Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's In A Download?

As almost everyone is no doubt aware, since day one record companies have been waging war against downloaders, arguing that the practice not only cuts into their profits but hurts the artist as well. And every so often they succeed in shutting down a blog or a posting board. The latest casualty is the Rockhall Forum which specialized in 50s R&R. It was shut down after numerous complaints and threats by a certain German record label who are well known for their high quality and extensive reissues. Looking at it from the point of view of the record company, I can understand why they would be so up in arms. They go to great effort and expense to put out a quality product and they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. Seeing their CDs offered for free is not only demoralizing, it also cuts into their bottom line. If people can download a 5 or 6-disc boxset for free with just a few clicks of the mouse, why would they shell out $100-plus dollars for the CDs.

Or would they? Speaking for myself, if I like something, owning it on an mp3 is not enough. I want the real thing. MP3s are fine for the ipod but when I'm at home listening to my stereo, they just don't cut it. I read somewhere that many downloaders actually spend more money on music than their non-downloading counterparts. That doesn't surprise me all that much. I can't begin to count how many albums I've bought that I first heard as mp3s. Albums or songs that I would have otherwise never heard of. And that includes some of the reissues by this particular label.

I am a music collector and I admit that I am totally obsessive about it. More so than 99.999 ad infinitum percent of the music loving population. For me, the worst thing that could happen would be if labels like the one in question here decide that it's just not worth their time and effort and decide to pack it in. In that scenario, everybody loses. And as long as the record companies see downloading as this big evil thing that is sucking them dry, they are going to either make it more and more difficult or just stop altogether. Every so often I get a comment from a reader who has actually gone out and bought something after hearing a song I've included. I'd like to see more of that. A comment or two might not mean all that much but it would be nice to show that downloading does not necessarily mean freeloading.

Big Walter - Pack Fair & Square
Although I love a good Robert Johnson or Charlie Patton record as much as the next guy, my love of the blues is mainly at that point where it starts to cross over into Rock & Roll. While Big Walter had a more old-school bluesy sound than Little Richard or Bo Diddley, there was no doubt that when he wanted to he could rock just as hard.
The Lurkers - Ain't Got A Clue
After I put together and uploaded this latest playlist I realized that I had posted this track a few months ago. That's probably because this song is such a favorite of mine. Play it again, Sam.
The Phinx - My Baby Don't Care
Hailing from Boonseville, Mississippi these guys cut this one terrific folk-rocker and were most likely never heard from again. As always, anyone with a little more info is welcome to enlighten us with a comment.
Mark & The Spies - Another Chance
Mark & The Spies are perfect examples of what I was talking about in my intro. I forget which of their two albums I "stole" online first, but once I got wind of them I knew that they needed to be in my collection. Check out their myspace page to hear more.
Bob Dylan - Dusty Old Fairgrounds
There's something about this song that makes me feel a yearning for something I can't exactly put my finger on. Maybe it's all of those carnival images conjuring up a vision of an older more exciting America I always vaguely sensed but never actually knew growing up in my nice little Queens, NY suburb.
Gene Vincent - Slippin' And Slidin'
I only heard Gene's rendition of Little Richard's classic for the first time fairly recently but it's quickly become an Ipod favorite. I'm not sure who's backing him up but whoever it is, they sound like they're positively on fire.
Chubby Checker - Karate Monkey
From the sound of it I'm guessing that this came out sometime in 1967 or 68. Unfortunately, despite being a big favorite with the Northern Soul crowd, ABKCO Records left it off their Chubby Checker Best-Of a few years ago. There were so many great records on the Cameo-Parkway labels back in the day and the ABKCO reissues pretty much only stick to the hits. I'd love to see them do a rarities box.
Randy Newman - Sail Away
Talk about conjuring up visions of an old long-gone America, this song always makes me feel kind of nostalgic, despite the fact that if you listen a little closer to the lyrics you can hear how tongue-in-cheek they are.
The Electras - Dirty Old Man
This has always been a favorite of the 60s garage crowd and with that pounding beat, soulful vocal and ominous sounding organ riff, it's truly not hard to see why.
Redd Kross - Heaven Only Knows
I saw Redd Kross on their last tour a few years ago and it was really kind of mind boggling just how many great songs they had. Not only in their originals but also their knack for picking great covers like this Shangri-Las B-side.
Jerry Reed - When You're Hot, You're Hot
And when you're not you're not. Truer words have never been spoken - or sung. This was actually a Top 10 hit for Jerry Reed back in the spring of 1971.
Muck & The Mires - Hang All Over Me
I've seen these guys a bunch of times and every time I do they totally blow me away. Nobody writes such great pop songs and makes it look so easy like they do. Visit their website and buy some of their albums. They deserve your support.
Sons Of Robin Stone - Got To Get You Back
Despite the fact that this has the same Philly Soul sound that proved so successful for The Spinners and The O'Jays, this didn't even crack Billboard's Top 100. Such a great record, I never understood why this wasn't a big hit.
Chad & Jeremy - Teenage Failure (Single-Version)
This is probably as rocking as C&J ever got in their career. Despite the fact that it's an obvious novelty song, it still has a kind of endearing charm.
Sandie Shaw - Nothing Less Than Brilliant
Although she had her biggest successes in the mid-60s, Sandie continued recording at least until the 80s. This song is from one of her later albums "Hello Angel". Once again, had I not downloaded the album on a whim from some other blogsite I would never have heard this lovely song and I wouldn't have gone out and bought the album which, incidentally, I wholeheartedly recommend.
Ronnie Bird - Ou va t'elle
I'm not sure how big of a splash Ronnie made outside of his native France, but at home he was a big star. Here he turns in a nice version of the Hollies' "Come On Back".
Robert Parker - Happy Feet
Although Robert is most well known for his hit "Barefootin'", he had a number of other records that were just as good. I scored a pretty nice vinyl copy on Gemm Music for $10.


