• June 16, 2011
    https://www.dead.net/features/blairs-golden-road-blog/blair%E2%80%99s-golden-road-blog%E2%80%94vinyl-memories
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog—Vinyl Memories

    The recent release of Audio Fidelity limited edition vinyl versions of two more Grateful Dead albums—Blues for Allah and Shakedown Street—in beautiful gatefold editions (both were in conventional single-album sleeves when they came out in 1975 and 1978 respectively), got my mind wandering to memories of how much I loved buying, playing and sitting around staring endlessly at what we quaintly called “records.”

    A few weeks ago, my Golden Road Blog headlined “Hello-o-o E-Bay” was “hijacked” (as one reader put it) by vinyl record junkies expounding on their love of the format with the fervor of true believers. I was, frankly, somewhat dismissive, noting that I didn’t miss the skips and pops, and that in general CDs sounded fine to me. However, CDs evidently don’t sound fine to a growing minority of music lovers. Vinyl is one of the few segments of the record industry that actually has been on the rise the past few years (even if it still represents a relatively infinitesimal portion of the biz), and the number of places devoted to manufacturing this ancient medium has increased tremendously.

    Why? Well, vinyl devotees believe that tape or digital masters cut to lacquer and then pressed on high quality vinyl (180 gram “virgin” is now the minimum audiophile standard for new pressings) sound warmer, deeper and “truer” than CDs, because there is no conversion to binary digital code, where some of the mysterious audio “glue” that analog recording advocates say adds an indefinable je ne sais quoi can be lost. And there is that whole aesthetic matter of the larger packaging—the album cover as art form, which has been mostly lost in the CD age.

    This past weekend, visiting my son in his apartment right off the UCLA campus, I was struck again by how cool it is to slap a disc on the turntable and sit there with a record cover in my lap, gazing at pictures or reading lyrics, having a tactile accompaniment to listening to vinyl, which is my son’s favorite format, by far. A lot of the records he has sitting around in bins and piles on his living room floor are ones that had been gathering dust in my garage in Oakland, and the turntable had been mine, too, before we refurbished it for him. But he’s picked up all sorts of cool old albums on his own, too—he loves record stores, just like his old man—and also managed to find the money to buy the more expensive modern vinyl pressings of some of his favorite current bands, such as Animal Collective.

    Of course, in the era before I started collecting and trading concert tapes—which for me began in earnest in early 1977, after I befriended David Gans, who was already well-connected in that world—I was limited to listening to the Dead’s official vinyl releases and a few live bootleg records I’d bought through the years. And you know what? I loved them all (until Steal Your Face, which, to this day I dislike). I remember buying Live Dead at Korvette’s in the Bronx (right over the border from my hometown, Pelham, NY) for about $4 on sale, taking it home, plopping it onto what I later learned was a patently mediocre stereo setup (no separate amp; speakers were not fully detachable from the main unit) in my basement lair and being instantly transported by this band whose previous album, Aoxomoxoa, hadn’t earned much more than a “meh” from me, and as a result sat on a shelf largely ignored.

    Blues for Allah and Shakedown Street are recent re-mastered vinyl re-issues.
    Bear’s Choice and Go to Heaven are coming soon, and look for —
    gasp! — a multi-disc Dick’s Picks vinyl release to come out down the line.

    When night would fall, I’d switch on my crude self-made “light show,” consisting of a cardboard box full of independently flashing Christmas lights that projected onto a big white sheet on one wall, and imagine myself digging the Dead or Quicksilver or the Airplane or Cream or Jimi in some San Francisco ballroom. And when the light show wasn’t being used, chances are I was sitting around examining the covers of my albums — checking out the collage on Disreali Gears or the studio pics from Electric Ladyland, the crazy-stoned “newspaper” on the back of Volunteers, the beautiful calligraphy on the partial lyric insert of Live Dead : “Eight-sided whispering hallelujah hatrack”?!

    The “Skull & Roses” album came out right around the time I arrived at Northwestern for my freshman year in college. I loved the cover so much I put it on the wall next to my desk in my dorm room and kept the discs themselves in just the paper sleeves they came in. I was a (perhaps annoyingly) proud Dead Head, and everyone in Elder Hall was gonna know it. That album got so many LOUD spins on my turntable that fall, just as Europe ’72 did the following autumn in a different dorm. I loved poring over the photos in the booklet that accompanied that album, wondering who the people were — “Ooh, look, that’s Robert Hunter! He’s almost never been photographed!”

    A year after that, in the fall of 1973, I moved from New York to the Bay Area to go to UC Berkeley and I stopped at Northwestern on the way, to say hi to some of my friends there. There was a wild party in somebody’s apartment that night, partly in my honor, but my only memory from it is someone handing me a copy of Anthem of the Sun and my jaw hitting the floor when I saw that it had a white background instead of the purple one I had spent untold hours examining the past few years. I was even more amazed when I heard what was clearly a remix of the original album, so the next morning I went to downtown Evanston and bought a copy of this strange “new” version of the album. Alas, I lost it many moves ago. But it was great while it lasted!

    Reckoning and Dead Set must have been the last vinyl Dead records I bought, because with In the Dark in 1987, we were already a few years into the CD age for new releases, and I wholeheartedly embraced that format. Needless to say, I purchased the entire Dead catalog on CD as it became available. What a thrill it was finally getting all four sides of Live Dead and “Skull & Roses” on single discs! Did the CDs sound better? Worse? Frankly, I couldn’t tell (unlike with some CD transfers, like Born to Run, the first version of which was clearly inferior to the vinyl version). But I dug the convenience, and when the first wave of amazing-sounding new CDs came out—remember hearing Brothers in Arms or Aja for the first time on a great system?—I was hooked, and there was no turning back for me.

