June 15th, 2020

This issue’s cover: Joni Mitchell (1943 –). Riding on the carousel of time along with the rest of us on the merry-go-round.

Every year my wife plants peonies in the back yard. They usually come and go inside of a couple of days. They’re beautiful while they bloom, but then they quickly fade, until around the same time the year after.

This year, they’ve been blooming for a week, and there are more of them than usual. My wife tells me the same thing has been happening around the neighborhood and that the peonies are more abundant than ever.

The fact that this is happening while the world is in the state it’s in is interesting. A cosmic sign of hope? Mother Nature trying to tell us something? Why are the peonies stronger this year than they’ve been in more than a decade? I don’t know. Sometimes we observe things and need others to figure them out.

Sadly, the audio world has lost two more giants. Albert von Schweikert (75) was a brilliant speaker designer whose creations earned worldwide acclaim. They were a familiar sight at audio shows, often paired with Valve Amplification Company (VAC) electronics, and usually sounding absolutely sensational. Allen Boothroyd (76), co-founder of Meridian Audio (along with Bob Stuart), and renowned industrial designer, contributed his considerable talents to not only Meridian but also KEF, Celestion, Russound and others, and even designed computers and coffee machines. RIP gentlemen; the world is richer for your talents.

In this issue: Anne E. Johnson riffs on bass great Marcus Miller and one of music’s most legendary figures: Johnny Cash. Tom Gibbs looks at new and reissued music from Rush, Jason Isbell, Dire Straits and Shostakovich. Professor Larry Schenbeck smiles over four Figaros. Roy Hall thinks about smuggling. Dan Schwartz notes the beautiful ordinariness of the band Elbow. John Seetoo continues his series, Songs of Praise from Unlikely Artists.

PS Audio has launched a new record label! Octave Records is here. John Seetoo does an interview with mastering maestro Steve Hoffman. Rich Isaacs’ third installment on Italian progressive rock features Sensations’ Fix and Arti & Mestieri. Wayne Robins basks in a Pacific Breeze of Japanese pop. J.I. Agnew concludes his Q & A on vinyl polarity. Jay Jay French realizes it’s never too late to start over. Ken Sander hangs with Labelle. The issue wraps up with cartoonist James Whitworth taking a stand, a tangerine dream and Bonnie bringin’ it.

Solitude Standing

Introducing Octave Records: Audiophile Sound, Benefiting Musicians

Hope you don’t mind if I put on my proud-family-member…

Tangerine Dream

We don’t know if this produced uncolored sound or not.…

Sensations, Arts and Crafts: Italian Progressive Rock, Part Three

In this installment, I’ll introduce you to two very different…

Pacific Breeze

It might be hard to imagine, but there was a…

Labelle: Quality Time with the Girls

In the rental car, the two Jims and I head…

Four Figaros

In the last six weeks, I’ve watched Mozart’s opera Le…

The Beautiful Ordinariness of Elbow, Part One

Throw those windows wide One day like this a year…

And it Feels Just Like…Starting Over

So, as I have written about and stated in numerous…

Smuggling

I come from a family of smugglers. “Have you anything…

Johnny Cash: American Icon

Johnny Cash is part of America’s DNA. In a way,…

Vinyl and Absolute Polarity: Q&A, Part Two

In Part One of this dialog between J.I. Agnew and…

Marcus Miller: Burning Up the Bass

Born in Brooklyn in 1959, Marcus Miller grew up surrounded…

Two New Releases, and Three Catalog Titles Reissued

Rush – Permanent Waves – Fortieth Anniversary Edition Permanent Waves…

Steve Hoffman – Mastering Legend and Audio Restoration Magician

If you have listened to any popular music from the…

Songs of Praise from Unlikely Artists, Part Two

In Part One of this series (Issue 112), I noted…

There She Goes Again

Americana artist Bonnie Whitmore.
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