Thursday, April 30, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Pink Floyd - Breathe in the Air / On The Run

Expensive Turntables II

Yesterday we looked at 6-10 of the top ten most expensive turntables according to, today let's look at 1-5:

5. Continuum Caliburn

Price: $90,000 to $112,000

Vinyl isn’t dead, and the Continuum Caliburn turntable is the thing to prove that. The pricing for the turntable starts at $90,000 and goes up to $112,000, depending on finishes and includes some remarkable technology. The tonearm alone sells for $12,000. The turntable employs a magnetically levitated magnesium platter, which is suspended in a vacuum to guarantee there are no vibrations.

4. Clearaudio Statement

Price: US $125,000

The pertinently named Statement is a $125,000 assembly of wood, aluminum, and other sundry bits that has only one endeavor, to play records, and play them outstandingly well. Weighing 770 pounds, the Statement derives its rotational motivation from the same type of electric motor used to propel the Mars Rover. It touts a patented magnetic driven sub platter, dynamic balanced platters, Kardan turntable chassis suspension, real time speed control and active blue LCD display.

3. Transrotor Artus

Price: US $150,000

The Artus turntable comes straight from the house of German company Transrotor. It weighs 220 kg and the record is being held by the 350 kg Clearaudio STATEMENT. The Artus has a contact-less magnetic field drive, a balanced arm and new electronics. The reason for the high price is being a 4-in-1 product as it includes a LP player, phonograph, gramophone, and a turntable.

2. Basis Audio’s ‘Work of Art’ turntable

Price: US $150,000

Basis Audio is one of the leading turntable manufacturers of the world, which guarantees high quality systems to the music-lovers. Audiophiles fancy the quality of vinyl as a musical source, and the very best turntables are built on a philosophy of weight and stability. Basis Audio’s ‘Work of Art‘ turntable turntable makes use of a self-contained Resonance Annihilator, which plays the role of isolating it from vibration. The vibrational energy is neutralized by being transformed into heat energy, which is then efficiently dissipated. At $150,000, the Work of Art is definitely one of the most expensive consumer audio devices out there. It boasts features such as Resonance Annihilation, which attempts to remove all vibrations from the record, thereby creating a more pure sound.

1. Goldmund’s Reference II

Price: US $300,000

This turntable is without doubt every music enthusiasts’ dream gadget but only the uber-rich will be able to buy it as the price tag reads a cool $300,000. There are only 25 on the planet. The Reference II turntable features a degree of refinement and a number of never-seen-before features. The turntable features a 20kg platter machined to a hundreth of a millimeter, a motor vibration-shielded by 15kg of brass, and teflon-insulated signal-carring electronics. Other specs include cog-free motor with lowest electrical and mechanical noise, liquid-nitrogen-rectified belt, touch controls integrated in the tabletop specially designed new Goldmund T8 straight-line tone arm with total weight of 7 kg. Limited editions of 25 units are sold on subscription with a maximum production of 5 units per year.

Classic New Releases

Joan Jett Vinyl Release

Joan Jett and Blackheart Records are releasing her classic record, "I Love Rock N' Roll," on vinyl, in May. If you can't wait for the release, you can find a great copy here:


New George Harrison Release

Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison is the upcoming third compilation of George Harrison's music, and the first to span his entire career. The collection was announced on April 14, 2009, the same day Harrison received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, and will be released June 16, 2009 on both compact disc and in digital format.

The album will feature songs originally released on EMI and Harrison's Dark Horse Records label. All included tracks are presented in digitally remastered from and the collection will include an extensive booklet featuring previously unseen and rare photos. Track lists have been released, but there is debate as to which sonsg are on the release. At any rate, pick up a copy here:

Under the "You've Got To Be Kidding" heading:

Vinyl record iPod touch app gives you the spins

Vinyl has been on the verge of a big-time comeback for ages now (and for some of us, it never ceased to be the format of choice anyway), so we're pretty happy to see that even the land of zany iPhone / iPod touch apps is no longer immune to its charms. The spinning vinyl app by Theodore Watson makes use of the iPod's accelerometer to control the speed that the "record" is played at. The video (which is after the break) might make you a little sick when you watch it, but it sounds great. Analog rules, doesn't it?

Spinning vinyl ipod app from Theodore Watson on Vimeo.

Turntables are back in favour

This news from down under:

The turntable has returned to favour with a resurgence of vinyl music, writes Rod Easdown.

THERE are all sorts of theories explaining the return of the turntable: baby boomers with big record collections; young people getting into dance music on vinyl; DJs; DrHouse using one in the television series. And there are the legions of folk who say records sound better than CDs.

Greg Borrowman, the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine, has another one. He thinks we're yearning for what was lost when analog music yielded to digital.

"CDs have no personality; they're set and forget," he says. "With vinyl, it's ritual. You slide the LP out of its sleeve, then deftly remove it from the inner dust jacket, making sure not to touch the playing surface. You place it on the platter with both hands, like an offering. You clean the record's surface and perhaps the stylus. Only then do you lower the tonearm to be rewarded with the music."

This covers the full gamut of anticipation, the careful, practised flourish of implementation and the ultimate reward, no different from pulling the cork out of a 10-year-old Hill of Grace.

Whatever the reason, turntables are back in favour.

Michael Thornton-Smith at importer International Dynamics says for every CD player he wholesales, five turntables go out the door. They are "the most consistent, most reliable product we have - month in, month out".

"And it's not like we don't sell CD players. Given the resurgence in two-channel stereo music, CD players sell steadily.

"We've noticed this resurgence over the past couple of years and not just with turntables. Two-channel amplifiers also sell strongly. People with home cinemas and iPods aren't happy with how they handle music and want to get back to hearing it reproduced faithfully."

Craig McNeil, general manager at retailer Tivoli Hi-Fi, politely scoffs at talk of a two-channel resurgence. "Really, stereo never went away. It's the best way to get the most out of your music," he says.

Mr Borrowman believes turntables have become objetsd'art. "Gone are the old, square, teak boxes with perspex covers," he says. "Turntables are now beautiful and they're beautiful to watch. They've become a feature in living rooms."

An Austrian turntable maker called Pro-Ject has been extraordinarily successful in Australia, and the biggest seller in its range is the cheapest model, the Debut, starting at $549. Unlike many more expensive ones, it's ready to go straight out of the box, supplied with both tone arm and cartridge. Premium turntables frequently have neither, leaving buyers free to customise with offerings from manufacturers specialising in them.

"Pro-Ject turntables up to $850 come with cartridges and tone arms. After that, buyers want to make their own choices," MrThornton-Smith says.

Mr McNeil says most turntable sales at Tivoli are between $600 and $2000. "But the sky is the limit ... there's a Goldman from America supplied in a 100-kilogram isolation rack that needs part of its componentry placed in another room. It's around $215,000 and we've never sold one, but we sell turntables up to $15,000."

An important factor is the availability of spare parts, like cartridges and styli, and MrThornton-Smith says ancillaries are big sellers. "Phono preamps are big movers, both with and without USB outputs, and we also sell speed regulators, wall-mount brackets, cleaning equipment, anti-static mats and strobe discs."

Phono preamps? All amplifiers used to have an input marked "phono" where the turntable plugged in. Unlike other inputs, it was specially amplified because signals from turntables are weak. But with the rise of CD, and especially home theatre, many amplifier makers have dropped them. Plugging the turntable into an amplifier's auxiliary input doesn't work unless you have either a phono preamplifier or a turntable with one built in. These boost the signal into something the amplifier can use, and they start at about $200, going up to $5000. If your amplifier has a phono input, you won't need one.

What about USB outputs? These allow you to plug the turntable directly into your computer so music can be transferred onto the hard drive, a CD, DVD or iPod.

MrBorrowman believes the popularity of iPods and whole-of-home music servers is yet another driver of turntable sales, with people wanting to access their vinyl music through them.

Transferring records to digital media involves software, some of which can be bewilderingly complex. He suggests Xitel's INport Deluxe, selling for about $150 through

If you're hankering for vinyl music you haven't heard for years, some notes of caution. Today's music production is far more sophisticated than it was 25 years ago and nothing brings this home faster than listening to old records. Many sound flat, boring and almost crude. Also,there's surface noise, the clicks and pops always present with records that disappear withCDs.

But, as Mr Thornton-Smith observes, the warmth and dynamic range of a vinyl recording is still compelling.

Deconstructing a turntable

The disc on which the record is placed. It is usually driven by a belt, sometimes directly by an electric motor. At its middle is the spindle, the spike that centres the record.


It sits on the platter and cushions the record. Some are treated to reduce static electricity; others, called slip mats, are low friction, allowing the record to be stopped or reversed while the platter keeps spinning. Don't try this with a normal turntable; you'll need a DJ model.


The arm housing the cartridge and stylus that moves across the record as the stylus follows the groove.


