Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carlos Castaneda: His Legacy

By Rio Guzman

I came across the teachings of the ancient Toltecs of Mexico through the books of Carlos Castaneda. And the lessons of Don Juan were a beacon in my search for knowledge. But in 2001, I came across derogatory information about Castaneda which cast a shadow on his credibility and proved conclusively that many of his claims (and to a great extent his work with Don Juan) were fraudulent.

Furthermore, it had been claimed that Castaneda had left this world in full consciousness taking his body with him, and the turmoil and utter disappointment that Castaneda's ordinary death (due to cancer of the liver) caused in many of his closest followers made me realize how blind human beings can be, and how ready we are to miss a point and become either judges or victims.

In fact, in Castaneda's work, as in the many works of many other teachers, the main and recurring theme is our destructive egomania. And it behooves us to do our own research and confirm the damaging effects of the ego, for being the bane of humankind its study is worthy of our consideration.

Consider this:

In an article I once came across in a monthly magazine, I read about a six-year-old boy who died after breaking his neck under an extremely heavy load, too heavy for the child to carry. The article also said that he had been a slave all his life. The author knew this because archeologists are trained to read bones. And the child's bones, together with other bones (a mass grave for slaves) had been found while excavating somewhere in New York City (of all places) to lay the foundation for a new building.

His bones not only told this archeologist how he had died but also how he had lived. They told him that he had been overworked all his life, that he had been malnourished, that he probably never had a loving arm around him. His bones finally told the archeologist that that heavy load killed him at the tender age of six years old.

Should I ever feel sorry for myself? But actually, a more pertinent question would be, should I ever be sorry for that little boy? For just like that little boy I am going to die, and although longer, my life might well end up being much more miserable than his was.

For only by reducing my self-importance to the lowest can I claim to be different from his captors and murderers; there is such a thing as a collective responsibility, a social contract. We all endorse a social contract that thrives in egomania, an egomania that causes the suffering of humanity by refusing to see the Whole.

Carlos Castaneda is dead now, but his controversial legacy remains.

Rio Guzman is the owner of The Network and the author of A Vagabond in Mexico published originally by Nomads Press in 1993; he is currently working on his second book, The Eye of the Dragon: Stalking Castaneda. To know more please visit Rio Guzman's Journal or Rio Guzman's Blog. Rio Guzman Copyright 2009. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

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The Beatles Remastered CDs - What's the Big Deal?

By Johnny Moon

The 1987 Beatles CDs Are Notorious For Their Mastering

What a lot of people who have grown up listening to The Beatles on CD do not realize is just how bad those CDs sound compared to what they could sound like. When The Beatles music was digitally mastered for CD in 1987, the technology was still quite new. For example they only used 16 bit technology to do the mastering which leads to a "thinner" more "digital" sounding result.

24 Bit / 192 kHz Mastering

The new remastered Beatles CDs were mastered using 24 bit, 192 kHz mastering technology which is a huge upgrade from what was used on the 1987 CDs. In practical terms this means more of the original sound from the master tapes is captured with these new CDs so they have a "warmer," "fatter," and more detailed sound.

The Beatles Mono Box Set

What should be of particular interest to many Beatles fans is the Beatles Mono Box Set because this is the first time that the original mono mixes of The Beatles albums are being released on CD and the mono mixes in this set are not available for individual purchase but only as a part of this box set.

Those audio "purists" out there (who I imagine are among the biggest target markets for this mono box set) will be very happy to learn that no limiting was used on the mastering of the CDs in the mono mix box set. This means that the original sound from the master tapes should be captured very faithfully and that there should be no issue with lost dynamics.

Hear The Beatles Remastered.

Beatles Remastered CD Box Sets.

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Blues Guitar Lesson - The Way to the Roots of Modern Music

By Chris Smith

If you want to learn to play the guitar then you should look at learning the techniques of the blues guitar with a blues guitar lesson or two. The thing is that the blues is considered the root of all music. From its humble beginnings believed to be back in Africa, the sounds of the blues were sung out by the plantation workers (initially slaves) who lived in the Mississippi Delta. At night these sounds were interpreted onstage by a number of great blues musicians included some notable guitarists.

These night time jaunts took place at the "juke joints" that were once the mainstay of nightly entertainment for these plantation workers all throughout the state of Mississippi. In fact highway 61 is known as the blues highway as it runs from the jazz point of the blues in New Orleans, all the way up to Memphis, which is the mainstay home of the blues. The blues route does however continue on to Chicago as the largest city that has a blues flavor.

Blues guitar has a fundamental influence on the structure of all modern music you hear today and this is why blues guitar lessons are important to understand the foundation of this great music and bring out the notes, scales and modes in your own playing. With an understanding of the blues you will have a great knowledge of how music is made and you will be able to take your playing to a whole new level. If it wasn't for the blues, Elvis wouldn't have made his break in to popular culture, John Lennon wouldn't have picked up the guitar and the face of world music would be very different to how it is today.

I highly recommend you find a either some online resources for a blues guitar lesson. Alternatively you may want to find a local teacher to give you some blues guitar lessons.

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ZZ Top - The Show Must Go On For ZZ Top

by Brent Warnken

Aerosmith may have cancelled its tour with ZZ Top, but that isn't stopping the Texas-bred boogey band from continuing on the road without them! Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler fell off the stage during a performance at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota (breaking his shoulder among other injuries) on August 5, and the band was thus forced to cancel its tour.

This left tour mates ZZ Top in a pickle, until they decided to forge on, announcing a string of brand new dates! ZZ Top's Frank Beard released a statement on the group's decision saying, "When we found out that the tour was going to be canceled, we got together and decided that since we're ready, willing and able, we should get out there immediately and get it on and that's exactly what we intent to do."

Among ZZ Top's new non-Aerosmith dates are shows at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan September 6-7; at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. September 13-14 and at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston September 15. More ZZ Top dates are expected to be announced at a later date so check online for ZZ Top tickets.

ZZ Top formed in Houston, Texas in 1970 when guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard merged their rival bands, Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard). The newly-minted group released two albums that introduced audiences to their blues music and penchant for Southern humor before their third record, Tres Hombres, became their true breakthrough. The album contained the hit single "La Grange," a track based on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen" which remains ZZ Top's best-known song some decades later.

ZZ Top was the premier blues band of the 1970s and finished off the decade in style, with a year-and-a-half-long tour dubbed the Worldwide Texas Tour. After taking a three-year hiatus, ZZ Top jumped labels and released Deguello and El Loco before adding synthesizers for their next two albums, the more contemporary efforts Eliminator and Afterburner. Around this time the trio also created striking imagery with their long beards and boiler suits-topped with golf hats no less-just in time to usher in the era of the music video.

As hard as it may be to believe, ZZ Top's original lineup remains intact, even after over 30 years of making music. The trio released XXX to celebrate their longevity in 1999 and continues to steadily churn out albums, their most recent being 2008's Live from Texas. ZZ Top is rumored to be working on a new album with famed producer Rick Rubin, although they will be busy on the road for awhile.

Hill recently said of the state of the tour, "We, like so many fans, are disappointed that we're not going to be out with Aerosmith and we wish Steven a speedy recovery." Gibbons finished his thought adding, "As musicians, we sometimes have to improvise and that's exactly what this tour is about. We're going to get out there as quickly as possible and to play for people who want to come to a 'down 'n' dirty rock and roll show-no frills and no holds barred." Get your ZZ Top tickets to see the band live!

This article is sponsored by StubHub. is a leader in the business of selling, sports tickets, concert tickets, theater tickets and special events tickets.

James Taylor - Covering All His Basics

by Brent Warnken

He has been a long time supporter and performer of classic covers, and now he is banking on that love as James Taylor released Covers, a album his website notes his fans 'have been anticipating for years.'

As his infamous voice croons over licks made famous by artists like Buddy Holly, The Dixie Chicks, The Temptations and more, his concert of covers will be even more unforgettable as James Taylor tickets become available online. The Down Home Tour will see Taylor and his friends Keith Carlock, Larry Goldings, Jimmy Johnson, Bob Mann, David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, Arnold McCuller and Andrea Zonn all supporting the "Fire and Rain" singer in his September listings for around the country.

Originally kicking off the excursion on June 27th for a European leg, he will hop back into the States for shows in September that grace San Antonio's Majestic Theatre, El Paso's Plaza Theatre, Albuquerque's Sandra Casino, Tucson's Music Hall, Valley Center's Valley View Casino, Saratoga's The Mountain Winery, Central Point's Lithia Motors Amphitheater, Puyallup's Western Washington Fair Grandstand and Livermore's The Concerts at Wente Vineyards.

The set first saw support in April following the September 2008 release and has since added a few more supporting dates since the release, which has seen an extension not only through tour support but also studio support as Other Covers appeared in April, a seven song companion set that includes hits like Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" and Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood." When it first appeared, Covers debuted on The Billboard 200 at four and sold 94,000 units its first week.

Working hard on his music as well as other avenues of interest, Taylor and his wife recently announced that his $500,000 earnings from the five day music festival at Tanglewood would be donated to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Telling the Boston Globe that he and Mrs. Taylor had been concerned about the genre's diminishing support, the couple found it appropriate to give their earnings to a cause of their liking. Kim Taylor, a former public relations director and current trustee for the Orchestra, has noted that the couple has previously donated about $700,000 to the Orchestra in recent years.

"We have real concerns for what the future is for it. We also know it takes a huge structure to maintain a symphony and a lot of money," he says to the Boston Globe. Tanglewood residents, Kim pleaded with her husband of eight years to perform a festival that would center on his tunes. "It was like pulling teeth," she said, as he was hesitant to confirm annual dates that could possibly conflict with his future touring schedule. "Seven years ago, I didn't think I'd be playing Tanglewood every year," he continues. "And it turns out we do. And the other thing is I think the symphony, over time, feels more comfortable trusting me and my audience.

There used to be this sort of distrust or apprehension that a pop act was a necessary evil, so you minimized it, kept your distance from it. I think over time people have gotten used to me and they've seen my audience won't tear the place up too bad." They have gotten used to him, as well as his covers, well into the future of music. So enjoy!

This article is sponsored by StubHub is a leader in the business of selling, as well as sports tickets, concert tickets, theater tickets and special events tickets.

Friday, August 28, 2009

James Taylor - A Tale of Personal Perseverance

by Brent Warnken

James Taylor has been through a lot personally, enough to sink most people, yet Taylor has persevered and created some great music over the past four decades. He's the epitome of the singer/songwriter and a truly great artist. Taylor is still touring today and fans from all over are looking to get James Taylor tickets.

Taylor was born is Boston in 1948, but his family relocated to the southern part of the United States early in Taylor's life when his father received a position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cello was the first instrument that Taylor learned how to play, but he'd moved on to the guitar by age 12. He formed a folk duo with Danny Kortchmar in his teens and eventually dropped out of high school at 16 to form a band with his brother Alex.

Taylor relocated to New York, but was struck with a wave of depression that forced him to check himself into a mental health clinic. Many of Taylor's earliest work was written during his stay at a clinic in Massachusetts, as Taylor found inspiration all around him. He also earned his high school diploma during that period.

After his release, Taylor received a record contract as a part of the group the Flying Machine, which included Kortchmar and Joel O'Brien. The group was short-lived, though, with nothing much coming off the collaboration.

In the late '60s, Taylor found himself on the rocks again; this time it was heroin addiction that gripped him. He moved to London in 1968 in an attempt to shake the habit, eventually receiving a record contract and releasing his self-titled debut album. The album did not receive much attention and Taylor was unable to kick his addiction. Things were not looking good for the young man. He returned to Massachusetts and checked himself into rehab, successfully overcoming his addiction in 1969.

Taylor appeared to be back on track until a motorcycle accident temporarily left him without the use of his hands, but still he forged ahead. Taylor eventually released Sweet Baby James, which proved to be his breakthrough effort, in 1970. Propelled by the hit "Fire and Rain," Sweet Baby James became a top five hit. The song was written about his time in mental institutions and rehabilitation clinics. "I've seen fire and I've seen rain/I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end/I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend/But I always thought that I'd see you again," goes the chorus of the song.

In 1971 Taylor appeared on the cover of Time magazine, touted as the leading songwriter of the time. To think that just five years earlier he had been in a mental institution and addicted to heroin just a few years prior, one can see how far Taylor came in such a small window of time. Taylor would go on to sell countless albums, collaborate with the most famous names in music and even marry Carly Simon. A lot of people would have given up on music, and in some cases life, if they were in Taylor's shoes in the late '60s, but Taylor persevered and came out the other side a better man.

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Michael Brecker - Saxophone Master Biography

By Neal Battaglia

Saxophone virtuoso Michael Brecker was given an early start in jazz by his amateur jazz pianist father, who was a lawyer by trade. Brecker began his musical studies on clarinet, moving to alto saxophone, and finally settling on the tenor sax, which would become his primary instrument as his career progressed.

He grew up near Philadelphia and then attended Indiana University for a short time, but left at 19 to pursue music. His mouthpieces for much of his career were made by Dave Guardala, and the reeds he used were LaVoz, medium strength. He played a Selmer Mark VI 86,000 series saxophone. Previously, he had played a Selmer Super Balanced Action saxophone.

His first foray into professional musicianship was with a jazz/rock band called Dreams which featured legendary drummer Billy Cobham. Dreams was a short lived project, but held influence with such greats as Miles Davis.

Most of Brecker's early work was informed by rock guitar as much as R&B saxophone. After working with Dreams, Brecker began working with pianist Horace Silver and Billy Cobham before starting a side project with his brother Randy called the Brecker Brothers.

During the years that followed, Brecker was a sought after soloist and sideman. He worked with James Taylor and Paul Simon, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and more, showcasing the jazz-rock fusion style that would become a landmark for a generation of jazz musicians. His career would span an enormous number of records, with over 900 albums in his discography.

During the 70s and 80s he worked often in studio sessions for the pop singer-songwriter movement playing with Joni Mitchell. His playing was obviously informed by Coltrane, but his work in the pop arena forced him to condense his solos into shorter spaces, gathering the full range of the sax, from altissimo to the deepest notes into a small space.

His brilliance in this melding of styles was admirable, but many believe that his talent was more aptly showcased on his work in the early 80s, on Steps Ahead's first two albums, on Chick Corea's "Three Quartets", and Pat Metheny's "80/81." His solos were technically intricate, but accessible. He played with punchy style that cut through the mess of improvisation and stuck to the music, straight talk on the sax, littered with "signature riffs" that his fans often wait for on every solo.

Over the course of his lifetime, Michael Brecker won 11 Grammy awards, shortly after his death he was awarded two posthumous Grammy awards for his involvement on his brother Randy's album Some Skunk Funk.

In 2005, Michael was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS - a cancer of the blood marrow) after noticing a sharp pain in his back at the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival. In late 2005 he was a recipient of a controversial stem cell transplant received from his daughter. After two years battling leukemia, he passed away from related complications on January 13, 2007. He is survived by his wife Susan, his children Jessica and Sam, his brother, Randy, and his sister Emily Brecker Greenberg.

Neal Battaglia

Are you Learning the Saxophone? Learn more about How to play saxophone at Sax Station!

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Rock and Roll Until I Lost Interest

By Asokan Ponnusamy

What in the 1950s started as Rock and Roll ended some time in the late 70s. What now passes for Rock and Roll is only the form sans substance. Rock as we knew it was a most consistent yet constantly transmuting form of music chaperoned by as varied luminaries as the Supremes, Blondie, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the king of them all Elvis with whom, on a personal note, this writer had become so besotted that he had to christen anything he begot, physically or metaphorically, after him.

Rock and Roll, no doubt sadly, eclipsed the glorious days of Doris Day, Johnny Ray and others of the era. Bill Halley, Elvis, Chuck Berry and a host of others set the toes tapping and fingers snapping with their vibrant and never-heard-before sounds. Eddie Cochran, the handsome, an even handsomer Ricky Nelson and Buddy Holly who was immortalized, perhaps at Elvis' cost, by Don McLean two decades later, are still big favorites.

The kaleidoscopic spread of rock and roll spawned acid rock, heavy metal, bubble gum, glam rock, folk rock and a host of other sub-species. The 60s were enlivened by rock going electric all the way, purists disclaiming the trend, but like Bob Dylan said, times, they were a-changing. America reigned supreme those days. They had it going like a wild fire. Until 1962. That was when the bubble burst.

Except for the diligent few, not many Michael Jackson enthusiasts realize what happened those days was something improbable, not like the mere switch-over mechanism that followed Thriller. The Beatles turned the world upside down. They simply changed the face of music with their one song "I Wanna Hold your Hand".

This song and others that followed echoed through mountains and valleys, seven seas and five continents. When the bubble burst, the fall-out was incredible. There was a deluge. British bands' numbers swelled and the deluge spiraled with the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Herman's Hermits and the Hollies regularly spinning out magical numbers. Together, they swept the Americans off their feet.

Which brings us to the quintessence of the American response with the Monkees who were unabashedly just another Beatles, the Archies and the Beach Boys. Many amongst the readers must be shocked that Brian Wilson should have been included in this list but even his die-hard fans (this writer is one) would agree that the raw energy of Lennon and McCartney was clearly missing even in the peppiest numbers the Beach Boys belted out.

An unlikely hero emerged out of nowhere and surpassed even the Lennon and McCartney team. Shedding his Jewish name, a Woodie Guthrie fanatic, now named Bob Dylan, with a nasal twang burst on the scene and held sway. Critics soon lampooned him for turning electric but he went on doggedly, and thank God for that!

Guitar metamorphosed into God and the high-priests Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison and umpteen other demi-Gods coaxed us all into trying our hands at being practitioners er ... no, well, pretenders. Not long after wards though, piano claimed its place on the high pedestal, perhaps a rung below with adherents like Elton John and Richard Clayderman.