    But it also didn’t take long for me to start missing things about vinyl records, such as the larger artwork (and readable lyric sheets), and the sense that the artists and producers had put some thought into choosing the best 35 to 39 minutes of material they had, and then carefully selecting what was going to open and close each side of the album. Though I was at first thrilled by the larger capacity of a single CD, I quickly learned that many (most!) bands didn’t actually have enough good songs to warrant the longer available playing time, so I was often listening to more weak music, or tiring of an album much quicker than I did when there were sides that I loved (or didn’t care for).

    I don’t currently own a turntable, but my 17-year-old daughter does, and like her brother, she listens more to vinyl at home than CDs. I suspect she might cart it off to college with her in the fall of 2012, carrying much of the rest of my old vinyl with her. Sniff, sniff. I’ll miss seeing those records lying around her room.

    It might be too late for me to fully embrace vinyl again — I’d want to re-buy everything for a third or fourth or fifth time (a lot of CD remasterings keep coming down the pike; gotta save for the expanded Pink Floyds this fall!), but I’m happy to know that Vinyl Love is still a big part of the Jackson family.

    Are you a vinyl record fan? What about it gets you off? Or is it all hype?

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The recent release of Audio Fidelity limited edition vinyl versions of two more Grateful Dead albums—Blues for Allah and Shakedown Street—in beautiful gatefold editions (both were in conventional single-album sleeves when they came out in 1975 and 1978 respectively), got my mind wandering to memories of how much I loved buying, playing and sitting around staring endlessly at what we quaintly called “records.”

A few weeks ago, my Golden Road Blog headlined “Hello-o-o E-Bay” was “hijacked” (as one reader put it) by vinyl record junkies expounding on their love of the format with the fervor of true believers. I was, frankly, somewhat dismissive, noting that I didn’t miss the skips and pops, and that in general CDs sounded fine to me. However, CDs evidently don’t sound fine to a growing minority of music lovers. Vinyl is one of the few segments of the record industry that actually has been on the rise the past few years (even if it still represents a relatively infinitesimal portion of the biz), and the number of places devoted to manufacturing this ancient medium has increased tremendously.

Why? Well, vinyl devotees believe that tape or digital masters cut to lacquer and then pressed on high quality vinyl (180 gram “virgin” is now the minimum audiophile standard for new pressings) sound warmer, deeper and “truer” than CDs, because there is no conversion to binary digital code, where some of the mysterious audio “glue” that analog recording advocates say adds an indefinable je ne sais quoi can be lost. And there is that whole aesthetic matter of the larger packaging—the album cover as art form, which has been mostly lost in the CD age.

This past weekend, visiting my son in his apartment right off the UCLA campus, I was struck again by how cool it is to slap a disc on the turntable and sit there with a record cover in my lap, gazing at pictures or reading lyrics, having a tactile accompaniment to listening to vinyl, which is my son’s favorite format, by far. A lot of the records he has sitting around in bins and piles on his living room floor are ones that had been gathering dust in my garage in Oakland, and the turntable had been mine, too, before we refurbished it for him. But he’s picked up all sorts of cool old albums on his own, too—he loves record stores, just like his old man—and also managed to find the money to buy the more expensive modern vinyl pressings of some of his favorite current bands, such as Animal Collective.

Of course, in the era before I started collecting and trading concert tapes—which for me began in earnest in early 1977, after I befriended David Gans, who was already well-connected in that world—I was limited to listening to the Dead’s official vinyl releases and a few live bootleg records I’d bought through the years. And you know what? I loved them all (until Steal Your Face, which, to this day I dislike). I remember buying Live Dead at Korvette’s in the Bronx (right over the border from my hometown, Pelham, NY) for about $4 on sale, taking it home, plopping it onto what I later learned was a patently mediocre stereo setup (no separate amp; speakers were not fully detachable from the main unit) in my basement lair and being instantly transported by this band whose previous album, Aoxomoxoa, hadn’t earned much more than a “meh” from me, and as a result sat on a shelf largely ignored.

Blues for Allah and Shakedown Street are recent re-mastered vinyl re-issues.
Bear’s Choice and Go to Heaven are coming soon, and look for —
gasp! — a multi-disc Dick’s Picks vinyl release to come out down the line.

When night would fall, I’d switch on my crude self-made “light show,” consisting of a cardboard box full of independently flashing Christmas lights that projected onto a big white sheet on one wall, and imagine myself digging the Dead or Quicksilver or the Airplane or Cream or Jimi in some San Francisco ballroom. And when the light show wasn’t being used, chances are I was sitting around examining the covers of my albums — checking out the collage on Disreali Gears or the studio pics from Electric Ladyland, the crazy-stoned “newspaper” on the back of Volunteers, the beautiful calligraphy on the partial lyric insert of Live Dead : “Eight-sided whispering hallelujah hatrack”?!

The “Skull & Roses” album came out right around the time I arrived at Northwestern for my freshman year in college. I loved the cover so much I put it on the wall next to my desk in my dorm room and kept the discs themselves in just the paper sleeves they came in. I was a (perhaps annoyingly) proud Dead Head, and everyone in Elder Hall was gonna know it. That album got so many LOUD spins on my turntable that fall, just as Europe ’72 did the following autumn in a different dorm. I loved poring over the photos in the booklet that accompanied that album, wondering who the people were — “Ooh, look, that’s Robert Hunter! He’s almost never been photographed!”

