Monday, July 26, 2010

Bob Ludwig

Bob Ludwig is a famous American mastering engineer, best known for his work at Masterdisk Corporation in New York. On the vinyl records that he cut, he is identified in the runout area by the initals "RL".

Bob started his long career at A&R Recording with Phil Ramone. The two did sessions for 1960's musical artists such as The Band, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Neil Diamond, and Frank Sinatra.

After a few years at A&R, Bob Ludwig moved on to Sterling Sound in around 1969, where he was famous for mastering records such as Led Zeppelin II, "Houses of the Holy" also by Led Zeppelin, "There's a Riot Goin' On" by Sly and the Family Stone, and others. One of the only two records that I have that were mastered by Bob Ludwig during his tenure at Sterling Sound is "I Am Somebody" by Jimmy James. And I can tell that because it says "Sterling RL" in the runout groove. Also, I have a copy of The Band's "Stage Fright" which also says "Sterling RL" in the runout groove.

In the late seventies, Bob Ludwig began work at Masterdisk, where he spent most of his career mastering records. Here is a complete list of the records that I have that say "Masterdisk RL" in the runout groove:

Donald Fagen - The Nightfly (1982)
Boston - Third Stage (1986)
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required (1985)
Arcadia - So Red the Rose (1985)
Spyro Gyra - Morning Dance (1979)
Spyro Gyra - Catching the Sun (1980)
Spyro Gyra - Incognito (1982)
Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)
Pat Metheney and Lyle Mays - As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (1981)
Nazareth - Play 'n' the Game (1976)
Yes - 90125 (1983)
Roger Daltry - Best Bits (1982)
Mick Jagger - She's the Boss (1985)
City Boy - Young Men Gone West (1977)

Bob Ludwig also mastered some records for Canadian artists in the 1980's. Here is a list of all my records that were by Canadian bands and say "Masterdisk RL" in the runout groove at the same time:

Stephan Nesrallah - Transition (1984)
Headpins - Turn It Loud (1982)
Glass Tiger - Thin Red Line (1986)
Glass Tiger - Diamond Sun (1988)
Spoons - Talkback (1982)
Jenson Interceptor - Jenson Interceptor (1980)

In 1986, Bob Ludwig took advantage of direct metal mastering, and so, most of the records that he mastered from that year on are direct metal mastered. However, during the DMM era, the "RL" initials rarely appear, but "MASTERDISK" is still there and sometmes, it can even say "MASTERDISK DMM". Here is my Bob Ludwig DMM collection:

Corey Hart - Fields of Fire (1986)
Bruce Springsteen - Live/1975-85 (1986)
Pat Metheney - Still Life (Talking) (1987)
Paul Young - Between Two Fires (1986)
Robbie Robertson - Robbie Robertson (1987)
Genesis - Invisible Touch (1986)

In 1993 Bob Ludwig left Masterdisk and he would form Gateway Mastering at Portland, Maine. He has been a member of that mastering facility ever since.

Stay tuned for more blog posts about Masterdisk employees in the future!

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1

Friday, July 23, 2010

Record Finds 23/07/2010

A Friday at the thrift shop scored me some more finds! Here are 'em:

Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman (1970)

Note: I already have this album, but I got a second copy just because the one I already have is warped. Now despite its extreme warpage, it still plays all the way through on my Numark TTUSB with absolutely no skips! Huzzah! But I know that warped records may damage your needle, because force is applied to the needle as it goes up and down. So I will be trading my warped copy. If you don't know already, this utterly excellent studio effort, from the man that is known today as Yusuf, includes classics such as "Wild World" and "Where Do the Children Play".

J. Geils Band - Freeze Frame (1981)

Note: Includes the mega-hit "Centerfold".

Waldo de los Rios - Encore (1984)

Concrete Blonde - Concrete Blonde (1986)

Note: LA alt-rock band.

Level 42 - Lessons in Love (Shep Pettibone Remixes) (1986)

Note: 2 12" 45 rpm singles housed in a gatefold sleeve. Both records are warped, but they may still be playable!

