Sunday, 29 December 2013

Year review

As we approach years end I usually say something or or other here about me, this blog and the universe.
The first thing is I was delighted to see recently  a Royal Pardon was granted to the former mathematician  and scientist, Alan Turing who played a big role on cracking German military codes during WW2 as well as contributing a lot to understanding the principals of what is the modern computer for his then crime of being in a gay relationship at a time when this was a criminal offence in the UK.
His work shorted by years WW2 and without it the World would probably be different, many of our societies  would of lost our freedoms if not we'd also  lost our grand parents generations lives.
Moving on over to music, David Bowie surprised many of us with his comeback album The Next Day  which I bought on vinyl and Mastered For iTunes download sidelining cd, something a number people at one forum also have been doing outside of certain deluxe of specialty  issues.
The topic of just how good such downloads or home conversations from cd for that matter remains as contentious as ever although for me personally, I see those especially from iTunes as being at least as good as a high quality type II 'chrome' tape was back in the 80's and 90's having copied loads back then for either convenience when it came to lps or or playing on the Walkman for lp and cds during that period on quality equipment. 
I was hoping to get an upcoming box set next year but reported issues concerning using inappropriate mixes may well put an end to that and I find the ineptness of reissue programs on cd very irritating not least the use poor quality 'lossy'  files by Demon Music Group on a number cd titles.
I do update from time to time some reviews especially if they are of a series staggered in release date such as the Audio Fidelity and MFSL discs so it is worth checking entries you may of read previously. 
Talking of forums one appears to blocked off Curiosity from logging in for some strange reason, maybe the software got feline flu or something.
The Olympus OM group was established at Google Plus for Olympus OM users to talk about their cameras and the pictures they take  using them adding something different to that different social network.
I also enjoy following the photography threads there too seeing other peoples pictures.
The recent weather hasn't been too good for us here with trees being blown over, fences blown into the garden and only just repairing the tv antenna as it has caused the pole it was mounted on to break and land on the roof! I just hoping it's forecast return this week isn't so strong.
As for as next year goes, I see this blog being its usual eclectic self mixing current affairs, the arts and assorted random stuff so with that I'll wish the Google plusers, angelic sorts and skeleton music types a happy New Year.





Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas  and all the best for 2014!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Beatles bootleg recordings

Christmas may of come early for Beatles fans yesterday when for a limited period  a series of 59 previously unissued tracks  were released but not without drama on several internet sites as these tracks had appeared on the iTunes Stores starting in New Zealand briefly  but appear only to had been up for a matter of minutes in the UK before they were taken down, leaving fans feeling cheated. The ensuing controversy was reported on CNN and in the Times of England newspaper. 
They did reappear but with a sizable price hike although sources close to Apple/Universal suggest this was more the price point they had in mind and the original one an error although it seems odd such a mistake could of happened on a high profile project such as anything connected to the Beatles.
The driver for this project seems to have been the recent extension from 50 to 70 years of copyright laws  from 1963 across the European Union including in the UK that had a rider added that unissued tracks would revert after 50 years to "Public Domain", usable by anyone. Thus by issuing however briefly they become copyright with Apple/Universal being the rights owners controlling their usage.
As for the material itself, there are a few Abbey Road studio tracks including a number of takes of Misery which are interesting to listen to for the fluffed moments and banter between the four Liverpool lads and a number of recordings recorded at the BBC studios for various shows that for a variety of reasons hadn't been considered for the Live at the BBC and recent second Live at the BBC  albums.
Being Mastered For iTunes (MFiT), the sound quality for the studio material is of a very high standard being close to that of a regular cd.
This isn't for regular Beatles fans who are better served with the studio albums and various hits and BBC recording packages but more those who want to hear everything they did comparing multiple versions.

They may well be a break before the next blog update due to Christmas activities so do enjoy the upcoming season.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

R.I.P. Mandela

After a long period of illness, the former South African President died surrounded by his family with the sad event being reported for most on Friday December 6th.
He was truly inspirational leader, the first black leader of the Country, possessing  great personal and moral integrity, the likes of which we may perhaps never see again.
I felt this wraparound cover by the Times of London, England, summed up the man better than anything.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Caution: Your card has been declined

It was on the face of it a fairly normal Monday although the press commentators had dubbed the day Cyber Monday, the day internet retail giants such as Amazon expect to get the highest amount of Christmas preorders through.
What transpired was anything but, leaving  a good many people with some intriguing questions remaining unanswered.
At approximately 18:00 GMT the credit cards of many people with accounts to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group became unusable both at the ATMs and also for purchases at stores both online and instore. Fixing it took several hours going well into the night with reports the following day saying it was a computer system glitch with profuse apologies offered and talk of not leaving anyone out of pocket.
Consider the following situations people experienced:
People out for social gatherings in a restaurant unable to play their bills.
People unable to pay for groceries in their shopping baskets as their cards were declined
Car owners having bought Gasoline unable to leave as they couldn't pay
Christmas shopping expeditions brought to a holt. 
Customers finding electronic  transactions  failed and in some circumstances unexplained transactions appearing to have occurred.
For some of these making good on losses maybe adequate but consider such things as  embarrassment caused in store by being unable to pay. Should someone like that perhaps get an additional amount for embarrassment at having to have goods returned in public?
What of say you went to order a item on special offer about to pay for it and you were declined. Should losing that offer be compensated?
Finally why was it the banking industry was allowed to spend little on maintaining and upgrading decade old systems patched up after takers and mergers?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Smoking in public places



















It's not something I talk about  a lot but I have a strong memory of being brought up with smoking cigarettes as many including my Grandad did, collecting as was the want back then such things as the cards issued with them with illustrations and brief factual information on various subjects.
A number of school friends also smoked from their mid teens although I didn't probably because my best friend had told me straight if she caught me smoking, by the time she'd finished with me I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week and I had no cause from the past to doubt her.
But nonetheless smoking continued in my family, in the workplace although rules were being brought in to control it and in very many public places before a major prohibitive act was introduced that among many things lead to the banning of smoking in places you eat, drink or waited for public transportation.
This was meant to apply to places such as Hospitals too although in practice it was banned only within the buildings as attempts to extend it to grounds failed because patients, staff and visitors who do smoke, still did.
Today though NICE (the health and drug regulator) are issuing new guidance that will require them to prohibit it from the grounds too, removing smokers shelters and ashtrays on the basis that they feel something that causes many illness and even can lead to  death should not be condoned by the Health Service.
I don't apologize for not smoking and certainly don't advocate smoking, however I do feel the need to object because for one thing the product is legal with tax revenue being used to part fund the Health Service (its Socialized) and unlike many places one doesn't necessarily actively choose to be there.
Smoking is an addiction - there I used the 'A' word - and people in times of high stress are likely to require that craving such as coming to see a seriously ill or dying relative or a staff member that has tried and failed to resuscitate a patient. They are highly likely to be really stressed that the slightest thing could result in them lashing out of their character if denied the chance to unwind with a smoke. 
I feel strongly that to deny them this right away from patients at such times is inhumane, lacking compassion and has the potential to put staff at risk from abuse (not that abuse is justified).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Leave or stay?

