Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son

It’s a Vinyl World, After All

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.

It’s a Vinyl World, After All (2009)

Any audiophile into vinyl should have this DVD.

Published on January 20, 2009

It’s a Vinyl World, After All (2009)

Michael Fremer’s Guide to Record Manufacturing, Cleaning, Storage, Handling, & Collecting in the 21st Century
Studio: Music Angle
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 2.0
Extras: Interviews with two pressing plant managers - Pallas & RTI, More on two other record cleaning machines, Vintage turntables at a hi-fi show, Stills of Pallas plant tour, pdf information files, 2 AES white papers on analog playback
Length: 179:45 incl. extras
Rating: ****(*)

Michael Fremer is a contributing editor to Stereophile magazine and editor of his own web magazine,, the only publication dedicated solely to the vinyl format. He previously published a DVD which was a guide to the complexities of turntable setup to properly play back vinyl. Fremer’s stimulus for the production of this DVD was the explosion of re-interest in the hoary long-play record, shown by major sales increases as more and more young people come to appreciate the better sound of vinyl vs. both MP3 downloads and standard compact discs. He has been a longtime proponent of the advantages of the vinyl format in spite of the ascendancy of the digital CD, but all the major labels ceased issuing LPs, and it looked for many years like the format was becoming as obsolete as 8-track or cassettes. In the last couple years that has all changed, with major labels returning to LP releases, reissues of some of the best rock, jazz and classical albums, and specialist audiophile reissue labels expanding their catalogs to include premium 180 and 200-gram pressings, 45 rpm pressings, and even pressing on only one side (to avoid problems caused by grooves on the reverse side). The majority of sales are in reissues of classic albums in the rock and blues genres.

Most audiophiles have read about the record pressing procedure or seen still photos of it, but Michael’s visits to the two pressing plants will be a treat since it shows exactly the many detailed steps involved in the process. The vinyl audiophile will be more understanding of the pricing of $30 to $50 for many of these discs when he sees what is involved and how many discs are immediately trashed because they have various flaws. It is of concern to hear that no new pressing equipment for LPs has been made for 20 years! He also looks in on a lacquer mastering session at AcousTech with Steve Hoffman, Joe Harley and others making aural decisions on how best to remaster a classic Van Gelder Blue Note 15 ips master tape for a 45 rpm vinyl reissue.

The demonstration portions of the lengthy DVD have Michael explaining how to properly store, handle and clean your records. He demonstrates the whole cleaning process using the two most popular record cleaning machines, with many different cleaning and preservation fluids and brushes, and stresses that even brand new LPs should be cleaned to remove artifacts from the pressing process. I’ve had just as lengthy an experience with vinyl as Michael, yet I picked up a couple pointers from the DVD - such as the importance of having a clean plastic or paper cover on the record cleaning machine platter so that you are not putting the LP surface you just cleaned down against a dirty platter. And also to frequently vacuum the platter (as well as your turntable platter).

Michael also demonstrates some of his other vinyl gadgets, including a horrendously expensive demagnetizer which works due to the subtle iron content in the lampblack used to color the clear vinyl. However, he doesn’t mention the effort to press premium audiophile LPs out of clear vinyl without the addition of the lampblack, which is said to result in the same enhancement of the sonics. He tends to ad lib his spiels, and I get a kick out of the occasional text corrections with illustrations that are superimposed on the screen to correct errors he made. The sampling of his LP collection and the stories associated with each album were fun viewing. There were also a few navigational errors on this initial DVD pressings - such as the soundtrack being muted for several seconds as each chapter begins - but Michael tells me that will be corrected on the following release. Any audiophile into vinyl should have this DVD.

- John Sunier

On a side note, included in the DVD package is my own ebook PDF file, "The Fascinating Hobby of Vinyl Record Collecting." Michael contacted me and we both agreed it would make a great addition to his already fantastic DVD. I am honored to be part of his project and thank Michael for the inclusion of the my ebook.

