Showing posts with label music industry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music industry. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

We must Facebook the music here


It started with the Grinch Who Muted Christmas Music.

It ended with the last straw for me on Facebook after a decade wasting way too much time and productivity there. Here is the one thing you need to know about everybody's favorite addiction: Facebook is the devil. Ask Parliament.

Make that co-devil. The incompetent, greedy conglomerates that ate the music industry are just as evil. I eagerly await the leak of their internal memos and emails.

I don't know exactly why it took me this long -- and why the last straw was a geeky string of muted Facebook videos shot on my iPhone -- to delete my account. But here I am.

Last week, Facebook and Sony Music Entertainment decided that my 1936 Zenith, playing Christmas music in a video I posted last year, was a threat to the entire music-copyright regime. Thus, I was notified that, for all my Facebook friends and enemies, the sound of yuletide also would be the sound of silence.

This was my entirely unconvincing appeal of patent insanity . . . or Digital Millennium Copyright Act insanity, to be precise:

It's background music played on a bloody antique radio, for God's sake. This is absurd.

If anyone is using this video to bootleg music, he is a moron. This is just insane. Stop it.

THIS WEEK, Russia's favorite social-media platform, some other bunch of music charlatans muted a nerdy, geekly little iPhone video of a 1949 7-inch single playing on my 1957 Zenith record changer. I thought it was a bit of audio-enthusiast fun with sufficiently not-good-enough-to-pirate audio.

Which no one was making a penny off of.


Corporate America thought it was a mortal threat. You know, like women smoking cigarettes are for the Islamic State.

And last night, after the copyright Nazis yet again muted the audio on a video of another exceedingly old 45 I got at an estate sale, the reason for my disgust crystallized in my mind. Short version: Facebook is the devil.

Long version: It seems that Facebook is a corporate entity dedicated to eating the capitalistic and societal seed corn. I think you reach that point on a couple of levels -- you successfully addict people to your product, then spend years abjectly exploiting them while you destroy, bit-by-bit, the product's value and utility.

The second level? A good example is the virtual impossibility of posting genial little videos like those of mine that keep getting muted (because ambient-sound music on iPhone videos obviously will destroy all music sales on every level). It illustrates a larger issue about Facebook that doesn't bode well for our country (anyone's country, actually) or our society. Basically, it's a crapload easier to post the worst kind of racist propaganda and hatred, then have it stay on the platform and spread like a metastasizing cancer than it is to post a geeky, innocent video of a radio or a record playing that's more likely just to make people smile and wax nostalgic.

Then we have Boris and Natasha. Has it not been extensively documented how simple it was for Russian saboteurs to flood Facebook with abject fakery and disinformation in order to steal an American presidential election and perhaps fatally undermine the world's greatest democracy?


THIS IS what happens during the terminal stages of capitalism and capitalistic societies, when human beings -- citizens of advanced Western nation states -- are nothing but pieces of meat whose utility ends at the point some corporate entity extracts their last dime.

Bigotry and hatred, corporate America can monetize via platforms like Facebook in much the same manner Donald Trump turns it into political capital. Stupid little videos of old record players playing old records -- or old radios playing Christmas music -- are not nearly so profitable for the platform or those to whom it sells your personal information. Indeed, some music-industry megalith sees your stupid little video as imperiling the extraction of the last nickel from an industry mortally wounded by those self-same corporations' overarching greed and lack of marketing vision.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when you find that you're spending too much time somewhere that expressly makes it easier to do bad than good . . . run. Run far away.

That's what I'm doing -- running. Plus, if I'm exposed to much more of the average level of language-arts proficiency on Facebook, I'm gonna regress to communicating via clicks and grunts.

I suppose one could write strongly worded letters to our corporate overlords. That, however, would take years and cramp millions of fingers. It also, I betting, would avail us nothing.

Or . . . you starve the bastards. Tragically, the only universal language (and common value) today is money. If they can't sell my eyeballs to advertisers, Facebook is diminished just a little. If Facebook can't sell 500 million eyeballs to marketers, it's screwed.

I mean, how many f***ing selfies can you take and overshare? Am I right?