One hit wonders like Cascades with "Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain", Ohio Express with "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy", Dana with "All Kinds of Everything", Johnny Nash with "I Can See Clearly Now" and the Shocking Blues with "Venus" made their appearance and had gone nobody knows where but frankly, who needs another hit with a hit like those?

Meanwhile, folk rock made its appearance with Jethro Tull, Peter, Paul and Mary and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but it was Simon and Garfunkel and perhaps even Gordon Lightfoot that people are still crazy about. John Denver, God bless his soul, for countless people, personified country rock but even he, gentle soul that he was, would have readily given his nod to Don Williams, Johny Cash and Willie Nelson among others.

Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and the like made people delirious with their out-of-this-world music and a pure 100% rock was being dished out by the Sweet, T. Rex, Deep Purple, Alan Parsons Project and Atlanta Rhythm Section, etc. No names here, but there were countless pretenders too.

Some wrote their songs and sang them too. Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Burt Bacharach and Cat Stevens were all pioneers with no comparison. Tragedies struck too. Drugs had taken away Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin ........ . Some though, escaped the deathly drugs, Johnny Cash being one who became a born-again Christian to boot.

A Jody Foster-crazed fiend shot dead John Lennon for reasons best known to himself. Accidents mercilessly snatched away Mark Bolan, Buddy Holly and John Denver. And, perhaps in keeping with the times, Freddie Mercury contracted AIDS and had to say good-bye. Incidentally, the Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody is widely agreed to be the best ever song, whether you agree or not.

Detractors were many and some were condescending. Frank Sinatra who first took the micky out of rock later sang live duets with Elvis, signaling the change. Parents left clueless by the new music came round and sneaked into record shops first and then what the hell, did it openly. Can you, those days, have even imagined Elton John and Paul McCartney being knighted?

Come 1980 and suddenly we rockers found ourselves orphans. The music changed abruptly and it was rock no more. We were at sea and had not a clue what was happening. Maybe times, they were a-changing. We did not want to change. Maybe we are too old for rock and roll but we are too young to die, happy to sit by the fire in our rocking chairs with a hot cup of coffee, or better still, a chilled glass of beer in hand and listen to a Lobo or a Donovan.

This author is quite a greenhorn to writing as well to the ways of computers. In fact, this is his first attempt at writing. He hopes to improve his writing soon and to learn about computers which for him are just typewriters with a screen!


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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pink Floyd's Oh by the Way CD Box Set - Features of This 16 Disc Set

By Jackson Weinheimer

Pink Floyd had three different band leaders (Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, & David Gilmour) during the 27 years from their first album in 1967 (Piper at the Gates of Dawn) and their last album in 1994 (Divison Bell). During this time they released 14 studio albums, two of those albums (Ummagumma & The Wall) are double albums.

In the past it may have been hard to find a copy of all of these albums to complete your Pink Floyd collection and even if you were able to find them all you wouldn't have had any cool bonuses or a neat box to put them all in. With the Oh, By The Way Box Set not only can get the entire discography of Pink Floyd with just one purchase but you get more than just the albums, you also get some cool extras.

What cool extras? Well first of all, of course, you get a cool box to keep all of their albums in. But you also get a limited edition 20" X 30" Floyd poster and two groovy coasters that are not available anywhere else.


  • All 14 Pink Floyd studio albums remastered on CD including the band's most legendary albums like Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Saucerful of Secrets, Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, & The Wall.
  • 20" X 30" high quality poster that is available only with this box set.
  • Two coasters which are only available as a part of this box set.
  • Packaged as mini vinyl replicas (this is much cooler packaging than CDs normally come in.)

CLICK HERE to learn how you can Buy "Oh, By The Way" online 24/7/365.

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Pink Floyd's Five Most Essential Albums

By Jackson Weinheimer

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)

This was Pink Floyd's first album and it sounds quite different than the Floyd that most people know from the 1970s. There's a big reason for that: Syd Barrett. He was the band's original leader/singer/songwriter/guitarist and his unique creative genius was the driving force of the band at this time. I love this album. I'm not one of those Syd fanatics who says it's better than anything else they did (I think their '70s work is brilliant too) but I do think it's a truly remarkable album that will always have a place among my favorites.

Meddle (1971)

I'm a huge fan of "Fearless." And of course there's the 23 minute epic that is "Echoes."

Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

It took a while for Floyd to really find their new voice after David Gilmour replaced Syd Barrett in 1968. While I love Meddle, I think it's with this album that they really reached the peak of the Gilmour era. I won't go into too many details of this album. After all, it's one of the best selling albums of all time so you've probably heard it before. In my view it's pretty much a perfect album.

Wish You Were Here (1975)

I don't think this one is quite as "listener friendly" as Dark Side of the Moon but that doesn't mean it's necessarily not as good of an album. It's just a bit more of an investment. Of course it does include the title track which may very well be their most commercial song (not counting "Learning to Fly").

Animals (1977)

I consider this to be more of a "grower" than the other four I've listed here. But once it grows, it sticks. It's another brilliant album. The band could really do no wrong at this time.

The Pink Floyd CD Box Set includes all of these albums and many more (including The Wall, of course). The box set is titled Oh, By The Way after a lyric in "Have A Cigar" (on 1975's Wish You Were Here).

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The Beatles Remastered CDs

by Jake Topp

If you're anywhere near as big of a Beatles fan as I am then you've probably already heard about the new remastered Beatles CDs coming out on September 9th. What you may not quite understand yet is why you should be excited about the idea of buying all of their albums on CD again (assuming you already own them on CD now, of course).

The mono box set's appeal I think is most obvious. This set will include the original mono mix for each of the Beatles first 10 albums (all the way up through their self-titled double album which most fans know as "The White Album"). This is remarkable because this is the first time that these mono mixes will be available on CD. For many of us who grew to love The Beatles through CDs, this will be our first time to listen to these original mono mixes.

But why should anyone care about mono in 2009? Well, these songs were originally mixed in mono by The Beatles back in the 1960s. Back then mono was "the standard" for music playback so it only made sense for them to focus on the mono mixes of their albums while not spending nearly as much time on the stereo mixes. Because of that it makes sense to think of these mono mixes as the "true" versions of these albums.

And it's not just a matter of "purity." There are many who have claimed that the mono mixes of albums such as Revolver & Sgt. Pepper actually sound much better than the stereo mixes (for those of us who love the stereo mixes, that may be hard to believe!). Among those who have made this claim? John Lennon himself!

On top of the original mono mixes for their first 10 albums, the mono box set will also include the original stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul on CD for the first time because when The Beatles music was released on CD for the first time in 1987, these albums were actually remixed (by George Martin) because it was felt that the original stereo mixes were "too weird." Remember that stereo mixing was a very new thing in 1965, so they were very "experimental" with how they approached it at that time.

So I hope I've explained the importance of the mono box set and why all serious Beatles fans need to buy it (and these mono versions of their albums are only included in the box set, they are not available for individual sale). But what about the new remastered stereo versions? Well the reason to buy these is more about sound quality than hearing new mixes.

These albums were given a sub-par digital mastering job when they were first put on CD in 1987. Now that problem has been corrected with brand new remasters which take advantage of all of the technological advances that have taken place since '87. These new mixes reveal more details in The Beatles music and just plain sound better. These are the "new standard" for The Beatles albums, so if you want to know what all of the other Beatles fans are talking about, get the remastered stereo box set too.

Jake Topp recommends for more on The Beatles.

OPINION: Music of the 70's - Still Going Strong

By Patrick Gebhart

The music of the 70's will never die. All the greats, they are still alive with their music. Our generation was, I must say the lucky ones, we got to see the beginning of so many bands, and the ending of some also.

The 70's were full of Peace, Love, and Rock n' Roll, which poured over of course from the mid to late 60's. Vietnam was on our minds, our brothers and sisters were fighting for what, no one had an answer. We wore bell bottoms,and POW bracelets. We had long hair and held up two fingers,to say Peace without speaking. But even with the war the music still went on, Jimi Hendrix, Box Tops, Smokey Robinson, and many more kept us all moving to the music.

Even now in 2009, the music still lives on, Areosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Neil Young, and again many more.

There are even radio stations that specialize in rock music, I've noticed even our children enjoy our music, anyone who loves music does and will listen to our Rock n' Roll. How many songs focus on how "Rock n' Roll will never die" how true is that. I personally am 52 yrs of age and, yes, I still listen to Rock of our generation.

We are the fortunate ones to have seen this music grow from Elvis, to say, Metallica, great music. Please don't get upset if I link Elvis to Metallica, but all in all they both are Rock n' Roll legends.

To have lived and experienced music from such talented artists, well is just awesome!! Keep in mind these opinions are that of myself, I do not intend to insult or neglect anyone, all bands are great.

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Alice Walker Breaks Out As One of the Leading Female Voices in African American Literature

By Arthur Smith

An African American writer and activist Alice Walker began publishing her fiction and poetry during the latter years of the Black Arts movement in the 1960's. Born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, to sharecropper parents, she knew racism and poverty only too well and with works expressing the need for the tackling of such issues she has become one of the best-known and most highly respected writers from the U.S. along with such writers as Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor , commonly associated with the post-1970s surge in African American women's literature.