Music News & Notes

New Ian Tyson Music

Canada's Ian Tyson is working on a new album, his 14th for Stony Plains records, titled "Yellowhead to Yellowstone." The singer/songwriter (Four Strong Winds, Someday Soon) wrote eight of the albums ten cuts, reflecting his life as an Alberta rancher and on growing older (he is now 75). It also shows off a distinct change to his voice.

“A couple of years ago,” says Tyson, “I played a big outdoor show in Ontario. I fought the sound system — and I lost. I knew I’d hurt my voice, and it was recovering slowly when I was hit with a bad virus, which seemed to last forever. My old voice isn’t coming back, the doctors told me, so I’ve had to get used to this new one. Audiences seem to pay more attention, now, to the lyrics and the stories in the songs. And while I’ve lost some of the bottom end of my voice, the top range, oddly enough, is still there.”


Swinging Hips for Lofgren

Nils Lofgren is celebrating more than a half-time performance with the E-Street Band at the Super Bowl. He's also performing for the first time with his new hips which he received back in October.

"I'm coming along. I've lost the cane. I've lost the limp. I'm doing rehab. I'm just trying to be a good rehab patient. I've never had to be this cautious, 24-7 with my body, so it's a new adventure for me, But I've been assured that if I do the rehab right, in 10 to 12 months my body'll grow in, around and through these (hips) like roots and vines and lock 'em in as good as they're gonna get."

He's also assembling the new album Tough Stuff: The Best of the All-Madden Team Band which will be comprised of music he composed over the last ten years for the All-Madden Team announcement broadcasts.


Taj Mahal, Healey Win Awards

Taj Mahal was named International Artist of the Year at Canada's Maple Music awards while guitarist Amos Garrett received the lifetime Blues with a Feeling Award. The big winner of the night, though, was the late Jeff Healey who received seven awards.


Donovan's Dream Come True

Donovan spoke to reporters at the MIDEM International Music Conference in Cannes, France on Monday, telling them that the Internet is what he and his contemporaries dreamed about in the 60's.

"The dream of the '60s, of me and John Lennon and the others, was how do we speak to everybody on the planet at the same time? The first answer was via satellite, but that didn't connect to everyone. Then John would say, 'How about telepathy?'

"Then we forgot about it until now we realize that the Internet fulfills that dream of communicating with everyone. I'm not afraid of the Internet because it's that the dream we had. The Internet is the new '60s as far as I'm concerned."


Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton Guest On New Yusef LP

Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens, will follow up 2006's "An Other Cup," his first secular album in 28 years, with a set that recalls his straightforward troubadour days.

The as-yet-untitled set is due in late spring from Universal.

"This one was really a result of me writing a lot of songs and being kind of inspired again," Yusuf -- who adopted the Muslim name Yusuf Islam in 1978 and now prefers the shorter version -- told Billboard. "After I recorded ('Cup') people just wanted to hear me do a lot of simple stuff, just with the guitar."

The single "Boots & Sand" features Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton -- with a video shot by Jesse Dylan, son of Bob -- while Michelle Branch and Gunnar Nelson assist on the track "To Be What You Must."


All Aboard- Flight 666

The first full-length documentary on Iron Maiden will debut in theaters throughout the world on April 21. Iron Maiden: Flight 666 documents the group's Somewhere Back in Time tour through Asia, Australia and the Americas.

The film is being made by the Canadian firm Banger Productions, who also made the film Metal, A Headbangers Journey. The crew was given full access to the band throughout the February and March 2008 leg of the tour which saw Maiden play 23 shows in 45 days. Footage not only includes live performances but also behind the scene stories, including the groups custom Boeing 757 which was piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson.

Top 20 Most Outrageous Heavy Metal Album Covers

Last week we looked at's list of best & worst album covers for 2008. Switching gears a bit, let's look at's look at The Top 20 Most Outrageous Heavy Metal Album Covers. Actually, I think some of these are classic album covers, I love heavy metal covers! We will look at five a day, sometimes that's all a person can handle. Longtime readers of the blog will certainly recognize some of these classic album covers.

