Daryl Hall and John Oates aren't making any new music together in the foreseeable future, but they're about to lay a load of their past material on fans.
"Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall and John Oates" comes out Oct. 13 on Legacy/RCA with 16 previously unreleased songs on the 74-track, four-disc box set. Among the rarities are: songs by pre-Hall and Oates groups the Temptones and the Masters; outtakes from sessions for the "Private Eyes," "Change of Season" and "Do It For Love" albums; the original demo version of "Have You Ever Been in Love," which was recorded by Celine Dion in 2002; five performances from an October 1975 concert in London; a 10-minute live version of the Hall-written "Everytime You Go Away" in Tokyo; and live takes of "Starting All Over Again," "So Close" and the box's title track.
The collection does feature a pair of new Hall and Oates recordings -- a fresh version of "Dreamer," which was written but not used for 1972's "Whole Oats" album, and a version of the Mad Lads' "I Want Someone" from Oates' 2008 appearance on Hall's "LiveFromDarylsHouse.com" Iternet series.
Hall tells Billboard.com that listening to the duo's history again "was really bizarre. It was a real emotional journey as well as hard work, because I don't listen to stuff once I'm done with it. For the most part these songs just belong to my past, and to actually listen to them and analyze them and evaluate them was really strange. It put me back in touch with a lot of memories."
Oates adds that a box set was something he and Hall "have been talking about doing for quite a while, but the time wasn't right or people weren't in the right place to put it together." He calls the finished product "a great overview of how we started and how we got to where we are today. I think for the casual fan it's going to be eye-opening in terms of the depth and the interesting material they probably know us from."
While Hall and Oates continue to perform together, both men say there are no plans for an album of new material in the near future. Hall is continuing to record monthly "Live at Daryl's House" episodes with an eye towards releasing some of those performances commercially, while Oates is gearing up for a holiday tour in December with Jerry Douglas and Maura O'Connell.
Both are also planning solo albums, most likely for 2010. Hall says he's "just getting started...in the writing mode right now" and says the box set has made a bit of an impact. "I was really sort of impressed with what we did in that sort of 'Big Bam Boom' (mid-80s) period...I think there may be some elements of that, some sort of unusual 80s elements mixed in with the 'Live at Daryl's' sound." Oates, meanwhile, plans to explore a rootsier direction. "It's gonna be the stuff I grew up learning to lay -- Doc Watson, Sippie (Wallace), (Mississippi) John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk...the blues and finger-picking, with some solo guitar. We're just in the planning stages right now."