Her activism started after being educated at Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence College, where Walker, in a commencement speech spoke out against the silence of that institution's curriculum to African-American culture and history. Active in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in the South, she used her own and others' experiences as material for her searing examination of politics and black-white relations in her novel Meridian (1976).

Beginning with her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Walker has focused on such issues as sexual and racial realities within black communities as well as the unavoidable connections between family and society. For exposing the former, she has been criticized by some African-American male critics and theorists; for exploring the latter, she has been awarded numerous prizes while winning the hearts and minds of countless black and white readers.

Walker's heroes, often women in the African-American community struggling to emerge from a history of oppression and abuse, find strength in binding with other women and turnng to the African past in the search for alternatives to this rapacious technological civilization.

Her most famous work, coming out in 1982, The Color Purple written in epistolary form, chronicles the life of a poor and abused southern black American woman growing up between 1909 and 1947 in a town in Georgia who after her long suffering of abuse at the hands of several men eventually triumphs over oppression and attains self-realization through affirming female relationships.

Infused with incest, lesbian love, and sibling devotion,Color Purple also introduces blues music as a unifying thread in the lives of many of the characters. In it, she brought together many of the characters and themes of her previous works thus creating "an American novel of permanent importance."

Narrated through the voice of Celie, The Color Purple is structured through a series of letters written by a southern black woman (Celie), reflecting a history of oppression and abuse suffered at the hands of the men. Celie writes about the misery of childhood incest, physical abuse, and loneliness in her "letters to God." After being repeatedly raped by her stepfather, Celie is forced to marry a widowed farmer with three children. Yet her deepest hopes are realized with the help of a loving community of women, including her husband's mistress, Shug Avery, and Celie's sister, Nettie. Celie gradually learns to see herself as a desirable woman, a healthy and valuable part of the universe.

The novel charts Celie's resistance to the oppression surrounding her, and the liberation of her existence through positive and supportive relations with other women. Perhaps even more than Walker's other works, [The Color Purple] especially affirms that the most abused of the abused can transform herself.

Set in rural Georgia during segregation, The Color Purple brings components of nineteenth-century slave autobiography and sentimental fiction together with a confessional narrative of sexual awakening.

The book was resoundingly praised for its masterful recreation of black folk speech, in which, Walker converts Celie's "subliterate dialect into a medium of remarkable expressiveness, color, and poignancy," which he found impossible to imagine Celie apart from; for "through it, not only a memorable and infinitely touching character but a whole submerged world is vividly called into being." The Color Purple (1982) has been praised for Walker's forthright depiction of taboo subjects and her clear rendering of folk idiom and dialect. It has generated the most public attention as a book and as a major motion picture. The novel won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, and was made into a popular motion picture which received several Academy Award nominations.

The awards and its being adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg brought the book together with Walker herself to the attention of mainstream America thus becoming known to an even wider audience. The musical stage adaptation of the book premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta in 2004 and opened on Broadway in 2005.

But this brought her not only fame but controversy as well. She was widely criticized for negative portrayals of men, though many critics admitted that the movie presented more simplistic negative pictures than the book's more nuanced portrayals. For men come in mostly for a raw deal with Walker's harshest critics condemning her portrayal of black men in the novel as "male-bashing." A recurrent feature in her fiction are black males representing a generation of men who 'had failed women and themselves.' It, however, established her as a dominant voice in the quest for a new black identity.

The Color Purple became a point of demarcation in Walker's work, being both the completion of the cycle of novels she announced in the early 70's and the beginning of new emphases for her as a writer. For fourteen years earlier Walker had declared herself an African American woman writer who was committed to exploring the lives of black women completing the cycle demonstrating: "the survival and liberation of black women through the strength and wisdom of others."

She described the three types of women characters she felt were missing from much of the literature of the United States.

Firstly, there were those who were exploited both physically and emotionally. Their lives were narrow and confining and they were driven sometimes to madness. These were typified in Margaret and Mem Copeland in her first novel.

Secondly there were those who were victims not so much of physical violence as of psychic violence, thus becoming women alienated from their own culture.

The third type represented most effectively by Celie and Shug in The Color Purple are those African American women who despite the oppression they suffer achieve some wholeness and create spaces for other oppressed communities.

Refusing to ignore the tangle of personal and political themes, Walker has produced half a dozen novels, two collections of short stories, numerous volumes of poetry, and books of essays. Though she has attained fame and recognition in many countries, she has not lost her sense of rootedness in the South or her sense of indebtedness to her mother for showing her what the life of an artist entailed.

Writing of this central experience in her famous essay, "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens," she talks about watching her mother at the end of a day of back-breaking physical labor on someone else's farm return home only to walk the long distance to their well to get water for her garden planted each year at their doorstep. Walker observed her design that garden, putting tall plants at the back and planting so as to have something in bloom from early spring until the end of summer. Though Walker did not recognize what she was seeing at the time, the adult Walker now sees her mother as an artist full of dedication, a keen sense of design and balance, and a tough conviction that life without beauty is unbearable.

Recognized as one of the leading voices among black American women writers, Alice Walker has produced an acclaimed and varied body of work, including poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and criticism. Her writings portray the struggle of black people throughout history, and are praised for their insightful and riveting portraits of black life, in particular the experiences of black women in a sexist and racist society.

Walker has described herself as a "womanist" - referring to a black feminist - which she defines in the introduction to her book of essays, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose, as one who "appreciates and prefers women's culture, women's emotional flexibility ... women's strength" and is "committed to [the] survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female."

A theme throughout Walker's work is the preservation of black culture, with her female characters forging important links to maintain continuity in both personal relationships and communities.

Walker is concerned with "heritage," which to her "is not so much the grand sweep of history or artifacts created as it is the relations of people to each other, young to old, parent to child, man to woman."

Further Readings: Alice Walker Directory:

Allan, Tuzyline. Womanist and Feminist Aesthetics: A Comparative Review. Athens: Ohio UP, 1995.

Butler-Evans, Elliott. Race, Gender, and Desire: Narrative Strategies in the Fiction of Toni Cade Bombara, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1987.

Russell, Sandi. Render Me My Song: African-American Women Writers from Slavery to the Present. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

I Love Myself When I Am Laughing...& Then Again When I Am Looking Mean & Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader. Zora Neale Hurston; Alice Walker, editor. Trade Paperback, 1979.

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose: Alice Walker, Trade Paperback, 1984 (originally 1983)

Alice Walker & Zora Neale Hurston: The Common Bond: Lillie P. Howard, Contributions in Afro-American & African Series #163 (1993)

Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult: A Meditation on Life, Spirit, Art & the Making of the Film, The Color Purple, Ten Years Later: Alice Walker, 1997 (originally 1996).

Alice Walker Banned: The Banned Works: Alice Walker, edited and with commentary by Patricia Holt, Hardcover, 1996.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism: Essays, Speeches, Statements and Letters. Alice Walker, Hardcover, 1997. Also Paperback.

Alice Walker: An Annotated Bibliography: Erma D. Banks and Keith Byerman, Hardcover, 1989.

Alice Walker: Harold Bloom, editor. Library Binding, January 1990. Critical essays on The Color Purple and other works by Alice Walker.

Erma Davis Banks and Keith Byerman, Alice Walker: An Annotated Bibliography, 1968-1986 (New York: Garland, 1989).

Harold Bloom, ed., Alice Walker's "The Color Purple," Modern Critical Interpretations series (New York: Chelsea House, 2000).

Ikenna Dieke, ed., Critical Essays on Alice Walker (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999).

Henry Louis Gates and K. A. Appiah, eds., Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (New York: Amistad Press, 1993).

Maria Lauret, Alice Walker, Modern Novelists series (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).

Evelyn C. White, Alice Walker: A Life (New York: Norton, 2004).

Donna Haisty Winchell, Alice Walker (New York: Twayne, 1992).

The Color Purple, writ. Alice Walker and Menno Meyjes, dir. Steven Spielberg (Burbank, Calif.: Warner Bros., 1985). Qiana Whitted, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Related Links

Alice Walker--Anniina Jokinen

Selected Bibliography - Paul P. Reuben


Living by the Word: Selected Writings 1973-1987 (1988)

In Search of Our Mother's Gardens (1983)

Anything we love can be saved: a writer's activism (1997)

Visual and sound material

A place of rage. Interviews: T Minh-Ha Trinh; June Jordan; Angela Yvonne Davis; Alice Walker; Pratibha Parmar. (1991), videocassette (52 min.) New York, NY: Women Make Movies.

My life as my self (1996) sound cassette (ca. 90 min.)Boulder, CO: Sound True Audio

Voices of power, Bell Hooks; Alice Walker; Martha L Wharton; Valerie Lee (2000, 1999): Videorecording (29 min.)Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Giving birth, finding form, Alice Walker; Isabel Allende; Jean Shinoda Bolen, (1993) sound cassette, Boulder, CO: Sounds True Recordings.

Pema Chödrön & Alice Walker in conversation. (1998) videocassette (51 min.)Boulder, CO : Sounds True.

