Looking for a Hard Disc Player to Store and Play my CDs.

I have a few thousand cds that I have downloaded onto my laptop, and I’ve done this several times, as I’ve had to replace laptops. To avoid this, I’ve been looking for a music player that has capacity to rip(?) all my cds. I’ve only found two or three such players (e.g., the Brennan B2). The problem is that some of them are pricey ($1,000 or more). The Brennan B2 is about $700, but it’s the only one in that price range. Are there other options? Or maybe there’s another approach I could take? For example, maybe I could download my cds onto a hard drive and connect that drive to something that will play the music. ? If you guys have any ideas, let me know.

Duplicating the Langley Music Project for Today

I read about the Langley Music School Project (LMSP) a few years ago from Signal to Noise, an obscure music magazine that I used to subscribe to. The LMSP was basically a 1979 recording of elementary aged students singing pop songs of the 70s. While the singing may not have been so great, I was surprised by how effective it could be, in spite of limited musical chops.

I ran across some of the recordings on youtube recently, and I thought this is the type of project I wouldn’t mind replicating now–except doing it with songs from the 80s or later. I’m going to use this thread to post some potential songs and the way I envision the kids performing it. But first, here’s a clip of one of the performances from the LMSP:

Here a few that may be more effective:

Great Recorded Solos in Jazz and Other Styles of Music

I was talking to a friend about music the other day, and a thought occurred to me: If he asked me for specific examples of a great jazz solos, I think I might have a hard time answering that. As a jazz fan, I’m a bit disappointed in this. I really have made a mental or physical catalog of great solos. But I thought I’d start doing that here. I will also expand this endeavor to include great solos, including non-improvised and from other styles of music.

Before I begin here are a few thoughts, off the top of my head, on what makes a great solo. I’m inclined to start by comparing jazz solos from solos often hear in pop and rock music. The former are akin to stories. If listeners don’t follow a story, from beginning, middle, to the end, then they won’t be able to appreciate it. The same is true for most jazz solos. Guitar or keyboard solos in pop/rock are rarely like that. Indeed, if listeners try to follow a story, they likely will end up disappointed, as there really isn’t much of a story there. My sense is that the solos mostly add rockin’ feeling to the music. Sometimes catchy riffs will be a part of the solo, which makes them enjoyable to listen to. I tend to think pop/rock solos that are stories or developed melodies is pretty rare. In summary, a great solo tells a good story or is well-developed melody–one that sounds good, but takes you somewhere. For the listener, such a solo is like starting at one point then going on an interesting journey and then arriving at another point or back at the start.

Swing (or a good groove) and the interplay between the musicians are two other important parts of a great solo in my opinion. Generally, musicians have to be in a good groove. (Maybe that’s not as true for ballads, though.) When this happens can feel a different type of energy elevating the music. Without this energy, the notes may be appropriate and even good, but the music will feel flat. My sense is that swinging depends on strong interplay between the musicians, where what each individual plays fits well with everyone else. I don’t think a music will swing or groove without this.

OK, I think that’s enough for now. The next time I come across a good solo or if I remember one, I’ll put down in this thread.

The Beatles Discography

I’ve been listening to entire albums on weekends, usually in the morning. The Beatles seem like a good band to listen on a Saturday or Sunday morning (at least that’s how I feel right now). But instead of writing reactions in the “Saturday/Sunday” morning thread, I thought I’d create a separate thread for Beatles albums specifically. My plan is to listen to the albums in chronological order.

Yacht Rock Thread

I’ve been discovering musicians in this so-called genre that I’ve never heard of before, and I’m amazed at how good these songs sound to me. There’s a certain sound that I really liked during the late 70s and early 80s, and I guess it would fall under the yacht rock category, but for some reason the amount of songs in this vein seemed really limited. Or maybe I’m tired of the songs I’m most familiar with. Perhaps that’s one reason I’m enjoying these songs so much–i.e., I haven’t had time to grow tired of them. What’s weird is that the songs evoke a feeling of nostalgia, although I’ve never heard them before. (Is there a plethora of good songs for every sub-genre that never made it on the radio?)

I’ll go over the first one in the first comment section.

Great Musicians You’re Not in Love With

I’m sure everyone has a list of well-respected musicians that you either don’t like–or you don’t like as much as others. I sure do. This is a thread to list and discuss these musicians. Here’s mine:

  • Prince
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Charlie Parker
I’m sure there are others, but let me stop here. I actually like Prince and Stevie–but they’re far from my favorites. And yet, I know musicians and critics think the world of them. I never got the love for Armstrong. It’s not like I’ve listened to a lot of his music, though, so I wonder if I just didn’t hear enough of his stuff. My reaction to Parker is similar, although I think I appreciate and enjoy his music a bit more. With him, and maybe Armstrong, too, my theory is that I heard many different saxophonists who were heavily influenced by him prior to listening to Parker. It was like his thunder was stolen because of this. Then again, I heard a lot of Hendrix-influenced guitarists before really listening to Hendrix, and that did not diminish my appreciation for Hendrix. I’ll try to add more names to the list.

Favorite Singers

I know in the old V-I we had a thread for our favorite singers. I thought we had one in this newer version, but I couldn’t find it. I want to use this thread to keep track of our favorite singers. I’m also interested in learning about singers with an original sound or style. I’ll start my list in the first comment post.

Listening to Albums on a Saturday/Sunday Morning

I’ve been picking great albums and listening to them in their entirety for the past several Saturdays. I don’t know why, but Saturday mornings seems like an ideal time for this, and since this feels like it’s becoming a routine, I’m going to start a thread to journal about these albums. Right now, I’m listening to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?, which I picked because Rolling Stone chose it as the #1 album out of the top 500. I’ll write some thoughts in the first comment section.

(Note: I changed the title, expanding the thread to discuss albums that may not be considered great.)

Music of the 80s

Last night I was listening to Genesis’s 80’s stuff and Phil Collins, which I basically lump into the same category, similar to Steely Dan and Donald Fagen. Just looking over the number of songs that made it to top 40 radio or more rock oriented radio (e.g., 98 Rock), I think you could make a case for band/musician of the 80s. It’s not just the number of songs, but also that the songs are fairly representative of the 80s–i.e., they have an 80’s sound.

I liked a lot of what I heard, particularly with the horns. I like the bass parts as well, although I must mention a caveat–namely, that I listened to this on good headphones. When that happens, a lot of music sounds way, way better. I think this is partly because it allows me to hear all the instruments. So maybe I wouldn’t think as highly of the music on listening to them via another device.

We should do a top 10 list of the best Genesis/Phil Collins songs from the 80s? For me, “No Reply at All” and “I Missed Again” would be on there. I really like those songs.

Other questions:

Who would you chose as the band or musician of the decade?

What are the best songs of the decade, particularly in terms of making a case that the 80s were better than the 70s?