In this wonderfully oppressive hot state of Arizona, temperatures have reached 115 recently. Our annual monsoons — thunder and lightning storms galore — have arrived (sort of) to “cool down” things to a mild 104. It sprinkled a bit tonight, and so rain is the theme of these two songs, plucked from my 45 collection.
As I’ve said before, my dad passed on to me a beautiful Wurlitzer jukebox to me, along with about 250 45s. We lugged this thing from Chicago to Phoenix when we moved when I was about 8. For the better part of our time in Phoenix, though, the jukebox was nothing more than a household decoration: “Oh, cool, a jukebox. Does it work?” “Uh, no.” Well, I paid a pro to get it working and I cleaned and covered all the 45s and I’m working on cataloging them into the computer.
Shopping for records is fun, but sorting through all these 45s and playing them and pulling out some 40-year-old pop gem is the best. The catalog is loaded with some Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone (I’ve added from my own collection, including a stash of James Brown singles and more modern indie/hip-hop tunes).
What’s interesting about the records is the generation gap they present. That’s why I want to mix it up: Righteous Brothers with Whodini in the same jukebox. That said, I’ve come to gain a valuable appreciation for the music my parents enjoyed.
Anyway, let’s get to the differing opinions on rain: Eddie Rabbitt loved it; the Carpenters were saddened by it (maybe they were my parents’ version of emo?: “What I’ve got they used to call the blues / Nothing is really wrong / Feeling like I don’t belong.”) I used to really love this Eddie Rabbitt song as a kid and I was thrilled to find it on 45.
Went record shopping Wednesday night at Zia, a splendid used CD/record chain in Arizona where I spend much time and money. Digging through the vinyl, my ever-observant wife spotted Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm used for $8.99. (That was almost as great as finding Neil Young’s Decade — six sides! — for $1.99.) Anyway, the Bloc Party 12″ contained three records, including one — The Dim Mak “Dimmakified” 12″ — with two remixes apiece of Positive Tension and Price of Gas.
Not sure if I’m behind the curve on these, but I thought I’d share all the same. I especially enjoy the Jason Clark mix of Positive Tension and the Jus Ske mix of Price of Gas (that bassline … dang).
Bloc Party: Positive Tension — Jason Clark remix
Bloc Party: Positive Tension — Johnny Whitney remix
Bloc Party: Price of Gas — Automato remix
Bloc Party: Price of Gas — Jus Ske remix
I’ve got no central theme tying my selections together on this post, other than that they all were converted from vinyl 45s, a process at which I’m slowly getting better. I basically cobbled together any and all information I could on the Internet about it.
Briefly, this is how it works: I have a Technics 1200 turntable (yea, I had designs on wanting to be a DJ years ago) hooked to a preamp mixer. The mixer is connected to an analog-to-digital converter (I use Griffin’s iMic), which is then hooked up to the computer via USB. Then you’ll need some sort of sound-editing program: I use — and highly recommend — Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro, which also works to strip audio from applications like Real Player, Quick Time, DVDs, etc. Audio Hijack has a ton of filters to enhance the sound. There’s also Sound Studio, Amadeus and Audacity, to name a few. (If you have any other questions, e-mail me and I’ll be glad to help as much as I can.)
It’s really a trial-and-error process, but the best part about it is shopping for records. My dad passed along an original Wurlitzer jukebox to me we’ve had since I was about 8. With it, I took on roughly 250 45s — mostly ’50s, ’60s and ’70s pop and rock. I’ve gone a bit nuts shopping for records, especially 45s. You can find some serious gems, especially those with the picture covers (just look at that Jermaine Stewart!) The jukebox also is the inspiration for the jukebox tag links.
So, enjoy the selections. I apologize for any static; again, I’m still working out the kinks (any feedback about how the audio is sounding on your end is greatly appreciated). Anyway, a little crackle and pop adds some warmth to the sound. I think you can clean the sound up too much to the point of diminishing returns.
(That little John Cougar Mellencamp acoustic ditty is for Dodge, who went all Authority Song on us a coupla weeks ago.)
Jermaine Stewart — We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off
The Fixx — One Thing Leads to Another
John Mellencamp — Small Town (acoustic)
Pet Shop Boys — West End Girls