A year after that, in the fall of 1973, I moved from New York to the Bay Area to go to UC Berkeley and I stopped at Northwestern on the way, to say hi to some of my friends there. There was a wild party in somebody’s apartment that night, partly in my honor, but my only memory from it is someone handing me a copy of Anthem of the Sun and my jaw hitting the floor when I saw that it had a white background instead of the purple one I had spent untold hours examining the past few years. I was even more amazed when I heard what was clearly a remix of the original album, so the next morning I went to downtown Evanston and bought a copy of this strange “new” version of the album. Alas, I lost it many moves ago. But it was great while it lasted!

Reckoning and Dead Set must have been the last vinyl Dead records I bought, because with In the Dark in 1987, we were already a few years into the CD age for new releases, and I wholeheartedly embraced that format. Needless to say, I purchased the entire Dead catalog on CD as it became available. What a thrill it was finally getting all four sides of Live Dead and “Skull & Roses” on single discs! Did the CDs sound better? Worse? Frankly, I couldn’t tell (unlike with some CD transfers, like Born to Run, the first version of which was clearly inferior to the vinyl version). But I dug the convenience, and when the first wave of amazing-sounding new CDs came out—remember hearing Brothers in Arms or Aja for the first time on a great system?—I was hooked, and there was no turning back for me.

But it also didn’t take long for me to start missing things about vinyl records, such as the larger artwork (and readable lyric sheets), and the sense that the artists and producers had put some thought into choosing the best 35 to 39 minutes of material they had, and then carefully selecting what was going to open and close each side of the album. Though I was at first thrilled by the larger capacity of a single CD, I quickly learned that many (most!) bands didn’t actually have enough good songs to warrant the longer available playing time, so I was often listening to more weak music, or tiring of an album much quicker than I did when there were sides that I loved (or didn’t care for).

I don’t currently own a turntable, but my 17-year-old daughter does, and like her brother, she listens more to vinyl at home than CDs. I suspect she might cart it off to college with her in the fall of 2012, carrying much of the rest of my old vinyl with her. Sniff, sniff. I’ll miss seeing those records lying around her room.

It might be too late for me to fully embrace vinyl again — I’d want to re-buy everything for a third or fourth or fifth time (a lot of CD remasterings keep coming down the pike; gotta save for the expanded Pink Floyds this fall!), but I’m happy to know that Vinyl Love is still a big part of the Jackson family.

Are you a vinyl record fan? What about it gets you off? Or is it all hype?

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The recent release of Audio Fidelity limited release vinyl versions of two more Grateful Dead albums—Blues for Allah and Shakedown Street—in beautiful gatefold editions (both were in conventional single-album sleeves when they came out in 1975 and 1978 respectively), got my mind wandering to memories of how much I loved buying, playing and sitting around staring endlessly at what we quaintly called “records.

