The dark ages of music


No, this isn’t bitching about a genre, or a period of music per se, but instead it is a grumble at the practice of turning sub standard live recordings from the 70’s and 80’s into “new” albums. 

In this period, many bands began recording themselves at all their shows. The Live albums were a popular addition to the catalog, and let fans enjoy their music with some variances. Great live performers came alive, and delivered phenomenal renditions. The inevitable guitar solo (which I mostly like) and drum solos (which are lame, unless you are Carl Palmer or Neil Peart) were bonuses.

However, much of this recording was done on crappy analog tape, with piss poor microphones, and a shit-ton of muddle, and washed out highs and lows. Ugh.

There were some great recordings (Frampton Comes Alive is one such, as is UFO’s “Strangers in the Night”), a lot of mediocrity.

But all the good recordings from that era have all been made into records. 

But today, it seems that everytime a washed up group stumbles across some old tape, they feel compelled to turn it into an album and release it. 

Case in point: 

I have long been a fan of progressive rock, and Emerson Lake and Palmer were titans in the 70’s and early 80’s. One of the first “Super groups”, they had a fabulous live album, “Welcome back my Friends …”, a triple disc set that I wore out on my stereo before buying a CD of it.

In 2011, they found some moldy tapes (I am guessing here) of a concert they did in Montreal in 1977. It is available on Spotfy, and I have fired it up. 

Groan. It sounds like it was recorded on a $40 panasonic cassette recorder. If it was a bootleg, I would be satisfied, but this is the real deal. Suckage.

Please, regardless of how tempting it is to release new stuff 25 years after your band dissolved, DO NOT release crappy live recordings.  

The only thing positive about this is that I didn’t buy the CD.

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By geoffand

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December 2013

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