Gardening the soul, with Michael Toms. (2000) 2 sound cassettes. Carlsbad, Calif: Hay House Audio.

Alice Walker: Possessing the secret of joy. (2000, 1992) videocassette (51 min). Princeton, N.J.: Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Born and schooled in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Arthur Smith hasbeen teaching English for over thirty years. He is now a Senior Lecturer of English at Fourah Bay College where he has been lecturing for the past nine years.

Mr Smith's writings have been in various media. He participated in a seminar on contemporary American Literature in the U.S. in 2006. He has attended various conferences some of which he has presented papers. His writings could be read at his personal webste:

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Led Zeppelin's Artwork Gets Better With Time

By Geoffrey Levene

Led Zeppelin's music has impacted today's music world from all genres from bluegrass to hip-hop. The 70's rock star life style of excess caught up with the band and took the life of drummer John Bonham in 1980, years before VH1 was a concept and decades before their Behind the Music program. The band is noted for its musical influence that has recently sparked new tours and re-mastered songs. The artwork of their shirts, albums and posters captures another important aspect of what the band left behind, wonder.

Led Zeppelin's CDs and mp3s do not capture the true feel of the music because the album art work was interactive and helped to tune the listener's mind before the needle hit the record. Led Zeppelin III had an album cover that was engaging and is completely lost in translation to a CD sleeve. You had to spin the wheel and see the image shift before taking the record out of the sleeve. And it was great to keep spinning the wheel of the album cover while the LP circled the turntable. Physical Graffiti and The Song Remains the Same came with highly stylized album covers too.

Wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt is a fashion trend that will go in and out of style for years to come. Even today a 35 year old may look at a 15 year old in a Led Zeppelin Swan shirt and wonder how they can connect to the band as a 50 year old looks at a 35 year old wondering the same. I can't wait for the day to see a 90 year old man with a Led Zeppelin poster on his wall with a son jamming to a Houses of the Holy CD and a baby in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt.

I just think that there is something cool about the band that will not go away. Robert Plant with his long rock style hair and bell bottom jeans. Jimmy Page with his outrageous outfits and double necked guitar. The Song Remains the Same video was a flop when it came out but somehow manages to get better with every passing year. I do not see how a day will come where the riff from Black Dog does not grab everyone by the balls.

Led Zeppelin Shirts is a blog dedicated to promoting the band and it's artwork. The blog's main goal is to evaluate the rise and fall of the band and discuss the albums, music and artwork and how it helped to mold their generation.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

ALBUM REVIEW (New music from an old hippie): The Stanley Clarke Trio - Jazz in the Garden

By E. F Nesta

When a trio such as Stanley Clarke on bass, Lenny White on drums, and Hiromi Uehara on piano combine their talents on the all acoustic release The Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi & Lenny White - Jazz In The Garden, it should come as no surprise that the result is tight, rich in melodies, and filled with layers of sounds and style.

Jazz In The Garden: Paradigm Shift (Election Day 2008); Sakura Sakura; Sicilian Blue; Take The Coltrane; Wrong Notes; Someday My Prince Will Come; Isotope; Bass Fold Song No 5 & 6; Global Tweak; Solar; Brain Training; Under The Bridge

Personnel: Stanley Clarke: Acoustic Bass; Hiromi Uehara: Piano; Lenny White: Drums

The Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi & Lenny White - Jazz In The Garden was released on the Heads Up label a division of Concord Music Group. Jazz In The Garden has Stanley Clarke unplugging his legendary electric bass on this all acoustic release where he is accompanied by the renowned drummer Lenny White and the amazingly talented pianist Hiromi Uehara. Music has a way of crossing all boundaries including age, culture, and style, and never more so on Jazz In The Garden. The mix of American and Japanese culture with 30 years of age differences only shows that if you have it, nothing else matters but the music.

Hiromi's musicianship shows no intimidation of playing with two of the greats of Jazz and fusion; in fact she holds her own and at times not only controls the pace, but she pushes it in new directions.

The opening release Paradigm Shift (Election Day 2008), written by Stanley Clarke, contains an interpretive as well as musical paradigm shift. The interpretive view is tied to the opening frantic pace that Stanley lays down, which could be interpreted as the hustle and bustle of people's desire to be a part of the historical 2008 election day. Musically the track moves from the opening tempo then does a complete shift to a more subtle rhythm that is carried by Hiromi's solo and paced by Lenny's drums.

Swinging the cultural divide, the second track is the traditional Japanese folk song Sakura Sakura that leads with a melodic line from Stanley that carries over to Lenny's cymbals, and both harmonize with Hiromi's straight forward and stylish keyboard work to create a jazzy feeling. The track Sicilian Blue, written by Hiromi Uehara, opens with Stanley's delicate string work layered over Hiromi's soft piano notes, that combined with Lenny's percussion creates a bossa nova-type beat.

The track Take The Coltrane pays homage to the great Duke Ellington, the song provides the space needed for the trio to stretch their legs and let their instruments blend in a swinging rendition that would have Duke standing up and clapping in time. Track 3, Wrong Notes, written by Stanley Clarke, allows Hiromi to drive through the song while setting the pace that the other two have to follow; the resultant sound is classic bebop.

The Disney classic Someday My Prince Will Come comes to life through the lyrical feeling created from Hiromi's piano over the melody created by Stanley's bass; refreshing and poignant at the same time, the trio reaches new heights. The cover of Isotope shows that the trio still has some space that they have not explored as they venture to the extreme ranges of their instruments to create a fast-paced sound with depth.

Stanley contributes the bass oriented track Bass Folk Song No. 5&6 that shows why a bass in the hands of Stanley Clarke is an instrument of joy and bravado, while at the same time he demonstrates a unique combination of touch, finesse, and feeling.

The song Global Tweak (Improvised Duet), written by Stanley Clarke and Hiromi Uehara, depicts what happens when two maestros listen and improvise on the fly, and the result is true genius. The track Solar, written by Stanley Clarke, features the fine percussion work of Lenny White that creates the focus and texture of this song, with the piano providing the complementary background.

Showing her desire to liven up the release is Hiromi's track Brain Training that is a little bit bebop, a bit swing, and a whole lot of energy that expands as the track unfolds thus allowing each member to tip their hat to the other as they pass around solos. The track closes with the cover of the Red Hot Chili Pepper's song Under The Bridge, and though there are no lyrics sung, the tone that is set by the bass and piano renders the feeling of a lyricist present.

The only question that arises after you listen to The Stanley Clarke Trio - Jazz In The Garden is "when is the next release scheduled?"

Websites where you can procure The Stanley Clarke Trio - Jazz In The Garden are Amazon, Concord Music, CD Universe, Acoustic Sounds, Music Direct, iTunes, and Tower.

E.F Nesta is the owner, contributing writer, and Publisher of Luxury Experience Magazine Luxury Experience Magazine is a monthly on-line publication, which is read in over 80 countries with a reach of over 100,000. Luxury Experience Magazine features experiential articles on luxury products and services; we do not book reservations or sell products on-line. Luxury Experience Magazine's mission is to provide experiential editorial exposure on luxury products and services, and introduce brands and products to an audience across 80+ countries. Luxury Experience Magazine is a team of high-energy professionals who bring a broad and extensive international background to their writing.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Tribute to The Talent That Was Sandy Denny‏

by Robert Wilson

Some of my favorite artists died young. Buddy Holly, Jim Croce, John Denver, and the subject of this article, Sandy Denny.

Born Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny in Wimbledon, U.K. in 1947, Sandy was influenced early on by traditional and folk music and over her tragically short career was recognized by her peers as the pre-eminent folk singer songwriter of her time. She wrote so many poignant, beautiful songs but her stand out track to me is "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" covered very many times, by such people as Judy Collins, Nanci Griffith and Eva Cassidy.

In 2007, listeners to BBC Radio Two voted the track as the "Favourite Folk Track of All Time", quite rightly in my opinion.

Sandy replaced Judy Dyble in the superb British folk band "Fairport Convention" in 1968 and steered the band towards exploring traditional British folk music. The album "Liege and Lief", featuring Sandy's magical voice is probably the best folk album ever, certainly one that I still play very often. Prior to that she had been approached by another folk group, "The Strawbs" and cut one album with them, featuring an early version of "Who Knows Where The Time Goes."

Following this, Sandy formed her own group with husband to be Trevor Lucas. The band was called "Fotheringay" and their one album is also amongst the most-played in this household, but once again her stay was short-lived as she disbanded the group to pursue a solo career. She did in fact later rejoin Fairport Convention for one further album, "Rising For The Moon."

She went on to record four solo albums "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens", "Sandy", "Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz" (the title track of which has been covered by Emmylou Harris) and "Rendezvous". Sandy was insecure and had frequent doubts about her talent.

Absolutely no-one else shared her doubts yet she could not see that. Her insecurity led her to drinking more than she should and in her last few months she suffered some blackouts. It was one of these that probably led to her having a fall down some stairs, and a month later a collapse which led to her untimely death in 1978 at the age of just 31.