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Other than the cool artwork and extras (posters, etc) that came with LPs, I dont miss them at all.Most of the new audiophile LPs I see now go for around $30.00 each...yikes. I still have the Wake Of The Flood LP on the Grateful Dead label...that was a favorite of mine. I also remember buying Reckoning as a cutout LP around 1983 for $1.00...man, those were the days!
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I saw where you mentioned the Pink Floyd remasters...between those and the Europe '72 box coming out this fall, its going to be an expensive year for me...LOL.
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First of all, with advances in, uh, agriculture, we don't need double albums anymore to clean the seeds out of our dope -- that more than anything else is probably what's killed the vinyl format. : ) That said, I don't think there is any question but that with the right album, and the right stereo, there is a depth and warmth to vinyl that a digital recording cannot match. My dad is definitely an audiophile. He has tons of CDs, but all the essential stuff on vinyl too. I've done a few "a/b" comparisons of identical recordings played simultaneously and the difference is clear as day. 'Course, his turntable costs more than every component of my stereo system put together, and then some. With an average set up, I'd say the difference is negligible to non-detectable for most listeners (including myself).
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Not hype. Rich and wonderful. I'm 41 and have been buying records since i was 13. They are gems, and I have laced the sleeves of my collection with concert tickets, band fliers, random photos, letters from friends, newpaper clippings about the band, birthday cards, and assorted ephemera to trigger memories and enrich the listening experience. (Hmm what do i have in here...pic of me and a bunch of buds seeing Jerry at the Eel River w Dr. John in 1989! Sweet!) Do you like to treasure hunt? Garage and estate sales, Goodwill, parents' attic...would you pay $16 for a 25 year old Miroslav Vitous CD? Probably not. What if it were .25 cents or free in an attic or a parental hand-me-down, and you discovered one of the great late bop jazz bassists? With liner notes! This isn't hype - this is a lifestyle! Sure there are the new wave of bands releasing records on LP, and this is sort of piling on to a newly energetic record fanclub. But hey! those lame jewel cases always crack, the cardboard ones scratch cds, that's no measure of Greatness. Keeping the LP alive is about about value and honoring the music you've collected through your life. Side two opener is the 'sweet spot' on an LP, like batting cleanup. Buying LPs from the new releases, make sure it was initially recorded in analog, as a general rule. AAD – Analog tape recorder used during initial recording, mixing/editing, Digital mastering. ADD – Analog tape recorder used during initial recording, Digital tape recorder used during mixing/editing and for mastering. DDD – Digital tape recorder used during initial recording, mixing/editing and for mastering. DAD – Digital tape recorder used during initial recording, Analog tape recorder used during mixing/editing, Digital mastering. Releases (new, sorta old, and ancient) that sound especially sweet in the LP format: Vetiver - Tight Knit (Bay Area) Giant Sand - Chore of Enchantment (Best album of the 2000s for me) Bear's Choice - (my old copy's pops and clicks truly enhance the 'let me make my mistakes on my own' sweetness of that LP) Never say die! Its all streaming, iTunes and LP for me. CDs are dead! Which bums me out about the Pure Jerry CD releases - I own them all.. :)
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No Hype, just love. There is a difference. A "warmth " if you will. Equipment does matter. If you have have low end equipment, the vinyl sound will blow you away. If you have higher end end, I have Marantz amp and cd player, then the difference is not as pronounced, but it is still a noticeable difference. With the intense focus and diligent work of the engineers on the digital work of the Grateful Dead, the difference becomes even smaller But that is what the Dead always stood for...the sound. Searching for the sound. That is what it is all about. They have done that from day one...and to the planets delight they are doing it to this day. The work that they do and have done in the past have pushed the boundaries of what we hear and more importantly ,what we feel when we listen to music, which by the way, is the gateway to the soul.
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Can someone tell me about the origin of these GD albums I have in my collection. Not one of these appears in the GD releases and 3 out of the 4 have homemade drawn artwork. 1. Called: The Cowboy's Dead! Live at Harpur Spring "70 2. Mountains of the Moon, studio sessions, songs are from Aoxomoxoa,outtakes from the sprig of 1969, and Warlock's Demo 11/3/65. Big Bang Records ylem 1 3. Grateful Dead featuring Steve Winwood from Anderson theatre New Your 11/2/1970, made in Germany and Produced by The Stoneys with cover design by The Stoneys. It says it's a limited edition of 600 numbered copies, I have #0347. 4. Grateful Dead recorded live in concert '69 no other information.
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Well not really. I have managed to hold on to about 6 feet worth of albums going back to 1967 with Surrealistic Pillow and The Doors debut as my first "cool" records. I don't miss the pops and scratches and an occasional inferior pressing, but I truly miss the artwork. In '77 I replaced all my Beatles albums with English pressings, in part because the jackets were like photo stock. Also found a British "Anthem" in a cut-out bin, and man is that cover purple! Soundwise my hearing isn't what it used to be and any "warmth" would be lost on me. I do consider my albums (and some old hissy tapes) old friends though, and I know I'll never feel that way about a CD or a download.
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I'd say unequivocally all those albums you mention are bootlegs, so their "origin" is mysterious... Spot quiz, everyone! On which Grateful Dead album is the phrase "Where's your stereo, Jer?" etched in the vinyl next to the label on the original pressings? (At least I think that's what it said...I no longer own the vinyl myself, so I'm goin' on memory here...)
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is that in the olden days, we used to hike miles to the record store to buy albums on the day they came out and THEN spend days studying the album cover. These days, eh, download.
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Downloading albums is SO not happening as an aesthetic experience...
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Vinyl does have a 'warmth' to the sound while CD's are crisp and bright but the volume is lower to allow for flux and flow in the sound.Just to go to the record stores and spend hours going throught the racks and picking albums from radio listening, friends recs, general rumor mill twattal, and cool album art. Best pick was some used store in a converted house, they had an first release of "From The Mars Hotel" and Reflections. Still have the dead vinyl and the boots, (fillmore 2/13/70 Darkstar>OtherOne>Lovelight 4sides cool art work of a crashed starship) But with new cd's every day it seems just have time to listen to the new stuff, Hey new Neil today from International Harvesters (not on vinyl) Commin in sept more Hendrix (will be available on vinyl) Dicks Picks on vinyl ? uh - overkill better to release the next Road Trips as a vinyl alternative to check the market. Hey sailbystars I was at The Eel in '89 great Jerry show very Hot day so slow Jer tunes this should be released (not on vinyl) Missed the Dr. John opener, spent too long on the bus. Reckoning was the best vinyl could listen to side three all day and night. But LiveDead and WishYou Were Here are much improved by cd tracking. (no flip) And Europe '72 : The Complete recordings are now 73 cds long what would that be in vinyl hmmmm 20 minutes per side so 146 or so vinyl for the tour that's alot of flips. The Sky Was Yellow And The Sun Was Blue People Stopping Strangers Just To Shake Their Hand.
