January 31, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 36: Joan Baez ~ Blessed Are . .

Joan Baez ~ Blessed Are . .
reel-to-reel album box cover detail
detail photo by Styrous®

In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I am selling as well.

This entry is about the reel-to-reel tape, Blessed Are . ., by Joan Baez. For more information, contact me by email but please, not through a comment.

~ ~ ~

This is a 'Double Play', 3¾ ips, reel-to-reel tape. The original vinyl version of this album (which I have) was released as a double album, it included a bonus 7" 33 rpm record with the songs Maria Dolores and Woody Guthrie's Deportee, which she dedicated to the farmers of the world, adding, "May they soon cease to be victims."

reel-to-reel box front
photo by Styrous®

There are so many wonderful songs on this album; The Salt Of The Earth by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Brand New Tennessee Waltz, Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) by Woody Guthrie and Martin Hoffman, Let It Be by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (how could you go wrong with this?) and, one of my favorite cuts, Help Me Make It Through the Night by Kris Kristofferson, to name just some of them.    

reel-to-reel box back
photo by Styrous®

Baez' voice rings beautiful and true on all the songs from, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, by Robbie Robertson; to the bouncey, exuberante and sensual, Help Me Make It Through the Night.

reel-to-reel box back detail
detail photo by Styrous®

On Let It Be she breaks loose and flies into the heavens backed up by a gorgeous female chorus with the inspirational, hopeful wish that all will be good when all is said and done. 

photo by Styrous®

Marie Flore is a charming waltz, with an oboe at times, that flows and wanders dreamily and lovely. And there is nothing that can rival the beautiful feeling of Maria Dolores with it's lush orchestral backing and Mexicano drama (links to music videos on YouTube below).

reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) is an indictment of the immigration problem in this country.  It's interesting that the song, written over 40 years ago, is as pertinent today. Just the night before, President Obama gave a State of the Union address citing the need for immigration reform.

Track listing:

All tracks composed by Joan Baez; except where indicated

Side 1:
  1. "Blessed Are..." – 3:03
  2. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Robbie Robertson) – 3:22
  3. "The Salt Of The Earth" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 3:22
  4. "Three Horses" – 7:03
  5. "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz" (Jesse Winchester) – 3:07
  6. "Last, Lonely And Wretched" – 3:42
  7. "Lincoln Freed Me Today (The Slave)" (D. Patton) – 3:21
  8. "Outside The Nashville City Limits" – 3:20
  9. "San Francisco Mabel Joy" (Mickey Newbury) – 4:23
  10. "When Time Is Stolen" – 2:58
  11. "Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)" (Woody Guthrie, Martin Hoffman) – 5:15
 Side 2:
  1. "Heaven Help Us All" (Roger Miller) – 3:32
  2. "Angeline" (Mickey Newbury) – 3:37
  3. "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Kris Kristofferson) – 2:58
  4. "Let It Be" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 3:48
  5. "Put Your Hand In The Hand" (Gene MacLellan) – 3:20
  6. "Gabriel And Me" – 3:27
  7. "Milanese Waltz/Marie Flore" – 5:55
  8. "The Hitchhikers' Song" – 4:19
  9. "The 33rd Of August" (Mickey Newbury) – 3:42
  10. "Fifteen Months" – 4:30
  11. "Maria Dolores" (F. Garcia, J. Morillo) – 3:25
Vanguard - VGJ-6570 - 1971
reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

It is a magnificent album!

Styrous® ~ Friday, January 31, 2014

January 30, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 35: Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina & goodbye, Pete Seeger

Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
reel-to-reel label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Pete Seegar died three days ago. I was sad when I heard the news and the memories of listening to him singing with The Weavers in the 50's flooded back into my mind. I wanted to do a blog entry tribute to him but when I started thinking about the hundreds of songs he'd written I got bogged down and couldn't focus. Which of those songs would I talk about? It's taken me three days to finally decide and it boiled down to one. 

I came to the conclusion that my favorite of all those beautiful and meaningful songs he wrote is the 1960 tune, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, a sad, quietly bewailing but beautiful protest song. So, now I could start; however, I knew the song but which version? There have been so many great interpretations, which was the best? And what determines what 'best' is. The Kingston Trio did an early, beautiful rendition in 1962. Peter, Paul and Mary did their's. Richie Havens had his turn in 1972, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison and Eddy Arnold, all took a swing at it. Johnny Rivers came up with an easy rock version; Wes Montgomery did a jazz version; Earth Wind & Fire did a soul version and the list goes on and on. It's been sung in almost every language in the world, Italian, Croatian, Polish, Czech, Chinese, etc.