It contains the delicate electronics that convert the stylus' movement into electrical impulses.


Sometimes called the needle. It's the tiny assembly for the diamond point that tracks minute undulations in the walls of the record's groove and translates them into music.


An adjustable weight at the back of the tone-arm regulating downward pressure of the stylus on the record's surface.

Anti-skating device

Often a counterweight on a string, sometimes a spring-loaded device near the tone-arm's pivot point, this counteracts the propensity of the stylus to move towards the outer side of the groove wall due to centrifugal force.


Usually a series of radial lines on the edge of the mat or platter spaced so that when the platter is spinning at the correct speed they appear to be stationary. If they seem to be moving, the speed can be fine-tuned with a pitch control, if fitted.


The lever assembly that lowers the tone-arm and stylus onto the record's surface. These are often hydraulically damped.

Damping device

Found only on expensive tone-arms, it usually consists of a paddle sitting in a trough of oil and prevents the tone-arm skating across the record when knocked. It helps with warped records or when the stylus encounters dust build-up or an imperfection in the record's groove.

Head shell

On some tone-arms the cartridge fits into a removable head shell rather than directly to the arm. Particularly handy when using multiple cartridges.

Speed selector

Very old records play at 78 revolutions per minute (use a special 78rpm stylus for them) and some very rare records were recorded at 16rpm, but the two main speeds are

33rpm for LPs and 45rpm for singles and EPs. Most turntables handle 33 and 45, sometimes with a switch, sometimes by moving the drive belt on the spindle (use cotton gloves). Some new USB turntables claim to play 78rpm but don't - they provide computer software that fakes the correct speed after you've recorded the track at 33rpm.


I'd Help If I Were Closer!

Roger Butler walks down the stairs of his home Wednesday, April 29, 2009. He is being evicted from his South Hill home and is wondering how he will store his massive record collection estimated at more than 100,000 albums.

No spin here: Massive record collection needs a home

Doug Clark
The Spokesman-Review

Roger Butler has lost his modest home on Spokane’s South Hill. He is days away from having to get out.

But I won’t go into all the bad luck and bad decisions that brought the 69-year-old musician to this point. That ship, as they say, has sailed. And sunk.

What I do want to tell you about is Butler’s most pressing problem.

He needs to find a good-hearted soul who will give him a place where he can temporarily store his collection of vintage vinyl records.

That may not sound like such a big deal. Not until you see what a guy can amass in 60 years of record collecting.

Butler often tells people that he has 100,000 records. “But that was the point where I stopped counting,” he explained while leading me on a tour through his cluttered abode.

Holy Victrola!

Butler has records galore in practically every format: 45s, 10- and 12-inch LPs and even those old 78s my parents once danced to.

Many of Butler’s records have already been boxed up. One basement room has boxes stacked floor to ceiling, five rows deep. The main floor is a tangle of record stacks and more boxes. A similar landscape awaits anyone who ventures upstairs.

“I do like most everything,” Butler said. “I’m so eclectic.”

No kidding. Butler’s albums run from The Monkees to Thelonious Monk. He’s got Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa.

What a scene. Marlon Brando’s brooding face stares out from the cover of “Jazz themes from The Wild One.”

There’s Coleman Hawkins and Carl Perkins. There’s an album of Miles Davis playing Porgy and Bess.

There’s simply too much to absorb in one visit.

Ray Charles. Jerry Lee Lewis. Dave Brubeck. Elvis Presley. Roy Orbison. Benny Goodman. Peter Frampton. Bing Crosby. Chet Baker. T-Bone Walker…

Butler laughed.

“If something is good,” he said, “it can only be better by having more.”

Butler is a soft-spoken man. He has deliberately held onto his sense of humor, he said, so as not to succumb to his bleak situation.

Butler’s hair is a bit long and mostly gray. He wore a loose plaid shirt, black pants and sandals. His big toe poked out of a hole in his white sock, the left one.

Butler is a walking encyclopedia of music, especially when it comes to his favorite idioms: rock and roll and jazz.

Near the front door, he stopped and picked up an album by an artist named Richard “Popcorn” Wylie. “This is a rare one,” he said, offering a brief history. Wylie “was a football player. He didn’t care about royalties…”

Butler’s music liner notes would start at age 9. That’s when the Spokane kid fell in love with music and began his lifelong hobby of collecting records. The group that first won his heart was The Four Aces, a vocal quartet with a signature shuffle beat.

The year was 1951. Popular music was still civilized and sedate. In a few years, however, an explosion would take place in a Memphis recording studio and the world would never quite be the same.

Butler was a student at Lewis and Clark High School when that Elvis bomb went off.

He decided to take up the piano. To his delight, he found that all the hours he had spent listening to records had given him a fine musical ear.

He joined a band that, after a name change, became The Frogs.

“We were actually the first animal group,” he said with a laugh. “We were going to have lily pads and wear green tuxedos.”

Butler said he would love to see his collection become a reference library for musicians.

Better yet, Butler could sell it all. That could take away some of the sting out of losing a house. It would give a single man something to live on in his old age.

Butler has no idea what kind of nest egg his collection would provide. But he does know what it represents.

“That’s the history of rock and roll,” said Butler, waving a hand at a random stack of boxes. “And the history of jazz, too.”

Doug Clark is a columnist with The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Witch Doctor

April of 2009 is the 51st anniversary of a popular song by the Chipmunks, a fictitious singing group who were created for music listeners to laugh while they enjoyed the music. Let’s learn more about this novelty song, "The Witch Doctor," that hit #1 on the charts in April of 1958.

Inspiration comes from a variety of sources; some people are inspired by passionate pleas, political speeches or historic events. But how can a chipmunk help a person develop a worldwide music dynasty?

Just ask David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian), the brainchild behind the singing novelty group of chipmunks- Alvin, Simon and Theodore. While driving through Yosemite, California, Seville slowed down to allow a chipmunk that was in the road, to carry on his merry little way. But as the chipmunk took his time, ideas flooded Seville’s head, and the fictitious singing group the Chipmunks was born.

In early 1957, Seville cut a novelty ditty called “Witch Doctor,” a song about being unlucky at love. The witch doctor would explain to him specifically what to do to gain the attention of a girl. The silly refrain of “Oo-Ee, Oo-Ah-Ah, Ting-Tang, Walla-Walla, Bing Bang” was launched into the unsuspecting music world and a pop culture phenomenon was born (The "Walla Walla" part of the song was just thrown in as a reference to Ross Bagdasarian's uncle who lived in Walla Walla, Washington). This entire song was performed by Seville in his normal voice and then sped up for the infectious effect.

This fictional group consisted of three singing chipmunks, Alvin, a mischievous, troublemaker and the star of the group (named after Liberty Records president Alvin Bennett), Simon, a tall-intellectual fellow (who was named after Simon Waronker -founder and owner of Liberty Records) and Theodore, the chubby sweetheart of the trio (who was named after chief engineer Theodore Keep).

Recording techniques used to create their unique voices was not a new event. In fact, some of the high and low pitched characters in the legendary movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” were achieved the same way- by speeding up the vocal recordings. Seville actually recorded the vocals and music at different speeds, combining the two perfectly to obtain his trademark sound.

The process was simple- the Chipmunk ‘voices’ were recorded onto an audiotape by voice talent or Seville talking or singing at half the normal speed. This purposely done slowing down could then be played back at double speed making them sound a full octave higher in pitch at normal tempo. A new term also found its way into the American vernacular- the term ‘chipmunked-voiced,’ which means any artificially high-pitched voice. And, as silly as this sounds, the Chipmunks (Seville) actually earned two Grammy Awards for engineering.

These fictional stars soon scored another #1 hit with 1958’s “The Chipmunk Song” and went on to release a long line of children’s albums and singles. Even after Seville’s passing in 1972, his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. has kept the empire alive, entertaining new generations of children all over the world. Not a bad result considering that the music was actually inspired by one of our fury friends!

Fun Chipmunk Facts:

The "singing rodent" concept has been successfully imitated elsewhere, notably by the Finnish "singing squirrel" Pikku Orava.

The Chipmunks make a guest appearance on the Canned Heat song "The Chipmunk Song" (which is not the same song as the 1958 hit) that appeared on their Christmas single.

Prince has used the technique on several of his songs, as well as Frank Zappa on “We're Only In It For The Money” and on the instrumental album Hot Rats, among others.

In the early 90's rave scene, many breakbeat hardcore productions would utilize the same studio tricks, often taking a cappellas from old soul and house records and speeding them up to fit the faster tempo. Vocals in songs that used this method would typically be referred to as "chipmunk vocals".