This has been popular caption on one social media site for a few weeks now, deservedly so in my opinion for it addresses something all of us have experienced in our online existence and sadly in so-called real life.
While the area some situations that can only really be dealt with by leaving, the majority usually revolve around misunderstandings between people or perhaps one or more of you holding very narrow points of view rejecting outright the possibility nay they probability that another could be valid too.
Surprisingly most people are reasonable and are prepared to work through such things.
You do have a choice in how you handle these things so why not try to work matters out between yourselves first especially when people in middle may get hurt by your just taking umbrage in a fiery temper, slamming the door shut? 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Canalside stroll

Rather chilly but bright start to the day that sent my mind hurdling back toward Summer where I loved walking along the local Inland Waterway, taking in the scene and chatting away to people visitors and locals alike.
Although the area has become built up over the years, there remains a peaceful feel I find therapeutic especially along the areas adjoining farmland .

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Boom edition

Today I'll be keeping the cat under control as being Guy Fawkes  Night no doubt  they will be a lot of fireworks exploding not just the organized ones such at our local Public House but also from neighbours.
One just hopes the emergency services aren't called out too much tonight with bonfires out of control and stray fireworks land on people or buildings.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Favourite secular buildings

Like much of our area this place is kinda old dating from 1634 and isn't the oldest thing in our town either!
This rather impressive public house Ye Olde Black Bear part from being half timbered also features a thatched roof and has plenty of tables for sitting out of doors with your drink too.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Giles

Thinking a bit back to when some us grew up,  one of things I loved were Cartoon strips usually printed in the newspapers and then issues in the form of a collection of some 12 months or so. One famous series I recall was the Britisher Giles's done for the Daily Express which usually came with a colour cover and an introduction from a notable personality of the day.
The early 1970's in the UK were a time of unrest in labour relations, unstable politics and unprecedented terrorism and this is a favourite cartoon of that era.
Here we have the school pupils on strike, proudly displaying their banners passing a major employer as  the Chairman instructs his secretary to note the ringleaders so they can be "blacked" (denied employment) should they apply in the future.  Although it's a cartoon, such Blacklisting was endemic in the construction industry until recently where long lists of names were found stored for this purpose.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Favourite buildings

One of my favourite churches in the UK:
St Peter's, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Daytime Drama.

I don't know bout you but sometimes it seems as if people on social media or forums seem very much  to leave any sense of civility behind them. Today for instance one person tried to take a pot shot at a person with 20 years experience in their profession just for disagreeing with his personal point of view.If you didn't back this persons point of view you may as well of been in league with the devil.
A person who because of their position ought to know better refuses to resolve their difference with respected peers to the point they are barred from defending their product from ill informed criticism taking three attempts to get a publicly posted explanation from one site to another by members before it is allowed to be published even though the original site is the companies own.
On a third site two people send critical posts of each other that are then re-blogged by supporters and opponents ad infinitum cluttering up the stream making the task of clarifying each others intents and resolving differences all the more harder.
I just tire of all of this carrying on.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

CSN Box set redux

It wasn't long after the introduction of cds that box sets started to emerge following on from those of the lp era covering typically a genre or whole artists career and a number of truly worthwhile releases came out from the late 1980's up to the mid 90's.
The common factor between these, the good and the sort you though "and just who is this for?" ones was the large boxes typically 14 x14 inches and equally large booklets as well as mouthwatering price tags.
Over the years some had become out of print as new titles and others repackaged in simpler typically cd sized packages with reduced prices reflecting both the period of time that had elapsed from issuing and that often they were not re-mastered which isn't necessary a bad thing given many how many contemporary poorly remastered cds have been put out.
Over the years Warners have been re-issuing a number and example of which I wrote about in the Rod Stewart entry a few years back and this is  one of two recently re-issued.
What this box set originally issued in 1991 comprises of  selections from all the studio albums Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) issued including a number of alternative mixes and versions  plus a selection from their respective solo albums, so giving you a wide appreciation of their talent that if you chose to investigate it from scratch would set you back rather a lot. You see how the talents blended and equally what each themselves all having a group past prior to C, S, N, (and Y) brought to the table. Although mastered back in 1991 by Joe Gastwirt prior to the individual albums being remastered in 1994, the sound remains very clear with good dynamics. I should point out Audio Fidelity have done specialty remasters of the First CSN album and CSN (1977).
The booklet is substantially the same but rejigged to fit the cd case with a short history of the artists and track by track narration. It would either make a good bookend to a collection of CSN individual albums or serve well as a inspired selection of their output where their music and vision was apart of our lives. For approx £18 for four cds I'd highly recommend it.
Also reissued is the almost matching Buffalo Springfield box set from the same era.

