Saturday, May 30, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Rush - The Trees

Ozzy Responds To Lawsuit

The Blizzard of Ozz himself has issued a statement saying that after years of trying to “resolve the issue amicably,” the lawsuit was regretfully Ozzy’s last course of action.

“The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing,” Ozzy says to close his statement.

Read Ozzy’s entire statement to Iommi below:

“It is with great regret that I had to resort to legal action against my long term partner, Tony Iommi, but after three years of trying to resolve this issue amicably, I feel I have no other recourse. As of the mid-1990’s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of ‘Black Sabbath’ was literally in the toilet and Tony Iommi (touring under the name Black Sabbath) was reduced to performing in clubs. Since 1997 when Geezer, Bill and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world.

We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name ‘Black Sabbath’ which lead to the band being inducted into the UK and US Rock & Roll Hall of Fames in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Throughout the last 12 years, it was my management representatives who oversaw the marketing and quality control of the ‘Black Sabbath’ brand through OZZFEST, touring, merchandising and album reissues. The name “Black Sabbath” now has a worldwide prestige and merchandising value that it would not have had by continuing on the road it was on prior to the 1997 reunion tour.

Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally. I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright. We’re all in our 60’s now. The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing.”


WSDG Completes New Studio for Vinyl Mastering Pro

DMN Newswire ~ Carl Rowatti, owner of Trutone Mastering Labs Inc., veteran mastering engineer, and master in the art of lacquer-cutting for vinyl records, has opened a new studio in his suburban 4400 sq. ft. Orangeburg, NY home. Created by Walters-Storyk Design Group architect/acoustician John Storyk, the facility features the same technology which earned Carl, Adrianna (his wife and partner) and Trutone Mastering Labs midtown studios, recognition as one of NY's most prestigious mastering complexes.

"Last year when Sony BMG Music went looking for a new location for their mastering studios, they offered to buy out our lease," Carl Rowatti says. "After serious contemplation we decided that their offer was simply too attractive to dismiss."

"The opportunity to transfer our NYC studio lease to Sony BMG, enabling them to move in and begin mastering with minimal downtime, was testament to the merits of our original WSDG-designed studios," confides Adrianna Rowatti. The Sony group truly appreciated our facility, it saved them months of construction time and expense"

In 2003, when the Rowatti's acquired the historic, former Record Plant space, at 321 West 44 St., they consulted with John Storyk, who embraced the challenge of reconfiguring the dated control room and live studio into two spacious state-of-the-art mastering suites with accommodations for Neumann VMS-70 lathes for analog cutting.

As soon as the Sony deal was finalized, Carl again consulted with WSDG architect/ acoustician John Storyk. "Our engineers and clients were so pleased with the look, sound and functionality of our Midtown studios, that we wanted John to recreate the same ambience for our new home studio. During his first visit to our home in the summer of 2008, John was in full agreement with our assessment of the 1100 sq ft. site we suggested for the new mastering suite. He also allayed our concerns about maintaining good relations with our suburban neighbors in terms of noise," Rowatti says. "We also liked his idea of developing a 'home theater' look for the new studio to keep it aesthetically appropriate to our home."

"Trutone is a casebook example of the mushrooming trend of established engineers moving their pro studios 'in house,'" Storyk says. "This is the second residential studio we've completed this year. The logic behind these investments is irrefutable. Recording studios represent the ideal 'neighborhood business.' Low traffic, low noise, zero pollution... When properly designed, these facilities are totally transparent to the surrounding residents. By employing decoupled floors, fully floating room design, IAC doors, diffusers, absorption and the latest sound insulation treatments, we guaranteed Carl the freedom to work at whatever dB level his clients require without compromising sound transmission to the rest of the residence."

Once plans were approved and finalized, in late 2008, the Rowattis contracted NJ-based studio construction pros, Kevin Carroll and Mark Jakubek of Sonic Construction to construct the studio and lounge areas.

"Now, we've eliminated our own daily commute and our clients are fine with the reverse trip," Adrianna Rowatti adds. "They can get to our new studio within 40 minutes from mid-town Manhattan. They rely on Carl's mastering skills and are completely at ease here. We're confident that the convenience, comfort and economics of moving the studio into our home will greatly extend the longevity of our career."

Rowatti depends on the Sonic Studio Pre-mastering System for CD master creation. Outboard equipment includes digital as well as solid state and vacuum tube analog. Gear includes: Weiss BW-102 Digital EQ and Compressors, Solid State Sontec EQ, Prism and NTP Compressors, Vacuum tube gear includes: Pultec and Manley Massive Passive Equalizers as well as the world-renowned Fairchild 670 and Manley Variable Mu Compressors. Analog to digital conversion is achieved utilizing a Prism Sound Dream A/D Converter. Analog disc cutting is accomplished via a meticulously maintained Neumann VMS-70 lathe retrofitted with a Zuma disc computer and Technics quartz-controlled turntable motor. The lathe is equipped with a Neumann SX-74 cutter head driven by a Neumann SAL-74B amplification system. A Neumann SP-77 console has been extensively modified to exceed the demands of today's high level electronic music. Studio monitors are KEF Reference 4s powered by Bryston and Ramsa amps.

"Thanks to its warmth and sonic vibrancy, demand for vinyl continues to thrive with rock 'n roll, classic reissues and a growing iPod generation fan base," Carl Rowatti concludes. "DJ's have long understood the mystery behind vinyl's ability to bring a unique emotional experience to today's club goers. It draws them out of their ear bud cocoons and fully engages them in the hot, exciting communal experience of dance. The sound of vinyl is unmistakable and fortunately for us, irreplaceable."

Carl Rowatti's recent projects include: Bruce Springsteen, Magic (vinyl), Bob Dylan, Most Likely (vinyl) Boyz n da Hood, Back up n da Chevy (CD & vinyl), Shontelle, T-Shirt (remixes) (CD), B-52s, Juliet of the Spirit (CD), Lindsay Lohan, Bossy (remixes) (CD), Nina Simone, Remixed & Reimagined (vinyl), Akon, Beautiful (remixes) (CD). Ultra Nate, Give It All You Got (CD).


This Date In Music History- May 30


Lenny Davidson - Dave Clark Five (1944)

Nicky 'Topper' Headon – Clash (1955)

Tom Morello - Rage Against The Machine (1964)

Tim Burgess – Charlatans (1968)

Patrick Dalheimer - Live (1971)

Marie Fredriksson – Roxette (1958)

Wynonna Judd (1964)

They Are Missed:

Carl Radle, bass player with Derek and the Dominoes, died of kidney failure in 1980 (age 38 - also worked with Gary Lewis & the Playboys, George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Dave Mason & Delaney and Bonnie).

Famed record producer Mickie Most died in 2003 (age 64). Produced hits for The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, Kim Wilde, Lulu and Jeff Beck. Also operated his own record label RAK in the 1970's, having hits with Hot Chocolate, Suzi Quatro and Mud.

The ‘King of Swing’ Benny Goodman was born in Chicago in 1909 (died June 13, 1986).

“The Man of a Thousand Voices,” and voice of a cartoon generation, Mel Blanc was born in 1908 (died July 10, 1989). His original characterization of Daffy Duck (for over 52 years) is the longest time any animated character has been performed by his or her original voice contributor.

Jazz guru/madman Sun Ra died in Birmingham, Alabama in 1993.


In 1956, Time Magazine ran an article entitled "Teener's Hero," which explained Elvis Presley's mystique. After a drawn-out description of his singing style, the writer keyed on Presley's appeal: "his movements suggest, in a word, sex."

Though many declared that disco was dead in 1980, "Mickey Mouse Disco" went platinum anyway.

In 1971, three dozen Deadheads were treated for hallucinations caused by LSD they had unwittingly ingested when the drug was used to spike an apple drink served at San Francisco's Winterland. Although members of the group are suspected of supplying the drug, they are not accused. I wouldn’t have suspected them anyway…..

We need more! In 1994, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences announces will be adding seven more categories to the 81 Grammy Awards already handed out yearly.

Ray Stevens went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1970 with “Everything Is Beautiful.” The former DJ had a string of novelty hits, including “Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green & Purple Pill.”

1999 - In London, a bomb threat at a Kenny Rogers concert being held at Royal Albert Hall caused the evacuation of more than 3,000. No bomb was found and no injuries were reported, however, surprisingly, more than 3,000 people really did show up for the gig.

Also in 1999 - In New Jersey, Lenny Kravitz walked off stage after 40 minutes and collapsed from heat exhaustion. Ummm, he had been performing in a fur coat.

Midnight Oil closed down 6th Avenue in New York City in 1990 as they played a protest concert in front of Exxon's offices. The protest was in reaction to the Exxon Valdez disaster.

On his 53rd birthday in 1962, clarinetist Benny Goodman performed with his jazz band for the first time in the Soviet Union.

