Nicely done. I liked the article and interview with the National Archive/Library of Congress folks.
I had the pleasure of going through and talking with the guys many years ago. I learned quite a bit.
Look forward to reading more from The Vinyl Press...
Good work Whart, pleased that you got this up at Audiogon.
Got your site bookmarked. Thanks for the tip.
Great looking site Whart. I enjoy your posts here and I look forward to perusing The Vinyl Press. Bookmarked.
The haunted Audiophile never sleeps ...
Very well done.
Good work Whart. Your site is now bookmarked.
Congratulations! Very well done and, obviously, a labor of love. I like your writing style and I think you strike a nice balance between musical and audiophile concerns; your love for the music comes through loud and clear. Good luck and I look forward to your updates.
Thanks to all of you for your kind words and support.
I recently added an interview with Stanley Booth, the guy who
wrote the insider's view of the Stone's '69 tour, was hanging
with Otis Redding as they laid down "Dock of the
Bay" (a few days before Redding's death) and lived the
music as a journalist who wrote about Gram Parsons, the Delta
blues and much more back in the late 60's. Also added, an
interview with EIL, the UK rare record dealer, and a very
basic guide to buying used records- most of which may be
common knowledge to seasoned vinyl collectors, may be helpful
to those who are just venturing in (or returning) to vinyl
and want to discover older pressings.
I've just begun a series of related articles, interviews and album reviews on the Island "pink label" era. Once complete, the series will provide a fairly in-depth look at a label whose artists, producers and releases gave us music that was not just influential, but changed the shape of much of what we listen to today. http://thevinylpress.com/island-records-the-pink-label-era/
At the risk of entering the fray, I posted a "thought piece" about
'purist' recordings, the primacy of the source material and notions of
playback "accuracy.' My intention is to provoke thought, not
Very Nice, I've added to my bookmarks and will check it out!
Looks like a great site. Kudos to you Whart, and best of luck with it.
I just finished reading your articles on buying used LP's, Jackson Browne, Little Feat, and the Eagles ..... looking forward to reading the rest.
Thank you both, there's some stuff deeper in the archives on Vertigo Swirl, on the Library of Congress restoration facility/archive, some interesting views on some of the old Island pink labels/rims from folks like Joe Boyd and the Nick Drake estate. I'm really enjoying the research and writing. (More on Island eventually too, as well as on the Warner 'green label' era). I appreciate the support.
There have been various comparisons of Tull's Aqualung on vinyl over the years, but since i have so many different pressings-US/UK/WLP/MoFi/DCC/Classic 33 and Classic 45 (both Quiex black and Clarity) as well as the latest Steve Wilson remix, I thought I'd do what may be one of more comprehensive shoot-outs. Hopefully, will have this completed by next weekend. http://thevinylpress.com/tull-aqualung-a-shoot-out-forthcoming/
A detailed, and fairly exhaustive, comparison of different pressings of Tull's
Aqualung, from the original UK and US pressings, the various
"audiophile" re-masters to the more recent Steve Wilson remix
(which is now available as a stand-alone piece of vinyl).
And for comparison:
Palasr: thanks for posting that- I hadn't seen it before, and I can see where the author comes out the way he does; we probably assign slightly different priorities to what we hear, our systems are undoubtedly different, etc. But, more in common, I think, than different. Interesting also, that it appears roughly at the same time as my piece. Must be something in the air.
I didn't buy the Steve Wilson remix on vinyl until it was released as a stand-alone item.
Haven't heard the Wilson reissue yet, but I'll likely pick one up for comparison; I thought he did an outstanding job on 'Benefit'. Personally, I find it tough to beat the Classic Clarity 45 - my understanding is that the tapes used were Ian Anderson's personal safety copies which had never been played prior to Classic's reissue.
THAT is the real stuff Whart. RLJones...absolutely spot on. You are way ahead to all these useless monthly record "recommendations" from online or print "mags"...
I've been adding content, not necessarily updating here as I go, but the John Martyn album, Solid Air, is probably something many of you would like- it's an odd amalgam of jazz-folk, but with an earthy rock beat. Players include John 'Rabbit' Bundrick (who worked with Bob Marley), Danny Thompson (ex-Pentangle) on bass, and much of Fairport Convention, including Richard Thompson. The record mixes jazz with folk, blues, twinges of bluegrass and some interesting rhythms. Highly recommended, both musically and sonically. Not a well-kept secret, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the record, it is a treat. http://thevinylpress.com/john-martyn-solid-air/
I recently received an invitation to contribute an essay to the National Recording Registry of the U.S. Library of Congress. The choice of my first piece was easy: Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced. Here is a link to the essay as it appears on my site (which includes a link to the piece as it appears on the National Registry): http://thevinylpress.com/are-you-experienced-the-jimi-hendrix-experience-1967/
It was a great privilege to do this.