Anonymous said...

Hurry back with that link, please!!!!

YankeeBoy said...

Patience is a virtue and yours has been rewarded my friend.

Nazz Nomad said...

you can't clean pot on an mp3.

ps- if you want vinyl, let me know...

YankeeBoy said...

Although it's been awhile for me Nazz, you're 100 percent right. Why do you think The Beatles' White Album was so popular in its day?

As for vinyl, I am always looking for old 45s.

Nazz Nomad said...

the jefferson airplane's long john silver album had a foldout that was a picture of all weed

glenn said...

You asked about the Phinx. "My Baby Don't Care" is from a '66 45 - Pic 1 139. It was also on several comps including Strange Worlds and their album, "Sometimes." Check out "It Takes Friends" on GUTF35. The Gants also did this song, a more upbeat version.

I'm not sure which site you refer to that was taken down - Rockabilly Ranch? - though that just more or less went private. I'll never forget when they took Twilight Zone down -- I was just able to download the last of a 170 or so series, USA Garage Greats before that went bye bye. I was so bummed to see it go. [they're now back and as strong as ever and a big thumbs up to them.]

To play devil's advocate, I don't think it's right to upload entire albums that are still available for sale. While you're correct that many people aren't happy with a crappy mp3 version, others are perfectly content. Besides, you can get good quality uploads like 320k or lossless from torrent sites. There's no doubt that a free version even of lesser quality cuts into sales. Yes, the industry is broken and the bastids brought the mess on themselves, but 2 wrongs don't make a right. In any event, we've all had to make our own rules and make our own decisions of what's right or wrong in absence of a clear lead from the industry. I think sites that present homemade compilations such as yours and mine are only helping sales. I've only gotten thanks from artists and no complaints.

And hey, thanks for another great comp!

YankeeBoy said...

In this case I was thinking about the Rockhall forum which was basically closed down due to pressure from the Bear Family label in Germany.

I too have a lot of mixed feelings about postings of entire albums, which is why I don't post them here. Occasionally I have thought of posting something that was out of print but I haven't so far. Also, I want to stay under the radar of the RIAA and people like that.

Anonymous said...

You have SUCH good musical taste!

YankeeBoy said...

Cool, thanks.