April Come She Will

Sounds CoverApril has come (as if you didn’t know), and she brought with her an excuse to write about one of my all-time favorite songs: Simon & Garfunkel’s April Come She Will.

You wouldn’t know by listening to it, but it’s actually a pretty short song. Clocking in at only 1:49, April Come She Will is the shortest track on the 1966 masterpiece, Sounds of Silence. Although written by Paul, April’s sweet melodic melon collie was sung by Art. It must have been difficult for Mr. Garfunkel to go to work each day. I mean, sure, Art Garfunkel is great in his own right… great singer, great range, but his partner is Paul freakin’ Simon! One wonders how powerful Simon & Garfunkel would have been without Art. Maybe he was the man behind the successful curtain. Who knows?

April LyricsApril Come She Will is the prefect soundtrack for those moments when you just wished you were somewhere else. Alone, walking between silent, somber trees, or alone, walking amongst a sea of warm strangers, this dreary song reminds us that new eventually becomes old, and judging by the song’s length, how quickly that can happen. A kind of hopeless notion if you think about it.

May April offer you blossoming new beginnings, and may September not rob you of the aging beauty of those beginnings. Old doesn’t need to lose its alluring frenzy. We just need to be reminded of how new it once was. Here’s hoping September doesn’t forget to remind us.

A Not So Sweet Easter Treat

P. CTailMy “Jesus Rose from the Dead” records must be on loan, so I’m reluctant to write about rabbits. My only Bugs Bunny record is a Christmas album, so I’m forced to inundate myself with Peter Cottontail Plus Other Funny Bunnies and Their Friends.

That Pete Cottontail was a sly one, wouldn’t you say? I mean, just look at that face… deep in profound thought.  Released in 1963 by the racist, homophobic granddaddy of greed and deceit, Walt Disney Productions, Peter Cottontail Plus Other Funny Bunnies and Their Friends is a heavily produced, fantasy-inducing, rabbit nightmare that’s sure to linger inside your head long after the point of discomfort.

Weaving between catchy kid tunes and one-woman interpretations of classic rabbit stories, Peter Cottontail Plus Other Funny Bunnies and Their Friends does NOT come recommended by The Prudent Groove.

LPsOn the plus side, the back sleeve offers an eye-catching display of previously released Disney “Musical Highlights” (I shudder to think) in the shape of the letters, “LPs.” For only $1.89 in 1963, which would be $13.99 today, you could pollute your ears with everything from Little Toot to Savage Sam. Save your money, and your sanity, and skip any and everything Disney related.  Your soul will thank you.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Music to Make Time By

CoverOk… there’s a lot going on with this 7”, and I don’t have a lot of time, so please, no talking and we’ll get through this quickly. Okay? Okay. First and foremost, this record is NOTHING more than an audio advert for Caravelle watches (a division of Bulova, which originated in 1875).  I know, shocking, right? I mean, the cover SCREAMS wisping romance, but wait… huh! What nice timepieces!

Second, the “band” is called, The Caravelles. Well, isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?! Take the name of the company, and slightly tweak it to label your vehicle for perfectly timed music. See what I did there? Perfectly timed… nevermind.

Third, and this is a big one. The songs, all four of them, ARE ABOUT WATCHES! But wait! There’s more! Side one is about male watches and side two is about… wait for it… female watches.  Allow me to present the tracklist for those of you too lazy to look at the above picture:

1. I Didn’t Know the Date it Was

2. I Get All Wound Up

3. I Change My Charm From Day to Day

4. Charmed I’m Sure

Back“I Didn’t Know the Date it Was?” Really? That’s the best Caravelle could do?

The music is just as hilarious as you’d think by seeing the cover. I Didn’t Know the Date it Was is a quirky easy listener about a guy who got his days mixed up. Uh oh! Time for a new Caravelle watch! Side two’s Charmed I’m Sure is a little bubblegum popper that seems to aim for the tween demographic more than the 30-somethings who actually care about ugly, dangling heart clocks.

Music to Make Time By is a hidden gem I honestly didn’t even know I owned.  A copy recently sold on eBay for $9.99, but I assure you, it’s worth 10-times that. Watch out for one, won’t you? (That was terrible.)

