Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday 45 RPM Records!

Happy Birthday and welcome back to an old friend, the 45 rpm record officially turned 60 years old on March 31. British trade journals are reporting that single song 45rpm records are now outselling their CD counterparts and many American bands are now releasing music via this historic audio medium.

The 45rpm record was initially introduced in 1949 by RCA Records as a smaller, more durable replacement for the heavy 78 shellac-based records of the time. The 45 was created by RCA as a competitive move against one their rival record companies, Columbia, which had just introduced the new microgroove 33 1/3 rpm LP. The number 45came from taking 78 and subtracting Columbia's new 33 to equal the 45. Record companies and consumers alike faced an uncertain future as to which format would survive the 78rpm or the 45rpm; in what was known as the “War of the Speeds.” In 1949 Capitol and Decca started issuing the new LP format and RCA relented and issued its first LP in January 1950. But the 45 rpm was gaining in popularity and Columbia issued its first 45s in February 1951. Soon other record companies saw the mass consumer appeal the new format allowed and by 1954 more than 200 million 45s had been sold.

So On March 31, 1949, RCA Victor released "Texarkana Baby" b/w "Bouquet of Roses" by Eddy Arnold. The first 45rpm record to hit the Billboard charts was "A -- You're Adorable" by Perry Como, listed on the charts on May 7, 1949. The next week, the year's biggest hit appeared on the Billboard charts -- "Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” by Vaughn Monroe. The first 45rpm records were monaural and as stereo sound became more prevalent and popular in the 1960s, almost all 45rpm records were manufactured in stereo.

The historical and commercial significance of the 45rpm record has varied over time, the technological developments in recorded music and according to the audience of the particular artists and musical genres. In general, 45 records were more important to the music acts who sold music to the younger audiences (mostly teenagers) who tend to have limited financial resources and shorter attention spans. That said, the golden age for the 45rpm record was in the 1950s and 1960s in early development of rock music. They were affordable and allowed artists the freedom of releasing a single song as opposed to a whole LP. Conversely, some singles helped to launch the sales of the albums that the musicians were promoting.

The length of the songs also evolved. In the 1950s, it was common for songs to be anywhere from two to two and a half minutes long and in the 1960s; the three minute single became the norm. This length was very convenient and fit the AM radio format very well. Millions of demo records were sent out to radio stations with specific instructions as to which song was supposed to be the ‘hit single,’ although there were some DJs that played the ‘B’ sides and those songs became hits. Elvis Presley was one of the first artists to release the ‘double-sided single’, meaning that both songs would ultimately end up on the charts. The Beatles followed suit and were also one of the first recording artists to push the envelope, so to speak and commonly had songs over the three-minute norm. In fact, there are some singles that had to be edited by radio stations and shortened to fit their particular formats. Don McLean’s 1972 hit “American Pie” is an example, the single was split up into two parts on the 45. The Beatles broke new ground in 1968 with their over seven minute epic “Hey Jude.”

The sales of the 45s were recorded on the record charts in most countries in a Top 40 format and these charts were often published in magazines (Billboard), television shows (American Bandstand) and radio programs often had the Top 40 countdown shows (Casey Kasem).

Nowadays, they still manufacture 45 rpm records, but on a much smaller scale than decades ago. Indie bands, r&b artists and punk bands love the format; it makes the music affordable for their target audience and, after all these years, are still highly sought after by collectors. Happy Birthday to an old friend, here’s for many more!

Sales of 45rpm Records:

Over 11 million copies
“Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight” - Elton John

Over 8 million copies
“We Are the World” - USA for Africa

Over 4 million copies
“Hey Jude” - The Beatles
“Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel" - Elvis Presley
"I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston
"Low" - Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" - Los Del Rio
"Whoomp! (There It Is)" - Tag Team

Over 3 million copies
"Apologize" - Timbaland presents OneRepublic
"Disturbia" - Rihanna
"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" - Bryan Adams
"Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor
"Gangsta's Paradise" - Coolio featuring L.V.
"Hot N Cold" - Katy Perry
"How Do I Live" - LeAnn Rimes
"I Kissed a Girl" - Katy Perry
"I'll Be Missing You" - Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112
"I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz
"Just Dance" - Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
"Live Your Life" - T.I. featuring Rihanna
"Love Me Tender/Any Way You Want Me" - Elvis Presley
"Stronger" - Kanye West
"Viva la Vida" - Coldplay

Classic Rock Videos

Looking Glass - Brandy

Bird & Animal Names In Rock & Roll History- part five

As we continue our series of “bird” and “animal” names in rock & roll history, let’s explore some more famous groups and names that contain “birds.”

In the early 1960's, Missouri native Billy Swan wrote a hit single for Clyde McPhatter called “Lover Please” and spent the rest of the decade working as a roadie, engineer’s assistant and songwriter, writing material for Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings and Mel Tillis.

After moving to Memphis to continue writing songs and later relocating to Nashville, Swan supported himself as a recording assistant, but quit the job during the recording of Bob Dylan’s album “Blonde On Blonde” and gave his job to Kris Kristofferson. Swan went on to produce Tony Joe White’s hit single “Polk Salad Annie.” He also toured and played with Kris Kristofferson.

But Swan’s main claim to fame is his number one hit in 1974 called “I Can Help,” a song he wrote after receiving a little RMI organ as a wedding present from Kristofferson and then wife, Rita Coolidge. It went to number one on both the pop and country charts in 1974, and the accompanying album of the same name also topped the country list. After a few years, Swan returned to Kristofferson’s band and played with them until 1992.

However, taking time out from his still-active career as a session and backup musician, Swan recorded a new album at the original Sun studios, “Like Elvis Used to Do,” in 2000. In 2002, he teamed up with the Eagles’ Randy Meisner and Alan Rich, on a self-titled album from the aptly named Meisner, Swan & Rich.

One of the most successful rock groups of the 70's, the Eagles blended country, folk and rock into a stellar career that produced five number one Billboard hits. The group’s original members, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Henley were all session players and group veterans (Leadon had been with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Meisner founded the band Poco) and were assembled as back up musicians for Linda Ronstadt’s album “Silk Purse.”

Signed by Asylum Records, the Eagles released a self-titled album in 1972 which included the hit singles “Take It Easy” (written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey), “Witchy Woman” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and brought the “California sound” to the world. With their passionate, articulate harmonies, superstardom awaited, as fans clamored for more.

The second Eagles album, “Desperado” (1973) emphasized an “outlaw” image, but was not as successful as the first release. They added guitarist Don Felder on the third album, “On The Border” which went gold in three months and produced the number one Billboard hit “Best Of My Love.”

In 1975, the Eagles released “One Of These Nights,” a breakthrough album that mixed sappy, yet fulfilling ballads with pure rock and pop. The public loved the music, evidenced by the hit singles “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It To the Limit” and of course the title track, which peaked at number one on the Billboard charts.

In 1976, the Eagles released a “Greatest Hits” album that has sold well over fifteen million copies, but suffered the loss of guitarist Leadon, who was replaced by former James Gang leader, Joe Walsh. In 1977, the Eagles released the powerful and expressive LP, “Hotel California,” which added the title song as a number one hit to their already impressive resume. In 1977, Meisner left the group and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, but it took the group almost two years to complete their next album, “The Long Run.” The wait paid off, as the Eagles scored another number one hit, “Heartache Tonight” and top ten hits, the ballad “I Can’t Tell You Why” as well as the title track. They followed this with a live tour and release, but the group disbanded in 1981 and swore they would get back together “when hell freezes over”.

But that is not the end of the story, because hell must have frozen over and the group reformed and released the aptly named LP “Hell Freezes Over” in 1994. The album rehashed all their earlier hits and also included a new song called “Get Over It,” which reached the Billboard Top 40 and was well received by adoring Eagles fans.

In the next article, we will again explore “bird” names, but this time we will focus on the “Crows” of the rock and roll era.

This Date In Music History- March 31


Pat McGlynn- Bay City Rollers (1958)

Paul Ferguson- Killing Joke (1958)

Mick Ralphs- Bad Company (1948)

Sean Hooper- Huey Lewis and the News (1953)

Thiis Van Leer- organ, flute- Focus (1948)

Al Goodman- The Moments (1947)

Tony Brock- Tubes (1954)

Al Nichol- Turtles ("Happy Together") (1946)

Partridge Family cast member and stepmother of David Cassidy, Shirley Jones was born in Smithton, Pa in 1934. She's named after Shirley Temple, you know.

John D. Loudermilk ("Tobacco Road)("Indian Reservation") (1934)

Herb Alpert, best known for blowing his trumpet and having a woman dressed only in whipped cream on one of his album covers, was born today in Los Angeles in 1935.

AC/DC's Angus Young was born in 1959.

They Are Missed:

The late Jon Jon Poulos of the Buckinghams ("Don't You Care") was born in 1948.

