Eagles MoFi Vinyl

Eagles

There was something wrong.

You’ve got to be an electrician to listen to music these days, assuming you don’t take the easy way out and just listen on your phone, which is surprisingly good.

My desktop Sonos app would only see the Sonos system in the house, not the Sonos system in the shed. The music was streaming on the Playbar in the bedroom, what was wrong? After realizing I was seeing the wrong Sonos system, we’ve got two, don’t ask why, it’s historical, I kept resetting the app but I could never log in to the right one, the one in the shed. Tearing what little hair I have out for forty five minutes I ultimately realized my iMac in the shed was on the wrong wifi network, it had defaulted to an inside network as opposed to the much faster one created by the Orbi mesh network, which technically isn’t mesh, but is actually a bit better, not that it’s cheap.

Damn.

Not only did I switch to the Orbi network, I deleted the networks generated by the main router. So no default could happen, so it would be all Orbi all the time.

But I still could not get music on my stereo system. The TV system in the shed worked fine, but not the stereo, what was up?

So I disconnected the Bridge attached directly to the ethernet cable twice, but that didn’t work, but then I remembered there was a Bridge hidden on the stereo rack and I unplugged and replugged that and voila! I can hear music! But then the desktop app asks whether I want to update it and I’m worried it’s going to install the new app which won’t work with one of my old Bridges but I took the risk, and it all worked. I need everything to work. Of course I could have just used the iPhone app, which was up to date and worked fine, but I’m a stickler, I get satisfaction when everything works right, it makes me feel good, it’s that extra one or two percent that gets you to the ultimate, which was what I was trying to achieve listening to this new MoFi Ultradisc vinyl Eagles album, but…

It sounded great, but it sounded slow.

I’d opened the package and the album was on two discs, which surprised me, because it’s barely thirty seven minutes long, but I thought this was just to ensure the ultimate sound, but then, wondering if the turntable was on the fritz, I decided to look, was the vinyl 45RPM? Well, I had to unscrew the turntable compression disc to look and it was, problem solved, or was it? I didn’t see any buttons, could my turntable even play 45 RPM?

I fired up Safari and went to the EAT website. Found the manual. Turns out it can, you’ve got to use a special tool to move the belt to a wider spot on the idler wheel. A SPECIAL TOOL? Where in the hell was that? In storage somewhere. But then I decided to take the risk, I’d already removed the compression disc, now I had to remove the vinyl record and the mat and the plinth and I looked at the belt and decided a round pen should work, and it did, flawlessly, so I put it all back together and the music was playing at the right speed and it sounded INCREDIBLE!

Too often CDs are too bright, there’s no bottom, certainly on the original ones. But just to make sure the vinyl was superior, I pulled up the MoFi CD, I was stunned, the bottom was right there, it sounded…just about as good?

I was completely flummoxed, in this vinyl era, with the craze in full force, shouldn’t the vinyl be a revelation?

So I started to A/B. Over and over again.

Then I realized I had to break out the headphones.

Now I’m using a $1300 EAT turntable, a $750 Sony CD player wherein the disc moves, not the lens, and it’s got its own disc weight and…through the speakers my mind is doing tricks, I decided to go closer, I decided to connect the top of the line $2000+ Sennheiser headphones, and then I started A/B-ing again.

And the CD and the vinyl sounded remarkably similar. But did this make logical sense? The original recording was analog, shouldn’t the vinyl reproduce the music better?

Turns out it did.

On the vinyl the you can hear the bass guitar, you can almost see Randy Meisner picking out individual notes. I kept going back and forth, it was definitive.

And the vocals seemed just a bit more separated and pristine on the vinyl. But really the difference was the background vocals, on the vinyl they were actual people, not just a sound.

But let me reinforce, these two sound sources, the vinyl and the CD, were REMARKABLY similar. The average person would never be able to pick one or the other on a consistent basis, never mind the volume level adding in an extra variable.

So, now since I’d dedicated all that time getting my Sonos system up to speed earlier in the week I decided to stream via Amazon Music HD, CD quality, and it sounded very good, but when I dropped the needle on the vinyl once again you could hear the difference, so…

I emphasize the price of the tools I was using because most people don’t invest this much in their stereo equipment, and inherently get inferior sound.

Then again, there are people who invest a vast multiple of what I’ve got, the tweaks, who are accused of liking the equipment more than the music. And I’m sure this MoFi stuff would sound better on their systems, but…

The floor was shaking. The music was enveloping the complete room. It was up front and center, dominant, it was not a playlist streaming on crappy speakers in the background and I thought of how in the seventies getting closer to the sound was every fan’s dream. And the truth is when you hear Don Henley sing “Witchy Woman” via 45 RPM vinyl you’ll have an experience you can get nowhere else, it’s definitely him, inside the speakers, but…

Do you want to change sides every two tracks?

Do you even want to fire up the big rig? I’ve got to turn on the amp. I’ve got to hit the right source button after the protection circuit does its bit, the phono preamp is on all the time, but I’ve got to turn on the turntable, go through the rigamarole of dropping and screwing down the vinyl and then drop the needle…

Playing a CD is a bit easier.

But the modern way…you just push a button, it’s fast and easy, anybody can do it, even a baby. Turns out convenience is a key selling point. It’s what killed piracy, Spotify, et al, were just so much easier.

And computer music started out sounding inferior, but now you can get CD quality files, even better, and if you’ve got the right playback equipment…

In other words, vinyl is a fetish.

But I was excited breaking the shrinkwrap. I loved opening the box and going through its contents. This is an old world experience, today everything is on demand, the goal is to own nothing. Do humans have an inherent desire to own things, does it speak to something inside our brains? Or is it about feeling superior because you’ve got something nobody else has?

So if you’re on a quest for the ultimate sound, akin to what we were once on in the seventies, buy the vinyl and take a listen. But don’t bother unless your equipment is superior, you won’t hear the difference, which is why the #1 investment you should make is in your speakers. First and foremost your headphones. AirPods are great for walking around, but for critical listening you need something much MUCH better. Or you could start from scratch and invest in speakers and amplification and a way to get the music to them, a turntable, CD player and a Sonos Bridge system.

But the truth is I do almost all my listening at home via my computer speakers, a three-way Genelec system that costs a bit over $1500. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! You’ll never be able to go back to the crap speakers of yore, you’ll wince when you hear the cheap stuff.

But there is a law of diminishing returns.

If you want to get really close to the music, buy the MoFi Eagles CD. If you want the ultimate, if you need the ultimate, buy the vinyl, but you’ll need to be very hands-on, you’ll have to get satisfaction from the vinyl experience otherwise it’s not for you.

I’m still listening… 

P.S. Now I’m reconsidering. While writing this I listened to the entire Eagles CD. And when I was done with it my ears felt fatigued, I decided to drop the needle on the vinyl once again, and it just had a different feel, and there was just a little more definition to every element, and air between them. The bass on the CD was mushier than the vinyl. Maybe it’s the difference between people and machines, analog and digital, vinyl is a pain in the ass but the more I listen to the vinyl the better it feels, it feels human, my ears are definitely not burning out on it. God, it sounds like there’s a band inside the speakers, I can see each individual player, I can pick out their sounds…

P.P.S. I was listening to the CD layer of the MoFi Eagles disc. There’s also an SACD layer, but I don’t have an SACD player, do you?

James McMurtry-This Week’s Podcast

James McMurtry has a great new album “The Horses and the Hounds” that addresses the world from an adult perspective. We discuss the life of a modern troubadour, releasing music to generate publicity and ticket sales, for McMurtry it’s all about the live show. Despite being self-deprecating, James oozes with insight. This is a chance to get into the head of one of our foremost singer-songwiters.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/james-mcmurtry/id1316200737?i=1000536376920

https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9ff4fb19-54d4-41ae-ae7a-8a6f8d3dafa8/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast

The Path

Don’t let people tell you what to do.

There will come a time in your life where your significant other, maybe even someone you respect, will burn out on your vision, which may be faltering to boot, you must not do it their way to salve their anxiety, you must do it your way, otherwise you’ll have regrets.

What is your way? You’ll find out. It’s got to do with feel. Something innate in humans. Trust your inner tuning fork.

I’m not saying to dismiss the advice of your parents growing up. They have more experience than you do. You play their game while you live in their house, I’m sure they tell you that all the time, “as long as you’re under my roof, eating my food…”

But there will come a time when you separate from your parents.

Oh, education. If you’re reading this it’s probably done, but education is important, not jumping through hoops but learning things. Never drop out of high school, today you’re a pariah. And go to college, not for what you learn in class, but for what you learn outside of class, with the people. Which is why you should go away to school, not be able to come home to your parents on weekends, it’s part of growing up. Oh, in addition while you’re at school you’ll realize all the opinions of your parents are not necessarily right, you’ll no longer respect them in the same way, but they’ll always be your parents.

If you’re lucky, they’ll pay for college. I’d tell you not to borrow money for college, but that’s complicated in today’s world of income inequality. But you don’t want to be beholden to the bank, you want to be free to graduate and go your own way, kinda like Stevie and Lindsey, they kicked around quite a long time before they got hooked up with Fleetwood Mac.

So when you graduate from college…

Don’t follow the track unless you want to. You learn great stuff in business school, but if you never want to be in business… Then again, everything is business. But the truth is most everything you learn in business school takes place outside of the classroom. On trips. Oh, that’s another thing, never be a skinflint, it’s a loser’s game. Spend to have the experience, you might never get back there, you might never have the opportunity again. But business school is about making friendships that you leverage in the future. Is that who you are?

Then again, everything is about relationships. You need friends to make your way, to have a fruitful life, to get ahead. But don’t subjugate your personality to get what you want. And one thing you’ll learn is everybody is replaceable, that exec you were kissing the butt of to get a better gig? They’ll retire, or get fired, and they won’t mean anything to you anymore.