Love Unlimited - Under the Influence of Love Unlimited (1973)

Note: Barry White's backing vocalists star in their own studio album.

Diana Ross - Lady Sings the Blues (Original Soundtrack) (1979)

Hello Dolly! (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (1964)

The Monks - Bad Habits (1979)

Note: UK punk rock band consisting of former members of Strawbs. This is their 1979 debut album. I also have "Suspended Animation" (which was a Canadian exclusive and released nowhere else).

Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)

Note: Why not quote the first verse from "Just the Way You Are"?

Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don't imagine you're familiar
And I don't see you anymore
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We could never have come this far
I took the good times, I'll take the bad times...

The Stylistics - Let's Put It All Together (1974)

John Cougar Mellencamp - American Fool (1982)

Note: I'm just talking a little ditty bout Jack and Diane, and that's all.

Seals and Crofts - Unborn Child (1974)

Note: Cover has a nice diecut square in it which shows the picture on one side of the picture sleeve.

My Fair Lady (Original Broadway Cast) (1956)

Leonard Bernstein - William Tell and Other Favourite Overtures (196?)

Kokomo - Kokomo (1975)

Note: British soul ranking with the likes of Average White Band.

Poco - Legend (1978)

The Bells - Fly Little White Dove, Fly (1971)

Note: I already have this album, but the one I have is a reissue with a different cover and title ("Stay Awhile"). I will also be putting the reissue up for trade soon.

The D'oyly Carte Opera Company - The Mikado (1950)

Note: 2-LP set released in the USA by London Records during the early years of the LP, and containing one of Gilbert and Sullivan's great operas.

Cliff "Kid" Bastien - In the Mood (1975)

Go West - Go West (1985)

Orchestra of the Vienna State Orchestra conducted by Mario Rossi - Scheherazade (195?)

Note: A unique demonstration record embodying Vanguard quality control.

That's all my finds today. What a haul!

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1

Monday, July 19, 2010

M-A-R-K-D-Double E (a track-by-track description of "All in a Day's Work" by Mark Dee)

MAY, 2009.

I was willin' for good records (pun intended) at the local Goodwill. The only one that stands out from the rest, however, is a record that has become one of my all-time personal favourites over the last few months. It's some old hip-hop from 1990. The album, in question, is entitled "All in a Day's Work", and is performed by a force known as... MARK DEE.

The picture above (as seen on the cover of the 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself") depicts Mark in a steady pose. Of course, many people never knew about him, but in my opinion, he's awesome. Speaking of awesome, the whole "All in a Day's Work" album is awesome.

Now before we get to the music, let's take a look at one aspect of the album cover itself. A sticker that proudly proclaims that the album contains some hit songs...

Def...Dope...So Listen Up...
The debut album from Mark Dee contains the smash single "Get a Hold of Yourself" and the hit tracks "So Deep", "Just Give Me Romance", and "Let It All Hang Out"

Of course, "Def" and "Dope" are two points that really stand out, but now, it's time to get to the music:


We are pleasingly introduced by a big ol' man with a deep cutthroat voice, seemingly taking place at a bar somewhere in the United States of America. Notice that in between speech, he laughs with the crowd:

So kid, ya name is MARK DEE. And ya say, you wanna be a rappa!
Oh yes.

Hey, hey! Quiet down! And-and, ya say, you wanna be a BIG STAR!
Well, he was not that big really, but he was sort of a star. With one single that garnered a little bit of airplay attention.

Okay kid, I tell ya what. I got a couple o' producers here. They named Kid and Looks, AND THEY WANNA BE BIG PRODUCERS!
Not so. I don't think that Dennis Kid and Michael Looks were big producers anyways. In fact, I think they only produced this one album by Mark Dee.

Okay, okay, okay. I'll cut ya up a break. Show me what you could do kid!
We are then treated to an instrumental version of "So Deep", of which a full-blown version featuring KMC and DODAMAGE appears later in the album.

