Joel Goldenberg

Retro Roundup

A Suburban journalist for more than a quarter century, Joel Goldenberg is also an avid fan of the music of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s — and he loves to write about it.

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Part of the fun of record collecting is buying what you think is a regular single, LP or CD and hearing a major difference on an otherwise familiar song. One could go on and on about Beatles song differences, especially mono and stereo mixes, but we'll instead present the second part of our …

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As is well known amongst fans of the Rolling Stones, their 1968-72 series of albums and stand-alone singles (Jumping Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Woman in the latter category), is considered to be the band's musical peak, and a high water mark for rock music in general.

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Nowadays, solo artists or groups, with just a few exceptions (David Crosby and Neil Young amongst them), take years to record an album. The joke (or is it a joke?) goes that it takes six months just to get the drum sound right.

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As in the case of last week's Retro Roundup on the Beach Boys' 1976 album 15 Big Ones and last June's entry on their somewhat bland and stale 1978 album M.I.U. Album, the story behind each of the band's late 1970s work is more interesting than the albums themselves.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote that the posthumously released Elvis in Concert album, featuring the last professionally recorded and mostly sad performances of Elvis Presley, brings out rather extreme reactions from Elvis fans.

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Throughout music history, there are countless instances of artists and groups disavowing songs or albums they recorded that they don't like, or which were used to compete with their current material.

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During the 1970s, I missed the entire Kiss phenomenon, the Kiss Army of fans, the platinum albums, the freaky Kabuki makeup, all of it.

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In the days when I took the reviews in Rolling Stone magazine and the various editions of the Rolling Stone Record (later Album) Guide seriously, I was conditioned to hate two albums — the Elvis Aaron Presley 8-LP box set and the rather unique album Having Fun With Elvis On Stage.

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Before we get started on this week's album, I have to recommend an online blog on the rateyourmusic.com website by someone named Schmidtt.

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We interrupt our evaluations of notable albums throughout my listening history, to return once again to one of my favourite subjects — surround sound music.

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I have a short list of several artists that I absolutely love, such as The Who, the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Otis Redding and a few others.

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At the time of writing, there is a very lively (and sometimes raging) debate taking place on the Steve Hoffman Music Forum, on a nearly 300-page thread concentrating on the merits of Elvis Presley's 1970s albums and singles.

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While K-Tel's Canadian Mint various artists collection was the first album I ever heard, that was on cassette. To my best recollection, the first LP I ever heard was a three-record set and another K-Tel entry, Today's Super Greats.

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My music buying history started in around 1980, when I got Abba Greatest Hits Vol. 2 at The Bay downtown, and a while later, I got Bruce Springsteen's The River on eight-track tape at the Bay in Place Vertu in St. Laurent.

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Unlike last week's Retro Roundup entry, Elvis Presley's C'mon Everybody on RCA Victor's Camden budget label, the companion album I Got Lucky did not receive five stars in the 1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide, only a mere three.

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As I've written many times, the 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide was my record-buying Bible, and one of my purposes in life during the time I depended on its critics for musical guidance was to get every album that received a five-star review.

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Quadraphonic sound, one of the earlier forms of surround sound with music emanating from four speakers, has made a limited comeback since its demise circa 1976-77.

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Before we delve into this week's album entry, I want to give my highest recommendation to the recently released documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name. It is directed by A.J. Eaton, while rock writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe interviews Crosby.

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In the two weeks since the A to Z list of Retro Roundup's favourite songs by particular artists and groups reached its conclusion, I internally debated myself on how the notable albums series would be presented.

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Before we embark on a new series of Retro Roundups listing notable albums by solo artists and groups, here are some retro recommendations for purchase, and some have nothing to do with music:

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We have now reached the end of our multi-year series on Retro Roundup's favourite individual songs of artists and bands from A to Z, and our final installment includes the Y and Z lists.

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As The Who is my favourite rock group (as opposed to the Beach Boys being my favourite pop group), it would seem to follow that I would include every one of their songs in this survey of their best.

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We are heading towards the end of this years-long series of favourite songs by solo artists and groups, as we plow ahead with the wondrous W list, beginning with a rather obscure artist:

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We now begin, and pretty quickly, end the U list and then proceed to the V list of favourite artists and groups and their best songs.