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when i was younger, my favorite gatefold was eat a peach. i looked at that thing for hours! glad thing the music was good, too!!!
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Blair, you hooked me with this topic as vinyl is near and dear to my heart. Yeah, you have pops and ticks that are annoying but if you have a clean slab of vinyl with a good cartridge and turntable you can get to heaven. I also prefer tube amplification generally and use Klipsch speakers-the old kind which are now dubbed "Heritage". They are high efficiency, don't need a lot of wattage and go well with tubes and vinyl. You need a good quiet turntable that maintains the right speed consistently. I use an old Sansui direct drive SR 929 with a Nagioka cartridge. Now lets go run and see PS: glad to hear some Dicks Picks will be vinylized.
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Fifteen years without a working turntable -- the day the belt on my old Technics gave up the ghost was it. I was a both-feet-in-never-turning-back CD guy from that point forward...not that I was giving my vinyl many spins after about 1990 regardless, but also not that I was giving away my vinyl either (that large-format aesthetic appeal never goes away). Two years ago I started looking at turntables...the lure was the USB thing so that I could digitize some albums that I'd never replaced on CD (or were never released...Hello Neil Young! What's the deal with "Time Fades Away?" I know you hate that album, but lots of us love it..come on!). The USB turntables that I saw were kinda crappy to be honest, so I bought a decent mid-range turntable and the interface and software that I needed to rip my albums to my hard drive. Two years have passed, and I've yet to even come close to digitizing any of my analogues. I found out that I really wanted a turntable so that I could listen to my vinyl again. This has sent me on the road to rediscovering my own personal "vault" and off to trolling the used vinyl bins for hidden treasures, a much more satisfying experience than thumbing the cd racks or surfing Amazon. Or iTunes. And aside from all of the other points made here about vinyl v other formats, the listening experience itself is profoundly different with the shorter playing length of the vinyl format. In addition to "less filler," vinyl albums were sequenced differently from CDs, due to the side 1, side 2 thing. Remember the albums that had just one side that you always played? Wasn't it strange to listen to the CD version and hear the whole thing? Was it a better experience, or did you wonder, "Where did these other songs come from?" So in addition to used albums, I'm buying current vinyl (with included CDs or downloads, so I don't lose portability) from bands that quite clearly love vinyl (Wilco, Drive-By Truckers, Elvis Costello, etc). It's quite evident, for example, that Elvis Costello's 2-record "National Ransom" was sequenced as a double vinyl album. Each side is a short suite of songs, with a pretty well -defined beginning-middle-end, and it shows in the flow of the songs. That flow is severely compromised when listening to the CD version of the same album. The album plays much better as four sides of vinyl than it does as a listen-through-the-whole-thing experience. I own about double the number of CDs as vinyl albums, but my current buying habits are closer to a 50-50 split. I'm glad vinyl is back, but I don't want to lose CDs either, especially to downloads. The available format choices make this the best of times for music lovers, IMHO. I'd hate to lose any of them.
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Your Aoxomoxoa comment cracked me up. It was also my first Dead album, had this cool cover art and name, but the music didn't much impress me. I remember liking "St Stephen" and that was about it. When a buddy had all of his albums stolen from his dorm room our freshman year in college (how devastating is that?), I immediately gave up Aoxomoxoa to him to "seed" his new collection. He was already a Deadhead, hadn't quite converted me yet, and protested that I'd be giving up, in his words, "such a classic." Didn't faze me in the least, at least at the time...
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I was always intrigued by, and would ponder those cryptic messages that you could occasionally find in the run out groove next to the label.
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I have not listened to my records in over 20 years and have them stashed at my parents house. That being said, Blair- Thanks for the reference to Korvettes, it brought back a nice stream of memories of my granfather taking me on his daily "rounds" back in the early 70's. It was one of my favorite stops along the way. That and this plumbing wholesale supply store we would hit. Ah, childhood memories! Thanks again.
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Yeah, I sure miss hiking to the LP store (Korvettes!) to flip through albums. And the big beautiful artwork of Skull and Roses--always my favorite. good ole days.Just wanted to comment on some of the album remarks. No love for Aoxomoxoa or Steal your Face here? I'd rate Aoxomoxoa nearly up there with American Beauty or Workingman's Dead. I don't think anything captured the way I felt as a teenager better than Aoxomoxoa. Steal Your Face? Back in the early 1980's this was the only 73-74 Dead available commercially. This was the very first 73-74 Dead I ever heard. I didn't know a tape trading community existed. The very first I heard two of my favorite songs: Sugaree and Black Throated Wind, (live from 1974, at that!) My first live Stella Blue- I had SYF as an 8-track and nearly wore it out. But I am veering off the discussion topic....
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My older brothers collected records, they were Southern rock mostly. I remember looking at them extensively when I was 8 or 10. The Flirtin' With Disaster album cover always mesmerized me for some reason. By the time I could collect music with my own money, it was all cassettes, eek/yuck. I'm actually trying to go all digital, but can respect the Record fanatics for sure. Another band that is big in to producing vinyl is the Drive-by Truckers, they are VERY talented too if you get a chance to listen.
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When you slice open the shrink-wrap covering the LP & slit it all the way down the opening, untill the sleeve & record finally come floating out, you know what sensuous luxuries await. Then you plop the liquorish pizza down upon the turntable platter & gently, oh, so exactingly, manuver the needle onto the fist grooves or the record... What sound adventures! Now, kick back & ponder all the art & text produced on the cover, whilst you immerse your ears & mind in a sauna of aural delight..... SWAP MEET, anyone?
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Love that! Lucinda Williams' "Blessed" is out in white vinyl, looks like a big ole chunk of white chocolate. Mmmmm...looks good enough to eat.
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I have love for it now, but didn't at the time. SYF still feels "wrong" to me...sequencing, performances. Just not that good...

