Fixing my Baja library

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Harry

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Years ago, I transferred all of the A&M Baja Marimba Band material to CD using a standalone CD recorder and some fairly clean albums. At the time I made these, only the DIGITALLY MASTERED BEST and the Collectors Choice CDs existed commonly, so whenever a track from one of those came up I used it.

In 2002, the Timeless Music 3-CD set was issued which put in the back of my mind the fact that I should do these again using some new-to-CD tracks to master my albums with. Since then even FRESH AIR came out in Japan on official CD.

So today I finally decided to get busy. The old CD-R's that I'd made were somewhat crude. Some of them had track indexing problems that I couldn't correct, and with some better software tools on the computer, I could now do some better editing, click removal, etc.

I finished the first three in chronological order, and am reasonably happy with my results. Having the ability to make discs with CD-Text that displays in the car is another improvement.

Given the state of the music business, I've pretty much given up hope that any more official CDs of Julius and the gang will ever show up, so I had to take matters into my own hands. Use the vinyl and do the best job I can on creating serviceable CD-Rs.

It appears at this point that my noisiest LP is FOR ANIMALS ONLY - and wouldn't you know, that album has the least amount of CD tracks available (aside from AS TIME GOES BY). I'd also forgotten how deep the bass is on some of these tracks. Incredible!

Harry
 

Mike Blakesley

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Yeah, I have a feeling if any more Baja music comes out at all, it'll be in downloadable form. Even that's questionable...who are the fans? BMB wasn't a huge deal to start with, and a lotta those guys have gone to the big mariachi band concert in the sky! Sad but true.
 

Rudy

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That is true. As I had commented elsewhere, the record stores have LPs from acts like Baja, Sandpipers, Mancini, Andy Williams, you name it...and the stock never rotates. I go back, and essentially the same LPs I saw three months ago are still sitting there. The stores won't even buy these LPs back anymore. I've tried in recent weeks, and have talked with a couple of store managers about it. Used CD sales are stagnant, and vinyl is hot...but only for the right artists and titles.

Anyway, some of these acts had reissues but if you think about it, there are literally tens of thousands of artists out there with hundreds of thousands of albums between them, and for probably 95% of the listeners out there, compilations cover what they need. The remaining 5% are such a small number that it makes no sense to dump a lot of money into something that will sell only a few hundred units in some cases.

If downloads switched to lossless, that would tip the scales for folks like me to start buying them. If this is the only way we can get the music--via lossless downloads--I'm all for it. Especially if it means "saving" this music from obscurity. Manufacturing costs are non-existent; distribution costs are no more than storage space and bandwidth. And the labels don't have to fight with retailers for merchandising space and promotion. Minimal "mastering" needs to be done on these--just find the proper two-track masters, apply some judicious EQ, skip all the "crap" like the noise reduction and other digitized effects, and just release it. The engineering need not be expensive, IOW. High-res front cover artwork is all we'd really need. (Many of us will put music on portable devices or a music server at home.)

Or to put it briefly: I'd rather see it as a lossless download, than never see it at all. If this is what is required to "save" this music and get it out to those few who want it, I'm all for it!
 

Mike Blakesley

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Seems like every time there is a new format, lots and lots of artists and albums get left in the dust. It's going to be the same with downloads, I fear. Too bad, since manufacturing costs are nonexistant this time. If the masters are there, they oughta be available.

Never lose hope though.... I had a favorite album in the late '70s, The Riper The Finer by the Joe Chemay Band, which was long-lost. I figured that thing was gone for all time, but one night I happened to think of it and did a search, and there it was on iTunes. So it's probably just a matter of the music getting into the right hands, somehow.
 

Rudy

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There are more download exclusives than you'd think. I believe even Verve was going that route for awhile. In independent music circles, in fact, downloads of new material are as popular as...the vinyl versions. Some don't even have CDs manufactured anymore. It's a fringe element, but I know a few who have done it that way, and they usually sell out of the vinyl.
 

Steven J. Gross

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Steve S. mentioned a vault fire in which he suggested the BMB masters might have been destroyed. Has anyone or Steve heard anything new on this?
 

Harry

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All the more reason to spruce up those vinyl tracks!

Harry
 

Dave

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As long as you have pristine copies of these great, lost works, & the means of playing 'em somehow, then so much, all the better!

-- Dave
 
This may prove to be either the most innovative(or perhaps insane) suggestion regarding the Baja Marimba Band, but a couple of years ago, a fellow member mentioned his fondness for a singer named Bobby Goldsborough, and recently I thought that maybe it would be neat if B.G. recorded some music with a real 'Baja'-style of accompaniment, i.e. the famous flute & marimba plus a bass(or 'baja') marimba. Think Jimmy Buffett's 'Gulf & Western' sound a la "Margaritaville", with that marimba in the band. It *could* be interesting.
Imagine Bobby with a droopy mustache and hilariously fake Mexican garb smoking a cigar while crooning to an authentic 'BMB'-style of backdrop, and of course, on the cover of his album should be some guy with his back to the camera...
Warm Wishes,
the hookahkid that just *loves* that 'hookah'...that salsa that El Ranchito Mex Restaurant(in Oxnard, CA) used to serve with their delicious food before they went defunct. El Ranchito ruled! Ciao:wave:
 

RichardWarner

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Steven --- regarding your earlier post about the Universal fire. I wonder what all was lost. Assuming they even know, I suspect it was a large number of A&M titles (and other labels). Will we ever see the first two Pete Jollys in addition to the remaining BMBs, for example?
 

Rudy

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Actually, I'd also heard a lot of Universal masters were sent to Iron Mountain. Whether it was for storage or destruction, I have no clue. Some labels think that since the tapes were digitized (even long ago, on inferior equipment), that the originals are disposable. Sony/Legacy had the right idea for awhile--archiving to DSD digital rather than PCM. But even that project got shelved.
 

Mr Bill

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I know Uni group was in the process of doing some digitization/restoration with a small talented crew. They were at first focusing on items that got the "Hip-O Select" treatment, but eventually hoped to get the entire archive done. With luck some of the rarities from A&m survived the fire and were already in the restoration wing at the Santa Monica office where the work was being done... There were pages describing the process somewhere within the Hip-O website (but I'm not sure if they're still there)...
 

Rudy

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We don't even know if any A&M items were stored in that facility, so we could be worrying about nothing. Universal absorbed so many labels over recent years, there are likely plenty of storage facilities the tapes could have been stored at.
 
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