If I recall, the radio program kept comparing vinyl tracks from Pete Townshend's solo debut, Who Came First, to the new Ryko CD reissue. "This is unbelievable!" they'd gush. Yeah, unbelievable, all right--I couldn't tell the difference. That might have had to do with the "processing" of the radio signal, but the overkill of their zeal sucked.
Over the years, I've been drifting to the 1950s instead of the 1960s as my favorite decade for rock'n'roll, and when I finally started buying CDs, that trend was accelerated.
The clarity of Little Richard's '50s Specialty recordings compared to one of my '60s fave albums on CD was pretty, well, clear. Compact discs improved a lot since their murky, not-so-sonic beginnings, while my love of '50s music keeps getting stronger: better singers, less complicated production, to make a completely general assessment.
So I was excited to see a Rolling Stone interview video clip of Ron Sexsmith (June 6), who has a new album, Long Player Late Bloomer (Thirty Tigers Records) that hasn't shown up at my radio station yet. Can't wait to hear it. Sexsmith's moody pop is among the most underrated music of recent decades.
This guy speaks my language when it comes to the 1950s! Anyway, here's an interview transcript (which I've transcribed somewhat accurately):
Ron Sexsmith: "I think the '50s, even more than the '60s, was a better period for music;
it swung more...I really can't imagine being in the studio and Sam Cooke was singing one of those songs, you know. It's beyond belief--or Ray Charles.
"The '50s recordings sound better, for some reason--'60s recordings got a little
loosey-goosey in the production. Some of those things sound great. I'm a big Kinks fan, but some of those recordings barely hold together from a production standpoint. It's kind of charming. In the '50s, they really seemed to know how to mic things. To hear Buddy Holly do "True Love Ways"--that's still one of the greatest recordings.
"I love all the doo-wop music and the country music from the '50s was the best, too; it was a real golden era. I like the stuff before it, too--Ella (Fitzgerald) and all that stuff.
I think they really hit something that hasn't quite been duplicated."