Hello and welcome to Your Mother Should Know Recordings Blog.
Way back in 1962 my dad brought me to visit a client of his named Buddy Wagner. Buddy had been a big band leader in the teens, In addition he was an inventor. Among other things he invented the 33 1/3 RPM record which he failed to patent before he showed it off. His invention was stolen from him by the president of CBS a guy by the name of Goldmarch. (My dad was quick to point out that this theft occurred before he was Buddy’s attorney.) Before he died in the 70’s long before digital recording, he invented an analog disk recording device that recorded at 1 RPM and held 12 hours on one side. Radio stations used the ‘Wagnersonic’ to make a record of their broadcasts. It recorded little disks which held 12 hours on a side. But I digress
So we went to Buddy’s farm and out back by a pond was a little shack which he used as his lab. It was filled with audio equipment including about 15 reel to reel recorders which really impressed me. When we left he gave me one a major gift for this 11 year old boy! I had just gotten a little orange transistor radio and discovered Murry the K and the WMCA “good guys”, a commercial rock station of the early 60’s. My first recordings were made by holding a microphone up to the radio. I began recording anything I could, because I could. I guess I never stopped…..
54 years later my collection includes hundreds of reel and cassette tapes as well as several thousand records, CDs and about 4TB stored on disk.
Did I mention, I love music! After a few years of AM radio and my first guitar lessons, a chance interaction with a classmate changed my life. I was standing by my locker (C-60) talking with Stephen Murphy about some pop radio song I liked when Richard Engler came up to me and said. “don’t waste your time with that commercial crap, you should listen to the Blues Project.” Where could I hear music like that I asked, his answer “Underground Radio”. he turned and left
Underground’ radio, turned out to be a few select stations on FM Radio like WBAI and WNEW in NY and later for me, WBCN in Boston where, you could hear music not sanctioned by what I later came to understand as the corporate ‘hit parade’.
I got the first Blues Project record and wore it out. I came from a family full of folkies, and in 1962 My aunt and uncle gave me the first Bob Dylan album. I was amazed. If I guy with a voice like that could make records, well, there must be hope for me. I learned house of the rising sun on the guitar, and tried to play it at a temple talent show, my first brush with censorship. I had no idea what it was about. I learned Baby Let Me Follow You Down, but had no idea what it meant till years later. My first concert was Peter Paul and Mary in 1965. I can’t remember if I went to any other concerts after that.
I lived in a suburb of NY and my high school girl friend was from the City. She took me to the Fillmore East for the first time…. I think we went to see Richie Havens, when I walked into the Fillmore for the first time., it was one of those moments, like the first time I walked into Yankee Stadium, it was life changing.
I’d gone to a high school dance and heard a local band called the Savages (they used to have live bands at dances) who played some really cool music from a band called The Who. While at the Richie Havens show I saw that the Who was playing so I borrowed money and got a ticket.
For the next two years, I went to as many concerts at the Fillmore as I could. It sounds like nothing today, but the $3.50 admission price put a limit on the number of shows i could go to. The Airplane, The Dead, Jethro Tull, Mountain, John Sebastian, Hot Tuna, Jack Bruce, Buddy Guy
I graduated high school with musical interests in Rock and Roll and Folk Music and a burgeoning record collection and tape collection, my most prized possessions.
Among my recordings was a “Bootleg” of Bob Dylan called the Great White Wonder. This had recordings which had not been released. To this point I had never considered it as anything but an oddity, but my Roommates Rob and Marshall, both music fans soon guided me to record stores they were going to where many other bootleg recordings were for sale.
I loved listening to these recordings, and having a tape recorder, it was a natural, my room mates would buy the recordings, and i would tape them. My collection quickly grew.
In college I began trading tapes on Reel to Reel, this required two tape decks, and with each generation of transfer, the recordings lost quality. Some were better than others, Some are only listenable to a dedicated fan
As cassettes came to be popular, trading got a lot easier, when the internet connected us I found there were many others like me, a thriving community of music traders.
That’s how I met Charlie, He would always send me cherry recordings. One of my favorite to this day is the Kinks Live in Chicago. It turned out Charlie lived in Sacramento CA. He was a retired writer for Downbeat and Rolling Stone. It also turned out he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I had to go to a conference in California and arranged to visit him. We had a great time together, and it turned out we were immediately “brothers from a different mother”. When I had to leave he brought out two large cases of tapes and gave them to me. 100 recordings. He said he wanted someone who would appreciate them to have them. I was shocked and humbled. He passed away several years later. I have digitized many of them and will do so for the rest of them over time.
One of my favorite things in the world is listening and sharing music which is what my intent is for this blog. I would like this to be as interactive as possible so feel free to leave comments and requests. Enjoy!