Had she lived, who knows whether her self-doubts would have enabled her to continue and further what to me was a glittering career, who knows what incredible songs she would have written like the tunes of hers that have become standards. A terrible waste of an immense talent, but Sandy Denny lives on in the hearts of her huge following of fans.

Bob Wilson writes extensively on music and TV for such sites as and

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can You Help a Vietnam Vet 40 Years Later?

Original Article by Nick Oliva at Only Moments:
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Hi all,

This message is written by one of my fellow bloggers on the 1960s, Nick Oliva at Only Moments. Take a read and I'm sure it will appeal to your sense of the 60s and to your sense of justice. Cheers.

The following is a comment I received on my blog of the Atlantic City Pop Festival’s 40th Anniversary. Please read it and pass it on to whomever you can, and maybe, just maybe ‘Sev’ will get to look at the pictures that he had taken 40 years ago.

It is occurrences like this that make writing this blog all worthwhile. I hope by some small chance we could make this Vietnam Veteran’s wish come true. (Note: I did clean up the letter’s punctuation and language a little bit to make it clearer).

Sev writes: I remember this festival well … I went AWOL from Ft Dix for the three days and I didn’t care because I was getting ready to be shipped to Vietnam. I arrived while Chicago (Transit Authority) was playing and they were so good that I thought they were playing a record to warm people up but it was them live!!

I pitched myself a tent and went wandering around. During my stay, I kept walking backstage and no one stopped me (it was a different world back then). My highlights were meeting Janis, Grace Slick, Tracy Nelson, & Frank Zappa.

When I met Janis I handed her a button that said “Kiss me I’m Italian” she said, “You’re Italian? I Like Italians.” Her guitarist behind her laughed and said “ahhhh you like everybody.” She laughed and kissed me on the head, under my eye, on my cheek and near my mouth. It is something I will never forget as long as I live!!

Frank Zappa was so nice, he looked at me and then my army haircut and said, “Hey you look like me when I was a kid.” I took so many pictures but unfortunately I took them with me to Nam and the day I got there someone broke into my locker and ripped me off … I swear I am telling the truth.

If someone is reading this and knows of someone that has them or does remember having them PLEASE post them and send them to me. I would really like to have them back … They were of Me & Janis, Me & Grace, Me & Frank, & a few of other stars including Grace & Janis together. Thanks for reading.

Pasquale Severino

Trenton, New Jersey


View and Share Woodstock Experiences

Just found a great website about Woodstock. There's lots of informatioon and lots of music on the site, so check it out!

View & Share Woodstock Experiences. Did you attend any of the festivals or are you celebrating Woodstock during the 40th Anniversary week? Share it with the entire Woodstock nation!


The Beatles Remastered - What Does Remastered Mean?

By Jackson Weinheimer


On September 9th the new remastered versions of The Beatles albums will be released both individually and as part of stereo & mono box sets (only the stereo mixes are being released individually, mono mixes are only available as a part of the mono box set).

What Does Remastered Mean?

I won't go into the technical details (as that's more of interest to those who record and produce music) so much as to explain what it means from a listener's perspective.

Mastering is the final step in the process of creating an album. In 1987 when The Beatles albums were initially mastered for CD, digital mastering for compact disks was still a pretty new concept and because of that, the mastering job done on those CDs (the ones that Beatles fans now own!) is notoriously poor.

In the years since the art of digital mastering has been greatly improved upon (although in recent years there has been a problem with over compression, but the "loudness wars" is too big of a topic to get into here).

Over the course of four years all of The Beatles albums were remastered for CD from the original analog source. This was a painstaking process to get the sound of the albums just right.

So what that means for listeners is that new clarity and new detail can be heard. In some cases there may be parts of the songs that have been buried away that are now "unearthed" for us to really get a good listen to for the first time.

The Mono Mixes

The Mono Box Set would be interesting to Beatles fans even if it weren't for the remastered aspect (but yes these mixes have also been remastered for superior sound) because this is the first time the the original mono mixes of all of The Beatles albums (at least the 10 Beatles albums that were ever mixed in mono in the first place) have been released on CD.

These original mono mixes represent the music as it was originally intended to be heard back in the 1960s. And it's not simply a case of "purity" that should make one curious to hear these mixes because many claim that the mono mixes actually sound better than the stereo mixes in many cases. The most famous example of that is John Lennon's insistance that the mono mix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was superior to the stereo mix.

I can't say for myself that the mono mixes are better because like most younger fans who grew up with the CD mixes, I've never heard them! That's why I'm so excited to finally hear them.

Buy The Beatles Remastered CDs. Individual remastered stereo CDs, the stereo box set, and the mono box set are all available for ordering.

Hear The Beatles Remastered: Hear clips of the newly remastered Beatles songs.

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Why Beatles Fans Would Want to Buy the New Beatles Remastered Mono & Stereo CD Box Sets

By Johnny Moon

Even if you already own all of The Beatles albums on CD (and I definitely do) I still think the new remastered Beatles CD box sets are a "must buy" for all true Beatles fanatics. I'll explain what makes each set (both the mono & the stereo) so essential below.

Why The Beatles Mono Box Set Is A "Must Buy"

To me this is the really obvious one. For one thing, it's being released as a limited edition (with only 10,000 copies made) so you'll want to get one now while they are still around. 10,000 copies doesn't seem like a whole lot with a band as huge as The Beatles.

But it's more than just the fact that it's a "limited edition." What really excites me is that this will be the first time that I get to hear The Beatles albums in their original mono mixes (I'm too young to have ever owned a turntable so I've only known the stereo CD versions released in 1987).

As you may know, John Lennon himself said that the mono version of Sgt. Pepper is actually far superior to the more well known stereo version. Now I'll get to find out for myself what he was talking about.

Why The Beatles Stereo Box Set Is A "Must Buy"

While I'm very curious to hear the mono box set, I do figure I'll end up listening to the stereo box set more often. I've listened to some of the samples of the new remastered versions and they sound amazing to my ears. There's new details in the music that I've never heard before. The clarity is astounding! I've heard many people say that the 1987 CD versions (the ones I've grown up on) were actually very poorly done and that the new remastered versions sound significantly better.

I love The Beatles enough that I want to hear their music in all of it's glory, so for me buying this box set is a no brainer. And I don't really think it's that expensive when you consider how much is in it. Every single song The Beatles released from 1962 through 1970 is included here.

Buy The Mono Box Set.

Buy The Stereo Box Set.

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An Interview With Don McLean - Working With Chet Atkins

By Tom Redmond

TR: Do you know how Chet first came to know of you? Had he heard some of your music?

DM: I think he first had heard "And I Love You So" in the '70's, and he got that song to Perry Como. So he already liked my songwriting, and he got songs of mine to Eddy Arnold. Eddy Arnold later became a friend of mine.

"And I Love You So" had been kicking around since it broke into the charts off my first album "Tapestry" in 1970, and of course, it was a big surprise to me to be on the charts right from the start. I never dreamed I'd be on the charts. What I found a lot was that the recording studio liked the way I sounded, and the songs worked, and so I immediately had some success, which was terrific. "And I Love You So" got recorded by many, many people, and then it became a big hit in '75. It sold a million copies for Perry Como.

TR: Do you remember the first time you actually met Chet?

DM: It might have been when we did that performance of "Vincent" together on "The Ralph Emery Show" in the mid -80's. At that time I had already done hit records with The Jordanaires, and of course I knew of Chet's relationship with them. They worked on my songs "Crying", "Since I Don't Have You", and the re-release of "Castles in the Air" - all of which were chart records.

"Crying" was number one in many places around the world. And so I had already worked with them in the 70s. It was now 10 years later. I'd never personally met Chet, but of course he was always a very important figure and always spoken of reverentially by everybody. Chet was thought of with tremendous respect. There were other well known producers that people were afraid of (I won't name who they are), but not Chet - he was loved and respected. There also was a time we met at a place where everybody had lunch, and a fellow I knew named Dave Burgess introduced me to Chet Atkins. I believe that actually did come before the Ralph Emery show.

I remember him talking about his golf game, and he was joking about his name being similar to a television actor. He said, "Yeah, Claude Akins always gets my golf balls." Then a bit later, Tony Migliore sent me a message he got from Chet saying nice things about a Christmas record that I'd done in 1990 and Chet just loved it. He said some wonderful things about me and it was great for me. You know, sometimes the critics like you, sometimes the critics hate you. I've never been "in the pocket" where they always liked me.

There were always things the critics said because I do different kinds of stuff. They never know where I'm coming from, and they did not like it. But Chet understood me, and coming from him, validation was extremely reassuring. It really meant a lot. Eventually I started to see him socially on occasion. When I came to Nashville, he would ask if I'd come over and visit, so I remember a couple of times we went over to his office, and then we sat and he was eating some lunch, and another time we went out to lunch.

I used to have a lot of fun talking with him about the Delmore Brothers, or Gene Autry. By the way, I think Gene Autry was a magnificent singer with a beautiful vibrato, and Chet would say, "Well yeah - he always hit the notes". That was often a big problem for a lot of singers, but not Gene Autry. So we had some good conversations about people that most people don't often talk about. They don't know about the Delmore Brothers and they don't think of Gene Autry as a singer, you know? But Chet certainly did.