Some people may think that Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers are a "cheap imitation" of the Chipmunks. But, this is incorrect, as Chip and Dale first appeared in the Disney cartoon "Private Pluto" in 1943, more than a decade before the creation of the Chipmunks—however, the cartoon series Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, the first appearance of them with different personalities and first appearance of them wearing clothes was created in 1989, well after the debut of Alvin and the Chipmunks in the fifties. Other than anthropomorphic chipmunks as main characters, the two franchises have little in common, other than the fact that Chip and Dale have squeaky voices created by the speeding up of records to 45.

In the 1980s there was a "group" called The Happy Hamsters, which was an obvious attempt to cash in on the Chipmunks' popularity; it has since lapsed into obscurity.

Still going strong, the Chipmunks' newest album, Undeniable, was released in November 2008.

The Chipmunk's legacy was not without serious issues, in fact, the group's name changed from "The Chipmunks" to "Alvin & The Chipmunks" just like "Diana Ross & The Supremes". Alvin, just like Diana Ross, was the lead singer. The Chipmunks name change sparked rumors of a possible solo career for Alvin. And by 1961, Alvin had his own show called appropriately called "The Alvin Show" and released his first solo album which was also the soundtrack album to the show called "The Alvin Show (album)".

Interestingly, the Chipmunks spoofed John Lennon's 1966 infamous comment that the Beatles had become "more popular than Jesus", by recalling how the Chipmunks had fallen in popularity after Alvin boasted they were "bigger than Mickey Mouse!"

There is also a price difference regarding whether the Chipmunks on the cover of an album are drawn as animals or as the fictional characters.

Classic Rock Videos

Have a Cigar- Pink Floyd

Mr. Music

I am continuing our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2008), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: I am trying to confirm something I heard decades ago, either on American Top 40 or a similar syndicated music show.

I remember this piece of trivia referring to the Beatles as the only group having each of their principal albums reach No. 1, during their years together.

I know this doesn't apply to miscellaneous (not Capitol-Apple) releases from companies who merely jumped on the Beatle mania bandwagon.

Is this claim true? If not, which LPs are the exceptions?
—Richard McGraw, Owensboro, Ky.

DEAR RICHARD: Album sales are one area where it's hard to overstate the Beatles' supremacy, though this statement, if as you recall, is a wee bit exaggerated.

Of the 17 Capitol-Apple albums, from early 1964 through early '70, only three failed to reach No. 1: “Something New” (1964); “Yellow Submarine” (1969); and “Hey Jude” (1970).

Then again, each of these peaked at No. 2, as close to the crest as possible.

Though I don't agree, someone may have disqualified “Yellow Submarine” for being a soundtrack, and “Hey Jude,” a compilation of 1960s singles. Still the claim is untrue because of “Something New.”

Regardless, among all artists with at least 10 hit albums, no one matches the Beatles' mind-boggling portion of LPs that reached No. 1: from 83% to 94%, depending on how you score it.

Most significant among non-Capitol product is Vee-Jay's “Introducing the Beatles,” their first U.S. LP.

Issued January 10, 1964, about 10 days ahead of “Meet the Beatles,” the Vee-Jay collection zoomed up to No. 2. That would be its peak thanks to the stranglehold on No. 1 by “Meet the Beatles.”

“Introducing the Beatles” is far and away the most successful non-Capitol or Apple LP.

With 19 No. 1 albums overall (1964-2000), the Beatles have about twice as many as the rest of the Top 10 in that department. The only other artist with double-digit No. 1s is Elvis, with 10.

DEAR JERRY: One of my 45s is “Fortuneteller” by Bobby Curtola, a fellow I didn't even know until I got a computer.

Now wired and connected to the world, I see Curtola is one of the most popular singers in Canadian history.

He sounds really great so I am surprised he didn't become bigger in the U.S. If he did I just missed it. Mostly, I would like to know the name of the very familiar sounding female group singing with him on “Fortunteller.”

I can't think of their name but I do recognize their distinctive sound.
—Myra in Detroit

DEAR MYRA: You should, especially if you are familiar with Roy Orbison's “Blue Bayou,” or the angelic voices behind Bobby Helms on “My Special Angel.”
These gals and guys are the Nashville-based Anita Kerr Singers, who appear on more hit records than anyone not named the Jordanaires.

Besides Bobby Curtola — who I think is teriffic, by the way — Roy Orbison, and Bobby Helms, here are just a FEW more folks whose recordings benefit from backing by the Anita Kerr Singers: Bill Anderson; Ann-Margret; Bobby Bare; Pat Boone; Patsy Cline; Perry Como; Red Foley; Al Hirt; Homer & Jethro; Burl Ives; Brenda Lee; Willie Nelson; Elvis Presley; Jim Reeves; Charlie Rich; Hank Snow; Wynn Stewart; Mitchell Torok; Jimmy Velvet; Bobby Vinton; Faron Young; and dozens more.

IZ ZAT SO? With vocal harmonies as beautiful as the Anita Kerr Singers, one would expect them to have a few hit records of their own. Well, they do.

In 1960, billed as the Little Dippers, Anita, along with Floyd Cramer and a few Nashville friends, hit the Top 10 with “Forever” (University 210).

Two years later, now as Anita and Th' So-and-So's, they scored again with “Joey Baby” (RCA Victor 7974) and a nice follow-up, “To Each His Own” (RCA Victor 8050).

Probably Kerr's sweetest single is the late '63 coupling of “Guitar Country” and “Waitin' for the Evening Train” (RCA Victor 8246). On both sides the Anita Kerr Quartet sings as Chet Atkins plays guitar.

Super Furry Animals Album Cover Art

As you all know, I am a sucker for great album cover art. Japanese pop icon Keiichi Tanaami and UK artist Pete Fowler have teamed up to create the latest artwork for the cover art of Super Furry Animals’ latest album Dark Days/Light Years.

The album was officially released on April 21st. Dark Days/Light Years marks the first time both artists have worked on an album cover for the pyschedelic Welsh rockers although Tanaami has done work for the band’s past two albums while Pete Fowler has contributed artwork for six of their past LP’s.

Top 10 most expensive turntables

In the vinyl world, there’s an elite group of individuals who think the best way to listen to music is on a high-quality old-fashioned analog turntable. But, when you are going to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a piece of antiquated technology like a turntable, you unquestionably want it to be one and only. Here is a list of the top 10 most expensive turntable, we will start with number 10 today and do the bottom five- look for the top 5 tomorrow.

10. TEAC’s VPI HR-X1 turntable

Price: $19,000

If you have a taste for high-end audio and don’t mind spending richly for a hi-end craftsmanship than the run-of-the-mill speakers and audio systems, then this $19,000 TEAC’s VPI HR-X1 turntable is meant to satiate your affluent tastes. The VPI HR-X from TEAC features a belt driven, 50-mm thick acrylic plate which floats on an air suspension system at 33.3 or 45rpm. The turntable features 24 extremely, 300rpm AC synchronous motors and it weighs approximately 52.5kg.

9. ClearAudio Master Reference

Price: US $19,000

The ClearAudio Master Reference turntable is the just right pick if you are serious about aesthetics and audio. The turntable is hand-made in Germany and boasts a range of innovative features including APG (Accurate Power Generator) motor control system, master reference chassis, a master TQ-I tonearm and unique ‘Side-Force-Free’ triple motor and belt drive system. The master reference turntable is also available in various other models and is considered by many leading audio magazines, including ‘The Absolute Sound’, ‘Stereoplay’ and ‘Hifi +’ as the best turntable on the marker. Superb mechanical design and precise production provide the foundation for a cohesive, dynamic sound throughout the complete musical spectrum.

8. Proscenium Black Diamond Turntable

Price: US $40,000

The Proscenium Black Diamond Turntable is the result of over 30 years of research to build the best sounding turntable. Every component is selected precisely for its sonic performance. Even the finish on the platter has been selected for its sonic merit. Although the complete system is quite complex, it is extremely reliable and very easy to set up and play. The system comes complete with arm, requiring only your favorite cartridge. Salient features include a huge Air-bearing Platter that is 10 inches in diameter with 3 air jets, Platter and Record Clamp, remote Drive motor, and an Ultimate Motor Controller that comes mounted on an eight-piece Valid Points resonance control kit.

7. SME 30 Turntable

Price: US $40,000

The SME 30 Turntable is compact and incredibly dense, weighing in at 90 lbs. It employs a nifty suspension system using a combination of elastomers and silicone to achieve an almost zero Q suspension. The SME platter mat boasts a unique combination of high shear stiffness and effective vertical damping to purge the energy feedback from the platter back into the record. The amalgamation of compact high mass, non-resonant materials, and speed stability delivers a playback system that will flabbergast you with excellent dynamics, clarity, and noise free background.

