Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Murder Of Internet Radio

January 31, 2016

The Live365 internet radio network that I've been linking to from here is closing as of January 31, 2016. That's because of the royalties that are imposed by the US govt agency that works with artists and producers. They have been changed as of Jan.1.
They smelled blood a few years ago when internet radio caught on, and pounced to bleed them. Administered by the usual government socialist types, I don't believe they had good judgement in setting the rates. They were not based on profit the stations made, but were blind flat rates.
There's very little money in internet radio. Start with the fact that every single listener needs to be allotted that amount of bandwidth. You can laugh when you hear that the more listeners you have, the more you lose money.
For a few years there was a plan where low-income broadcasters could pay just based on profit. People fought tooth and nail a few years ago just to get that concession. But ... there was an expiry date, and that is ended now.
Stations are falling as you read.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Converting DVDs - some pointers

(Updated May 11, 2016)

I haven't seen a single DVD ripping program in the world that can convert them correctly automatically.
There are some points about the way DVDs are encoded onto the disc recording space that need to be known.
The standard recording space is 720w x 480h pixels in the NTSC video system (North America). For PAL it's 720x576p. I'm dealing with NTSC. The first thing to realize is that it is NEVER coded in the correct shape on the disc. There is a formula, and the player knows how to interpret it and display in exactly the right way. You have never seen a DVD player make a mistake that way.
However when it comes to computers, there are plenty of mistakes. The world of ripped DVDs on the web is a disaster area.
Firstly, the individuals who write ripping programs don't know everything they need to know. Experts from the commercial DVD world would be needed to advise. I don't know all the formulas myself.

Aspect ratio means "SHAPE", the shape of the picture. AR 1.50 means width is 1.5 times the height. That happens to be the AR of 35mm film. That can also be written as 3:2.
Widescreen TVs are 16:9, or AR 1.77. Old square TVs are 4:3 or 1.33. Old non-wide movies were AR 1.37. Cinemascope was AR 2.35. The formally correct way to write that is 2.35:1. The most common widescreen movies are AR 1.85.
There are many variations in shape in the film and video world.

When coding onto a DVD, it either expands the width of narrow ARs, or squashes the width of wide movies. It also typically leaves black margins on either side which are not part of the picture.
So you need to know those margins in each DVD so you can crop them out. Then you need to know the correct AR for converting the remaining image area. The AR is coded into the DVD specs and rippers can find that easily. The locations of side margins is something NOBODY has mastered. So you end up needing a conversion program that lets you see the DVD image first, then manually tell it how to crop.
This is what rippers need to incorporate in programs. There is a format for giving the image area that looks like this example, for a 720x480 DVD:  8:0:704:480.  I need some expert to tell us where this is found in a DVD.
It means the left margin is 8p, width of image is 704p, leaving right margin of 8p. It is common to have 16p excess space on DVDs. The exact figures can vary a lot. The 2nd and 4th numbers mean height starts right at the top and goes all the way 480p.

Here are images of one movie recorded by someone from TV and made into a DVD. As displayed in VirtualDub the exact way it's coded onto the DVD, 720x480p NTSC. At about 1h50m the framing changes for the rest of the film, from one frame to the next.
This kind of change only happens occasionally.

Programs that let you view the image before conversion include VirtualDub and Fair Use Wizard. VD needs the mpeg2 plugin. For DVDs that are not protected, you open the DVD VIDEO folder and note the VOB sections that contain your target video. In VD use the open command with extended options, load the first VOB plus the others in the set. It will create one continuous video file. This will give you avi output with correct audio sync.

I'm calling on writers of ripping programs to learn the cropping specs and incorporate them. Then have an automatic feature where the user gives you a general instruction for size of output, and you rip it using the right cropping and AR. The user could tell you one of the dimensions like width.
It is eminently unreasonable to ask every user to give you the exact dimensions WxH. It's also unreasonable to ask ordinary people to know things like target bitrates.
I also say don't get messed up with requiring dimensions to be multiples of 16 or whatever, so that you produce the wrong shape like an illiterate SLOB. Or you could automatically pad borders with a margin if you insist.

