1 July 2021.
Following on from the previous blog entry, I now have clear ears again (which is a relief) and yesterday I got back to work on the Dire Straits show. This morning I finished it and I have to say - and I'm not particularly a fan - what a great live band. The show is from early 1978 - before they'd released a single, and its a great snapshot of 4 talented musicians playing live. Without blowing my own trumpet, it sounds really good now too.
There are so many stages to doing these shows...listening through, identifying and fixing faults, removing noise, improving the sound...it can take hours, days, weeks sometimes (on and off), so it's always a relief when the final change has been made and I've listened through to it one last time, checked it's as good as I can get it, and can say "done". And a couple of hours ago, I was able to say that on this one, although thankfully it wasn't one of the worst ones to do.
I've also now written the intro to the show to give a bit of context as to when the gig was, and will record that later, before editing that into the finished restoration. I also have the web page to write. Once that's all done, I'll upload to the site and put the word out sometime tomorrow afternoon UK time.
Oh, and worry not, lovers of synth based music - the next show coming along will perhaps be more to your liking! But IO know many of you, who are lovers of great live music, will give this a go anyway.
In the meantime, from a beautiful sunny day here in Scotland, enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend, when it arrives.
23 June 2021
The Alison Moyet show seemed to go down pretty well, I'm glad to say - always nice to receive good feedback from people saying either they were AT that gig, or went to that tour, and how it brought back great memories, or just that they COULDN'T go at the time but were glad to get a recording of it.
So what's coming NEXT? I hear you ask. Well, perhaps it's time for something different this time! So the next show will be Dire Straits. Early Dire Straits. So early they hadn't even released Sultans of Swing yet (that does appear in the set though)! It's a great 40 minutes long soundboard recording - which means once I'm done with it it will be a really clear listen. All from a time when they were playing college size venues, not arenas.
But it will be late next week - I've already fixed the tape dropouts etc so it only needs EQ and mastering - but...I don't trust my ears at the moment; they're blocked. I'm getting them syringed early next week so my hearing should be back to normal - but trying to EQ and master this week with blocked ears wouldn't be very sensible! But in the meantime I can hopefully go through 1 or 2 other recordings and fix any errors so I can build up a queue of gigs that can be put out over the coming weeks in a more timely fashion. That's the plan, anyway.
I'm doing more work for my German Slade fan client at the moment - transferring old tv show appearances to audio files, cleaning them up and putting them on CD for him. Obviously the "cleaning them up" phase is also dependent on good ears so that part is on hold too.
That's all for now. Dire Straits should be up by Friday 2 July. Bye for now...
9 June 2021
Currently working on the next show - a cassette I was sent a couple of months ago with an old FM broadcast of Alison Moyet in concert from 1984. I saved it to digital shortly after it arrived and realised it had quite a few issues to fix before it could be uploaded. It would be fair to say it is not in the best of condition - a couple of songs had tape flutter which got really bad (imagine the songs with fast vibrato on everything) which was pretty horrible to listen to. It is really really difficult to cure and not much software exists that can fix it perfectly (and what does can cost 4 figure sums).
Anyway - I had a go and after several hours this afternoon, it's reduced to the point that the songs are listenable - the alternative would have been to take the songs out, and I didn't want to do that.
Anyway, currently listening to the rest of the gig to see what else needs doing - FM hiss is bad in places, I've already fixed a few tape dropouts and will probably find more...then hopefully just into the EQ and polish stage then.
Normally this year I've been trying to upload new shows on Fridays but this one will probably not make this Friday - (for 1 thing I have my 2nd covid jab this week) but I'll be uploading as soon as it's ready - as ever, keep an eye out on the social media outlets for that.
2 June 2021
Bit of a delay for the next restoration. I finished off the other day one of my "other" sound jobs - more burning of Slade gigs to CDR for a client in Germany, as mentioned in my blog further down. He has more work for me, some of which will benefit the Live and Loud! site in the future, but that isn't going to be worked on just yet.
But at the moment, my ME is making me really noise sensitive and I'm spending more time than usual wearing ear defenders to block out sound. Clearly this also makes it impossible to work for any amount of time on sound restoration! It will no doubt ease off again in a few days but it does mean there won't be a new show coming this week. Maybe next, will see.