The late, late, late composer Franz Joseph Haydn was born in 1732. He is known for helping to develop the Classical style.

O'Kelly Isley of The Isley Brothers died of a heart attack in 1986 (age 48).

Mexican American singer Selena was murdered in 1995 (age 23) by the president of her fan club Yolanda Saldívar. Warner Brothers made a film based on her life starring Jennifer Lopez in 1997.

Country musician 'Lefty' Frizzell was born in 1928 (died July 19, 1975)


In 2004, Usher's Confessions album went straight into the charts at #1, selling a whopping 1.1 million copies in its first week of release.

Chuck Berry released the seminal single "Johnny B. Goode" in 1958. It became his fifth top 10 single, peaking at #8.

Jimmy Page escaped being knifed when a fan rushed the stage at a Page and Plant gig at Auburn Hills, Michigan in 1995. The fan was stopped by two security guards, who he knifes instead. After his arrest, he told police that he wanted to kill Jimmy Page because of the Satanic music he was playing.

Cher kicked off her Heart of Stone world tour at the Starplex Amphitheater in Dallas, Texas in 1990. The 55-date tour grossed over $70 million.

The Official Beatles Fan Club closed in 1972.

In 1973, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon entered the Billboard albums chart for the very first time. Has it left yet?

Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar live on stage for the first time when he was appearing at The Astoria London in 1967. It was the first night of a 24-date tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdink.

Kenny Loggins started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart with “Footloose,” the theme from the film with the same name.

Prince's "Sign O' The Times" LP was released in the U.S. in 1987.

Guns N' Roses released their single "Patience" in 1989.

Human Touch” and “Lucky Day,” both by Bruce Springsteen were released in 1992.

In 2001, Whitney Houston and husband Bobby Brown were banned for life from Hollywood's Bel Air hotel after wrecking their room. Hotel workers said a TV was smashed, two doors were ripped of their hinges and the walls and carpets were stained by alcohol. It was reported that Whitney called in her lawyers to plead with the hotel management not to call the police. The suite was so badly damaged it had to be shut for five days for repairs. Remember, just say no to drugs….

Music News & Notes

Join A Rock Band

Want to be in Smashing Pumpkins? The band will be holding an open call for drummers on April 10th in Los Angeles. Interested parties should send background info (presumably a brief bio), photographs (presumably of themselves) and performance links via e-mail to pumpkinsdrummer@gmail.com.

The Pumpkins announced the departure of longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin in a late-afternoon press release on Friday, March 20. On the 24th, Chamberlin blogged about the split saying:

“I can no longer commit all of my energy into something that I don’t fully possess. I won’t pretend I’m into something I’m not. I won’t do it to myself, you the fan, or my former partner. I can’t just, ‘Cash the check’ so to speak.’ ”


Metric Announce US Tour Dates

Metric have announced the first tour dates behind the release of their fourth full-length studio album Fantasies starting with June 4 in Seattle at Showbox. Additionally, the band announces that starting tomorrow, March 31, fans can buy the album via iTunes ahead of the April 14 street date. A full album preview is also available at the band's website.

FantasiesCoverFantasies is already attracting a lot of attention with the first single, "Help I'm Alive," debuting at #1 on the FMQB Top 25 Singles Chart for US Specialty beating out the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Decemberists which also impacted the same week. The track, which was a #1 single in Canada, has been receiving accolades from the press world- wide with NME saying it's "A beautifully constructed, shiny, shimmying pop belter - one butterfly that's bound to cause a hurricane", and the Washington Post writing it "is an impossibly infectious exercise in '90's pop nostalgia. Springy, clattery, improbably happy, it's like the best Veruca Salt/Breeders collaboration that never actually happened."

Beyond "Help I'm Alive" Fantasies is loaded with compelling pop songs, with Metric's unique skew and many are finding fans all over a wide array of media. Grey's Anatomy featured the song "Front Row" on an episode earlier this month, and the song "Sick Muse" was heard on KCRW's highly influential "Morning Becomes Eclectic."


In 2008, Los Angeles based composer and producer Joerg Huettner, who has worked on the soundtracks of such films as "The Ring II" or "Batman Begins" for Hollywood star-composer Hans Zimmer, created exclusive music for the art exhibition “Labyrinth” at Strychnin Gallery Berlin, presenting Canadian artist Richard A. Kirk.

The entrancing ambient-electronica instrumental album that is the soundtrack to the "Labyrinth" exhibition has now been released as a 45 minute-long gapless album that is available as a 6-panel Digipack CD with a 12-page poster-fold booklet through Strychnin Gallery or the usual online download centers (iTunes, Amazon, Magnatune.com).

Besides intruiging down-tempo instrumental music, the digipack is a work of art in and of itself: its cover features Richard A. Kirk's work “The Riddle” and the beautifully designed album also contains additional art work by Kirk, as well as an excerpt from a novel by writer Tim Mizelle, which is based on and inspired by Kirk's art.


Lucinda's Econ Stimulus Package For Her Fans

Lucinda Williams is giving back to her fans. While she doesn't control the ticket prices for her shows, she is giving everyone who attends a discount at the merchandise table of $7 on clothing and $5 on CDs.

"I understand that this may only be a small gesture and in no way solves the problem long term, but I feel that it is important to try and do something to make it a little easier during this time."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vinyl vs. CD

Classic Rock Videos

Three Dog Night - Never Been To Spain

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 03/28/2009

1. 45 - The Beatles "Love Me Do" / "P.S. I Love You" Parlophone UK Demonstration w/ Top Pop! sleeve - $6,667.59 - Start: $7.00 - Bids: 39

2. 45 - The Mark IV "Take This Love / "If You Can't Tell Me Something Good" Brite Lite - $4,150.00 - Start: $6.00 - Bids: 18

3. LP - Beatles "Yesterday And Today" 1st State Butcher Cover - $4,100.00 - Start: $4,100.00 - Bids: BIN

4. 45 - Sandi & Matues "The World, Part 1" / "The World, Part 2" Matues - $3,383.00 - Start: $19.99 - Bids: 30

5. LP - The Beatles "Abbey Road" Parlophone UK Export Press - $2,506.61 - Start: $7.00 - Bids: 44

The Beatles make the list three times this week, including getting the #1 spot with the radio station promo of "Love Me Do" breaking the $5k mark at over $6.6k. Next, a Northern Soul 45 from The Mark IV sells for halfway over $4.1k.

In the #3 spot, the last Butcher cover from a collector who has been unloading several of them the past couple weeks sells on a Buy-It-Now for exactly $4.1k.

The #4 spot goes to a rare Funk 45 from Sandi & Matues. This records bids well over $3.3k. And the Beatles also get the #5 spot, with a Parlophone export copy of "Abbey Road" selling for a little over $2.5k.

I want to thank Norm at http://ccdiscoveries.blogspot.com for this great data!

Music News & Notes

Nickelback were the big winners at Canada’s Juno Awards, taking home three trophies including "Group of the Year" and "Album of the Year" for Dark Horse. Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall won the ceremony’s two rap awards and the Stills — who already have three albums under their belt — won the confusing New Group of the Year award. Coldplay’s Viva La Vida was awarded International Album of the Year.


The Arctic Monkeys have been recruited to headline the U.K.’s Reading and Leeds Festival, the NME reports. The fest will take place August 28th-30th. The remainder of the lineup will be announced tonight.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week kicked off Saturday night in Cleveland with the Moondog Coronation Ball. The name refers back to the March 21, 1952 show put on by Allen Freed that ended up in a riot.

Appearing were Jerry Butler, Little Richard, Three Dog Night, Herman's Hermits Featuring Peter Noone and Tommy James and the Shondells. Reports say that Little Richard was brought on stage in a wheelchair but that his playing and singing were still spot on.


For the next 24 hours, you can get the track Beyond Here Lies Nothin' from Bob Dylan's new album at www.bobdylan.com.


Green Day's "American Idiot" is headed from disc to stage.

Michael Mayer, the Tony Award-winning director of "Spring Awakening," is adapting the trio's 2004 concept album -- which sold 12 million copies worldwide and won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album and Record of the Year -- for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Green Day's home turf in California. The production will run Sept. 4-Oct. 11 to open the company's 2009-10 season, with tickets now on sale for early performances at www.berkeleyrep.org.


Sony Legacy is predicting solid first-week numbers for its reissue of Pearl Jam's 1992 album "Ten"—55,000 total copies sold and, remarkably, 10,000 copies of the collector's edition, which is selling for $140 on the band's Web site and for $124.99at Best Buy.

The sales of the collector's edition comes thanks to worldwide fan club pre-orders; Legacy Recordings/Sony Music VP of sales Scott Van Horn says the label predicts that during the first week of release it will sell 55,000 copies overall of the four versions of the reissue.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wow! The Record Store Day Releases keep coming...