Bye, Facebook. I can feel life becoming simpler (and less overshared) already.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back when country music was

I was of a mind to listen to some country music this evening. So I went back to 1972, and a classic Loretta Lynn album.

On vinyl.

I liked it when I was young, and thin, and had more hair, which wasn't gray, and it sounded exactly like country music when you put on a country LP.
Thus concludes this late-night rant by a nostalgic old man who's just sick of it all.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

George Martin: Genius behind the geniuses


Back at Abbey Road, Martin gave The Beatles the chance to respond to his dressing down. "I've laid into you for quite a long time," he said. "You haven't responded. Is there anything you don't like?" 
"Well, for a start," replied George Harrison, "I don't like your tie." 

The quip broke the ice and The Beatles relaxed into comedy mode. 

"For the next 15 to 20 minutes they were pure entertainment," recalled Norman Smith. "I had tears running down my face." 

Despite his misgivings, Martin eventually decided The Beatles had "the potential to make a hit record" and gave them a recording deal on 6 June (backdated by two days so as to secure copyright to the recording session). 

He later admitted it was their "tremendous charisma" rather than their music that won him over. "When you are with them, you are all the better for being with them and when they leave you feel a loss," he told Sue Lawley. 

"I fell in love with them. It's as simple as that."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where have all Papa's heroes gone?

Ain't there a pen that will write before they die?
Ain't you proud that you've still got faces?
Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?
One? 

Any more, yeah. Lots.

My generation ain't no young Americans no more, and David Bowie is dead.
"We live for just these twenty years
Do we have to die for the fifty more?"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A what player? Porno player? What? Pono?

An old friend sent me an email to ask my thoughts on Neil Young's Pono Player.

My first thought was that the last thing I ever want to see is Neil Young nekkid.

My second thought, after a second look, was "Oh. Pono Player. That's completely different, then. Never mind."


I actually hadn’t been paying attention to the Pono Player in the slightest -- I guess when you get off the what’s-new-in-music bus, you get off the bus. I guess that was a bad thing for a guy who does a music podcast to admit, wasn't it?

Oops.

Anymore, I find that I inhabit the old-fart universe where we daydream about how good the buses used to be before all those little pimp-wannabe a-holes got on and ruined it with their f-ing hip-hop crap. And I frankly find little contemporary music that excites me enough to run out and buy it, either in the store or online.

About half of that dwindling amount is either a new jazz recording I fancy . . . or the latest Rosanne Cash record. Hell, I haven’t even bought the new Springsteen record yet.

I guess that was a bad thing for a guy who does a music podcast to admit, wasn't it?

Oops redux.
  
What I do now is scour the used-vinyl bins at Homer's and at  Goodwill, looking for treasures. Usually, those are albums that my generation's parents would have liked, back from when our parents were much younger than us . . . and often from before there was an us.

One advantage of this kind of record-picking is that “old people” took care of their LPs; teenagers didn’t. Unless the teenager was geeky ol' me. Anyway, I find that a pristine LP from 1962 -- say, on RCA Victor before they began to cheap-out on material and quality control in the late ‘60s -- is a sonically transcendent experience, and that’s an all-analog deal from the vintage ribbon mic in the studio to the vintage tape recorder in the control room to the turntable right next to me.


OH . . . right. About that Porno . . . uh, Pono Player thingy.

I’m probably the target audience for the Pono Player -- me and some wealthy audio freaks (all 487 of them), along with some hipsters who just discovered vinyl and have deemed it hip, happening and now. I -- we -- already have our Pono Players. We call them “records.”

Often, we also call them CDs Not By Rock Bands, who all have turned the compression and hard limiting up to not 11 but instead to 479 in the mastering studio.

Right now on my iMac's hard drive, I have 18,585 songs. That probably represents less than a third of what I have on LPs, CDs, 45s, reel-to-reels, cassettes and 78s. A not-insignificant amount of those hard-drive music files came from iTunes. But I digress.

Anyway, my default quality for the MP3s on the ol’ iMac is 320 kbps, which maxes out that encoding scheme. One might reasonably ask why 320 kbps MP3. The reasonable answer is that the MP3 format is ubiquitous and that, at 320 kbps, I can’t tell the difference from a CD. And to be so honest as to be completely unhip, unhappening and very un-now, a well-recorded, competently mastered CD (as allegedly compromised as it is in the geriatric-rock-star ears of Neil Young) sounds really good, though a little less “warm” than analog.