The Jefferson Airplane performed at a benefit in 1966 for the Haight-Ashbury Legal Organization in San Francisco.

In 1968, the Beatles kicked off recording The Beatles double album (the White Album) by laying down 18 takes of "Revolution 1." Sessions will gradually deteriorate until all four members were recording independently of one another.

In 1997, Neil Young had to cancel his European tour after cutting his finger open while slicing a ham sandwich. A man really does need a maid.

Paul Simon married Edie Brickell of the New Bohemians in 1992. Brickell was performing "What I Am" on NBC's Saturday Night Live when she noticed Simon standing in front of the cameraman. "He made me mess the song up when I looked at him," she said with a smile. They have three little Bohemians.

In 2005, Coldplay's new album was illegally put on the internet a week before its UK and US release. The leak took place on the day copies were sent to UK radio stations and the day before it went on sale in Japan. Security measures around the release included hosting album playbacks at Abbey Road studios for journalists instead of sending them copies of the album, any CDs that were sent out were labelled with a false name - The Fir Trees - to throw would-be pirates off the scent.

In 2007, a leaked copy of the new White Stripes album “Icky Thump” was played completely on Chicago's radio station Q101-WKQX. Jack White personally called the US radio station from Spain, where he was touring, to voice his displeasure.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Tim Buckley Music Coming In August

Ironically, on the anniversary of his son's death (Jeff Buckley died on on May 29th, 1997) and nearly 25 years after his death, fans of folk legend Tim Buckley (who died of a heroin overdose in 1975 at the age of 28) will finally get to hear "Live at the Folklore Center, NYC - March 6th, 1967." The music is set to be released on August 25th on NYC’s Tompkins Square label. Buckley’s performance at the Folklore Center was a gig that was attended by only 35 people and was thankfully recorded by folk impresario Izzy Young — will be presented in its original running order.

The set featured tracks off Buckley’s 1966 self-titled debut and his 1967 follow-up "Goodbye and Hello." The live recording also contains six Buckley compositions that have never before been released on any studio or live album: “Just Please Leave Me,” “What Do You Do (He Never Saw You),” “Carnival Song,” “Cripples Cry,” “Country Boy” and “I Can’t Leave You Loving Me.”

The track list for Live at the Folklore Center, NYC - March 6th, 1967:

1. “Song for Jainie”
2. “I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain”
3. “Wings”
4. “Phantasmagoria in Two”
5. “Just Please Leave Me”
6. “Dolphins”
7. “I Can’t See You”
8. “Troubadour”
9. “Aren’t You The Girl”
10. “What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)”
11. “No Man Can Find The War”
12. “Carnival Song”
13. “Cripples Cry”
14. “If the Rain Comes”
15. “Country Boy”
16. “I Can’t Leave You Loving Me”

Classic Rock Videos

Rush- Spirit Of The Radio

13th Floor Elevators to Be Chronicled in 10-CD Set

The 13th Floor Elevators came out of Texas in the mid-60's and the world of rock was never to be the same. The group, fronted by Roky Erickson, challenged the listener with mixes of songs running from folk-rock to what is considered an early version of acid rock. Peter Buck of R.E.M. once commented that "They kind of sounded like Buddy Holly but on acid!"

The band only released three studio albums, but the folks at International Artists (the label that originally released the albums in the 60's) have tracked down hours of outtakes, unreleased tracks and live recordings to produce the 10-CD set Sign of the 3 Eyed Men. The company has been taking pre-orders at their website for the set, limited to 4,000 copies, and will be shipping within the next couple of weeks.

The CDs contain the band's three studio albums including rare mono versions, two "lost" albums of unreleased material and previously unreleased live recordings. Along with the ten CDs, the set also includes a 72-page hardcover book written by Paul Drummond with group information, rare photos and a full discography. Also included is reproduction memorabilia including photo prints, reproduction posters, stickers and handbills.


'Rain' Songs- part three

By Robert Benson

Let’s continue with part three of our four part series about ‘rain’ songs:

“Here Comes The Rain Again” was a Top Ten Billboard hit (#4 in 1984) for the British pop duo Eurythmics. The song hit #8 in the UK and became their fifth consecutive Top Ten single in that country.

In The Dave Stewart Songbook , Dave Stewart has revealed that the lyrics for the song came after an argument between himself and Lewis; the basic melody had already been established:

“Annie was sitting in my room, and I was playing some little riff on the keyboard sitting on the window ledge, and I was playing these little melancholy A minor-ish chords with the B note in it. I kept on playing this riff, and Annie was looking out the window at the slate grey sky above the New York skyline and just sang spontaneously, 'Here Comes The Rain Again.' And that was all we needed.”

The song was adeptly recorded in an old church that was converted into a studio - except that the studio wasn't finished yet, however, they brought in the orchestra anyway. About 30 string players had to improvise by playing in corridors and even the toilet. The song was mixed blending the orchestra on top of electronic sounds created by a sequencer and drum machine.

The actual running time for the single depended on which release that you were playing, it is about five minutes long but was edited for the LP “Touch,” (it was cut down to four and one half minutes). The song was edited again for its single and video release, but many US radio stations decided to play the full-length version. The five minute version did not appear on any Eurythmics LP until the US edition of “Greatest Hits” in 1991.

A classic AM radio staple in the early 1970s, Albert Hammond’s It Never Rains In Sothern California,” peaked at #5 on the Billboard charts in 1972. The song was written by Hammond and lyricist Mike Hazelwood, as he explains:

"It never rains... was written in London, before we (Albert and Michael) came to Los Angeles, and we knew we were coming, and I've been telling Mike the story of me in Spain when I started and how I was asking for money outside of the train stations because I had no money to eat and I didn't want to tell my parents. My cousin was on honeymoon then, and he came out of the train station and saw me, and I didn't even know it was him... I just asked him for some money, too. And he said "you should be ashamed, I'm gonna tell your father," and I said "please, don't tell him, he'll go crazy and and stop me doing this!" And then he took me back into the hotel, I had a bath, he gave me some clean clothes and some money. I moved on, but he did tell my father, you know. All these things like "will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it" and all that stuff came from that era of my life when I was struggling, trying to make it, trying to get from Morocco to Spain, from Spain to England, from England to America... That struggle you go through, that's It Never Rains In Southern California, the story of my life."

Although Hammond was never able to duplicate the magic of this song as a solo artist (he did chart one other Top Forty hit for himself, 1974’s “I’m A Train) he was able to become quite an accomplished songwriter, writing nine Top Ten pop hits. Among his hits were: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (#1 in 1974 performed by Starship), “The Air That I Breathe” (#6 in 1974 performed by the Hollies) and “To All The Girls I Loved Before,” written with Hal David and a #5 hit in 1984 for Julio Iglesais and Willie Nelson. Hammond was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.

I Wish It Would Rain” was a 1967 hit single recorded by the legendary Motown group the Temptations. In a very sad tale of irony, the lyrics were written by Motown staff writer Roger Penzabene, who had just learned that his wife was cheating on him and in his sorrow and pain, penned the lyrics; wishing it would rain - to hide the tears falling down his face because "a man ain't supposed to cry." His tortured feelings were brought to life by David Ruffin and the accompanying mourning vocals of his bandmates Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, and Otis Williams.

Penzabene also wrote the follow-up hit “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)” (#13 in May of 1968), expressing his pain that he felt in the lyrics of both songs. Sadly, the distraught songwriter committed suicide on New Year’s Eve in 1967; just a week after the song was released.

We had looked at Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘rain’ song ”Have You Ever Seen The Rain” in part one, but now let’s explore another CCR ‘rain’ song called “Who’ll Stop The Rain” (from 1970 album Cosmo's Factory).

The cut is actually the B-side to the single "Travelin' Band," which was of the many CCR singles to stall at #2 on the Billboard charts. (Surprisingly, Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 hit in the US.). Additionally, the line, "I went down Virginia, seekin' shelter from the storm" gave Bob Dylan the idea for the title of his 1975 song "Shelter From The Storm." The song was also used in the 1978 motion picture of the same name starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. However, the movie was going to be called “Dog Soldiers,” but when the producers got the rights to use this song, they changed the title to “Who'll Stop The Rain.”

In 2007 during a concert, Fogerty said the following about the song:

“ Well this next song has a bit of a fable surrounding it. A lot of folks seem to think I sang this song at Woodstock way back when. No. I was at Woodstock 1969… I think. It was a nice event. I’m a California kid. I went up there and saw a whole bunch of really nice young people. Hairy. Colorful. It started to rain, and got really muddy, and then (yelling) half a million people took their clothes off!!! (Normal voice again) Boomer generation making its presence known I guess. Anyway then I went home and wrote this song.”

Here are the words to the second verse:

Heard the singers playin', How we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, Tryin' to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin', Fallin' on my ears.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who'll stop the rain.

