Monday, July 31, 2023

Atlantic City: Ahmet Ertegun 100

Phil Collins & Daryl Stuermer - In the Air Tonight

I know I promised another funeral, but that guy would have been 97 on Thursday next, so we've converted that wake into a super celebration, like I like to do where possible.

Once I figured that out 48 hours ago, I simultaneously grokked that we have a centennial to end the month, and a potent one at that.

Today's centenary cat wasn't a musician, even.

You could say he was more of an enabler, in the best and most constructive way you can be that.

The son of a Turkish Ambassador to the US, he inherited some serious diplomatic skills, which he put to use bringing some of the greatest music that will ever be made into the world.

It all happened because his dentist, flush from a bonanza trip to Las Vegas, agreed to lend him $10,000, which he put to use founding what many people hold as the single greatest record label in human history.

Along his journey he discovered, recorded, promoted, counselled, introduced and collaborated with an unquantifiable number of artists, many of whom went on to make music that will be played centuries beyond now, if not forever.

And today, Ahmet Ertegun -- mastermind of Atlantic Records -- would have been a hundred years old.

His influence will endure perhaps thousands.

There's a lotta ways to approach someone like this: for example, do a concert of an artist they made happen -- say, for instance Ray Charles -- whom Ahmet essentially ignited as a recording entity at the start of the 1950s. Or Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, or any number of pioneering Soul or Jazz people.

Then I found this wild 2007 tribute concert from right after he passed at 83 in 2006 -- 
posted, by just one person, to YouTube -- which only seemed to exist as a high definition video.

Further inspection of the extracted audio -- which AFAIK doesn't circulate as a ROIO by itself --  of this 2 1/2 hour supershow yielded the information we love to hear: that it went all the way past 20 kHz, and wasn't apparently lossy at all.

So here's what I spent the last two days brewing it up into, kinky and in need of repair as it was... I think I did a job worthy of the all-star cast that showed up at Lincoln Center that night, to pay their respects to a man they all considered a mentor.

Jazz At Lincoln Center
A Tribute to Ahmet Ertegun
Rose Theater
New York City, NY USA

01 Wynton Marsalis & friends - Second Line Ramble fanfare & intro
02 Solomon Burke speaks
03 Eric Clapton speaks
04 Eric Clapton, Dr. John & friends - Please Send Me Someone to Love
05 Eric Clapton, Dr. John & friends - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
06 Michael Bloomberg speaks
07 Solomon Burke introduces Just Out of Reach
08 Solomon Burke - Just Out of Reach
09 Solomon Burke speaks about Ahmet & Aretha
10 Henry Kissinger speaks
11 Bette Midler - Princess Poo-Poo-Ly Has Plenty Papaya
12 Bette Midler introduces Ben E. King
13 Ben E. King, Mick Jones & John Paul Jones - Don't Play That Song
14 Oscar de la Renta speaks
15 Kid Rock speaks
16 Sam Moore & Kid Rock - In the Midnight Hour
17 Sam Moore & Kid Rock - I Thank You
18 Bette Midler introduces Egemen Bağış
19 Egemen Bağış speaks
20 Bette Midler introduces The Manhattan Transfer
21 Tim Hauser of The Manhattan Transfer speaks
22 The Manhattan Transfer - Sing Moten's Swing
23 Taylor Hackford speaks
24 Jerry Wexler speaks
25 Phil Collins & Daryl Stuermer - In the Air Tonight
26 Phil Collins speaks
27 Genesis - Follow You, Follow Me (acoustic version)
28 David Geffen speaks
29 Stevie Nicks - Stand Back
30 Stevie Nicks - Rock & Roll
31 Stevie Nicks speaks
32 Jann Wenner reads a message from Keith Richards & speaks about Ahmet
33 Bette Midler speaks
34 Bette Midler - Beyond the Sea/Shiver Me Timbers
35 Mick Jagger speaks
36 Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Compared to What (1969 excerpt)
37 Crosby, Stills & Nash - In My Life
38 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Helplessly Hoping
39 Stills & Young - Mr. Soul
40 Bette Midler speaks in closing
41 Wynton Marsalis - Down By the Riverside

Total time: 2:26:33
disc break goes after Track 25
constructed to burn more or less contiguously to a single 18-track, 68-minute CD without the talking parts, including only Tracks 01, 04, 05, 08, 11, 13, 16, 17, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, 34, 37, 38, 39 & 41

16/48 audio extracted from a HD YouTube video of this event
spectral analysis goes past 20 kHz, so this is equivalent to a preFM source
converted to 16/44 CD Audio, remastered, tracked and repaired by EN, July 2023
873 MB FLAC/direct link

Anyway if you want the long version of Ahmet Ertegun's one-of-a-kind story, I'd definitely suggest listening to this concert, full of tales straight from the mouths of Atlantic artists beloved throughout the world, whose lives were touched -- and in many cases transformed -- by his life.