The Triple P

Mercury Phonograph InsertOn my quest to find the perfect portable phonograph (the Triple P, as I call it), I stumbled across this weathered insert from who-the-hell-knows-when. A quick Google search reveals that Philips began manufacturing these beauties in 1963, so I guess, now-we-all-know-the-hell-when.

This insert features two, distinctly different looking players. First is the AG-4026. This compact player is perfect for annoying your temporary beach neighbors with your controversial Lenny Bruce albums, and plays 4 speeds on 7”, 10” and 12” record. Operating on easily accessible flashlight batteries, this lightweight (8 pounds) transistorized phonograph offers distortion-free response from 80-16,000 cps from its new 7” TICONAL speaker. The word around the waves is that it’s the “Big Set Sound” so, there you go.Beach Bums

The second is the AG-9115. Think of the AG-4026 as being the “Four” series and the AG-9115 as being the “Nine” series. This is NOT a kids toy. This portable Hi-Fi STEREO phonograph provides two TICONAL speakers, separate tone and volume controls, a new “auto-manipulator” tone arm and weighs a slender 24 pounds. Alright, that may be a little heavy to tote around on a bike trip or on a romantic picnic, but I’d still love to see the AG-9115 in action.

Made in Holland by Philips, these two portable players, one mono and the other stereo, would be perfect for my everyday record-listening mobile needs… if, you know, it were still the early 60’s. My hunt for the Triple P marches on.

Reform and Bust

JLIt’s comforting, just how powerful the sadness of others can be. One man’s sadness is another man’s solace, I always say (I’ve never said that).  I’m not saying go out and make someone cry, I’m just saying the emotional release that some artists offer can be a wonderful companion.

While painting pictures of our ancestors desecrating the Plaines of our nation’s majestic beauty, Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard offer a beautiful imagine of how the diseased minds of those ancestors would respond upon seeing their failed endeavors being overtaken by beautiful, luscious flowers. “Let us sacrifice our time, our family’s time, our souls, our worries, and our lives to the building of this conveyance called, the railroad… then lets abandon our progress and allow for nature’s beauty to restake her claim,” said no one ever! Probably because “restake” isn’t an actual word.

8Bugs & Flowers is a rolling wave of solace. It’s that much needed alleviation when you had no Earthly idea you were in desperate need of it. Clocking in at 4:13, Bugs & Flowers is the comfort from a loved one that you want never to leave your side, but eventually always does. The entire album could be this song repeated, 11 times and show no hint of getting old. Melancholy is a powerful thrill.

Throughout the song, Mr. Lewis talks of taking a solitary walk in the forest over a series of deteriorating crossties. Along this self-reflecting journey, he comments on the backs of shiny bugs, infinite dust, and crosstie devouring flowers.

It’s difficult sometimes, when the whiskey takes over. It’s as though solemn innocence loses its struggling will to survive. Lucky for me there’s a soundtrack to this struggle.

Do You Take Sugar? One Lump or Two?

SugarAlternate titles to today’s post are 1) The Groove Gets Nostalgic, 2) My Undeniable Infatuation With This Song, and the Reason My Father Hated It, and 3) So What If I Had Def Leppard Posters Up on My Walls as A Kid.

Def Leppard. It took me a few years to realize how much of a rip-off their name was, or, to put it more lovingly, how much of a COINCIDENCE it is that their name mirrors the mighty Led Zeppelin. If you’ve never seen this mind-blowing parallel, here it is:

Def Leppard

Led Zeppelin

Notice 1) the three letter first word, 2) the second letter to the first word being an E, 3) the first word having one syllable, 4) the second word containing EPP, and 5) that I may be obsessing over this a bit too much… nah!

My father, whose favorite band was Led Zeppelin, always seemed to have it out for Def Leppard and specifically the song, Pour Some Sugar on Me. This may have been because it was a striking departure from the music of his youth, but more likely it was because I played this song… ad nauseam… everyday… for like, two years! Can you blame me? I was eight! I know, I’m still making my round of apologies.

Pour Some Sugar on Me was the Stairway to Heaven of my youth. It spoke to me in a language I’d never heard, but instantly understood. I wanted to share my feeling of exceeded joy with any and everyone who would listen. More times than not, my biggest audience consisted of one individual… my cat.

