Friday, March 6, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

The Beatles - 'You got to hide your love away'

Album Cover Art


The 7th Of Never was the third album for the group CHASTAIN.

Critically acclaimed world-wide for their powerful brand of music, the band is comprised of lead guitarist DAVID T. CHASTAIN, vocalist LEATHER, drummer KEN MARY, and bassist MIKE SKIMMERHORN.

David T. spurs his band mates on, and undertakes the responsibility of traveling from coast to coast to record the albums. Rarely is one man totally involved and dedicated to every aspect of his craft. The members of CHASTAIN originally came together under the aegis of heavy metal guitar expert and record executive Mike Varney, who had been receiving demo tapes form the guitarist for several months. It was Varney who encouraged Chastain to form a recording unit, and offered to release an album on his Shrapnel Records label.

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.

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Simon and Garfunkel (reissue)
Parsely, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Columbia/Sundazed LP 5232 LP

Produced by: Bob Johnston
Engineered by: Roy Halee
Mixed by: Bob Irwin
Mastered by: Bob Irwin (LP cut by "WP/NRG")

Review by: Michael Fremer

Note: After this the posting of this review, Sundazed's Bob Irwin sent a correction. I've chose to leave the original review intact, prefaced by Irwin's comment:

"Yes - some of Parsley, Sage... was remixed for the boxset Old Friends that I did for Sony (and Legacy's i>Parsley, Sage... "expanded edition" CD)— but our LP was sourced from the original 2-track stereo masters, which I unearthed a few years ago (by accident) in Sony's vault. Amazing, as they were marked as being "scrapped" in the system. The reels were marked "do not use"—as many original masters were, once they were safety'd either to an analog copy or to digital. The stereo masters sounded great, not at all used up— and that was what prompted our LP edition!!!"

When Sundazed’s Bob Irwin produced Sony/Legacy’s Simon and Garfunkel recordings for CD, he found the master tapes of the first two albums in such poor condition they were unusable.

What to do? Fortunately, the original unmixed 4-track work tapes were in excellent condition, making a remix possible. Irwin literally rebuilt the original mixing suite using vintage gear procured for the project and mixed down to ¼” analog tape.

Now, years later, Sundazed gets to make use of those labors to reissue this classic Simon and Garfunkel album, which is arguably their best and their first coherent work after a confused and fitful start.

Columbia issued the folky first album,Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. in the fall of 1964. It included an acoustic version of “The Sounds of Silence” that Simon had written to express what he saw as the increasing isolation and lack of communication among people.

Imagine what he might have written had he traveled to the future instead of splitting for the U.K. before the album's release.

Garfunkel’s liner notes consist of an affected letter to Paul and equally affected song commentary. While Garfunkel was correct, his writing “The Sounds of Silence is a major work” probably should have been left to others.

The album stiffed while Simon, in the U.K., played clubs, wrote songs and recorded The Paul Simon Songbook (orange label CBS 62579). The album has a publisher’s demo-like feel about it, but it makes for fascinating listening. It will set you back at least $50 last time Iooked.

It’s just Simon playing acoustic guitar doing “I Am an Island,” “Leaves That Are Green,” “April Come She Will,” “Patterns” and many other familiar songs that even now sound remarkably mature and seemingly beyond the grasp of a 22 year old. In the liner notes Simon says he’s included some tunes he “..wouldn’t write today…” because they present evidence of his “transition.”

Among them is a lame PPM-like protest song called “A Church is Burning,” on which Paul Simon retroactively “jumps the shark.” The album also contains a solo acoustic version of “The Sounds of Silence,” the duo’s version of which had been added by spring 1965 to some AM Top 40 playlists.

With Dylan plugging in and folk rock taking hold, Simon and Garfunkel’s producer Tom Wilson (who also produced The Mothers of Invention) took the vocal track to the acoustic version of “The Sounds of Silence,” added a rock drum, bass and guitar trio backing to it and, unbeknownst to either Simon or his ex-partner Garfunkel, released it as a single. It went on to be an unlikely number one Top 40 hit.