TRACK ONE: Soothed by the Groove

After the cutthroat introduction, Mark Dee opens up his set by rapping about dancing. He even announces that he could "make you dance till your clothes are torn"! Nice!

Hey Joel, why don't ya get funky on the keys?

Surely! The last two minutes of the song involve Joel Martin doing a funky improvisation on the piano.

Mark's conclusion to the song is as follows:
My final conclusion: this is the end of the jam, and you're SOOTHED BY THE GROOVE. Ha ha ha ha!

TRACK TWO: Get a Hold of Yourself

First off, this album is noted for what I call the "world of confusion" theme, starting from this song, and continuing through the tracks "Game of Life", "Victim of Circumstance", and the title track.

Secondly, this song is the album's only single. It was released in 7" and 12" vinyl and CD formats. MCA Records also promotional copies to send to DJs for airplay. That is also the reason my mom heard this song enough times on the radio that she remembers it! Heck, there was also even a music video for the song, featuring Mark rapping in front of awesome 90's-style visuals!

Finally, the title of this song is self-explanatory. Remember that peace, love, and unity is what Mark's talking all about!

TRACK THREE: Game of Life

The "World of Confusion" theme continues here. Go and solve a Rubik's Cube now or else you're trapped in John Conway's cellular automaton! Ha! Well that, or maybe even Milton Bradley's board game. Well it depends on whatever Game of Life he based this song on.

TRACK FOUR: Let It All Hang Out

Besides the whole "world of confusion" thing, this album also has a love theme, which only appears on three tracks on the album: this, "Men Will Be Men", and "Just Give Me Romance". I'm now going to call this album a "multi-concept" album!

TRACK FIVE: Men Will Be Men

The second of the three songs in Mark Dee's love line. Remember all you ladies: boys will be boys and men will be men!

TRACK SIX: Just Give Me Romance

The third and final song in a short-lasting love theme. I think this is one of the best-known tracks on the album. In fact, it appeared on a Brazillian bootleg V/A compilation album of hip-hop love songs!

TRACK SEVEN: Victim of Circumstance

"In this world of confusion". Need I say more?

TRACK EIGHT: All in a Day's Work

The title track of the album and also the final song in the "world of confusion" theme. Damn, a concept album based around multiple concepts is pretty unusual!


The K, the KMC is SO DEEP!

So deep indeed! This is the best song on the entire album. Guest-starring KMC and DODAMAGE on rap vocals! If this album had a second single (along with "Get a Hold of Yourself"), this would be it!

TRACK TEN: Hail to the Chief

Just in case you're wondering, no, this ain't the president's song.

Mark Dee concludes his set with a box of funk. He also gives thanks to the Murder ONE gang, who could also possibly be one of his friends!

Also, did you know that this album has a REALLY SHORT "funky" theme? That's absolutely true! It only has two tracks: "Soothed by the Groove" and this!

As you know, this one is for the Murder ONE bodyguard squad! Diesel, Dog, G-Man, Ramrod, Beast, Bruiser, Rhino, Lookout, and Truck!
Peace! I'm outta here!


The cutthroat man that we heard at the beginning returns in the end. But this time, he's more strict:

(crowd laughs)
Hey, hey! Why's everybody laughin'? THIS GETS GOOD! HEY KID! HEY KID, WHERE YA GOIN'? COME BACK HERE! I'll make you a deal! Twenty percent! Fifteen percent! OR FOR FIVE PERCENT! HEY KID! HEY KID, COME BACK HERE! FIVE PERCENT! WHAT AM I GONNA DO? (crowd rams man off a cliff) AHHHHHHHHH! (crowd enjoys listening to Mark Dee on a boombox)

Well, that's Mark Dee's one and only album. Hope you enjoyed it! I highly reccomend it to any fan of golden-age hip-hop.

Hope you enjoyed listening!

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1

P.S. Did you know that Mark Dee starred as a guest rapper on former Boyz II Men member Marc Nelson's 1991 cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You"?

Word up y'all, this is the only time that Mark Dee starred as a guest on someone else's song.

UPDATE 07-20-2010:

I just bought a promo 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself" off of eBay. One step closer to completing my Mark Dee collection (I still have a long way to go)! Now I'm expecting it to arrive in about 10 days...

UPDATE 07-24-2010:

I forgot to tell you, but a few months back, "honda1471" made a comment on the "Get a Hold of Yourself" music video that said this:

"That's my uncel he was 18 years old here"

Coincedentally, he also had a playlist titled "My uncel", and it included that very video, as well as some videos from a rap artist known as M.A.R.K., formely known as Minnesota Slimz.

But here's the question: are M.A.R.K. and Mark Dee the same artist?

Well now's the time to find out who exactly Mark Dee is! I left a comment about 3 weeks ago on Chambermusik's video of M.A.R.K. performing his song "Exhibit Me". My comment said this:

"Is M.A.R.K. aka Minnesota Slimz aka Mark Danger from Soul Kid Klik the same guy who did the "All in a Day's Work" album in 1990 under the Mark Dee banner for MCA Records back when he was 18 years old? Cause I noticed that honda1471 said that he is his uncle, and his playlist entitled "my uncle" has videos from both Mark Dee and M.A.R.K. aka Minnesota Slimz aka Mark Danger from Soul Kid Klik in it!"

Soon after, Chambermusik answered yes to my question:

"yes, same artist. Mark Dee, Mark Danger, Minnesota Slimz, and M.A.R.K."

The reply to my comment didn't appear in my YouTube inbox, but I checked back on the video about three weeks after I made my comment and saw Chambermusik's reply. I replied to their reply to my comment:

"Wow, I couldn't believe it! I have his "All in a Day's Work" album on a vinyl record. That album also includes the single "Get a Hold of Yourself", which was released on 7" and 12" vinyl formats (both promo and regular issues) and on CD (promo only). I bought the promo 12" of "Get a Hold of Yourself" off of eBay and still waiting for it to arrive. His voice sounds very similar to when he was under the Mark Dee banner here!"

So now we can get to know who Mark Dee is without having to waste 24 hours on Google trying to look for info but not finding anything! Horray!


The promo 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself" I orded last week arrived in the mail today! Yay! Well it's not the original version, but it's a remix by Rod Hui. Still, it's just plain dopeness!

UPDATE 07/31/2010:

I just bought ANOTHER Mark Dee record. This time it's a promo 7" of "Get a Hold of Yourself" which contains a four-minute radio edit of the original song on both sides (no, it's not the Rod Hui remix). This time, it comes from Georgia instead of New York, so it may take longer to arrive here in Canada.


Yes, that's true! But don't forget that as I suspected, it took about 17 days to get here from Georgia. That's WAY longer than the time it took for my promo 12" single featuring the Rod Hui remix, which arrived from New York in only four days!

The four-minute radio edit featured on this promo 7"er chops off the beginning part where Mark Dee gives his introduction speech:

"In this world of confusion,
You gotta get a hold of yourself.
Grab the world by its axis,
And tell it to revolve.
Drop the beat..."

Also, it chops off a HUGE portion of the last two minutes of the song. Which means that the instrumental solo is gone, and the girls start singing instantly in the place where the instrumental solo starts. If you want the full 5:25 version, I reccomend you to grab a copy of the "All in a Day's Work" LP now.

P.S.: I have also confirmed a retail 7" to exist with the same cat no. as the promo (MCA-53791), which unlike the promo, does not repeat the same version on both sides. Instead, the retail version has a 4:45 "7" Edit", which I suspect does have the intro part, and has more of the solo intact.

UPDATE 12/20/2010:

Turns out the so-called "7" Edit" is a remix with a layer of funky slap bass added. That's what I can tell from another version of the "Get a Hold of Yourself" 12" single that I got back in September (which also contains a house mix and the radio edit found on the promo 7").