6. DaVinciAudio Labs AAS Gabriel

Price: US $41,250

The unique design of the DaVinciAudio Labs AAS Gabriel turntable is inspired from the same process that is used to cut grooves into masters for vinyl discs. The turntable looks deadly cool when we take a look at its form factor and compare the make to the Transrotor Artus, Sondek LP12 SE turntable, TEAC’s VPI HR-X1 turntable, Goldmund’s The Reference II, and the Basis Audio turntable. All of these carry a hefty price tag but when we talk about looks, the AAS Gabriel turntable certainly sits at the top. Frankly speaking, it looks to be something that should be placed in an art museum. It comes equipped with highly stable drive chassis, acoustically sound turntable, silent bearings, and stable power supply. It has been designed in a way to produce absolutely zero noise or vibration. The inimitable design is inspired from the same process that is employed to cut grooves into masters for vinyl discs. Meant for the fat wallets, the 24-karat gold and white Luxury Edition sells for $41,250 while the silver and black version will set you back only $35,400.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Audiophile Audition Review

I want to thank John over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

Lonnie Johnson – Portraits in Blues, Vol. 6 – Swingville / Pure Pleasure Records PPAN SLP162 – Audiophile 180 gram LP – (1963 Copenhagen, Denmark) ****1/2:

(Lonnie Johnson, guitar, vocals; Otis Spann, piano)

Lonnie Johnson has been described as the grand old man of the blues. Born in 1894, in New Orleans, Johnson had a long and varied career; both playing and being rediscovered many times when he took time off from playing to do menial labor work to cover the lean times.

Johnson’s playing and singing is unique as it crosses boundaries between jazz and the blues. His blues had a more jazz orientation as his guitar picking leaned toward acoustic jazz and his voice had a sweetness unlike the more country blues gruffness found from Southern blues men. There is a sophistication he brought to blues like Clementine Blues, See See Rider, and Jelly Jelly.

Johnson also mastered the violin, which may be a reason that he made a name for himself in jazz circles, playing with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Seven as well as a brief stay with early Duke Ellington. Lonnie cut an extended series of recordings for Okeh Records in the mid 20s to early 30s. His recordings with jazz guitarist, Eddie Lang, are legendary.

On Portraits of Blues, we find Lonnie near the end of his career (he passed away seven years after this recording) on tour with the great Otis Spann accompanying him on piano. Johnson’s voice was still strong at age 64 and his guitar playing was still robust.

England’s Pure Pleasure Records has done their usual superb remastering job with the original Storyville tapes. It would actually be news if Pure Pleasure had done anything less. Having the opportunity to hear Lonnie Johnson in superb sonics is a real treat as Johnson is a unique musician who could cross jazz and blues genres easily. This LP shows that the two musical idioms could be blended into a sweet mix when you have the talent of the inimitable Lonnie Johnson. Highly recommended!

Side 1:
Tomorrow Night
Clementine Blues
See See Rider
Raining on the Cold Cold Ground
Jelly, Jelly

Side 2:
Too Late to Cry
Call Me Darling
Why Did You Go
Swingin’ with Lonnie
Please Help Me

Earl Hines and Harry “Sweets” Edison – Earl Meets Harry- Pure Pleasure Records/ Definitive Black and Blue Sessions PPAN 007 – 180 gram vinyl LP- 1978 *****:

(Earl “Fatha” Hines, piano; Harry “Sweets” Edison, trumpet)

As translated from the French album liner notes, it was surprising to note that jazz giants Earl Hines and Harry Edison, hardly knew each other in 1978 when they entered the Studio Sinus in Berne, Switzerland, on April 26, 1978. Well it certainly did not take them long to mesh as their styles are so complementary.

Hines was a master stride pianist and had among the quickest left hands in the business, as he would augment his stride lines with glistening arpeggios without losing a beat. With that lightning left hand he could approach Art Tatum in technique but not speed, as in that department Tatum had no peer, as Art played the piano as if having four hands and two pianos.

Sweets Edison was a master at understatement like his former boss, Count Basie. He could say more with fewer notes than most of his contemporaries. His taste was exquisite and he could swing effortlessly.

The Hines Edison duo just shines here playing strictly standards such as I Cover the Waterfront, Just Squeeze Me, Just You Just Me, and Mean to Me. For swing fans it’s a match made in heaven as Hines embellishes while Sweets plays all the right notes. As these songs are so well known, you kind of know what to expect, but it’s a treat to hear Hines cutting loose and Edison’s sweet, warm tone carrying the day.

Oh, did I forget to mention the impeccable true to life intimate acoustics that Pure Pleasure brings to all their projects is worth every penny of the asking price? If you dig Fatha and Sweets, you’ve got to have this LP.

TrackList: Side A: I Cover the Waterfront, Just Squeeze Me, But Not for Me, Just You Just Me
Side B: Mean to Me, I Surrender Dear, The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else

Laura Nyro – New York Tendaberry – Columbia/ Pure Pleasure Records- PPAN KCS9737 – (1969) *****:

Laura Nyro could break your heart with her gut-wrenching beauty. She poured out her emotions in songs full of gospel, soul, folk and jazz. She was a one of a kind and wore her heart on her sleeve. She had a once in a generation voice as Billie Holiday brought to jazz, and Joan Baez to folk.

The audiophile label, Pure Pleasure Records, out of England, has done a public service in releasing New York Tendaberry in glorious 180-gram vinyl with sumptuous remastering by Ray Staff. Laura’s vocals are crystalline and the occasional orchestral backings by Jimmy Haskell jump out from your speakers and will blow your mind on a quality pair of headphones.

Save the Country and Time And Love have been covered by many pop artists, but its Laura’s versions that stand the test of time. When you hear her emote, it’s as if Laura wrote the lyrics just to inspire you.

Laura Nyro had a brief period in the limelight before retiring at age 24. She came back on the scene several times in the ensuing decades but never regained her moment in the sun before dying of ovarian cancer in 1997. Her most noted compositions-Eli’s Coming, Stone Soul Picnic, and Sweet Blindness-were made into much bigger hits by others. Her genius was recognized by none other than David Geffen, who quit his early job as a music agent to become her manager.

New York Tendaberry had few hits, with the exception of Save the Country. What it did have was heartfelt lyrics sung in glorious emotions of happiness and deep pain by the genius that was Laura Nyro. What passes as pop music today pales in comparison. It was a “pure pleasure” to review this audiophile LP wonder…

TrackList: (Side A): You Don’t Love Me When I Cry, Captain for Dark Mornings, Tom Cat Goodbye, Mercy on Broadway, Save the Country
(Side B): Gibsom Street, Time and Love, The Man Who Sends Me Home, Sweet Lovin’ Baby, Captain Saint Lucifer, New York Tendaberry

Classic Rock Videos

Welcome To The Machine - Pink Floyd

Vinyl Collective News

I am happy to hear my friend Virgil over at is feeling better. Here is the latest news, stop by and pick up some great vinyl at the site:

With the shipment of the new NOFX album (Fristbee/Coaster), we received some restocks, too. Lawrence Arms, Loved Ones, Descendents, Strung Out, Sick of It All, D4, and more.

NOFX “Frisbee” LP
NOFX “Coaster” CD
AGAINST ME! “Don’t Lose Touch” LP
DILLINGER FOUR “Situationist Comedy” LP
J CHURCH “One Missippi” dbl LP
J Church “The Drama Of Alienation” LP
NO USE FOR A NAME “The Feel Good Record of the Year” LP
NOFX “Regaining Unconsciousness” 7″
NOFX “Surfer” 7″
NOFX “The Decline” LP
NOFX “The Longest Line” LP
NONE MORE BLACK “File Under Black” LP
PROPAGANDHI “How To Clean Everything” LP
SICK OF IT ALL “Call to Arms” LP
STRUNG OUT “American Paradox” LP
STRUNG OUT ìSuburban Teenage Wasteland Bluesî LP
THE LAWRENCE ARMS “Apathy & Exhaustion” LP
THE LOVED ONES “Build & Burn” LP
THE LOVED ONES “Distractions” LP

Best Buy Vinyl !

According to the New York Post, Best Buy is thinking about selling vinyl records again in their stores.

The reason, as we all know, is that vinyl sales are growing. (As much as 15 percent up in 2007 and 89% in 2008). The 2009 forecast gets even better. The numbers are so good that mega giant Best Buy started a vinyl record pilot program in 100 stores. The results are so encouraging that the third largest music seller after iTunes and Wal-Mart is thinking about using as much as eight square feet in each of its 1,020 stores to sell vinyl records.

Apparently, vinyl records are becoming a cult object, with an audience seeking the appeal of the physical format and the special sound of analog (which in the case of the classics, could be more attractive than the digital productions). The interest, although minimal considering the rest of the industry, is big enough that big labels are re-releasing old records in the vinyl format. Many established record companies (i.e. Capitol Records) are jumping on the 'vinyl bandwagon' and I would think that many more will be doing the same thing in the upcoming months. Why? It's all about the music (and profit) and there is money to be made. Hail Vinyl !