AND THAT, basically, is what Young, Bruce Springsteen and all their Kickstarter investors are betting millions on with the Pono Player -- absolute subjectivity. Really, once you manage to transcend low-bitrate MP3s of music that’s been so compressed, limited and clipped that the audio file looks like a green 2-by-4 on your digital audio workstation, “better” is as much in your imagination as it is in your sound system.

Remember SACD players? Better still, remember the studies showing that “Super Audio” CDs didn’t really sound better than regular CDs? All the “technical superiority” in the world really doesn’t matter if studio microphones can’t achieve it and, at any rate, only your dog could hear it. 

So my worth-what-you-paid-for-it verdict is this: If you bet the farm on the Pono Player, don’t be surprised if you end up feeling quite (ahem) “Helpless” as your investment gets Zuned.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I'll do my crying in the rain


From the day I was old enough to put a 45 onto a phonograph platter and a needle into a record groove, the Everly Brothers have been part of the soundtrack of my life.

Some years before that, the siblings -- who first hit the airwaves on KMA radio in Shenandoah, Iowa, about 70 miles down the road from where I write -- made themselves a linchpin not just of rock 'n' roll, but also of something culturally more expansive. From the Los Angeles Times obituary:
Phil Everly, who with his brother, Don, made up the most revered vocal duo of the rock-music era, their exquisite harmonies profoundly influencing the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and countless younger-generation rock, folk and country singers, has died. He was 74.

Everly died Friday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife, Patti Everly, told The Times.

"We are absolutely heartbroken," she said, noting that the disease was the result of a lifetime of cigarette smoking. "He fought long and hard."
During the height of their popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Everly Brothers charted nearly three dozen hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, among them "Cathy's Clown," "Wake Up Little Susie," "Bye Bye Love," "When Will I Be Loved" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." They were among the first 10 performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it got off the ground in 1986.

"They had that sibling sound," said Linda Ronstadt, who scored one of the biggest hits of her career in 1975 with her recording of "When Will I Be Loved," which Phil Everly wrote. "The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound [with family] that you never get with someone who's not blood related to you. And they were both such good singers — they were one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock 'n' roll sound."

Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, said Friday, "When you talk about harmony singing in the popular music of the postwar period, the first place you start is the Everly Brothers.... You could say they were the vocal link between all the 1950s great doo-wop groups and what would come in the 1960s with the Beach Boys and the Beatles. They showed the Beach Boys and the Beatles how to sing harmony and incorporate that into a pop music form that was irresistible."
(snip)
Vince Gill, the 20-time Grammy-winning country singer and guitarist, said in an interview with The Times on Friday: "I honestly believe I've spent the last 40 years, on every record I've been part of for somebody else, trying to be an Everly. On every harmony part I've sung, I was trying to make it as seamless as Phil did when he sang with Don. They had an unfair advantage — they were brothers — but I've spent my whole life chasing that beautiful, beautiful blend."

AND WHEN YOU have that kind of impact on those who follow -- when you can transcend mere celebrity and touch something so deep inside so many -- something happens that leaves the word "profound" wildly insufficient as an adjective.

When you connect on that level . . . first with an individual and then another, and another, and another, and then scores upon scores more . . . and then you work your way into the conversation that is culture . . . and then those whose souls you first touched begin to reach out. . . .


THEN you live forever, even though you someday die.

Phil Everly is dead. Long live Phil Everly.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Culture vs. anticulture



It reflects what it means to be human, what it means to love.
It calls us to be fully ourselves -- or at least our best selves.
It touches the heart as it engages the mind.
For a moment, it's as if we can see the face of God . . .
and we are shattered, for who can withstand the divine?

This is who we are. Or should be.



This is anticulture.

It reflects the deviant and devolved of our society.
It is ugly. It is banal. It celebrates urges detached
from both love and reason. It is less than human . . .
and barely more than animal -- if that.

