That album of Michael Jackson‘s unreleased material?
I’ll tell you what: it’s in limbo.
Later this week we may get a sharper picture of what’s going on. But this much I’ve surmised from talks with various sources.
The best material available really comes from those sessions with Eddie Cascio in New Jersey circa summer 2007. Some of the songs were already written by Eddie’s brother Frank Cascio and recorded as demos with a local singer named Bobby Ewing. Michael put his vocals on them during that time he stayed with the Cascios in New Jersey.
At first there was a lot of skepticism about the tracks. I’m told that co-executor John McClain questioned whether the vocals were really Michael’s, or faked. But they are Michael’s. And they will be needed to round out the selections.
Teddy Riley and a couple of other producers have worked to fix up the Cascio tracks for release.
McClain was also working on tracks. It’s unclear how these have gone. I’m told, not so well. Many of them are outtakes from “Invincible,” an album that wasn’t so good in the first place. And no one’s bothered to approach Michael’s engineer, Bruce Swedien, about tracks from “Thriller” or “Bad” he might have in his archives.
There’s truly confusion now in the inner circle about how to proceed. Sony is waiting for delivery but there’s no album art or concept.
As for a cover: I am told McClain commissioned one a la “Sgt. Pepper” with a montage of drawings or caricatures of people in Michael’s life whom he admired. Funny: several lawyers were jammed in among Martin Luther King and Marvin Gaye. McClain’s picture, sources say, was larger than most of the others.
Needless to say, that’s been scrapped.