Or you could become a professional, a doctor or a lawyer. That was the baby boomer ethos, before bankers and techies made more money. You can go to law school and never practice law and be a winner anyway, because you will learn the game, you will understand the game, and that will pay dividends. But if you go to law school take and pass the bar. Not only for the respect of others, but the key to winning in life is finishing, completing, you never want to quit unless you’re banging your head against the wall ignorantly and can’t see the landscape for the trees.

So, you can be somnambulant, think you’re winning by being a banker or a businessman, but the truth is these jobs take up all your time. You make a ton of bucks, but you may be outside the world you want to live in. The world is full of frustrated doctors and lawyers who really want to be artists. Amor Towles sacrificed decades in finance before he felt comfortable being a writer. He ultimately won, but he lost all that time, and most people can never recover.

It’s almost impossible to do one thing in life. It takes focus, and dedication, and the boasting and posting about it is irrelevant, especially in a world where everybody is hyping themselves. Want a full life? Do the work, keep your head down, people will notice, you’ll be building trust and credibility that you can’t see that will pay dividends down the road.

But if you go down the road less taken people aren’t gonna like it, they’re not gonna be supportive, because you’re attempting to be free while they’re stuck in the game, too scared to take a risk. And when you fumble, because you’re inventing the game as well as playing it, they’re going to put you down, laugh at you, tell you to wake up and fly straight.

And maybe you should. Your heart will tell you to.

But maybe you won’t. Maybe deep in your heart you’ll know the right path for you. It won’t be clear and it won’t be easy but you can see the starting point and you can put one foot in front of the other and try to make your way. And no matter what anybody says, everybody writes the script of their own life. The game is never the same. Everything is constantly changing. So the wisdom of the past may not apply tomorrow.

So if you’re going your own way you have to sacrifice. And that’s really tough in our consumer society, especially as those playing the traditional game start going through the game of LIFE. They’ll be getting married, buying a house, having children, and you’ll appear to be stuck in the same place. And you might be stuck for decades. But if you complain about being stuck, you’re done. If you don’t have the backbone to continue on your own path, stop, immediately, it’ll never work.

And if you have college debt and a spouse and a house and children you may not be able to achieve what you want to professionally. That’s okay if family is the most important thing to you, but if it’s not, you’re ultimately gonna regret it.

So you’ll look for role models. Forget it. Not only is everybody’s path unique, everybody is different. Your skills are different from another’s. You’ll only win if you bet on your skills. Which means play to your strengths, which may be different from your initial desires. It takes a while to figure it out, but you can, because you don’t want to have any regrets.

But life happens, and you’ll find yourself making commitments and getting off the path. Beware. Just because everybody else is doing it that doesn’t mean you should. And the truth is you can live without anything other than food, water, shelter and friends, everything else is superfluous.

And if you do all the above, maybe you’ll wake up in your forties or fifties or even sixties and it will all come together. Ironically, when your old compatriots are getting divorced and hate their jobs and are just waiting for retirement.

Then again, don’t expect kudos. If you can’t pat yourself on the back, you’ll never win. And just so you know, the exhilaration of winning, the good feeling, lasts a very short time, and then you’ve got to do it again, resting on your laurels is ultimately soulless.

As for money… There’s always someone with more. And once you have enough it becomes a competition. There’s nothing wrong with money, but just don’t let it overshadow your dream.

So when you get to the end you’ll still have regrets. Tons of them. You’ll have sacrificed so much. You’ll lament what you’ve lost. What you’ve missed. But what you will have is yourself and your mission, and those are enough to keep you company, to keep you whole.

And never complain about your mission or tell people how hard you’re working. Nobody cares, especially if there’s no tangible success. You’ve just got to keep on keepin’ on.

Bottom line, you don’t want to play the coulda, shoulda, woulda game. You don’t want to look back and say if only you took the risk. You’re gonna lose on a regular basis, you just want to do your best not to lose where it’s important to you.

And only you can judge your path. And only you can judge your success. If you’re doing it for others, stop, you must do it for yourself.

Everybody will tell you to do it differently. Your parents, your teachers…they’ll tell you to conform. Ironically, it’s those who do best in school who do worst in careers. They’re all about jumping through hoops, pleasing some entity, they don’t think for themselves, they just follow the path blindly their entire lives not realizing the joke is on them.

So you’re gonna be different. And you might give up opportunities. You might pass up money. You know why you’re doing it, nobody else might.

And there’s a good chance your parents will never be satisfied with whatever you do.

And there are spouses who waver. They’re supportive and then they get frustrated. Try not to be involved with someone who puts you down. But it’ll be hard when you stick to your guns and don’t sacrifice. Compromise everywhere but where it’s important to you.

And don’t listen to anybody, nobody really knows. That person who made a billion? They might be a great salesman. Are you? There’s nothing wrong with being a crappy salesman, just don’t make it the focus of your life. Everybody who has won wants to tell you how to do it. They write books. And if you read them it’s a good way to lose. Because once again, you’re not them.