What, you don't think this belongs in a Music Journal? Well just rip da soundtrack and shaddup.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Teresa Brewer Coral singles Discography (1952-64)

updated Feb.24, 2015

Coral US singles in time order.
Billboard chart positions in brackets.

Sing Sing Sing / I Don't Care
Lovin' Machine / Noodlin' Rag
I Hear the Bluebells Ring / Kisses On Paper
Rhode Island Redhead / [Eileen Barton]
Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now (#25) / Roll Them Roly Boly Eyes
Til I Waltz Again With You (#1) / Hello Bluebird
Dancing With Someone (#17) / Breaking In The Blues
Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall (#23) / Too Much Mustard
Ricochet (#2) / Too Young To Tango
Bell Bottom Blues (#17) / Our Heartbreaking Waltz (#23)
Baby, Baby, Baby (#12) / I Guess It Was You All The Time (solo)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus / Ebeneezer Scrooge
Too Fat For The Chimney / I Just Can't Wait For Christmas
Jilted (#6) / Le Grand Tour de l'Amour
Skinnie Minnie (#22) / I Had Someone Else Before I Had You
Au Revoir / Danger Signs
Time / My Sweetie Went Away
Let Me Go Lover (#6) / The Moon Is On Fire
I Gotta Go Get My Baby (#19) / What More Is There To Say
Pledging My Love (#17) / How Important Can It Be
Tweedlee Dee / Rock Love  (nonhit)
Silver Dollar (#20) / I Don't Want To Be Lonely Tonight
The Banjo's Back In Town (#15) / How To Be Very Very Popular
Baby Be My Toy / So Doggone Lonely
Shoot It Again (#66) / You're Telling Our Secrets
A Good Man Is Hard To Find / It's Siesta Time
A Tear Fell (#5) / Bo Weevil (#17)
A Sweet Old-Fashioned Girl (#7) / Goodbye John
I Love Mickey (#87) / Keep Your Cotton-Pickin' Paddies Off My Baby
Mutual Admiration Society (#21) / Crazy With Love (#73)
How Lonely Can One Be / I'm Drowning My Sorrows
Empty Arms (#13) / The Ricky-Tick Song
Teardrops In My Heart (#64) / Lula Rock-a Hula
It's The Same Old Jazz / Born To Love
You Send Me (#8) / Would I Were
Hush-a-Bye, Wink-a-Bye / Listen My Children [Christmas]
Lost, A Little Puppy / Because Him Is A Baby [children's]
There's Nothing As Lonesome As Saturday Night / Whirlpool
Saturday Dance / I Think The World Of You
Pickle Up A Doodle (#99) / The Rain Falls On Everybody
The Hula Hoop Song (#38) / So Shy
The One Rose (#75) / Satellite
Jingle Bell Rock / I Like Christmas
Heavenly Lover (#40) / Fair Weather Sweetheart
Bye Bye Baby Goodbye / Chain Of Friendship
Mexicali Rose / If You Like-a Me
Peace Of Mind (#66) / Venetian Sunset
How Do You Know It's Love / If There Are Stars In My Eyes
Anymore (#31) / That Piano Man
Have You Ever Been Lonely / When Do You Love Me
Whip-poor-will / Older and Wiser
Milord (#74) / I've Got My Fingers Crossed
Little Miss Belong To No One / Seashell
Step Right Up / Pretty Looking Boy
Another / I Want You To Worry
You Came A Long Way From St. Louis / One Heart Less To Break
Cry Baby / I Hear the Angels Singing

Highlighted titles can be heard by clicking.

There were also duets, reissues, EPs (Extended Play singles).
The 65000 series was like oldies reissues, the Silver Star series.

Find more information at :
Teresa Brewer Center -
Facebook Fans of Teresa Brewer

Monday, November 10, 2014

What does music "mastering" mean?

Updated July 31, 2015

If you buy reissue CDs of old music, or if you produce them, you see the marketing phrase "Digitally Remastered".
Ya don't know what mastering means.
So stop filling this society with illiteracy.