This was a fun piece- I got the chance to interview Jeff Gold, the owner of Recordmecca and author of the book, "101 Essential Rock Records," to compare notes, not only about collectible pressings, but the sonics of some of these famous records. (Jeff is the guy who discovered those early Bob Dylan acetates a few years ago). His book is also well worth the modest price- it is a good reference for first pressings, has some great essays and is something you'll go back to just for the pleasure of studying some of the pages. http://thevinylpress.com/collectability-sonics-and-essential-records-comparing-notes-with-jeff-gold-owner-of-recordmecca/
If you are a blues fan, you might enjoy this essay about Hoodoo Man Blues, just published in the National Recording Registry, along with an interview of Bob Koester, the owner of Delmark Records (which released the record) and producer of the album. The record, though a studio album, captures the feel of a club band playing live and features Junior Wells, along with (an uncredited on early pressings) Buddy Guy.
Koester's knowledge of the blues is encyclopedic --he has been a vital part of the scene for 60 years--and he provides some good insights in both the essay and accompanying interview. This intro piece contains internal links that will get you to the essay and interview.http://thevinylpress.com/hoodoo-man-blues-essay-and-interview-with-bob-koester/
There's an Elmore James track, "Sunnyland" that I first heard around 1970 and have loved ever since. What I didn't realize until recently was that this was not the original version of the song Elmore recorded, but a late recording, done near the end of his life. (He died young, and never seemed to get the recognition he was due during his lifetime; he died shortly before the 'great blues revival' of the mid-'60s). I decided to research this a little, and that drove me to more questions, about the track, its origins and original release. Thankfully, I got some help from some real blues scholars, including one who has devoted much of his life to researching Elmore James. This left me very impressed by the efforts of real blues scholars, who unearth original documentation and oral histories. Here's the piece: http://thevinylpress.com/on-the-trail-of-elmore-james-sunnyland/
This recording has long been a favorite, both for the music and the sonics. Guy Van Duser, who teaches at the Berklee School, is a master guitarist with a bent for jazz and swing, and a talent for fingerpicking. Guy shares some of his insights into the recording, as well as his work with Chet Atkins, who was one of his early inspirations. http://thevinylpress.com/get-yourself-a-new-broom-chatting-with-guy-van-duser/
Prompted by my chat with the delightful Guy Van Duser, I dove into a pile of old Chet Atkins records that I hadn't listened to in years (along with a newly purchased copy of the "Sessions" album that Guy had mentioned as so influential). Here's the piece: http://thevinylpress.com/the-many-sides-of-chet-atkins/
There are also some additional new capsules on the great Garnet Mimms, a soul/gospel singer whose work may only now be starting to get the recognition it deserves. Also, a piece on '60s Michigan Rock, courtesy of a compilation on Seeds & Stems Records.
I'm finishing a detailed and fairly exhaustive piece on Canned Heat, their ties to the blues "rediscovery" era with some album reviews and other goodies. I hope to have that posted soon. In the meantime, some capsules were just posted: a listen to Terry Reid's "Seed of Memory"; a "where to start" on vinyl of the great Curtis Mayfield and a piece entitled "A Tale of Two Masterings"- a quick listen to The Band's "brown album" and a comparison of two highly regarded masterings of Boston's first album. More soon. http://TheVinylPress.com
Bill---Unbelievably (considering my age, which should have made me part of it's target audience---I wasn't, by choice), I until recently had never seen Woodstock the movie. The Band's set was not included, and they were the only Woodstock performers I was interested in by the time the movie originally showed. But it was recently on TV in my area, so I watched it. During their set I realized I had never before seen footage of Canned Heat live, and was very surprised by how they sounded, having heard them only on studio recordings previously. Is that set representative of how they sounded live, or rather a result of the circumstances of the show (C, S, & N had to go into the studio and redo their vocals, they were so out-of-tune!)?
BDP- hang in there with me, I've got a great piece which should publish next
week. I learned a lot by working on it.
From what I am told, the band was amazing live, and is still out there in an
obviously re-booted form. More soon, not trying to be coy, just don't want to
preempt my labors- this piece, really a set of pieces, was a bit of work!
Yeah, the original movie omitted some good stuff and it's been a long time
since I watched the home video, revamped version. Love the cigarette
scene, don't you? It captures a whole different vibe.
Did I misread or misunderstand--the Band is out there in a re-boot? All the singers have passed away...??? It's hard to imagine anyone replacing those three voices.
Tostadosunidos...I think they are talking about Canned Heat, not The Band?
Canned Heat, sorry for the confusion.
Oh, my bad, sorry--who's left from Canned Heat? I know Blind Owl checked out ages ago and he was my favorite, far and away.