Hey, Stolzfus, is it really Terrapin Station that has the message etched in it? I thought it was Blues for Allah. Guess I should know the answer before I throw out a pop quiz! ;-) But I don't own either on vinyl any more...

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Turns out I do still have my old Terrapin Station vinyl, and Stolzfus is correct that's where the etching appears. However, I had quoted it incorrectly. It actually says: "WHERE DO YOU KEEP YOUR STEREO, JER?" And an etching on side two says: "IF IT ROLLS, SINK IT!"
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12 years 11 months
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things are so different. I'm 29, I belong to the CD era and, in fact, I've got no turntable. Nevertheless, that process of buying the album and studying it for weeks it´s not completely dead. I still do that with the new Dead releases. You can bet I will be completely submerged into another world when my Europe 72 Box arrives in September! Furthermore, when I was REALLY short of money and could only buy a couple of CD's per year, I studied deeply each one I bought. I clearly remember listening "Uncle Meat" by The Mothers Of Invention over and over again and reading its booklet for SEVERAL weeks, and I am talking about the era of CD. But, I agree with Blair Jackson: the sleeve art was bigger, booklets (when included) were generally full of photographs and liner notes and lyrics you could read all night long, and having the album divided in sides was really interesting, wise artistic decisions had to be made.
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10 years 6 months
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how about a complimentary copy of the Europe 72 boxset? how about telling the powers that be that an GD Orpheum 76 box set is a GREAT idea? any other Orpheum afficiandos out there?
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11 years 9 months
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I no longer have a vinyl collection anymore (they were "donated" to a friends college aged nephew), however, I LOVED albums. LOVED THEM! I too loved the artwork, the occasional inclusion of the lyrics. I remember after smoking a Marley sized rasta joint, picking up the "From The Mars Hotel" album and staring at it. There was some funky looking scroll work at the top of the album cover (as well as some funky looking renditions of the band members on it as well). After staring at it for 15 minutes or so, I realized that the scroll work at the top actually looked like letters, upside down. I picked up the album and went to the mirror and held it up. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I clearly read "UGLY RUMORS" as the scroll work message!!!! The grin I had on my face froze there for hours! Just a truly stoned instant classic memory for me! I religiously took care of my albums. I spent some pretty good cash on a Disc Wash cleaning system for them. Cleaned them when I put them on. Cleaned the stylus of the turntable. Used the "Anti-Static" gun on the surface of the album. To this day, I'm sure many of them are still in pristine playing condition. As soon as I got my paycheck, I would get it cashed, hit "The Music Shack" in downtown and quickly spend every cent I earned on new music. It got so that the owner knew my name and would tell me as soon as I walked in what was new and would show me stuff he knew I'd be interested in. He bought me (meaning he purchased it for the store, but knew that I'd buy it) an import of "Wake of the Flood/From the Mars Hotel" double album. Basically two albums in a special double album cover. I bought a live Hot Tuna album that was pressed in Blue vinyl! One of my most prized possessions was Frank Zappa's "We're Only In It For The Money" album gifted to me by my older brother, who was broke and couldn't afford to buy me a birthday present one year. One of my all-time favorites for sure! I too went over to CD's since they were more portable, but I truly miss my vinyl collection. Peace! Puff ~Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools!~
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12 years 6 months
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Some great sounding LPs: Garcia first solo-esp. "The Wheel", " Blows Against the Empire", David Crosby, et al "If I could Only remember my name", the first Doors album, the first Dead album, Hendrix, "Electric Ladyland" , Cream, "Disreali Gears", Mountain with "Miss. Queen" , Airplane, "Surr. Pillow", just to name a few. now lets go run and see
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12 years 5 months
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I'll be darned, there it is! Yikes, another collectors item. Regarding Aoxomoxoa, I was disappointed with it initially, and with What's Become Of The Baby in particular. Over time it grew on me and when the remix was released in '71...that I really hated. All the little weird things that had become endearing had been removed in favor of a more "commercial" sound, I guess. Still haven't replaced my LP with the "original mix" CD. Someday maybe. Steal Your Face is and always will be my least favorite Dead album. I think it sounds even worse than the old board tapes. Thin vocals, annoying kick drum, why go on. Don't know if the CD version is any better. The remix for the movie however is fantastic and one day I hope to get the soundtrack CD set. To the eternal question "don't you have enough Grateful Dead already?" my answer is finally down to a simple "no".
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12 years 4 months
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When it was time to separate out seeds, I always reached for my Canned Heat "Living The Blues" album. The cardboard jacket was overlayed with paper that was just slick enough to keep any little bits from being trapped and lost in the grain, and just textured enough to keep the good stuff from sliding down to the bottom with the seeds. Real "grass" roots technology!-Tommo
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12 years 3 months
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Hey Man, I am running a Bang & Olufsen turntable that I bought in 1986.Recall those first CD long boxes in those days.Folks were dumping all of that rich wonderful vinyl,cashing it in for the almighty CD. Thanks to an older sibling we always had some cool records kicking around our house. Entertained for hours with the stuff. Today,the thrill of the hunt in record shops is a pastime that I cannot do without.Some of those older DJ copies just blow out the speakers with low volume setting.Closer to the master source I believe.Who wouldn't want that? *My Holy Grail LP: They Call Us Wild by the Wild Magnolias (Barclay# 90033,1974- French Import) Cheers Shwack
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13 years 2 months
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It's true that DJ pressings were sometimes different and "hotter" than what was released commercially (a month or two later). The downside is that there are also records where the bands/producers did NOT like the initial DJ/promo pressings and in fact improved them before the mass pressings were done... Ya just never know...
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13 years 2 months
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whereas one would probably never PLAY those vinyl picture discs, and they'd probably sound like hell if you did, they sure did look trippy. True, you can print anything on a CD these days, but it's not the same. I'm not sure I own a single one, but they sure were fun to gawk at on the walls of the record stores.
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9 years 9 months