The people at Rhino Records explained it very well:
The core of the confusion comes from the base word itself, "master".  In music, a master is a tape that has been prepared to manufacture either a record, cassette, 8-track or CD. Over the past 50-odd years, however, the word "master" has been used to describe a number of different types of tape and as such has become a bit ubiquitous, particularly in advertising copy.
In the simplest scenario, mastering historically meant taking the original tape that was used to record a recording session and then
preparing it by applying various electronic processes (filtering, equalizing, echo, copying, etc.) to the tape. When the processing was completed - that is, when the producer thought he had gotten the best commercial sound possible - that processed copy or original became the "MASTERTAPE" or "master". This was then used to make the metal parts that eventually would "stamp out" 45 RPM (or 78 RPM) singles.

This processing was necessary in the early days, particularly when the record label was small and the recording studio and microphones primitive. The actual tape running during the session - which we refer to as the "SESSION TAPE" - was often out of balance with regard to volume levels, and had to be equalized and compressed to allow for correct cutting of the actual record grooves during manufacture and to compensate for faulty recording technique. It should be mentioned too that even 60 years ago, vocal performances were often brought from poor or mediocre to acceptable by way of electronic tinkering.

As overdubbing came into use in the 1960s, another stage was added to the mastering process. A "basic track" would be recorded first (usually the instrumentals); then, whatever was to be overdubbed (like the lead vocal or a special percussion instrument or sound effect) would be recorded and combined with that basic track tape to make a copy. That copy would
then be processed and become the MASTER TAPE.

When LPs began to flourish in the late '50s and early '60s, another stage was added to the mastering process. Eager to release album product, many labels sought to gather up a number of their previous single releases to form an LP. To do this, they would go back to the MASTER TAPE for the various singles, and copy
each one onto a (watch out!) "master compilation tape". This tape was then copied.. with processing to produce an "album master". Technological development meant more confusion in terminology. As cassettes and 8-track tapes became viable music carriers, special master tapes had to be prepared for each configuration. And what does a record company do in this case - they make another copy, a copy of an "album master" that is then re-sequenced for cassette or 8-track. These copies become "cassette masters' and "8-track masters". Masters, masters, masters.

The real dirty word in all of this is "copy". Every time a tape is copied, the resulting copy "loses" something from the original. It also gains distortion. ... If one company wanted to license a recording from another, they would not receive anything approaching the original SESSION tape; instead, they would receive yet another copy, a copy of a copy in effect. Considering the lack of importance attached to rock'n'roll in general by virtually all labels in the '50s and '60s, this practice of copying tapes ad nauseum coupled with a general sloppiness in tape archiving and the assumption that "one master is as good as another", had led us to the predicament we now find ourselves in when trying to produce quality reissues of this vintage material  ...

When we talk about sloppiness in the record industry, we can go on for days. In the early pre-LP days, labels would often throw out or record over the original SESSION TAPES and just keep the MASTER. Sometimes they would just cut the actual 'take" chosen for mastering from the SESSION TAPE and splice it onto another reel (which leads to another confusing use of terminology ... the "take" chosen as best from a recording session is often called the "master take" or...can you guess...the "master"). Often that small piece of tape would be moved and removed to different album masters as time went on, making their location today nearly impossible to find. Sometimes the basic track can be found, but the overdubs necessary to reproduce the actual record may be lost. ...

"Remastered from the original tapes" sounds wonderful, but it can be misleading. All of the stages mentioned above can be considered "original tapes", and a number of different tapes can be considered the "original masters".


So for all you CD issuers, when you copy vinyl records to digital, ya ain't "remastering" nothin.
You are making a copy that is based on the original masters, which is okay in its own way.

As for really remastering from the session tapes, I am not pleased with that. It usually does not sound as good as the original hits masters. To think that you can do a better job than the original people?

There is also the term "remixing". I wonder how much it's being misused. If you are just editing a copy, you sure are not remixing.

