Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CD. Show all posts

Saturday 27 June 2020

The Inconvenience of Convenience

Last week I bought two albums "Two Sevens Clash (40th Anniversary)" by Culture  and "Kitchen Sink" by Nadine Shah (oddly being released digitally song by song) and after consideration decided to but just the digital version. I didn't buy the CDs because I thought I would be unlikely to play the CD but have played the albums several times since purchase , plus because of the convenience of my digital apps (BubbleuP'n'P and Windows Media Player) I have played several related albums forsaking my normal work soundtrack of BBC 6Music.

I often reckoned that the introduction of CD was a McDonaldisation of music (see my post of music media history from 2015 here) which essentially allowed you to store more music in a smaller place , skip songs , program the order and lots more and was stored in a digital format which does lose a lot of the original sound by letting only hear what we can / need to hear.

The thing is I think nothing of playing a vinyl album or single but digital discs are are now a chore , you have to find it , open the case open the player and then either play or select what you want to play. We have been conditioned to get want we want with a click or two. When was the last time you played a CD or DVD? We are all part of the "click" generation.

I am not sure it can go much further, ever song I share on this blog is on Youtube or Vimeo , and as I am writing this I have "Two Sevens Clash (40th Anniversary)" playing on Windows Media Player. When I go down I will listen to some vinyl or maybe watch something on my Tivo , Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Looking outside the cloudy sky is looking very ominous, more thunderstorms on the way.

"Two Sevens Clash (40th Anniversary)" by Culture is an absolutely essential reggae album, I think this is going on my phone to listen to when I walk.

Saturday 6 June 2020

Every Piece Of Vinyl ....

I was looking at all the books I have,  and was thinking "Will I ever read all of these?" . The same goes for DVDs and CDs . With the digitalisation of music, plus streaming , and the phenomenal fall in price music has become easy to buy without listening to it.

People used to make tapes and that had to be done in real time , but now it's just a playlist and if there is little effort in producing it then there will be little attention payed to it by listener. I see loads of playlists shared each day , but will take more notice of a single song in some format or other.

Digital media is so easy to aquire , put aside for future listening, then never revisit. Books are slightly different in that you may put them aside, but usually you have them displayed in a bookcase or something and always tend to buy them with at least the intention of reading. That is not always the case with digital media, and you can include ebooks with that , so easy to acquire and so easy to forget about.

I have bought very few ebooks but have acquired a lot as many are public domain and available for free or very cheaply.

Back to vinyl , every record I have has been played at least once, and many times more often. Buying vinyl creates a sort of tangible connection with the music, the covers are often an adventure in themselves (thinking Hawkwind's "In Search of Space" and Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" newspaper cover).

I have a few picture discs including Kate Bush's zoetropic picture disc of "Running Up That Hill" and the Star Wars and Jack White " Lazaretto"discs with the etched holograms all of which need lights or strobes to bring out the images, but I can't find the Kate Bush one although I posted it on instagram a few years back, maybe I will try doing it again soon and put it on Youtube.

So what should I share this time, we'll go with "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath because of the Vertigo Swirl which is one of the best simple optical effects I have ever seen , and you don't get that on digital, sometimes it's great to watch the record just  play.

Thursday 20 February 2020


This is post 2200 on 20/02/2020 . I didn't plan it, it just happened, though I could have planned it, but I didn't. That's a lot of twos and zeroes and no other digits. Numbers can be both fascinating and boring, it just depends on your frame of mind.

Today I dropped into Windows and was tempted by reasonable priced vinyl , a Best of Bowie , "Diamond Dogs" and "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac . I have all these on digital and to be quite honest now I tend to buy vinyl for the sleeve as well as the music. The whole lot would have cost £35. Oh I forgot , there was also Deep Purple "In Rock" , one of my earliest metal album and still, in my opinion , a classic with a great cover, but really my space for vinyl is sort of full.

I believe that you should play music, not just have it. I think I bought a lot to support the artist, especially on CD, but I cannot play my CD collection which is why a chunk of it is on Discogs.