Allman Brothers' Beacon Run To Be Released in Massive Box Set

Although not a vinyl release, I feel that this is an historic day for Allman Brothers fans as bands' historic concerts at the Beacon Theater in New York last month is set to be released in a 45-disc CD package capturing all fifteen shows. This is the first time that the Allman Brothers have released any live music from, what is now, their 188 consecutive sold out shows dating back to 1989.

The run not only celebrated their 40th anniversary as a band, but was also dedicated to the late Duane Allman, guitarist and band founder. Joining them over the 15 nights is an amazing group of iconic musicians including: Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Sheryl Crow, Stanley Clarke, Kid Rock, Bonnie Bramlett, Robert Randolph, John Hammond, Billy Gibbons, David Hidalgo, Trey Anastasio, Susan Tedeschi, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh among others.

Also included in the set will be the band's performance at Warren Haynes' 20th annual Christmas Jam from December 2008 and 40 photos taken during the Beacon run. All of this will be included in a custom numbered box.

The price for this massive set is a bit expensive, but fans should have no problem shelling out the $499.00 for this amazing collectible set. Individual shows are also available for $27.00.

New Vinyl Releases

Bob Dylan: Together Through Life (2-CD & DVD) (LP & CD)

The Crocodiles: Summer Of Hate (vinyl)

Flipper: Generic (vinyl reissue)

Flipper: Gone Fishin' (vinyl reissue)

Florence and the Machine: A Lot of Love. A Lot of Blood (vinyl)

Flower-Corsano Duo: The Four Aims (vinyl)

Funkadelic: Cosmic Slop (vinyl reissue)

Funkadelic: Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow (vinyl reissue)

Gomez: A New Tide (vinyl)

Hearts Revolution: Switchblade EP

I Monster: A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars (vinyl)

Immaculate Machine: High on Jackson Hill (vinyl)

Juan Maclean: One Day (vinyl)

Malajube: Labyrinthes (vinyl)

My Bloody Valentine: Isn't Anything (vinyl reissue)

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (vinyl reissue)

Other Lives: Other Lives (vinyl)

Pulp: This Is Hardcore (vinyl reissue)

Ray LaMontagne: Till the Sun Turns Black (vinyl reissue)

Ray LaMontagne: Trouble (vinyl reissue)

Still Flyin': Never Gonna Touch the Ground (vinyl)

Thee Oh Sees: Help (vinyl)

Tosca: No Hassle (vinyl)

Townes Van Zandt: Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas (vinyl)

Turbo Fruits: Mama's Mad Cos I Fried My Brain (vinyl)

Weedeater: God Luck and Good Speed (vinyl)

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

I am adjusting the schedule for this feature, look for this every Tuesday

As we continue our article series about “bird” and “animal” artists and groups in rock and roll, let’s revisit our “bird” theme and start with a little known band that was produced by Dave Edmunds.

Although never hugely popular, the London-based pub rockers “Ducks Deluxe” never let the mainstream rock and roll world get in their way. Playing American-style blues and boogie, adroitly woven with unpretentious rock and roll, Ducks Deluxe members’ Sean Tyla (guitar/vocals), Martin Belmont (guitars), Nick Garvey (bass) and Andy McMaster (keyboards) released several passionate LPs, starting in 1974.

But their best work just happened to be on their final studio album in 1975, an album called “All Too Much” (they added Mick Groom on bass and Tim Roper on the drums). In an expanded version of their EP “Jumpin’” (1975), the group attacks the Bobby Fuller hit “I Fought The Law” with shear abandon and actually are able to capture the essence of the song. Other notable cuts include a romantic rocker, blended with an extraordinary slide guitar on the song “Amsterdam Dog.” They also offer up two different versions of “Something’s Going On” and do an amazing cover of “Here Comes The Night.” Other highlights include the anthem-like “Rock and Roll for Every Boy and Girl” and the funky rhythms of the song “Cannons of the Boogie Night.”

And although they never “hit the big time,” this seminal pub rock band member’s experiences in Ducks Deluxe would serve them well. Ex-Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster formed the rock/pop band the Motors in 1977. Duck’s guitarist Martin Belmont went on to join Graham Parker’s backing band called The Rumour. Sean Tyla then formed the Tyla Gang. The group reformed to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their original formation.

Another “bird” group that never went on to be a household name was the Scottish-English soul band named “Stone The Crows” (from a Scottish curse meaning “the hell with it”). Perhaps the band’s claim to fame may have been introducing a Janis Joplin-like blues singer named Maggie Bell, who was singing with Les Harvey (brother of Alex Harvey of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band) in a band called Power. They caught the attention of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant, who renamed the group “Stone The Crows.” The first two album releases met with critical acclaim, but failed to sell.

Their 1971 album “Teenage Licks,” was full of blues-rockers and was met with rave reviews and it seemed that the band was on the verge of success. In fact, Singer Maggie Bell won Britain’s Top Girl Singer Award for the first of many times. But, tragedy struck when band member Les Harvey was electrocuted by a microphone wire during a show. Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch came in to finish the predetermined gigs and also played on the band’s next release “Ontinuous,” but the band broke up shortly after its release. McCulloch would later join Paul McCartney and Wings and after a stint with them, he joined up with the reformed band Small Faces. Maggie Bell released several solo albums and enjoyed moderate success as a session vocalist, including sitting in on Rod Stewart’s album called “Every Picture Tells A Story.”

One of the first true punk groups from “down under” was the influential punk band called “Radio Birdman,” who released several high-energy, guitar heavy LPs in the late 70's (the origin of the band’s name comes from a lyric in the Blue Oyster Cult song “Dominance and Submission”). In their first EP called, “Burn My Eye,” surfer-turned vocalist Rob Younger unleashes his distinctive boisterous rants, while guitarist Deniz Tek skillfully plays rapid-fire, feverish guitar.

On their first LP, the band engages in a thunderous cover of the Stooges’ “T.V. Eye,” conquer the world of urban desolation with the song “Murder City Nights” and fill the album with emotionally draining, yet genre defining punk rock. But, after taking almost three years to record a follow up album, dozens of other Australian punk bands stole the spotlight and the group split up almost immediately after their second LP called “Living Eyes.” The band has influenced the work of many successful, mainstream groups and is now considered to be one of the most crucial bands to Australia's musical growth, but their main legacy was their towering influence over Australian indie rock in the 1980s.

We will continue with our article series about “bird” and “animal” groups and artists in rock and roll next week!

Ducks Deluxe Tidbits:

The band reformed to celebrate the 35th anniversary. This was at the 100 Club in London on October 9, 2007. The line-up was Martin Belmont, Sean Tyla, Mickey Groome and Billy Rankin. On January 26, 2008 they played Centre Culturel de Paul Baillart, Massy, near Paris, France. And on September 20, 2008 they played the PopXiria Festival in Carbello, near La Coruna in Spain, headlining the final night of the event.

In 2009, Ducks Deluxe appeared at the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster, Dorset on January 24, 2009 and are scheduled to tour Sweden in April 2009.

The permanent line-up of the band is now Sean Tyla (vocals and guitar), Martin Belmont (guitar and vocals), Kevin Foster (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Jim Russell on drums.

The band are reported to be compiling a new CD for release in 2009 of rare live tracks, b-sides (never before released on CD) and perhaps some new material as well.

Stone The Crows Tidbits:

Original Lineup:
Maggie Bell, vocals
Les Harvey, guitar
Colin Allen, drums
James Dewar, bass
John McGinnis, keyboards

One of their fantastic covers is the Beatles' "Fool On The Hill" "I always wanted to do this because it's got great lyrics. We didn't really do it like the Beatles but I remember Petula Clark once said it was the finest version she'd ever heard," explained Maggie.

Maggie Bell now lives in Rotterdam, Holland, and is still singing and recording. In 1995 she did a tour of Scotland with the old Alex Harvey Band which went down a storm. She also toured with Chris Farlowe for three years. "I have been keeping busy. I could never give this business up!"

Radio Birdman Tidbits:

Although there was no official announcement by management, the group disbanded in May 2008.

In 2006 Radio Birdman was very active, spearheaded by the completion of a new album entitled “Zeno Beach,” which was released in Australia on June 24, 2006 via the band's own Crying Sun Records, and in the US via Yep Roc Records.

In July 2007 the band were inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame.

