Sunday, August 19, 2007


Does this explain the delay of the Archives Volume 1 set?

NY Times, August 16, 2007

Continuing a tradition that goes back to 1969, Neil Young played his latest recording for Reprise yesterday. The recording was played for about 100 people in Burbank. Produced by "The Volume Dealers," NY and Niko Bolas, the recording runs 60+ minutes and includes two giant songs that time in at 18:30 and 13:00, respectively.

Drawing from three songs written previously, and 7 new songs, the latest Neil Young is a very diverse recording. A release date is unknown at this time. The title is Chrome Dreams II.

Chrome Dreams is a legendary NY album from 1977 that had originally been scheduled for release but was shelved. The original cover for Chrome Dreams was created by Neil's long-time producer and friend, the late David Briggs. Unfortunately, all original documentation and art for this album was lost in a fire that destroyed Neil's Malibu home in early 1978.

The Fugitive - TV Series Season 1 Available August 14, 2007

I usually don't post information about upcoming DVD releases of TV shows or movies, but in this case I am making an exception. This is my all time favorite TV show and it is finally going to be available on DVD.

Half of the first season is being released on August 14, 2007. Hopefully the second half of season 1 will quickly will quickly follow.

Below are links to early reviews of the first volume.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

MOTOWN vinyls grow in popularity, price

from The Detroit News:

DETROIT -- The smooth, soulful sounds that epitomized the Motor City's music culture during the height of its golden age are making record stores here the center of a worldwide scramble to snap up the hits of yesteryear the way they were first recorded -- on vinyl.

Even in today's digital age where people increasingly tune in to their music with gadgets like the iPod, a growing number of enthusiasts both young and old say Detroit's rich musical past is best heard on the LPs and 45s that for decades recorded the sounds of the times.

Ironically, Motown music's following has waned in the city itself. But record sellers say a healthy interest from collectors across the nation -- and abroad -- has made the vinyl pressed here decades ago a hot commodity, with many rare records that once sold out of car trunks for quarters going for up to thousands of dollars today.

Take a once little-known hit like "Why Can't There Be Love" by crooner Dee Edwards. The 2 minute and 41 second track failed to make a big splash in the United States when it was released in Detroit decades ago.

But soul and funk-focused DJs in Europe have seen such a demand for spins of that little 45 in recent years that what was once a relic in many Detroit attics now commands up to $1,000 in good condition. Jimmy J. Barnes' "I Think I've Got a Good Chance" is also a highly valued collectible.

Those are just some of the gems customers can find at Detroiter Brad Hales' unassuming People's Records and Collectibles, on the corner of Second and Forest in Detroit. It's a store where the staff is young and the sounds are old.

Hales has seen the surge in demand for Detroit sounds since he went into business in an old brick apartment building three years ago. There, underneath a haze of incense, Hales and his crew of connoisseurs help customers peruse the mind-boggling selection of music seared on the big vinyl and shellac discs.

Customers there and at other vinyl shops throughout Metro Detroit are snapping up the wax impressions of Motor City music rarely heard on American radio.

A musical hotbed

Sure, hits from big-name groups like The Temptations and The Four Tops still draw buzz from beginning collectors. But the real treasures at Detroit's record stores are the tracks cut at the hundreds of independent studios that once dotted the city.

"Detroit in the 1960s was known as this incredible bastion for all things music," Hales said. "The public schools had music education K-12. It was common for these really talented groups of young musicians to get together, cut a track or two and sell the records around the city. That's the stuff that really sets Detroit apart."

Tunes to move to

Hales has one general rule for what records command the biggest prices: if you've heard of the artist, it's going to cost less.

Rarities like the 45s from Edwards or Jimmy J. Barnes' "I Think I've Got a Good Chance" can cost willing collectors a small fortune.

Hermon Weems, one of the men who helped many of those Detroit musicians rocket to success in their days, said records from the city's best musicians had a simple formula that has kept them popular.

"If it didn't make you move, it wasn't a hit," Weems said wryly over a rum and Coke.

Weems worked as a writer and producer for Smokey Robinson and the Jackson Five at a number of labels in Detroit. He went to Cass Tech high school with jazz great Alice Coltrane -- "She was a pretty young thing," he recalled -- which was then a bastion for the city's young creative musicians.

It was from there that Weems, 69, and many others behind the Motown sound built their giant webs of contacts, which included greats like Alice Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jackie Wilson and Yusef Lateef.

Those greats quickly rose to stardom, but they were only a part of the music scene that collectors now want to get their hands on.

Detroit's collectible sound

Take Rob Moss, for example. The 54-year-old elementary school teacher from Coventry, England, is an avid collector of Detroit sounds.

"Before the days of eBay and the Internet, Rob was putting out a want list," Hales said. "It was this hand-done thing that really helped us set the prices for records before we had everything at our fingertips."While sales of new vinyl LPs account for only 0.6 percent of new music sales in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, thousands of record stores throughout the nation are thriving.

Collectors like Moss aren't looking for the rock 'n' roll riffs or disco beats on vinyl that sell by the dozens at used record shops in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Moss said he has come to Detroit a few times a year since the early 1990s for what he says is one sound that hasn't changed throughout the years.

Back in his country, they call it the Northern Soul scene.

Here, it's known as Motown.

Moss has thousands of records -- he's lost count -- that epitomized the Detroit sound.

Then there are collectors like Bob Mays, 68, of Hazel Park, who has 110,000 records, give or take the few hundred that might still be buried in his backyard. The record collector and poet has garnered a reputation among many enthusiasts as having a nearly definitive collection.

Enthusiast stockpiles records

He used to operate a record store on Eight Mile that drew collectors from all over the country seeking rare and collectible records.

But after finding out last year that the building he was renting would be torn down for redevelopment, he moved what was left to his home in Hazel Park.

Detroit original sounds like soul and funk are mixed in with the hillbilly and country tracks that reflect Mays' Kentucky roots; they're stashed on two porches, in his living room and two sheds out in his back yard.

He once had so many records -- he stopped counting at 250,000 once -- that he buried some old 78s in his yard just to make room.

Now, he's slowly siphoning them off at local trade shows. Sometimes, he said, he's impressed that a younger generation is getting into the music that ruled the Motor City decades ago. But he knows why it's coming back.

"It's that feeling, that soul," he said. "That belly-rubbing R&B. It's incomparable."

As always, comments are welcome.