Posts Tagged ‘Boo Hewerdine & Darden Smith’

All At One Time

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Sometime way back (likely about ten years ago, but I’m not going to go dig), I wrote that one of the benefits of the digital age was getting away from the album format and being able to structure a playlist of separate tracks.

Back in the LP days, if there was a horrendous track right in the middle of Side One of a generally great album (friends of mine in those days might have nominated “Octopus’ Garden” on Abbey Road), one had to either endure the track or go to the turntable and actually lift the tone arm to set it down at the start of the next track.

As I explored that idea back then, I wrote something (maybe) about being freed from vinyl tyranny.

About six months ago, as I puttered here in my corner of our downstairs room. I thought, “Y’know, it might be nice to listen to Abbey Road all in order.” (Or it might have been Blood On The Tracks or maybe A Question Of Balance.) I had two ways to do that. There’s a large CD player on the other side of my desk, but I’d have to pull the CD from its spot in the stacks and walk around the desk and the keyboard.

Or I could have the search function in the RealPlayer find the tracks that made up the album and place them in running order and then listen.

And then I wondered: Does my new CD ripper allows me to rip an entire CD into one mp3? For years, I’d used a freeware program that allowed me to do that. I’d not done entire albums but I’d done large mp3s of suites, like the medleys on Side Two of (again) Abbey Road. And maybe five years ago, when I got a new computer, that freeware program and Windows 10 didn’t like each other. So for a few years, I used RealPlayer to rip mp3s, and as much as I like most of what that program does, its ripping function is clunky and slow.

But about eighteen months ago – six months before this inner conversation took place – I’d invested in a new suite of mp3 management tools, including an mp3 ripper. I’d not dug into it very much, as I was still trying to catch up on replacing the single mp3 rips lost in my external drive crash the autumn before we moved. Maybe it had a function to rip whole CDs as one mp3.

Well, as readers might expect (or there would be no point to telling the story), it does, and at odd times over the last six months, I’ve been doing just that.

There are currently eighty-seven tracks tagged “Full Album” on the digital shelves. The selection is heavy with the Moody Blues (part of the long-delayed project here reviewing all of their albums), Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. None of that is a surprise, I’m certain. Those are my mainstays, along with the Beatles, who will soon have many more albums in the section than they do now.

What I find more interesting are some of the other artists whose works have come to mind and wound up in the “Full Albums” section: Three Counting Crows albums from the 1990s; two from 1969 and 1970 by Brewer & Shipley; Jim Croce’s three major label releases from the early 1970s; three by Dan Fogelberg from the 1970s (one of those with flautist Tim Weisberg); two from the 1970s British folkie Shelagh McDonald; Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis; Steve Winwood’s Arc Of A Diver; and David Gray’s 200 album Babylon, just to mention a few.

I let the albums play on random as I read news or putter or play tabletop baseball. I don’t always listen purposefully, but I hear the music roll by (just like it used to in the rec room back home on Kilian Boulevard), and I’m learning some things: I don’t really like Roxy Music’s Avalon beyond “More Than This” and the title track. The Fogelbergs wear thin after a few listens. August And Everything After by Counting Crows is a far better album than I recall. So, too, is The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby & The Range. And Steely Dan’s Aja remains a sonic masterpiece.

It’s a long-range project, adding three or four a week. Where will it end? I dunno. Right now, I still have more than two terabytes free on the external hard drive. Will I get rid of the CDs and LPs if I get them all ripped as albums? Hell, no.

Here’s a full album from 1989 I posted at YouTube almost three years ago that will soon be in the “Full Album” folder on the digital shelves: Evidence by Boo Hewerdine and Darden Smith, one of my favorite obscurities.

Saturday Single No. 367

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

It is still technically autumn. Winter does not officially arrive for another four weeks or so.

There is no snow on the ground. There were, however, snowflakes in the air as I ran errands the other day.

Outside our dining room window this morning, the trees in the yard look crisply etched against the sky. It looks cold. And it is: six degrees Fahrenheit.

In my head, I hear Darden Smith and Boo Hewerdine: “There’s a cold wind blowin’ that’s got me knowin’ the first frost is headed this way.”

