Friday, November 28, 2014

That Is the Question!

We do these things sometimes. We rebuy “lost” records because they bring back a specific time.

CD or Not CD:

This used to be a big question - which of your vinyl records would you replace with the better sounding CD?

There was a lot to consider:
  1. Do you still have it? Some records disappear mysteriously… You know who you are.
  2. If you’ve still got it, what shape is it in?  Did you accidentally step on it when you dropped it on the filthy floor (Beggar’s Banquet), or did that penny you put on the Victrola’s tone arm dig a new groove, thus creating your own unique version of the album (Revolver), and you’d maybe like to hear it the way it was recorded?
  3. Would the CD version make a marked difference in sound quality? I tried to convince myself of this but I can’t think of a single example where this turned out to be true.
  4. Oh, and how good is the record? I”ll admit this matters.
  5. Does it have anything left for you? Ah, the most elusive question of all! The question of the record’s half-life, which I covered in my 8 track posts link.

It's kind of funny to see all the young folk considering these same questions except that they’re going in reverse - from CD to vinyl.

Friend Mike Strikes Again:

So anyway, Friend Mike got this record back when we were roommates. When he moved away he left his records with me. I eventually gave them back. This in marked contrast to me when I moved out of my parent’s house. I sure as hell took all of my records - plus the stereo! - leaving my Brother Pat hanging.

The contents of Friend Mike’s Record Collection are somewhat blurry now. Which is a shame since there were many shared experiences in there.

But this one I remember well.

It was 1981, and Friend Mike and I were were sharing an apartment, and sufficiently pulverized by Television to risk getting the dreaded post-breakup-solo-album-by-the-former-front-man. (See Little Feat and Lowell George for an egregious example.)

So Mike picked it up, and it immediately made it onto our 3am Philosophical Discussion After Bar Hopping playlist. 

But before you knew it Mike upped and left for Germany. And Italy. And Japan. And Egypt. And f*cking Mars for all I know.

And me? Oh, I did my share of traveling. From Southwest Brooklyn to slightly more easterly Southwest Brooklyn to even more slightly eastward Southwest Brooklyn. Yeah, ladies, I was a real ramblin’ man!

TV or Not TV?:
Tom Verlaine.jpg

This is Tom Verlaine's first solo record after the breakup of Television.

And it would be ludicrous to say it compares to either of Televisions’s two studio releases. That's okay. Good TV (Tom Verlaine) doesn’t quite compare to Good TV (Television, the musical group) it beats the hell out of Good TV (the household appliance).

Tom was one of the great guitar players of the rock era. And it’s important that he come on strong instrumentally since his voice is kind of gnarly. He sounds like he’s being strangled under normal circumstances. When he strains, well…

Luckily for us, he delivers with the guitar. And his lyrics are always worthwhile. Thus each song has something to offer, whether it be imaginative playing, ideas, or general atmosphere. Sometimes all three.

So while it’s nothing monumental, it does bear the simple message that Tom was alive and kicking, though maybe not quite as hard as before. Point taken. Plus, he’d go on to make better records. Like the more in your face Dreamtime.

And although it's 2014, I'm happy to report that after a few listens everything kicks back into place, and I'm right back in 1981, feeling that Tom (and Friend Mike for that matter) was entering into his next phase, which Dreamtime would confirm in spades.  B+

No comments: