Shaun Belcher Songwriter

The Serious Mr B-Side to Trailer Star

Category: Music Criticism

Dylan to Sinatra’s Capitol Years – a new obsession

I purchased the Dylan ‘Triplicate’ volume in the nice packaging back last year not really thinking that it would be that good but curious none the less.

Although the performances range from the stunning to the not so sublime throughout there is an obvious affection for the American Songbook which like The Great American Novel everybody knows about but nobody can quite say what it is…

Subsequently I started collecting Sinatra LPs and CDs whenever they turned up on a trawl.

Pretty quickly the obsession kicked in and I now am collecting as many Alan Dell mid 1980s vinyl copies as I can find ( in some cases Dutch copies are DMM too) but generally they in better nick than original 50s and 60s vinyl and sound better due to improved transfer of tape to vinyl.

I also started collecting the 1987-1991 Larry Walsh remastered CD transfers as they are considered (with the exception of the expensive 21 CD UK set) to be the best out there. All of this recording trivia is wonderfully explained on this website.

Even more there a handy wall-chart of the best copies too:-)

So far  have about 5 Alan Dell reissues and 6 Larry Walsh CDs from the Capitol years.

More importantly I discovering what a treasure trove of song writing they contain and my admiration or Sinatra growing daily.

e was a complex character but always like his mother a Democrat and stood up against racism and injustice whenever he saw it…sometimes as in the case of being Sammy Davis Jnrs best man when it could have harmed his career but like Chaplin he bigger than all of that.

There no place for highlights most of the albums are superb but particular stand outs are September Song on  Point of No Return his last album for Capitol and Lonesome Road off of A Swingin Affair.

The Beatles came and went and he was still singing and having hit records which shows his longevity.

I have a lot more to discover.

Here where it all started for me…Dylan ‘moidering’ one of his songs…and the original and best 🙂


Free as a bird ?

Today I finished adding my entire catalogue to this website.

Through an industrious mix and mash of elements from wordpress, ning and twitter I have a fully functional always on player driven catalogue that I can never charge for.. so what’s the point?

Well I believe and research by others backs it up that the old product driven recording industry is dead.

This is what I think the future will look like. All recordings available all the time and no spotify/last fm/mog whatever badging and branding and advertising. If I can do it anybody can. How will artists survive well not by selling CD’s , books or any other ‘hard’ copy but by creating online ‘presence’ and basically building up a global, personally driven online environment which includes (next step folks..not there yet) online streaming…..the tools are there just a matter of time before available for all…..and as for recording..that’s another blog post:-)

Post Depression?

A reply to a article on No Depression website

As for the end beginning of vinyl etc…from a purely personal point of view I prefer picking up a vinyl copy of Cash’s the Rambler to any ‘digital experience’ much as anybody in right mind would prefer an old Cadillac to a Humvee or whatever BUT the ‘Freemium’ world is here and we’re stuck with it.

Apart from nice little folk industries is anybody suggesting that it will ever change..especially now less not more cash around (the folding kind I mean).

I heard the kind of story Ronny telling a hundred times…I never got paid even when it for charity…in fact the lucky ones get ripped off the rest never make distribution. Talk about rock and a hard place….

We have entered a period of pre vinyl I believe. Tony Schwartz I remember ( I think) talking on Radio Scotland about the pre-recorded era and how minute inflections of rhythm and accent were ‘ironed’ out by recordings which then spawned imitators…slowly erasing the ‘difference’ between folks hardly a couple of miles apart.

Maybe we should stop looking at ‘global digital village’ as a bad thing and maybe embrace a new time Post Depression of genuine flowering of originality….no the touring musician at folk gig level not dead but he/she definitely struggling. In ten years time the system may have reverted to local music making only..who knows…is that such a bad thing.

Nobody will admit the fact that we don’t actually need many more music stars…there enough tracks in the vaults to keep the ipods brimming for a century.

I run a small online network called Flyinshoes that used to be a webzine..inspired by ND. I get that slew of cds as Linda mentions and many very good, many beautifully art-worked and many will never make a living….sad but true….the economy can only support so many geniuses.

So what do we do as the in-tray grows ever larger..the talents seem never-ending..the future ever more grim…

I’d suggest looking to local people, meeting up and just like in string band days ignore the incessant chatter of the global barrage…. True beauty and originality wasn’t ever defined by the medium…to paraphrase Marshall M. The message has always been in the voice and the less medium between that and your eyes, ears and heart the better.

We are in danger of becoming technology rich and reality poor.. So why dear friend run a webzine/portal whatever…..well why not… click may just help someone somewhere to find a new voice….that lives right next door…