Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beatles Remastered Vinyl LPs will include Mono!!

Great news! The mono versions of the new vinyl collection will be released 'next year'. No specific date.

The stereo versions will be out for Christmas (sometime in November). Price is rumored to be about 400 smackers.

Looks like a great set for us vinyl freaks. I don't really want the yucky stereo version of Sgt. Pepper's, but I do want that cool box and book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Andy Williams Dies

When I was a kid, my Mom always made us watch the 'Andy Williams Christmas' specials. The early shows featured Andy and his kids and wife Claudine Longet. The weird part was that even after they got divorced, Claudine would still come on the show.

I guess it's kind of admirable because nowadays, having divorced parents at family gatherings is no big deal. They were TV's first real 'modern family'. And the fact that Andy supported her after she accidentally shot and killed her new boyfriend is also admirable.

I always liked him as a singer. I even have one or two Andy Williams albums. And he was cool back in the day because he had a 'Kennedy' connection and supported Bobby Kennedy's campaign for President.

But it really made me sad when he came out against Obama a few years ago. Sad not because he simply didn't care for Obama but how he said it. Williams called Obama a 'Marxist' and made other crazy statements. This from 'Mr. Christmas'. A guy who's whole persona was that of a 'nice guy'.

I don't have a grudge against every celebrity Republican. I still like Clint Eastwood even after the 'empty chair' stunt. So does Obama, apparently.

But regarding Andy Williams: Even though I find it hard to dismiss his 'crazy' statements, I still have a soft spot for him. 'Moon River' was my Mom's favorite song, and I still get a little choked up when I hear it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Remastered Vinyl Beatles Coming Soon

In November, all 14 albums will be coming out on vinyl. This is the same package released a few years ago as the 'CD Remasters'. This is good news since I love 'records'.

But the bad news is that I don't read any mention of mono versions being released. Apple released the first 10 albums and Past Masters in a special Mono Box (the last three albums never had mono mixes).

I've listened to both mono and stereo versions  and done some reading up on other people's opinions, and I prefer the mono on all the albums with three exceptions: Help!, Rubber Soul and The White Album.

I won't bore you with all of the details, e.g., Help! in mono sounds kind of muddy, but I will say that the mono version of some of them, especially Sgt. Pepper's, should be the official version.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Movin' On" in Portland, 1974

'Movin' On' wasn't a great show, but I liked it. The fact that it was filmed 'on the road' made it different and the two stars had a nice chemistry.

Just saw an episode filmed in my hometown, Portland. The story involves the boys giving a ride to man pushing his wife from Boise to Portland in a wheelchair. The great and underrated James Olson (best known for The Andromeda Strain) is the man.

But the greatest thing about the episode was seeing Claude Akins riding a mini-bike through Portland's famous department store, Meier and Frank (it's a Macy's now). I won't explain why he was riding a mini-bike, but it was pretty funny.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Best Beatles Album?

If I had to introduce The Beatles to someone with just one album, it would come down to three choices:

A) A Hard Day's Night (Parlophone version)

B) Rubber Soul (Capitol Version)

C) Abbey Road

And the winner is:

The North American version of Rubber Soul is the perfect mid-point of the Beatles' career. Still accessible to the bubble crowd, it was also their first LP that appealed to college kids and adults. And unlike the British version, it does away with the weak Ringo number 'What Goes On' and the out of place noisy 'Drive My Car'. Instead, Capitol used leftovers from Help! that were a better fit for the rest of the collection, namely, 'I've Just Seen a Face' and 'It's Only Love.'

I'm also basing my choice on the opinions of friends and family I've heard over the years. Rubber Soul holds a special place in the hearts of a lot of folks that I don't hear expressed with any other Beatles LPs. People truly love this record.

And while A Hard Day's Night perfectly captures the early sound and is the best example of early Lennon (it's practically a solo John Lennon album), I sense a 'you had to be there' feel to it.

Abbey Road, is a near perfect album and has the best production quality of all their records. But being their last album, it doesn't feel like a group effort. Like 'The White Album', it's a four-way solo album with the other guys playing sidemen on each others tunes.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Labor Day Without Jerry Lewis

For me, the MDA Telethon has been over for a while now. Not just the last two years that Jerry Lewis is no longer the host, but for the last 20 years or so.

It was then that my local MDA 'Love Network' channel (Channel 2 in the Bay Area), stopped carrying it live and actually started to play it Monday morning at 9AM. But even before Channel 2 started that stupid delayed broadcast crap, I was loosing interest because Jerry would 'rest' and disappear during the wee hours of the show.

The heyday of the MDA Telethon was the 70's and early 80's.

In those days Jerry was wild. He would go from being sad, sweet and lovable one moment, to angry, short-tempered and bitter the next. Very uncomfortable but totally fascinating. His career was in the dumpster and he was lit up on pain killers. It was a blast.

I would watch the whole show, wired on coffee and on the edge of my seat every time Jerry was on the air. This was in the day of no Internet and no YouTube. So if Jerry was going to do something crazy at 3AM, you had to be watching it at 3AM. The only option was taping all 20 hours on your VCR.

I actually tried taping it a few times, but found that after Labor Day, I had no interest in watching it. For me, it had to be seen live or it lost all of the impact.

Also, I should note, I always made a pledge because Jerry made me feel so damn guilty if I didn't.

Those were my Portland days and it can get really hot in Portland around Labor Day. Three-digits hot. As the late evening turned into early morning, the city would cool down. But by the time the show wrapped on Labor Day afternoon, the temperature had climbed up again and I was spent.

With sleep deprivation and images of wheelchairs and schizophrenic Jerry swirling in my head, I would feel like I was coming down from a crazy drug trip. God how I miss that.