Vinyl albums in the digital era:
They tend to be made from the digital masters. Old music is digitized from analog to make a CD. Then the doinks make the vinyl from the digital master instead of the analog. Vinyl buyers get no advantage over the CDs.
If you are wondering ... analog music has all the sound in it, but digital loses much of it. 16-bit (CD) music is limited.
The only hope is 32-bit floating point digital recording. That is not used commercially. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Connie Francis - Behind the Fame

Updated July 29, 2016

Connie Franconero grew up in New Jersey, of Italian heritage.
In 1955 MGM gave Connie a contract for several singles. The first one was Freddy, which the MGM chief wanted as a gift for son Freddy's birthday. A pretty good song, but they say it was only played at the local park merry-go-round. The following singles had some good pop items, but not enough for hits. In 1957 Connie sang the voice of Tuesday Weld in the movie Rock Rock Rock  for two songs, which became one of the singles. Really lame songs.
After the 10th non-hit her father got serious and stepped in. He decided to choose the song Who's Sorry Now, which was a pop oldie. Finally she had a big hit and the rest is history.

From then on her father directed her recording career. In the earlier days they had been approached by mobsters, who said they could make her a star because they owned all the jukeboxes. Father turned it down. Now he seemed to have the golden touch in choosing records.
Connie became interested in a relationship with Bobby Darin then. Father didn't approve and that was stopped. I don't know but possibly Bobby had mob connections. There's a lot of that.
For her first movie Where the Boys Are in 1960 father approved only if there was nothing sexual for her. So Tuesday Weld did that stuff. Connie was not made up very attractive and was not presented as exciting. That improved in later films.

Now from 1958 to 1963 she was blessed by great pop-rock compositions by New York composers like Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. A lot of sentimental love songs with great harmony and melody.
From 1963 the caliber of American songwriting started to wane and like everyone else she was having less success.
That year she had a hit with In The Summer Of His Years, which was a tribute to President John F. Kennedy after his assasination. Strangely, that song is completely ignored since then. I think it's politics. Jews who mostly control the media want to suppress him.
Some songs are overlooked because of the timing of her hits albums. I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter came too late for her second hits album. However it did get included in the 15 Hits LP which covered her from the start. Other hits that came too late for the hits LPs were Blue Winter and Your Other Love.

Albums continued thru the 1960s along with some lesser hits.
As time went on she had problems with marriage, and in 1974 she was raped in her hotel in Long Island after performing.
In the late 60s she had plastic surgery to make her nose look less Italian and more American. She looked fine but it affected her vocal range negatively. Then a couple decades after that she had it again to somewhat revert her look, to where she is now.

Apparently she bought the copyrights to her recordings from MGM (or Polydor), which was having constant problems with repeated bankruptcies and ownership changes (also affecting the James Bond films). She does not tolerate unauthorized distribution, including posts on YouTube. If I could hear from her maybe I could present some samples here.

Connie still performs today. She was the best selling female artist in the world until Mariah Carey came.

Connie Francis on the Statler Brothers Show 1998:

You can also see her biography program starting at this link.                                              

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame

July 26, 2013

With the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame getting a lot of attention, 1950s Pop music wasn't getting enough. So John Rook decided to pay it tribute with a new Hall Of Fame organization. The first round of inductees was in 2007.
It has been selecting Pop artists from all decades since then. The first year told the tale of what it was all about.

Inductees of 2007 were
Pat Boone
Patti Page
Teresa Brewer
Bobby Darin
Bing Crosby
Perry Como
Nat King Cole
Jimmy Clanton
The Four Seasons
Connie Francis
Aretha Franklin
Ricky Nelson
Diana Ross
Roy Orbison
Paul Anka
The Beatles
Beach Boys
Tony Bennett
Doris Day
Fats Domino
Neil Diamond
Elvis Presley
Johnnie Ray
Neil Sedaka
Chubby Checker
Frank Sinatra
Johnny Cash
Ray Charles

John Harlan Rook was an American radio announcer and director going back to the 1960s.
Here are links:
The Hit Parade HoF site
The Wikipedia article                                        

This is an example of how the new wave of late 1960s hippie music displaced the former Pop and Rock and Roll music of the 1950s and early 1960s. Even Wikipedia refuses to have a separate article on the Hall, but buries it within the John Rook article. It took until 2007 to think of this, and it does not seem to be well known.
There is an element that disregards 1950s Pop. It favors jazz or punk or soul. It comes down to who controls the media the most.
When Dick Clark was alive he worked to feature the classic music. He also organized the annual Peoples' Choice music awards show, which was a reaction to the otherwise leftist control of the media which shoved soul and jazz down everyone's throats.
The radio music services don't have 1950s Pop channels.
Somehow 1940s Pop becomes categorized as jazz too.