Copyright 2009 Robert Benson

Monday, April 27, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Pink Floyd - Learning to Fly

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 04/25/2009

1. LP - Leonid Kogan "Kogan Plays Beethoven" EMI - $5778.00 - Start: $9.99 - Bids: 25

2. LP - Lee Morgan "Presenting" Blue Note - $2,927.00 - Start: $750.00 - Bids: 14

3. 45 - Pat Lewis "No One To Love" / "(I Owe You) Something" Solid Hit - $2,309.99 - Start: $376.99 - Bids: 13

4. 78 - Frank Stokes "What's The Matter Blues" / "Take Me Back" Victor - $2,075.00 - Start: $500.00 - Start: 5

5. 45 - Ernest Ranglin "Skalvouv!a" / "Free Form" Kentone - $2,025.00 - Start: $99.99 - Bids: 5

5. LP - George Harrison "All Things Must Pass" EMI UK - $2025.00 - Start: $24.99 - Bids: 5

A classical LP makes the top of the list this week, and for once it is not a record of a performance of Bach. A Leonid Kogan performance of Beethoven bids way up past its previous high to sell for well over $5.7k. In the #2 spot a Lee Morgan LP on Blue Note sells for over $2.9k.

A northern soul 45 from Pat Lewis on Solid Hit bids to a little over $2.3k. The #4 spot goes to a blues 78 on Victor, this one from Frank Stokes, and it sells for well over $2k.

A 45 and an LP tie for the #5 spot. A reggae 45 from Ernest Ranglin on Kentone, and a sealed UK pressing of George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" both bid to one quarter over $2k.

As always, thank you to Norm at for this wonderful data!

100 Greatest Drum Beats

Britain's Rhythm magazine has chosen their list of the 100 Greatest Drum Beats of All Time. Enlisting the help of people like Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot), Joey Jordinson (Slipknot), Thomas Lang and Peter Erskine, the editorial staff put together their list of 100 great rhythms that span from 30's jazz to current material.

Here is the top 25:

1. The Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2) - James Brown (Clyde Stubblefield)
2. When the Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)
3. Cissy Strut - Meters (Zigaboo Modeliste)
4. Take Five - Dave Brubeck (Joe Morello)
5. Back in Black - AC/DC (Phil Rudd)
6. Won't Get Fooled Again - Who (Keith Moon)
7. Sing, Sing, Sing - Benny Goodman Orchestra (Gene Krupa)
8. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (Dave Grohl)
9. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet (Mick Tucker)
10. Cold Sweat - James Brown (Clyde Stubblefield)
11. Raining Blood - Slayer (Dave Lombardo)
12. Rosanna - Toto (Jeff Porcaro)
13. Roxanne - Police (Stewart Copeland)
14. One - Metallica (Lars Ulrich)
15. Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)
16. Blue Monday - New Order (Oberheim DMX drum machine)
17. We Will Rock You - Queen (Roger Taylor)
18. Lust For Life - Iggy Pop (Hunt Sales)
19. Quadrant 4 - Billy Cobham (Billy Cobham)
20. Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2 (Larry Mullen, Jr.)
21. Superstition - Stevie Wonder (Stevie Wonder)
22. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream (Ginger Baker)
23. Come Together - Beatles (Ringo Starr)
24. Midlife Crisis - Faith No More (Mike Bordin)
25. Sexy MF - Prince (Michael Bland)

I looked at the top 100 and I know that these types of lists are very subjective, but I see two glaring ommissions, Bruce Gary (The Knack) with "My Sharona" and John Lennon's "Instant Karma," (with the drums being played by Alan White). Both of these cuts feature fantastic drum 'riffs' and would certainly make my top 10. Additionally, Ringo Starr is such an under appreciated talent, you mean to say that only one Beatles cut made the list? And what about Mick Fleetwood? Any comments?

To see the rest of the list, visit:

Vinyl Art to Hang in Hard Rock Hotel

Congrats to my friend Daniel Edlen, whose amazing Vinyl Art is catching on!!

New artwork to be displayed in high-end suites.

Hollywood, FL, April 26, 2009 --( A series of three pieces of Vinyl Art by Daniel Edlen, reproduced by ArtScans Studio, Inc. through Fresh Paint Art Advisors, Inc., is being installed in 23 suites at the newly remodeled Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

The original portraits on vinyl records of Carlos Santana, Mariah Carey, and John Lennon were scanned and printed at ArtScans Studio's highest resolution onto rag paper and framed individually in silver-leaf. They will be displayed above the headboard in the Beacon and Fillmore Suites once the rooms go through their stage of the remodel.

About Vinyl Art by Daniel Edlen:

Vinyl Art by Daniel Edlen is handpainted acrylic portraiture of musicians and entertainers on original vinyl pressings of the subject's recordings. Working largely on commission, Vinyl Art gives people back what they lost going digital with their music. People can once again gather and personally celebrate their music, their culture. Vinyl Art has been seen in several individual and group shows since Edlen began selling his unique portraits on vinyl late in 2006.

Boutiques in southern California and Austin, Texas sell works on consignment as well. Pieces have also been given as contest prizes by radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona and sold at auction by music-related charities.

For more information, call 480-239-1688, email or visit online at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Pink Floyd - Pigs

For The Love Of Vinyl!

Vinyl Wax Records from Darren Cole on Vimeo.

Matador reissues delayed by lost album masters

By Sean Michaels

One of the largest US indie labels has postponed reissuing albums by Mogwai, Yo La Tengo and Cat Power after losing the master tapes when a pressing plant went bust

Vinyl masters of albums by Mogwai and Yo La Tengo were among those lost when an American pressing plant went bankrupt in 2006, Matador Records has admitted. Records, vinyl lacquers, sleeve films and the masters themselves were binned when 33 1/3 went out of business, making it much harder to reissue albums like Mogwai's Happy Songs for Happy People, Yo La Tengo's Painful and Cat Power's The Covers Record on vinyl.

"Nothing was recovered from 33 1/3," Matador's director of production, Jesper Eklow, told Comcast News this week. "We lost everything. The doors were locked due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy."

"Everything" makes a substantial loss. Matador is one of the largest American indie labels, representing everyone from Belle and Sebastian to Interpol. The label lost "pretty much everything up to May 2006," Eklow confirmed, delaying planned reissues by Pavement, the New Pornographers and many more.

While worldwide CD sales tumble, vinyl has seen a resurgence, particularly among fans who buy reissues. Records may make up less than 1% of album sales worldwide, but US vinyl sales were up 89% in 2008, making them that rare and valuable thing: a slice of the music industry that is still seeing growth.

Labels like Matador have therefore rushed to reissue popular albums on high-quality vinyl, so the 33 1/3 bankruptcy is a major setback. "Some titles prove difficult to reissue unless we go back and basically remaster the albums from scratch," Eklow said. "It's a slow, expensive and quite an annoying process."

While Pavement, Belle and Sebastian and Interpol reissues are promised "soon", others – particularly early records by Yo La Tengo and Mogwai – are much further off.

"There shouldn't really be any titles that we couldn't ever bring back," Eglo said, "but the question of course would be if it's worth spending a lot of money on remastering and reprinting components we already should have on hand on certain titles. The money lost on the 33 1/3 adventure is quite substantial."


Audiophile Audition Review

I want to thank John over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

Budd Johnson - Mr. Bechet - Black & Blue/ Pure Pleasure Records PPAN006 1974 ****:

(Budd Johnson, tenor and soprano sax; Earl Hines, Piano, Jimmy Leary, bass; Panama Francis, drums)

For a legendary tenor saxophonist whose career spanned from the 1920s to the 1980s, Budd Johnson was woefully under-recorded as a session leader. He had approximately ten records under his name. He was influenced by Lester Young and had a long tenure-ten years-with the Earl Hines Orchestra from the early 30s to the 40s.

For this recording Johnson plays both tenor and also soprano sax, in tribute to the all time greatest soprano player, Sidney Bechet. Starting off with a soulful soprano solo on Blues for Sale, Johnson adds his vocal to the Hines composition and Earl himself has a stride blues chorus. Jimmy Leary gets a great bowed bass solo and Johnson switches to tenor to wring out more emotion in this classic blues composition. Gone with The Wind is pure swing driven by both Johnson’s rich tenor and the driven drums of the great Panama Francis, who has never got his due for his swing and rhythm and blues stick work.

The sound quality on this 180 gram pressing is superb and its warmth and presence is certainly high resolution. Many American expatriate jazz musicians recorded in France in the 1970s and Black and Blue, a French label was there to record their sessions. This certainly is the best sounding Black and Blue issued session I have ever heard as my collection of this series has been limited to CD issues. Pure Pleasure Records should be lauded for re-issuing this date in audiophile quality sound.

Other winning tracks include Hines and Johnson’s working of the ballad, If You Were Mine, the gutbucket Johnson composition, The Dirty Old Man, where Johnson pulls out all stops; and the title track, where Johnson’s super sensuous soprano just drips with emotion.

I enjoyed the Booker Little “Out Front” LP reissue from Pure Pleasure, but adored this label’s reissue of two masters, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hines having a ball. Mr. Bechet is truly Pure Pleasure!

