Monthly Archives: August 2009

John Lennon Was A Dragon

I was at a Chinese restaurant today reading the Chinese Zodiac placemat to pass the time while waiting for my extra spicy Szechuan chicken to arrive at my table when I decided to check the Zodiac signs for The Beatles (yes as you can tell by the ridiculous amount of posts I’ve been making about the Beatles, I have a case of the Beatlemania.)

John Lennon was a dragon. “You are eccentric and your life complex” is what the placemat had to say about dragons. I thought that fit John pretty good. So I figured I should look up Paul, George, & Ringo too to see if the descriptions fit them as well.

Paul is a horse. This is what the placemat had to say about horses: “Popular and attractive to the opposite sex. You are often ostentatious and impatient. You need people.” Yes – Paul was the cute Beatle, wasn’t he? And the line about needing people seems to fit pretty well.

Having read Geoff Emerick’s book on recording the Beatles I know that Paul was sometimes impatient with his band mates (such as when George would struggle with a guitar part or Ringo on the drums.) I had to look up “ostentatious” (I suppose I need to work on my vocabulary) but it seems to fit too.

George was a sheep. “You are timid and prefer anonymity” said the placemat. Ah yes, the quiet Beatle indeed.

At this point I’m thinking this Zodiac business may really be onto something but then I realized that Ringo has the same sign as John did as he was also born in 1940. Indeed, Ringo is a dragon too.

Martin DX1 Acoustic Guitar

I bought a Martin DX1 Acoustic Guitar after reading a lot about what a great deal they are (a Martin guitar without the Martin price) and reading a lot of really positive customer reviews (in fact out of the dozens of reviews I found for the guitar I don’t think I read a single negative one.)

Besides the combination of a reasonable price and great sound, another thing that actually drew me to this guitar was that it’s more durable than more expensive Martin guitars because it’s not made entirely out of wood (which is also the main reason it’s less expensive.) It has a solid spruce top (I love the way it smells, is that weird?) but it has an HPL body.

So what do I think of it so far? I think it’s a huge upgrade from the acoustic guitars I was playing before (mostly a Hohner HW300 which is a very cheap guitar, good for those on a serious budget.) It’s intonation is much better (now I’m in tune wherever I play up and down the fretboard.) It’s much “brighter” & “richer” sounding. It fills the room with sound. It’s just a whole new world really, it’s amazing how much difference playing a quality guitar like this really makes.

How about as far as how it compares to the more expensive Martin acoustics? I don’t know. I’m not an expert but I have read many positive reviews from people who are familiar with more expensive models. It’s hard to imagine that the D-28 is really worth the extra $1800 though ($2300 vs $500 at
martin dx1 acoustic guitar (free shipping)

Making Your Own Beatles Remastered Stereo CD Box Set

The Beatles Stereo Box Set is currently sold out on Amazon (although it is available at a store called Collectors Choice Music) but you can essentially make your own stereo box set by buying all of the individual parts (save for the box itself and the DVD of the mini documentaries which are included on each CD.)

Unfortunately this isn’t possible with the mono box set (which is also sold out) because the mono versions of The Beatles albums are not available for individual purchase. Continue reading “Making Your Own Beatles Remastered Stereo CD Box Set” »

Bob Dylan: His Five Most Essential Albums

With an artist of Bob Dylan’s stature (and who has released as many albums as he has, 33 studio albums thus far) it can sometimes be difficult for new listeners to know where to start. Often times people start with greatest hits albums and I suppose that can be a decent way to dip your toes in but with Dylan I think you’re much better off experiencing his albums as a whole. Anyway, without further explanation, these are the five most essential Dylan albums.

1963 – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Dylan’s second album and his first to mostly feature his own songs (his debut album only included two Dylan originals.) It best captures his early acoustic folk period and includes some of his most famous songs like “Blowin in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.”

Incredibly, this album was recorded when Dylan was just 20 & 21 years old. That he was able to write such timeless classics as these at such a young age is amazing to me. Listening to “Masters of War” now, 46 years after it was recorded, it gives me goosebumps and it’s still just as relevant today as it was in 1963.

Continue reading “Bob Dylan: His Five Most Essential Albums” »

Noel Gallagher Quits Oasis?

According to this message on the official Oasis website Noel Gallagher has quit Oasis following an “altercation” with his brother Liam Gallagher (the band’s lead singer) prior to a concert (which was then canceled) in Paris last night.

He wrote the following: “”It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.”

Noel has been the principle songwriter & guitarist (as well as the singer of some of their songs) since 1994′s Definitely Maybe through 2008′s Dig Out Your Soul.

