitar, violins
(4. Recording details. Where the song was recorded and by whom. Again, this information is vital. It is possible to track the development of the Producers and Engineers by knowing where and when they were involved.)
Recorded at Dubway Studios, New York City; engineer: Jason Marcucci, assistant engineer: Chris Abell
Additional recording at Monkey Boy Studios, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York; engineer: Brian Fulk and at Betrayal Studios, New York City; engineer: Edward Haber and at Sphere Studios, London; engineer: Edward Haber, assistant engineer: Karen Leite.
Here's a another good (though not perfect) example of what we like to see.
This is from Randy Newman's Box Set - "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman"
I Love L.A. (3:29)
From the Album "Trouble in Paradise" (1/12/83) H
Also issued as Warner Bros. Single #29687 (3/9/83)
With/Randy Newman: Piano, Synthesizer
Michael Boddicker: Synthesizer
David Paich: Fender Rhodes electric piano, Farfisa organ
Steve Lukather: Guitar
Waddy Wachtel: Rhythm guitar
Nathan East: Bass
Jeff Porcaro: Drums
Lenny Castro: Percussion
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie: Backing Vocals
We think it's great that Beach Boy fans Lindsey and Christine are doing the b/v on this song; they start their vocals on the "turn up the Beach Boys" line. I'd love to know who does the "We Love It" parts? The whole group? Lindsey, Christine and Randy?
Song by song annotation (as seen above) is the best way to read the information and is easier to understand, some releases give you the information, but do not make it easy to read. See below for an example.
This is from - "Sam Cooke - The Man Who Invented Soul"
Organ: Billy Preston (3/23, 4/01-4/12); Hugo Peretti (2/4, 2/5); Nathan Griffen (3/11, 3/12)
This indicates that Billy Preston played organ on:
Disc 3, Track 23:
"I Ain't Gonna Cheat On You"
Disc 4, Tracks 1-12:
"Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen"
"Lost and Lookin'"
"Mean Old World"
"Please Don't Drive Me Away"
"I Lost Everything"
"Get Yourself Another Fool"
"Little Red Rooster"
"Laughin' and Clownin'"
"You Gotta Move"
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
It's difficult to get a good idea of who played what on what song when the listing is done in this manner. We might decide to rearrange this to make it a little more reader friendly.
The Liner Notes for "Carole King - A Natural Woman" box set are even more confusing. Rather than give you song-by-song annotation, they give an album overview with each musicians part noted after their name. This makes our job more difficult because we end up having to transcribe them a little so it make sense to us, before we let you read it. Here's a small sample:
For the legendary "Tapestry" album:
Carole King: Lead and backing vocals, various keyboards
Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar: electric and acoustic guitar; conga on "It's Too Late," "Beautiful" and "You've Got A Friend."
Charles Larkey: electric bass; upright bass on "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
Curtis Amy: baritone sax on "Smackwater Jack," flute on "So Far Away," soprano sax on "It's Too Late," tenor sax on "Way Over Yonder." Etc...
As you can see, that isn't the greatest way to appreciate the musicians work. You really have to sit down with a piece of paper and pencil to make heads or tails of it all. Okay, we would - that's why you come to us to make sense of it all for you.
Well, we hope this gives you an idea of what we're looking for.