This is from the official Record Store Day site (http://www.recordstoreday.com) Everyone help support the artists who release their music via this historical music medium!

Here is a complete list of all of the amazing music that some of your favorite artists have created specifically to celebrate Record Store Day! Like all great art, the quantity and availability of these pieces are very limited so please reach out to your local record store to check on what they will have. Thanks for celebrating Record Store Day with us and check back for more exciting news in the coming weeks.




Akron/Family "Everyone is Guilty" 7" first single from new album; unreleased b-side

Arthur Russell "Love Is Taking Me" 2LP 2LP (RSD exclusive)

Bad Religion Original EP 7" reissue colored vinyl; 6 tracks from 1981

Ben Harper 10" "Shimmer and Shine"/"Spanish Red Wine" B-side, "Spanish Red Wine" is unreleased

Blitzen Trapper "War is Placebo/Booksmart" 7" - two exclusive tracks w/die cut sleeve

Bob Dylan 7"--"Dreaming of You"/"Down Along the Cove" tracks recorded live at Bonnaroo; packaged in clear sleeve with 3x5 photo

Booker T "Warped Sister/Reunion Time" 7" 7"

Brandi Carlile 7" single "Downpour"/"A Promise To Keep" “Downpour” is the live track recorded in Boston

Bruce Springsteen 7" "What Love Can Do"/"A Night With The Jersey Devil" packaged in clear sleeve with 3x5 photo

Camera Obscura "French Navy" 7" 7" (RSD exclusive)

Cold War Kids Live at Fingerprints Live at Fingerprints 5 song EP

Cursive/Ladyfinger Split 10" picture disc four songs, two unreleased and two new

Dandy Warhols Remix CD #2

Death Cab For Cutie T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

Def Jam 25: Volume 1 and 2 4 LP gatefold history of Def Jam, only physical version of this piece is for indies 4 LP gatefold history of Def Jam, only physical version of this piece is for indies

Depeche Mode 7" "Wrong"/"Oh Well" 7"

Derek Trucks Already Live EP five previously unreleased live tracks from the 2008 tour

Dr. Dog/Floating Action Split 7" 7" - exclusive

Elvis Costello "Complicated Shadows"/"Dirty Rotten Shame" picture disc "Dirty Rotten Shame" is exclusive track--previously unreleased

Elvis Perkins "Lorraine Lookout" 7" two tracks, one unreleased

Flaming Lips/Black Keys split 7" "Borderline"/"Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles" 7" Borderline/Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles

Flight of the Conchords "Pencils In The Wind"/"Albi The" 7" - two exclusive tracks w/die cut sleeve

Gaslight Anthem Live from Park Ave 10" Live from Park Ave 10" - 6 tracks

Grateful Dead T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

Grizzly Bears Live on KCRW 7" two tracks, "While You Wait For The Others"/"He Hit Me"

Guided By Voices Hold On Hope LP Three bonus tracks

Heaven & Hell 7" "Bible Black" / Neon Knights (Live) Created exclusively for Record Store Day

Iron and Wine Norfolk 6-20-05 Live 18 track CD recorded on the Woman King tour

Jane's Addiction 7" "Mountain Song" / "Standing in the Shower…Thinking" 7" Mtn. Song/Standing In The Shower- Packaged in original replica picture sleeve

Jason Mraz T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

Jenny Lewis/Elvis Costello 7" --"Carpet Baggers"/"Go Away" Never before available in the US

Jesus Lizard 9 x 7" pack A pack of nine 7"s

Leonard Cohen 7" "The Future/"Suzanne" tracks recorded live in London, packaged in clear sleeve with 3x5 photo

Loney Dear/Andrew Bird 7" split 7" 7" - hand-silk screened covers; tour & mail order item

Lykkie Li/El Perro Del Mar 7" "After Laughter (Comes Tears)" / "At Your Best (You are Love)" Made exclusively for Record Store Day featuring two unreleased cover songs.

Magnolia Electric Co, "It's Made Me Cry" 7" Jason Molina's first 7" in years

Mastodon T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

MC 5 7" "Kick Out The Jams"/"Motor City Is Burning" Packaged in the original rare picture sleeve, first time available since 1969

Metric "Help I'm Alive" 7" Picture disc "Help I'm Alive"/"Help I'm A B-Side"

Modest Mouse 7" --"Satelite Skin"/"Guilty Cocker Spaniels" both tracks are brand new

My Morning Jacket - Celebración De La Ciudad Natal Celebracion De La Ciudad Natal CD & 2 x 10" Vinyl - 4-14 Street, Vinyl one time shot. Recorded LIVE in LOUISVILLE (at Ear X-tacy, and Waterfront Park), includes classic tracks and selections from the band's most recent GRAMMY nominated album EVIL URGES. PLEASE NOTE: double 10 inch will be a limited edition, ONE TIME pressing - We shall manufacture only what is ordered. Once it’s gone, it’s gone folks.

New Order 7" (live) "Temptation" / "Hurt" - as and A&B side.

Oasis Falling Down Remix LP Falling Down Remix LP

Obits "I Can't Lose/Military Madness" 7" 7" - two exclusive tracks w/die cut sleeve

Paramore T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

Pavement "Live in Germany 1988" LP unreleased show from 1988

Poison The Well Six track CD 6 track CD, taken from 2 7" singles that the band sells on the road, and an upcoming 7" single that will be out later this spring

Pretenders "Break Up The Pavement"/Love's…" 7" 7" - one unrelased track, and track from new album on red vinyl

Queen EP Queen's First EP Limited Edition, Numbered CD for the first time in the US

Radiohead 10" vinyl series (see list of titles in NOTES) THESE ARE BEING RELEASED EARLY FOR RSD: Drill, Creep, My Iron Lung, High & Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Just, Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises, Pyramid Song, 2+2=5

Rivers Cuomo Live @ Fingerprints CD and CD/DVD Combo Live @ Fingerprints CD and CD/DVD Combo

Silversun Pickups Pikul 12" exclusive release ahead of their new album

Slayer 7" single "Psychopathy Red" packaged in special X-Files-style, "confidential" packaging

Sonic Youth/Beck split 7" split 7" (RSD exclusive)

Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard split 7" split 7" (RSD exclusive)

Sublime "Superstar Punani"/April 29, 1992" 7" 7" single with 2 live tracks, first time on vinyl

Taking Back Sunday 7" "Carpathia/Catholic" (live) 7" Carpathia/Catholic (live)

The Black Kids Wizard of Ahhhs 10" first time on physical format

The Color Fred The Intervention CD EP six acoustic tracks--four new

The Decemberists 7" "The Rake's Song"/"East India Lanes" B-side, "East India Lanes" is unreleased

The Smiths 7" "The Headmaster Ritual" /"Oscillate Widly" Never before available in the US as a 7" single.

The Stooges 7" "1969"/"Real Cool Time" Packaged in the original rare picture sleeve

Thermals/Thao Get Down Stay Down split 7" split 7" Get Down Stay Down (4 tracks unreleased)

Tift Merritt Buckingham Solo CD recorded live at a church; Tift solo with piano and guitar

Tom Waits "Live from the Glitterdome" 7" 7" - live tracks from Atlanta & Edinburgh
Underoath T-Shirt exclusive design for Record Store Day

Various Artists--THIS LP CRASHES HARD DRIVES Super deluxe gatefold LP (Limited to only 1,500 copies) with exclusive tracks from 10 of the finest crate digging labels out there! Includes a mix of sampler cd's, zines, catalogs, stickers, and posters, from all of these fine labels.
1) Los Destellos - “Guajira Sicodelica” (Vampi Soul)
2) P.E. Hewitt Jazz Ensemble - “Bada Que Bash” (Now Again)
3) Group Doueh - “Waya Waya” (Sublime Frequencies)
4) Noor Jehan - “I Am Very Sorry” (Finders Keepers)
5) Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - “Marcus Garvey” (Honest Jon’s)
6) Pisces feat. Linda Bruner - “Sam” (Numero Group)
7) The Monks - “Pretty Suzanne” (Light In The Attic)
8) Myron & E with The Soul Investigators - “Cold Game” (Timmion)
9) John Heartsman & Circles - “Talking About My Baby” (Jazzman)
10) Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens - “What Is This” (Daptone)

Various artists Records Toreism LP tracks from Mountain Tortoise, Trans Am, White Hills, Double Dagger

Vetiver "Wishing Well"/"Pay No Mind" 7" 7" - two semi-exclusive non-album tracks w/diecut sleeve

Whiskeytown 7" single - San Atone b/w Great Divide (unreleased tracks) 7" single - San Atone b/w Great Divide (unreleased tracks)

Wilco Ashes of American Flags DVD DVD is released with an exclusive window of two weeks for indie stores and mail order

Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs It’s Blitz LP vinyl version of forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD

This Date In Music History- March 29


Chad Allan, Guess Who (1943)

Evangelos Papathanassiou- Vangelis (Chariots of Fire 1943)

Terry Jacks- singer, songwriter, (1974 UK & US #1 single “Seasons In The Sun”) (1946)

Bobby Kimball- vocals, Toto (1947)

Patty Donahue- Waitresses (1956)

Perry Farrell- Jane's Addiction (1959)

M.C. Hammer (1963)

John Popper - Blues Traveler (1967)

They Are Missed:

Pearl Bailey was born 1918.