TR: You once said that you thought that Chet Atkins was an innovator and an "American tinkerer". What did you mean by a "tinkerer?"

DM: When I first came to Nashville, I was amazed at these guys I saw. They had this strange kind of genius where they would just tinker around with things. They'd have a guitar that they would just mess around with, and try different pickups and new kinds of sounds and if something appealed to them, they would try to control it and make a new kind of music with it. Les Paul was the same way and so was Chuck Berry. That tinkering is the way you move forward. If you just sit there and do what everybody's been doing, then you just stay where you are.

Bob Moore, the legendary bass player told me that once on a Marty Robbins session, they had an amplifier go bad. It was making a strange buzzing sound, and they liked it, so they went and figured out why it made that sound and they ended up developing the idea for the fuzz tone guitar. At least that is what I was told.

So that's how these innovators moved music forward - in all sorts of big and little ways. In the studio where Chet was I'm sure hundreds of things were done to get certain sounds and make the records better. And it comes from this idea of just playing around with things. And of course Chet had a workshop at home where he had guitars all taken apart, and he had all kinds of different guitars, so this is what I mean by a tinkerer.

TR: I've seen you interviewed before and it seems to me like you have somewhat of an encyclopedic knowledge of artists and music history, and Chet was the same way.

DM: Well I'm just an amateur, compared to him. Chet had an incredible knowledge, plus Chet was a big part of history. He remade a whole music form into something with a broader appeal. From where he came from country music was Uncle Dave Macon, with gold teeth and straw hats - and that all changed into Eddy Arnold and the "countrypolitan" sound that crossed over, and that's a huge accomplishment.

DM: Chet was not a guy that just went along with things, you know? I once asked him what he thought of Bruce Springsteen, and he said, "The biggest hype in show business." That's what he said. And it wasn't any punches pulled at all. "The biggest hype in show business," and I thought, "Wow - here's a guy who's not afraid to say whatever he thinks." He says what he thinks even about people who are doing extraordinarily well and are popular at the time. Most folks in the business won't express those types of opinions, at least for the time period that the people are doing well anyway. Most folks usually jump on the bandwagon.

TR: I know Chet felt that the melody had a special importance in music. In other words, if you could hum with a tune, then there might be something to it.

DM: Well try to think about this - there was a very popular show on television called "Name That Tune." And you could name many successful pop songs in four to five notes. Now that is what great songwriting is, and I'm afraid that's completely disappeared today. We do not have songwriting anymore. We have things out there that are a reasonable facsimile of music, but a lot of it is not really music. At least I don't accept it as music, and it doesn't interest me at all.

Chet was always into those kinds of songs, ones with identifiable, beautiful melody - you know, a really nice chorus, or a good story, and yet brilliantly written like those early Kris Kristofferson songs. They were just brilliant, those five or six songs that he's known for - and they say everything. So, I guess Chet latched on to a few of my songs that he liked. I know he liked "Vincent" quite a bit. I'm not sure "Vincent" is all that great a melody.

TR: It's one that's very memorable - That one might be good for "name that tune".

DM: Yeah!

TR: If you hummed eight or nine notes of that, a lot of people could get that one. Now, I've seen interviews of you where you say, "I don't know what I'm doing or how I do it, I just do it" and I like that and wonder if Chet would say the same thing.

DM: Well you try to find the next interesting thing to do and see where it goes. You don't know where it will lead, so you just go with it.

TR: You seem very comfortable with performing your songs on stage. Chet was the same way. I wonder what that is about the two of you that make you so confident.

DM: Well, he's completely wrapped around what he's doing. I have never done anything but what I do and I don't think he ever did anything but what he did. You know, Chet's like some character out of "The Twilight Zone". You see these pictures from the 1940s, and there's Chet Atkins. And then 50s and then 60s and then 70s and then 80s and then 90s, alright?

He's always there, you know, and looking pretty much the same. I still picture that old photo with him holding the fiddle. So he only did what he did, and that's been the same with me. When you do only one thing you get very comfortable. You just have the one ability, which is your whole focus all the time.

TR: Do you have an opinion on why you think Chet could be so influential with pop and rock artists. Countless musicians credit Chet with influencing them, George Harrison, Randy Bachman, John Fogerty, Mark Knopfler etc, all rock artists. They didn't really do fingerstyle.

DM: Well, they grew up with the records, and they grew up with the inspiration and they took it from there, I mean, he started something in them and they took it to another place. I think the big reason why all those guitar players go back to him, it's not just his playing, it's his whole musical contribution, you know, which is more than his playing.

I had one guy that turned me on to everything. He was the son of a radio announcer who announced for the Tommy Dorsey show. And this guy turned me on to Johnny Smith, Chet Atkins, Josh White, The Ventures, Buddy Holly, and Elvis. I was born singing, but guitars were not around people in New Rochelle. They were around people in Tennessee, Mississippi, wherever but not where I grew up.

You didn't have guitars in people's houses where I grew up. It was an upper middle class white suburb. You might have the piano or a violin, maybe. Kids took orchestra lessons, they didn't take guitar lessons. Occasionally you might find a banjo in an attic from the old Fred Van Epps classical banjo period from the '20's. When I got going, I was pulling instruments out of attics all around town. Someone's grandmother might have one and they'd bring over this thing that had been in the attic for 30 years. I was a magnet pulling out guitars and banjos from attics.

TR: If you had lived in Tennessee, you'd trip over one walking on the front porch.

DM: So then the whole "folk scene" thing started, but again, I was turned on to a lot more than that. I started with all these different people. I started getting Flatt and Scruggs records. One friend's father had probably 30 white label Columbia singles of Flatt and Scruggs, the 45 records which I still have. And I would go play those things, and it was dynamite! Blew my mind. And the thing about it is that those records sounded different. They've screwed around with those songs as they brought them on to CD. They don't sound like they did on vinyl.

TR: What were some of the early "folk" artists that interested you?

DM: Well, I began a quest as a young man to know The Weavers. I became very interested in The Weavers. Chet, by the way, loved The Weavers also, and so did Gordon Jenkins, who's the one who produced them. I just love their music and I love harmony singing and so I got to know them all very well, especially Lee Hays, who's quite a character and who I learned a great deal from about politics, and about music, and about just different things.

When I went to Nashville in '78 and sang the Chain Lightning album that's when I suddenly realized that Nashville was the place for me. They had four-part harmonies and they had great studios and incredible players and they were very inventive, and they didn't mind anything that I asked them to do, and so I would ask them to do crazy stuff.

And Bob Moore once said to me, "Just play what you want to play here, and then when I tell you to stop, play this one note." And it was a song called "It's A Beautiful Life", which is just a riff on the bass. Bob said to me, "You don't know how many times I've gotten my hand slapped if I did one thing that wasn't exactly like the producer wanted". So in my case it helped to just go in and do crazy things. Even doing "Crying" was crazy at the time because it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing.

TR: People that are creative and innovative are inspiring to be around, correct?

DM: Yes. I thought that the people I met in Nashville were very exciting to be around. They were the singers, the players, the studios - everything, and Chet was the king of that whole movement. He was the man.

TR: Did I also read that you liked Merle Travis growing up?

DM: I love Merle Travis. I got a lot of Merle Travis videos, but I didn't get around to playing Merle Travis because I got stuck on that Christmas album that Chet made when I was about 12, and that's where I got more into the style. Later on, I got into him. I like Western music, you know, "Clang your silver spurs on the golden stairs." Merle Travis had all these cool songs. I have some old videos on a video reel.

TR: Sounds like you are saying you draw your inspiration from a lot of different places. I don't know if today's artists do that as much anymore.

DM: Well, it's a visual world now, you know, they want you to really look good. Most singers through history weren't all that pretty. Julie London was pretty - that was about it, you know? Even Peggy Lee was kind of sexy, but I wouldn't call her pretty.

TR: Weren't there some of your tunes that got held back by the record company because they didn't think they would sell? Was "Vincent" one of those songs that you had written but they wouldn't put it out for some reason?

DM: Well, "Vincent" was so different from "American Pie." "American Pie" was a phenomenon when it came out and it perplexed them, then "Vincent" came out and we just had terrible times with the record company and now I understand why. They didn't understand what to do with me, you know? I'm writing these crazy songs, you know, with these odd ideas. You look back now and say, "Well, of course 'American Pie" , that make sense, but if you think about it a little bit, it's a crazy song, and it's very long and very un-commercial.

TR: In your case, you wanted to do some things that they didn't want you to do, and then when they realized it was a good idea they were behind the curve.

DM: I was always in a fight with a producer. I always came in with an open mind and a happy heart and a wonderful, exciting feeling but when the sessions were over, there was always a problem about something. Somebody didn't understand a song, or they didn't want it, and there was just a fight about it. So it made for a less than 100% happy experience for everybody because I just wouldn't give in.