Friday, July 16, 2010

Record Finds 16/07/2010

Another Friday for vinyl records, and I scored! Here are my finds:

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - Works Volume I (1977)

Note: German pressing by Ariola. The first three sides contain solo pieces done by each of the three members of ELP. Side 1 is Keith Emerson, side 2 is Greg Lake, and side 3 is Carl Palmer. Side 4 has all three members of ELP performing together.

Prince - 1999 (1982)

Note: Australian pressing manufactured by WEA Records Pty Ltd (we rarely ever get imported vinyls from Australia or New Zealand here in Canada, mainly because those two countries have different markets). In some countries, Prince's breakthrough double album would be edited to just a single LP record. Australia was one of those countries to do this!

Two copies of Phil Collins - No Jacket Required (1985)

Note: I will be putting one of these up for trade soon!

The Dream Academy - The Dream Academy (1985)

Note: Features "Life in a Northern Town". Unfortunately they didn't do much but they were still a great band!

Billy Joel - The Bridge (1986)

Note: I already have this album. I just got another copy because the one I already have was made in the USA, but this particular version was made in Canada.

Various Artists - Flashdance Soundtrack (1983)

Note: Made in New Zealand by PolyGram but the cover is Australian (as I said, we rarely get imported records from down under because it's a different market over there).

Rod Stewart - Camouflage (1984)

Rod Stewart - Body Wishes (1983)

Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman (1988)

Paul McCartney and Wings - Wings over America (1976)

Note: 3-LP live album by Paul, Linda, and company.

Dionne Warwick - The Dionne Warwick Story (1971)

Note: Dionne is live! This was her very last album for Scepter Records, but it's not a studio album (her last studio album for Scepter was "Very Dionne", which I also have).

Paul Horn - Inside (1968)

Note: 1970's reissue with orange Epic label.

Bruce Hornsby and the Range - The Way It Is (1986)

Ernest Gold - Exodus Soundtrack (1960)

Note: I have a 1970's issue of this record, which I will also be putting up for trade soon.

Bing Crosby - Beautiful Memories (1977)

The Jets - Magic (1987)

Note: The Jets are actually a whole family consisting of brothers and sisters specializing in pop, R&B, and dance music.

Bronski Beat - Hundreds and Thousands (1985)

Note: Features four remixed tracks from "The Age of Consent", and two tracks that should have made up the band's next single at the time ("Run from Love" b/w "Hard Rain").

Culture Club - Kissing to Be Clever (1982)

Cleo Laine - Born on a Friday (1976)

Prism - See Forever Eyes (1978)

Bangles - Different Light (1985)

Note: Features "Walk Like an Egyptian".

Paul Young - The Secret of Association (1985)

The Irish Rovers - Children of the Unicorn (1976)

Bryan Ferry - These Foolish Things (1974)

Note: 1980's reissue.

Cats (Selections from the Original Cast Recording) (1983)

Note: I already have the full Broadway cast on a 2-LP set, but I didn't know Geffen made a version that was reduced to just one LP!

Jackson Browne - Lives in the Balance (1986)

Dead or Alive - Youthquake (1985)

Note: You spin me round like a record!

Hall and Oates - Voices (1980)

Note: I already got a copy of this record last week, but the version I previously purchased was a 1981 reissue with the duo looking kinda strange on the cover. The copy I got today is an original pressing from 1980 with a different and much more appealing cover!

So that's all the records I got. Wow, what a haul! I even got a record from Australia!

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1 signing off.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Record Finds 09/07/2010

Guess what? I got me some records today! Well I didn't have time to drive to the local thrift shop myself, so I figured my brother would go instead today. I got some pretty nice scores! Now, time to check 'em out:

Falco - Rock Me Amadeus (Salieri Version) b/w Urban Tropical (12" single, 1985)

Note: This Austrian guy also sang "Der Komissar", which would later on be covered by After the Fire.