Mantovani (orchestra leader) died in 1980 (age 74).


In 1964, the Beatles held down the top five positions on Billboard's Hot 100 chart (with seven more records in the bottom 70).

"The King and I" opened on Broadway in 1951.

In 1976 Bruce Springsteen jumped a fence at Graceland in an attempt to see his idol, Elvis Presley.

Dr. Hook appeared on Rolling Stone's cover in 1973 shortly after making a splash with their hit "The Cover of Rolling Stone." Just like the lyrics in the song, the band members buy five copies of the magazine to give to their mothers.

In 2004, Janet Jackson told TV talk show host David Letterman that her breast-baring Super Bowl stunt was "an accident." "It was supposed to kind of happen like that, but I wasn't supposed to come out of it the way I did," she says, confusingly. Uh, OK, an accident…

Blood Sweat & Tears went to #1 on the US album chart in 1969 with their self-titled album.

Working at Abbey Road studios in 1967, the Beatles finished recording “Good Morning Good Morning.” They then started work on a new song “With a Little Help From My Friends,” (originally titled “Bad Finger Boogie”), recording 10 takes of the rhythm track, then had Ringo overdub a double-tracked lead vocal.

Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon,” spent it's 303rd week on the US album chart in 1980, beating the record set by Carole King's album “Tapestry.”

Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was injured during a gig in Marseilles in 1966 after a fan threw a chair at the stage, Jagger required eight stitches in the cut.

Neil Young was treated for a brain aneurysm at a hospital in New York in 2005. Doctors expected the 59 year-old to make a full recovery. The aneurysm was discovered when Young's vision became blurred after the induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month.

Umbrella,” by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z was released in the US in 2007. The track went on to reach #1 in various countries, including the US. A #1 in the UK for 10 consecutive weeks making it the longest running #1 single since Wet Wet Wet's “Love Is All Around” in 1994, and the longest running #1 by a female artist since Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You.”

In 2004, French rock star Bertrand Cantat, lead singer with Noir Desir, was found guilty of killing his girlfriend, the actress Marie Trintigant, and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Led Zeppelin had all their six albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week in 1975 with their latest album “Physical Graffiti” at #1.

Austrian singer Falco started a three-week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1986 with “Rock Me Amadeus,” also a #1 in the UK.

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Rarities now common target at vinyl show

As vinyl records resurge, rarities become focus of today's show in Toronto


Record shows used to be gathering places for boomers buying back their past and geeky collectors looking for a priceless score.

But these days, says Akim Boldireff, co-promoter of the Toronto Downtown Record Show, one of Ontario's biggest bi-annual vinyl-heavy record markets – it's taking place today at the Estonian House Banquet Hall, 958 Broadview Ave. – they're attracting a new generation of vinyl virgins who are discovering the hi-fi delights of analogue recordings, vintage and new, and rare music that never made it to digital formats.

"Sales of vinyl recordings last year were 85 per cent higher than in 2007, and this year we'll see a 150 per cent increase over last year's sales," says Boldireff, a rare records and music paraphernalia dealer/collector since 1992. He puts together the Toronto Downtown Record Show – staged in March and November – with fellow dealer Aaron Keele.

British music trade journals reported recently that single-song 45-RPM discs – the mainstay of the industry half a century ago – are now outselling CD singles there. And with high-end turntable sales hitting pre-CD levels (attributable to a small degree to their use by DJs), vinyl pressing plants in Quebec unused for nearly two decades now run 24 hours a day to meet the demand in North America. Contemporary artists are shunning the CD format or augmenting their merchandise with value-added, premium-priced 12-inch discs, so it's not surprising that Boldireff and Keele are seeing more dealers, and customers of varied ages, at their shows.

Today's show, a themed celebration of the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's first appearances in Toronto – twice at the Rock Pile at Yonge St. and Davenport, and once at Massey Hall, all in 1969 – will showcase the collections of more than 100 selected, high-quality dealers from across the country, and some from overseas. As many as 100,000 items, including ephemera, memorabilia merchandise, vintage photographs, posters, CDs, DVDs and, of course, LPs and 45s, will be on display and up for grabs.

"I suspect the increase in demand for vinyl started when young music fans, raised on CDs and MP3s, started plundering their parents' old record collections," Boldireff says. "With a half-decent turntable, vinyl recordings offer an entirely different listening experience."

Younger buyers are also finding something more intrinsically valuable in a vinyl recording with aesthetically pleasing, full-sized covers, Boldireff says. CDs, he says, "seem disposable by comparison" and he points to the increasing amounts of vinyl in the city's few remaining independent music stores – Rotate This and Play De Record, in particular – as evidence of the vinyl craze.

That's good for his business, but the new appetite for vintage vinyl (served very effectively by Internet markets such as eBay and Gemm, where rare records fetch the highest prices) mean Boldireff, Keele and their colleagues have to travel father afield to get the goodies they used to find in abundance in neighbourhood basements and attics when music fans were ditching their old vinyl for CDs.

"There are more collectors and more buyers now, and they're sucking up the vintage market or hanging onto their old records," Boldireff says. "We spend more time in the U.S. because there's a greater volume of material, and with the recession hitting so hard there, more people willing to sell."

Apart from Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis originals, and almost any 1970s indie punk recording, the most collectible vinyl these days, he says, is jazz and blues from the 1950s and '60s – "it holds its value" – and progressive, psychedelic and European rock from the 1960s and '70s.

"Reggae, particularly poor quality Jamaican pressings, and British folk from the 1960s, are also very valuable – almost anything from that period is worth buying," says Boldireff, who counts among the most valuable recordings in his collection Rush's first, privately released, self-titled album on the defunct label Moon Records – worth $1,000 or more.

Lately he and Keele have been scouring the northern U.S. for Northern Soul, a sub-genre comprising small independent labels established in the 1960s and 70s in African-American urban centres outside Detroit.

"They were pressed in small batched and sold as less expensive alternatives to major label product," Boldireff says. "Now they're extremely rare and very valuable."

There's much novice vinyl collectors can look forward to as well, says Keele, who once owned a test pressing of the first Who album (value: $2,000).

"All new-release vinyl on limited edition pressings by popular bands stands a good chance of being collectable," Keele says. "If the band itself stays popular, the LP itself should hold a strong value."

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com

Vinyl In The UK

Found a couple of great articles about the 45 rpm record and record collecting from the UK and thought I would share them.

Seven inch single’s struggle to stay alive as it celebrates its 60th anniversary

Mar 29 2009 by Tim Lewis, Wales On Sunday

As the seven inch single celebrates its 60th anniversary this week, Tim Lewis looks at how it changed the music industry and its continuing struggle to stay alive.

Texarkana Baby by Eddy Arnold may not be a song many people remember or have ever heard of, but to a loyal band of followers, it is very special.

On March 31, 1948, it was the first commercial seven-inch single to be released, on bright green vinyl and also featuring a track called Bouquet of Roses.

In those days, all vinyl was colour coded, red for classical, yellow for children’s, cerise for rhythm ‘n’ blues and green for country.

As demand increased and vinyl singles began to take off, the colour coding scheme was scrapped in favour of a uniform black, which had previously been used only for pop singles.

The 45rpm disks caught the public’s imagination and at their peak in 1979, more than 89m were sold in the UK.

For years they were the number one choice for the music industry and fans, but their dominance was soon tested.

When compact discs (CDs) were introduced in the 1980s, it represented the start of a decline in the seven inch.

By the turn of the millennium, sales figures for the seven inch were only a fraction of the staggering numbers of the previous two decades.

Large record labels such as EMI got out of the vinyl game altogether in 2000, and some felt that was a signal of its days being numbered.

In 2001, sales had dropped below 180,000 and many people prophesied the death of the “45” within a couple of years.

But seven inch as a format has been as tough as the vinyl it’s made from and latest figures show a rise in its popularity once more.

Last year, more than one million seven-inch disks were sold and bands such as the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and the White Stripes have helped to make them popular again.

Bands continue to produce limited collector’s editions of their new albums costing anything up to £20, and they have proved to be extremely popular.

“Your first seven-inch single is one that you will always remember"

Allan Parkings, 59, owner of Kelly’s Records in Cardiff, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, said: “Vinyl will never die. There are plenty of vinyl junkies out there who live and breathe the whole scene.