Friday, 27 September 2013

You are in my system

Well, after last weeks shocking revelations regarding his recently remastered cds,  I decided to pick up this compilation originally issued in 1989 that takes in his work from 1978 to 1988 covering much of the period of his music I liked at the time.
Best of all it only set me back a penny!
Apart from his solo work, this does cover one song from his work with that side project of Duran Duran during 1985, Some Like It Hot as performed by Powerstation.
As sound goes it's a pretty decent compilation and in 1990 a follow up volume was issued giving you a nice rounded view into this British soul performer.
Also coming soon is Shaking The Tree, the 1989 Peter Gabriel compilation featuring such smashing songs as Biko, Salisbury Hill, Shock The Monkey and Sledgehammer.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Cheered up edition

With talk of how a couple of upcoming cds by Demon Music group may be sourced from Mp3's (and bad sounding ones at that) as it appears the new Robert Palmer reissues have, it's hardly surprising I don't feel like talking much about music this week. I mean if I wanted a cd from mp3's, I like you could just burn off a copy using Mp3 to CD audio options of your laptops media making program using a dvd/cd drive!
Anyway I just love this look. Simple, refined and at the same quite youthful even, it ticks every box with me right down to the hairbow.  Exquisite.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Value deminished edition

I think it is beginning to dawn on avid cd collectors and music lovers, the explosion of interest we have had since the formats launch in December 1982 is in steep decline.
One area where it is obvious is in the repackaging of older discs in budget bare bone packs of Five or  complete sets where shewn of anything other than front and rear art they are offered up at bargain prices to try to raise moneys from previous releases that otherwise they wouldn't of.
These sets are typically issued by Sony/Bmg and Warners with some from the formally independent EMI. Many stores report with even with new discs there's a few weeks brisk sales followed by a short sharp drop.
The other area is in sales of older out of print discs via speciality stores, Ebay or Amazon Marketplace where some titles appear to be almost worthless with a few where you might just get $3 in a trade in now.
Even the area of discs I do spend a fair amount of money on specialty Gold re-masters are not impervious to this drop with pricing falling around 40% or more although I suspect coming from relative high prices around 2006 through 2009 it may have a fair bit to do with the fall in peoples disposable income thanks to the economy as many titles being available "for free" on Torrents and other darker parts of the internet for people to download and play on music servers.
Perversely, it was made it easier for me to get some titles that even used were over $100 mark for a good deal less such as a copy of the MFSL gold issue of Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles for $24. As depreciation doesn't concern me as someone who just buys music to play for pleasure rather than seeing them as financial assets it's no big deal.To me the rationale for buying them is just having great sounding copies of your favourite albums.
Does the cd have a future?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Stargazing

As make our way into the fall, the sky at night gets darker, ideal for stargazing - light pollution permitting - and you don't need anything fancy. A good pair of binoculars is ideal for casual viewing although spending around $130 or more on telescope can pay off.
Although this site is aimed at kids it has some very good basic information to aid you.
Astronomy for Kids

Monday, 2 September 2013

Travelogue

I quite liked this photo of someone taking one and what the young lady in was wearing.

It appears to be a fairly bight day judging by the reflections for sightseeing on some kind of a trip to the big city although I'm not too sure if I'd be walking around in heels all day. That's tiring although I guess you could carry them in a big if you taking a trip to theatre in.
Would you?

Monday, 26 August 2013

Summer memories

This time of year we're coming toward the end of the Summer Vacationing period, whither you've gone way for a week or so on one stretch of taken a number of day trips out in and around your home home district or province.
Temperatures here are back on the up which is as for all those off work but I wonder how many of you have made some great memories of these times to look back upon in years to come? The whole process of taking pictures, writing a little about what you did and with whom including putting images say of tickets couldn't be simpler today with the ability to host them on various sites like Tumblr, Flickr, Google Plus and so on to share with friends and flick thru yourself on your smartphone like a virtual photo album. 
If you haven't all ready do think about getting this done as in the coming years you'll find it very useful.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Wings gold

The origins of this entry go back quite a number of years when pre internet you found out about new titles being issued either in magazines such as Hifi World or by visiting your local record or cd stores when we had them(!).
Generally there are two types of record companies, those who are large, issue titles to the mainstream generally with little special care about sound quality and sources and those who issue limited runs of titles where they do track down the best sounding copies of each album and carefully transfer it to record or as with these titles, cd.
Many early cds didn't sound too good through a combination of not being careful over sources and also the technology that takes analogue sound to digital didn't sound as smooth as the format was and is capable of. Its that that lead me to start getting these Gold cds by the now defunct company DCC classics from the early 1990's onward.

Way way back in the 1970's the albums (and 45's) by Paul McCartney first came to my attention and this album Band On The Run was a favourite of mine owning it on the awesomely clunky 8 track form and fittingly this album with it's hit 45's such as the title track, Jet and as on this  US edition only Helen Wheels was the first I bought.
Apart from having the Us extra track which oddly enough I do prefer as with the rest of the series it has a very smooth rich sound while not fooling me to say an lp issue, does at least sound less 'digital' to the ears.It also has a poster.
Arriving soon to me is Red Rose Speedway, the home of My Love a song that can be considered a 'standard' which will be a bit smoother than my 1987 UK edition and also has the reggae based b side to Hi Hi Hi,  C Moon, which inexplicably was left off the mainstream UK cds bonus tracks. It's a song I rather like. 
My copy will be missing the card slip cover but as it was a lot cheaper as many of these discs usually sell for over $100 I'm not complaining about that.
At The Speed of Sound should be with me by the time this entry goes live replacing a much loathed 1989 Capitol cd that masks much detail in the quieter parts in an attempt to eliminate tape hiss. I'm so looking forward to tossing that one across the sidewalk!
This album was the home of the hit singles Let 'Em In and Silly Love Songs as well as enjoyable numbers like Cook Of The House. It was this album Wings toured with on the tour captured on Wings Over America recently re-issued.
I've a sneaking feeling many of us who around back then had at least heard this album Venus And Mars before, one of the best in the Wings catalogue with it's singles Venus &Mars/Rock Show (the single edit is on Wingspan) and Listen To What The Man Said (single mix again on Wingspan). One issue with this album is some heavy handed compression was locked into the mixdown tapes but although it's not entirely cured what mastering engineer Steve Hoffman did was carefully balance Venus and Mars so it's quieter than the energetic Rock Show that it segue-ways into for better effect. Strangely on all the mainstream releases Rock Show is noticeably less loud! It too has the original poster as featured on the lp and three bonus tracks.
I also was recently able to McCartney, his first solo album  that featured the hit 45 Maybe I'm Amazed and Teddy Boy in addition to  Ram, featuring the 45 Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey and the pro population song Too Many People  on DCC too.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Flower power!

There's always been something  about collars that intrigues me, the sheer variety with the use of contrasting colours but this is one that stood out recently for me

 I think that wide Peter Pan collar works well with the poppy print for a nice summery look especially with the accessories shown here.
Just the kind of dress I love to wear.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Leave the habitat alone!