One could say I got burned out on this song. A sensation, at the time, I’d never experienced. I’ll still give the ol’ girl a spin now and again. And when I do, I’m back in my bedroom, frantically trying to learn the lyrics, and understand what “sugar” actually meant.

I won’t go into how I used to hide my arm in my t-shirt and pretended to drum like Def Leppard’s Rick Allen. That’s an embarrassing revelation for another time.

Music by the Hour

Music by the HourYet another insert? Either I’ve got a stockpile of particular inserts, or I’m excessively lazy. The jury has been out for over a week.

There’s a lot to learn from an insert. They’re a time capsule filled with images and ideas of what men in suits, getting paid a lot of money, thought people desired. They’re ripe with branding, marketing ploys, and artists’ renderings of “regular people” enjoying their product. In this particular case, its Columbia Records.

Columbia Records was pretty monumental in the heyday of record utopia. Here are a few facts that Columbia Records would like you not to forget. These, and others, can be found within this iconic promotional advert. Who knew learning could be so stunning?

– The “LP” (short for Long Play) was introduced by Columbia Records and was legally backed by a registered trademark.

– Men liked to smoke.

– The “LP” debuted in 1948.

– Women enjoyed picking their nails while listening to music by the hour.

– “LPs” allow for up to thirty minutes of music per side. That’s up to one full hour of music!

– Women loved to lean, uncomfortably, on the backs of men.

Mondays are for Wankers

ElvisIt’s Monday, and you know what that means… it’s time to push that rock of content up the endless hill of life. It’s also time to revel in the rhythmic delights of Declan Patrick MacManus (AKA Elvis Costello) and his solemnly realistic fantasy-bursting reality-screamer, Welcome to the Working Week.

Arriving at track one, side one from his debut album, My Aim is True, Welcome to the Working Week is a playful pass of judgment to the 9-to-5’ers; the head-crushing business men and women of our land pushing papers so that the fat have the means to get fatter.

Side oneWelcome to the Working Week, it’s album, My Aim is True, and pretty much ANYTHING by Elvis Costello comes highly recommended by the Groove.

If you haven’t spoiled yourself with the sweet musical nectar of “the other Elvis,” I’ll pass judgment and offer these words spoken by the man himself:

You gotta’ do it till you’re through it so you better get to it.

Post #60: The Insert that Stopped Time (If Only Briefly)

'59 Insert_SmallerThe curious reader asks, “Hey P. Groove, why wasn’t this fine looking insert from ’59 YESTERDAY’S post topic?” I’ll tell you, inquisitive peruser of yesteryear gems… and it may, or may not involve Don Draper.

Thank Artie Shaw and his 1958 album, A Man and His Dream, for this Madison Avenue beauty. A modern approach to selling a catalog of varied taste, this insert, with its subdued album-stacking design, pushes the consumer’s focus to its center, where we find the two, overlapping numbers of illuminating nobility: 59. This eye-grabbing approach renders an immediate connection between that number’s meaning (the year), and the everyday existence of this album’s original buyer. To look at this insert in 1959, is to self-reflect on the years that preceded it, and to project future hope into the years that follow. In other words, this insert stops time for a split second to offer deep cogitation.

Needing to reach the hip cats of Latin Airs, as well as the squares of Strauss Waltzes (I own Strauss Waltzes, so my insults only cut so deep), RCA Victor’s approach to reaching the spectrum of 1959’s musical audience needed to be forceful, yet memorable. I believe stopping time for meditation achieved this goal. Nicely done, Mr. Draper… nicely done.

You’ll see, neatly tucked into the corner of Latin Airs and George Beverly Shea’s Through the Years, the thesis to this modern advert:

Recordings so real and exciting they are a year ahead of any others you have heard.

Exactly one year… 59+1=60. And thus, Post #60: The Insert That Stopped Time (If Only Briefly) finds its inevitable message.

On Legal Speed (The American Way)

Lag FrontCoffee is a wonderful drug. Its stimulating warmth delivers that little bit of pep so often missing in the early morning hours… whatever you consider those “early morning hours” to be. If noon is early for you, good on ya’. I won’t judge. But I will ask that you save me a cup.

