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Joseph W. Washek  |  Jun 22, 2021  |  11 comments
In June 2020, Analog Planet published my article on the great audio engineer, David Jones’ Living Legends Riverside recordings of Black Traditional Jazz in New Orleans during the last week of January 1961. While researching the article, by checking records in my collection I compiled a list of Riverside albums for which Jones had been credited or co-credited as engineer.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 04, 2021  |  15 comments
A few weeks ago I visited a woman in Portland, OR whose husband ran tape duplication services for GRT Records (GRT owned the Chess catalog in the early 70s and provided tape duplication services for many labels).

Joseph W. Washek  |  Apr 26, 2021  |  9 comments
Etta James was in the heartbreak business. Other singers sold sweet dreams of love, romance, and sex, but Etta James sold pain and she had an endless supply. The pain started early. She never knew who her father was. When she was born, her mother who was fourteen, abandoned her, leaving her with a childless older couple. The woman, called “Mama Lu” by Etta, became her surrogate mother, and she was loved and spoiled by her and they lived happily. But not ever after, because all was not well and never would be. Periodically, her birth mother, Dorothy, who loved the night life, would appear and take the child away. It was always the same. They would live in squalor until a few weeks passed and then, bored and frustrated with parenthood, Dorothy would return Etta to Mama Lu. The pattern continued until Etta was twelve when Mama Lu died. Dorothy appeared, told Etta that she would be living with her now, and took her to San Francisco. There, Dorothy met her brother on a street corner, left Etta with him, and walked away.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 16, 2021  |  7 comments
Filmmaker Ben Williams is posting on YouTube a series of videos he's shot at the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society (LAOCAS) December Galas over the past few years. This short one was filmed the day before AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer received the Society's Founder's Award. BTW: below the short video is my roast of Chad Kassem when he got the award December 7th 2014. If you haven't watched it, you should!(Photo: Chad and Michael visit Thai Plastics outside of Bangkok, Thailand)

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 30, 2021  |  10 comments
Classic Records Founder Mike Hobson and Acoustic Sounds/Analogue Productions/QRP Founder Chad Kassem reminisce about the "old days", and the beginnings of Classic Records, which in 1993 when almost no one was making vinyl, decided to manufacture great records—and maybe even sell a few.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Mar 18, 2021  |  18 comments
On December 9, 2010 at about 11:30 pm, I was standing in front of Johnny D’s, a now defunct and demolished Somerville, Massachusetts club, alone with Bert Jansch who about an hour earlier had finished an hour plus set. It was cold, in the twenties and sleet was becoming snow. Bert was holding his guitar, uncased, by the neck in his right hand.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Feb 19, 2021  |  10 comments
When Chet Baker died in 1988, he wasn’t an icon of “cool,” he was a has-been. The biopic with the Hollywood star and the consistent ranking among the top-selling jazz CDs on Amazon was far in the future and long after he was gone. The New York Times obit was perfunctory, misstated his age, and devoted two sentences to his career post-1950s. Baker, in the 1980s, had been the same unrepentant, narco-ssistic junkie mess that he had been since the mid 1950s, but he was working in Europe, playing mostly small clubs, driving from gig to gig, and sleeping on couches instead of the way it had been in the ’50s in the U.S.—playing concert tours, fielding movie offers, topping the jazz polls and charts, his popularity making even Miles Davis jealous.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Feb 19, 2021  |  4 comments
Tracy Nelson is such a great singer that you have to wonder why she never became a major, “you still hear her on the radio” star. Her deep, powerful, soulful voice is instantly recognizable whether she is singing, rock, country, r&b or blues. The usual vocal comparison is to Janis Joplin, which I’m sure Ms. Nelson got tired of hearing by the late 60s or sooner, but I’d say Nelson, while lacking the Joplin charisma, is a more subtle and technically, a better singer.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 19, 2020  |  53 comments
Stereophile reviewer Ken Micallef visited (mask on) recently to pick up a turntable for review. He asked if I'd do a video with him showing some of my best sounding records. I agreed and picked a bunch out that I show in these three videos shot during his visit.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 15, 2020  |  7 comments
In mid-January, 2020—just as the Covid-19 pandemic began its stealthy American death grip— the subscription based vinyl-only Newvelle Records embarked on an ambitious four LP New Orleans recording project at spacious Esplanade Studios, formerly the Third Presbyterian Church in the Treme neighborhood, destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 02, 2020  |  10 comments
Let’s head off at the pass what will surely be in the comments section under this review of a remarkably compact, full-featured, remote-controllable music playback system that includes in a single box, a high quality Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit 3 speed turntable with dustcover, fitted with an Ortofon 2M “Silver” cartridge (incorrectly identified as OM2 on the Andover website—it’s similar to the Ortofon 2M Red but with fewer winds of the same silver-plated copper wire found in Ortofon’s 2M Bronze and 2M Black) that alone sells for $599 and includes an acrylic platter and 8.6” carbon fiber tonearm, an A/D converter, a 192/24 bit DAC, analog and digital inputs plus a subwoofer “out”, Bluetooth ( Qualcomm APT-X) streaming and built in amplification (2 x 70 Class D watts to woofers and 2 x 30 watts to tweeters) and of course multiple (6) high quality speakers (4 “long throw” aluminum diaphragm woofers and a pair of Air Motion Transformer tweeters originally invented by Dr. Oskar Heil that uses metal-etched folded polyethylene sheets to move air in process we won’t go into here!).

Joseph W. Washek  |  Oct 12, 2020  |  15 comments
Yes, I’m gonna get me religion
I’m gonna join the Baptist Church
I wanna be a Baptist preacher so I won’t have to work

In June 1964, Nick Perls, Dick Waterman, and Phil Spiro, three young white men from the North, traveled to Mississippi in search of Son House (1902-1988), a blues singer/guitarist whose career had been so abject a commercial failure that he was completely forgotten and unknown, except to a small group of perhaps two dozen country blues collectors who, based upon the recordings available, maybe twenty minutes in total, had proclaimed him to be the greatest of all the Delta Blues singers.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  28 comments
“You are committing audio reviewer suicide” friends insisted when towards the end of 2018 I told them I was going to review some inexpensive Hearing Aids. Guess what? All of the comments under the review were positive and my reviewer creds are intact. Plus, my now 91 year old mother-in-law can now hear much better since I’d really bought them for her benefit.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  33 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

MalachiLui  |  Aug 14, 2020  |  59 comments
Unlike many of their competitors, Schiit Audio seemingly intends to guide hi-fi beginners up the quality/price ladder. Their direct-to-consumer standalone components, some advertised for gaming and office setups, start at just $99. Schiit’s products appear feature-packed, but does the sound live up to the specs? Or are Schiit products, well, total shit?

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