Bob James - Heads (1977)

Note: This album doesn't have the sides listed as "Side 1" and "Side 2" as usual; instead, side 1 is "Heads", and side 2 is "Tails"!

Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene (1977)

Note: Slime Tron 5000 might like this, since I think he's a fan of Jean-Michel Jarre.

Edith Piaf - The Great Edith Piaf (1981)

Pat Metheney and Lyle Mays - As Falls Whichita, So Falls Whichita Falls (1981)

Note: My brother told me that this was the first Pat Metheney album he had when he started collecting vinyl records

Roberta Flack - Blue Lights in the Basement (1977)

Note: I already have this album. I got another copy just because I'm having a record trade soon, and I'll get to add records into my collection that I don't already have.

UB40 - UB40 (1988)

The Manhattan Transfer - Mecca for Moderns (1981)

Hall and Oates - No Goodbyes (1974)

Hall and Oates - Voices (1980)

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1 signing off, hoping that you will have a nice Friday evening.

Two 12" Singles from 1990

This blog post covers 12" singles from 1990 containing music by little-known artists. First off, here's a New Jack Swing ditty titled "Tell the Truth (About It)" by a group called Images:

Released on the Cardiac label (catalogue no. 3-4001-0), this is a funky jam that is telling everyone that they should "tell the truth about it". Unfortunately I think it was much overlooked, and Images aren't that well-known today.

Secondly, we are treated to some rap-house with a nice British accent. It's titled "Sounds Underground", and performed by a group who decided to call themselves They Who Move:

Featuring Nadee Jones on rap vocals, this song extolls the joys of house music. Sounds Underground will definitely make you move and groove! Well this record was also pretty much overlooked, and I neither haven't found any info about them.

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1 signing off, hoping that your ears will drink some Kool-Aid.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Let's Hear Some Tetris Alternate Music!

omg its horrible"

FOREWORD: The videos included in this post can cause severe hearing damage. Only watch them if you dare.

Tetris is just an awesome game. It's such a classic that there are MILLIONS of versions of Tetris made around the world. One of them was made by Atari in 1988.

Atari's version had awesome graphics and some nice Russian-style music in 8-bit glory. And the true 8-bit glory is inside the 4-channel POKEY sound chip (notable for its use in the Atari 8-bit family of computers, e.g. Atari 400, Atari 800, Atari XL/XE, etc).

Atari used their own Slapstic protection chips, which were unique to each game, and prevented bootleggers from modifying the ROMs. One of them is on Tetris. But a few clever bootleggers managed to reverse-engineer the protection so that they could modify the copyright and change it to "1989 Video Games" and also change the staff screens...

...while other bootleggers didn't reverse-engineer the Slapstic protection. Guess what they did instead? They decided to replace the POKEY sound chip with a Texas Instruments SN76489 4-channel PSG without modifying the graphics or the sound roms (which were designed for the POKEY and not the SN76489) in any way.

The result? A mess of beeps that are so god-awful that they will set your ears on fire. Just watch the video below to see what I mean.

MitchZer0II ultimately decided to call it "Tetris: the Waixing Edition". If you don't know already, Waixing are a Chinese company that makes pirated games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. They can have some pretty bad music on their games, mostly in the style of Game Boy games made by Yong Yong, but the one that has the worst music out of all the others is Bio Hazard, an attempt at porting Resident Evil to the NES:

The uploader of that video (Tompkins355) claims that the gameplay is quite impressive with the exception of the fact that the game crashes at random times. But one thing he didn't mention is that the music is just plain EAR RAPE...

Well that's all for now. Not only am I a fan of vinyl records, but another one of my interests are video games. Don't worry, I'm still gonna be uploading more vinyl vids on my YouTube account.

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1 signing off.

P.S. Word up y'all, the ear rape is over.

BUT IS IT REALLY? No! The alternate Tetris music closely resembles that of the title screen music to a homebrewed Sega Genesis game called Crazybus:

My final conclusion: your ears must be bleeding by now.