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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 30, 2012 34 comments
"Don't want my MP3," Neil Young protests on side two's "Drifting Back (Part 2)".

Young's lifelong obsession with sound quality is well known and of course welcomed around here. He was one of the first musicians to express serious reservations about digital recording and playback. Back in 1993 he appeared on an MTV News piece along with Peter Gabriel and me too. You can watch it here. "We've lost the sound" Neil laments—and that was before the scourge of MP3.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 28, 2012 8 comments
The $399 iFi iPhono phono preamp first spotted at the 2012 Rocky Mountain Audio Festival is the result of a joint venture between ifi micro ( and U.K. based Abbington Music Research, also known as AMR. ifi micro also manufactures a fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand 192/24 bit USB DAC, a headphone amp and a USB power supply but the phono preamp is of the greatest interest around here.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 27, 2012 8 comments
The classically trained Cuban-born jazz pianist Elio Villafranca and his group the Jass Syncopators recorded this album Direct-to-Disk last Winter at the "Least Significant Bit Studios", which is actually a large room in the production facility converted into a performance space/recording studio.

The double LP set is but one of many DirectGrace D2D records produced by Sound-Smith's founder Peter Ledermann to benefit a charity dedicated to helping some 215 million exploited children around the world enduring child labor, or abandoned to the streets due to the AIDS epidemic and other public health catastrophes.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 27, 2012 13 comments
The late Arthur Lee exited a California prison in December of 2001, having served more than five years of a twelve year sentence for negligent discharge of a firearm. The long mandatory sentence resulted from California's ridiculous, now repealed "three strikes you're out" law.

Before being incarcerated Lee had resurrected his moribund career by teaming with a talented group called Baby Lemonade (named for a Syd Barrett song) much as had Brian Wilson with The Wondermints. Once out of prison, Lee took up where he left off, touring the world as Arthur Lee and Love.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 23, 2012 13 comments
Until the publication of this book this past fall, few people have seen this mind-boggling collection of black and white images shot by the late photographer Chuck Boyd in Los Angeles beginning in 1965. Though Boyd passed away in 1991 this set stops with a remarkable double page shot of B.B. King taken in 1978.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 23, 2012 2 comments
Stage photography begins with being at the right place at the right time. Some people have a knack for it. Within a very short time back in the 1980s music fan Jimmy Steinfeldt went from standing on a-chair fan snapshots to having his photographs published in major music magazines like SPIN and Rolling Stone.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 22, 2012 8 comments
It's too bad no one at The David Letterman Show read this book before Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page recently appeared on the show. Dave wasn't prepared, didn't know what to say or ask and so it was all inane small talk.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 22, 2012 11 comments
While The Beatles' musical arc was ever upward, the group's cinematic efforts traveled in the opposite direction. "A Hard Day's Night" was the group's best film. Shooting in black and white was more of a financial than esthetic choice it worked perfectly to capture the staid post-war period the boys found themselves in growing up.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 21, 2012 45 comments
A woman walks into a butcher shop. She says "Can I see that chicken?" The butcher hands it to her. She smells it in front, she smells it in back, she smells it all over and then hands it back to the butcher saying "Mister, this chicken stinks!" The butcher replies "Lady, could you pass a test like that?"
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Michael Fremer Posted: Dec 20, 2012 12 comments
Released in the U.K. November 22nd, 1963—the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, many of the songs here weren't released in America until Capitol issued Meet The Beatles! in January of 1964 but a few bitter months after the assassination. America, particularly its youth needed an emotional pick me up and The Beatles provided it, though more on the Vee-Jay album than on this one.