One thing I've always been interested in is nature, a product I guess of spending most of my life in the Countryside and recently I captured this

The Dandelion is no looker as flowers go but it supports quite a bit of wildlife so deserving our support  in the face of those who wish to make our woodlands and fields just like a bowling green by removing them and only allowing a small number of cultivated flowers and plants to grow.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Post topics


Sometimes you might be forgiven for thinking I live on the net as yet another example of the up and downsides of net life is currently running it's cycle.
At many sites there are the main forums  that are around what the site is mainly about which I guess was which  it was we originally joined and on some sites there the so-called off topics that may have a separate sub forum where people talk about the generalities of life not otherwise covered and sometimes this can prove problematical for often people have strongly held beliefs.
There's a bit if a storm brewing over political posts at one site where some feel one member is really pushing the buttons interjecting political points in threads that are not about politics feeling this leads to a poisoned atmosphere and those members feel nothing should be off limits.
The problem with the political posts tends to be the poster often writes in such as way that it seems they are shouting from a platform, generally not accepting contrary points as if opponents are evil, rather than trying exploring more the topic and may be feeling you've learnt something.
Sometimes these hard feelings and animosities creep over into how people see each others posts on unrelated matters which is why on some sites it's banned. My own take is the sites owner needs to make a decision on this.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

We have it taped!

How we stored music certainly has changed over the decades and this came back to me a few days ago
When I was little to store music you used a machine using magnetic tape and back then it was on reels of different sizes as well as lengths and the very first machine I had was a small portable recorder that took up to 3 and a quarter inch reels which were popular for taking out in the summer or sending voice recordings thru the mail with. Radio Shack did the tapes with mailers too.
It wasn't long though that I wanted something capable of better sound using a faster speed and necessitating larger reels so I acquired this:
Made by Tandberg of Norway, it was a part tube, part solid-state stereo recorder with a built in speaker for portable use that took the larger 7 inch reels.
For music I generally used the 19.1 cms (7 1/2 inches per second) speed setting for quality and as was my want this was a 'twin track' machine using just two tracks to record in stereo meaning you only could record on one side of the tape just like professional machines in studios do.
For the technically minded it gave you less noise, less bleedover between the tracks and critically made editing using a splicing block complete with splicing tape easy as you'd cut at 90 degrees without affecting anything else on the tape.
You set the record level using the ganged control of the  far left toward the front checking with the 'magic eye' indicators above the 'Stereo' logo they were not distorting.
I recorded radio concerts getting otherwise not on album performances as well as putting my favourite lps on tape to help preserve them from wear and damage by either two or four pawed life forms. I was using this until February 1997 when because of my severe disabilities, I was no longer able to use it and bought a digital MiniDisc recorder. 
Back then it was fairly easy to get tape and typically I paid around £5.99 for a 2,400 ft reel of Maxell UD that gave me an hours recording time at 7 1/2 I.P.S. in stereo where as today Maxell no longer make reels of tape and the limited numbers of people that do only supply the professional users such as studios charging over £20 per reel.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tag hash wednesday

Hello folks from a very warm room today.
I'd like to talk around a few  topics today that have been on my mind for a while.
 I was reading yesterday on Tumblr about an argument between two users whose names I'll keep out of this entry around the use of Hash (#)  tags where one person was saying that they didn't wish another to use the #lolita tag in their posts and the other person responding by saying that they've every right to and if the individual had an objection to other aspects of their life that might be evident from their entries it was kinda tough.
For what it is worth no one person or 'community' owns a hash tag, the only thing that matters is it should be applied correctly so that for instance an  entry  just on lolita fashion or meets should use it as it is an aid to finding entries NOT as a part of a series of unrelated tags.
That's because it's not helpful to people trying to find entries on a service like Tumblr if we mix up all the tags.
It is unfortunate that some (not all) in the #lolita community can be very judgmental taking issue with non brand wearers at meets as well as being transphobic.
It is true we all have different takes on life, how we may present and we may not wish to know about anothers, however that is something on social media is something you can control by choosing who you follow which as the name suggests means you are able to see easily more of that persons entries and if we just dislike an individual (or all their posts) you may have the option of putting them on an 'ignore' list that effectively hides their posts from you.
When posting it is probably a good idea to try to keep mainly to one topic if you intend to tag it so it's clear what your post is about and does lessen any potential to offend even if you personally don't feel it should.
The final arbiter of what is acceptable at sites such as Tumblr, Google Plus, Facebook and so on is them because you accept their terms upon joining and they have reporting systems should you feel a post or entry is inappropriate.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Going for the one

When it comes to specialty mastered cds there are two names that are heads above most others, Mobile Fidelity Labs  and Audio Fidelity, the company formed from the ashes of the former DCC label.
Recently Audio Fidelity issued the second disc in a re-issue program by the Prog Rock group Yes following an agreement with the bands management and Wea who hold the rights to much of their catalogue.
This was one album I have strong memories of 1977 coinciding with the period I learned a lot about rock music from being in my early teens from shows such as Alan Freeman's Saturday afternoon show when he'd play an incredibly wide range of music including new releases which this album was one of.
Originally it was released on lp, cassette and 8 track cartridge which is one of the versions I had at the time and has had three previous cd issues of which the last one I bought was the 1994 remaster by Ted Jensen.
Musically it has 4 shorter tracks of which one, Wonderous Stories, was a 45 and a good showcase of Jon
Anderson's voice and the much long piece Awaken that features Rick Wakeman's organ playing which was recorded separately in Switzerland.
The original recording and mix  is one dimensional and a bit shrill in high level high notes something that even the UK original lp didn't cure.
This re-master by Steve Hoffman is surprisingly effective for he managed to find the deep bass previously hidden to bring out the organ and to carefully reduce the shrillness without it sounding as if he'd removed all the high notes losing detail. We are given to believe Yes band members are impressed with how this turned out.
As with most recordings he remasters, it has a wide dynamic range as unlike a number of remasters on mainstream labels he doesn't severely reduce it in the mistaken belief it brings out more in the mix by bring it forward.
I also acquired the earlier Close To The Edge issue Audio Fidelity put out which is a significant improvement on the 1994 and 2003 reissues.
Technically, it is a super audio cd giving higher resolution on sacd comfortable players such as many blu ray players or sacd audio players but also has a layer that plays on regular  players.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Scheduled edition

As I sit across my chesterfield I had a few thoughts that I felt like typing out to you all.
The first thing being I am experimenting with post scheduling in part with some of the warm weather we've been having, it seems to me to make more sense to work on a post first thing when it's cooler and I'm less tired and to then have the post be sent automatically using Scheduler to the blog.
The second thing is I has a tumblr now, a novel idea that Luna_rain kinda inspired me on for bits and bobs that don't fit in with a regular posts as they can be anything from extended tweets up to and including a mini blog entry all done with a very simple interface.
As I mentioned - would of been in early 2011 - I would be working on restoring and updating my vinyl lp collection and you'll find a number of entries related to specific artists. Well that's still ongoing here with work having been done on my Motown collection involving the works of Diana Ross, The Temptations and the Jackson Five although I have a good number of recordings by these artists on cd (or on download where not available).