On recent albums other members of the band (especially Liam) have had songwriting credits but Noel wrote every song but one on 1994′s Definitely Maybe, 1995′s (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, 1997′s Be Here Now, and 1998′s The Masterplan (which was a collection of non-album tracks.) The one exception? A cover of “I Am The Walrus” by The Beatles (included on The Masterplan.) Continue reading “Noel Gallagher Quits Oasis?” »

Michael Jackson’s 51st Birthday / #1 Selling Album Of 2009

Today would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday as he was born on August 29, 1958 but as everyone knows, Jackson died just over two months ago on June 25, 2009.

Since his death Jackson has been selling albums at an extremely fast pace. He was at #1 on the UK album charts for 8 consecutive weeks (before falling to #6 last week) and he’s had the top selling album in the US for 6 of the weeks since his death (he’s been at #2 the other 3 weeks.) Continue reading “Michael Jackson’s 51st Birthday / #1 Selling Album Of 2009” »

Three Great Albums: 2002 (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Sigur Ros, Yoshimi…)

Picking up where I left off (2003) with my series on three great albums released in each year working my way backwards from 2007.

As I’ve said in my previous posts in this series, I’m not claiming these are the three best albums (I’m not sure I really believe in the term “best” to describe music) and they may not even be my three favorite albums (it’s likely that I’m overlooking something) but they are three albums that I think are pretty damn good and that you may want to check out.

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

OK, you know how I just said I don’t believe in the term “best” as applied to music? Well, to hell with it; Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the best album of 2002. It’s also easily my favorite Wilco album and among the candidates for best album of the decade (and thus the millennium!)

The songs are catchy and the lyrics are very interesting, but it’s the production and the arrangements the really knocks my socks off. It turns these songs into something more than just songs, they become “experiences.” Oh yes, some folks will say that’s “pretentious” but I hate that word. I think it’s a word people like to use for things they “don’t get.” Music can be more than just a catchy melody, dude. That doesn’t make it pretentious, it more likely means you listen to music in a superficial way.

Continue reading “Three Great Albums: 2002 (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Sigur Ros, Yoshimi…)” »

The Beatles Mono Box Set On EBay

With The Beatles Mono Box Set now sold out on Amazon & Collectors Choice Music and with no news on when (if?) more copies will be available, I’m thinking there could end up being a market on eBay with people selling these box sets (probably at outrageous prices.)

EDIT: It’s now 9/1/09 and Collectors Choice Music does appear to have the Mono Box Set back in stock. Who knows how long that will last? /EDIT

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some people bought multiple copies of this box set precisely for this reason (to make a profit selling them on eBay above their cost.) I guess we’ll see what develops. I’m going to embed eBay auctions of the mono box set below (as of right now there shouldn’t be anything there, but as people put them up for sale – they will appear.) Continue reading “The Beatles Mono Box Set On EBay” »

The Beatles On Marijuana & LSD (In Their Own Words)

As anyone who is at all familiar with The Beatles knows; all four Beatles smoked marijuana and used LSD and as you can imagine they have been quoted many times on how they feel about these drugs over the years. In this post I attempt to collect as many of those quotes as I can.

Some of these quotes are directly about their experiences while using marijuana & LSD, others are about how they feel about these drugs, and others are about how the use of these drugs influenced their music.

Ringo: Grass was really influential in a lot of our changes, especially with the writers. And because they were writing different material, we were playing differently. We were expanding in all ares of our lives, opening up to a lot of different attitudes.

Paul: One thing that he did introduce us to was pot… Bob came round to our hotel, and he said to us, “Here, try a bit of this.” It is very indiscreet to say this, because I don’t know whether Bob is telling people he turned The Beatles on to marijuana. But it was funny.

(the Bob Paul is referring to is, of course, Bob Dylan.)

John: Rubber Soul was the pot album, and Revolver the acid.

George: The first time we took LSD was an accident. It happened sometime in 1965, between albums and tours. We were innocent victims of the wicked dentist whom we’d met and had dinner with a few times. Continue reading “The Beatles On Marijuana & LSD (In Their Own Words)” »

The Beatles Stereo Box Set Now Sold Out On Amazon Too

A couple of weeks ago The Beatles Mono Box Set sold out on Amazon (they still don’t have any in stock) and as of today the Beatles Remastered Stereo Box Set is also sold out there too.

Like with my recommendation with the Beatles Mono Box Set, I suggest that you go to Collector’s Choice Music to buy this box set as they appear to still have copies available. Do this sooner rather than later as there’s a good shot that they will sell out of them soon too.

CLICK HERE to Buy The Beatles Stereo Box Set.

beatles stereo box set on collectors choice music