Lagwagon’s 1992 debut, Duh, is a metal-influenced-punk-long-player, featuring a Creedence cover, a melodic romp about the deceptive eyewear resulting from drinking too much beer, an aggressive interpretation of the Inspector Gadget theme, and most importantly, Duh fosters a vicious ode to the mastered art of straining hot water through ground up roasted coffea seeds.

Lag BackLagwagon’s Mr. Coffee provides the audio equivalent of orally consuming a hot cup of joe. With its rapid approach and short-lived tenure, it leaves the consumer wanting another two-minute and fifteen-second fix. Mr. Coffee has been an early morning favorite for me since discovering Lagwagon nearly 20-years ago (yes, I’m old).

There really should be more songs about the essential joys of coffee. Its importance cannot be understated.

“TRINK, SING, TANZ!!!”

Zillertal“All the gusto and fun of an authentic German Beer Hall in your own home.”

You don’t need to be German to enjoy music arranged, performed and recorded solely for the purpose of drinking beer.  It’s Friday. Why not relax with a cold one? Fill your stein, put up your feet, and surround yourself with the friendly swells of The Zillertal Band and their jolly-good-time-music. This album was however recorded live at the world famous Zillertal in Hamburg, Germany, for crying out loud! (Do people still use that phrase?)

You can rest assured that the quality of this album will exceed your High Fidelity-hipster needs. After all, the back cover explains, in striking detail, just how great the audio quality is:

Editing and transfer from tape to lacquer has been under supervision of the top audio engineers in the industry. All metal parts used in the pressing of the finished product are solid nickel to guarantee the finest surfaces and distortion free reproduction.

Free Fact-Packed Book

Cert BackMarketing records can be an embarrassingly hilarious industry. From the album cover, to a free book on The Wonderful World of Country Music used as incentive for consumers to purchase and collect 5 insert certificates, it seems as though Time Life Records in 1981 would go to great lengths to confirm the sales of their Country Music series. Such a clever title for a series, don’t you think?

Let’s take a look at the top selling points for The Wonderful World of Country Music, shall we? I mean, if I’m going to hunt down four more albums in the Country Music series in order to get this “free” book, I’m going to want to know what I’m in for, right?

Cert FrontFirst off, it’s a “big” book. This certificate was nice enough to offer the book’s dimensions (8-1/4” x 10-3/4”). Second, it contains 240 pages and the biographies of more than 150 stars! ARE there 150 stars in country music? And I’m talking about the GOOD country music here. Maybe that “150 stars” thing was a typo and they meant the “15 stars.” That makes more sense. Third, this book contains the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Alright… any country music lover worth their weight in Hee Haw one-liners NEEDS the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Forth, you get an intimate glimpse into the astrological future of your favorite 15 stars by the horoscopes offered in this monumental book, and finally, “bluegrass, outlaw, oldtime.” I’ve got to admit, I have no idea what the hell that means. Perhaps the book touches on these off-shoots of Country music? Yeah, no idea.

I’ve got to say, I’m not entirely sold on this ploy, but a quick ebay search yields five The Wonderful World of Country Music auctions currently underway. So, at one time, somebody found these selling points irresistible… but the novelty must have worn off because now the book can be had for only $4.74. Tempting…

Barbi Mandrell

K-Tel’s Disc-O-Matic

Disc-OLodged inside an obscure comp album from the Netherlands, this glorious insert advertises K-Tel’s celebrated Disc-O-Matic in pure, late 70’s peculiarity. Printed almost entirely in Dutch, this ad boasts about the magnificent wonders of this record organizer that’s bekend van de T.V. (known from the T.V.).

Holding 24 LP’s, this chincy looking piece of plastic allows in enkele seconden je favoriete platen te vinden en altijd netjes opgeborgen (in a few seconds your favorite records to find and always neatly stowed away), or something. There is a bit of disconnect between languages on Google Translate, but you get how amazing this gadget is.

So, for 1976’s 14.90 (roughly $76.74 today), you could be the proud owner of K-Tel’s Disc-O-Matic. It’s known from the T.V., people! What are you waiting for?

