Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Neil Young box set

Around the same point as the album I was talking about  last week came out another man was making waves less for his sense of showmanship rather his lyricism and yes he was a Canadian.
Well he was a big influence on my tastes around the 70's, spending time with those with copies of his albums although what I could buy was kinda limited cos I was skint .
For a very long time as Neil himself complained bitterly his albums on cd sounded 'weedy' and in 2009 his first four which I consider essential listening, were remastered carefully using the enhanced cd sound system know as HDCD.
These four albums I feel set his reputation covering such gems  as The Emperor of Wyoming, Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand, After The Gold Rush, Southern Man ( a song that really got under the skin of Southerners!), Cripple Creek Ferry, Heart Of Gold, The Needle and the Damage Done (recalling the loss in the late 60's, early 70's of so many promising young artistic talents to drug and alcohol abuse) and  many more.
Recently Reprise/WME reissued the set on cd with bare bone covers in jewelcases  over a slip case for a really low price - around £10.99 so if you were curious about these albums  or maybe want to replace your old cds it's not gonna break the bank no more.
In other news this week I'm watching the animes Narutu Shippuden volume 9 and Stigma of the Wind (streamed for a site a friend of mine sent me a link to).


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ziggy Stardust

A few weeks and forty odd years ago an album was issued that became in many respects bigger than the artists own profile dominating the popular music scene for 1972/3.
It's an album almost  every student of any generation feels they have to heard never mind own regardless of what format may be prevailent at the time and it was a major musical and social influence either on me at that time.
Ziggy Stardust is a character - a singer in a rock band - and through him we see his raise to fame and tellingly his burn out that mirrors all too sadly what actually happens in real life. Everybody wants a piece of his pie from the management team, record label  even ultimately, the fans themselves and the artist struggles to "Hang on to yourself" to quote the title of one of the songs featured.
If the Monkees were a made for TV fabrication of a rock group based upon the Beatles, here was in many ways a more credible fabrication for the modern era -  a complete fabrication from individuals persona onward.
If one goes down Heddon Street, London the buildings in the cover shot can be seen although the trash can and K West sign are long gone.
The first single off the album was Starman and I recall the first time I heard that on the radio well being aware from the billboards and older friends of this Bowie character. What got to me about was -and still is - is the sense of detachment, alienation even of the lead character in the lyrics and the unamerican style of singing.
I first had the album on RCA 8 track tape although my brother had the lp and have been through cassette and cd versions.
This album has been re-issued numerous times and unfortunately like most of David Bowie's back catalogue their is no such thing as a really good cd version although on the advice of a friend of mine, Keith H in Ohio, I got the original RCA cds from the mid 1980's which were more listenable than either the thin sounding EMI (US: Ryko) titles from 1990/91 with bonus tracks or Peter Mew's bloated and highly compressed versions from 1999 on EMI (US: Virgin).
In 1990 a boxed edition was issued by EMI with a  72 page booklet with the regular cd
recognizing it's iconic status and this June  two new editions came out.
The cd version is just a straight re-issue of the 11 track album in a card digpack cover which I can't say I really like as packaging preferring Mini Lp style i we're having paper based.
While there is a little compression on it compared to the 1984 RCA, the tonality is spot on and let's be honest here the analogue to digital conversion technology has come an awful lot in 28 years (I can hear the convertors' sound on many older cds) so for the first time ever there is a pretty acceptable in print cd even though I won't be tossing out the RCA.
Secondly and even better news is that there was a new lp lovingly mastered by Ray Staff who used to work at Porky's mastering that many of us feel surpasses the original UK orange RCA lp when it comes to sound quality and dead quiet surfaces. It comes with a audio dvd that will play on a computer or Blue-ray player capable of 96khz/24Bit resolution (most do) offering  both stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes with bonus tracks which will sound smoother than the regular cd.
Recommended.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

400 entries!

Did anyone notice something last week?
Actually peoples that was the 400th post of this blog of mine that has been running for just over 6 years and in it's current form for about three when I woke up around 4AM with this amazingly amazing idea of what I wanted by way of content and critically how I wanted the whole look to be including its new title. Good job I had a note pad and pen by my bed don't you think to write it all down, eh?
And if you haven't sussed it out, I talk here about anything really from furry creatures to the state of the Euro taking in the odd thing about music so it's very eclectic.
When I first started it, it was only a few weeks after getting a broadband internet connection which for the benefit of younger readers meant not only didn't you hear no funny dialling up tones every time you wanted to connect and no more missing phone calls cos the computer was using the line, it now was permanently on. It made using websites and writing a blog a lot easier.
Well kinda as those of you who know me know how goddam awful my current providers service is not helped for good measure by being over 2 miles from the telephone exchange so soon I'll be switching provider and upgrading to Fibre to the cabinet as at long last the major telecoms provider here has fibre connected the area up.
I've been spending part of the week tidying up  some of my account details as back in 2008 I switched most of my email to  professional web based  services in part to enable easier email access form places like work and also to reduce any issues if I moved home or changed provider as many people back then had their email provided by whoever their  internet. provider was whereas today most of use don't (hands up you GMail users!) and check our emails on smartphones, tablets as well as laptop or desktop computers. Otherwise it would be change your provider, lose your emails unless you backed them up and even then you'd have to change all your details up again which is a pain for internet shopping and that.
I set a number of old accounts just to redirect to my web mail for speed but only discovered a few I still use a lot  hadn't be properly changed on the sites so I changed my details at Serif and Bestuff amongst others ready for when this internet provider gets turned off. Equally I got a Type N 150 USB wifi adaptor for this old desktop although I plan to get a laptop with built in wifi soonish, as there's quite a distance from where my phone master sockets is  where the engineers will install their stuff and where the desktop is situated and I'll be using both through the transition no doubt.
Until the next entry folks, bye and thanks for reading the blog all those years.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Grey day

Greetings on a recovering from a bad migraine Friday here which is why the blog update is kind of late as put quite simply I've been in bed for two days and have been struggling to make coherent sentences earlier today which is what I was off work with. I may just get around  next week to writing the entry I had thought out earlier this week
I've had these lousy migraines from early childhood that without giving away my age is quite some time really and while I know the whole drill, it's still yukky.
I went out for a walk earlier and on my second walk this afternoon I got back soaked to the skin as it rained  really really hard and I couldn't find a place to shelter. This meant drying my coat that was 'showerproof', trainers and tracksuit followed by myself with a  thick towel like you do with dogs!
Woof!!!
Anyway so far in I've lost 11 pounds and can run a bit too.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Happy anniversary

As we're marking the diamond anniversary of our Queen here in the commonwealth, I'll wish Her Majesty  a wonderful Diamond anniversary. One amazing intelligent lady.