Walkman Crawls Off To Die

The end of a home electronic era that deeply saddens me.  My vintage Sony Walkman D-EJ958 — metal case, beyond durable construction, never skipped and, coupled with an Airhead amplifier, produced the richest portable sound I’ve ever heard — had a terrible flaw: it was powered by rechargeable batteries that, after years, stopped recharging. And Sony didn’t make them any more. By a miracle, I tracked down a set of rechargeables that precisely matched the originals. After years, same problems.

The glorious hope is that the player could use an external power adapter that used regular AA batteries. Little more cumbersome, sure, but it worked many years longer than both the rechargeables combined. Then last week, it went haywire and began to get hot as hell with the batteries in it. Not. Good. And the final terrible development is that Sony has discontinued the external power adapter.

This was my favorite portable source since CDs were the raging rulers of music. Sure, I already have a second Walkman set with an Airhead, but it is decidedly the acceptable-plus backup player.



The Mystery of Alan Wilson

Canned Heat was the first rock band I saw —  an MSU concert that was as uptight as you might imagine. But already the prime songwriter and lead singer was gone. He wrote strange turns of phrase and intuition that suggested the English and even Roots America investigation into the blues was stubby. Never will know what he might have gone on to discover. I see his beach death scene in dreams.

I’m So Stuck in the (Old) Mud

Was at an event with media-design crazies who work all day online, who were explaining their methods and motions to a crowd of about 40 UX fascinateds. The panelists mentioned Medium a number of times (with notes about its shortcomings as a source of information). So I told my whole story about Medium and my “How I Capture Rapture” piece and how they stopped paying people.

Did I say who I was? No.

Did I name this blog? No.

Sure hope this is (Old) Beauty Mud.

Go-To Blaze (Foley)

For a long time, I argued that a prime paradox of Blaze Foley is that you both had to know him and not know him as a person. Except for individual songs, those who wrote tributes and assembled documentaries about him included bumps of sentimentality and drunken mumbling (even the Morlix tribute) (even the Duct Tape Messiah soundtrack). Maybe someday, somebody who never met him would assemble a perfect retrospective.

Now I’ve been persuaded that this new Blaze movie is a worthy wild thing and I intend to see it (though may have to be on the small screen). But if it’s your introduction, I have to insist that what you pick up first is Live at the Austin Outhouse (Lost Art, 1999) and next the Duct Tape soundtrack and if you still need more, try to get an advance listen to the movie score.

Is the selection of tunes on Austin Outhouse ideal? No, nope, no. But every track is outstanding, it stays alert and forms a beginning-middle-end program.

The Air Is Still And The Light Is Cool #27

One of the most satisfying surprises you can get from a music collection is pulling out a release you haven’t played for, well, a lot longer than you might have imagined, and though it’s highly respected in general and you know you like it, there’s a beauty and depth you haven’t noticed before. The album fits with you and times better than ever.

I’ve been on a quest to identify records that generate deep, intelligent peace (gosh, I wonder why). While it’s too old to put in a new review, I have to give my blog prize to

The Pearl by Harold Budd/Brian Eno (with Daniel Lanois), Editions EG, 1984.

You stay alert and want to follow all the way through the 42 minutes. Really does take you on a trip, scene to scene, second to second. Sensuous as much as smart, kinetic as much as still.