And you’ll find your goals keep changing. Once you wanted to be president, now you ask yourself why anybody would want to be president. Once you wanted to be a professional athlete, but very few of them have a successful retirement, they just keep talking about the games they played in the past. Once you wanted to be famous. But that’s not enough. The fame must be the byproduct.

So I’m just telling you one thing. LISTEN TO NOBODY! Everybody will tell you what to do. You’ll be overwhelmed, you’ll have a hard time starting, never mind staying the course. And nobody knows where all the rocks in the river are, no one knows all the pitfalls, everybody’s adventure is different, and the goal is to get to the end and feel proud that you did it your way. That’s what’s satisfying, that’s what makes a life complete.

Mailbag

From: Chris Kimsey

Subject: Re: Wild World

Hi Bob ,What a joy to read your blog about Cat Stevens and Mona Bone Jackon .

I was the assistant engineer on the album . It was recorded at Olympic Studio 2, with Paul Samwell-Smith producing and George Chkiantz engineering. That album and those songs shaped my love of recording music. The songwriting was brilliant as were the arrangements and the performances by such a great group of musicians.

I remember Paul was fixated that all microphones should be in phase and carried a phase meter with him to the session.

Never seen that before . 

Wonderful to remember, no plug-ins no click no grid just pure life and energy in those analog recordings.

It was Cat’s first attempt at breaking away from the commercialism of the songs that preceded the album. And a new record company, Island Records and Chris Blackwell were totally on his side. Those Sessions claim a huge part of my heart which I shall never forget. Thank you Cat thank you Olympic as you say Bob great music lives forever.

Chris Kimsey Olympic Studios Barnes London

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From: BILL MUMY

Subject: Re: Wild World

Hi Bob… Tea For the Tillerman is, in my opinion, one of not too many, truly perfect albums. All the songs hold up really well and it never sounds stale to my ears. I agree with you a hundred percent that him re-recording that classic album was a mistake. 

One of the very best gigs I ever went to was in 1971 at the Troubadour. Carly Simon, her first album just released, opening for Cat Steven’s. Fantastic gig! And… just to sweeten the memory, Carly kissed me at that gig. On the mouth. 

And that’s the way I’ve always heard it should be. 

Hang Tough. 

Mumy 

Still in Laurel Cyn

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Subject: Re: hill_deeee

Yes, Bob!

Argghh!! Please, no more complaining about Spotify. I can’t have this talk with many of my musician friends. They hate Spotify so much.  But they don’t understand that it is free distribution and it’s everywhere!  That’s a major advancement for musicians—but they don’t take advantage.

I have a friend who gets it.  He has a huge email list which he built by selling digital music education products online. When he has a show, he just emails the part of his list that is located in that area and he can sell the show out pretty quickly….with just one email!  And it’s all because he is on top of how to be savvy in this new digital world.

So, yes, the new model is really alive! The story you related about hill_deeee underscores it.

Here’s another example.

You remember the band, Brand X?   I’m sure you do as well as many of your readers.

Anyway, Brand X was just in the market for a new drummer.  Their pedigree of drummers is pretty fantastic:  Phil Collins (you know, proggy, Genesis-era, pre-pop star Phil Collins), Bill Bruford, Mike Clark, Chuck Burgi, Kenwood Dennard and  most recently the lesser-known but fantastic Kenny Grohowski.

Who do you think they recruited?  Simon Phillips?  Dave Weckl? Virgil Donati? Gary Novak? Billy Cobham? Nope.

They hired Greyson Nekrutman.  Who??  Yes, I know….who is he, right?

Greyson is an 18 year. old drummer who has more than 200K Instagram followers which he amassed merely by posting over the top drum solos.

And, so, that’s the new game.   Networking?   Nope.  Old-school.

Greyson hasn’t really played with anyone.  But Brand X hired him because they saw him online and he has 200K followers.  Oh,  yes, he’s very very good.

But that’s a way to get a prestige gig that didn’t exist before….

It’s real, it can work, and it IS working for those who get it and are good enough to create content that will draw in the followers…

Fascinating stuff.

-Mark Feldman

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Subject: Re: Rosh Hashanah

Back at Ya Bob!  My family was as Brooklyn Jewish 1960s as there was. We went to temple on the high holidays ,kept a kosher house etc..,On the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah in 1962 it was about 4 am and my father wakes me up…”Wanna go fishing? “ wow really? So I get dressed got my fishing gear and we were off to Sheepshead Bay aJD made the 7 am boat to go for Tuna and Bluefish..It was a beautiful day and I spent some real quality time with my father ..

My neighborhood was Uber religious with lots of Holocaust survivors..they would absolutely see us on this mid September day coming home and driving no less on a major Jewish Holiday…We had that covered..My father brought 2 white shirts , ties and sports jackets and  we changed right before we left the boat. When we drove down our block around 5PM lots of neighbors where out on the streets..As we drove by them my father gave them a wave..

My mother had The story covered telling a couple of the neighbors that we went to my grandmothers temple in Red Hook to spend the afternoon with her and of course we had to drive to get there. Of course they absolutely understood how else could we get there .. and when we came home the garage door was open and we just pulled in the garage nobody saw us or knew anything. What a trip that would’ve been if my neighbors knew that we were going fishing on Rosh Hashanah.That’s the way my father was ….to pull the rabbit out of the hat sometimes when the timing was right.

Happy New Year

Peace, Jason

Jason Miles

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From: John Cayne

Subject: Re: The Apple Keynote

Here’s an Apple Watch story – if you don’t own a piece of health tech/fit tech, you will.

A person I do business with has an employee who is going on medical leave for open heart surgery. Seemingly healthy, she bought an Apple Watch and within days of having it setup the watch was indicating a potential issue with her heart rate. She sees a doctor, sees a specialist and now is having heart surgery. How can we afford to not have one (or something similar)?

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Subject: Re: Re-Touring/Covid-19

Vaccine checks at Dead & Company in Hartford with a mask request. Both are much appreciated and necessary if you ask me – but my friend and I were the only two people wearing masks. 

More proof that stupidity is an ancient human trait. 

Skip Roads

Boston, MA

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From: Shari Ulrich

Subject: Re: Re-Touring/Covid-19

I’m a touring artist in Canada, living in BC. So far only doing a few shows in my province to 50% capacity. BUT….as of Sept. 13 we have vaccine passports, and no one is allowed into any venue, bar, restaurant or public space without their passport (which takes 15 seconds to acquire with name, birthdate, Personal Health Number, and date of one of your vaccinations.)  In the 6 days it’s been in place I’ve done 3 shows and can vouch that it works perfectly (ID must be shown with it). No fuss – staff is happy to execute and everyone is grateful to be able to attend a show in relative safety. Folks aren’t tracked, and no information is collected. And anyone can download the verification app so small venues and businesses can easily execute checking electronically. I too have been saying since the vaccine came out that it’s the ONLY way live music will be able to return. Period. And it works. Period.

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Subject: Re: Re-Touring/Covid-19

Hi Bob, 

 

After almost two years of not seeing a live show, last week on back to back nights I saw Lord Huron in Boston at what is essentially a tent.  It was for all intents a sellout, about 5,000 of us who had a great time. 

 

Getting inside took some patience as there was a long line.  We had to show proof of vaccination which security didn’t seem to pay much attention to.  They were more concerned about keeping the line moving. 

 

Very few chose to wear a mask.  All in attendance basked in the joy of the live concert experience. 

 

The next night I saw the Black Crowes at the 20k seat Xfinity Center amphitheater in Mansfield.   

 

Getting in was more or less the same experience less the line.  There were none as there are many gates. 

 

Since the show was far from a sellout they were offering free ticket upgrades inside the shed.  Our seats were on the lawn so, of course we took the closer seats. 

 

It looked to be about half full or less, and again very few masks. 

 

We ended up sitting directly behind the sound table for a great show. 

 

I chatted with a member of the crew who was no spring chicken and he summed it up with “I haven’t worked in a year and a half so I’m happy to be here and will take the risk.”  It sounded liked he was forced to make a difficult choice. 

 

Therein lies the rub…These folks have to eat but risk getting sick (or worse). 

 

Fans want to get out and see live music and some face the same choices although ours are less complicated:  The experience of live music vs. the risk of exposure. 

 

It’s funny how in the moment of both shows, I didn’t care about any of it.  I didn’t look around and think “how many ignorant people are here and are they next to me?” 

 

I didn’t think about who they voted for, what their education level was, had they lost anyone to Covid?  Had they been sick themselves? 

 

I did think about the guy I talked to, his brother road warriors and what they’d gone through.  It can not have been pretty. 

 

However, when the shows were over the thoughts creep in… I asked myself “was it worth it?”  “How many ignorant people were in the venue?” 

 

And I wonder about how many in the industry from the artists on down who’s lives and livelihood have been forever altered. 

 

Regards, 

 

Ray Levin

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From: Mike Donahue

Subject: Re: Re-Touring/Covid-19

I’m your age, Bob and

before all this would see at least 100 bands a year.  Now, I can’t think of one I would take the slightest risk to see. That’s just how I am rollin’ these days

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Subject: Re: Touring/Covid-19

Let the anti-vaxxer people who don’t care about others stay home and let’s see if they like it?

By them not getting the vaccine, that’s what they are asking us to do!

Iona S. Elliott

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From: Walter Egan

Subject: Re: Great Backup Vocals Playlist

I did a house concert in Upland, Grand Oaks Live, July 24. Really nice house with a stage in the back. Then the woman who put it on died of COVID three weeks later(!)

That was when I canceled my fall dates.

I will get the booster before I do the shows booked in November.

That English label that put out my new album ‘fascination’ is going to put out another next year. 

Stay well

Walter

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From: Robert Meyrowitz

Subject: Re: Muhammad Ali

Bob,

You are right, I loved the Muhammad Ali doc. Talk about living through those times, my first job was at ABC radio. I had a small interior office across from Howard Cosell. One day I am sitting in my office and it suddenly gets dark, I look up and it is Muhammad Ali. He shouts “Cosell says you told him you could whip me. Get up.” Scared the hell out of me. Cosell comes in and says “C’mon we’re going to watch the champ workout.” We went downstairs, got in a limo and got out at a gym. Neither Muhammad or Cosell said another word to me. 50 some odd years later still one of the most magical moments in my life.

Bob

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Subject: Re: Muhammad Ali

I lived it right along with you back then.

My father was in fight game in Philly, where I was raised and educated, both in the classroom and on the streets. His good friend was Yank Durham who I recall calling our house one night and asking my dad if he was interested in seeing this ‘kid’ he wanted to work with, Joe Frazier. My dad declined.

Years later when I was in college, I split my time between Temple University and working my father’s dry-cleaning store on the Main Line, just outside Philly. One day I found myself delivering a few freshly pressed suits to a high-end apartment building off City Line Avenue and I almost crapped myself when Muhammad Ali answered the door. We chatted and I told him I’d grown up in gyms with my dad, and as a result, boxing had always been part of my life

A few months later, I found myself making another stop at his home and when he saw it was me, he picked up our conversation exactly where we left off. He didn’t miss a beat. I was blown away that he remembered what we talked about, down to the names of the boxers I told him I used to watch train with my father.

Looking forward to watching this one too and although he had many, for me, one of his best lines has to be “I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”

Thanks for the reminder and the DVR is set.

Bob Conrad

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Subject: Re: Muhammad Ali

Hi Bob, terrific reminder. Cosell was really big time for Monday night football and for any big time fight. Billy Crystal does a great impersonation of him and Ali.

About 16 years ago, I was taking a client out to dinner in San  Francisco at this very hard to get into restaurant that specialized in garlic infused whole Dungeness crabs. There were 4 of us at our table and about two tables away was Ali with an entourage of 5 or 6 people.

My client wanted me to go interrupt them and ask for his autograph.  I said “no way, he wants his privacy”. But my client kept insisting until  his wife realized how uncomfortable it was for me and she said she would do it.  And she got up and walked over to his table and in a few minutes she was hugging him and he was waving at us all to come over.  We introduced ourselves and this was before cell phone cameras, but one of our party had a camera and Ali had agreed to take a picture with my client and his wife.  Ali and everyone in his group could not have been more gracious and  friendly.

My client was a buyer for “the Good Guys” chain of consumer electronics and  a week later when I went to see him for an order, he had  the picture framed on his office wall.  I got a big order.

alan segal

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Subject: Re: Muhammad Ali

I grew up in KY and Ali was a hero.  Listening to the fights on my transistor radio.  I moved to Louisville in the mid 90’s for a new job.  My job included quite a bit of travel and since Louisville wasn’t a Hub most Mondays I was on the early Bird to Atlanta or Chicago.  Ali still had a house in Louisville and one in Chicago so a lot of Monday’s he’d be on my flight to Midway.  The Flight Crew would escort him and his wife on 1st and then the rest of us would board.  Ali and I developed a nodding relationship over several flights as he sat 1st seat aisle.

One Halloween, I returned on Friday evening from Chicago.  My wife was picking me up and had brought our children in their Halloween costumes to the airport to pick up Dad.  I walk off the Jetway and there are Justin and Heather in costume scaring ALI!  He is hiding his eyes and laughing.  Pre Cell Phone unfortunately so I don’t have pictures.

A few years later the Company I worked for had distribution of our Juice in Thornton Oil.  Thornton was going to sponsor a Golden Gloves Tournament in Louisville and we were asked to be a sponsor.  It was to be called the Ali Cup.  As a sponsor, I was invited to the pre event party.  The guests were boxers, Holmes, Spinks, Sugar Ray Leonard etc. Every important boxer of the past 20 years.  And they all were waiting on one person – Muhammed Ali.  He walked in and they all flocked to him like kids to their Hero!  My wife realized how much I loved Ali and as we were leaving she asked for my badge.  I handed it to her and she headed directly to The Champ’s ringside box.  She called him Mr Mohammed and asked him to sign my badge.  He did and it hangs in my office as a treasured relic.

I cried when he died.  The end of an amazing era!

David Britton

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From: Cotty Chubb

Subject: Re: Hartwig Masuch On The Future

In the mid-90s I was president (a fancy title that came with a decent salary) of a fairly powerful film production company on the Universal lot, run by two producers who had been Universal execs, when Edgar Bronfman jr and Seagrams bought the studio. They hired a very expensive management consultant company (Bain or McWhatever) to figure out the business they’d just bought. 

The first call I got from them was almost plaintive. “Why do you spend so much money developing scripts you don’t make?” It wasn’t a ridiculous question, adn wehn they called again, a few months later, they asked it again.

Truthfully nobody should have hired Larry McMurtry and his wife to write a movie script based on the 1950s television show  “Father Knows Best,” but it was on our company’s slate, bought at great expense before I was hired. So I thought the question was a fair one. 

But it revealed, as you suggest, Bob, a distinct aversion to risk. And as that aversion grew, and it sure did, over the next decade, studios stopped taking risks. And look where we ended up. 

With a business of massively expensive :branded entertainment content” and their sequels and universes. Yippee, reward without risk. Supposedly. Except that in the process the most vital communication and story-telling medium was robbed of most of its surprise. We know (except occasionally) what we’re going to get when we go to the movies now. 

And so an industry weaned several generations of audience off the pleasures of the unexpected. And that audience has now turned to a firehouse of undistinguished and primarily unmemorable streaming “content,” chasing Wall Street’s demand that everybody has to have a streamer.

Your words are prophetic about what will happen to music when the new owners figure out that new music, and evelopng new voices, new modalities, is just too darn risky. 

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Subject: Re: Paul Anka-This Week’s Podcast

Bob,

Great podcast on Paul Anka. It was nice to see Paul pay respect to his first manager Irvin Feld. I worked for Irvin Feld after he bought the circus for 9 years before he passed in 1984. He was a tough taskmaster and you had to bring your A game everyday. 

Irvin’s right hand man at the time was Allen Bloom with whom I became close friends with over the years. Allen was on the early bus tours with Paul Anka, Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Drifters, Chuck Berry. Allen kept a small spiral notebook about the size of a deck of cards and recorded every detail on gross, net, concessions, who got paid what, cash deposits, building settlements. He loved to share detail of the early road tours. 

Check out the CBC video “Lonely Boy” on amazon. Many of the characters Paul speaks about are in the video like the Copa owner, Irvin and Allen. 

Best regards,

Bill Powell

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Subject: Re: Anka and Al

I’m a big Anka fan, saw his show at the Royal Albert Hall some years ago which was a masterclass in professionalism. I also interviewed him once, including about how he came to write ‘My Way’. After we finished I asked him if he wouldn’t mind writing out a couple of lines of the song and signing it. Would you believe he wrote out the entire song for me and added “This is real! Paul Anka, Dorchester Hotel.” What a legend and thoroughly nice guy.

David Stark

SongLink.com

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Subject: Paul Anka

I know I’m late but I wanted to share a few thoughts about Paul Anka & your excellent interview.  I noticed that you omitted your favourite question to artists : “At this time, if you quit working, do you have enough to make it to the end?”. Obviously the question wasn’t necessary because we know Paul has more money than God! Which brings me to the point:  A few years ago I went to see Anka at the local casino in the middle of nowhere, primarily because I had heard he puts on a good show, tickets were cheap, & it was close by.

Rama Ontario isn’t the easiest place to get to, this show was never going to be reviewed, & like most casino shows, a portion of the crowd was comped or there for lack of an alternative. In fact some acts have two separate set lists/shows: a 90 minute regular concert, & a 75 minute casino set …..”get em in & back to the slots asap”. That night in the middle of nowhere, one of the richest acts in the business put on an energetic full blown 2 hour concert, with forays through the venue to shake hands etc, & including ALL of the best of his catalogue. Anka wasn’t selling anything & doesn’t need to sell anything, & there’s a lot of places in the world he could have spent that evening doing a lot of things. I was reminded of Paul McCartney who, at 79, puts on an unbelievable 3 hour show & doesn’t need to be anywhere he doesn’t want to be, or Peter Noone at 73 who also is one of the most entertaining & energetic legacy acts out there.   Some artists do it just because they love to perform.   If you a chance to see Paul Anka, grab the opportunity, you won’t regret it.

Steve Cole

Elmvale, Ontario

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Subject: Re: Anka and Al

Unsure if you or you’re subscribers are aware but Paul Anka covers Prince’s Purple Rain in his live set. How cool is that?

Andrew Paciocco

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Subject: Re: Anka and Al

One more Anka story for the road 

I was 15 and in love with rock music and Motown at the time. Rosalie Trombley was my hero for breaking hits and my very Italian mother was President of the Jewish women‘s bowling league Tuesday Bowlerettes (my parents raised us friends are friends)

Soo their year (1967) end party is at the Elmwood Casino in Windsor Ontario Canada ( the real south Detroit

And Paul Anka was appearing my Dad was not interested so I was nominated to go. All I knew was it was a nightclub and the food was good . I’m in

He Mesmerized me. In fact he came into the audience came up to our table and sang to me.  It would set the bar for live shows for the rest of my  frequent concert going life.your podcasts brought it all back 

Brava

Lori Baldassi

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Subject: Re: Anka and Al

I always thought that Anka was an egregious little shit. You and he changed my mind, and that’s hard to do when you’re older than dirt. Thanks!

Richard Flohil

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Subject: Re: Paul Anka-This Week’s Podcast

Just listened to this, Bob, it was so impactful and inspiring that I did so over three days, forcing myself to turn it off so I could savor and contemplate what I heard.

Not only is this the best podcast you have done, this is the best interview I have EVER heard.

No shit, Bob, Paul Anka is an AMAZING human being and he shared so much of himself and the wisdom he has accumulated that I will definitely be listening again to let it sink in even deeper.

Beyond that, however, this has just given me a lift at a time in my life that is pivotal and I am grateful to him and to YOU for providing that, more than words can express.

With age has come doubt, really for the first time in my life – well I guess it has passed through before but not like this.

And hearing Paul’s energy, passion and determination to keep LIVING… drawn out and coupled with yours… whew it nearly makes me tear up.

Bob, I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

DG

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From: Jefferson Holt

Subject: Re: The New James McMurtry Album

Hey Bob,

Don Dixon !!

So bear with me here…

I know how much you hate everybody pushing their stuff on you so I never wrote to tell you about my new project.

I’ve started a new record label with Jay Coyle ( Nashville) (musicgeekservices) called Propleller Sound Recordings. Our first release is a double album of the very earliest dB’s recordings.

The second release will be in early 2022. “ Highways and Rocketships ” by Florence Dore- musician, songwriter, author and wife of Will Rigby( drummer for the dB’s and Steve Earle for years). She just cut an album at Mitch Easter’s Fidelatorium Studio here in North Carolina. Joining Florence were Will on drums, Peter Holsapple ( dB’s, Continental Drifters, R.E.M. and Hootie and the Blowfish) Mark Spencer ( Son Volt) , Jeremy Chatzky ( Bruce Springsteen, Ronnie Spector, Laura Cantrell ).

And that album was produced by none other than Don Dixon. One of the best folk I’ve ever met in the music biz.

I wrote Don and asked him if he could send me a list of what he’s been up to for the last twenty years and….well this is what I got !

“ Since 2001 I have:

Produced albums for The Red Clay Ramblers (2), Marti Jones (3), Jim

Wann (3), David Childers (2), Madison Smartt Bell & Wyn Cooper (2),

Rosavelt (2), The Carpenter Ants (3), Sid Selvidge, Volatile Baby, The

King Dapper Combo, The Nichols Family, Chris Allen (4), The Edison

Project, Dip Ferrell & the Truetones (3), The Ohio City Singers (4),

GB Leighton, Larry Groce (2), The Coastal Cohorts (2), Kelley Ryan,

Hey Mavis (3), Tribute to Alfred Reed (various artists recorded for

the WV Music Hall of Fame), The Smithereens, Todd Burge (2), Hannah

Thomas, Micha & Mark Atkinson (2), Tribute to Little Jimmy Dickens

(various artists recorded for the WV Music Hall of Fame), Falling

Stars, The Gin Blossoms, Rod Abernethy, John Rooney, Lassie James,

Mary Hott, Austin Walkin’ Cane, Mark Bates, Florence Dore, It’s

Snakes, Tribute to Billy Edd Wheeler (various artists recorded for the

WV Music Hall of Fame), Wednesday Week

Performed on recordings for The Golden Palominos, Matthew Sweet,

Dottie Peoples, Robert Crenshaw, Caitlin Cary, Mary Chapin Carpenter,

Chris Stamey, Carrie Newcomer, Bill Lloyd, Jeffrey Dean Foster,

Michael Stanley, Carey Sims, Angel & the Love Mongers, Robin Rogers,

Otis Gibbs, Todd Burge, A Fragile Tomorrow, The Ohio City Singers,

Rosavelt, Falling Stars, Kelley Ryan, Chris Allen, Jim Wann, Hannah

Thomas, David Childers, Dennis McCurdy, Rod Abernethy, Kyle Davis,

Eric Gnedza, Bryan Shumate, Lassie James, Mark Bates, Coastal Cohorts,

Doug McKean, Jana Pochop, Sean Kelly, Austin Walkin’ Cane, Marti

Jones, Dip Ferrell & the Truetones, Madison Smart Bell & Wyn Cooper,

Chris Allen

Mixed recordings for Amy Rigby, Chauncy, Brian Lisik, Robert Crenshaw,

Ken Hardley, Doug McKean, John Cody, Tommy Joyner, Superchunk, Bryan

Shumate,

Recorded and released my own albums which are Notepad #38, The Entire

Combustible World in One Small Room, Lucky Stars (with Marti Jones),

Music from Robert Creep, Sings the Jeffords Brothers, Living Stereo

(with Marti Jones), High & Filthy & Borderline, I Lived in the Time of

Organ Grinders

Performed on stage either solo, or with Marti Jones, Kelley Ryan, The

Ohio City Singers, or Mary Chapin Carpenter in all 48 Continental

United States, Ireland, Scotland and England…nearly 2,500 shows…”

and this….

“i forgot about my album “The Nu-Look” & my band the Jump Rabbits with whom i’ve done hundreds of shows with in the last 20 years…”

He did an amazing job on Florence’s record and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

All the best, Jefferson