“They enjoy the whole experience of buying the disks, the sleeve design, the feel of the disks, the inserts and putting it on a record player.

“Your first seven-inch single is one that you will always remember. Mine was a song called the Poetry in Motion by Johnny Tillotson in the early 1960s.

“To some people, they are like antiques. I have a friend who would buy a single, take it home and play it once before sealing it and putting it into storage.”

Over the years vinyl has faced competition from a number of different formats such as cassette tapes and later CDs but they are now also facing extinction thanks to digital downloads.

“Tapes came and went and now CDs look as if they could go the same way,” added Allan Parkings.

“Youngsters now think vinyl is cool again and there’s something trendy about having the latest band’s music on a seven-inch disk.

“I honestly believe vinyl will still be around in another 60 years.”

Legal, and illegal, downloads have become the option of choice for many younger listeners over the last decade.

Apple’s iTunes music store has been a huge success since its launch and reached the one billion download mark 114 weeks after it started.

Sites such as www.isohunt.com and www.thepiratebay.com have turned into the Mecca for illegal music sharers, although The Pirate Bay’s recent high-profile court case against the music and entertainment industry could soon spell the end for such portals.

Websites such as www.pandora.com and www.spotify.com also allow music lovers to listen to the artists and bands of their choice free of charge.

Pandora gives users the chance to create their own radio station based on their old and current favourite artists.

With Spotify – which has the backing of four major music labels – fans can listen to music for free as long as they don’t mind putting up with the occasional advert.

To remove all adverts from the stream costs 99p a day or £9.99p a month. It has more than 10,000 new songs added every day and now boasts a database of more than eight million songs.

It is difficult to tell whether there is enough room for all of the different formats of music for them all to survive, but after seeing off a number of rivals in its 60-year history, you wouldn’t bet against vinyl being around in another 60 years.


I’ll never sell my vinyl records, says John Mccarthy
Mar 29 2009 by James McCarthy, Wales On Sunday

I LOVE vinyl. I’ve a whole roomfull of the stuff.

A small room, but a room nonetheless.

“When are you going to stick that on eBay?” my old man says every time he visits. I don’t think that’s often, but it might just be I can’t hear the doorbell, what with the stereo being turned up to 11.

Well, dad, I’m not. Ever. No way. Not even if they stop making turntables.

I can’t get my head around the idea other formats are better. They’re clearly a music industry con designed to bleed cash from punters.

No-one needs to replace their record collection every few years.

Take CDs. “They can’t be scratched,” they said. Yes they can. I tried. I caused irreparable damage to Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with a screwdriver.

I would have done that whatever the format, but the point still stands.

And where is the romance in an MP3? Sifting through webpage after webpage can’t compare to laughing at other people’s taste in some trendy record shop.

Will people really be recalling misty-eyed what their first download was?

Of course they won’t.

Their computers will all be broken for starters.

But I’ll still have my record collection.

If it hasn’t fallen through the floor and killed the people downstairs.

SOURCE: http://www.walesonline.co.uk

Saturday, March 28, 2009

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Digital downloads kill music on discs

CDs head the way of the eight-track while recording companies miss out on revenue

By Gillian Shaw, Vancouver
SunMarch 27, 2009

Music CD sales have dropped by half from their peak a decade ago, but unlike the decline of vinyl records and 8-track tapes, the current shift is bringing with it a wholesale transformation in the delivery and distribution of music.

The format change started with MP3 files, but digital music also brings multiple distribution channels — from the free sharing of music, to iTunes and other paid download services, to more futuristic channels that could see us making micro-payments to call up songs on the refrigerator while we cook dinner.

The recording industry, which failed to adapt in the early days and instead sought to hold back the change, is now paying the price. But for artists and consumers, the shift is opening up opportunities in accessibility, and lowering barriers to entry for a music career.

Rest of Story

10 Cool Albums That Feature Gibson Guitars On Their Covers

By Russell Hall

Given that Gibson guitars are themselves works of art, it’s hardly surprising that various Gibson instruments have been featured prominently on countless album covers. Below are 10 such albums, each of which should be part of any Gibson fans record collection.

Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow (1975)

The starkly elegant cover painting of Jeff Beck playing his beloved 1954 Les Paul “Oxblood” was the perfect image for this landmark disc. One of the most famous all-instrumental albums in history, Blow By Blow remains the go-to recording for any fan of contemporary jazz-rock guitar.

Chuck Berry: St. Louis to Liverpool (1964)

It’s fitting that the album widely regarded as Chuck Berry’s best should be housed in a sleeve that showcases the guitarist’s legendary ES-350 — one of the first models Berry used. Released in 1964, the album reasserted Berry’s songwriting and six-string prowess just as Beatlemania was taking hold.

Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive! (1976)

The two-disc set that launched Peter Frampton to super-stardom also happened to sport one of rock and roll’s most memorable cover shots. Non-guitar-playing female fans were drawn to Frampton’s golden locks, but guitar players of both sexes honed in on the beautiful black Les Paul Custom that graced the gatefold sleeve.

B.B. King: Live at the Regal (1965)

No B.B. King album is more revered than this disc, which captures the legendary blues artist in prime form. Fittingly, King’s cherished “Lucille” graces the cover. Through the years King has played both ES-335s and an ES-355s – fabulous guitars, each.

Mick Ronson: Play Don’t Worry (1975)

Hoping to capitalize on David Bowie’s success, Mainman founder Tony DeFries pushed a reluctant Mick Ronson toward a solo career in 1974. Ronson soon returned to his true calling as one of rock’s all-time-great sidemen, but not before releasing two glam-guitar classics. This one showcased his legendary ’68 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” stripped to its natural wood finish.

Joan Jett: Album (1983)

Strange that one of the best albums of Joan Jett’s career often gets lost in the shuffle. Along with delivering original material, Joanie delivers top-notch covers of Sly Stone’s “Everyday People” and the Rolling Stone’s ode-to-groupies classic “Star Star.” A double-cutaway Melody Maker – splashed across the album cover – was Jett’s instrument of choice.

Kiss: Alive! (1975)

One of the hardest-rocking live albums of all time, this two-disc set catapulted Kiss to multi-platinum fame. On the cover, Gene Simmons' classic Gibson Grabber bass, Ace Frehey’s ever-present Les Paul and Paul Stanley’s Firebird upstaged the band’s cartoon-glam makeup and platform shoes.

Emmylou Harris: Angel Band (1987)

A devotee of Gibson acoustics, Emmylou Harris cradled one of her many beautiful and beloved J-200s on the cover shot for this underrated 1987 disc. A collection of gospel songs performed in acoustic settings, the album remains one of Harris’s sparest, most sublime recordings.

Lenny Kravitz: Baptism (2004)

Lenny Kravitz brazenly opened this 2004 album with a song titled “Minister of Rock and Roll.” Some might call that cocky, but Kravitz’s deep assimilation of classic rock and psychedelic pop has yielded great music. His beloved Flying V – featured on the cover – is rarely far from his side.

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live! (1975)

This 1975 recording is widely regarded as one of the greatest live documents ever committed to tape. Capturing the Wailers at an early zenith, the album played a pivotal role in making Bob Marley a worldwide superstar. The cover shot featured his flailing dreadlocks and his trusty mahogany Les Paul Special, which he dubbed “Old Faithful.”

Don't write off the record shops yet

I found this feature from the UK interesing:

EVEN in these distressed economic times, few business models would appear more shot to bits than the independent record store.

While many people download music for free on the internet, those willing to pay are switching to online stores like Amazon with their massive choice and cheap prices.

But amazingly, those independent stores that remain are increasingly optimistic about their future.

The main reason for this confidence is simply because their market cannot get much smaller.

Adrian Rondeau, 60, of Wickford store Adrian’s Records, in High Street, certainly believes this to be the case.

He said: “I think what has happened is there were a lot of independent stores, but they’ve greatly thinned out now so there isn’t very many for people to choose from.

“We are getting a lot of new customers, often serious collectors, and they are coming a long way to get here.”

Adrian’s store is featured in a new book called Last Shop Standing, which charts the demise of the record store.

Its author, Graham Jones, shares Adrian’s optimism and said another important factor is the death of some of the store’s big high street competitors.

He said: “I deal with all the independent shops in Britain through my work and virtually every store has told me business is up since Christmas.

“It’s the Woolworths factor.

“Many of these stores are in small towns where their only competition was Woolworths. They have all gone along with Zavvi.”

Fives Records, in Leigh Broadway, is also featured in the book and is a good example of the Woolworths effect, after the town’s branch closed in January.

Owner Pete Driscoll, 68, said: “It’s definitely helped with the top-selling CDs because they were our main competition.

“You’ve still got the supermarkets of course and I doubt they will be closing anytime soon.

“Our sales have been up for the last couple of years.