What this tells us about humanity, we don't want to hear.
Looking at Miley Cyrus throughout this silly dispatch
from Dante's Inferno, the word "estrus" comes to mind.
This child who (I presume) was born human . . . 
well, she's presenting like an orangutan.

This is who we are. But shouldn't be.
This will not end well, though end it will.

Kyrie eleison. (But not on Robin Thicke.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nerve, defined


The headline on NPR's Planet Money blog sums it up so well, it leaves one with little else to say:
Robin Thicke's Song Sounds Like Marvin Gaye. So He's Suing Gaye's Family.
WELL, that about covers it. All I have to add is Robin Thicke's actions here pretty much define "nerve."

In this new age of the barbarian, the future belongs to the plunderer.

Friday, June 07, 2013

After further consideration. . . .


Kanye West was right.

Watching Taylor Swift preen and oversing her way through Marianne Faithfull's masterpiece, "As Tears Go By," is too much to bear. She needs to go away. Now.

What's worse is that the shameless and decrepit Mick Jagger has so little respect for the song he and Keith Richards wrote that he co-leads the charge in its defilement. At least Richards' acoustic-guitar work is nice.

Still, it's increasingly clear this is a band that should have hung it up before it released the "Some Girls" album in 1978. The destruction of a great legacy began then, and it's now being capped off with the band's sad and shambles-worthy 50th-anniversary tour.

WATCHING the concert videos from this tour -- videos released by the Stones themselves -- is like going to the open-casket funeral of someone who died in some horrific, fiery accident . . . with the narcissistic, imbecilic Swift preening her way through the proceedings.

Only this grotesque spectacle is totally self-inflicted.

I would have preferred to remember the deceased the way they were, back when I was young and they were good. But now I can't. The mangled, charred corpse of the "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" forever will be branded on my brain.

File this under "The Dangers of Planning Your Own Funeral."

Crap. Even getting myself Keith Richards wasted couldn't make me forget what can't be forgotten.

Thanks, guys.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who's gonna fill the Possum's shoes?


I wonder whether St. Peter has ever had anyone pull up to the Pearly Gates on a riding lawn mower.

Well, he has now. The Possum has left this vale of tears and taken off on the grandest tour of them all, one on which all broken hearts are mended and all tears are wiped away forever.
George Jones, the definitive country singer of the last half-century, whose songs about heartbreak and hard drinking echoed his own turbulent life, died on Friday in Nashville. He was 81

His publicists, Webster & Associates, said he died at a hospital after being admitted there on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Mr. Jones’s singing was universally respected and just as widely imitated. With a baritone voice that was as elastic as a steel-guitar string, he found vulnerability and doubt behind the cheerful drive of honky-tonk and brought suspense to every syllable, merging bluesy slides with the tight, quivering ornaments of Appalachian singing.

In his most memorable songs, all the pleasures of a down-home Saturday night couldn’t free him from private pain. His up-tempo songs had undercurrents of solitude, and the ballads that became his specialty were suffused with stoic desolation. “When you’re onstage or recording, you put yourself in those stories,” he once said.

Fans heard in those songs the strains of a life in which success and excess battled for decades. Mr. Jones — nicknamed Possum for his close-set eyes and pointed nose and later No-Show Jones for the concerts he missed during drinking and drug binges — bought, sold and traded dozens of houses and hundreds of cars; he earned millions of dollars and lost much of it to drug use, mismanagement and divorce settlements. Through it all, he kept touring and recording, singing mournful songs that continued to ring true.

Mr. Jones was a presence on the country charts from the 1950s into the 21st century, and as early as the 1960s he was praised by listeners and fellow musicians as the greatest living country singer. He was never a crossover act; while country fans revered him, pop and rock radio stations ignored him. But by the 1980s, Mr. Jones had come to stand for country tradition. Country singers through the decades, from Garth Brooks and Randy Travis to Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, learned licks from Mr. Jones, who never bothered to wear a cowboy hat.

“Not everybody needs to sound like a George Jones record,” Alan Jackson, the country singer and songwriter, once told an interviewer. “But that’s what I’ve always done, and I’m going to keep it that way — or try to.”
ANOTHER GREAT ONE is gone at a time when we seem to be losing great ones at a quickening pace.


