Let's see. Beloit, Wisconsin. Newton, Mississippi. Freehold, New Jersey. LaGrange, Georgia. For the past four weeks I have been leaving home very early Sunday mornings and returning Saturday afternoons or very late Friday nights. Work has been consuming my time to a great degree. And the towns I've been in have had no venues for live music. In fact, some haven't even had more than one restaurant open in the evenings (if you exclude fast food). I've been relying on my downloaded music in my iPad, and the occasional ability to go online from my hotel/motel room. Living in San Diego, I've become spoiled. Small town America is very much devoid of live music, good radio, and reliable Internet access, leaving culture as road kill by the side of the highway to hell. I won't go into my typical diatribe about how this country seems to be crawling into itself and not investing in opportunities for people to expand their artistic horizons.
I got home late Friday night, Halloween. Didn't get to hear my traditional playing of Duplex Halloween Planet, the Tube Radio Halloween Show (Straight from Hell) with Ray Cathode, Lady Diode, and Zippo Hiplock (who had died a few years before the original broadcast - yes, he was broadcasting from remote studios in Hell), or Voice of the Abnormal with Yukon Jack, dead in the studio. Actually it was after midnight, so Halloween was officially over. But before calling it a night we watched Peanuts' Great Pumpkin video. Had to do something to celebrate the holiday.
November 1 was the 29th anniversary of my marriage to Nancy. We reserved a table at Kaiserhof Restaurant, and invited our friends, Bernie & Gina, to spend the evening celebrating with us. From the Kaiserhof we went on to the Caliph to see Blue Velvet perform. It was another solid performance, with some new material, and the house was packed. We left at the end of their first set. The time changes from East to West coast finally caught up with me.
Today, it is a clear and crisp November day, with a temperature in the upper 60s. We may go on a road trip to the mountains. Or, perhaps a visit to Folk Art Records in North Park. Or maybe both!
Lately I've been upgrading some of my favorite 60s albums from the late 80s and early 90s versions I had purchased decades ago. This included Bubble Puppy - A Gathering of Promises, and The Golden Dawn - Power Plant, both reissued on the Charly/Snapper label and taken from the original master tapes. Both sound so much better than what I had. I ordered the 2012 releases of the Soft Machine's first three albums, as well as Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum in mono! I cannot wait for them to arrive. And, later this month the 45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of The Velvet Underground (3rd album) will be released in a 6-CD set. This will be a must have!!! Months ago I had upgraded Moody Blues - In Search of the Lost Chord, and it was so wonderful to hear this album in such spectacular sound! But, if you are looking to upgrade your CDs be forewarned that there are reissues that are totally horrible as well as those which do a great job of being true to the original master recordings. Do your homework and read the reviews from other listeners found on sites such as Amazon and AllMusic. Several years ago I purchased The Supremes - The Ultimate Collection, and was extremely disappointed. The lows had been cut off and the sound was so compressed it is nearly unlistenable. If I upgrade, I will want to sell the old version but I feel awful reselling such a poorly mastered reissue. And popular bands are not the only ones affected by poor releases. Sometimes the rarities get horrible treatment also. Many of these are what are called needle drops. This means they are taken from the best quality LP available, and not master tapes, which often have been lost or destroyed. Then, if the LP had lots of surface pops and crackles, noise reduction software is applied, often taking out the highs and lows, leaving a very flat sounding CD. Don't get me wrong, some needle drops are perfectly fine and are good placeholders until the original master tapes are used (if located) to make a better release. And I sometimes put up with the horrible sounding reissue because it is the only thing available. Palmer Rockey's Scarlet Love was only available via original LP, if one was lucky enough to find one, or by downloading an mp3 file at less than 100 bit rate that sounded like it was recorded under water. But then Johnny Trunk Records located a solid LP copy and issued a CD that could not sound better had they had the original master tapes (which are long lost, along with all copies of Rockey's film of the same name). If possible, always read reviews - several reviews, since there are always people who have a weird sense of what is good and bad and thus are not reliable - and always sample whenever possible, before putting money down.
Well, I am home for a week, so I will try and get some more posts put out regarding ideas that have been swimming around in my head for months (before they drown in a brain stew of other amazing claustrophobic thoughts).