In part four of our series, we will wrap up our series about ‘rain’ songs.

Music News & Notes

Ozzy Wants Part Ownership Of Black Sabbath Name

Lawyers representing Ozzy Osbourne have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against the heavy metal icon’s Black Sabbath bandmate, Tony Iommi, claiming the man responsible for some of the genre’s most memorable riffs illegally assumed sole ownership of the Black Sabbath name.

According to the New York Post, Osbourne’s suit seeks a 50 percent stake in the “Black Sabbath” trademark. Furthermore, the filing claims Osbourne is entitled to a portion of the profits Iommi has generated through use of the band name, and suggests it was Osbourne’s “signature lead vocals” that helped propel the band’s “extraordinary success.” The suit also points out that Sabbath’s popularity took a nosedive during Ozzy’s absence during 1980 and 1996, when former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio took over behind the mike stand.


Cheap Trick New Music

Cheap Trick is stepping outside of the label world to release its next studio album, "The Latest," itself.

The veteran rock group will start taking pre-orders for the 13-track set, which it recorded during the past year mostly in Los Angeles with producer Julian Raymond, on Friday via its official web site,, and at Those who pre-order will receive "The Latest" on June 23, the day Cheap Trick starts it summer tour with Def Leppard and Poison in Camden, N.J. Amazon will have exclusive rights for one month, and the album will also be available in limited LP and 8-track editions.

Dave Frey of Red Light Management tells that via Amazon and other database information, anyone who's purchased Cheap Trick music, merchandise or concert tickets in the recent past will be notified about the album. Those buying tickets for the tour will also be able to purchase "The Latest" at a slight discount.

The group is also planning to release some sort of document from its various live performances of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" but is not ready to announce it yet.

Ten things to help keep your records sounding great

By Jeff Dorgay
Publisher, TONE Audio Magazine

Now that you’ve been hanging out here at and buying lots of records, we’d like to help you take good care of them, so they will still sound great years from now.

When my Grandfather used to bounce me on his knee, he used to always say “take care of your tools and they will take care of you!” What does this have to do with records? Cleanliness is the key. Many people get really grumpy about vinyl and they complain about noise; clicks, pops, etc. But I’ll let you in on a big secret, if you keep your records really clean, they will be very quiet and in many cases be just as quiet as CD’s!

But it’s going to take some work. The best thing about CD’s is that they require precious little if any maintenance to sound great and you don’t have to worry about a stylus breaking or wearing out and there is no setup involved with a CD player. Just drop that little shiny disc in and go. Keeping LP’s sounding great is a ritual; it’s up to you if you want to participate!

Contrary to popular belief, even new records can benefit from a good cleaning, so we’ll start simple and work our way up:

1- The basic Discwasher system. This will only set you back about $19.99 and will keep the heavy chunks off of your records. It consists of a foam pad with some fluid that is applied to said pad. You brush the record while it spins and some of the surface dirt and dust will come up off the record.

2- Carbon fiber brush. This is a dry brush that works similarly to the Discwasher brush, but without the fluid. Used in conjunction with a can of compressed air, it too can keep the surface nasties off of your records but you will need to go further if you want your records to be super quiet.

3- Stylus cleaning system. We could write a book here, but there are a number of great stylus cleaning systems that won’t break the bank. Remember, any of them that use a brush, always go from the back of the cartridge to the front, NEVER the other way around or you will break the stylus right off! This is one of the most overlooked aspects of record care and the dirtier your stylus gets, the more it gets ground into the LP. Where did you think all that gunk on the record ends up anyway?

4- Vacuum cleaning machine. If you really want to get serious about keeping your records sounding pristine, you need one of the vacuum cleaning systems from Nitty Gritty, VPI, Clearaudio or other manufacturers. These allow you to spread a cleaning fluid on the record (another whole article in itself), scrub it in a bit and then vacuum it off the record, taking the dirt along with it. This is by far the best way to get the most dirt off of your records, and if you ever buy any used LP’s an invaluable tool.

5- Record cleaning fluid. This will go along with your cleaning machine and there are quite a few different formulas out there. Rather than argue the merits of the many excellent cleaners, I’ll just give you my favorite: Vinyl Zyme, which you can get from Todd the Vinyl Junkie . VZ comes in regular or extra strength versions and if you are buying mostly new or very clean used records, will be all you ever need. The extra strength is great for used records that look pretty scummy and have a lot of fingerprints. It’s easy to use too. Just spray it on with the applicator bottle, lightly scrub in and let it sit for a minute or two to let the enzymes do their job. Then, fire up the record cleaner and suck all the crud out of your grooves!! If you have really dirty records, spray on a little extra VZ and let it soak before the vacuum operation.

6- Record sleeves. This one’s easy. Once you have those LP’s nice and clean, now’s the time to slip them into a nice, clean, archival sleeve. These will protect your records much better than the paper or cardboard sleeve it came with.

7- Outer sleeves. These don’t really affect how your records will sound, but they do keep the jackets looking nice and crisp like the day you brought them home and it completes the ritual that is vinyl collecting. A small price to pay to keep everything looking good.

8- Here’s a few mini-tips that don’t require spending any money, just a little bit of common sense. Never store your records any way other than vertical. Leaving them on an angle will eventually lead to warps that could make your LP’s unplayable. Again, order and cleanliness is your friend and the key to great sound from your vinyl. Put those records back in those sleeves after you went to the trouble to clean them and keep your hands as clean as possible when handling your records. Wash your hands after eating snacks and before touching records!

9- Get your turntable tuned up. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, get a friend or your dealer to give your table a checkup. Make sure your cartridge is correctly adjusted and that your stylus is not worn. If you have a belt drive turntable that’s more than a couple of years old, get a new belt. Now might even be a good time to trade up to a better cartridge or even a better turntable!

10- Be on the level. This is the easiest, yet most often overlooked aspect of turntable setup and anyone can handle this one! Get an inexpensive bubble level and make sure your turntable is level on more than one axis. More than likely your turntable has adjustable leveling feet on the bottom, and it probably won’t take much to get fully level. Even if you have a table worth thousands of dollars, this tweak will give you better sound, guaranteed! It should only take 5-10 minutes.

So, there you have it. Follow these instructions and with a little care and effort, your record collection will still sound good 20 years from now. Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Rush - Closer To The Heart

Michael Fremer Review

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, and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.

Miles Davis (reissue)
'Round About Midnight

Columbia/Speakers Corner CL 949 180g mono LP

Produced by: George Avakian
Engineered by: Frank Laico
Mixed by: Frank Laico
Mastered by: Maarten de Boer at UMG Berliner

Review by: Michael Fremer

Miles Davis’s major label debut, recorded with his quintet in the fall of 1955 and late summer of 1956 while he was still under Prestige contract and released early in 1957, was not particularly well-received at the time, though it has grown considerably in stature since then.

Davis, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and “Philly Joe” Jones has been together as a group for over a year at this time, working both in the studio and in live performance. Miles had played the title track at Newport in 1955, rebounding from what the liner notes call a “health” problem, but which was an addiction to heroin that he kicked in 1953 or 1954.

The version of the gorgeous, bluesy Monk tune that opens and highlights the album both reprises the pensive, post-Bop sound of the earlier Birth of the Cool and was a harbinger of Miles to come. The opening bars, with Coltrane’s warm tenor wrapped around Davis’s jagged muted trumpet set a sublime tone for the tune and the album.

Though the 30th street studio recording is mono, great depth is produced, with Davis up front and the others cleanly layered behind. The second tune, Charlie Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha” is more standard uptempo hard-bop and the side closes with a stately version of the cool Cole Porter standard “All of You” that would be equally at home in a supper club as a jazz joint.

Side two opens with a pleasing, smoothly flowing but hardly memorable take on the standard “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” with Coltrane hinting at future harmonic and rhythmic strategies in his long, productive solo. Whatever Rudy Van Gelder’s legend, capturing a clean piano sound wasn’t among his strong suits, especially early on in his long career, so here, Red Garland’s piano, recorded by Frank Laico attains a welcome, woody clarity lacking on most of the Prestige Van Gelder sessions.

Compare Garland’s coherent, non-boxy sound on the suave, jumpy cover of Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight” to any of the Prestige recordings.

The album ends with a swinging, unusual rendering of a Swedish folk song “Dear Old Stockholm,” featuring a nimble, driving Paul Chambers bass solo that’s also well recorded, particularly given the year, though otherwise there are hints of overload on a few peaks. Coltrane takes a long squiggly solo and Miles takes the melody back with an uncharacteristically complex muted trumpet solo and conclusion.