TrackList: Blues for Sale, Gone with the Wind, If You Were Mine, Am I Wasting My Time, The Dirty Old Man, Linger Awhile, Mr. Bechet

Duke Ellington – Ellington Uptown – Columbia/ Pure Pleasure Records ML 4639 – 180 gram vinyl LP Audiophile Edition (1951-1952) ****:

(Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, piano; Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Hilton Jefferson-Saxophones; William Anderson, Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Ray Nance, -Trumpets; Juan Tizol, Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman-Trombones; Wendell Marshall, bass; Louis Bellson, drums; Betty Roche, vocal on Take the A Train)

Duke Ellington’s Ellington Uptown has been released many times on both Sony and Columbia and in at least three CD issues (including Japan) as well as on LP in the 1950s. It was recorded over a one year period from Dec. 1951 to Dec. 1952. Columbia originally released Uptown on its Masterworks series, which they usually reserved their highbrow classical music.

It is easy to see why since Uptown contained A Tone Parallel to Harlem that symphonies have tackled over the years when they do their “jazz night” tributes to Duke. Another reason that Uptown has kept its mystique is the fact that Louis Bellson’s double bass drum was put to good use on his self-penned Skin Deep. It was a challenge for audio systems of the day. I’d have to say that Bellson’s solo on Skin Deep may be a selling point for this audiophile LP that Pure Pleasure has issued on 180 gram vinyl. It certainly sounds fine in glorious mono. Also Wendell Marshall’s bass is woody and resonant and the trumpets snap particularly Clark Terry on Perdido. Clarinetists Jimmy Hamilton and Russell Procope give The Mooche an exotic flavor.

Betty Roche scats to good effect on “A” Train with the band members giving her encouragement. All in all the Pure Pleasure treatment given to Ellington Uptown makes its release special as it demonstrates how effective mono was in translating jazz classics of the day into highly listenable experiences for today’s audiophile.

TrackList: Skin Deep, The Mooche, Take the “A” Train, A Tone Parallel to Harlem, Perdido

Dexter Gordon – Manhattan Symphonie – Columbia/ Pure Pleasure PPAN JC 35608 – 180 gram audiophile Double LP (1978) *****:

(Dexter Gordon, tenor sax; George Cables, piano; Rufus Reid, bass; Eddie Gladden, drums)

When Dexter Gordon returned to the States in 1976 after a 14-year self-exile in Europe, he was greeted as a conquering hero, returning to regain his crown. He played a homecoming engagement at the Village Vanguard and the tiny club was packed every night. Dexter was back and better than ever. When Dexter recorded Manhattan Symphonie two years later as his third LP for Columbia, all was well as Dex’s crack rhythm section was rock solid. George Cables, his pianist, is such a superb accompanist, and he provides the same sparkling piano backing as he soon would be providing to Art Pepper before Art’s passing in the early 80s. Both Pepper and Gordon are master balladeers. Art would pour out his guts in pure emotion while Dexter’s mastery seemed more effortless.

Pure Pleasure Records from England has reissued this masterpiece in superb sound and unlike its reissues of other artists' original works (see Ellington Uptown review above where only the original album's five tracks are included); here they have included the bonus tracks that the CD issue provided. That means you are getting Ruby My Dear and Secret Love. That’s all the more reason to consider purchasing the double LP as it clearly has warmer true-to-life acoustics than the recent CD reissue.

As Time Goes By opens the first LP and it’s a toss up whether it is exceeded in ballad greatness by Body and Soul on Side 2. I’d give the nod to Body and Soul for its twelve minute plus rapture and a brilliant George Cables solo.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Dexter includes new material such as LTD (AKA, Long Tall Dexter), and George Cables’ I Told You So, taken as a samba. Dexter also revisits Donald Byrd’s Tanya, which he recorded back in the mid 60s for Blue Note. Coltrane’s Moment’s Notice also is given a whirl and Gordon caresses its familiar melody.

A nice bonus feature is a March 2005 reminiscence by George Cables to accompany the original liner notes by Pete Hamill.

Side 1: As Time Goes By, Moment’s Notice,
Side 2: Tanya, Body and Soul
Side 3: I Told You So, LTD
Side 4: Ruby My Dear, Secret Love

Look for more reviews on Tuesday!

This Week In Music History- April 26-May 2

Sunday April 26


Duane Eddy - 1938

Maurice Williams - Zodiacs (1938)

Bobby Rydell - 1942

Gary Wright - 1943

Roger Taylor - Duran Duran (1960)

Chris Mars - Replacements (1961)

Joey Jordison - Slipknot (1975)

Jose Antonio Pasillas – Incubus (1976)

Tony Murray - Troggs (1945)

Giorgio Moroder was born in Ortisei, Italy in 1940. The "dugadugadugadugaduga" sound he pioneered on hits by Blondie and Donna Summer remains the backbone of dance music.

John "Buck" Wilkins (Ronny of Ronny & the Daytonas- "GTO") turns 63.


In 1967, Janis Ian, 16, performed "Society's Child" on Leonard Bernstein's CBS special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. Although its subject matter of an interracial love affair sees the song banned at some radio stations, Ian's song was in such demand that it jumped into the top 20 shortly afterward.

The original Cast of 'Hair' started a 13-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1969.

"Get Back," credited to the Beatles with Billy Preston, went to #1 on the U.K. singles chart in 1969.

B.J. Thomas had the longest title of a number one song at the top of the "Billboard" popular music chart in 1975. The song was "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song."

Studio 54 opened in New York in 1977.

Electronica godfathers Orbital - brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll - announced they're splitting up in 2004. "Orbital has run its course," says Paul. "We're both pursuing different avenues with our music. And we've been sat, as brothers, in the same room for 15 years now - and studios are always confined spaces - I think it's time for a change."

Jazz bandleader Count Basie died in Hollywood, Florida in 1984 (age 79).

Joe Strummer disappeared for about a month in 1982, causing the Clash to cancel their U.K. tour. Strummer didn’t reappear until May 18, claiming he was suffering from exhaustion and suddenly doubted his punk purpose.

Bruce Springsteen released his 19th album, "Devils and Dust" in 2005. The acoustic flavored set featured songs Springsteen performed live including "The Hitter" and "Long Time Comin'."

TLC member Lisa Lopes was killed in a car accident in La Ceiba, Honduras in 2002 (age 30). Seven other people, including Lopes' brother and sister, who were in the Mitsubishi Montero sports utility vehicle when the crash happened, were taken to a hospital. Lopes who was driving the car when it crashed had spent the past month in Honduras working on various projects including a clothing line, a new solo project and a book.

Monday April 27


Casey Kasem - Radio announcer, DJ, host ("American Top 40), character voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, actor ("Hawaii Five-O") (1932)

Cuba Gooding - 1944

Ann Peebles - 1947

Kate Pierson - B-52's (1948)

Herbie Murrell - The Stylistics (1949)

Paul Daniel "Ace" Frehley - KISS, Frehley's Comet (1951)

Sheena Easton - 1959

Marco Pirroni - Siouxsie & the Banshees, Adam & the Ants (1959)

Rob Squires - Big Head Todd & the Monsters (1965)

Travis Meeks - Days of the New (1979)

Born on this day in 1984, Patrick Stump, lead singer, rhythm guitarist, Fall Out Boy.


The late Pete Ham (Badfinger) was born in 1947.

Al Hirt died of liver disease in 1999.

Lloyd Price's "Personality" was released in 1959.

In 1982, Frank Zappa released "Valley Girl." The cut featured the rantings of his daughter Moon Unit Zappa. The song would go on to become his biggest pop hit, reaching #32.

In 1988, Poison released the album "Open Up and Say...Ahh!"

In 1975, during Pink Floyd's five-night stand at the Los Angeles Arena, 511 audience members were busted for smoking marijuana. Is that all?

In 2005, President George W. Bush signs into a law a ruling that anyone pirating music or films on the Internet could face up to three years in jail. Yeah, that will work.

Queensryche released the album "Operation: Mindcrime" in 1988.

John Lennon's "In His Own Write," a collection of funny poems and drawings, was published in the U.S. in 1964.

Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" was released in 1968.

Opryland opened in Nashville, TN in 1973.

Little Peggy March started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1963 with “I Will Follow Him.”

In Fiji in 2006, Keith Richards was admitted to a hospital after he reportedly suffered a head injury when he fell out of a palm tree.

Tuesday April 28


Ann-Margret - Singer, actress (1941)

Roland Gift - Fine Young Cannibals (1961)

John Walters - Dr. Hook (1945)

Kim Gordon - Sonic Youth (1953)


The late 1938 Duane Eddy was born in Corning, NY in 1938.

B.W. Stevenson ("My Maria") died in 1988 following heart surgery.

Marshall Tucker Band bass player Tommy Caldwell died of injuries in a car accident in Spartanburg, SC in 1980.

Pre-eminent delta blues singer Charley Patton dies in Indianola, Mississippi in 1934. His appetites for women, liquor, and trouble helped create the persona of the 20th-century bluesman.