That meant going back in the studio quickly (with Bob Johnston producing) for a follow up album that included the electrified “The Sounds of Silence” and equally electrified versions of many of the songs originally recorded for the Paul Simon Songbook, including “Leaves That Are Green,” “Kathy’s Song,” “A Most Peculiar Man,” “April Come She Will,” and “I am a rock.” Wisely not included: “A Church is Burning.” But there is a nice version of the late Davy Graham’s “Angie.”

Many great songs but a merely good album, not a great one. That had to wait for Parsely, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme also produced by Johnston, with the great Roy Halee engineering. Yes, there’s the embarrassing “7 O’clock News/ Silent Night” at the end and a few other moments of maximum pretense but precious, poetic and perhaps pedantic is where these guys were pushing. There’s no denying the classic power of “Homeward Bound,” “Cloudy,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song” (the epitome of precious) and “The Dangling Conversation,” among others and even the filler like The Everly Brothers-like “The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” and the aforementioned “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night” fit where they were placed, like interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

So how does this Sundazed reissue hold up next to an original 1A Columbia pressing that I bought new when it originally was released (it still has the Sam Goody “C” Valley Stream sticker on it, with the $2.49 markdown written in pen)? Well, for one thing, when people say records wear out, I don’t know what they are talking about! Since it was first released more than forty years ago, I’ve played this record a hundred times at least, in Ithaca in my fraternity house, in Boston, in Los Angeles, in Hackensack and now and it still sounds fantastic. It’s quiet, it’s detailed, it’s three-dimensional and it still has extended, clean high frequencies.

No reissue could possibly touch an original 1A pressing of just about any Columbia title and that goes for this reissue, which is very good, but not as open, spacious, wideband, transparent and “tubey” as the original. While the reissue lacks the original’s spaciousness, extension and transparency, and is somewhat darker and less expansive overall, it offers outstanding image solidity and overall, features excellent tonal balance.

The heavyweight pressing quality is decent but not up to RTI quality (then again, Sundazed doesn’t charge $30 a record), with a bit of audible non-fill at the beginning of side one. The record definitely benefits from a good cleaning and demagnetizing. I haven’t been perusing the used record bins lately so I don’t know how scarce used Simon and Garfunkel originals are these days. If you can find a clean, reasonably priced used original 1A pressing, it’s definitely going to sound better, but if you can’t, this reissue sounds very good and you’ll not know what you’re missing.

By the way, in case you're interested in the accuracy of the remixes, they are remarkably so. For instance at the fade out of the original "Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine," the electric bass suddenly comes up in level and moves from the left channel to the center. It's identical on the remix.

SOURCE: Reprinted By Permission

Pick up Michael's DVD's Here:

Music News & Notes

Michael Jackson Says London Concerts To Be 'Final Curtain Call'

Michael Jackson has confirmed that his July concerts London's O2 arena could be his last, describing it as the "final curtain call."

Hundreds of screaming fans and not screaming media turned up for the announcement, after promoters AEG Live posted a message on the 23,000-capacity venue's Web site inviting people to attend.

"Thank you all... this is it," said the weird gloved one. "I just wanted to say, these will be my final show performances in London. When I say this is it, it really means this is it. I'll be performing the songs my fans want to hear. This is it, this is really it, this is the final curtain call."

Good, I say, good.


Phish Plans

It's reported in the New York Times that seminal jam-band Phish have recorded demo versions of 20 new songs for their next record. However since they are no longer signed to a major label, the band is mulling an independent release for the to-be-recorded album.

Phish is likely to perform one of the tunes, "Backwards Down the Number Line," at its first reunion concerts this weekend in at the Hampton Coliseum in Vermont.

The band plans to make high quality recordings of all three of this weekend's shows available as free MP3 downloads from its website.


Who's Not A Band Anymore

With half of his bandmates dead, Pete Townshend has said in a recent interview that the rock band is no longer an entity. Here are some of the remarks from The New Zealand Listener:

“I used to be in a band called the Who. It does not exist today except in your dreams. I am a songwriter and guitarist who – if I create the right setting – can walk on to a stage with my old buddy Roger Daltrey and evoke the old magic of the Who in the dreams of the audience.”