Finally today is Dominion Day (or as  was renamed Canada Day back in the 80's) so do celebrate. The bottom flag was the last original ensign before the Maple Leaf was adopted and some of us still prefer it.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Pause for thought

While around the intrawebs last week I spotted this meme that held my attention for a good while probably because I recognize the universality of the experience. It sure matches my own because in the strive for perfection it's easy to forget how we get there, that in order to build say a house from a box of Lego, you need to find what best fits where but you learn from that. And other people are on the same trip, maybe playing catch up to you so it can be tempting to either do things for them or worse still berate them for not having learnt from an experience they never had.
The last line gets to me -I'll be honest here - because I've come from situations where people have put you on  a God like level and yet although it may true to say I'm relatively wise, I remain Human, imperfect in every single action but above all Thankful for my being alive and that of others.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Internet child safety Summit Meeting

Today government demanded representatives from internet service providers and search engines were to attend a meeting by the Culture and Media Minister to discuss 'child abuse images' online.
This has come about as it was suggested in two high profile child abuse trials the persons concerned had such images on their computers and smart phones.
None of us wants images of child abuse to be freely circulating by it because we find it disturbing  and mainly is a record of actual abuse (or taken in the context of) but already there appear to be some limits leading to a BBC technology expect predicting a "Dialogue of the deaf".
The first is an many politicians do not  appear to be able distinguish between what an Internet Service Provider  is - a provider of internet connection - and what a search engine is - a means of locating often using tags in posts specific data on the web - such as websites.
The significance is that a search engine merely lists what is out there and may have 'safe search' options excluding certain terms, however of itself it doesn't restrict access. An internet provider may apply,  if ordered, a block to its users of sites  such as Pirate Bay that host copyright material sites plus sites deemed illegal, or possibly harmful.
One problem with the latter category is deciding what in fact IS harmful and a few years back the following image was blocked from wikipedia and is not allowed on ebay although it is legal in the UK and several hundred  thousand people own it.
That is the cover of the 1970 album Blind Faith, the model (pre teen) was permitted by her parents to pose (they were present) and it has been legal ever since then but the Internet Watch Foundation and CEOP disagreed and had it blocked from UK ISP's for a period but available in the rest of the World.
See the problem?
The other thing is, if any blocks are applied are applied at the ISP end, it is quite easy to install a 'Proxy' to tell it you aren't in the UK (and NOT on your isp) defeating it. One level above this would be to install the US navy browser TOR that effectively uses encryption bouncing  internet traffic through relays hiding your location and what you're looking at.
This is available for Windows.
Tor project
At the supply end there are many encryption packages for text and images used often in countries where internet censorship is common place yet information and pictures need to be gotten out. There's no reason to suppose those who spread such images  aren't already using such techniques (it usually only the most naive who don't).
I seriously doubt anything of great significance will be achieved today although automatic tagging on images may assist removal from the most accessible sites by aiding identification of duplicates and that I'd welcome.
When it comes to 'adult porn' I really think the .xxx mandated approach would work if you had to set your browser to accept that domain so you could lock them off children's smartphones or laptops.
I also feel the only really safe option is for parents to use safety settings on browsers setting limits to suit their children's age and to talk about keeping safe online. It's your responsibility.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Stay cool

More hot stuff in a a week that's been pretty hot and humid here while I've been struggling with hayfever.
If you like stay cool, look cool and maybe get some sun on you the following summer short mini dresses may appeal:

The first is an Aztec print, the second a lovely floral print

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Zed Zed Top Complete Studio albums (6-10-2013)

The biggest boogie band on planet earth? Probably these Texan rockers I'd say.
Just arriving through the door will be this box set  recently issued by Rhino/Warners that has the first ten albums (Self titled to Recycler) by the band seing them through classic blues boogie to their synthesizer reborn era of the mid 80's.
What makes this set particularly appealing  even though the discs are held in just card replica sleeves in a card outer box is that for the first time every album from Z Z Tops first album through Tejas will be issued in their original mixes on cd for the very first time.
In the early cd era (1987) Warners and Bill Ham, ZZ Tops producer, decided to issue  6 early albums in a 3 cd set called the ZZ Top Six pack back to back and the replaced the original drumming with a machine and edited a number of the songs.
In the opinion of many fans making 70's songs sound mid 80's in this way was beyond a travesty and even when separate cd issues were done these mixes remained in print although in 2006 Fandango! and Tres Hombres were remastered from the original recordings with bonus tracks but Rhino didn't follow though until now.
For years fans made do with their original London and later Warners re-issue vinyl with some even digitizing them and making available as unlicensed downloads

This is how they look in the box. Note how they look like small scale vinyl lps with Tres Hombres and Tejas being gatefolds.
For this set the mastering from 2008 of Eliminator and 2006's Fandango are used, slightly altered clones are used of the original Deguello and El Loco masterings and straight re-issues of Afterburner and Recycler with the remainder freshly mastered.
As you can see on the rear of the box is a list of the albums with song information and a thumbnail of each album.
For the modest £22 including mailing  it simply has to be the best news in eons for digital fans of this band.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Get your skates on!

The hottest tip apparently in fashion for Summer is skater skirts.
This is a pretty nice example from Miss Selfridge with a pretty floral pattern, and pleats in a 40cm length.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Tiered skirt





















In from Definitions is this lovely Tiered Skirt.

It's really sexy!