I took delivery of a reconditioned Google Pixel 2XL today and I am still relearning it and setting up apps on it. I need to get a protective cover and load some music onto it but I've got the basic apps on it and am well impressed with my buy from Music Magpie, but still slightly miffed that my Google Pixel would be fine if the charging port worked. Still c'est la vie.

So on this numerically coming together I am thinking of the Cat Stevens album "Numbers" which I do have on vinyl, which is beautifully put together and the music is good as well. A definitely worthy part of my collection so I'll share the opening "Whistlestar".

Saturday 15 June 2019

They Can Look Good

When CD came along we were persuaded by the pristine sound and their supposed longevity, but this was what I called the MCDonaldisation of music (Check here and here). You could skip tracks , skim through an album , play it in a different order using remotes and programming.  The jewel case was homogenous and meant that if it got damaged then it was easily replaceable. So CDs have become generally homogenised and don't really stand out.

However there are exceptions such as the reissue of Lift To Experience's "Texas Jerusalem Crossroads" and Edward II's "Manchester's Improving Daily" both wonderfully packaged the latter containing a book about the Broadside Songs featured in the body of the album.

"Texas Jerusalem Crossroads" is one of those albums that is like nothing you have ever heard before or since.

Rhino Records have done an original album series which features five albums in cardboard replica album sleeves often for under a tenner, but these are a joy to look at as well as play.

Retrospective compilations are often superbly put together, possibly my ultimate possession being the Elektra "Forever Changing" box which , as well as five CDs contains a book and album covers, photos and memorabilia some bits of which you can see here. This was originally priced at £150 but I picked it up for £40 from RPM in Newcastle.

So I am going to share "A Humorous And Interesting Dialogue" by Edward II for the "Manchester's Improving Daily" album used for a support the NHS video under Cameron's Tories.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Did Digital Nearly Kill Music ... And is Vinyl Bringing It Back To Life?

Three years back I wrote a history of music media in a post here, and at the weekend I nipped into Vinyl Guru and got talking with the lady in there about how when you buy vinyl you feel you have actually got something. You have sleeves, booklets and picture discs. I'm sure I did a post that said CDs were the McDonaldisation of music, all of a sudden you could skip songs , program the order , and the CD jewel cases are not something that look good, though they are very functional.

MP3 became even more dismissive of musical content, and a lot of the iPod generation can't even listen to a full song. When you wanted to record a tape for someone it had to be done in real time, even from CD, but now it's all Spotify and Deezer playlists which, lets face it can be done in thirty seconds, although a well done one can take time to put together.

These days I see a lot more people browsing the vinyl sections of shops and Newcastle now has a lot of shops where you can buy vinyl and this post has a list of them. One thing is there don't seem to be that many impressive covers such as Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" newspaper cover, or Hawkwind's "In Search Of Space", although "Space Ritual" is a available in it's full six square foot fold out. I was in Reflex and noticed  "Faust Tapes" was £25, when I bought the original release it was 49p !

Vinyl provides more than just music, and the shops often provide coffee and food while you browse. People still complain about the cost of music, but remember if albums had kept pace with inflation you would be paying £80 for an album.

When I was in Vinyl Guru I spotted a 12" copy of Biko by Peter Gabriel, which I mainly wanted for the "B" side "Shosholoza" which I don't think is officially available digitally, but I found this lovely rendition of it for you to enjoy.

Monday 23 April 2018

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #6 - Godbluff - Van Der Graaf Generator

When this album came out the NME reviewer said that there should be a way of playing it end to end without a break, the vinyl record had to be flipped half way through to continue listening. This was an understandable thought as that's how most classical pieces were concieved , to be played and listened to in their entirety.

This thing is at the time there were C90 cassettes and 8-Track tapes (the later just effectively played in an everlasting circle) so there was a way to listen to it. CD and Digital obviously made this a reality for the new format.

When they started although a rock group, guitars were way down the instrumentation list which was odd for such an aggressive sound but it was dominated by keyboards, brass , woodwind and bass pedals.

Godbluff is a very dark sounding album, almost threatening conjuring up images of dark threats in blasted landscapes and is still a regular listen for me. It is remakably coherent and often I get the songs mixed up as they are so similar in form without being boring, you just accept it for what it is.