Usually they expect you to do as you're told, but I don't do what I'm told. Anyway, it makes a big difference whenever you have someone like Chet Atkins who appreciates you. Someone who not just knows music, but knows real artists and real quality in the music business.

TR: I want to read you a quote from a fan who was commenting about a video on youtube of you singing "Castles in the Air". She said, "It's a special gift to write such simple and beautiful melodies as he does. His poetry, his music, his appearance is simply inexhaustible and wonderful. This man is a pure gift to all who can listen and feel his songs."

DM: Wow. I don't know what to say about that.

TR: Do people feel your music?

DM: I guess so, I'm still working and doing well. I get good jobs all over the world, so there must be something going on, and I do my best out there with the songs. Again, music is all I've ever done, and I think I am for real. I don't just phone the song in, I'm totally for real every time. That's probably the best thing I can say about what I do. And I'm truthful in my music. I tell the truth with the music as best I can.

Sometimes, I have some angry songs some people don't like, but I do many different things. It's an amalgam of things I've put together, and I think in a way Chet was an amalgam also. You know, he had the country, and he had blues, and he had folk, and he had the jazz - I know he loved Django Reinhardt. So he was an amalgam. Certainly the Western stuff I like - "Sons of the Pioneers" - you got the "Hot Club of France" built right into that group. Kenny Baker, the famous fiddle player for Bill Monroe said he was a big fan of Stefan Grappelli.

I think we all hear each other and cross over. The problem is that a lot of guys who are successful don't ever go outside the boundaries of what they know the audience expects from them, whether it's pop, bluegrass, rock, whatever. That's where I've been fearless. I go all over, and I don't care. If I like it, I do it. Willie Nelson's a lot like that. You know, I've seen him do crazy stuff. I saw him sing, "Some Enchanted Evening" one night on the guitar. I said, "What'll this guy - wearing a confederate hat - what will this guy do next?"

One thing about me is that I've lived my life so that I can basically be who I am and do as I please. That's what I've done all my life. I don't live beyond my means, so I am always financially secure. I don't have to go begging to somebody for anything. In the beginning I saw how that worked in this business, how some people would make money and then blow it all and then they'd have to go back and do silly things because they didn't have anything left. So right from the start I was watching for that because I don't do silly things. I do what I want to do.

TR: You're comfortable in your own skin it sounds like.

DM: That's the best I can be, I guess.

TR: Well thank you so much for taking the time today.

DM: Thanks Tom.

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Bob Marley Trivia

By Shawna S. Ruppert

Bob Marley trivia is going to, simply put, be all about the music. His music has been thought by many to be among the most positive and uplifting music ever created, and is extremely popular throughout the world. An interesting fact is that in radio tests created for random listening experiences conducted worldwide, Bob Marley tested the highest amongst all musicians among random listeners for pure enjoyment of his music.

A Bob Marley quiz is obviously going to contain some questions about his record sales and his greatest hits. One good example of this type of information is how he has the most popular selling reggae album of all time, which has sold more than 20 million copies over the entire globe. The name of that album was "Legend" which was released posthumously. Some of his most well known songs include, "No Woman No Cry" "Redemption Song" and "I Shot the Sheriff".

Bob Marley trivia should include facts about his early life. He comes from a very small town in Jamaica called Nine Mile. His name was Nesta Robert Marley at birth, and an error in paperwork later in life would place the Robert "Bob" as the first name instead of Nesta. Marley's father was white, and as a result Marley was the target of racism in his younger years because of his mixed parentage, something that could make him the target of racism from both black and white social sectors.

Bob Marley's band was known as "The Wailers" although most people don't know that they went through many different names before they finally became the Wailers, ultimately making records under the name of "Bob Marley and the Wailers". Before settling on that name they had been "The Teenagers" "The Wailing Rudeboys" "The Wailing Wailers" and "The Wailers" and the band was ultimately composed of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh, although Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith were all former members of the group.

Religion was a very large part of Marley's life, and he was a follower of the Rastafarian movement. A large part of his life became devoted to the spread of this religion and through getting the music of the movement to the remote parts of Jamaica, as well as exposing it through his popularity to the music world at large.

Marley died in 1981 at only 36 years old from cancer.

Masters of Trivia is a fun and exciting online destination for "anything trivia". We offer hundreds of thousands of challenging trivia questions across a very broad range of subject matter. Masters of Trivia allows you to play against yourself or engage in competitions against other trivia masters. Or you can try your hand at our innovative "Photo Trivia" where you are prompted to answer questions related to a specific picture. The hardcore players may take a shot at our "Endless Trivia Marathon", which offers a compilation of never-ending trivia questions.

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Why I'm Buying The Beatles Mono & Stereo Remastered CD Box Sets‏

by Jake Topp

Some Beatles fans may be thinking that it doesn't make any sense to buy the new remastered Beatles CDs since they already own all of The Beatles albums on CD. I can understand that point of view but I definitely don't agree with it (as someone who has already pre-ordered both of The Beatles box sets).

In this article I will explain why these new remastered CDs are essential purchases for Beatles fans even if those fans already own all of their albums on compact disc.

The Mono Box Set includes The Beatles first 10 UK studio albums in their original mono. This is very significant because these original mono mixes have never been released on CD before! For those of us who want to hear The Beatles as they were originally heard in the 1960s this is a very big deal. Many of us younger Beatles fans who have grown to love the band from the CD versions of the albums have never heard these mono mixes.

It's important to understand that these mono mixes were what The Beatles spent most of their time perfecting while the stereo mixes were basically "thrown together" after many hours were spent perfecting the mono mix. All of The Beatles albums up through The White Album were mixed in mono and those original mono mixes are included in the Beatles Mono Box Set (these mono mixes are not included on separate CDs, only as a part of this set).

So to me it's pretty obvious why the mono mixes are of interest to any true Beatles fans. It's The Beatles as they were originally intended to be heard. And it's not just a matter of historical accuracy. Many people have claimed that the mono mixes of certain Beatles albums are actually much better than the stereo mixes (which makes sense because stereo mixing was in it's infancy in the 1960s and they spent much more time on the mono mixes). Among those that have said that? John Lennon!

But what about the remastered stereo CDs? Don't we already have all of The Beatles albums in stereo on CD? Yes. But these are remastered. What does that mean? It should mean more clarity and finer detail. If you are someone who really wants to hear every nuance of The Beatles mix then these new remastered CDs are essential. Plus, these CDs will be the new standard for The Beatles catalog so don't you want to know what everyone else is hearing?

Jake Topp recommends going to for Beatles.

Why Liverpool Still Spells 'Culture' With a Capital C

By Eoin Evans

Since the day it was named Europe's Capital City of Culture for 2008, Liverpool has been thrust more prominently into the spotlight for travellers who are eager to experience more than just the usual, mind-numbing tourist minutiae.

Even now, more than six months since it passed the crown to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, you can hardly take a single step in Liverpool without encountering something with fascinating cultural significance - but finding the best places isn't always so easy. If you're booking hotels in Liverpool and want tips about keen cultural sights to take in, read on.

The Cavern Club

For many people, Liverpool is synonymous with The Beatles. Even if you're not a huge fan of music, it's impossible to disregard the incredible cultural impact that The Fab Four has had on the entire world. They first starting making their name at The Cavern Club, and it's a great, understated place to get an introduction into the cultural importance of this unforgettable band. There are many excellent Liverpool hotels in the vicinity, making this a convenient spot to get to.

20 Forthlin Road

Although the address may be vague and meaningless to most, it is where the "Cute Beatle," Paul McCartney - now Sir Paul - spent his childhood. As far as Beatles cultural attractions go, this is one of the least touristy and most interesting in Liverpool. Hotels are quite nearby, meaning that you can even walk here in many cases. Whether you're a huge Beatles fan or simply enjoy touring historical homes, this is a spectacular spot.

Hope Street

When you grow weary of all of the Beatles mania, you can check out Liverpool's hip, happening Hope Street for a slightly different cultural experience. This area revolves around the arts - the Philharmonic Hall, a university and the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts - the so-called Fame Academy - are all located here. It also boasts many chic and eclectic boutiques and many fine Liverpool hotels. Don't miss the Liverpool Cathedral - England's largest religious building, and the fifth largest cathedral in the world.

Albert Dock Museums

All along Liverpool's Albert Dock, old warehouses have been restored and now house a compelling array of museums. From many Liverpool hotels, you can easily head over to Albert Dock to take in the unforgettable artifacts at the Merseyside Maritime Museum or the sobering displays at the International Slavery Museum. Taking the time to explore this part of the city can help give a greater understanding for its designation as Europe's Capital City of Culture.

The Waterfront

Finally, make sure that you set aside ample time to leave your hotels in Liverpool for a couple of hours of exploration at its waterfront. Three buildings at the Pier Head are collectively referred to as the "Three Graces" and are a must-see, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse at historical architecture; don't miss the Cunard Building.

Eoin - known to almost everyone except his mum as Ian - has written for many publications in his native south Wales and further afield. He currently lives in London's trendy Docklands with his partner and enjoys travelling for business and pleasure.

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