Marlene Dietrich sang the song in English, French and German. This triggered my memory and I recalled that Joan Baez sang it in German as well. And I realized that of all the variations I've heard, my favorite is her interpretation, Sagt Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind, from the album, Farewell, Angelina; I have the vinyl LP version as well as the reel-to-reel tape. Her voice is beautiful in its gentle protest; it swells and uplifts in flights of wistful dreaming. It's absolutely lovely.

So, Joan is my representative for this tribute to Pete Seegar. After the photos, there is more about Seeger and there are links to music videos at the end of this article.  

Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
cover photo by Richard Avedon
photo of reel-to-reel box cover by Styrous®

 Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Styrous®

 Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
detail photo by Styrous®

 Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

Joan Baez ~ Farewell, Angelina
reel-to-reel label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

bit of a bio

Pete Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, at the Midtown Manhattan French Hospital, in New York City, New York. During the summer of 1936, while traveling with his father and stepmother, Seeger heard the five-string banjo for the first time at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in western North Carolina near Asheville; it was during this festival he also discovered square-dance and family string bands, including a group of Indians from the Cherokee reservation who played string instruments and sang ballads.

In 1936, at the age of 17, Seeger joined the Young Communist League (YCL) but eventually "drifted away" (his words) from the Party in the late 1940s and 1950s.

In 1939, Seeger took a job in Washington, D.C., assisting Alan Lomax, a friend of his father's, at the Archive of American Folk Song of the Library of Congress. His job was to help Lomax sift through commercial "race" and "hillbilly" music and select recordings that best represented American folk music, a project funded by the music division of the Pan American Union (later the Organization of American States). Lomax encouraged Seeger's folk singing vocation, and Seeger was soon appearing as a regular performer on Alan Lomax and Nicholas Ray's weekly Columbia Broadcasting show Back Where I Come From (1940–41) alongside of Josh White, Burl Ives, Lead Belly, and Woody Guthrie.

In the spring of 1941, the twenty-one-year-old Seeger performed as a member of the Almanac Singers along with Millard Lampell, Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, Butch and Bess Lomax Hawes, and Lee Hays. Seeger and the Almanacs cut several albums of 78s on Keynote and other labels, Songs for John Doe (recorded in late February or March and released in May 1941). During the Communist fear panic, copies of Songs for John Doe were removed from sale, and the remaining inventory destroyed, though a few copies may exist in the hands of private collectors.

He sang on radio in the 1940's and was a member of The Weavers in the 1950's. Their recording of Goodnight, Irene, by Lead Belly, topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950.

His songs include: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song), Turn! Turn! Turn! (lyrics adapted from Ecclesiastes) which was covered by the Byrds, We Shall Overcome (also recorded by Joan Baez), and so many, many others. Link to his discography below.

Pete Seeger was 94 when he died peacefully in his sleep around 9:30 p.m., on January 27, 2014, at New York's Presbyterian Hospital. According to his grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Seeger was still as active as ever, out chopping wood ten days prior to his death.

Track listing:

Side 1:

  1. "Farewell, Angelina" (Bob Dylan) – 3:13
  2. "Daddy, You Been on My Mind" (Bob Dylan) – 2:15
  3. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (Bob Dylan) – 3:21
  4. "The Wild Mountain Thyme" (Traditional, arranged Francis McPeake Family) – 4:34
  5. "Ranger's Command" (Woody Guthrie) – 3:13
  6. "Colours" (Donovan Leitch) – 3:02
Side 2: 
  1. "Satisfied Mind" (Joe "Red" Hayes, Jack Rhodes) – 3:22
  2. "The River in the Pines" (Traditional) – 3:33
  3. "Pauvre Ruteboeuf" ("Poor Ruteboeuf") (Léo Ferré, Ruteboeuf) – 3:28
  4. "Sagt Mir wo die Blumen sind" ("Where Have All the Flowers Gone?") (Pete Seeger) – 4:00
  5. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (Bob Dylan) – 7:36

Vanguard - VTC 1707

Links to videos:

The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time! the complete film on YouTube

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? links:
       Pete Seeger singing A cappela on YouTube 
       Pete Seeger in concert on YouTube
       Joan Baez - Sagt Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind on YouTube 
       Joan Baez in concert in English on YouTube 
       The Kingston Trio on YouTube
       Peter, Paul and Mary on YouTube
       Peter, Paul and Mary concert version on YouTube
       Marlene Dietrich on YouTube
       Johnny Rivers on YouTube    
       Earth Wind & Fire on YouTube

link to Pete Seeger discography

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? is a timeless, borderless song that has no category and will live as long as there is war, poverty and saddness in the world.
"Oh, when will they ever learn?"
                          - Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

Styrous® ~ Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 26, 2014

Parkin' the White Elephant

photos by Styrous®

I had fun today working with fellow members of the JABC during the fund raiser they organize when there is a White Elephant sale.