Interesting how there’s no contact info for K-Tel. Oh!!! I guess Vraag by uw platen-handelaar means roughly, “contact your record dealer.” So, this upcoming Record Store Day, be sure to ask your local brick-and-mortar about K-Tel’s Disco-O-Matic. You’re sure to disappoint yourself.

Just A Little Patience

PatienceThere are few things in life more difficult than writing about something you love. There is the inherent fear of not doing it enough justice, the pressure of saying enough without overdoing it, and the heartbreaking reality that once submitted, it can never come back. Such thoughts currently swim within my brain-melon as I enjoy the masterpiece that Slut Rock heroes, Guns N’ Roses, blissfully exude from their 1989 single, Patience.

Oh, to be back in 1989.

An interesting duo of songs does this 45 pair. Patience, the first track on GN’R’s 1988, and 2nd album, G N’R Lies (which I always thought was an EP), serves as this 45’s A-Side while its counterpart is Rocket Queen, the last track lifted from their penetrating debut album, Appetite for Destruction.

Coupling two random tracks from two separate albums released in two different years, Geffen Records, what I assume, capitalized on the Zeppelin-like popularity of Axel and the boys and pretty much repurposed as much as they possibly could to turn a quick buck. Kudos to you, Mr. Geffen, sir. I’m a victim of your selfish marketing ploy. I could understand, and forgive, if the two tracks on this single were alternate takes, live versions, or acoustic/rock versions of their respected rock/acoustic originals. But… no. Same ol’ music packaged with a new cover. (Oh! Navy Seals!)

Patience is one of those songs that I’ve been able to play in my head at anytime I thought it up. I’m working on a philosophy loosely based on the idea that if you listen to any song a number of times, it’ll be added to your mind’s “permanent playlist” and anytime you think up that song, you can “hear” it in its entirety within the personal stereo system in your head. I haven’t named it yet, but I’m leaning towards Mind JAMZ 2K-Infinity… just kidding.

BackRocket Queen, to me, always seemed like a last minute addition to an album already peaking into the red of perfection. It’s a solid, straight forward hard rocker… little aggression, little in-your-face provocation, but your trusty run-of-the-mill, not-terrible-but definitely skippable rock n’ roll jam. I’ve got a buddy who is a diehard GN’R fan who actually saw them during their Use Your Illusion tour back in ’91. He claims Rocket Queen is the best track off Appetite, and therefore GN’R’s best. Although I’ll disagree with him, often violently, I respect his opinion and therefore the existence of Rocket Queen.

The Patience single is definitely not a necessity, but it paints an interesting two-song landscape with its bizarre pairing. It may be blasphemous to some, but Guns N’ Roses never came close to matching the brilliant achievements of Appetite for Destruction. I will however stand by my claim that whenever you hear GN’R on the radio, you are listening to the best possible song playing on any radio station at that moment.

Electric Breakdance (Don’t Don’t Do It)

EB CoverThere are certain compilations that come out with the intent to capitalize on various social trends. The most popular of these could be the Nuggets compilation (a groovy series showcasing the one-hit-wonders of the bygone psychedelic days), the Now That’s What I Call Music! or simply Now! compilations (a grotesque series of comps for people who loath and despise everything creative about music), and those compilations that are hastily put together and distributed with the intent to sell as many copies as possible before the trend dies and becomes a stepping stone for the next “cool thing.” Electric Breakdance is, in my opinion, just about the best stepping stone compilation ever to hit the big city streets, and/or the hardwood floors of my parent’s living room.

Electric Breakdance was released with the intention of showcasing the techniques found within the art of breakdancing, while at the same time presenting a soundtrack of “the hottest breaking music on the street.” BUT, unlike many “As Seen on TV” comps, Electric Breakdance actually delivers with its 9 tracks of hard-hitting early 80’s Hip-Hop.

Breakdance HistoryFeatured on this break-tastic single LP are tracks by Run-D.M.C., Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel, Whodini and a slew of other early Hip-Hop acts that I’m now bound to explore. The dopest track (is my rural Wisconsin showing?), or the smash single amongst an album of smash singles is Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel’s White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It), which is basically a song about freebasing. You’ve gotta’ love early 80’s radio.