Former member of T Rex, Steve Currie was killed in a car crash in 1981, while returning to his home near Vale de Parra, Algarve, Portugal. He was 33 years old. Joined T. Rex (recently renamed from Tyrannosaurus Rex) as bass guitarist in late 1970, also worked as a session player, played on 'Motorbikin' by Chris Spedding

Don Everly's daughter married Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses in 1990 (it lasts nine months).

Pink Floyd's album 'Dark Side Of The Moon' went to #1 on the US chart in 1973. The iconic LP went on to enjoy a record breaking 741 weeks on the chart, selling over 25 million copies world-wide.

In 1940, Glenn Miller recorded "Pennsylvania 6-5000," one of his signature swing numbers.

In 1987, passengers on a plane that was returning to Boston, from Miami, were treated to three rounds of drinks by Ozzy Osbourne and he sang "Crazy Train" over the PA system.

In 2004, George Michael, solo star ("Faith") and half of '80s duo Wham!, was named the most-played artist on British radio over the last two decades by the British Radio Academy.

In 1987, for the first time, a compact disc of an album was released before its vinyl version. The album was "The Art of Excellence" by Tony Bennett.

Sinead O'Connor started a six-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1990 with “I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got.”

The Verve announced that the band members had mutually agreed to break up the band in 1999.

In 1999 - Marilyn Manson walked off stage during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa, when he realized that someone had put a large yellow "smiley face" on a stage prop (23 arrests were made in the aftermath).

Wednesday April 29


Duane Allen - The Oak Ridge Boys (1943)

Tommy James – Shondells (1947)

Francis Rossi - Status Quo (1949)

Mark Kendall -Great White (1958)

Mike Hogan – Cranberries (1973)

Carnie Wilson - Wilson Phillips (1968)

Michael Timmins - Cowboy Junkies (1969)

Carl Gardner - The Coasters (1928)


Songwriter and poet Rod McKuen was born in Oakland, California in 1933. His more than 900 songs include Terry Jacks' 1974 #1 "Seasons in the Sun."

The late Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in 1899.

Donald Mills - Mills Brothers(1915)

Tammi Terrell - 1945

The late Lonnie Donegan was born in 1931.

Otis Rush - 1934

In 1993, Mick Ronson, genius guitarist and arranger for Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust phase, died of cancer in England. He also played on albums by Bob Dylan, Ian Hunter, Morrissey, and even John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane."

In 1971, Promoter Bill Graham announced he's closing the Fillmores in San Francisco and New York.

Working on tracks for the forthcoming Beatles Abbey Road album in 1969, Ringo Starr added his vocal to 'Octopus's Garden.'

In 1960, Dick Clark told the U.S. House of Representatives that he had never taken payola for the records he featured on his show "American Bandstand."

Aretha Franklin's "Respect" was released in 1967.

The Bee Gees released the album "Main Course" in 1975. The album featured "Jive Talkin'" and "Nights on Broadway."

Van Halen's "Dance The Night Away" single was released in 1979.

In 1980, Black Sabbath began their first tour with Ronnie James Dio as singer.

Thursday April 30


Willie Nelson 1933

Ben Ayres- Cornershop (1968)

Chris Henderson- 3 Doors Down (1971)

Johnny Farina - Santo & Johnny (1941)

Bobby Vee -1943

Clark Vogeler – Toadies (1969)

J.R. Richards – Dishwalla (1972)

Richard Schoff – Sandpipers (1944)


The late John (Johnny) Horton was born in 1925.

Blues legend Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) died in his sleep at his home in Westmont, Illinois in 1983 (age 68). The Rolling Stones named themselves after Waters' 1950 song 'Rollin' Stone.' Best known songs include 'I Just Want To Make Love To You', 'I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man', 'Got My Mojo Working.'

Zola Taylor of the Platters (and who claimed to be married at one time to Frankie Lymon) died from complications of pneumonia in 2007.

Darrell Sweet (Nazareth) died of a heart attack in 1999 as the band arrived for a show in New Albany, Indiana.

Fats Domino recorded "Walkin' To New Orleans" in 1960.

Charlie Parker made his first commercial recording in 1941 at the Decca studios.
Elvis recorded "Jailhouse Rock" in 1957.

In 1988, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon drops out of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 725 weeks. It would be back.

In 1964, The Beatles received a $140,000 royalty check for the use of their name on Beatles Chewing Gum.

In 1976, the Who's drummer Keith Moon paid nine cab drivers to block-off both ends of a New York street so he could throw the contents of his hotel room out of the window.

Led Zeppelin played the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan in 1977. The audience of 77,229 sets a new record for attendance at a single-act concert.

The Beatles' "Help!", "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" were released on compact disc in 1987.

Friday May 1


Judy Collins - 1939

Chris Kelly - Kris Kross (1978)

Rita Coolidge - 1945

Johnny Colt - The Black Crowes (1966)

Tim McGraw - 1967

D'Arcy Wreztky - Smashing Pumpkins (1968)

Ray Parker Jr. - 1954

Nick Feldman - Wang Chung (1955)

Steve Farris - Mr. Mister (1957)

Phil Smith - Haircut 100 (1959)


Born on this day in 1930, blues artist, Little Walter. First harmonica player to amplify his harmonica giving it a distorted echoing sound (died on February 15th 1968).

The late Harry Belefonte was born in 1927.

The late Sonny James was born in 1929.

Kate Smith, one of the most popular singers of the '20s and '30s was born today in Greenville, Alabama in 1907.

R&B singer/songwriter Titus Turner was born in Atlanta in 1933. His compositions, such as "Leave My Kitten Alone," have been covered by artists including the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Elvis Costello.

Johnny Paris of Johnny & the Hurricanes ("Red River Rock") died in 2006.

The Kingston Trio formed in 1957.

In 1968, Paul McCartney and John Lennon watched Bill Haley play Royal Albert Hall in London.

Neil Young releases Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere in 1969.

In 1966, the Beatles played their last show for a paying audience in Britain at the NME Poll Winners' Party.

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu were married in 1967. They were together until 1973.

Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin combined for the first time in 1970 on Elton’s first American album "Elton John".

Paul Simon released his self-titled solo debut album in 1972.

In 1973, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) released its first LP (self-titled) with former Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman.

In 1956, Elvis Presley released his album Heartbreak Hotel and single "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" on the same day.

In one of their best-ever publicity stunts, the Rolling Stones announced their Tour of the Americas by playing "Brown Sugar" on the back of a flatbed truck driving down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in 1975.

Saturday May 2


John Lee Gardner - Mothers of Invention (1933)

Engelbert Humperdinck ("Release Me") is 73.

Hilton Valentine – Animals (1943)

John Verity - Argent (1944)

Goldy McJohn – Steppenwolf (1945)

Lesley Gore ("Maybe I Know") is 63

"Rudy" Randy Cain - The Delfonics (1945)

Larry Gatlin - Gatlin Brothers (1948)

Lou Gramm – Foreigner (1950)

Joe Callis -Human League (1951)

Bruce Robert Howard - Blow Monkeys (1961)


Session drummer Benny Benjamin died in 1969. One of 'The Funk Brothers' played on many Tamla Motown hits including, The Four Tops, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. The film 'Standing In The Shadows Of Motown' released in 2003 features his work.

Les Harvey (Stone the Crows) was electrocuted on stage in Swansea, Wales in 1972. He died several hours later at the age of 25.

The legendary Bing Crosby was born in 1903.

In 1998, Japanese rock star Hideto Matsumoto was found hanged in the bathroom at his Tokyo apartment and died in hospital a short time later at the age of 33. His funeral, held on May 7th, was attended by over 70,000 people and required 100 police officers, 170 security guards, police boats and helicopters. 21 people were hospitalized for injuries caused by the massive crowd at his funeral.

The late Link Wray ("Rumble") was born in 1929

Barry White suffered a stroke in 2003 (he died two months later).

Ray Peterson recorded "Tell Laura I Love Her" in 1960.

In 1969, the Beatles recorded "Something" (written by George Harrison about Pattie Boyd).

In 1956 - For the first time in "Billboard" chart history - five singles were in both the pop and the R&B top 10. The singles were Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel," Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," the Platters' "Magic Touch," and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall in Love."

Production began on Elvis Presley's "G.I. Blues" in 1960. It was his first post-Army movie.

The Rolling Stones made their second appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1965.

In 1979, the Who performed their first concert after the death of Keith Moon. Kenney Jones, formerly of the Faces, was the new drummer.

The Who's movie "Quadrophenia" premiered in London in 1979.

In 1991, Nirvana booked into Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California for 16 days. On a budget of $65,000 and with Butch Vig producing the band started recording what would become the ‘Nevermind’ album.

Police are summoned to a Zales jewelry store in Simi Valley, California in 1989 after an employee notices a suspicious person with a fake moustache and false teeth loitering around. It turned out to be a disguised Michael Jackson, who signed autographs for everybody.