Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New sources of online music

The AMEHOF fundraiser was great fun. Thanks to all those who put it together, the folks at the Rhythm Room, and the artists who played there!

I thought you all might like to know about a few online sources for music that recalls the salad days of KCAC and KDKB.

Wolfgang's Vault contains the audio archives of Bill Graham. Apparently, he recorded nearly every concert he ever presented - at the Fillmores East and West and many other venues - and, incredibly, those are being offered as FREE streaming audio! We're talking about hundreds of previously unreleased concert recordings from the late 1960s through the 1980s, by artists such as the Who, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, the Allman Brothers Band (with and without Duane), the Electric Flag, Jimi Hendrix, Ry Cooder, Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen (a legendary 1978 show, in its 3-hour entirety!), U2, Fleetwood Mac (the Peter Green era as well as the Stevie Nicks era), and Arizona's own Tubes in a pair of 1974 shows. Selected concerts are also available as MP3 downloads for $9.98 per show, regardless of length. This is a truly remarkable site! It contains a searchable database to find whatever artist you're interested in, including many lesser-known artists such as Tracy Nelson and the Incredible String Band. Finally, the site has a link to an online edition of Crawdaddy Magazine, which offers extensive and intelligent discussion of music past and present. The current issue has articles on Nick Drake, the Replacements, and Wilco, to name a few.

Also check out Rhino Handmade , which sells limited-edition reissues of classic albums, box sets, and previously unreleased material, all with top-notch sound quality and packaging, and often with bonus tracks. Their latest offering is a 2-disc reissue of Lee Hazelwood's 1960s Warner/Reprise solo albums. Only 5000 copies are being manufactured, and when they're sold out, they're off the market for good (except at inflated prices on EBay). This is a legitimate, label-sponsored site - no bootlegs or inferior quality! Accordingly, the discs are not cheap. The Lee Hazelwood set goes for $39.98 plus shipping and handling. Single-disc items are usually about $20. But where else are you going to find an entire, unreleased 1972 concert by Aretha Franklin, or studio outtakes and alternates by Tim Buckley, or a 1962 session by bluesman Mance Lipscomb? Again, there is a searchable database on this site that allows you to look up a particular artist, or to browse through the entire list.

There's also a rival site, , that offers similar deluxe treatments of material from other labels. I got a box set containing all of the Sir Douglas Quintet and Doug Sahm solo LPs from the 1960s, with extensive notes and numerous bonus tracks; and another box set of every recording made by Muddy Waters between 1952 and 1958; but many other titles are available. They are still in the process of a massive Motown reissue campaign that will include virtually everything recorded by that label in the 1960s. These limited-edition items are not cheap, but the quality is impeccable and much of this material is impossible to find in decent sound quality elsewhere.

Keep the for-profit sites in mind for Christmas gifts to your music-loving friends (or for yourself), but enjoy the incredible Wolfgang's Vault recordings FOR FREE anytime!

Tom

3 comments:

Tom Wright said...

For some reason, the above post deleted the website addresses and links that I had originally included. You can do Google searches for Wolfgang's Vault and Rhino Handmade. The third site I mentioned is Hip-O Select, and I imagine that you can also find it by Googling the name.

Tom

Jimmy said...

Great find there in "Wolfgang's Vault," Tom. Just exploring it now (listening to James Taylor performing "With A Little Help From My Friends" from Jan, 1971, in honor of Paul McCartney, "in the audience tonight.") Caution: You will be tempted to pull out that debit card (some of the best concerts are only for purchase), but there seem to be at least one free, full-length concert for all your favorite artists. Great stuff!

Mariah Fleming said...

Hey Tom!
Thanks for the good words about the AMEHOF fund raiser at the Rhythm Room. It was also great to see YOU there, though being buried under tshirts and raffle items, I didn't have much time to see or talk to anyone! I

Wonfgang's Vault is really something! Jimmy pointed out a good heads up in his comment though about hearing the music without going into debit card shock!