I love most of their stuff but this along with "Pawn Hearts" are two of my most played of their albums. I found a live performance of the album so if you have forty or so minutes to spare you can see what I mean about the album.

Friday 20 April 2018

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #1 - Man In The Hills - Burning Spear

I'm quite surprised this is the first time I have mentioned Burning Spear on this blog.

My friend Denis Jackman nominated me to post #TenAlbumsInTenDays on Facebook. This is just ten albums that you still play, and to be quite honest good music should stay with you. Since starting walking and and especially since getting my Emopeak headphones I have been listening to a hell of a lot of music as it usually takes me forty minutes to an hour to walk to work which is time to listen to an album.

I'm not sure when I picked up on this, it was definitely early eighties and I think I got it from Rumbelows near Matthew Street in Liverpool when I was working an Littlewood. I may have heard him on John Peel or may have just liked the cover of the album, I was already into reggae from the sixties skinhead ska and then Bob Marley and Lee Perry, but when I put this album on it grabbed me from the first song (which is the title song).

The thing is if you buy the CD  you can get one that has "Dry and Heavy" also included, but I do enjoy playing ska and reggae on vinyl with the bass turned up. One you put a vinyl album on you tend to enjoy it more because the inherent push button laziness in us all makes us listen to the whole side before we turn the thing over or switch it off.

Tomorrow is Record Store Day so I will be out in Newcastle seeing what is available and seeing bands an whatever. Given the good weather it looks like a good weekend.

Have a great one

Sunday 7 May 2017

Too Many Things

I'm male.. so I can only do one thing at a time. Sometimes if I am well prepared I can start things off and let them run on their own while I get on with something else, but often that means I forget that I have kicked things off and then usually I'm pleasantly suprised when that task is done.

This morning I was feeling under pressure because I needed to print a CD with my new Canon printer but the software included is atrocious and and only has pre prepared templates that you can use. I also knew the lawn needed mowing and some of the  surrounding jungle needed cutting back. But it looked like rain.

Add to that that I wanted to fly my new drone , and also needed to do my 11K steps for the Million Step Challenge , I sort of feel that everything needs to be done at once.

The thing is , it doesn't. I sorted the lawn out, had a wander out and then had some unfruitful searches to sort out the printer. I tried the old Epson CD Printing software but that only works with an Epson printer. I eventually found some free software from NCH. and it does the job perfectly, I've been trying it with these vinyl style CDs here. 

I didn't get to fly the drone, but did get my steps in for my Million Step Challenge .

The thing is you need to schedule things, which means sometimes putting things off to the next day. Also when you get something new it takes time to learn it. I'm still getting the hang of my Sony Xperia, but I know things will come good.

So another for the #ATuneaDayinMay,  sequence Imelda May and Jeff Beck's cover of the Shangri-La's "Remember, Walking in The Stand" from the Les Paul Tribute Concert. 

Sleep well my friends.

Saturday 17 September 2016

The Limit

Yesterday and today I have played a lot of vinyl on my GPO turntable, you can see a few posts on my Instagram Channel here . Music playing has sort of evolved , my own take on it is here , but while I sometimes use Youtube and did use Grooveshark , I am not a fan of streaming services. Radio stations are good because there is human intervention. Digital storage is convenient when you are on the move , but it can become background music.

I'll Be Bach
Vinyl requires your attention, I have just listened to Wah Heat!'s "Seven Minutes To Midnight" and Holly Johnson's "Americanos" and now I have "The Moog Strikes Bach" by HansWurman playing . All of these records required more than the touch of a button to play , and it's a joy to see the vinyl spinning. You don't get that with CD or digital (although I am playing it through a digital soundbar and I do rip vinyl through the GPO deck to digital, but that is just for stuff that is not available digitally. It does amaze me the number of glaring omissions still not available digitally.


But this is the limit I mentioned in the title, after three minutes I may have to change the record, put it back in it's sleeve , get another one out and put it on the turntable. This is while I am typing this out. You have to give the vinyl your attention.

So I have to get on today, and as Prince Buster left us I am leaving you with his rendition of Judge Dread on vinyl on Blue Beat.