This is not the first time the temperature has dropped below thirty-two degrees. It’s been in the twenties now and then in the past few weeks, including yesterday.

But when I awoke around five this morning, I saw frost on one of the upstairs windows for the first time this season, and from the dining room window this morning, the cold and dry air makes the trees in the yard look as if they have sharp edges. Those things tell me this morning that we’ve turned a corner, as we do every year around this time.

So as we turn that corner into the cold wind, here are Smith and Hewerdine with a track I’ve shared here before (and likely will share again). “The First Chill Of Winter” from their 1989 album Evidence is today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 211

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

If one is to believe the forecasts, there will be, by the end of today, between five to eight inches of snow on the ground here on the East Side.

I have no reason to disbelieve. The weather pundits have been unanimous the past few days in telling us that the first major storm of the cold season was forming and would spend from Friday evening through Sunday rotating over Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Michigan. Being restless last evening, I stayed up late, puttering with mp3s and reading, and by three a.m., when I finally retired, I heard that the storm was wetting down the Twin Cities metro area, though only as slushy rain. And the streets here were dry.

Now, as mid-morning approaches, we have here slushy rain that looks from my window as if it’s rapidly turning to flakes of snow. And in this first chapter of the cold season’s tale, I see – unfortunately – things undone. What with the Texas Gal’s work and schoolwork and my own chronic physical difficulties, a few autumnal chores that I had wanted to get done before snowfall did not get accomplished.

I had wanted to get the ladder up and spend a few hours one weekend day cleaning leaves from the gutters. That did not get done last year, and there were no resulting problems, but I wanted to check the gutters this fall to make certain we would have no difficulties. Circumstance and lack of time, however, have conspired to leave the ladder in the garage, except for the brief moments required to take off two screen windows and replace them with storms. I could have, I suppose, climbed higher on the ladder after changing the windows, but I am not as nimble as I once was, and the thought of climbing the ladder to rooftop level without someone holding it at the bottom was, frankly, a little scary. So I waited.

And, unless the weather is warm and dry during the week to come, I have likely waited too long.

The same holds true for the leaves on the ground. Our landlord came over a few weeks ago with a lawnsweeper and maneuvered most of the leaves into rough piles. I believe his intent was to return and remove the piles, but the advent of winter weather – five or so weeks ahead of the season itself – will likely mean the leaves will stay until spring. In the case of the flower beds where the perennials sleep, that’s probably fine.

One major chore did get accomplished: About a month ago, I tore down and discarded the small fence around our garden, and pulled up the stakes and tomato cages inside the fence. I’ve been meaning to head to the garden plot in the past few days to see if all our neighbors did the same; I’m wondering especially what happened to the plot laid so precisely down by two young men from the adjacent apartment complex and then left to go entirely to seed when one of the two – or so I’ve heard – moved away unexpectedly. I will likely have to make my way to the garden in boots on Monday.

Ah, well. None of the tasks left undone seem essential. It would have been better were they done, but – as I said above – time and physical circumstance played their cards this autumn and had better hands than the Texas Gal or I held.

As I’ve been writing, I’ve been watching through the study window as a woodpecker has been making his way around the nearest oak tree. I cannot tell through the mist what type of woodpecker it is. It could be a red-headed or a downy – more likely the latter, I think – but his insistence on finding his meal before the heavy snow sets in impresses me. And as I watch, I also see several of the squirrels who live in our trees as they forage for food this damp morning. And today is only prelude: The wet and snowy weather settling in for the weekend is only the first of numerous storms we can expect this cold season. At least, that’s what the folks at public radio have been saying, basing their own comments on a wide range of sources that include both science and cold and old wives’ tale.

I wrote six weeks ago that autumn “will end this year almost certainly as it has other years, in a four-week slice of rain and gloom and bitter wind.” Those four weeks are upon us, and no matter how light or heavy the snowfall from this weekend’s storm may be, we are experiencing what Boo Hewerdine and Darden Smith sang about on their Evidence album in 1989. I know I’ve posted the song before, but I believe it’s been some time. Even if it hasn’t, there’s no song in my library more appropriate today than that duo’s lovely “The First Chill of Winter,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

“The First Chill of Winter” by Boo Hewerdine & Darden Smith [1989]