August 10th, 2020

This was the hardest issue I’ve ever had to put together. Not because the writers were late on copy (quite the contrary), or things went awry in production – it was because the events of the week leading up to Issue 117 were crazy.

I had to take care of a sudden major family health issue involving a hospital and a PT rehab center. (She’s going to be OK.) Then hurricane Isaias hit Long Island and we lost power. (One fallen tree barely missed our house.) In the middle of this I developed a vision problem in my left eye. A very large floater that looks like a big grayish-black squiggle; the doc said to see him immediately but concluded, “it’s not dangerous.” (It’s gradually getting better, and I look forward to the day when people won’t say “that was when he had one good eye.”)

I had to find someplace that had internet in order to work. Happily my friend Fran Resvanis came through and I made the hour-plus round trip to their house for two days. Then my wife's place of business got power back, and now here I am in a veterinarian's office. Luckily I haven't been asked to assist with emergency dog surgery. Through it all, we've had to make sure our deaf and almost blind pug has been taken care of.

The gist of it: hours and hours of lost time, major disruption of life and work, and pinning-the-meter stress.

So I wasn’t able to write a "Frankly Speaking" piece for this issue, but I intend to contribute a healthy amount for the next.

[caption id="attachment_145648" align="alignnone" width="420"] The show must go on, bad hair notwithstanding: one of two temporary Copper offices.[/caption]

In this issue: Larry Schenbeck considers works by Beethoven and Benjamin Britten. Don Lindich interviews the owners of Sota Sound Inventions. J.I. Agnew reminds us where the idea of “record label” came from. Dan Schwartz speaks of tubes and men. Tom Gibbs reviews re-issues and new releases from AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Samantha Crain and Courtney Marie Andrews. Ray Chelstowski has a dynamite article on...eight-track? Anne E. Johnson shows her talents as a Faces (and Small Faces) reader and brings us eight great tracks from trombonist Bill Watrous. Robert Heiblim continues his series on how products are made.

We launch a new semi-irregular column, “Sitting In,” featuring guest writers – this time, Stuart Marvin has a close musical encounter. Don Kaplan examines the phenomenon of busking. Ken Sander combs through memories of Hair and joins the Peace Parade. Rich Isaacs brings us his 10 favorite guitar solos. Jay Jay French considers the Golden Age recordings of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Rounding out the issue, nothing comes close to Audio Anthropology’s vintage speakers, cartoonist James Whitworth draws on the phenomenon of auditory masking and our Parting Shot keeps them mowing blades sharp.

Eight-Tracks: Taking the Plunge

Eight years ago, The Village Voice ran an article on…

How Products are Made, Part 2: The Design Process

In our first installment of this series we looked at…

Close Encounter of the Musical Kind

How great would it have been to drink coffee with…

An Outgrowth of Hair

The first time I met performer Susan Morse was in…

Beethoven and . . . Britten?

Remember Beethoven? Late in 2019 the classical-music world set out…

Of Tubes and Men

I got new tubes! No, really! “Why is he telling…

The Golden Age of the Fab Four vs. the Fab Five

The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones. And the winner is...…

About Faces! (and the Small Faces)

They were Mod until they turned psychedelic. They were Small…

The Long-Lost Record Label Concept - Part 1

The record label, that round paper label in the middle…

Ten Great Guitar Solos

Full disclosure: I am not a musician – I play…

Busking: All the World's a Stage

Did you hear the one about violinist Joshua Bell? During…

Bill Watrous: Eight Great Tracks

It’s easy to dismiss the trombone as a backing instrument…

Two Classics Remastered, and Two Up-and-Coming Artists

AC/DC - Back in Black (24/96 Edition) Early 1979, AC/DC…

A Conversation with Sota Sound Inventions

Sota Sound Inventions offers turntables ranging in price from the…

Nothing Comes Close

You know, they might have been right. From Audio, November…

Auditory Masking

I Know What I Like, and I Like What I Know

So say Genesis in "I Know What I Like (In…
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