The reissue does an excellent job of capturing the original’s warm aura, particularly getting right the spacious echo behind Philly Joe’s brush work on “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The reissue is actually cleaner and more extended than the original and represents more of a clarification of it rather than a revision. Coltrane’s sax doesn’t quite have the body found on the original but you can’t have everything. And you can bet the reissue is quieter than most originals you might find. A nicely done AAA reissue.

SOURCE: Reprinted By Permission

Pick up Michael's DVD's Here:

This Date In Music History-May 28


Gladys Knight (1944)

John Fogerty - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1945)

Larry Gatlin (1948)

Natalie Imbruglia (1968)

Australian singer Kylie Minogue (1968)

Roland Gift - Fine Young Cannibals (1962)

Billy Vera (1944)

Rockabilly star Sonny Burgess (1929)

They Are Missed:

In 1910, T-Bone Walker was born in Linden, Texas (died March 15, 1975). T-Bone was one of the first to plug in his guitar and turn the blues electric. Influenced Albert Collins, BB King, Buddy Guy, Freddy King among others.

Born in 1917- Papa John Creech – violinist with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Died in 1994 (age 76).

Derek Frigo guitarist from 80’s glam band Enuff Z' Nuff, died of a drug overdose in 2004 (age 36).

Born on this day in 1949, Wendy O. Williams – singer with The Plasmatics, died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds on April 6th 1998.

Vaughn Deleath, a jazz crooner generally acknowledged as the first woman to sing on the radio, died in 1943.

Desert Island Discs radio presenter Roy Plomley died in 1985. He devised the BBC Radio series Desert Island Discs in 1941, and went on to present 1,791 editions of the show, which became one of the longest running radio shows in the UK.


In 1958, Buddy Holly's draft notice arrived - but he was refused induction because of his 20/800 eyesight and a stomach ulcer.

Cathy’s Clown (Everly Brothers) began a five week run at #1 in 1960.

Marianne Faithful recorded her hit debut "As Tears Go By" in 1964. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) but the real story was who’s on the record. Jimmy Page played guitar and John Paul Jones was on bass. That would be one-half of the future Led Zeppelin.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) was established in 1957. The NARAS is known for organizing the Grammy Awards.

Whitney Houston released her epic album "Whitney" in 1987.

In 1976, the Allman Brothers Band broke up in disgust for the first time after Gregg Allman testified against a road manager accused of drug trafficking.

The Police launched a North American reunion tour in 2007 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The trek began in Vancouver, B.C.

Bruce Springsteen and former manager Mike Appel settled their differences in 1977. Their legal wrangling kept Springsteen out of the studio for nearly a year. "Darkness On The Edge Of Town” was Springsteen’s next effort.

Heart uncorked one of their best songs and one of the all-time great rockers, “Barracuda” in 1977.

Produced by Phil Spector (as his crowing achievement), Ike & Tina Turner’s epic “River Deep Mountain High” was released in 1966. The song stiffed in the U.S. (though it entered the Top 5 in England) causing Spector to briefly retire from the music business.

Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass went to #1 on the US album chart in 1966 with “What Now My Love,” setting a new record with four albums in the US Top Ten. The other three were: “South of the Border,” “Going Places” and “Whipped Cream and Other Delights.”

Hootie & the Blowfish started a four-week run at #1 on the US album charts in 1995 with “Cracked Rear View.” The album went on to sell over 15 million copies.

In 1955, Billboard reports that, based on the success of its various versions, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" is the most popular song in the U.S. According to the magazine, if sales of all the versions were added up - including interpretations by Fess Parker, Bill Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Voices of Walter Schumann - they would top 18 million copies.

Music News & Notes

Incubus Greatest Hits Collection Release - 'Monuments And Melodies'

Incubus' "Monuments and Melodies" started out as "a contractual obligation," according to guitarist Michael Einziger, who tells that he and his bandmates "weren't really excited at first" about putting together a best-of collection. But they eventually changed their tune.

"It was almost like we were trying to come up with an excuse to go on tour for the summer," Einziger explains, "and we started really thinking about the idea of putting out a greatest hits album and having that as the excuse to accompany the tour we were planning. And then as we started planning it, it became really obvious that greatest hits records are really important to the legacy of any band. I was introduced to most of the groups I grew up listening to -- artists like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley and the Doors -- through their greatest hits records.

Monuments and Melodies" includes one disc of hits from Incubus' six studio albums as well as two new songs, "Black Heart Inertia" and "Midnight Swim," recorded in Los Angeles during Einziger's last winter break from Harvard University, where he's been "just taking courses for personal enjoyment." The second disc features rarities, including a newly recorded cover of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." The set is also available on four vinyl LPs, and copies of the album come with a unique code that will allow buyers to access a new section of exclusive music, photos and other material at a special section called The Vault on the web site.


Turbo Fruits celebrate vinyl release

The former members of Be Your Own Pet haven’t done much laying low since the Nashville punk success story called it quits last year.

Singer Jemina Pearl and drummer John Eatherly, now based in New York, have been finishing a new record up north; founding drummer Jamin Orrall and brother Jake continue to record and tour as Jeff the Brotherhood; and guitarist Jonas Stein’s side project-turned-main project Turbo Fruits has a new vinyl offering, courtesy of respected blues/blues-rock label Fat Possum.

The Turbo Fruits celebrate the release of that new Fat Possum 7-inch vinyl release (“Mama’s Mad Cos I Fried My Brain” backed with “Lotta Lotta Ladies,” which take Be Your Own Pet’s punk grit and add some bluesy swerve and an appealing ’50s-pop sensibility)


Destroyer Takes on "Bay of Pigs" on New Release

Dan Bejar's songwriting outfit drops its Bay of Pigs release Aug. 18 from Merge Records. The two-song cut's been tipped as an EP by the label, mostly because of its long running time: Both tunes clock in at more than 20 minutes of music, combined. The EP/single is only being released on vinyl, so sorry modern music fans.

Bay of Pigs' track listing is:

Bay of Pigs


Rapper Jay-Z close to a deal with Sony

Rapper Jay-Z is close to signing a deal that will bring his future recordings to Sony, sources told Billboard.

The deal, which will link Jay-Z's Roc Nation releases with Sony's Epic Records for distribution, "is 95% complete," according to people familiar with the negotiations. A formal announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

Just last week, Jay-Z confirmed his departure from longtime label home Def Jam, where he was once president and CEO. His split from the Universal Music Group-owned label reportedly cost him $5 million, but left him in control of his future master recordings. Jay-Z's eleven solo records (including the live "Unplugged" album) and collaborations with Linkin Park and R. Kelly have sold more than 29 million units according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Rodgers To Write New Material

Now that his stint with Queen has ended, Paul Rodgers is just waiting for the end of his current Bad Company gig to spend the rest of the year relaxing and writing new material for a solo project.

"Frankly, I have a fantastic happy home and I overlook the lake. And I actually want to spend some more time creating the music. Y'know, one of my dreams was always to have a piano -- a room with a piano overlooking the ocean or a lake. Well, I have that and I'd like to spend some time on it if I may, please. So that's what I plan to do this year."


Beyonce Helping Her Fans

Good news in the concert arean as Beyoncé is said to be offering fans a bargain-basement price on some tickets to her summer tour: $20. One thousand 20-buck tickets will go on sale tomorrow, May 29th, to all North American shows on her “I Am … Tour” except for her Vegas gig at the Encore. Well done!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Rush - Limelight

New Vinyl Releases

Acid Mothers Temple: Glorify Astrological Martyrdom (vinyl)
Anathallo: Canopy Glow (vinyl)
Andrew Dost: Columbus (vinyl)
Bardo Pond: Gazing at Shilla (vinyl)
Bloodkin: Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again (vinyl)
Brian Jonestown Massacre: Smoking Acid EP (vinyl)
Busta Rhymes: Back on My B.S. (vinyl)
Carolina Chocolate Drops: Dona Got A Ramblin' Mind (vinyl reissue)
Elizabeth & the Catapult: Taller Children (vinyl)
Eminem: Relapse (vinyl)
Flipper: Public Flipper Limited (vinyl reissue)
Flower-Corsano Duo: The Four Aims (vinyl)
A Hawk and a Hacksaw: Deliverance (vinyl)
Heartless Bastards: The Mountain (vinyl)
Juan Maclean: One Day EP (vinyl)
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas: Lindstrom & Prins Thomas II (vinyl)
Manic Street Preachers: Journal for Plague Lovers (vinyl)
MF Doom: Born Like This (vinyl)
Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens: What Have You Done, My Brother? (vinyl)
Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (vinyl)
Public Image Ltd.: The Flowers of Romance (vinyl reissue)
Public Image Limited: Second Edition (vinyl reissue)
Sir Richard Bishop: The Freak of Araby (vinyl)
Various Artists: Not Given Lightly: A Tribute to Giant Golden Book of New Zealand's Alternative Music Scene (vinyl)
Vincent Minor: Born in the Wrong Era EP

Music News & Notes

McCartney & Dylan Together?