It’s heartbreaking and extremely unfortunate that I don’t have the “giant detailed poser on how to break.” That little educational gem of early 80’s fashion would be nothing short of amazing framed on my living room wall (I’m sure my girlfriend would LOVE that).

Overall, Electric Breakdance was a welcoming surprise when I discovered it at a Goodwill, hiding between a Steven Stills LP and the soundtrack to Xanadu (both of which I also purchased). Although my breakdancing never left my parent’s smooth-spinning hardwood floors, the art of breaking will never be too far away from my heart.

Along with a brief write-up on the history of breakdance, the back cover offers the following disclaimer… in tiny print:

 If you have any ankle, knee, back or other physical problems, you should have a medical checkup before attempting the dances described in these materials. Parental supervision is advised for children who attempt these dances.

The Intentional Skip

CoverSetting the musical content aside, as I assume few of you frequent the sheepish delights of early 80’s hardcore, Mystic Sampler #1, has a very distinct, unique, creative, humorous and memorable feature that NO OTHER record in my collection possess. It is a feature so ingenious, it can be easily misinterpreted as a pressing error. Had it not appeared at the exact spot on both sides of the album, I would have written it off as such, and this post would never have existed. It is a feature I’m dubbing, “The Intentional Skip.”

Punk Rock is more about emotion than it is about music. Whether you believe that or not is irrelevant, and beside the point. Allow me to explain this with a scenario. Imagine getting a used record… for me it was Mystic Sampler #1. Now, imagine putting your newly purchased record onto your trusty, freedom-yielding phonograph. The record starts… plays… you’re happy. Cut to the last revolution of the last track on Side 1. Familiar with the song or not, you can’t help but notice the record skip… and skip… and skip. You think, “Great! No wonder it was so cheap!” But as you start towards your music machine, you begin to think, and slow your determined approach. You listen, as the record repeats… looping the same words over, and over, and over… “Have a nice day. Have a nice day. Have a nice day…” As you stand, with a dumbfounded look on your face, you begin to cock your head, not unlike a dog when it thinks it understands what you’re saying. You begin to wonder… “WAS THIS SKIP INTENTIONAL?!”

LabelSuddenly, there is a warm and fuzzy part of you that perks up, and for a brief moment of spontaneous realization, you find harmony with the world… that is, until a moment later when your head begins to ache from the incessant looping of an angry adolescent with their opinionated, political overtones bouncing back and forth inside your head-space until you physically ACT, and raise the tone arm in the attempts to cease the infernal rage. Punk Rock requires action, if only the motor skills with which to turn it off.

I simply will not entertain any notions that this emotion-inducing feature was anything but deliberately intentional. To do so would paint a picture of a world I want nothing to do with… a world in which I do not want to exist. As far as I know, The Prudent Groove is coining the term “Intentional Skip,” but if any of you have heard about this amazing feature, please email me at theprudentgroove@gmail.com as I’d LOVE to read more about it. I’d LOVE to read more about it. I’d LOVE to read more about it…

What is STEREOPHONIC SOUND? (Part 3)

What is Stereophonic Sound Logo

Over the past few days we introduced the notion that stereo, and the intricacies that make up stereo, may not be widely known to those enjoying her esteemed capabilities. So, in this dramatic conclusion, The Prudent Groove offers, without sarcastic interruption, the cliffhanging outcome to, What is STEREOPHONIC SOUND?

RCA Victor Horizontal Logo

Presented by RCA Victor

The two channels of sound picked up by the needle are then unscrambled by the stereo cartridge. The cartridge directs them into separate amplifier circuits, where they are magnified and fed in turn into two separate loudspeakers. The two speakers finally translate the musical impulses into intelligible sound which you hear in your living-room stereophonically.

Stereo Diagram Woman

The net of it is an overlapping and blending which gives music a more natural, more dimensional sound. For the first time, your ears will be able to distinguish where each instrument and voice comes from-left, right or center. In short, enveloping in solid sound, you will hear music in truer perspective.

Stereophonic sound is the latest step in an improvement process that began about 80 years ago. In listening to it, you will enjoy the highest achievement yet in the art of recording.