That leaves me with one big question -- a question Jones once asked himself.


REST IN PEACE, Possum. Your music lives on. Amen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everything I need to know, I learned in 1948

Click on photos for larger, readable versions

This isn't just an old issue of the Capitol News -- the way rad tout mag from the hot-wax peddlers in Tinseltown.

This isn't just another "primary source document" for students of the cultural history of the United States.

And this isn't just another fascinating estate-sale find in Omaha, Neb.

No, Poindexter, this is a guide to good living, good music, good writing and good times. Everything you need to know, pally, you'll learn in 1948. Because, as the continued existence and occasional unearthing of this cultural touchstone proves, it's always Postwar America somewhere . .  and there you, too, can be a hep cat, baby!

So, what did I learn from the preserved wisdom of '48? A few things.

FOR EXAMPLE, from the cover of the December 1948 edition of the platter-patter rag, I learned that if you're one to watch the record go 'round and 'round when you're grooving on your stacks of wax, don't be surprised if your eyeballs turn into spinning 78s.


I ALSO learned that the wise owl better give a hoot what Dave Dexter says -- he's gonna sign Sinatra to Capitol someday, you wait and see. I don't think he'll "get" the British invasion and the lads from Liverpool, though, Daddy-O!


AND WHILE I was doing a double take on that news blast about how Columbia's movie mavens are remaking Latin music maker Desi Arnaz into La-La Land's new cha-cha heartthrob, I found myself wondering what hilarious hijinks Lucy and Ethel will inflict upon the Left Coast.


LIKEWISE, didja ever wonder what the Pied Pipers would sing if they were pie-eyed? And do you suddenly want a piece of pie now?

I do.

I wonder why.


AND WE SEE that Nat  King Cole had himself a hit with "The Christmas Song" some 12 years before he had himself a hit with "The Christmas Song."



ONE VERY IMPORTANT thing to learn is that you got to be hep to the lingo, Clyde.

If you're not hep to the lingo, you might have ignorantly turned the headline Blues Bawlers / Sign New Cap / Waxing Pacts into something like Blue Ballers / Sign New Cap / Waxing Pacts. There's a difference, you know.



FINALLY, Capitol Records not only provides "Christmas cheer throughout the year," it also provides a pretty decent workout from lugging those albums full of 78s all over creation.

So drop the needle in a groove, dude, and we'll chatter about the platters long into the new-old year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This afternoon's listening


It's not a bad way to spend 40-something minutes of a cool November day, listening to the Stones as the sun sinks behind the Nebraska plains well before suppertime.

This is the time of year when you're really starting to miss the daylight we had just the other day, it seems like. And you're wanting it back.

But as Mick Jagger says, "You can't always get what you want."

True, true. . . .

"But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."


Like a late fall fix of 1969's "Let It Bleed," one of a stretch of albums the Rolling Stones made back when the Rolling Stones made albums that mattered. Mick from London -- another Mick from London, Mick Brown who writes for The Telegraph -- says that hasn't been the case for a very, very long time. And he adds that the bad boys grampaws of rock 'n' roll should just hang it up after a half century.
On Sunday night, while the Rolling Stones were performing for 20,000 people at the O2 in London – the first of five concerts they will be playing in London and New York to mark their 50th anniversary – one of their early heroes was also making an appearance a few miles across town, in the somewhat shabbier surroundings of the Kentish Town Forum.

Bobby Womack is the veteran soul singer who wrote, and with his group The Valentinos recorded, the original version of It’s All Over Now, which gave the Stones their first number one hit in Britain in 1964. Womack once recalled his chagrin at his mentor Sam Cooke giving the Stones his song, and depriving him of having the hit himself. “I was still screaming and hollering right up until I got my first royalty cheque. Man, the amount of money rolling in shut me right up.”

Womack, 68, who styles himself as “the Soul Survivor”, has survived drug problems, near-penury and cancer. He was performing songs from a new album, The Bravest Man In The Universe (modesty was never his strong suit), produced by another, younger admirer, Damon Albarn.