According to England's Daily Express, a duet between Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan is may come to pass. The pair are planning to go into the studio sometime over the summer.

A source said, "Paul has a home in California not too far from Bob's so the idea is for the two to meet when Paul is in California over the summer. They'll obviously want to work in privacy and it's felt one of their homes will be the best bet.

“Getting these two together for any length of time is difficult schedule-wise but they both want this to work out. The music that comes out of this will be fascinating to hear."


Suzi Quatro is planning on recording a new album with Mike Champan

Chapman recently said:

"I always got on well with Suzi Quatro and had a long and successful friendship and collaboration with her. Suzi was the first real female rock and roll player...

We're about to start on a new project and I've said to her, 'Let's go back to basics - let's make a kick-ass record that has the same attitude that we had in 1971-2'."


For Those Who Like Their Rock!

Australians proved that they love their beloved AC/DC by purchasing 500,000 tickets forthe band's concerts that are scheduled for February and March of 2010. That translates to about one out of every 40 people in the country now holding a ticket for the shows.

The sales set a new record for amount in one day with, at one point, 3,400 tickets being sold a minute. Additional shows had to be added in Sydney and Melbourne after the first dates sold out in ten minutes. Perth sold out in seven. For the love of rock and roll!


Back To The 80's Hair Bands!

After rocking clubs from Los Angeles to New York City for more than a decade, Twisted Sister made its bones in 1984 with the quintet’s second Atlantic Records release, a Top 20 album that stormed the charts with a string of hit singles and genre-bending videos. Rhino proudly wears a Twisted Sister pin on its uniform, celebrating the album’s multi-platinum success with a 25th Anniversary Edition that includes a bonus disc of unreleased outtakes and early demos from the original sessions, as well as a new track recorded especially for this collection by the 1984 lineup: Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza, and A.J. Pero. STAY HUNGRY 25th Anniversary Edition will be available June 30 from Rhino Records at all retail outlets, including, for a suggested list price of $19.98 (CD), $12.99 (digital).

A limited edition pink vinyl package with the original “Stay Hungry” album art and bonus poster will also be released this summer at the suggested retail price of $24.98.

The band is currently at work on a new album and a Broadway musical based on Twisted Christmas. Twisted Sister will headline the annual Rocklahoma music festival July 9-12 in Pryor, Oklahoma. Rock of Ages, Broadway’s latest musical hit with five Tony® nominations, features Twisted Sister prominently in its story line and with the band’s aforementioned iconic anthems, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”


Brooke Hogan’s Album Cover Art

Hogan has revealed her new album cover for her release 'The Redemption' and it is creating quite a buzz, some love it and some can't stand it. You be the judge....

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: While in New York earlier this year we took in the most recent revival of “Grease.” Heading this cast was Max Crumm as Danny and Laura Osnes as Sandy.

While online researching the history of “Grease,” I found a Ral Donner biography with this interesting comment: “A classmate of Donner's [at Chicago's William Howard Taft High School] was Jim Casey, who wrote the original stage play for “Grease.”

Is this true? I have seen no mention of this anywhere else, not even in New York at the time of the show.

Can you tell this greaser more about Ral and a possible connection to Jim?
—Norman Parker, Carlisle, Pa.

DEAR NORMAN: There is more to this story than we have room for today, but here is the short version, as told to me by Donner.

About 30 years ago I produced an album featuring, among other acts, Ral Donner. For awhile in 1978 we were even business partners. At least one of our musical discussions centered on his days at Taft High, located in the Chicago community of Norwood Park where Ral was born.

There is one mistake in the comment you quote. Jim Casey is a combination of both “Grease” co-creators: Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. This duo created the book as well as all of the music used in the stage show.

“Grease” is set circa-1957, when Jacobs and Donner attended Taft. A decade later, he and New Yorker Warren Casey collaborated on a book and play based on Jim's high school memories. In 1971, “Grease” premiered in Chicago, then opened February 14, 1972 in Manhattan at the Eden Theatre.

Names used in the show vary from the real Tafties, but Ral, and his pal Michael Fee, revealed to me that each character and place in “Grease” is inspired by a real person or Norwood Park area location.

As for Ral Donner, he is depicted in “Grease” as Johnny Casino, played on Broadway for over 12 years by Alan Paul.

On April 6, 1984, Ral lost a four-year battle with lung cancer. At just 41, he died in his beloved Chicagoland.

DEAR JERRY: In 1955, Tennessee Ernie Ford hit No. 1 in the UK with “Give Me Your Word,” yet none of my reference books indicate this song made any of the U.S. charts. How unusual was it then for an American to have a No. 1 hit in the UK that failed to make any U.S. charts?
—Dennis Laudal, Grand Forks, N.D.

DEAR DENNIS: Ford's '50s feat is not common, but he is not unique in this regard.

To expand the parameters a bit, here is a chronological listing of ALL No. 1 UK hits for that decade that never appeared on any of the nationwide U.S. charts:

1953: “Broken Wings” (Stargazers); “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” (Lita Roza); “Look at That Girl” (Guy Mitchell); “Answer Me” (David Whitfield); “Answer Me” (Frankie Laine).

1954: “I See the Moon” (Stargazers); “Let's Have Another Party” (Winfred Atwell).

1955: “Finger of Suspicion” (Dickie Valentine); “Softly, Softly” (Ruby Murray); “Give Me Your Word” (Tennessee Ernie Ford); “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” (Eddie Calvert); “Unchained Melody” (Jimmy Young); “Dreamboat” (Alma Cogan); “The Man from Laramie” (Jimmy Young); “Hernando's Hideaway” (Johnson Brothers); “Christmas Alphabet” (Dickie Valentine).

1956: “Poor People of Paris” (Winfred Atwell); “No Other Love” (Ronnie Hilton); “Singing the Blues” (Tommy Steele); “The Garden of Eden” (Frankie Vaughan); “Cumberland Gap” (Lonnie Donegan); “Puttin' on the Style-Gamblin' Man” (Lonnie Donegan).

1958: “The Story of My Life” (Michael Holiday); “Hoots Mon” (Lord Rockingham's XI).

1959: “As I Love You” (Shirley Bassey); “Side Saddle” (Russ Conway); “Roulette” (Russ Conway); “Travellin' Light” (Cliff Richard); “What Do You Want” (Adam Faith); “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?” (Emil Ford). Improbably though it is, the complete Adam Faith title is also the first four words of Emil Ford's hit. They were Britain's last two No. 1 hits of the 1950s.

The three Americans in this crowd are: Guy Mitchell; Frankie Laine; and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Besides these three, several U.S. artists did extremely well with originals and/or cover versions of the following from the list above:

“(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” (Patti Page); “Unchained Melody” (Les Baxter; Al Hibbler; Roy Hamilton); “Hernando's Hideaway” (Archie Bleyer); “Poor People of Paris” (Les Baxter); “Singing the Blues” (Guy Mitchell; Marty Robbins); “The Garden of Eden” (Joe Valino); and “The Story of My Life” (Marty Robbins).

On the transatlantic flip side, Vera Lynn (1952: “Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart”) and Laurie London (1958: “He's Got the Whole World [In His Hands]”) are the only Brits to top the U.S. charts in the '50s.

IZ ZAT SO? Attending Taft High School at the same time as Ral Donner and Jim Jacobs is actress Donna Mills.

Another Taftie, about three years behind the Donner party, is Terry Kath.

Terry, co-founder, guitarist, and frequent lead singer of the group Chicago, accidentally killed himself (January 23, 1978) while playing with a gun.

Copyright 2009 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Album Cover Art

I find this to be very interesting, it may set a precedent that we, who adore album cover art, will not be happy with. See all those race car drivers with ads all over their jackets and cars? Will album covers be treated as 'billboards' for products in the future? Will the greed by the record companies taint album cover art? I can see this coming in the future, God, I hope not, but it will be very interesting to see how this unfolds:

ReverbNation: You download music for free and we’ll pay the band

by Jodie Andrefski

ReverbNation just announced their plan to have 1000 of their artists to start participating in a new Sponsored Songs program. This program will actually pay the bands $0.50 each time one of their songs is downloaded for free by a user. Yup, you get it free and the band gets paid.

Now, of course the question is where does the money to pay the band come from? You guessed it. Ads. A small branded ad will be placed within the album cover art of each download. The value to the advertiser is that it is passed along in the embedded work as the song is passed along by fans via P2P. They want you to share the song with as many people as you like.

Michael Doernberg, CEO of ReverbNation, says “Traditionally the music business has been synonymous with the record business where the lion’s share of revenue came from selling music. With reduced emphasis on music sales, the music business must develop new revenue streams that leverage the artist as a brand.” Thus, their latest idea.