Concealed side zip. Fully lined. Length 20ins. Polyester. Trim: Silk. Lining: Polyester.
Machine washable. Black.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Segregated education

I'm not feeling that brilliant today to be honest but I felt like talking just a little around education policy today.
Education in the UK is something of a hodge podge between ownership (private, independent and local authority), structures (age ranges, selective or comprehensive admissions), specialisms (arts, IT, sport etc) and so on thanks to considerable parental choice and alternating national and local government ideologies support by pet theories.
One point of considerable and sometimes very bitter controversy is about how children with disabilities should be taught and with many things often their are agendas.
For a long period, certainly going back to the Victorian era in so much that education in general was considered back then if a child didn't fit in well with the school system then it either wasn't educated and maybe placed in some institution or send to a  'special school' such as schools for the blind to learn Braille and a skill.
Since 1945 a system of special schools was established in many authorities to cater for the needs of different groups of disabled people such as those with physical disabilities (70's no longer approved term Physically handicapped), what was then classed as Educational Subnormal (aka a 70's term 'mentally handicapped') and a loose category for what is termed emotional and behavioural needs that from the outset didn't exactly co-relate to prevailing definitions used by medical authorities and other arms of government.
In the 1970's increasingly the model of separate provision was questioned as for the most part the need for special schools for physical disabilities often had more to do   inaccessible buildings,  deliberate exclusion from any kind of pe never mind not in many instances being prepared and entered for regular national examinations in everyday school subjects.
Because you maybe lost a limbs function doesn't mean you lost your brain!
Equally it could be argued that differences in intelligence span are part of the human condition and that comprehensive intakes were supposed to take account of.
Not unsurprisingly the combination of opponents to special provision and those who often saw the budgets including the transportation budgets as money that could be better spent meant many schools were either shut down or had their categories for admission altered.
One area of considerable discussion is around the handling of children who exhibit behavioural and emotional difficulties as increasingly reports came out suggesting that the trend toward integration with such children in mainstream schools was causing difficulties when it came to holding efficient classes with incidents breaking out and high levels of support by classroom assistants for such children.
Recently the National Autistic Society has got involved in projects to establish 'free schools' specifically for those with Autism and Aspberger's syndrome one of which will be a few miles away from me in currently redundant 1970's Elementary school building where unlike schools in the 60's thru late 1980's children will follow a standard school curriculum but with a lot of work around understanding and relating to everyday social skills and structures.
It may be step away from total integration but if it helps to realize the gifts those with Autism/Aspberger's have and better enable them to use them in the so-called 'normal' world to everyone's advantage then maybe taking a step back from a theory can be step forward.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Head Games

Well the term "Head Games" sometimes covers the kind of games some folk play  it has been and may  even apply given just how long from announcement to issuing these discs have been.
You might recall the first two albums had been re-issued by the specialty label Mobile Fidelity in the form of super audio cds that also play on regular players from the 'original master tapes'.
Originally issued in 1979 on lp, cassette and 8 track (still have mine!) it was Foreigner's reaction to the criticism of their rock being too smooth and commercial and an answer to the English new wave being somewhat more edgier something hinted at in the cover that remains at least with me just a little disturbing
The album features the singles Head Games, Dirty White Boy which did produce some allegations of racism (misguided imho) and Love On The Telephone. One criticism of it is the sound where producer Roy Thomas Baker had a sound that involved getting a dirty feel featuring distorted drums so while this version is less harsh in part because digital mastering has improved over the years, it remains rough round the edges.

After a lineup change, in 1981 the band issued 4 which is a play on the fact it was their fourth album and it was one of several top selling hard rock albums of 1981/2 sitting aside Reo Speedwagon's Hi Infidelity, Journey's Escape and AC/DC's For Those About To Rock
It also sold extremely well in the UK aided by the popularity of  the 45 "Waiting For  A Girl Like You" although Juke Box Hero also was a big worldwide seller.
1981 also was a format transition year so while it was issued on lp and cassette it was briefly issued on 8 track and also in Europe the original cassette was re-issued with a higher quality Chrome dioxide issue as people started to buy more tapes for car and walkman usage.
It also was one of the first cds I bought in 1986 with a period green 'target' crosshair pattern on the top layer.
This new super audio cd is a bit better sounding although a friend of mine informed me the High Resolution files from HDTracks recently put out sound better.
Both discs come in a gatefold mini lp style presentation with full insert featuring lyrics with the disc held in a lint free pouch

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Landslides

It's about a week long reverberating around and shows no sign of letting up but a day tomorrow will go down in British political history as the day the worm turned.
I don't talk much about party politics much here or at UKA but what happened has been described by many commentators as a earthquake and I intend to talk about about it.
For those outside of the UK, last Thursday a series of Elections occurred in just some not all parts of the UK  for Local Government, one Elected Mayor and a bye election for House of Commons. In Government nationally there is a Tory (Conservative)/Liberal Democrat coalition with the left leaning Labour Party as the opposition.
One thing that unites all three is there support for keeping the UK in membership of an institution called 'The European Union" that the UK joined some 40 years ago, a position it has been clear for a good while isn't in tune with many voters.
This man is the leader of a party that makes no bones about wanting to leave the European Union (EU) and he is called Nigel Farage. He's married, has a non UK born wife and possesses very much a personality that appeals to everyday non politically minded people.
His party, the United Kingdom Independence Party (AKA Ukip) has been going for a short while and appears to know pretty much what it is about and critically what it isn't.
The first thing I will say is it isn't racist and actually it bans members of the British National Party that most would say are from membership and has been known to thrown anyone belonging who holds such views under a bus.
A person on Thursday emailed something that I think is significant and it is this for him Ukip stood for Sovereignty and Democracy as ideals. Sovereignty put simply means  having and respecting the National Parliament, putting it and its citizens first and Democracy as in respecting the expressed will of the people. Too many politicians of all persuasions in my experience don't.
It isn't a one issue party either supporting creating modern Grammar Schools for instance. He, the candidates and supports have been called clowns by senior politicians (Yes Mr Osborne I mean you in Knutsford too!).
On Thursday his party won over 140 Local Government seats  taking over 25% of the popular vote, came second in Parliamentary bye-election to Labour and appeals to people who have voted Conservative and Labour building on increased support of the last few years. The mainstream parties belated have woken up the the schism between their rather cozy world of almost identical politics (spot the difference between New Labour and Cameron's Tories) and what voters really feel but when people have been promised a referendum on continued EU membership only to find it rescinded they won't fall that trick again.
Have I voted for them? Yes with zero apologies in the European Parliament elections and for the Cheshire Elected Police Commissioner elections cos I liked the candidate.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Buzz off!