The Rolling Stones, who started out as a rhythm and blues covers band, borrowing heavily from black artists such as Womack (a debt which, to their credit, they have always warmly acknowledged), are now among the wealthiest entertainers in the world, a thriving corporation, steered by a CEO – Mick Jagger – who has demonstrated a mixture of shrewdness and business acumen that makes him the peer of any more strait-laced captain of industry.

The Stones are reportedly being paid more than £15 million for their five shows. Ticket prices for the London performances range from £95 to £375, with a “VIP hospitality” ticket priced at £950, and no concessions for the pensioners who are the group’s most devoted audience, many of whom will doubtless have travelled to the O2 on their Freedom Passes. 
We can put aside Jagger’s blithe explanations that when it comes to ticket prices the group are merely hapless victims of market forces, or Ronnie Wood’s shrugging dismissal that “we’ve got to make something”. The Stones long ago set the benchmark for shameless cynicism when it comes to exploiting “the brand”. Among the luxury items on offer when the box-set of Exile On Main Street was released two years ago was a limited-edition box of three lithographs, “signed individually by Mick, Keith or Charlie”, priced at £1,999.99. Note, that’s “or”, not “and”. 
By one account, the biggest crush of the night at the O2 was not at the front of the stage but at the merchandising stand, where eager customers were spending £200 on a poster of a gorilla’s face – the artwork on the cover of the the band’s newly released greatest hits, Grrr!. Of course, one should not begrudge a handful of pensioners a few bob in their declining years, but as Johnny Rotten once said, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
(snip)

It is an odd paradox that while the Stones have not made an album worth listening to since Tattoo You in 1981, they are bigger business now than they ever were – the prime example of Sixties and Seventies rock music as heritage industry. The Stones performing their greatest hits, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Van Morrison performing Astral Weeks – these are rock music’s equivalent of the blockbuster Jackson Pollock or David Hockney retrospective.

Some manage this trick better than others. It is a tired and familiar trope to point out the irony of old rockers, who can barely make it to the stage unaided, singing the anthems of their rebellious youth: The Who, for example, singing My Generation at the Olympics closing ceremony (or to be more precise, half the Who, the rhythm half having sadly fulfilled the song’s prophecy). Paul McCartney has become a national institution, wheeled out at state occasions to sing the creaking Hey Jude – the post-war generation’s We’ll Meet Again – with ever-diminishing effect. Surely it’s time to give it a rest?
YEAH, I can agree with that. The Stones lost me with "Some Girls," on which they tried to be disco-relevant in 1978. The lowlight was the title track -- Google the lyrics and cringe.

Anyway, Brown was just setting the stage for his coup de grace . . . which I also can go along with.
Watching the splendid documentary Crossfire Hurricane, shown on the BBC over two consecutive weekends, reminded you of just how glamorous, how dangerous, how romantic the Stones were in their prime; a different species altogether from the cadavers who emerged, as if from creaking coffins, on to the O2 stage. Jagger is, as they say, marvellous for his age but nobody would describe him as “a soul survivor” – unless one counts surviving the inconvenience of tax exile, two expensive divorces and, by his own account, “dozens” of paternity suits.

It was always said of Jagger that his ambitions were to mingle with the aristocracy. He achieved that and more; in a sense, the Stones became the aristocracy themselves, in the process exhibiting some of the more disagreeable characteristics of their caste, with all the air of entitlement and the barely concealed disdain for the paying punter.

Another song comes to mind. “Let’s drink to the hard-working people/Let’s drink to the lowly of birth/Raise your glass to the good and the evil/Let’s drink to the salt of the earth.”

The song is Salt of the Earth by … the Rolling Stones. It was not a song they found time to play at the O2. They did, however, perform It’s All Over Now. Surely now, it’s really time it was.
AT LEAST we still have the albums from when the Stones still mattered.

Albums from a time before the talented cads became whatever it is they are today, which I suspect bears an unfortunate resemblance to the dirty old men of Bide-a-Wee Manor, regaling nurses half their age with stories of how they used to be somebody as they try to cop a feel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Capitol idea!

 

My vinyl geekery knows no bounds. This is why I've been having a Capitol time the last couple of days.

(Insert groan here.) 

