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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Round Plastic Things with Holes in the Middle

My friend Tim wrote to me last night to which I responded and it is below - a very interesting subject that demands more than what is written here but hopefully will stimulate some thoughts,and memories.

Good Evening Mick,

I just finished reading “Memoirs of a Super Freak”, Rick James’ autobiography..wow..now that man had lead the life he sung about. In the early days he hung out and played with Crosby, Still, Nash and Young when they were still in Canada..and the group called “The Band”.(he was up there AWOL from the US Navy) partied with Jim Morrison and many others.

After reading his book, I decided to pick up more of his music; while on eBay, I came across some LPs dirt cheap, and purchased them just for the heck of it; figured I could hang them on the wall in my garage or something like that.

This is the part you will probably appreciate..I realized something has been lost in the production of music today..the cover art..now days cover art has been reduced to either a small square on a cd, or if you’re like me and have converted over to all mp3. The cover art is nothing more than a 200 x 200 jpeg that displays on your iPod.

I had forgotten the importance that cover art had in the days of vinyl; then I pulled the album out to find more on the sleeve inside..

I’ve actually noticed recently vinyl LPs are making a comeback; the entertainment chain store “Hastings” now has a section where you can purchase new release music on vinyl.I would have never thought I’d see the day when the LP would come back.

Tim

Hi Tim,

Yes your observations are spot on.

I remember in ’75 getting Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” and racing home from school to listen to it but it was more than that. The listening was just a part of it albeit a big part of course.

I just couldn’t stop looking at the cover(s) and the insert, the record label design, the colors, everything they were so visual, unique and extreme works of art be they photographs or pictures, just unbelievable. They just took you to another place, with the music, and reflected the personalities, etc. of the band/musician(s).

It was also a time when bands were still to some degree remote and unknown because video, etc. did not put them out there visually so you formed your own minds eye picture of them from the music, albums and what you read in the newspapers – that has all gone – the innocence almost and of course the imagination – this is the very down side of progress, mass media, globalization, etc. individuals and groups of people lose their uniqueness and their ability to imagine what something is instead of being told what it IS!!! (machines and control spring to mind, "1984", etc.) – it’s a shame. (Just think of dialects – I used to be able to tell you within 20 miles where people came from in England due to their accent and dialect but I am afraid no more but this is the subject of another topic)

I can still pull WYWH out on LP, look at it and immediately feel how I did back then in ’75 at 14 years old – it is uncanny, the richness, the unknown, the excitement, the emotion, the value of being here and why. CD's were the start of the downfall and now with full digitization it is all being lost – the great sleeve designers are no more.

This is a great topic and I could go on about it for hours but alas this damn work thing keeps getting in the way.

In closing you are aware that analogue recordings will never be eclipsed by digital anyway that is why vinyl will probably never die, there is just a richness digital recordings can never replicate. You also cannot beat hearing the little hint of crackle or the odd scratch to make the music seem real. – sometimes you can polish things up a little too brightly.

Have a good one and keep sharing these things with me they are great,

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