Well, the week has started buzzing as at last the sort of weather you'd expect of late spring finally arrived - fingers crossed it doesn't leave us - so I've been out of doors a bit today for some fresh air.
I noticed outside of seeing the flowers in bloom that the insects were in full forcing hovering around the flowers, water feature and bushes.
Unfortunately the British Bee has been having a tough old time of it with numbers declining quite rapidly between climate change  bring in other species  on the one hand and changes in agriculture practises specifically chemicals alleged to damage its reproductive chances.
Fortunately one institution I haven't usually much time for - the EU - is to bring about a ban on these pesticides alleged to harm the bee.
Let's hope  the bee recovers soonest.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Revolving discs

In what might be the final post in the current series I recently changed another part of my stereo system recently.
I'll save the long story of how this system got put together but as far as amplification went I was having problems going loud with my loud speakers with a Tubed power amplifier and control unit (the bit that selects what you play from) so it was replaced by a much powerful solid state integrated one (in plain speak the control unit bit and power amplifier in one unit)  made by Rotel. The thing about this unit was it didn't have an input designed for a record deck to plugged straight in.
Currently it has a Stanton 681EEE cartridge in it and it need something to make its output much bigger and adjust the sound from the cartridge so it matches that the record was cut with (when you cut a record you reduce the low notes and increase the high ones to reduce surface noise and increase playing time). I had such a unit by Hart Electronics but the output was too high causing distortion and even putting reducers in the output leads didn't quite cure it all as I think it was getting a little distorted in its internal circuits.
As it happened Rotel made a unit specifically for my integrated amplifier and a few similar products whose output matched exactly the sort it's input stage was designed for.

 It needless to say is a perfect visual match for my integrated amplifier.
The unit can handle standard Moving magnet as well as dearer Moving Coil cartridges selected using a switch at the rear. Its previous owner was only selling it cos he had another similar unit so it was spare.
After quickly plugging the wires in and connecting the grounding tag on the record deck to a special connector on the unit, I tried a few records I know well. The obvious thing was the loss of a niggling feeling of harshness in the louder passages where the other unit was close to overloading, sweeter high notes and a better sense of where in a stereo mix the different instruments are located in space.
To be honest, had I of planned to have gotten this amplifier first I'd of gotten this unit straightaway.
It makes listening to records old or new ones such as David Bowie's recent The Next Day that I have on vinyl so much more enjoyable.
I did notice a little hum but that's due to a lead in my head-shell being a bit worn having swapped it out for another one so I've ordered a new headshell and will get cartridge remounted to it.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Unwanted guests

I'm a pretty cautious kind of a person all round and that transfers over to my internet habits pretty much but today's admittedly brief entry is about what can fox even the best of us.
I am usually super careful regarding sites I visit and especially programs that rely on what are called executionals to be installed directly to your computer, checking for unwanted things but I was caught out by a nasty trick.
In essence, the downloaded program give me two runs with customizing options  where you can opt not to install things but it seems on the second when it asked about installing a toolbar when I decline it, rather than springing back and instead of saying in effect "you don't want to play to my conditions so go away and think again" it decided to install them even though I'd unchecked them and trying to reset this wasn't an option as it kept reinstalling itself.
Youch!
In the end I googled the toolbar concerned and found instructions on how to be rid of it which worked although it took up a lot of time as it attached itself to the three internet browsers and in the end I imported all my Firefox bookmarks Excluding search engine options into Google Chrome (which needed properly synching anyway) deleted Firefox and then installed a clean version after removing the programs filed from Windows programs reimporting my bookmarks.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Enter the RCD 965LE discrete!

Following on from last weeks bad news, eventually I should be getting all being well tomorrow, a replacement cd player, having looked closely into what was available and what my own needs are.
All the SACD discs I own are of the sort that have a layer that plays on a regular cd player and while the format is popular for specialty re-issues, you'd be hard pressed to find a single new release by a mainstream artist in sacd.
Equally while for a small propotion of HDCD discs there are some advantages to being played via a player with the HDCD digital to analogue convertor chips featured, a good number of manufacturers who had championed it such as Rotel have themselves discontinued support for brand new players.
This would mean that even if I were to buy new, I would be looking at cd players that are designed very much around regular discs and I spend an increasing amount of my time listening to either downloads via the laptop or vinyl for the finest sound.
The odds it seemed to me to be good for looking at a quality used player to enjoy my disc collection on.
Enter this:
This is an upgraded and highly sought after version of a classic player from the 90's that had better quality components fitted and instead of an inexpensive integrated circuit taking the final audio out, it has a high quality transistorized one instead.
It has the longwinded product name of Rotel RCD 965LE Discrete and features a co-axial digital output for my MiniDisc recorder. It comes with remote, a 3 month warranty and has been fully tested.

Friday, 5 April 2013

No sound!

Just as the going was good with a couple of 24kt Gold Searchers cd reissues that were part of a series of two discs containing their first four UK albums remastered arriving here, disaster struck.
I went to put the disc in the player and it made a few noises , said "No Disc" and stopped. Cleaning the lens that reads the disc didn't do nothing so my I thought the laser unit has gone upon a brief check by a service man was proved correct plus a display board low voltage rail issue causing overheating and the display to take ages to come on.
You see, the last time I bought a cd player for my stereo - a set of Hifi separates - was apparently March 13th 2003 which is ten years and  two weeks ago and apart from a celebrate instance when the drawer you place your cd on jammed once, this £350 NAD player had performed extremely well on regular and HDCD encoded discs, for once sounding close to my record playing systems quality on a decent disc (a rare thing to find on mainstream releases today but that's a whole other issue).
It had been a fit and forget feature of my stereo not being subject to irritating software upgrades of the sort you find with computers and blu-ray players. You just powered up, shoved a disc in and pressed play.
In the mean time I plugged an ancient cd player I had since the middle of 1986 that although getting rather long in the tooth, sounds rather sweet in to spin discs with while I consider looking for either a nice sounding used player or taking some money out of my savings for a new one. I'm also experimenting with a co-axial digital lead between the digital output of a dvd player and the digital input of my MiniDisc recorder using that to convert the naught and ones to analogue sound.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The ethics of free downloading