What we have here aren't just fine mid-century jazz LPs by the George Shearing Quintet and Dakota Staton. Oh, no!

No, what we also have here in the Revolution 21 studio are the first two iterations of Capitol's iconic "rainbow" label.

The Shearing LP, for example, is the second "rainbow" label the record company used, starting sometime in 1959. That makes it easy to tell that this album, though first released in 1956, actually was pressed and purchased no earlier than, say, late '59.


Because Capitol changed its label design again in 1962, putting the logo at the top, we know this record is an older pressing than that. (I told you my geekery knows no bounds.)

The third version of the "rainbow"? That's the one we know from, say, the original pressings of "Meet the Beatles," etc., and so on.


AND WE also know (getting back to the vintage album at hand) where it was purchased -- Younkers department store at one of the nation's first shopping malls, The Center at 42nd and Center streets in Omaha.

At left, on the other hand, is the very first of Capitol's "rainbow" labels, which featured the vertical "LONG PLAYING HIGH-FIDELITY" on it. The company introduced the new LP label in 1958, and the modification on the Shearing album first appeared the next year.

Being that this LP -- "Dynamic!" by Staton -- was a promotional copy, I'll betcha it's from '58.

Gee, I wasn't even born then. That's old.

I wonder how record geeks got along without me. Fortunately for them, I showed up in 1961.

Anyway, how much you wanna bet this stuff shows up on the next edition of the Big Show, otherwise known as 3 Chords & the Truth.


BE THERE. 

Or be square. 

Aloha!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Look, folks! They're not actually singing!


There really was a more innocent time in TV history. Hosts would tell you when the acts were faking it.

Well, OK. Maybe only Arthur Godfrey would tell you when the acts were faking it, er . . . lip synching . . . which is one of the dadgum hardest things to pull off in show bidness, dadgummit!

Certainly more difficult than getting the performers' names right -- when the Carpenters appeared on this 1969 episode of the syndicated Your All-American College Show, Arthur managed to turn Richard into "Ed."

No, Ed was the name of the slab of carved stone placed next to Godfrey. Back in the day, slabs of carved rock were known to have long-running variety shows on network television. We are hopeful this age's brightest archaeologists -- soon, one hopes -- will be able to explain this ancient practice.

ANYWAY, it was just as well that Godfrey proudly touted that "what they're gonna do is give you the number right off the album, and what these kids are gonna do is lip-sync it." Viewers would have figured it out from a few clicks and pops in the audio . . . because they were playing "Ticket to Ride" right off the album. Not a tape.

Thus was the world of syndicated TV shows in the 1960s.


AND FOR your trivia enjoyment, here from 1968 is The Carpenters' first TV appearance -- as The Dick Carpenter Trio, also on Your All-American College Show.

The Interwebs . . . you can find
anything in there.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stones @ 50: The logo


Wheeee! The Rolling Stones have been together 50 years . . . and they have the uber-hip Shepard Fairey logo to prove it!

Actually, as are many things in life, this is a gross oversimplification.

If we want to be strictly accurate, 2012 marks the 34th anniversary of the Rolling Stones becoming a parody of themselves in their 16th-anniversary year.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The air that Cher breathes

Cher won't grow up
(She won't grow up)
It's more fun to just emote
(Lots more fun to just emote)
Learn to squawk just like a parrot
(Tweet and squawk just like a parrot)
And spew like a fireboat
(And spew like a fireboat)

If growing up means
It would be beneath her dignity to let her dumbth flow free
She'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not she!
Not her!
Not she!
Not sheeeeeeeeee!

-- Apologies to Carolyn Leigh

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rockin' through the decades with Dick




These are the times of our lives. Lurking around many of them was an ageless man named Dick Clark and a TV touchstone called American Bandstand.

Here's the way we were in 1964.




And in 1967.



1968.



1976.




1977.



1978.



1983.



1987 . . . the last network show.

The day the music died. Again.




Dick Clark is dead, according to the TMZ website.

The cause apparently was a massive heart attack after undergoing an "outpatient procedure" at a Los Angeles hospital. The man who once seemed ageless before a stroke in 2004, was 82.

Thus, an era truly ends as another piece of 'Boomers' lives slips into the mists of time.