The first campaign will start the middle of June and run for 90 days. ReverbNation’s Band Equity Score and the fan demographic profiles will be used to figure out which artists out of their almost 400,000 will be invited to participate. Those who are accepted will provide songs and use ReverbNation’s marketing tools to help promote the downloads.

Now, is $0.50 per download going to be enough to get over what many may consider a band “selling out?” (Statements I’ve already seen bouncing around in response to the new campaign). Will this give the RIAA a kick in the pants to realize something has to be done and things have to change with how they are now?

Granted, established bands and artists make the vast majority of their money off of concert tickets and sales at shows. And just having their music heard by whatever means, is a good thing for them. It promotes concert ticket sales. It brings in new fans. But, for the indie artist, they don’t have packed stadiums. They don’t have people following them city to city and state to state, paying $80 a ticket to see them. So, something like this just may help to get their music out there and get it known…to give them the boost they need to get them to that next level.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Former Wilco Member Jay Bennett Dies

Chicago rocker and former member of Wilco (he was with the group from 1994 through 2001), Jay Bennett, died on Sunday, May 24 of undetermined causes. The multi-instrumentalist and singer was only 45 years old.

A friend and collaborator of Bennett’s, Edward Burch made a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Early this morning, Jay died in his sleep and an autopsy is being performed. The family is in mourning and is unavailable for comment at this time…He was an extremely talented musician and a great person, and I’ll miss him terribly.”

Wilco are on tour in Spain, but a spokesperson for the band passed along a statement from bandleader Jeff Tweedy:

"We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will miss Jay as we remember him -- as a truly unique and gifted human being and one who made welcome and significant contributions to the band's songs and evolution. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time."

Bennett was born on November 15, 1963 in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Hills and began playing in bands as a teenager. He was a graduate of the University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned multiple degrees in secondary education, math and political science. While in college in the late 1980’s, he co-founded the Replacements-like power pop band Titanic Love Affair, which cut three albums in the heyday of alternative rock between 1991 and 1996; before being dropped from the record label.

Bennett was employed at a VCR repair shop in Champaign, Illinois when he was approached to join up with Wilco as the group began to tour to support their debut LP “A.M.” He made his studio debut with the band in 1996 with the LP “Being There.” Bennett was a very talented and accomplished musician who played an eclectic variety of instruments from the mandolin to the mellotron.

He formed a unique bond with Wilco’s bandleader Jeff Tweedy and his contributions over a seven-year period he was with the group were key to the albums that resulted in the band's national breakthrough, including "Being There" (1996), "Summerteeth" (1999) and "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" (2002).

However, conflicts between Jeff Tweedy and Bennett that would contribute to Bennett's split with Wilco are visible in the Sam Jones film “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco.”

After leaving Wilco, Bennett released five solo albums. The first, entitled "The Palace at 4am,” was collaboration with Champaign musician and friend Edward Burch. In 2004, Bennett released the LP "Bigger than Blue," which is a more stripped-down set of personal songs. In that same year he released "The Beloved Enemy," which saw him explore his personal turmoil in even more intimate detail. Bennett's forth release, "The Magnificent Defeat," was released in September of 2006. He then released "Whatever Happened I Apologize" in November of 2008 on Additionally, Bennett had been working on a sixth record, tentatively titled "Kicking at the Perfumed Air," but it is unclear whether that record will see release posthumously.

In addition to his well-regarded work with Wilco and as a solo performer, Bennett was also a highly-regarded and sought-after studio talent, having performed on albums by Sheryl Crow, Allison Moorer, Garrison Starr, Jellyfish, Tim Easton, Tommy Keene, Blues Traveler and Billy Joe Shaver (among others). Bennett also produced the Blues Traveler's 2005 release, “¡Bastardos!”

In late April, Bennett wrote on his MySpace blog about dealing with intense pain from a hip injury suffered during a dive from the stage while playing with Titanic Love Affair. He was preparing to have surgery, but was concerned about his lack of health insurance. In May of this year, Bennett filed a lawsuit against Tweedy for breach of contract and unpaid artist's royalties, stemming in part from his role in the film.

"This whole experience [with the hip pain] has really taught me to look both inward and outward for support, and I've learned things about myself that I thought I had completely figured out years ago," Bennett wrote. "Family and friends have helped me to keep faith in a future that will actually be much more carefree than my constricted present state. I encourage you all to tell me stories of recovery, as they really do help... All in all, I'm 'in a really good place' right now; I'm just waiting until I can make it all happen."

Jay Bennett will be missed by millions of fans, who not only loved his music, but his personality as well.

Classic Music Videos

Rush - 1975 - Anthem

This Date In Music History- May 26


Ray Ennis - Swinging Blue Jeans (1942)

Levon Helm - The Band (1943)

Phillip Rhodes - Gin Blossoms (1968)

Verden Allen - Mott The Hoople (1945)

Gary Peterson - Guess Who (1945)

Stevie Nicks- Fleetwood Mac (1948)

Hank Williams Jr. - country singer, songwriter, son of country music's greatest star (1949)

Lenny Kravitz (1964) Buy Lenny Kravitz Music

Vicki Lawrence, who hit the charts with "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" and acted on The Carol Burnett Show, was born in 1949.

Alan White – Oasis (1972)

Isaac Slade - The Fray (1981)

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1949, Mick Ronson, guitarist, producer, member of The Rats, then worked with David Bowie. Also worked with Mott The Hoople, Bob Dylan, Ian Hunter.

Legendary R&B vocalist Little Willie John died of a heart attack in Washington State Penitentiary, in Walla Walla, at age 30 in 1968. His biggest hit was the 1960 #13 "Sleep." He also originally recorded the song "Fever," later cut by Peggy Lee (among many others).

On May 26, 1977, Billy Powell, singer with the O'Jays died of cancer.

Moondog, the only internationally acclaimed blind avant-garde composer to ply his trade while panhandling in Times Square, was born in Marysville, Kansas in 1916. He died on September 8, 1999.

In 1933, country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers died of a lung hemorrhage in New York at age 35.

Reggae legend Desmond Dekker died in England in 2006. He was 64. In 1969, he cracked the U.S. Top 10 and topped the U.K. charts with the cut "Israelites."

Norma Deloris Egstrom was born in May 26, 1920 (she died on January 21, 2002). Oh, that’s the legendary Peggy Lee by the way.


Elvis Presley recorded "(You're) The Devil In Disguise" in 1963.

In 1999, it was announced that the Backstreet Boys album "Millennium" had sold 1.13 million units in its first week of release.

Don McLean recorded his future #1 smash hit and now iconic song, "American Pie," in 1971.

In 1953, at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Show, a young Elvis Presley placed second in the talent competition.

In 1969, John and Yoko began an eight-day 'bed in', in room 1742 of The Hotel La Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Canada, to promote world peace.

At the point of the band splitting up, David Bowie offered Mott The Hoople two of his new songs in 1972, “Suffragette City,” which they turned down and “All The Young Dudes,” which they recorded.

In 2005, Mariah Carey scored her 16th #1 hit when "We Belong Together" topped Billboard's Hot 100.

The compilation The Beatles 1967-1970, known to fans as the "Blue" album, went to #1 in 1973 on the albums chart. Buy Beatles Music

In 1973, Deep Purple released their classic hit "Smoke on the Water."

Tragedy struck at a David Cassidy concert at London's White City in 1974 when over 1,000 fans had to be treated by first aid workers due to the frenzied excitement. One fan, Bernadette Whelan, died from heart failure four days later.

In 1990, for the first time ever the Top Five positions on the US singles chart were held by female artists; Madonna was at #1 with “Vogue,” Heart were at #2, Sinead O'Connor #3, Wilson Phillips at #4 and Janet Jackson was at #5.

A fire at the home of Eric Clapton in 1996 caused over one and a half million pounds worth of damage; Firemen arrived on the scene to find Clapton braving the blaze to save his collection of guitars.

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.

Elevated the playback of my LPs to a level I could never have dreamed possible from a $200 cartridge.

Ortofon 2M Blue MM Phono Cartridge

Ortofon 2M Blue MM Phono Cartridge
SRP: $199

Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5 cm/sec: 5.5 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz: 1.5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz: 25 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz: 15 dB
Frequency range at -3 dB: 20-25,000 Hz
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz +2 / -1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force: 80 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral: 20 µm/mN
Stylus type: Nude Elliptical
Stylus tip radius: r/R 8/18 µm
Tracking force range: 1.6-2.0g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended: 1.8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle: 20°
Internal impedance, DC resistance: 1.3 kOhm
Internal inductance: 700 mH
Recommended load resistance: 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance: 150-300 pF
Cartridge weight: 7.2 g


About 12 years ago, and through a quite painful (for me, especially) process, I sold off my hi-end big rig (including a Linn/Signet OC9 analog front end, Classe electronics and Magneplanar speakers) and moved into a more budget-friendly and significantly lower-fi home-theater based stereo setup. While the harsh reality was grim at first, within a few months I’d pretty much made the adjustment, although I totally lamented the inability to play some of my favorite LPs, some of which to this day still haven’t been released in any digital format. But with my daughter’s recent entrance into a prohibitively expensive private college and my wife’s upcoming battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, that decision, in retrospect, was the correct one.

