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Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Speakers, The Ledge, True Art, Life, Pretty Birds, and other random events.

Today is usually the day we celebrate that fateful day in September of 1973  when Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in battle-of-sexes tennis match proving just who was the better man, but today I was feeling a bit philosophical.
There are things that bring meaning to life. Things that are unrelated to your survival. Ideas like art and literature and why does that funny cloud look like a duck. You know, the deeper things of life.
Sometimes I fancy myself as an audiophile. Not really a high caliber audiophile but a bottom feeding amateur stereo scrounger who wishes to hear that one perfect note on a set a garage sale speakers.
Today MuddyValley brought me a set of DCM Time Frame 350 Speakers. I abandoned my project of bleeding the brakes on the 1967 Ford Truck and we hauled them into the house and hooked them up.
My test record was one I grabbed randomly off the shelf. A slightly worn Venture's album.
They did sound better than my old Baby Advents but the Advents were never top of the line.
I waited with increasing anticipation for 12 noon when I could escape to the house and really see what these speakers would sound like.
As I remember the DCM Time Frame speaker had a devoted following in the 1980's. It is a tall but shallow speaker which has a small footprint but has a reputation for excellent sound. I remember hearing them in the listening room of small audio store in Salem when I was in college. Of course they were way out of my price range at that time.
Apparently MuddyValley found a pair on craigslist for a really reasonable price and found an occasion to pass them on to a somewhat undeserving recipient.
So it was with considerable excitement that I warmed up the Dynaco PAS2 and searched for an album which would provide a true audiophile experience.
I started with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Symphonion Dream. 
This album has always been a good sounding album and has a lot of the midrange guitar sound which I enjoy hearing reproduced on a good sounding speaker. I was amazed at the stereo imaging and sensation of actually being able to hear what they mean when they refer to a "sound stage."
But today was not really the day for hippie/country/rock even if I was in fact wearing a purple and pink tie-dye t-shirt my daughter had made for me.
Today was more a day for "The Ledge."
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy's 1980's release Rock-it To Stardom features a wide range of his vocal abilities, from the psychotic warbling on "Paralyzed," to his spoken word poetry on "I take a ride on the Space Shuttle," and his interpretation of the Sinatra (I believe) standard, "Fly Me to the Moon."
I was really quite impressed, actually amazed. The Ledge usually has a pretty tight backup band which provides an interesting contrast with the dissonance of his singing and poetry.
I was impressed by the excellent reproduction of the jazz inspired bass tracks on "I took a Trip on the Space Shuttle," which launches right into a twangy  country guitar on "Cast-Iron Apron."
Carl Odam half singing sort of speaking, "When I roast wieners on my old patio my baby tracks me down like radar," had a crispness and quality had not heard before, and it was kind of cool to hear him singing from slightly ahead of and to the right of my stack of 16mm movies that I need to rewind, and hear the guitar to the left of and a little behind the crane I have been building with a vintage erector set.
I was listening to "Who's Knocking on my Door," when the phone rang. It was my Uncle wondering if I was home as a neighboring farmer was actually knocking on my door with information that was sure to put a stop to "Landfill Park."
So I turned down the Ledge and opened the door.
I was going to ask him into the stereo room and ask his opinion of the stereo imaging and tonal quality of my new speakers but I remembered the advice given to my by my daughter when she pointed out that many people do not actually care about things like old tube amplifiers, Marx toy cowboys, old steamshovels, battles of the Crimean war or Studebakers, and no one wants to hear the Legendary Stardust cowboy. (Speaking of which, on this day in 1854 the British and French defeated Russians at Alma, in Crimea and on September 20th 1859 George Simpson patented the electric range)
But, I digress...
About then the Ledge started hollering about Dynamite and the farmer got a funny look in his eye and asked me if he was interrupting my lunch.
I quickly shut off the stereo and was going to blame the noise on reruns of Angry Beavers but thought I would just let that one go.
We had quite the interesting discussion. He likened the political process to having a government official hand you a bar of soap to take a shower and then once you get in turning on the gas. Only not quite.
I was a bit shocked at first but now that I've have a few hours to think about it I think he has pretty good point.
You do realize that the history he is referring to is not the popular idea of extremists suddenly stripping away everyone's personal freedoms. Rather it is the loss of personal freedom and the democratic process by very orderly and law abiding people who trusted those in authority to do what was best for them. But, of course the popular interpretation of history misses what should be the most truly frightening aspect of that whole series of events.
So if you were wondering just what it is I do all day, yes-I eat beans, wear tie-dyed t-shirts, and I sit around listening to the Legendary Stardust Cowboy formulating dissent. Pull my finger?

1 comment:

  1. Sigh..........The Ledge. Of course. I should have known that would be the first test. I guess I'll have to bring over some good trad jazz or maybe Mississippi John Hurt next, to wean you away from that guy.

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