There's also a lot of tremendous music to go along with the words, as Ahmet would have demanded.

As promised, we'll be back on Thursday to leave our hearts in San Francisco once again, but don't you dare hesitate to give this show a spin or 12 in honor of a modern-day sultan named Ahmet Ertegun, himself often called the greatest Record Man that ever lived. He who gave us the biggest, deepest Atlantic that wasn't technically a City or an Ocean.--J.

7.31.1923 - 12.14.2006

Friday, July 28, 2023

She Tore It Up

Sinéad O'Connor - I Am Stretched On Your Grave

I am stretched on your grave
And will lie there forever
If your hands were in mine
I'd be sure we'd not sever

My apple tree, my brightness
It's time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather

When my family thinks
That I'm safe in my bed
From night until morning
I am stretched at your head

Calling out to the air
With tears hot and wild
My grief for the girl
That I loved as a child

Do you remember
The night we were lost
In the shade of the blackthorn
And the chill of the frost?

Thanks be to Jesus
We did what was right
And your maidenhead still
Is your pillar of light

The priests and the friars
Approach me in dread
Because I still love you
My love, and you're dead

I still would be your shelter
Through rain and through storm
And with you in your cold grave
I cannot sleep warm

So I'm stretched on your grave
And will lie there forever
If you hands were in mine
I'd be sure we'd not sever

My apple tree, my brightness
It's time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather

Sinéad O'Connor
Pinkpop Festival
Evenemententerrein Megaland
Landgraaf, The Netherlands

01 walk on & dedication
02 Jackie
03 Mandinka
04 Never Get Old
05 Just Like U Said It Would B
06 Jerusalem
07 The Value of Ignorance
08 The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
09 Just Call Me Joe
10 Jump In the River
11 I Want Your (Hands On Me)
12 Troy
13 I Am Stretched On Your Grave

Total time: 58:44

Sinéad O'Connor - guitar & vocals
Marco Pirroni - guitar
Andy Rourke - bass
Mike Joyce - drums
Phil Thornton - keyboards

2nd gen cassette of the VARA preFM master reel
slightly retracked and fully declipped -- with volume boosted +2 dB throughout -- by EN, July 2023

Sinéad O'Connor
Hammersmith Odeon
London, UK

01 Feel So Different
02 The Emperor’s New Clothes
03 I Want Your (Hands On Me)
04 You Cause As Much Sorrow
05 Three Babies
06 Black Boys On Mopeds
07 The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
08 Nothing Compares 2 U 
09 Jump In the River
10 Jerusalem
11 Mandinka
12 Troy
13 My Special Child
14 Don't Give Up (w. Peter Gabriel)

Total time: 1:12:23

Tracks 01-12:
Sinéad O'Connor – guitar & vocals
Dean Garcia – bass
David Ruffy – drums
Marco Pirroni – guitar
Susan Davies – keyboards, guitar & vocals
Marc Taylor – keyboards

Tracks 13 & 14:
Sinéad O'Connor – vocals
Peter Gabriel - vocals on Track 14
Sting - bass
Dominic Miller - guitar
David Sancious - keyboards
Vinnie Colaiuta - drums & percussion

Tracks 01-12 are likely a master off-air FM cassette capture, made from the original BBC broadcast
sourced from the 1992 bootleg CD "Beautiful Vision" on the Kiss the Stone label
slightly retracked and declipped by EN, July 2023
Tracks 13 & 14 are bonus tracks from the "Kurd Aid" concert @ Statenhal, The Hague NL 5.9.1991 preFM
pre-broadcast capture of indeterminate origin, remastered by EN, July 2023
402 & 467 MB FLAC respectively/direct link

We'll end the month -- as well as kick off its last weekend -- in full party-hardy style, with the first of two memorials to two recently deceased icons. For this one, there's not much else to say, except that 56 is way too young.

That and Morrissey, with whom I usually disagree at 180 degree levels, is absolutely right when he says all the pundits who have now instantly canonized her should have thought of that when they were pillorying her as an unhinged, dogmatic loony for the last 30 years.

What they failed to say, until they thought it was safe for them to say it, is that the Roman Catholic Church has paid tens of billions of dollars in restitution for molestation of young people since "that moment" 31 years ago on SNL.

