LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 1 comments

(Back in 1984 I was assigned to interview Don Henley, who'd just released Building the Perfect Beast his second solo album.

Henley picked me up in his black Porsche 911 and off we went to the Sunset Grill for lunch. We talked about music and life while downing burgers, fries and Cokes. Despite the classy name and the complex arrangement for the song that immortalized the place, the Sunset Grill was a tiny, hole in wall burger stand on Sunset Boulevard.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Back in the 1950’s, with major labels like Capitol, RCA and Columbia owning their own Los Angeles recording complexes, small, independent recording concerns were left to pick up the scraps: voice-overs, song demos, commercial jingles and other small-time bookings.

It was upon that sort of wholesome fare that Gold Star Studios thrived during its early years in the 1950’s. Founded by a couple of adventurous young friends, the studio also began attracting more creative types, drawn both to the sound of co-founder Dave Gold’s custom-designed recording gear and “secret-recipe” reverb chambers and to co-founder Stan Ross’s recording and producing inventiveness. As you’ll read, Ross’s creative instincts helped turn “tunes” into some of our most enduring and memorable pop-musical treasures.

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Michael Fremer Posted: May 01, 2009 0 comments

Part II:Building Gold Star Studios, Phil Spector and Alvin & The Chipmunks Come to Play:

FREMER: Where did you get all this (recording)stuff?

ROSS: We bought the parts. There were no recording consoles available. We had a broadcast console that was available to us. It was a stereo console because one channel was for cuing and the right was for the air. It was gorgeous. A guy had this wonderful board with the colored knobs and [it was] just what we wanted. And so we got it for a good price and I said, ah, we got the console.

FREMER: So you had to make an investment. So you had to have savings? You borrowed?

ROSS: We borrowed the difference, whatever. Hey, I wasn’t a GI so I had a problem. Anyway, we found out that this console was hot. [LAUGHTER]

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 1 comments

Miles Davis’s major label debut, recorded with his quintet in the fall of 1955 and late summer of 1956 while he was still under Prestige contract and released early in 1957, was not particularly well-received at the time, though it has grown considerably in stature since then.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Lee Morgan’s 1959 solo debut recorded when he was just 19 is aptly named. It’s an album of standards in a quartet setting designed to show off the prodigy’s ability to wrap his big, warm tone around familiar melodies.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 1 comments

As soon as Young walks on stage and you hear the applause, you’ll know you’re in for a sonic treat. The audience has been carefully miked, which is not always the case with live recordings, even when the stage sound is good. The applause captures the hall space well too.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

I recently drove to Boston to visit three old friends I’d not seen for 30 years. I met them when I was in my mid-twenties and they were even younger. While most of my other friends and I sought shallow “hipness” through aggressively consuming what was new and avidly rejecting what was old, these guys didn’t filter their likes through time. They seemed to be as enthusiastic about Cab Calloway in 1972 as his fans must have been back in 1931 when he sold a million copies of “Minnie the Moocher.”

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Psychedelic music may have originated as a raw, disorienting art form in the streets of Haight-Ashbury, or in L.A. crash pads, but as with all raw art forms, it was only a matter of time before it got sanitized, commercialized and made non-threatening for middle-brow Top 40 consumption.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

This triple gatefold, double time capsule captures the rapturous July 1st, 1998 Carnegie Hall Concert also filmed by Wim Wenders and released the next year. The music is old. The players were old&#151some in their 80s and ‘90s&#151and some have since passed away, but the old music was fresh to the ears of Americans and others who first heard it thanks to the World Circuit CD produced by Ry Cooder (later issued on vinyl by Classic Records).

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Michael Fremer Posted: Apr 01, 2009 0 comments

Jenny Lewis can be coquettish, seductive, aggressive, sweet, warm, nostalgic, empathetic and, yes, acid tongued— though it’s a literal reference on the title tune.

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