Time to go and do my stuff now, but playing vinyl is therapeutic and enjoyable.

Still Looking For My Swirly Vertigo Vinyl

Monday 15 June 2015

Why Pay For Music?

For years people have said this to me, and now there's a generation that has grown believing you shouldn't have to pay for music , films or anything really. It's a sad situation and a lot of it was casued by the greed of the already rich , when they saw how they could rip off their fans with the advent of CD (Elton John and Metallica I'm pointing the finger firmly at you). Also a little at Led Zeppelin with yet another round of remasters.

When music became digitally copyable (Is that a word) , it was the first time that everyday media could be stolen over and over again. Taping from the radio was always subject to interference and copying from vinyl had to be done in real time. But ......

Just because you can do something doesn't make it right ....

And just because a band is playing in a pub you shouldn't expect it to be free.

There's costs involved , they equipment , getting there , fuel and the graft put into to learning the music.

As for CDs , while recording can be done relatively cheaply and with digital distribution you don't need to risk a costly run of music that may not sell.

Spotify is not a good model for artists as it's based on a pay per play basis , so new artists , at the best, will just get exposure.

And this is what it means, every time you don't pay for something you are effectively shoplifting if
you don't have permission to take that item. Some artists give away their music and make their profit by charging a modest ten or twenty pounds for a gig . I have recently seen Nadine Shah and Du Blonde playing less than a tenner for tickets , having a brilliant night , and I bought their records too. In my small way keeping these people going. So this is really like the opening scene to Reservoir Dogs where the guy won't tip the waitress and the other guys take him to task, I'm one of the other guys.

So if you want to support music , get down to your record shop and buy some records, and get to see a band and pay to see them.

Would you work for nothing ? I think not ... so support music .

I thought the Smiths song was appropriate for this post.

Monday 21 April 2014

White Heat

When I was having my second lot of blood taken at the hospital a nurse told me she's been looking for a CD copies of a Newcastle Band called White Heat, I'd never heard of them but said that most things could be found. Anyway there's a few things on youtube (see them performing their debut single above) and this is what you get on Amazon. Discogs is also a good place to look here.

There's info about Bob Smeaton their lead singer here.  There's more stuff here. Their stuff was released on the Valium label , not Virgin as she thought. You can get the album on CD here though from Retro Records who do classic vinyl on CD.

Unfortunately I think there are also some poodle rockers who get in the search mix, but this post is for that nurse who took a lot of blood without causing too much discomfort.

This has been a public service announcement.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Music Is A Roundabout

I haven't bought a CD this year, not because of any particular reason but I've not had the opportunity. This weekend I'm in Whitby and there are two record shops there so the chances are I may pick up something there.

I was checking the new releases and it's amazing the longevity of some bands and musical collectives. In the fifties and sixties artists would have some singles with an aim to becoming an "entertainer" such as Bruce Forsyth or Des O'Connor, they've both made a few albums as well.

I noticed a new Penguin Cafe album, the band now fronted by Arthur Jeffes , eon of Simon who sadly died and bands didn't , as the Who suggested, "die before they got old".

Som bands stay there , new bands join and old ones drop off, but the composure of the musical roundabout is forever changing. People often look to their youth and stick with that, and if it makes you happy then that's fine. I go with the premise that 95% is rubbish ,, but the 5% is still a hefty chuck of decent music to get your teeth into.

I thought The Longpigs "On and On" was appropriate for this post. Oh and I checked that link and there is an excellent looking compilation available.

Have a fantastic day everybody.

Saturday 12 January 2013

The Music Collection

My Music Collection
This is really a follow on from the vinyl question I posed yesterday about the nature of music collections. Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby are playing The Central Bar on 8th March and I thought I'd track down my copy of their album , which I purchased when I was a subscriber to Emusic.I looked at the screen and thought thats how loads of people see their music collections . You will download stuff and maybe never listen to it because it goes onto your portable device and only gets played if the shuffle algorithm includes it.

This set in with the advent of CD which allowed you to skip , program and shuffle discs. Then you got the multi disc sets and eventually you could burn your own with just the tracks you thought you liked.

With vinyl you tended to listen to at least oneside of an album as track skipping meant lifting the needle and moving on to the track you wanted . You could also stack singles and create your own vinyl playlist, but the vinyl always got played all the way through.

You get broadband and 4G operators telling ius we can download a track in seconds . That may be but music is meant to be listened to not downloaded! Many people will have huge digital collections that they have bnever listened to. Below is an Amazon playlist consisting of cheap compilation albums each containing at least 100 tracks each. You can download these in next to no time but 100 tracks is around six hours listening time , that's a quarter of a day.

It seems that music to a lot of people is just something they collect making you wonder why they bother downloading. You see the bluetooth speakers which effectively recreate the transistor radio scenario of the sixties.

The benefit of a vinyl or cassette based set up is that you will listen to the music rather than just store it on a hard disc or a phone. a friend of mine Mike O' Brien asked what will kids today say when you ask them what was your first record? They will probably just gawp.

My first records were Jig-A-Jig by East of Eden on the Deram, label (single) and The Best Of T.Rex on the Fly lable for my album. Enjoy the playlist , and enjoy some real music.

Friday 30 November 2012


Although Alanis Morrisette got it completely wrong, I'm here in Cromford reading a book about reggae called Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley and I'm unable to actually go to a record shop and browse for reggae because there are no record shops within 20 miles of here.I know this thatnks to an excellent app called The Vinyl District

Scarthin Books Amazing Shop Sign
Well you could say Scarthin Books has a selection , but it's Naxos Classical and there is a clue in the name of the shop that tells you that it specialises in books. Bakewell has a musical instrument shop that has a few CDs and there's a few charity shops which have second hand CD sections.

The thing is economics and the fact that people's habits mean that record shops have to try harder , and the good ones are still very good.And there's always online if you dont have physical access.

I used to go to record fairs but todays digital age means that I can track down most things on line , and at my age I actually have virtually everything I want musically , but still look forward to new bands and new albums.

I stll love going into RPM or Reflex in Newcastle and hearing something new that I immediately buy. That's how all record shops should be. That's Entertainment I find more relevant than HMV.  HMV don't seem to know what they are selling , giving most of their floor space over to iPod docks.

Anyway this post has wandered a bit but I'm going to read more of Bass Culture and enjoy the rest of my holiday!!

Sunday 17 June 2012

DAT's Your Lot

About twenty five years ago greedy  record companies made a fortune turning people from tape and vinyl to CD on the pretext that the sound quality was excellent and CDs were indestructable and you could smear them with jam and they would still play. Well think of the logistics !!  What really sold CD to the masses was the MacDonalds like convenience of being able to program tracks , skip tracks you didnt like and repeat ones you did as well as random play.

These facilities were actually available on tape and vinyl players , but when a friend of mine demonstrated it on hi cassette player they was a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding .

Anyway , I digress , what has brought this post on on is the re issue by Rhino of Fleetwood Mac's excellent retrospective The Chain , which I bought in its original incarnation about twenty years back. I've been playing it today and very good it is too.

No , after the initial , virtual investment free windfall of CD (records already recorded and often not remastered, remasters were another wave of cash) , they began to circulate rumours of CD decay , and your everlasting CDs would in fact crumble to dust withing five years. To combat this you had to switch to DAT , expensive players , and back to tape with it's inherent fragility and at the the time blank DAT's were as expensive as a full price CD!! This time the public didnt fall for it, and where is DAT now ?

Twenty years on my copy of the Chain is in fine fettle , and CDs are still an excellent and portable storge medium and there are some excellent packages out there . I recently purchased a superb Emerson Lake and Palmer box for around £15 .

So CD is still as bouyant as ever , Vinyl has made and amazing recovery ,  Newcastle still has 3 or 4 real record shops plus HMV and That's Entertainment (The outlet for Music Magpie)  , and music is still brilliant.

Have a nice day!!

Sunday 23 October 2011

How Expensive - More Ways To Get More Money Out Of You

U2 have just released the Achtung Baby Uner Box Set. I bought the Joshua Tree one which weighed in at a reasonable £25. Remember if albums had kept pace with Job Seekers Allowance (based on 1975 figures) you would be paying £60 for a new CD. But the new U2 box clocks in at £270 , click though on the link above to see what you get.