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Been collecting for a few years – spent too much money than I care to add up. I do agree that LPs sound “warmer” than CDs, but really I’m in it for the whole experience (mostly what has already been discussed – the artwork, the tactile pleasure of slipping out the platters and dropping the needle, the whole nostalgic aspect of it, etc.). Also, digging through LPs at record stores, garage sales, and thrift stores, is a fantastic way to discover treasures you didn’t know existed. Just a few neat finds: --3 Mustaphas 3, British world music group --Tubeway Army, early Gary Numan --“Between the Tides” by Roger Eno (Brian’s brother) – gorgeous instrumental album --An Asian import of CCR’s Golden Hits with hilariously-translated lyric sheet --Spanish import of “Sticky Fingers” with the severed hand in the can of treacle (still kicking myself for not buying that one) --Bhagavan Das - Ah --Madhouse – jazz-fusion Prince offerings from 1987 Favorite gatefolds: Bitches Brew and Dead Set (used to gaze at that sucker for hours on end back in college – ‘nuff said). Weirdest purchase: Lou Reed’s notorious double LP “Metal Machine Music” of which Reed once remarked “Anyone who gets to side 4 is dumber than I am.” When I paid for it, the clerk said to me, warningly, “You HAVE heard this thing before, haven’t you?” While another clerk said “When I saw that LP on our wall I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.” Guess the beauty of vinyl is in the eye of the beholder….
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13 years 2 months
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It was a big change of heart. What? I have to be rational about listening to music? Reggae suffered the most - those big, fat juicy 12" dub plates, they just made you feel the bass in your chest and soul. Haven't yet heard/felt that sound in the digital format. I didn't know classical on LP but it certainly sounds fine to me. I love the silence that is so important to the genre and, obviously, you don't have to flip the CD after the 2nd movement of a four movement work. Jazz is right at home in the digital mode for me. The Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note remasters in 24-bit just have the best sound world of any genre - yes, warm. Again, I didn't listen to jazz on vinyl, but my ear tells me the two formats are on a par. I do love to spend mucho tiempo at a pair of our towns shops going through the jazz vinyl as if I were at a hands-on art gallerey. And this is what's the hardest to have had to give up. I have three LP's framed and on the wall in my listening space at home. Derek & the Dominos, 10-23/24-70, at Fillmore East (a nice, glossy import), Eat A Peach, & ABB, Fillmore East. Each has a story. But whenever I look at these, I'm reminded of the backs of each and, of course, the gatefolds. I, however, must remain positive and be reminded also that to be able to hear Whipping Post into Mountain Jam, uninterrupted, is reason alone to rejoice every time that there is such a thing as a CD. On the other hand, who has time to be uninterrupted? How 'bout an expanded DP 4 in 24-bit? Or Harpur as is? It's scary to think about!!! " Steal Your Jazz "
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13 years 2 months
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...we used to have time to listen to records and now we don't? Cranky old man voice: "It's the damn Internet, I say!" Sucks away our free time... Or maybe I'm projecting (again)...
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10 years 6 months
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blair's "where's your stereo, Jer?" question made me think of other "messages" etched into the vinyl. The Clash had one on each side of London Calling ("In space...no one...can hear you...Clash!") i think. there are others. any of you know any? vinyl is good, but not essential. I have many old records that I would be hard pressed (no pun intended) to find on CD. besides, i wouldn't want to replace any of them on CD. GD is GD.
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13 years 2 months
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i had an amazing record collection- i was a record buyin' fool-- i tucked ticket stubs and treasure into the sleeves- i alphabetized them... alas, when i left my then-husband, i took nothing with me. everything else i could replace, but not my records or my dog... i learned to live without both and went on with my life and replaced many many records with cds, but it -- the sound the feel the texture the art the tactile thrill-- isn't the same... caroline
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13 years 2 months
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was scratched into Neil Young's Tonight's the Night album right up by the record label. Grate cryptic messages in those daze. The Truth is realized in an instant, the act is practiced step by step.
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12 years 10 months
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I am still an avid vinyl buyer, with thousands of records. Much of what I listen too exists only in the vinyl format. As for the relative sonic virtues of the format as compared with cds, well, thats a long story! When the cd format first came out it was hailed as perfect reproduction. Of course it sounded like shit, easy to hear with voice or piano, in particular. The quality has improved with time, as has the quality of cd players. It really depends on what we are comparing---what a wonderfully recorded record sounds like on my $5000 turntable compared with a cd on a $200 cd player? Or on a $5000 cd player? And what is the rest of the system like, can it resolve the differences? And are we talking about a source material that was from the early days of digital (total shit) or a fine recording? In general what many folks are now discovering is what others have known all along, vinyl sounds great, and there is no myth to it if you look into the science of sound reproduction. Another point, as for ticks and pops, I prefer them to what happens to cds when they get damaged, they just don't work at all! For me the cd is a FAR more fragile media than vinyl, which takes a lickin' and keeps on, well, ticking! Now of course the great advantage of the cd format for us Heads is the fact you do not need to flip a cd. Very few live bootleg recordings (boards or otherwise) have a signal with a quality that makes much of a difference cd or vinyl (all else equal, which it rarely is!), so if you listen to a lot of live recordings, you might not have much opportunity to hear differences between vinyl and cd. Also the differences often concern sonic features that are often more or less absent in recordings of electronic amplified music, subtle imaging issues, natural harmonic series, and so on. For me most Dead records were write-offs anyway, and the digital age was, and is, a great improvement over all badly presses bootleg records of dead shows, both w.r.t. quality and availibility. What can I say, I am an audio nerd, but then again, I used to bias my Nak before recording live!
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11 years 10 months
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love them, the rich sound from vinyl will never be replaced by cd, I challenge anyone to find a cd that compairs to an Original Master Recording from Mobil Fidelity Sound Labs, I have many and the cd sound doesn't come close to these beauties. It takes about 4 or 5 playings of these fine recordings for the needle to sit into the groove completely and after those playings, you will hear and experience sounds that will never be reproduced on any cd. I purchased the 5 lp box set last year and couldn't be happier, original mixes, fantastic sound and the wonderful fullness of an lp. As far as clicks and pops, if you take care, keep them clean and don't drop them after a night of partying, lp's will last a lot longer than cd's. Back in the early 90's I did get the cd fever and did replace several of my over 2000 recordings, but stopped short of replacing them all when the ease of a cd did not compare to the sound of an lp. I also use B&O turntable with nakimachie amp and altec speakers, which is undoubtably why the lp's sound so good, but I also run a nak cd player, so without a great source, you won't get the sound you want. My advice, get a turntable, plug it in, buy a record and experience what music really sounds like.