“I’m starting to see a future for the business when I didn’t a couple of years ago.”

In his book, Mr Jones notes there are only 305 independent stores left in the UK, but he is hopeful for those that remain.

He said: “I still think the market will shrink a little bit, but there is room for around 200 record stores in the UK.

“It’s not going to be a lucrative business like it was in the 80s and early-90s, when CDs were sold for £15, but the people running these shops are not in the business to make money, they are doing it because they love music.”

The history of Adrian’s Records perfectly mirrors the rise and fall of the music shop.

Having started off in 1969 in a room shared with his mother’s wool shop, his business blossomed.

At one point, he employed 52 people working across four stores with two music shops, a video shop and a video rental, all within 50metres of one another.

Now he owns just the one store, with five workers.

He said: “We almost got too big for our roots.

“We were competing on the high street level and we had a massive mail-order business.

“The business is much slimmer now, but also more solid.”

Those stores that remain do not just have rarity on their side.

According to Adrian, another product doing a roaring trade is the 7-inch vinyl single.

He said: “Virtually every single is released on 7-inch these days because record companies were scrambling around for a market and have cottoned on to the fact there are a lot of collectors out there.

“That’s had some odd consequences, because the CD single is now becoming rare.

“Amy Winehouse’s Valerie is now going for about £20 because it’s so hard to find.”

But Adrian has a note of warning for anyone crazy enough to try to join the last shops standing.

He said: “Someone starting up a shop today has about a one per cent chance of success.

“You simply have to know the industry.”

And who could argue with a great survivor like Adrian?

SOURCE: http://www.echo-news.co.uk

Friday, March 27, 2009

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Three Dog Night - One Is The Loneliest Number

Michael Fremer Feature

I am very proud to continue our new feature (look for this every Friday), music reviews that are written by the senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine- Michael Fremer. It has been a pleasure to speak with Michael and learn more about audio sound and equipment. In fact, his new DVD, "It's A Vinyl World, After All" has hit the shelves and is selling out very quickly. This is a must have for anybody who loves vinyl, it is a true masterpiece.

Additionally, make sure to stop by his site, www.musicangle.com and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.

Ed. note:

In light of Bob Dylan's recent Rolling Stone interview in which he championed vinyl and complained both about CDs and modern recorded sound, we thought it appropriate to bring this to the home page yet again:

Back in 1994, ten years into the "digital revolution," the editor of Tower Records's "Pulse" magazine, bravely commissioned me to write an article expressing my feelings about digital sound, ten years after the introduction of the compact disc. It was published in "Pulse!" much to my delight. I thought you might find it interesting in 2005'MF

Ten Years Into The Digital Revolution: A Continuing Disaster in Sound A Look Back at the Digital Debacle (Reprint from the now Defunct Pulse! Magazine)

Michael Fremer 2009-03-01

"We've gained control, but we've lost the sound. The sound is gone". Its sensory depravation: you think you're hearing it but you're not. It's an insult to the brain and heart and feelings to have to listen to this and think it's music", so says Neil Young about digital recording. Young should know: he records all of his albums digitally.

"I'm keeping my records" says a well known CD reissue masterer whose work is praised by every gushy CD reviewer. "Its a disgrace", says a top Grammy Award winning digital engineer whose recordings have been heard and enjoyed by most Pulse readers. "The more I work with digital, the more I hate it" says another well known remastering engineer who works for one of the big labels. I can't mention his name: he wants to keep his job. "Digital sucks...a good analogue tape recorder will blow away any digital machine", said veteran engineer Eddie Kramer (Hendrix, Traffic etc.) in a recent Audio magazine interview. "I've yet to hear a CD cut from the same source sound as good as the vinyl cut from the same source" says Rhino's Bill Inglot.

"The Nirvana (Nevermind) vinyl LP blows away the CD! I cut it from the original analogue master tape so of course it sounds better", veteran Masterdisk engineer Howie Weinberg told me last year. And indeed when I played the LP for an MTV producer recently he almost keeled over. "It sounds like a different mix- much more reverberation around Kobain's voice. Much more punch altogether", he said in amazement.

In fact virtually all of the CD masterers with whom I've spoken over the past few years- industry veterans- names familiar to anyone who's ever read the back of a CD booklet- agree that an "old fashioned" all analogue vinyl LP played back on a good turntable through a good stereo system sounds much better- much more like the real thing than the finest CD made from an analogue or a digital master tape. These guys have no axes to grind- they're doing quite well in the "digital revolution".

Recently, an executive at a major label told me, off the record of course, that workers at the company have noticed that they are not "into" the music as much as they used to be- not tapping their toes as much. At first they chalked it up to the staff's advancing age, but finally they realized it was something about the "anonymous" sound of CDs. The emotional content of the music seems to have been stripped away. She was concerned, but as long as sales continue strong, it won't become an issue.

One thing is obvious: younger music lovers don't seem to be listening to music as intimately as an older generation did- lights out plunked between the speakers. Today music serves more as background to an activity- driving, sunbathing, sex. It always did that, but it used to count for more. Is that because of "lifestyle" changes? Is it the music itself? Or does the "wall of anonymous digital sound" as Neil Young characterizes it, contribute to a feeling of alienation from the music?

"Digitally remastered for better sound" is right up there in the truth department with "transferred to video tape for better picture". I've proven this over and over again even to the most committed CD diehards. Of course you need a good system to hear it. Then again if your only exposure to film is 8MM home movies, you might also believe the line about video tape.

Even proponents of digital recording like the excellent engineer George Massenburg (Little Feat, Linda Ronstadt) admit that the format at this point in its development has some serious sonic problems.

If you think digital is "perfect", if you think a CD sounds identical to a mastertape-analogue or digital, if you believe that bullshit on the back of an AAD CD that says "The music on this compact disc was originally recorded on analogue equipment. We have attempted to preserve as closely as possible the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape". If you believe that, there's some land in the Everglades I'd like to sell you. Or maybe you want to buy a Minidisc recorder/player?

In fact, analogue is a high resolution medium- despite its problems (every technology has problems- we've had 100 years to lick analogue's). Digital, sampled at 44.1K 16 bit words is low resolution. Minidisc is an even lower resolution medium- a compressed digital format that sounds the way it feels when you try to stand up from a window seat on an airplane- that's the best I can do to describe it succinctly. And when the ad says "Finally a CD you can record on", that's more advertising b.s. . Full 44.1K CD-R (recordable CD) has been around for years. Its just very expensive right now. Remember when CD players were $1000? Just wait. In the last few years CD-R machines have gone from about $8000 to $3000.

Even if records played on an expensive stereo system sound better than a CD, why should the average listener who is happy with CD sound, happy with all of the reissues and box sets, and happy to be rid of the admitted misery, inconvenience and expense of proper vinyl playback care about any of this? Why should you care about the disappointment of a handful of mostly wealthy (not me, I assure you), tweeky, audiophile nerds?

Here's why: Imagine if in the early sixties when primitive color videotape technology was introduced, the film industry immediately began archiving the entire history of the cinema onto videotape. Imagine if they then started chucking the original negatives, since the film had been "safely" stored on videotape. Imagine if they did so and said the videotape was a "perfect" copy of the film?

Imagine if the movie production companies then said "No more film, from now on we're going to shoot directly onto videotape. If you get a bad take you just roll it back and record over again, unlike film where once its exposed it has to be thrown away if the take is bad. This is the kind of control filmakers have always dreamed of! Now we have it. And look at the money we'll save!" And what if they then tried to charge you more for the "privilege" of watching a movie shot on video?

I'll tell you what would have happened: film makers, film archivists, critics- even the audience would have revolted. It would have been a scandal, a disgrace- the rape of an artform. Even today the colorization of black and white footage on videotape- a process that does no damage to the original film- is enough to bring about congressional hearings!

Then why, during the stone age of the "digital revolution" when the recording industry began archiving the entire history of recorded sound- a hundred year's worth- on a low resolution, primitive, seriously flawed version of what will someday actually be a great improvement in recorded sound, didn't music critics, music archivists, engineers and fans revolt against this travesty? (Keep this in mind: a number of digital engineers have told me [off the record of course] , that they'll play a DAT mastertape a week after it was recorded and it won't sound the same as when it was new. Others have told me that soon after making an archival digital mastertape "whole sections have had such severe dropout as to be totally useless").

Well some of them did. I know what the little boy who saw the naked emperor felt like. But unfortunately ignorance, greed, and in some cases outright corruption and extortion (talk and you'll lose your job) won out over the level headed truth. But then why should anyone be surprised? After all the "digital revolution" happened right smack dab in the middle of the "Reagan Revolution". Now I'm not blaming poor Ronnie for this particular mess, but it took place in the sordid, selfish, money at all costs atmosphere he fomented. And lots of money has been made during the first decade of this revolution.