Yep, Sinéad O'Connor -- gone 48 hours ago at merely 56 -- tore it up all right. Emphasis on r-i-g-h-t, as in correct no matter what the assholes had in store by way of repercussions, as they wheeled like birds of prey above the desert to which they exiled her.
Sent away for the unconscionable crime of having ripped up a piece of paper... if only to symbolize the lives the Church had already torn to shreds. Circling like vultures, awaiting her demise so they could spread the good news about how awesome she was.

I'll be back with another funeral, for another just-departed, totally individual and sincere icon, in another 48.--J.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

It's Such a Perfect Day: Christine McVie 80

Christine McVie - Oh Daddy (FM Nashville 1977)

Let's interrupt the unmitigated sausage fest of toxic Jazz masculinity that is my page with a milestone birthday salvo about one of the truly beloveds.

She left us late last year, coming within months of her 80th, which would have been today.

Obviously there's no big introduction needed, as for 50 years she was the glue that held one of the world's most popular groups together.

Beginning at the end of the 1960s as the focus of British Blues Boom band Chicken Shack, she was a songwriting force, rivalled by few and revered by many.

Born Christine Perfect, as the 1970s began she married the bass player of Fleetwood Mac... and then, not long after, she joined the group. For good.

In truth, they may not have survived the down period during the first half of the Seventies were it not for her presence and seemingly limitless hitmaking abilities.

We all know the history. When Americans Buckingham & Nicks joined up in 1975, Fleetwood Mac exploded into the biggest band on Earth, with today's honoree leading the way with smash after smash.

Like I said, their internal foibles are so legendary, without Christine McVie holding it all together there's no way they'd have lasted as long as they did.

So how to pay proper tribute? Well, it's a long story but there's this fan compilation of live tracks spanning her career that got put together after she passed, and which later got pitch corrected track by track by Pervesser Goody over in the UK.

Titled "The Perfect Mix," this was a great idea, but when I heard it the vast quality fluctuations and tape chew across the 70 minutes of music kind of ruined it for me.

That's why they're called bootlegs, right? Anyway last month I started to investigate what might happen if I tried to replicate the thing, song for song, from the massive quantity of live bonus material included in all the Fleetwood Mac deluxe reissues, the official stuff.

Could it be done? Could it be made to track like one, continuous concert if it could? Would Audacity come through in the clutch with tasteful crossfades worthy of such a megamix?

Well, minus a few editorial decisions by me, this is what it might have been like in an alternate universe, if FM had been Christine's band exclusively. I think you'll find the results of what I did fairly close to Perfect.

Christine McVie
Past Perfect
live in the USA and London

01 I'd Rather Go Blind (Chicken Shack BBC 1968)
02 Why (Connecticut 1975)
03 Spare Me a Little (Connecticut 1975)
04 Oh Daddy (Nashville 1977)
05 Say You Love Me (London 1980)
06 Over My Head (Burbank 1976)
07 Over and Over (Oklahoma City 1980)
08 Got a Hold On Me (C. McVie Reseda 1983)
09 Love Will Show Us How (C. McVie Reseda 1983)
10 Everywhere (San Francisco 1987)
11 Little Lies (San Francisco 1987)
12 Remember Me (Bob Welch Hollywood 1981)
13 You Make Loving Fun (Tulsa 1977)
14 Don't Stop (C. McVie Reseda 1983)
15 Songbird (London 1980)
16 Love In Store (Los Angeles 1982)
17 Think About Me (Kansas City 1980)
18 Keeping Secrets (C. McVie Reseda 1983)
19 Hold Me (Los Angeles 1982)
20 Get Like You Used to Be (Passaic 1975)
21 Never Make Me Cry (live in the studio 1979)

Total time: 1:18:53

alternative iteration of the bootleg compilation "The Perfect Mix," compiled from official sources and volume-homogenized by EN, July 2023
all tracks by Fleetwood Mac unless otherwise specified
534 MB FLAC/direct link

Now before anyone busts me and says Wait A Minute Now, Joshy! a couple of the 1983 Reseda tracks are also on the original bootleg compilation! please take note that Joshy used the (pitch-corrected) pre-FM vinyl for those songs and not the off-air captures! Totally different mixes and much less bootleggy sounding, way more like a real live record.

I'll return with more soon, but I wanted to make sure to get Over My Head for Christine McVie's 80th birthday, with a tribute (plus this super-groovy AI painting on shirts, even!) worthy of a classic Songbird such as she!--J.

7.12.1943 - 11.30.2022