Humble apologies here at Caroline's place  but I do feel a rant (not a grnat!) coming on today.
Every so often you'll find on most forums a set of individuals posting a series of highly pious comments on a topic that has not one hint of grey between the black and white rigidity of their take.
Take downloading for instance.
No one can dispute if you take something currently available for free, you are depriving the owners -the record company- and artists money potentially although you may well recall taping your friends albums and if you liked it, then you'd buy your own copy in the days of lps and tape recorders.
But when it gets more complex is when a recording (or version) isn't actually available new because if you bought a used cd then the label and artist still are not getting anything  from the sale  and if you downloaded it for free at that level regardless of what the law may in certain territories say, it's the same outcome. The only person who makes any money from selling a used cd is the vendor.
What then if there is no cd out of a title but someone has 'digitized' the old tape or lp version that is out of print. Is there anything wrong with downloading that to listen on your iPod or replace a unavailable new damaged copy?
I wouldn't encourage people to download for free everything but the picture isn't so clear cut especially as many labels sit on catalogues that they show on balance sheets as assets and yet only issue a tiny fraction of them yet they will take  a person to court alleging they lost $***** amount of sales from it! If you have to download for free something, please consider attending a show or buying authorized merchandise so you share some love with your favourite musics creator.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

No room at the inn

Just a bit tired after battling with snow this morning but I thought I'd write this up as shot as I'm feeling right now while the idea is still fresh.
How much space do you think you might need to live in in 2013? Well I think we'd agree you need a place to prepare food in, a separate space for living and maybe studying in  and a bedroom perhaps.
Now ideally if you were to work from home you might have a requirement for dedicated work space.
Note so far in we've not mentioned children, carers or if you're like me with a physical disability our specific needs.
Why I am talking about this today is because the UK government, specifically the Department of Work and Pensions has brought in a measure of how much space people of working age who need help to pay rent for properties owned by Social Housing Providers alone should be allowed. Part of the reason given is they believe too many people are in property that is 'too big' while others who may need it are left waiting.
Astonishingly, the one portion of the population who are more likely to living in accommodation bigger than their needs - single elderly people remaining in property allocated when they themselves had children who have left - are excluded presumably not to lose the older vote.
The chief problem with the policy is that in Great Britain, very few Social Housing projects did build property of two bedroom or smaller as the focus was the 'nuclear family' of 2 adults and 2.4 children and most private property isn't either. The main provider of the small amount of smaller properties are Private Landlords who do (and are) charging significantly more per room which is subject to a financial cap for people who need help to pay for it.
The way this new policy is supposed to work is if you have more space you're said to require then you pay something like 14% per room extra unless you move, which will come from your regular income such as your wages if you're working or welfare benefits if you're not.
The reason you had help to pay the rent was precisely because you didn't have enough to pay for a place to live and you're expected to make it up when you find out there's nowhere smaller available!
Note this is also effects those in work too - so much for the supporting workers not shirkers mantra  the Tories had been peddling for the last 6 months - and although extra space had been belated recognized for families with disabled children and serving soldiers, no consideration is given to either separated people unable to afford to move out of a home so former partners are expect to share a single bedroom, those with sleep disorders are expected to sleep with those who don't (a recipe for a bad nights sleep and much edginess) and the needs of disabled adults with mobility problems and specialized equipment such as scooters, reclining beds, lifts etc.
Also ignored are the needs of children from split families who stay over a few days per week as part of continuing parental rights access programs.
It may not be good if one partner is living a life in a different gender and the other has issues with it (You're not dressing like that in MY bedroom).
The real solution would be to build more social housing for rent including smaller properties that would help the construction industry out rather than supporting private housing building and threatening to offer state backed mortgage guarantees to support private home ownership but then you know the Tories would only look after their interests didn't you?
Maybe they'll bring in a window tax to go with the bedroom one.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Springtime

Just in at H&M is this. I most say I really like it.


 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Back to the 60's

There's a kinda connection between the last post and this in there somewhere but I was rather taken with this 60's sleeveless dress from Tesco of all places.
Apart from being the kind of dress that's never really out of style it fits closely at the top but has a nice flared out feel in the skirt. It's easy to wear with a jacket and a few simple accessories.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Gettin' Ready (Temptations Pt 2)

Just taking a bit of time out from the guests here today (shh) to type a few words to say thanks for the unexpected birthday wishes.
A few things I had ordered as being very poorly last week I hadn't gotten stuff  organized as well as I'd normally would, have yet to arrive.
One being a kind of follow on from last weeks entry in that around 2001 I'd built up my collection of studio Temptations albums liking Motown rather a lot in a series of two albums on one cd that were issued in the UK from "Meet The Temptations" to 1975's "A Song for You".
That series, most desirable in it's own way missed a few albums from the early 1970's out (Sky's The Limit, Solid Rock and 1990) that I ended up getting in high quality downloads from iTunes.
That left a classic album from 1966still missing from the collection.
This one was the home of "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" which was covered by the Rolling Stones on their It's Only Rock and Roll album of 1974.
Well this should be coming tomorrow in re-issued cd form although like most things now, I'll rip it to iTunes for listening to on the go.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

What It Is?

I'm not too good this week but one thing that has always bugged me was not being able to replace my original 1972 pre-recorded cassette of The Temptations Solid Rock with a much better cd version as this title only briefly came out in the 1980's and currently has an asking price of up to $500 used when you see one.
As an album goes its a transitional one issued just after Eddie Kendrick left his sole contribution on this album is 'It's Summer' as he felt the Psychedelic Soul producer Norman Whitfield was having them record wasn't the old style R&B with ballads they had been previously known for and to which also they felt they were guesting on his albums.
It does however capture that feel of social consciousnesses prevalent back then rather well  in 'Stop The War, Now' a meditation begging  the end to the Vietnam War with its many destroyed lives (a topic that resonates with me regarding the Afghanistan War today), 'Superstar', in part a dig at former Temptations and call to arms to those who ride on the tails of their peers getting to the top and then disowning them and their needs, plus  'Take a Look Around' inviting people to see the poverty of the Inner City.
This was issued as a download mid January 2013 but only in the US which isn't much use as I don't live there but fortunately I had a friend who was able to get it for me from US iTunes and move it in my computers general direction by the wonders of the Internet.
It sounds much much better than my ancient tape which was very compressed, hissy because back the EMI who issued Tamla Motown titles didn't use dolby noise reduction on the tape and the tape quality was such that on the loud passages the high notes no longer existed.
I also got the download of Psychedelic Soul a very good 2 cd set covering this period of the Temptations with two extended remixes.