Over the ensuing years, I’ve been able to build upon the home theater base with the acquisition of some carefully-considered used equipment that offered higher-end performance, and a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to acquire a second hand Rega P2 turntable. The turntable came equipped with the venerable RB 250 arm, which an intense amount of research had convinced me was its best attribute; it also arrived sans cartridge. I noticed that a number of tables sourced from Rega came equipped with Goldring Elektra cartridges, and assuming that there must be some reasonable symbiosis between the two, I soon was able to procure a gently used (and bargain priced) Elektra and was once again on the path towards analog nirvana. While far from a completely satisfactory situation, it would have to make do; at the very least, I was ecstatic to have access to vinyl playback again. The Goldring actually mated reasonably well with the Rega arm, yielding quite listenable results. Although I fully realized that the Rega/Goldring combination was a shadow of the analog bliss I’d enjoyed with my Linn/OC9 setup from long ago, my long-term memory of the past didn’t get too much in the way of enjoying the music produced by the current system.

The 2M Series

With the recent resurgence of interest in vinyl reproduction, an increasingly regular flow of review copies of LP releases have been made available to me of late. As a result, I’d developed this burning curiosity to see whether a more refined cartridge would enhance my playback and enjoyment of LPs, or whether the limiting factor was my relatively modest system. When Ortofon’s new cartridge series came to my attention late last year, I was definitely intrigued. The 2M Series (2M standing for MM, the abbreviation for moving magnet) is built around four models, the Red, Blue, Bronze and Black, priced respectively at $99, $199, $389 and $669. The lower priced Red and Blue models share the same plastic bodies and reproducing engines; the cost differential between the two comes from the Blue’s use of a nude elliptical stylus versus the Red’s elliptical stylus. The more expensive Bronze and Black models incorporate bodies made of Noryl, a glass/plastic hybrid that significantly improves the cartridges’ resistance to resonance; they also feature enhanced engines with split pole pins and silver plated copper wiring. The Bronze uses a nude fine line diamond stylus, while the flagship Black features the same Shibata stylus found on Ortofon’s highly acclaimed Jubilee MC cartridge.

It didn’t take much to convince me that I badly wanted to experience this cartridge line, and a review that fell just short of an all-out rave from a contemporary over at Positive Feedback had me totally sold. Add a resoundingly firm endorsement from my local Ortofon dealer who couldn’t seem to keep the 2M Red on his shelves, and the deal was sealed. A short series of emails later, Louis Dorio from Ortofon and I agreed that the 2M Blue was the best match for my RB 250 arm and my goals for the review, and in a few brief days I was in serious business!

I’ve mounted countless cartridges over the years, and I’ve often found the exercise to be taxing and tedious. The 2M offered, for me, the most painless cartridge mounting experience of my entire existence as an audiophile. I’m not sure whether Ortofon is trying to maximize the power of suggestion with all those sultry looking photos scattered all over the internet of 2M Series cartridges mounted in Rega arms, but it should be totally obvious to just about anyone how the contours of the 2M’s body match the contours of the Rega headshell almost perfectly! It just seemed too good to be true, but mounting the 2M Blue flush to the edges of the RB 250 placed it in the absolute perfect position. And the inclusion of integral mounting screws made the job amazingly quick – no more fiddling about with tiny bolts or searching for dropped microscopic nuts! A quick check with my trusty old Mo-Fi Geo-Disc (thank goodness I didn’t get rid of that) confirmed that the cartridge offset and overhang were in the optimum position. This took less than fifteen minutes, while in the past I’ve agonized for what seemed like hours – Rega owners will definitely rejoice over the ease of installation and setup.

I’ve always leaned towards higher VTF settings, so I set the tracking force at Ortofon’s recommended 1.8 grams. A real quandary came with the Vertical Tracking Angle setting. The 2M Blue’s body is slightly taller than my current Goldring cartridge, and I immediately noticed that the VTA would need some adjustment. The Rega doesn’t offer continuously variable VTA adjustment, and although such adapters can be had, they aren’t cheap, so I was forced here to take the middle ground. My 200 gram pressings from Classic Records definitely pushed the issue, and I’ve been getting an increasing number of 180 gram reissue pressings as well. I also have a number of standard weight 140 gram pressings, so I compromised and set the VTA to be accurate for 180 grams. Regardless, the VTA change was only a few millimeters at best, and I can’t honestly attest to any significant alteration of the sonic character during playback of any of the differing weights of vinyl. I also had a bit of a challenge setting the arm’s anti-skating; whereas in the past I’d always set the anti-skate value to match the tracking force, that didn’t seem to work here. After a period of extensive experimentation setting the value by ear, I finally arrived at about half of the 1.8 gram tracking force.

Listening Results

The first real acid test for me came with Kor (Proprius 7770), featuring the Mikaeli Chamber Choir conducted by Anders Eby. This LP offers for me the best presentation of acapella mixed voices ever recorded, in truly unusual repertory that I’ve never seen duplicated anywhere in thirty-plus years. Proprius LPs were highly prized in their day not only for their exceptionally lifelike acoustic qualities, but also for their uniformly superb pressings. This disc arrived in less than pristine condition, but was nonetheless playable via the Goldring/Rega combination, although the surface noise was sometimes excessive. And although I’d always had some issues with any of my previous arm/cartridge combinations (including the Linn) tracking the third movement of Cesar Geoffray’s magnificent ‘Triptyque Marial,’ the Goldring/Rega managed it reasonably well. Right out of the box, with no break-in whatsoever, the 2M Blue offered such an unbelievable increase in musicality that even my wife (who I often accuse of being tone-deaf) immediately took notice and remarked on the obvious difference! Besides the incredible gains in imaging and musicality, the surface noise was reduced exponentially, almost to the point of being a non-issue, whereas it previously made listening through the Goldring cartridge challenging at best. And the tracking ability of the 2M Blue continually impressed me; the ‘Triptyque Marial’ came through with the kind of clarity I’d never have dreamed possible.

Another record that rates highly on my short list is the Speaker’s Corner reissue of the 1956 Decca Blueback Espana (SXL 2020), featuring Ataulfo Argenta conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in a remarkably entertaining assortment of Spanish-influenced repertory. The album’s keystone moment comes in the opening selection, Rimsky-Korsakov’s great Capriccio Espagnol, which is given a bravura performance by a fiery young conductor that (in my book) has never been bettered. The recording is among the most dynamic records I’ve ever encountered, with truly thunderous bass and tremendously potent transients. Listen closely and you can hear the rumble of the subway running underneath London’s Kingsway Hall, which only adds to the already incredible realism of this exceptional LP. The 2M Blue delivered the performance with not only freshness and vitality, but also with a viscerally dynamic realism I wouldn’t have thought possible from such a modestly priced arm and cartridge combination.

A truly superb 180 gram, 2 LP set that recently came my way is Diana Krall’s The Look of Love (ORG 004) from Original Recordings Group. These LPs are easily among the finest I’ve ever encountered and totally justify the $40 price tag for the 2-disc set. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Diana Krall’s voice rendered more three-dimensionally than on these records via the 2M Blue; I was also mightily impressed by the depth and width of the soundstage that the 2M Blue projected. And the absolute scads of remarkably deep and tightly controlled bass – bass that was significantly lacking in both depth and refinement via the Goldring – was little short of revelatory as heard through the 2M Blue.When I first acquired the Rega/Goldring combo a few years back, I immediately fell back into that favorite pastime of combing the racks of local stores for used records, but in no time at all discovered that playback via the Goldring was relatively flat and uninspiring with just about every used LP I tried. As a large percentage of my listening at the time revolved around a fairly steady flow of SACD reviews, the turntable eventually was relegated to playback of old favorites and the occasional LP review. I was curious how the 2M Blue would respond in this environment, and to my great joy and surprise, it breathed new life into old records, like a pristine copy of Dire Straits’ eponymous debut album, which had seemed almost lifeless via the Goldring cartridge. A recent business trip yielded what appeared to be an unplayed copy of Al Stewart’s classic Year Of The Cat, whose title track jumped from my speakers with a weight and authority that my CD version could not approach – the experience was literally like hearing the record for the very first time! I’ve found myself once again actively searching for used records, and have so far not been disappointed by anything I’ve heard via the 2M Blue, whose superb musicality has transcended any surface issues of a multitude of discs I’ve played over the last couple of months.