Each year nominees are named early in the year, and you the public can vote until the results are counted about 11 months later.
So as The Democrats say, vote and vote often.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

À La Carte - Euro Girl Group

 (updated January 6)

In 1978 two then little-known German producers - a married couple Tony Hendrik and Karin Hartmann, employed by Hansa International (sub-label of Ariola-Eurodisc), developed the project of a female pop group. These girl-groups were especially popular in Europe in the late 70s.  Among others those included Arabesque (Germany), Baccara (Spain), Maywood and Luv (both from the Netherlands).

The first single of A La Carte "When The Boys Come Home" (Ariola/Hansa 100 478-100) was released in March 1979. The song, performed by three attractive girls from London: Patsy Fuller, Julia and Elaine, gained popularity and the group was invited to the famous German TV-show "Musikladen" ("Music Shop"). The single had good sales, and in October a second catchy single was released "Doctor, Doctor (Help Me Please)" (Ariola/Hansa 101 080-100), with a new line-up: Patsy Fuller, Jeanny Renshaw, Denise Distelle. After that nobody dared to deny their reputation as the best dance girl-band. In 1980 one more replacement occurs: instead of Denise Distelle came Katie Humble. In March 1980 this line-up a launched new single - a cover of Manfred Mann's 60s super-hit "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (Ariola/Hansa 101 677-100), in a short time followed by their first album - "Do Wah Diddy Diddy Round" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 202 143-320).
The next single of A La Carte - "Ring Me, Honey" (Ariola/Hansa 102 429-100), was released in September 1980.
In January 1981, after a change of two members, Jeanny Renshaw, Linda Daniels and Joy Martin released the new single "You Get Me On The Run" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 102 871-100). The lead vocals in the song were of Jeanny and Joy. The third girl, Linda Daniels, was needed only for the "phantom" presence of the third singer, the recent Denise Distelle. Then were issued 3 singles and the next album called "Viva" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). "In the Summer Sun Of Greece" was released on a single (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 263-100) in April 1982 and its front cover shows one more change in the line-up: Kati Humble's comeback instead of the blue-eyed blonde Linda Daniels. This line-up existed until the group's splitting.

In July 1982 they released the single "Aha Tamoure" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 569-100) and the group's activity was summed up on the first compilation - "The Wonderful Hits Of A La Carte" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 204 935-302). This album included nearly all the hits of A La Carte: "When The Boys Come Home", "In The Summer Sun Of Greece", "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Aha Tamoure", "Viva Torero" and others.
In January 1983 was released the single called "Radio" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 918-100). The two new songs were never issued on any LPs.
The next album of the group "Rockin' Oldies" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 205 743-320) and new single "On The Top Old Smokie" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 105 802-100) were released at the same time in September 1983. In 1984, the group launched the next single "Jimme Gimme Reggae" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). The title song was a new version of the one from the first album, and a completely new song - "Lightyears Away From Home" was on the back side.
After that, A La Carte disappeared from the scene. Probably, it was the result of the birth of the new "lovely child" of their producers, Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik, the male trio Bad Boys Blue, launched in 1984 with "L.O.V.E. In My Car ". But maybe also because of decreasing demand in the music market for female acts and a corresponding increase for male ones. The attractive girl-groups were getting competition from male duos and trios like Modern Talking, Joy, London Boys, Silent Circle, Pet Shop Boys...

[This article is based on a defunct old GeoCities website in order to keep the information alive. The credits given were:
Original Russian text by Alex (Invisible Man), with assistance of Marc Wiese.
2004-2005 English translation by L.D.]

The World Of A La Carte