Sunday Wax Bits - JazzWax

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September 19, 2010


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Fred Goodman's prior book, The Mansion On The Hill, a history of an earlier era of the music biz, is also superb. You can find it here:


Possibly the most interesting part of that quote was the part about "writing off a generation that never had anything worth buying" as this suggests that the value of recorded music lies primarily in the packaging rather than the music itself. Of course, in the music industry, "hype" has often proved to have greater commercial value than musical substance. (Jazzers love to complain about this.) Eric Felten's recent article in the Wall St. Journal about Liberace and Lady Gaga has, perhaps, some relevance here.

Ed Leimbacher

A slow learner, it's only taken me 20 years to appreciate the miniature convenience of CDs. (Maybe if I live to be a hundred, I'll come to value I-Pods and MP3s and whatever gadget takes over next.) But as someone born in 1943, I was literally a child of the Long Play record era, and I quickly came to live my life in 20-minute chunks, to read the jacket backs for stories and bios and details, and to glean tidbits about fine art and photography from the covers (even the risible ones Marc drops on us each Sunday as examples of what-were-they-thinking silliness). The venal stupidity of record label execs may be proof of "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," and digital disappointments certainly don't measure up to climate change, but the shrunken, now disappearing completely, packaging for recorded music just makes me feel old and sad--one more thing my grandchildren won't get to enjoy. For every step forward, must we always take two steps back?


The link to the Small's site yields only a message saying "no audio posted for this event, check back later." The artist responsible for the Wig album cover is the same as for the Tanganyika album cover featured in a recent post.


While I am a child of the LP era, and I do miss the cracking of cellophane and the look of a pristine LP emerging from it's sleeve...I DON'T miss the pops,clicks, and other anomalies associated with poor pressings. I am now a CD-ophyte and intend to remain that way for my remaining years.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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