Wrap Up

The 2M Blue has transformed my analog front end, and has elevated the playback of LPs to a level I could never have dreamed possible from a $200 cartridge. In fact, it’s totally restored my faith in my system – the two months I’ve spent with this cartridge has undeniably renewed my zest for living, and has gotten me listening to a ton of music, both old and new. Having owned what I would have considered fifteen years ago to be a Class A turntable system with the Linn/Signet combo, it’s really amazing that the state of analog playback has reached such an impressive level today at such a relatively affordable price point. The 2M Blue continually impressed me with its tracking ability and incredible musicality, and for Rega tonearm owners especially, it’s a dream come true. Of course, any phono cartridge is going to be very heavily system dependent, but place the 2M Blue in a well-matched arm and you’ll experience true analog magic. This one’s a keeper – very highly recommended!

-- Tom Gibbs

New Vinyl Releases

Albums released this week:

Iron Maiden - 'Flight 666'
Gary Go - 'Gary Go'
Marilyn Manson - 'High End Of Low'
Grizzly Bear - 'Veckatimest'
Phoenix - 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'
Fink - 'Sort Of Revolution'
Iggy Pop - 'Preliminaires'
Tinchy Stryder - 'Cloud 9'
Toddla T - 'Skanky Skanky'
AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap [LIMITED EDITION] [IMPORT]
AC/DC - Flick of the Switch [LIMITED EDITION] [IMPORT]
AC/DC - Highway to Hell (Ogv) [LIMITED EDITION] [IMPORT]
AC/DC - If You Want Blood You’ve Got It [LIMITED EDITION] [IMPORT]
Bloodhorse - Horizoner (Translation Loss)

The Ocean - Pantheon of the Lesser (Important)
Rusted Shut - Dead (Load)

Music News & Notes

Scarlett Johannson to Release Album With Pete Yorn

Scarlett Johansson is reportedly releasing her second album this year.

Her first album, which didn’t get too much praise, was a collection of Tom Waits cover songs. Her follow-up album will be a duet collaboration with Pete Yorn called Break Up.

According to USA Today, the album “chronicles a tempestuous affair” and Pete got the idea for it in a dream. He better not tell Scarlett’s husband Ryan Reynolds that!

The album was produced by electronic artist Sunny Levine and is inspired by Serge Gainsbourg's work in the '60s with Brigitte Bardot.

Yorn wrote all the songs on the nine-track disc with the exception of a cover of Big Star's "I Am The Cosmos."

Break Up will be released on September 8th.



Night Of The Vinyl Dead has released MY DYING BRIDE's "The Dreadful Hours" on double vinyl with a gatefold cover, limited to 500 hand-numbered copies.

The album, which was originally released on CD in 2001.

In an interview with Blissfulviolet of Beyond The Dark Horizon, MY DYING BRIDE vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe stated about the band's ninth studio album, "Naturally, we think it's our best work to date and has a sort of 'new-meets-old' sound; the violins giving a nod to our past and the new riffs and vocals showing the way forward. It is quite possibly the most depressing thing we've created to date, and all the more wonderful for it."

Asked how he feels the new CD differs from MY DYING BRIDE's last studio album, "A Line of Deathless Kings", Aaron replied, "Would you believe it, it's even darker? I've pushed the vocals further, finding more melodies, as have the guitars, and, of course, the violin has added a deep range of feeling. It's quite a fresh, melodic sound despite being utterly despondent."


I have not heard the band, but, to me, disco and rock do not belong in the same sentence. I will, however, check them out, more later....

Grammy-Nominated Disco-Rockers Los Amigos Invisibles To Release New LP

Nacional Records has announced the release of Los Amigos Invisibles' sixth studio album "Commercial," which will be available exclusively at iTunes on May 26th and in stores June 9th. Starting with lead single, "Mentiras," the multiple Grammy-nominated group have tightened their hooks and focused their songs, recording their most accessible work yet.

"Commercial" features a variety of special guests from Jorge Gonzalez (of Chilean rock legends Los Prisioneros) and Mexican songstress Natalia Lafourcade to Senor Coconut vocalist Argenis Brito and Los Tetas' C-funk. Los Amigos also enlisted production work from friends like Dimitri From Paris and Cachorro López (Belanova, Miranda).

Since their first album in 1995, Los Amigos Invisibles have developed a sound based in the gozadera, an irresistible fusion of Latin rhythms with fiery funk and lounge music. The band got their first break when David Byrne (Talking Heads) discovered one of their albums by chance in a Manhattan record shop. He immediately called the band up in their native Venezuela and soon after, signed them to his label, Luaka Bop. Byrne opened doors for the band across the globe and Los Amigos Invisibles soon became an international touring machine.


Fun. Announce Debut Album

Nettwerk Music Group has announced the release of "Aim And Ignite," the highly anticipated debut from fun., out August 25th. "Aim And Ignite" was produced by Redd Kross' Steven McDonald and is a stunning array of diverse inspirations from three extraordinary musicians-former front man of The Format Nate Ruess, ex-Anathallo multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost and Steel Train's Jack Antonoff.

The band recently joined Manchester Orchestra for a 34-date North American tour in April and has been hypnotizing sold out crowds night after night in major cities such as New York, Boston, Nashville, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Chicago.


Iron Age To Release "The Sleeping Eye" This August

Iron Age have announced that Tee Pee Records will release their brand new full-length, "The Sleeping Eye," on August 4th. The band has also announced June East Coast dates with Sex Vid and Mind Eraser.

Austin, Texas’' Iron Age have been slugging it out in hardcore and punk circles since the middle of the decade, touring the North America and abroad with such contemporary hardcore luminaries as Rise And Fall, Cold World, Fucked Up, and Trash Talk while steadily honing the riffed-out hardcore sound established on their 2006 debut "Constant Struggle."

Fans of unconventional hardcore, ripping thrash, and heavy music in general should look out for early June dates with Sex Vid and Mind Eraser around the North East, a July-August West Coast tour, and more as 2009 unfolds.


Beastie's New LP

The Beastie Boys have announced that their new album is finished and will be called "Hot Sauce Committee."

Back in October, Adam Horovitz related to Billboard:

"It's a lot of vocals, a lot of words, very wordy. And it's political, depending on what you call political. You know, if toilet talk and fart jokes are political, which they can be, in that sense yeah, very."

Can't wait.....

Album cover art gets facelift

Digital downloading is changing the relationship between music fans and artwork


There’s more to a CD than just the music. Flipping through liner notes, reading lyrics and, especially, staring at brilliant cover art is all part of record listening experience. Or at least it was — with legal downloading accounting for 20 per cent of all music sales, the future of album artwork is in jeopardy.

“There seems to be less and less need for artwork,” says Bob Mersereau, author of the Top 100 Canadian Albums. “When my son buys a CD he throws the insert away. He doesn’t want it; it just gets in the way for him. He’s not interested in that experience.”

If Mersereau’s son is any indication, the days when an album’s cover would often resonate more than the music is over. That worries the New Brunswick-based journalist.

“When you say Dark Side of the Moon, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? It’s not Money. It’s that cover. Abbey Road? It’s the cover,” he says.

While there’s no doubt the experience of flipping through a CD booklet is changing, one web-based music store owner doesn’t think album art will disappear.

“The future is limitless,” says Dave Ullrich, founder of Toronto-based “It might not be the same as vinyl, but it can be very different and different can be better.”

On his website Ullrich gives music buyers the opportunity to download PDFs of a disc’s artwork, and he once offered downloaders a high resolution Rheostatics poster that could be printed and framed.

While he’s happy to give his customers more than just MP3s, he admits that the future of cover art will soon be far more dynamic than a simple PDF download.

“It doesn’t exist yet, but with things like iPhone apps fans will be able to easily dig into lyrics, or even kick back and just listen to music and look at the record’s artwork, all on their phone,” Ullrich explains.

Michael Wrycraft, a Juno-winning artist who’s designed artwork for Bruce Cockburn among other Canadian acts, should be the first one to lament the move to digital. But, not only is he busier than ever before, he thinks the work will keep coming well into the downloading era.

“Artwork on paper may die out years from now, but then someone will download a track, play it on a computer and a screen saver will pop with credits and pictures,” he says. “I’m not panicking about my future — I just realize that someday the material I work with might change.”

Mersereau, however, thinks the devaluation of cover art is already in full swing, especially when it comes to major label releases. “There’s less and less work going into them already,” he says. “Take the new Bruce Springsteen, the reviews are great, but it’s the ugliest cover you’ve ever seen. Where are the iconic shots of the past? Where are the great covers that you want to hang up on your wall?”

Ullrich agrees that some liner notes aren’t as eyecatching as they used to be. He chalks that up to budgeting issues, which can be resolved when digital artwork takes off.

“Creative bands will be able to do some really cool stuff,” he says. “Digital is more wide open — it’s even more open than what you had in the old days.”