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13 years 2 months
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... and I don't dispute most of 'em, but I still say there are many GREAT-sounding CDs; you guys are selling that medium short... Nothing will ever convince me that ticks and pops are OK; they pull you out of the music and were the bane of my vinyl existence back in the day...
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9 years 9 months
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As a long time vinyl nut who has been working diligently for forty years to build the best system for listening to music I can, I have to remind myself that it is the music that matters. That said, pops and clicks are not a necessary part of the vinyl experience. I have many LP's from the 1950's that play without a pop or click. The trick is to treat your purchases with respect. Keep the records clean and/or buy a record cleaner. My biggest beef with digital recording is that it allows the mastering levels to be so great that the dynamic range has been lost. It is not the fault of the medium but the execution. CD's mastered really loud sound initially better on low fidelity playback devices such as a MP3 player playing low res files. As I understand it, the problem with digital is not with turning an analogue signal into a digital signal, it is turning a digital signal into an analogue signal that is very difficult. I've read it referred to as trying to turn hamburger back into a fine steak. I think that if you like to listen to music at home with undivided attention then vinyl is the way to go. Unfortunately, as with everything else, quality doesn't come without a price. Both in money and your time spent to keep things working to the best of their ability.
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9 years 1 month
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Given a first-rate playback deck, which can cost as much as a decent used car, either LP or CD can sound excellent on most pop material. With wide dynamics LP has a major advantage--quiet sounds are distorted by digital recording with inadequate bit depth and by the vast majority of CD players. MP3 sounds horrible with any significant dynamics. Many modern recordings, including most CDs marked "remastered", squash dynamics almost completely. (If you're curious and want a dramatic example, Tom Petty's "Highway Companion" has much wider dynamics in its LP mastering than in its CD presentation.) Happily, Dead stuff tends to preserve dynamics, and uses HDCD to squeeze out a few more bits for players that can decode them. High-quality 24-bit 96 kHz playback will probably render the issue moot.
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9 years 1 month
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Good turntables minimize the disruption of scratches--a good tonearm and cartridge are less subject to mechanical disturbance and recover faster, so a scratch is quieter, quicker, and less intrusive. Also, good modern cartridges ride lower in the groove, below the level of many scratches and below damage done by poor equipment. Therefore, an LP with significant wear from a bad turntable can still sound good on a good turntable.
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12 years 3 months
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Hey All, Joe Walsh has many examples of messages in the dead wax of some of his records. One of my all time favorite records is Barnstorm by Joe Walsh recorded at Caribou Ranch near Boulder,Co.Trailer wax is inscribed "If they only knew how hard we work-J.W.'72" Or the record So What.Dead wax inscribed"That's no Banany,That's my Noze" Another Walsh LP (I forget the name) riddles this: "What do you do for a dog with no legs? Take him for a drag" BTW,my DJ Promo copy of Barnstorm (ABC Dunhill records) is nearly uncontrollable at 3 on the volume knob.The stock copy can go to 8 on my set-up before clipping .As you describe Blairj - a "hotter" sound.Hot indeed... shwack
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13 years 1 month
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Can be endearing...well sorta. I have a skip on "Southbound" from my original Brothers and Sisters LP. I have heard it so many times that it always sounds like something is missing when I listen to a "skipless" copy...
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    ronmarley1
    9 years 1 month ago
    30 Days of Dead
    I was one of the weekly winners during the 30 Days of Dead promo. and took the LP box set. It's really cool, and is a conversation piece. The 45 that came with it brings back a lot of ofnd memories.
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    jimmanningjr
    9 years 1 month ago
    Without a Net
    It may not have been the last "new" record I bought..Ibut I sure do remember getting the 3 album set Without A Net with its sticker claiming to be the grandest biggest Best Live recording Ever!!!I Up until then It may have been the longest...I played this album thru an old Harmon Kardon "Quad" receiver with a Technics SL1200 turntable from 1978(The first year they made them)...What a Treat....!!!! I remember BM's keyboards coming out of the left rear...It sounded very cool.....My girlfriend and I had enough records to go along a 16 ft wall in our Apt. What a bitch when moving!! I too have fully embraced CDs and have gone to having Flac files on my PC about 1 1/2 terabytes worth .This way I can look at artwork on my 26"monitor...some company's are starting to include a PDF file for the art work which is very cool because I think I speak for everyone when I say WE MISS THAT 12"ART!!!! They may soon have interactive art with vids and everything else a head could desire. The thing i miss with just having files is really owning something..not a virtual something ;-)
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    Jdown
    9 years 1 month ago
    V-Nel
    Love Vinyl, I am a generation from the Tapes, Im 35 now, and when i first got into the "boys" Maxell was king. I just always thought that records were big and something my mom had lots of... Then come CDs, i finally received a player as a gift and started the phase out. recently about a year ago i got turned onto vinyl and yes it is very warm and new to these tape to CD ears. I guess i have to thank the genius of MP3s for helping to bring back this very stylish medium where CD's had (and at the time, rightfully so) almost left records to die, it is truly about the music again, looking at the record, cleaning the record and then listening to sound in its purist form. It is amazing that something i had listened to a thousand times sounds new to me, i cant believe the clarity fullness and yes as so many state the warmth.... Thank you MP3 for your flatness which brought us back to vinyl. FYI: CD i still love you when flipping records isnt my gig, but wow my mom was onto something. And yes all of you parents out there, i finally understand why you got so mad when i played with the needle, but come on... the moving parts, the sound that it makes happen how can a child resist. So....I just got the two new vinyls and was listening to some potentially new speakers and i threw in Bears Choice (remastered CD) and thought how cool would it be to re-release this on Vinyl and then comes news that this is actually a real possibility, with the first three songs you get sarenated by Pig, Bobby then Jerry...."ON VINYL" holy crap... the idea of putting out some of the Dicks Picks is even better, isn't it so cool that Bobbys building space ships of sound and recording, tapping into the newest technologies and all the while they are keeping the basics of it all in tact with some good ol' fashion vinyl, what a great band...Thank you, seriously most people would have been done at "wall of sound" but these guys are in another rhelm of getting it.... so, Awesome, thanks for doing whatever it is you do:) JD