This comes on the back of the Pink Floyd Immersion editions which weigh in at a now seemingly reasonable £100 and the Who's deluxe Quadrophenia at £70 is almost pitifully priced!!

We also have the complete box set collections nby the Smiths , Beatles and Floyd to substaially lighten your wallet , but essentially none of this is new product , just new packaging. It looks good but where will you put it? Is one enough , and what is next? Who's going to break the £500 and £1000 barrier  for a reissue of a classic album? The Rolling Stomes?

I'm still tempted by Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon Immersion Edition though!!

Saturday 14 May 2011

Modern Music Is Rubbish

Or is it? I buy and listen to a lot of music and people tend to regard the stuff they get into between the ages of 14-18 as the classics. I've for the opinion that 95% is rubbish whenever you listen to music , and the 95% is usually the staple of local / commercial radio . However I was sort of surprised to see there's currently five albums released which I have to buy. Two of these are compilations , so I don't know whether they count , but what the hell.

Having said that we've already had "Let England Shake" by Polly Jean Harvey , and awesome album musing on war and it's consequences , then Noah and The Whale's "Last Night On Earth" a superlative album about coming out of the heartbreak of a break up , Wire's "Red Barked Tree" whic is , well classic Wire , purchased from the amazing Folk Devils in Whitby .I can't comment on the new albums but think that everyon in this list is worthy of your attention , all on the carousel at the top of this post. Listen and enjoy , and I reckon that music is still as vibrant as ever:
  • Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
  • Red Barked Tree - Wire
  • Last Night On Earth - Noah and The Whale
  • Catching A Tiger - Lissie (2010 but just found it )
  • Rome - Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
  • Let Them Talk - Hugh Laurie
  • Essential - Martin Carthy
  • The Good The Bad and The Dread - Dreadzone

Sunday 26 April 2009

Exploding CDs and Championship Unpredictability

This morning I was ripping so CDs and noticed that of them CD2 of "The Tzar, His Library And The Winter Palace" by Al Stewart (home page here)had a couple of cracks at the centre. Thought I best rip this , the drive started up , revved up to 500 rpm , or whatever it is for CDs , then BANG!!! , the thing exploded in the CD drive , leaving me a drive full of fragments!!! Amazingly , I took the thing apart , hoovered it out , emptied out the sparkly bits , put in back , and the thing is now working fine. Though I need to contact Mr Stewart about a replacement CD as it was purchased at one of his gigs and isnt commercially available!!

On the penultimate day of the Championship , due to Preston's atrocious away form , a home defeat by the relegation threatened 'Poo' , our season was finished unless , Cardiff lost at home to mid table Ipswich (with new manager Roy Keane) , , Burnley didnt beat relegation candidates Southampton , and we beat the team with the best defence in the league, a squad full of ex premiership players , on their own turf , that's Birmigham City!!. What I didnt realise was that in Phil Dowd we were against a big club homer referee as well . In the first half he denied us three excellent penaly claims , Jaidi stamping on Mellors leg , Quedrue's deliberate handball in his penalty area. Trevor Francis reckoned they were lucky to have 11 men on the pitch at half time. Well they had 12 !! The second half got worse , Sean St Ledger missed a great chance , the Birmingham scored an excellent goal through Fahey . On 60 sixty minutes Bowyer started a fight with Lee Williamson . Williamson tried to get away but ended up face to face with Bowyer and Dowd red carded both of them , I'm just surprised he sent Bowyer off.

Then with both sides down to 10 men Paul McKenna scored a wonder goal , just as a I was resigned to our season being over . After 88 minutes Ross Wallace took a free kick and scored a goal the equal of McKenna's , I was rubbing my eyes , thinking has in gone in , it had!!!! Wallace pulled off his shirt and Dowd took great delight in red carding Wallace to reduce Preston to 9 men for the four minutes of added time.

All credit to Trevor Francis on Sky, he was extemely objective in his match assessment.

So now I have to go though a nailbiting last day . Am I bothered ?

Not a bit