"Go Stereo" Type

What is STEREOPHONIC SOUND? (Part 2)

What is Stereophonic Sound Logo

Yesterday we inaugurated the intricate fascinations of Stereophonic Sound. Today, we pick up where we left off and continue with RCA Victor’s detailed explanation of the technical differences between recording a monaural record with that of the stereophonic record. So, without further ado, I present part 2 (out of 3) of RCA Victor’s What is Stereophonic Sound?

RCA Victor Horizontal Logo

Presented by RCA Victor

Let’s compare hearing to seeing for a moment. You see images on your left with your left eye, images on the right with your right eye. Yet, because your brain can do two jobs at one, you get a total unified picture in its true perspective.

Stereo sound is simply the attempt to give you music as it is heard by both ears. Essentially, what happens is that two microphones, left and right, pick up what goes on in the orchestra at the recording session. These two microphones feed the musical impulses to two soundtracks on tape. The two soundtracks are then pressed into the grooves on a stereo record.

Stereo Diagram Needle

The sound from a record partly depends upon how the needle moves or vibrates. For example, when Edison designed his phonograph to play cylindrical records, he made the needle vibrate up and down. This is called the “hill and dale” system, or vertical cutting.

On a conventional, monaural record, however, the needle moves from side to side, or laterally. The lateral movement has been used ever since the flat record replaced Edison’s cylinder.

What about the stereo record? Each groove on a stereo record has two soundtracks cut into it, and they are cut into it both laterally and vertically. In order to pick up the two soundtracks, a stereo needle capable of moving complexly has been developed; it vibrates both laterally and up and down. Simultaneously, the lateral movement picks up one channel of recorded sound, the vertical movement the other.

What is STEREOPHONIC SOUND? (Part 1)

What is Stereophonic Sound LogoThink you can speak confidently about the intricate details of stereophonic sound? Think you’ve licked the volatile, short-lived, simultaneous ear experience? Over the next three days, The Prudent Groove will leisurely lift the contents of one coveted RCA Victor insert explaining, in intimate detail, exactly, What is STEREOPHONIC SOUND? The following is presented, without esteemed interruption, by The Prudent Groove. Part 2 will follow tomorrow. I’ll be completely honest and admit that I learned more than I thought I needed while transcribing this informative insert. Maybe RCA Victor was onto something.

RCA Victor Horizontal Logo Presented by RCA Victor

Stereophonic sound on records is finally here. It will be widely discussed, widely written about, and, perhaps, widely misunderstood. It cannot help but be; it is a complex achievement as well as an extraordinary one. We offer the following primer on the subject with the hope that it will both help you in understanding how and why stereo works and enhance the hours of listening pleasure stereo will offer in your home.

Before stereo recording techniques were developed, the impulses of music were picked up by only one microphone. These impulses were then fed to one tape and from there to the conventional, monaural record, which you heard in your living-room through one loudspeaker. The conventional record offered brilliant sound and exciting sound, but, of necessity, it also offered only one-dimensional sound.

Mono Diagram WomanNow, the simple and obvious fact remains that we all have two ears, and we are used to hearing things dimensionally. Generally speaking, your left ear has a tendency to hear what goes on in the left side of a room, your right ear, what goes on in the right side of the room. Your brain then does two jobs. It combines both the impression received by the left ear and that received by the right ear into one total impression which we call music. At the same time, it retains the spatial or dimensional impression, music to the left and music to the right.

We Are Not Two, We Are One

StrangersReleased on 1970’s Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round, Part One, Strangers wasn’t written or performed by The Kinks’ vehement songwriter, Ray Davies, but instead by his equally talented brother and lead guitarist, Dave Davies. Strangers is MY definitive acoustic love song. With its intercontinental grandeur, its vastness can be realized from coast to coast, from continent to continent, and from heart to heart.

Strangers is the most important song I’ve ever heard, because it, above all others, connects me with the love of my life. It acts as the vaccine to life’s woes, and the reliever of its burdens. It’s a symbol of strength, a foundation of trust, and a song of admired fervor. It is a song performed by my favorite band, and a song adored by my favorite person.

Happy birthday, Jillian. I love you.

Strangers Cover