What is a white elephant sale you ask? I'll tell you . . .

The Oakland Museum Women’s Board is a California non-profit public benefit corporation that provides services and funds to the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). Founded in 1955, The Women’s Board has been providing funds and services to OMCA for over 50 years. With the annual White Elephant Sale as its only fundraising activity, they have contributed more than $19 million in support of OMCA educational programs, acquisitions to the permanent galleries, exhibitions, facilities, capital improvements, and much more. White Gloves is an online documentary by filmmakers, Les Blank and Courtney Stevens, about the Board's activities.

So, what is the White Elephant? During the year, people donate items to the Women's Board for the sale. The public then comes to the gigantic warehouse where the items are stored and buys them; it's a garage sale of enormous proportions.

However, this article is not so much about the sale but about the folks of the JABC who park the cars of the people attending the event. The funds raised from the parking is used by the JABC for community improvements in Jingletown; safety, environment, beautification, etc.

The Elder Village Development, LLC, who is building the Phoenix Commons on Pier 29, allowed the JABC to use the now empty lot for the parking for the fund-raiser. A big thanks to them.  


Ford Street - staging area one

Ford Street - staging area two

Pier 29 - staging area three

I heard that people had camped out over night to be first in the line up for the sale. Now that's what I call determination.

The line went from the entrance at Lancaster Street . . . 

. . . down Lancaster for three blocks . . .

. . . around the corner down and back up Chapman Street to Lancaster again . . .

. . . down Lancaster to the corner of Seventh Street, down to the corner of Fruitvale Ave, around that corner and down Fruitvale Ave. Yep, really determined people.

. . . all the while the crowd was entertained by the White Elephant . . .

. . . and the Museum had a shuttle from the BART station to Ford and Lancaster . . .

too cool driver, Latita, thanks

. . . at ten O'clock sharp the doors opened, the crowds kept coming but we were ready . . .

Commanders                                                                  Intelligence

. . . so were the vendors . . .

Tod & Lily of

The JABC Gang in action!

The Ironworks joined in . . . 

. . . so did the Boy Scouts . . .

. . . and the buyers went home happy!

all photos by Styrous®

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.8 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage

It was great working the parking as I got a chance to talk to fellow members and learn more about them. That was my payoff. Thanks.

Styrous® ~ January 26, 2014

January 25, 2014

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 34: Paul Butterfield’s Better Days ~ ~ ~ It All Comes Back

It All Comes Back
cover photo detail by Styrous®

In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes I am selling as well (see link below).

This entry is about the reel-to-reel tape, It All Comes Back, by Paul Butterfield’s Better Days. For more information, contact me by email but please, not through a comment.

~ ~ ~

"We're the only band around that's playing rooted American music," Better Days vocalist and former folkie Geoff Muldaur told an interviewer when this album was first released in 1973, and he was right. The band's mix of various styles of blues, from rural (Robert Johnson), to cosmopolitan (Percy Mayfield), along with hints of New Orleans R&B, boogie woogie, and early rock and country, was tremendously out of step with the pop trends of its time. 

These days, of course, there are many bands doing more or less the same thing (although rarely as well), but the fact that these guys couldn't have cared less about appearing trendy is one of the reasons why Better Days sounds timeless. Another reason, of course, is world class musicianship; Muldaur, Paul Butterfield, and stupendously stylish guitarist Amos Garrett in particular come across as both relaxed and passionate. Despite their essentially formalistic approach to music making, they never sound academic or sterile. Better Days is one of the great lost albums of the '70s. 

It All Comes Back
album design by Milton Glaser
cover photo by Alan MacWeeney
photo of cover front by Styrous®

It All Comes Back
album design by Milton Glaser
back cover photo by Alan MacWeeney
photo of cover back by Styrous®