Heavy metal bands have always relied on their album covers. Most metal bands wouldn’t have been half as popular if it wasn’t for their ridiculously awesome album art. But how did it go so wrong? When did bands start thinking it was okay to take their shirts off and pose as medieval warriors? Let's explore #10-6 on the list:

10. Pantera: Metal Magic

9. Metallica: Metal Up Your Ass

8. Danzig: Thrall Demonsweatlive

7. Scorpions: Lovedrive

6. Metallica: Load

Rock & Roll Tidbits

On The Beatles 1970, #1 hit, "The Long and Winding Road", Paul McCartney played the piano, and John Lennon played bass. George and Ringo do not appear on the track at all.

Bill Haley and His Comets recorded "Rock Around The Clock" as a "B" side for their first Decca Records recording session. The "A" side was a song called "Thirteen Women And Only One Man In Town".

It’s ironic that of the members of ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard-Beard is the only member of the classic trio not to sport a beard.

Boy George once admitted that he wanted to be reincarnated as Matt Dillon’s underwear. No comment from Dillon.

Elvis' girlfriend, Ginger Alden, found him dead, lying on the floor of his bathroom. He had been seated on the toilet reading The Scientific Search For Jesus.

Twenty years after his death, a report showed that Elvis Presley was the world's best selling posthumous entertainer, with world-wide sales of over 1 billion dollars and 480 active fan clubs. He died owing $3 million.

The Association were turned down by every major label who heard their first album, which included the future number one smash, "Cherish".

Antoine "Fats" Domino and his wife Rosemary have eight children, all of whom have names that start with "A".

The same studio musicians who had just helped Bob Dylan record "Like A Rolling Stone" were asked by producer Tom Wilson to stay in the studio for one more song. He then recorded the electric guitar, bass and drums that were to be added to Paul Simon's voice and acoustic guitar. The result was the 1966 number one hit, "Sounds Of Silence".

Stevie Wonder wrote "Isn't She Lovely" for his daughter Aisha Zakia. The names mean "strength" and "intelligence" in an African language.

Brenda Lee graduated from high school in Hollywood, having already earned 12 top ten records.

Paul Revere and The Raiders' first chart entry, "Like Long Hair" was based on Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Prelude in C-Sharp Minor", written in 1897.

The longest title of a US number one record belongs to a Dutch studio group called Stars On 45. Although their medley was simply known as "Stars On 45" in most parts of the world, the US single had a 41 word title: "Intro Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I'll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want To Know A Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You're Going To Lose That Girl / Stars On 45".

Performance contracts for the band Van Halen stipulated that they be provided with a supply of M&Ms at every show, but all of the brown ones had to be removed.

In 1964, an acoustics expert from New South Wales University measured the noise level during a Beatles' concert at 112 decibels. That's between 10 and 20 decibels higher than a Boeing 707 jet flying at 2,000 feet.

Doors guitarist Robby Krieger once said about lead singer Jim Morrison: "I loved the guy when he was straight. I disliked him immensely when he was drunk."

In 1956, a Protestant minister in Greenwich Village, New York said about Elvis Presley's music; "I don't think youth wants this sort of thing. It is the result of the letdown that follows every war."

Darlene Love, who sang lead vocals on The Crystals hits "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love", played Danny Glover’s wife in all four Lethal Weapon movies.

Harry Elston, co-founder of The Friends Of Distinction, used to work as a limousine driver for The Temptations.

Mercury Records released The Platters' "Twilight Time" on both 78 RPM and 45 RPM discs. The song went to number one in the U.S. in April, 1958 and sold one and a half million copies, of which 98.2 percent were 45s. By that June, Mercury became the first major record label to announce that it would stop producing 78s, effective immediately.

After Gene Simmons of KISS graduated form Richmond College, he became a school teacher. This career move was short-lived however, as he quit to form KISS. Why? “I wanted to kill those little pricks,” he said.