Folks involved in every aspect of the music business rolled over for this digital "treat". Music critics who reviewed records on plastic turntables saying "hey man, I'm not into it for the technical side, I can enjoy music on a 3 inch speaker" became instant audio experts announcing the sonic superiority of the CD, once one of the genuinely awful first generation players was put in their hands.

Imagine a film critic reviewing a movie with the picture out of focus, the frame split, the screen almost dark and full of holes, and with the theater lights on, and not caring saying "hey man I'm not into movies for the technical side, I'm into it for the art". Wouldn't happen. And yet that's the visual equivalent of how most music critics reviewed records during the seventies. And they did it proudly! That first awful sounding CD player outperformed the plastic turntable and it had remote control!

Once the inventors of CD-Sony and Philips got the "perfect sound forever" digital hype going- and believe me they did a masterful job with a well oiled public relations organization called "The Compact Disc Group", there was no stopping it. Even the executives at the quality record labels (I wish I could name names) who at first resisted CD, hearing it for the sonic joke that it was, finally rolled over when they realized that consumers were willing to shell out $16.00 for teeth rattlingly bright, metallic sounding discs because the music was "read" by a laser beam.

When the promoters of this early sonic hell began getting complaints, they had the chutzpah to blame the awful sound on the analogue source material! "Its 'headbump' ", "its the rising high end of the microphones"- there was an excuse for every problem with early digital, except the real cause: early digital! Every technology has a learning curve, except of course digital sound, which was a gift from God, who is of course, digital.

The early DDD discs sounded even worse (still do). What digital maniacs who pronounced those "pure" digital discs "perfection" didn't know was that since there were no digital mixing boards in the early days, the digital recording had to be converted to analogue for mixing, before going back to digital, and then sometimes once more back to analogue before final mastering. Each digital to analogue conversion took its toll on the music, but don't tell that to the CD nerds who only bought DDD discs in the early days and complained (and still do!) about the sound of discs that had "A"s in them!

The vinyl LP didn't die, it was killed off (of course I exaggerate- LPs are still being pressed domestically and overseas: did you know that the latest releases from REM, U2, Guns and Roses, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Branford Marsalis,Sonic Youth and others are available on domestic vinyl and that most everything in pop is available on imported vinyl?). Most of the chain "record" stores began reconfiguring their bins for CDs by the mid eighties, when CD player market saturation was only a few percent. They were committed to getting out of vinyl before the public was. Too big, too heavy, too fragile, too many defective pressings, too much trouble.

Even today only about a third of American homes have CD players. Turntables are still being manufactured and sold in healthy numbers, but the EIA, the Electronics Industries Of America- the lobbying group for the consumer electronics industry, refuses to collect or publish the numbers, though it will be happy to tell you how many toaster ovens and microwaves were sold in the United States last year. That's how desperate the big guys are to kill off analogue- break the link to a generation that has probably never heard it. News that 45s are making a comeback among "grunge" rockers is heartening.

Record companies plead "lack of demand" but did you know that by the late eighties most instituted a "no return" policy for vinyl even defective vinyl, thus making it extremely difficult for the small specialty stores that still wanted to carry records to do so? The big guys won't carry it, the little guys can't afford to. No wonder its hard to find vinyl!

The record companies have you, the consumer, and the retailers as well (their share of the $15.98 and now $16.98 list priced CDs is not all that great) by the short and curlies and they're not going to let go. Not when you eagerly shell out the big bucks for a product whose cost has now dropped to less than a couple of dollars a piece! I love watching the television commercials for greatest hits compilations: "12.98 for 2 cassettes or LPs (sometimes), $16.98 for one CD". Guess which has the highest profit margin?

As for the mainstream stereo magazines, who behaved like cheerleaders at the inception of the "digital revolution" they're nothing more than shills for the consumer electronics industry. I attended a dinner thrown for the audio press by one of the large electronics conglamorates and I sat aghast as the other "journalists" acted and spoke like cynical industry insiders instead of advocates for their readers. That's why they're excitedly splashing Minidisc and DCC all over their covers. Two new formats that go in exactly the wrong digital direction.

During the past decade while keeping up the "digital is perfection" facade, the industry has been working diligently behind the scenes to improve a technology that more and more thoughtful and honest individuals have come to see as seriously flawed. And it has gotten better. Due to their efforts and no thanks to those who declared digital "perfect " from the getgo, we are hearing better and better sounding discs. Unfortunately a large percentage of the great music of the past 100 years has already been "archived" using seriously deficient equipment. That's the greatest catastrophe of the "digital revolution".

The players and digital processors have also improved greatly over the past decade. If you own a first generation CD player, you ought to take some newer discs to an audio specialty store (a place that doesn't also sell microwaves and refrigerators) and hear how much better they can sound. It is reaching the point where a few CDs ( mostly made from analogue recordings) are approaching the sound of the best LPs. Unfortunately such performance doesn't come cheap. If you believe all CD players sound the same, there's that land in the Everglades.

The process by which analogue musical waveforms (music) are converted to numbers and then back to an analogue waveform is extremely complex. The format we are stuck with (44.1K sampling rate, 16 bit words) due to Sony and Philips' rush to get the product to the marketplace- music be damned- is, like our television standard, serviceable, but hardly the last word in resolution.

What we need to make digital truly better- more transparent and lifelike- is an improved format, one that samples the analogue waveform a few hundred thousand times a second instead of forty four thousand times a second, and one that uses more than 16 bits to describe each sample. Such technology is now becoming possible and at a reasonable price.

Unfortunately, what we are getting instead, are two formats, DCC and Minidisc, that do just the opposite! Both use less data,and claim only to come close to the performance of CD. In hyping these products the proponents will concentrate only on the analogue problems they solve, while ignoring the digital problems they create. And soon you'll be hearing about digital radio, another "perfect" format that offers less than CD resolution, but which neatly solves the static problems and the like of analogue radio. Clearly we are going in the wrong direction. The "digital revolution" is becoming the "digital devolution" as big companies work harder and harder to give you less so they can make more by selling you something new.

In another ten years or so, when CD player market penetration reaches the saturation point, the recording industry will be looking to give you a new music carrier. Whether its a better sounding, higher resolution digital format- or a lower resolution, worse sounding one that packs more music in a smaller package will depend in part on how you vote with your dollars on DCC and Minidisc. I hope you get it right this time, but even if you don't- I've got 10,000 records so I really don't care that much what you do. Oh, I've got lots of CDs too. Guess where I play them? Only in the car of course. Even though they're getting better, I still can't actually sit down and listen to those antiseptic sounding things when I've got so much vinyl staring me in the face.


Michael Fremer wants you to know that he appreciates all of the good things about CDs- their convenience (like frozen food), the lack of noise, the perfect pitch, the relatively high performance you can get out of a cheap player and the like, and that he's happy about the availability of so much great old music on CD at a reasonable price, but he was asked by the editor to write about the down side of digital. He also regrets biting the hands that feed him CDs (the record companies), but only a little.

Copyright © 2008 MusicAngle.com & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved

SOURCE: http://www.musicangle.com Reprinted By Permission

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Vinyl records back in vogue in N. America

It may surprise some. But vinyl record sales doubled last year compared with 2007.

The tracking company Nielson found that the number of long-play vinyl records sold in North America rose to 1.88 million in 2008, compared with 990,000 the year before.

While vinyl records represent a fraction of total music sales, their resurgence could not come at a better time for independent music stores.

Nielsen said almost two-thirds of the vinyl albums sold last year were from independent shops. And this comes at a time when overall music sales are down 20 per cent.

Certainly there is an increase in demand for digital music you download from sites like i-tunes but it's not enough to offset the drop in CD sales, especially for music stores which count on getting you in the door.

Strangely enough, this is not a case of nostalgic baby boomers going back to a format they remember.

Sales are linked to a younger generation who didn't grow up with records -- teens and young adults -- who want to listen to music in a traditional way.

So how do you know what those dusty records in your basement are worth?

Some old albums can command hundreds of dollars.

Music on vinyl was once thought to be extinct. But no more.

"People who are really into music are really into records," says Nick Bragg of Zulu Records in Vancouver.

Mining the shelves of Zulu was like an archeological dig. Vinyl is the original recording and to some the sound that has never been surpassed.

"There is a warmer sound to it," says Nick. "As I said, there is a wider range of frequencies available on a record. People will tell you the bass sounds deeper on a record."

You may have some dusty records at home. So how much could they be worth? Looking at the wall of the store and seeing a Smashing Pumpkins early release selling for $250 makes you think it's worth finding out.

"If you have records that you have never heard of the bands before there is a chance much like the travelling antiques show that you have something that is really worth a lot," explains Nick.

But if it was a huge million seller, there are probably still a million copies out there. Or even new copies. Like a brand new pressing of the Beatles' Abbey Road.

The next consideration is what kind of condition it's in.

"When you have your old records in the basement and you wipe the dust off them the important thing is to look at the record itself and if it has no scratches on it and if the cover is in good condition it probably has some value," Nick explains.

Then look at what country it was pressed in. What colour is the vinyl. Is it a first copy? And what is the art work like?

"When you look at psychedelic records and there are some amazing artists who design these jackets who've gone on to be real icons on the industry," he says.

Old concerts -- are coming out on new vinyl and so is brand new music. Even a band like U2 which just put out a record last week put out their record on vinyl.

And some bands give record buyers the Mp3 version of the music as well.

By the way, if you have an old turntable kicking around the basement, it may be pretty easy to get it working again. Could be all it needs is a new belt and maybe a new needle. You can find those often at small electronic repair shops.

SOURCE: http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca

You spin me right round

Bob Stanley explains why he would happily spend £100 on a song he hates - just to get it on the most beautful, tactile format: the 45rpm vinyl single

Bob Stanley The Guardian, Friday 27 March 2009

The 45rpm single, the hard, black centrepiece of the teenage revolution, turns 60 next Tuesday. Few would argue that its rise and fall mirrors pop's golden age. Just the look of a 1957 single on the London label, with gold lettering, or the angles and DIY smudges of a 1979 Rough Trade release can raise the pulse, cause feelings of nostalgia, pride, envy. The 45 is easy to love. There are more of them in the shops than there were 10 years ago, yet it's tough to think of the 21st-century 45 as anything beyond a novelty, a sop to indie kid pop one-upmanship that is irrelevant to most music consumers.

Go back five decades and it was, no question, central to the teenage way of life. You would talk about records before school, between classes, during lunch. After school, the only places you could hear rock'n'roll were the coffee bars. The jukebox in the corner would contain the Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry 45s you craved, the records that you weren't allowed to play on your parents' pricy new radiogram - you were left with the wind-up, 78-playing gramophone if you were lucky. Another few years later and you may have owned a Dansette with a spindle for stacking your 45s, the only way to soundtrack your 16th birthday party.

Come the punk era, 45s were broadsides to the next generation from the suburbs, on a back-to-basics, prog-trashing, R'n'R format, and too fierce for airplay. In the 80s there were the Smiths singles, so perfectly packaged, so aesthetically desirable next to the straights' music of choice - Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms on a compact disc. When Culture Beat's Mr Vain did the dirty and got to No 1 without any 7in means of support in 1993, the golden era of the 45 came to an end. The next few years were a transition period in which the downright ugly CD single and "cassingle" bossed before the dawn of a new century and the internet finally consigned the 45 to cute relic status.

In 1949, RCA Victor had no thoughts of feeding vinyl-hungry kids, or of how Mr Vain would eventually spoil the party. All they were thinking was how to counter the Columbia label's new 33rpm vinyl, launched in mid-1948, with a different format and different machinery. RCA's 45-only record players plugged into the back of your radio, cheaply and cheerfully, but you needed a separate machine to play your albums, a state of affairs that lasted a few years before RCA and Columbia decided to share their technologies.

The first single, ever, was a country record by Eddy Arnold called Texarkana Baby. Arnold was managed by Colonel Tom Parker, who saw another of his charges, Elvis Presley, sign to RCA Victor in 1956. Texarkana Baby was pressed on a slightly odd green vinyl; RCA figured that, in the format wars, they needed a novelty, and so they pressed country music on green vinyl, children's music on yellow, classical on red, and "race" music - rhythm and blues - on "cerise", or what looked like orange to the average Joe. Straightahead pop was released on straightahead black.

RCA described the 45 in their press release as "the finest record ever made" and claimed "more than 150 single records or 18 symphonies fit in one foot of bookshelf space", which seems like an outright fib. In Britain, some way behind the US, the single wasn't introduced until November 1952, when EMI launched a bunch of desirable looking classical 45s on a dark red HMV label. The same month, New Musical Express launched the Hit Parade of best selling singles, all of which were on 78. EMI very quickly realised the three- or four-minute playing time was much better suited to pop than classics and in March 1953 HMV, Columbia, Parlophone and MGM issued, respectively, Eddie Fisher's I'm Yours, Ray Martin's Blue Tango, Humphrey Lyttelton's Out of the Gallion, and Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney's A Couple of Swells as their opening shots. By the end of the year, EMI had issued close to 300 titles and the raw materials for a revolution were coming together.

According to their promotional bumph, RCA had discovered "the school set loves 'em" as far back as back as November 1949 - "neat little records they can slip in their pockets, they go for the lowest priced at the new speed, they go for the little disc that fits on the shelf beside their paper-backed novels". The portable 45's disposability was mirrored by the thin paper sleeve and lack of glossy artwork that accompanied the album. The look and feel of the labels therefore became a secret teenage code, and certain labels belonged to certain acts. The Beatles had the black Parlophone label with its pound logo (to signify they were minted?); the Kinks were on the suitably fey pink Pye label; the Rolling Stones were kings of the dark blue Decca label, with its curious giant ear logo, housed in an orange and white candy-striped bag. The red "A" labels on EMI's mid-1960s promotional copies were pieces of true pop art, then and now highly prized by pop snobs.

Led by the rock musician's need to "stretch out", and by the rise of albums-only acts such as Led Zeppelin, the single was rather marginalised in the 70s. Its second coming was inspired by punk, not only because it brought bite-sized music back into fashion and spurned Mellotron-led rock symphonies, but because it revitalised the look of the 45. By 1976 just about everyone in pop had got lazy. Glam was a fading memory, the charts were clogged with novelties (the Wurzels, Demis Roussos) and slick country from the likes of Billie Jo Spears and JJ Barrie. In fact, even record buyers became sloppy - how else to explain a country single by a Dutch band, Pussycat's tedious Mississippi, spending a month at No 1? You could hardly blame record labels for packaging this nonsense with the most basic, ugly, moulded plastic labels and sticking them in plain white bags. Even Anarchy in the UK, issued in December 1976, came in a crappy paper sleeve.

If punk's new independent labels wanted to stand out, then, the solution was simple: Stiff released the Damned's New Rose, New Hormones issued the Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch EP, and both came in picture sleeves. This was previously unheard of. Soon, Beggars Banquet was issuing the Lurkers' 45s on vinyl the colour of which hadn't been seen since Eddy Arnold's day. Countering the indies late in the day, major label Elektra put out the Cars' My Best Friend's Girl on car-shaped vinyl and earned a No 3 hit. The public went 45 crazy, buying more in 1978 than in any other year; by the year's end, even Boney M's Mary's Boy Child had advance sales of half a million and remains the 10th best-selling UK single ever.

Possibly record buyers were hypnotised by the spinning coloured vinyl singles that were introducing Top of the Pops. These, it recently transpired, were purloined by Swap Shop's Maggie Philbin when the opening credits changed, and have just been sold on eBay. I'd have doubled the price, whatever it was.

That's because for obsessive collectors like me, 45s remain the ultimate pop format and retain their allure in an era when pop formats are done with. Listening to Kid Cudi's Day and Night on Spotify just doesn't give me the thrill of taking the record from the sleeve, placing it on the deck and guiding the arm into what RCA Victor called the "microgroove". Scouring the internet for contemporary pop 45s by, say, Girls Aloud or the Sugababes, is a miserable experience; the fact that Push the Button and The Show were never even issued as 45s I find profoundly sad. I'd dearly love to file Push the Button alongside Sam Cooke's You Send Me, Shanice's I Love Your Smile and the Beach Boys' You're So Good to Me - 45s to suit the first buds of spring. Knowing I can't, and that Push the Button was only ever issued digitally, sets me on the edge of a panic attack.

If I were under 30, attuned to CDs, then Napster, then Spotify, I probably wouldn't give two hoots. And yet, I sit surrounded by Schweppes crates full of redundant 45s that are now just an instant click away. I still hunt down rare pressings of the earliest 45s, which were easily outsold by 78s, and ones from the turn of the 21st century, which were only pressed for aging vinyl jukeboxes. The result of this mania is a 45 wants list that includes Lita Roza's How Much Is That Doggie in the Window (which even the singer hated), for which I would gladly lay down a ton.

I don't think I'm alone in my sickness. Major labels could be missing a trick by not issuing everything that hits the Top 10 on a 45. They could be limited editions, maybe even car-shaped, Rolex-shaped, Pussycat Doll-shaped. Or maybe not. Thomas Edison continued making wax cylinders, for an ever shrinking market, until his death in 1931, because he refused to believe the format would die. So, for sanity's sake, I'll concede that 45s are a product of a bygone era, beautiful and desirable as they are. The heart of a cultural revolution, though, they will survive in the collective memory as more than just the snuff boxes of the mid-20th century.

SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk