Send A Little Rain (& make it sound good)
“Heaven was a lovely, unspoiled Earth-like world; what Earth might have been like if men had treated her with compassion instead of lust.”― Joe Haldeman
While my day job has been pretty crazed of late…while I am pretty much overseeing both a non-profit organization and a media start-up (more on that another time) I am using the wee hours of the night to attempted to finish up some of the reissue projects I have been working on for some time. What complicates things is that I am not getting any younger…and I wake up early with the kids…so staying up late is getting more difficult. Many times I find myself asleep next to my computer or with a book over my face….putting a record doze off after hearing just a few notes.
But things are coming together. For those of you who have been following the long road of my Derrick Morgan reissue project, there have been some interesting developments (pun intended…the LP is called Development). Mastering guru Gary Hobish delivered his best attempt at a master, which he sourced from four extremely problematic vinyl copies of the original release—with a greater understanding that there were probably never good pressings of the record, given that one of our sources was from Morgan’s personal collection (which might explain why the record was never widely distributed and is so very rare).
The master Gary sent me was as good as it could get but there were a few songs that still sounded pretty rough: the vinyl had a baked-in low-end issue and warble that just could not be compensated for. And the worst bit of news: one of the muddiest sounding songs was the opening track, Send a Little Rain. Who wants a crap opening track? I’ll tell you: no one. Even if put a warning on the back of the record saying that the sound quality was as good as it gets given the source material (which we will), it still could be a let-down.
But there IS good news. After a lot of digging around the internet (dozing—digging—dozing) I found….ordered…and just received….a single that includes Send A Little Rain that the label released around the same time as the Development LP . It came in the mail last week, and it sounds fantastic. And I just sourced another single from that same time-period whose b-side is another song from the album. Given that we have already pieced this record together from many different sources, the album is really starting to sound great…after more than a 2-year journey and more research and outreach than I have ever done before.
And then there is the Roy Head compilation I am putting together. Yes, the minister of “The Bug”…the Texas blue-eyed soul champion (the father of Sunshine Head, the 2007 semi-finalist of American Idol)…is getting a rightful vinyl release of all of his classic Backbeat singles. This all came about after I had sent in a licensing request to the master owners Universal Records assuming that nothing would ever come of it…since Universal does fewer and fewer deals since the rise of vinyl popularity. A year-and-a-half after my submission, I was contacted by one of their lawyers agreeing to the license. Insane. And we got the contracts all signed…and they even sent me wave files of the master recordings (#NEVERHappens!).
I got Jad Fair to design the album cover (he is so great) and felt like I was going to fast track this release. Yet as I listened to the files sent to me, I realized: there were tracks I had no idea existed…that NEEDED to be on the record. So I went back to Universal, thus starting the second waiting game. I get it: a Roy Head reissue is SUCH small potatoes compared to the huge deals the lawyers are focusing on day after day. But I needed the tracks, and kept e-mailing, calling…supposedly getting help from the inside by Jerry Stine, VP of production and Special Projects over at Uni. and just a nice guy. Finally, I wrote to everyone at Universal whose e-mail I had saying I would do anything to get the extra tracks…come to the office and tap dance while pouring shots of Jack Daniels, recite Shakespeare from the parking lot…send care packages to their kids..anything. And wouldn’t you know it: twenty minutes after sending the e-mail, they approved my request.
So those tapes are now in the hands of Gary Hobish, as he will finish not one but two reissue projects I have been working on for years. And maybe….just maybe…I will get some sleep (nah..I still need to finish the Specialty box…and the Blind Joe Reynolds/King Solomon Hill reissue..and the Chaotica reissue…and….).
Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold on Discogs in April 2022
It’s official….Led Zeppelin is COLLECTABLE nabbing three slots out of the 30 most expansive items sold on discogs in April. I mean…they do not have hold a candle to Rita and the Tiaras whose single Gone With the Wind is My Love on Dore Records went for $9000 (!!!) Oh yeah….OH YEAH!!!!!
A savior of abandoned American music contemplates his collection
Any record collector worth their grain of salt (and there are many who aren’t) knows who Joe Bussard is…one of the king collectors…whose 78 collection is pretty much second-to-none. Like everyone else: he is aging and reporter Joe Heim checks in with him. Mortality…record collecting…the real stuff.
Report: Nearly Half of U.S. Museum Shows Dedicated to 4% of Modern and Contemporary Artists
Newsflash: museums, like every other type of art institution, lean on the famous artists that they know will sell tickets. Definitely nothing unexpected here…except to see which cities are doing better than others regarding museums supporting newer artists. Amen the to great American art gallery: that is where new artists will really find a home.
Stahnsdorf and the search for F.W. Murnau's stolen skull
OK…even with my love of everything that is Murnau (one of the greatest silent film directors of all time) I had no idea…that his skull is missing. I mean…what the hell!
Barry‘s Anthony Carrigan Tells Bill Hader How He Became NoHo Hank
Interesting part of Carrigan’s story…hiding his alopecia while on the television show, The Forgotten.
"The Space Traders" by Derrick Bell
While rabbit-holing about a whole other subject I landed on a short story I loved when I first read it years ago. Bell’s Space Traders is worth some escape time.
BY RUTH STONE
The shock comes slowly
as an afterthought.
First you hear the words
and they are like all other words,
ordinary, breathing out of lips,
moving toward you in a straight line.
Later they shatter
and rearrange themselves. They spell
something else hidden in the muscles
of the face, something the throat wanted to say.
Decoded, the message etches itself in acid
so every syllable becomes a sore.
The shock blooms into a carbuncle.
The body bends to accommodate it.
A special scarf has to be worn to conceal it.
It is now the size of a head.
The next time you look,
it has grown two eyes and a mouth.
It is difficult to know which to use.
Now you are seeing everything twice.
After a while it becomes an old friend.
It reminds you every day of how it came to be.
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