It All Comes Back
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®

It All Comes Back
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®


1 - Too Many Drivers - Vocals - Paul Butterfield / Written By Andrew Hogg - 3:18
2 - It's Getting Harder To Survive -  Vocals and Written By - Ronnie Barron - 3:51
3 - If You Live - Vocals - Paul Butterfield / Written By Mose Allison - 3:27
4 - Win Or Lose - Vocals - Paul Butterfield / Written By Bobby Charles and Paul Butterfield - 4:34
5 - Small Town Talk - Vocals - Geoff Muldaur / Written By Bobby Charles and Rick Danko - 5:33
6 - Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It - Vocals and Written by - Bobby Charles and Paul Butterfield - 3:42
7 - Poor Boy - Vocals and Arranged By [And Adapted] Geoff Muldaur - 4:17
8 - Louisiana Flood - Vocals - Ronnie Barron / Written By Mac Rebennack and Ronnie Barron - 3:35
9 - It All Comes Back - Vocals - Geoff Muldaur and Paul Butterfield / Written By Bobby Charles - 6:10


Companies etc

reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

Styrous® ~ January 25, 2014

January 24, 2014

Mac @ 30

It's alive! It's alive!

photo by Styrous®

It was 30 years ago today, on January 24, 1984, that the Mac made its appearance and changed the world forever.

The Mac Plus was introduced on January 16 1986.


          Mac Plus (1986)
              photo by Styrous®

My first experience with computers was in the mid '60s. To say it was a disaster is an understatement. I clearly remember the IBM (Hollerith) punch cards (named after Herman Hollerith).
 IBM punch card with Latin alphabet character code
photographer unknown

Those damned punch cards were the bane of my existence. I remember working with stacks of them and in the middle of the process, dropping a stack on the floor and the nightmare of getting them back in order. I tried to handle just a small batch at a time by breaking the stack up into smaller pieces but that was not a great move as from time to time I'd get the smaller batches in the wrong order. That was even worse. Commands and data were represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions.

Punched cards were first used around 1725 by Basile Bouchon and Jean-Baptiste Falcon to replace the perforated paper rolls then in use for controlling textile looms in France. This technique was improved by Joseph Marie Jacquard in his Jacquard loom in 1801. All of these earlier versions of the card were used to comtrol machines that operated in repetitive motions. Semen Korsakov was the first to use them for informational purposes.  

Herman Hollerith invented the recording of data on a medium that could then be read by a machine.  He developed a punched card data processing technology for the 1890 US census. He founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896) which was one of four companies that merged to form Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR), which was later renamed IBM

Sometime in the 1960s, the punched card was gradually replaced as the primary means for data storage by magnetic tape, as better, more capable computers became available. But by that time I'd run away from computers and vowed I'd never touch one again. 

The punch cards were the least of my worries, however, I had a whole lot of trouble wrapping my head around the concept of 0's and 1's representing the entire alphabet of our existence; trying to write code for a program was insane to me. There was something involving an auto coder, (they tried to make it sound like fun by personalizing it and humourously calling it Otto Koder; the humor was lost on me as there was nothing in the slightest way automatic nor easy about it as far as I was concerned). To me, the IBM OS platform was a nightmare!

Sometime in the early '90s I was convinced by a friend to give computers a try again. I fought that with tooth and nails but eventually was talked into buying a used Mac Plus. I was bowled over by the ease of use of the Macintosh OS platform (at that time, OS 6). It was not only physically different than the IBM system, you didn't have to use code to get something done. It used a GUI system that was intuitive and incredibly easy to master.

Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh 128k on January 24, 1984; the first mass-market personal computer featuring a graphical user interface and mouse. It was introduced on television in a famous $900,000 commercial by Ridley Scott, "1984", that aired on CBS during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984. The imagry was meant to illustrate the allegorical heroine, with sledgehammer, embodying the spirit of the 1984 release. I remember seeing this ad.

still from the 1984 television commercial

 The Mac Plus had a whopping 512 k memory (I know, absolutely ludicrous by today's 500 giga byte computers in retrospect). For nomths I researched how to use it by going on the Internet for tips as the manual that came with it was woefully inadequate (to this day nothing has changed in that regard). I would take notes as I researched and very quickly got tired of letting go of the mouse to write them; even though I am right-handed (and nobody told me I HAD to use my right one) I started using the mouse with my left hand to free my right hand to write the notes without interruption. As a consequence I can use a mouse with both hands.

Mac Plus mouse
photo by Styrous®

It was a wonderful experience and I came to love my Mac with a passion. I have had many other computers since then that are far more powerful and efficient but I have had a sentimental fondness for my first love. I stopped using it years ago but I have hung on to it out of sentimentality. Now, perhaps, it's time to let it go. 


1984 televsion commercial on YouTube
Apple commercials on YouTube

The computer changed my life forever, as it has for everyone. Thanks for all you taught me and for enriching my life, my beloved little Mac. I'll think of you with great affection always.

Styrous® ~ Friday, January 24, 2014