Larry Taylor, the bass player, Fito, the drummer, Harvey Mandel has been in and out of the recent line-ups (he was at Woodstock b/c Vestine had quit the band at that time) and a couple others. I'll cover it when i post the piece on Monday.
The recent exploration of Canned Heat on TheVinylPress generated some real enthusiasm among readers, one of whom turned out to be Rebecca Davis, the author of “Blind Owl Blues,” an authoritative biography of Alan Wilson. Several readers had asked for a follow up piece on “Hooker ‘n Heat” (which I mentioned only in passing). Rebecca and I also had started to correspond. Who better, I thought, to write about this album than the biographer of Alan Wilson? The album came together in part because of the “Blind Owl’s” love for John Lee Hooker. My thanks to Rebecca Davis for her significant contributions to the body of work on Canned Heat and Alan Wilson. And for her essay on "Hooker ’n Heat," which appears for the first time on TheVinylPress, http://thevinylpress.com/hooker-n-heat-by-rebecca-davis/
Brooks Arthur has engineered and/or produced some incredible records over the course of more than 50 years: Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, as well as Blowin' Your Mind, which featured "Brown-Eyed Girl", some of the best-known early Phil Spector stuff, Springsteen, Dusty, Peggy Lee, Marvin Gaye, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, and a long, long list of others.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that I live not far from the little country studio Brooks once had in Rockland County, New York. But it is part of the local lore here- the place where some of the early Springsteen tracks were recorded, among many others.
The choice of the recording we discussed was no coincidence, however: Janis Ian's Between the Lines has been a musical and sonic benchmark for me since its release in 1975. It is neutral but rich sounding, intimate in its focus on Ms. Ian’s songs and voice, but grand and spacious and full of instrumental nuances.
The key people behind this record are still with us today, continuing to make music. Janis Ian still records and performs; Brooks still records, produces and acts as a music director for films; Robert Ludwig, who mastered the record at the time of its original release, is still as prolific as ever. Here's the piece, calledThe Art of Recording: A Conversation with Brooks Arthur
Regarding Aqualung, I finally have the Steven Wilson remix and it easily bests the MFSL.
Slaw: It really does bring a different perspective to the recording; I think I also re-ranked the old DCC as a really good listen (but that one is costly). Wilson’s remix of Benefit is also a huge improvement over the original in my estimation. I think Steve Wilson is a genius. (Check out In Absentia, one of his Porcupine Tree albums if you haven’t listened to his own work- it was reissued and is readily available on vinyl).
Don’t know if you saw it, but I recently interviewed Ian Anderson on the early Tull records. And there are more Wilson goodies in the pipeline.
Since my only reference (was) the MFSL, I believe it does bring an obviously different perspective, by comparison. (A while back, I started a thread, about what Aqualung pressings were best. Then, you replied, upon your shoot-out, the SW re-mix was your favorite).
I did not even need to go back to listen to the MOFI. What I hear is the following:
(1) I'm hearing a 40 year old recording that sounds like it was recorded recently.
(2) By comparison, from my memory... the PRAT is much improved. Why? There may have been an original speed inaccuracy, or the fact that everything has been cleaned up so much, that there is the perception of a more "lively" presentation?
(3) Every aspect of this lp is now, sonically correct and I can find no fault with it in my system.
I also think SW is a musical genius and have 95% of PT's output and am building my library of SW's solo works.
I just noticed that you started the Vinyl Press. I will look in to it. Thank you for your dedication to our hobby!
Slaw- thanks for the kind words. I’m going to equivocate a little in saying that the Wilson remix is my ’favorite’ - i think what I concluded was that it was a ’no brainer’ given the improvements SW made by remixing the album. Some of the early US Reprise pressings are very good, and can be found cheaply. I’ve had my MoFi copy of the album since it was released by MoFi. The 45 rpm Classic is very open sounding in the mids, lot’s of detail and nuance; but at a certain point it really becomes subjective. I will tell you it wasn’t easy to listen to Aqualung that many times, given the number of copies I compared.
If I had to pick a favorite Tull record overall, it would probably be Stand Up, though in listening to all the early Tull albums again recently, I do think Aqualung is a masterpiece as far as composition and performance are concerned.
Great site. After listening to some of nthe records I have I believe you and I have similar listening preferences. The Boston album is quite the revelation. Walt's is. Better! Lol.
tz- if you like Wally T's mastering and a little metal, Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast is amazing. - I never would have listened to this when I was younger- now, really dig a lot of stuff I missed, ignored or shunned. Thanks for your note.
I am looking for black sabbath paranoid and master of reality. Paranoid first. I remember this record from my younger days and it is definitely a great recording. Your comments on skynyrds second helping are spot on as well as I have both versions.