mostly about old stuff

Vintage.Happy Monday folks.

Sunday night and we were all just kind of sitting around doing nothing.  Sharaun had the TV on for a bit, but none of us were really paying attention.  Since I hate that kind of time-sucking activity, I called a stop to it and instituted some family banana-bread and popsicle making (two separate activities, mind you).  A double batch of bread (lots of overripe bananas hanging out in the freezer) and some still-freezing lemonade popsicles later, and everyone agreed it was much better than stinky ol’ television.

This week, I’m going to try and post some pictures from our recent experiment each day.  Personally, I find near all of the 1,500 images interesting in one way or another (which is good I suppose, since I chose to pay to have them digitized) – but I’m trying to pick and choose some which might be the most fun to post on the old blog.  You can find those later down in the post, but now I’m gonna talk about music.

Y’know, the more I think about it… the more excited I’m getting for the upcoming release of the remastered Beatles catalog.  Finally, the powers that be have awaken to the fact that the current CD masters are outdated and poor-sounding, and on September 9th (09/09/09, how numerologist of them) we get the entire catalog, in both stereo and mono, by way of two elaborate (and wholly separate) deluxe box sets.

You may think it odd that someone would buy, then, perhaps in the same click of a mouse, turn around and re-buy, all the Beatles albums just to get both the mono and stereo mixes… but it’s something that us Beatles fanatics have been doing now for years.  In fact, the bootleg marketplace is awash with  different needle-drop remasters of the original vinyl releases… you’ve got the “Mirror Spock” releases, the “Millennium Remasters” versions, there’s “den0iZer,” “Sir Esquire,” “Silverking,” and “McCanno.”  Most, if not all, of these grey-market releases have improved sound (and some sound far better) over the 1987 mixes on all  commercially available CDs.

But, probably the most famous of these many grey-market needle-drop masters are the so-called “Dr. Ebbetts Sound System” versions.  Over the past ten plus years, those folks who live double lives in the world of underground Beatles’ recordings have come to adore the Good Doctor for the amazing sonic pieces he’s able to produce.  Like the other needle-droppers mentioned above, the Doc gets his stellar results by simply recording, then “doctoring,” pristine pieces of vintage vinyl.  I, too, collected the DESS versions of the Beatles’ canon, and also rejoiced in the amazing “warmth” that’s plainly missing from the current CD mixes.  Oh, and, lest you doubt… they really do sound better than what you’d buy on CD today… even you could tell the difference, I promise.

I bring up Doc Ebbetts’ efforts here for a reason.  See, the other day, the Good Doctor announced his retirement from the homegrown Beatles’ remastering business.  And do you know why?  Well, apparently he was able to hear a sneak preview of the forthcoming September remasters and he decided that, because they sound so damn good, his work is no longer needed.  And, for all the Beatles purists who put the DESS remasters on a pedestal above all other mixes – this is fantastic news.  Since so many folks consider the Doc to be the fella who’s been able to make the Beatles sound just about as good as they ever have (albeit only by re-showcasing the warmth and presence which has been in the recordings all along), to hear him say he’s  been outdone is like a promise of heretofore untold sound quality to come.

Better then the Ebbetts stuff?  Yeah… I’m getting more and more excited – and the Doctor’s retirement is like a big log on that fire.  I better start saving money now… to buy these CDs twice ain’t gonna be cheap..

OK, music-talk over.  Let’s get on to those pictures I was talking about.  Here are twelve hand-picked images from the batch.  I tried to do some minor color-correction and touch-up, but I’m no good at it (at least I somewhat removed the orange cast from some of the worst of them, albeit likely only exchanged for a bluer cast).  I took some time on the commentary for each one, so if your browser has problems flashing them up or offering the next/previous/close links let me know and I’ll change the way their posted tomorrow.  Enjoy!

OK folks, I’m outta here.  Goodnight!

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