“The fact of the matter is that the Who as a band stopped working when I quit in 1982. However, the brand would not die. That was partly a record company hanging on to a catalogue asset, but also partly Roger’s passion for what he believed we had achieved, and could one day do again. I let go, and I think John Entwistle did too, but Roger never gave up trying to bring the band back to harmony with the brand. I might seem to be talking about the name, and just the name. But the brand had been identified very strongly with the technique we stumbled on – which was providing music for people, mainly young men, to use as a kind of therapy. They put themselves into our songs, and sometimes even into us, and we found ourselves acting as alter-egos, or myth figures. We felt quite passive in this role, and focused on our performances most of all."


This from Rolling Stone:

According to a new study conducted by medical researchers, thirty-three percent of popular songs contain explicit content and forty-two percent of songs hint at substance abuse. Rap was the most frequent offender, with seventy-seven percent of songs making reference to drugs or sex, with country music a surprising silver medalist with a thirty-six percent explicit content rate.

The study also proves the old war cry “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” to be factually incorrect, as only fourteen percent of rock songs contain offending lyrics. So how did the medical researchers come to their conclusion? They analyzed the lyrics of a total of 287 songs from 2005 that encompassed all musical genres. This reminds us of that Russian study that proved heavy metal’s subject matter is heavy. To further cement how useless this new study actually is, the researchers failed to draw any conclusions on how hearing all these drug references affects young listeners.

My Take: Now, I wonder if they were to back up in time to the 60's, or even the 50's and do the same research. I have a feeling the numbers would be quite similar, or even above what they have reported here.

Vintage vinyl: LPs live on locally

Another great story about vinyl, I want to thank Sharon and The Reporter for allowing me to reprint this material:

By Sharon Roznik • The Reporter

To never know the feel of an album cover, the smell of a new vinyl record placed gingerly on the turntable, or the face of Barry Manilow — larger than life — staring back at you …

While iPod owners download digital tunes en masse, record aficionados expound on the higher quality of original sound, called analog recording.

City residents | Dale and Pat Luther have had a long time love affair | with record albums. Their collection of vinyl, numbering in the hundreds, in cludes several very rare editions. More than half of the | collection has been sold off because, Dale says, “You just can’t take it with you.” (The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher)

According to, a digital recording takes snapshots of the analog signal at a certain rate and does not do a very good job of replicating the original signal. This means that, by definition, a digital recording is not capturing the complete sound wave.

"With the horrible quality of digital music online, many of us have adopted the passions of our parents," said 24-year-old Nick Ciontea of Fond du Lac, who has a growing collection of vinyl albums. "It's considered by some to be the only music medium that will continue on."

A vinyl record has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound's waveform. No information is lost and the sound is fed directly into an amplifier with no conversion.

City residents Dale and Patty Luther have a stash of 500 recordings, including 45s, that contains some hard-to-find gems produced by local garage bands that once played venues around the Fox Valley.

"Some were one-hit wonders, recorded only one song, and never made it big," Dale said.

He mentions the obscure Appleton band, the Lord Beverly Moss and the Moss Men, with their 1968 single "The Kids are Alright," and the well-known Brownsville wildlife artist Don Kloetzke who was a member of the band White Ducks, along with other locals. The group worked as the backup band for Jimmy Buffet.

Signed album covers by Judy Collins and John Kaye of Steppenwolf decorate the walls of the Luther home.

"In many cases, the album (sleeves) were more important than the album," Dale said. "It was a way to connect with the band, find out what they looked like and who they were."

The Mad Hatteur Music on South Main Street has used albums for sale from the collection of store owner Charlie Rhodes. The $9.99 purchase comes complete with the original rice paper sleeve and no scratches. A new vinyl release runs around $25, he pointed out.

"I cut my teeth on vinyl growing up, so it holds a special place in my heart," he said.

His favorite album covers include "Stand Up" by Jethro Tull, which included a pop-up character, and an album by Oblivion that opened from the center with two wings.

A disc jockey for decades, Stance Bergelin of Fond du Lac said he owns about 500 records, each one filled with memories that cover "just about my whole life," he said.

"I play them every day. The Four Aces, Four Lads, the Ames brothers. I like those (harmonic) singing groups from back in the day," he said.

Like many youth of his generation, Bergelin, now 69, said he grew up with a transistor radio attached to his ear. Later, neighborhood kids hung out at the music store and tried out the latest records in little listening rooms that held a person or two.

"For many of us growing up poor, music became our friend," he said.

Reprinted By Permission