Cheers for now.
14 May 2021
The Numan show is just about finished - I am giving it 1 last listen (and still fixing a couple of little things as I do). Tons of work to repair and restor a manky old audience recording from over 40 years ago but given the rarity of recordings of that particular tour - so worthwhile.
10 May 2021
And...back in the room. Bathroom finished, workman gone, back to the regular routine.
As I type I am listening through Gary Numan, live from his debut 1979 tour of the UK, listening out for errors in the recording - weird gaps, fadeouts, tape dropouts - and finding a few to fix along the way - about 6 in the first 40 minutes, including one where the sound completely changes for a couple of seconds - all gone now, you'll never tell where they were. 😎 I've already reduced ambience (this is a very old audience recording, with a lot of ambience) and done the noise reduction. Once all the defects I can catch are gone (I'm about half way through the show at the moment), next stage is EQ and a little "studio magic"...and then doing the usual blablabla intro and outro.
All being well, this will see the light of day at the end of the week! Stay tuned...
30 April 2021
As I type, we're into day 5 of a new bathroom being put in. Ironically, given what I do on Live and Loud!, my ME makes me incredibly noise sensitive - so I am parked in a bedroom at the other end of the house as far away as possible, with industrial ear defenders on! The alternative is far worse than the worst hangover you can imagine, trust me.
So...no studio work being done right now. But I am currently downloading some live recordings for possible future use. Early Roxy Music ones at the moment, from 1973, 1979 and 1980 - the 1974 one I did a while back (if you missed it click here) went down really well so I'm looking forward to doing another. And some Queen from 1979, and a copy of the last gig by The Beatles in 1966.
Before anyone gets too excited, there are often reasons why I can't actually restore a gig and put it on the site. For example...it might be legally available elsewhere, or there might be plans to put it out officially - I once announced on the "Live and Loud! Shows" Facebook group that I was going to be doing a show by The Jam very shortly...while I was working on one, they then announced they were releasing a box set with a whole load of live recordings in it - including the one I was working on...
Alternatively, it might just sound so bad, I can't do anything with it. I was doing a Stranglers show once but after spending some time on it, I found parts were so distorted, it just wasn't possible to go on with it.
So I might mention stuff I have but that doesn't mean it might appear imminently. But you never know. Feel free to comment below, or in the FB group on what you might like to hear.
In other news, this week I was sent a lovely quality live recording of a band called Messengers, who were Ultravox's support band in the 1980s, and played as part of their live set up at that time. They got together again to play in 2010 in London at the famous 100 Club, which is where this was recorded. I plan on doing some work on this and putting it up on the site sometime soon.
Fans of Gary Numan who used to attend fan get togethers in the mid 1980s in London and the South East of England might remember an electronic band called Dymaxion. They released 1 single and a cassette EP, both called Rainbow Warrior, around 1986. 1 of the things I'm working on improving at the moment are those released tracks after being sent a copy of the single and cassette. I was also sent a unique live recording from them, comprising part of their set when they played The Flag in North Wembley in 1986. I plan on the whole lot being made available on the site soon but it will take some time to clean up.
Last weekend I found a live recording of Gary Numan from his first headlining tour of 1979. All recordings I've heard from this tour - apart from the official release of the London gig - are terrible quality. However, I have found one that sounds so far like it might be rescuable! Thanks to the bathroom work, this is on hold for a couple of weeks but it was starting to sound ok. Hopefully more on this very soon.
Oh, and I also received some Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk gigs recently - hoping to do an early one of each in the very near future too.
That's it for now. Cheers!
Any comments are welcome in the box below - I have to approve them before they appear, thanks to spammers and - well, assholes, basically! - so they won't show up straight away.
28 April 2021
I thought I'd just add extra info here as I go along - anything related to Live and Loud! in between uploads. Thoughts, stuff that happens (that's relevant!), that kind of thing. I guess that makes this the first entry...
Blogger doesn't allow me to create unique posts and add them here so you can click on them individually, so it will just be me, manually editing this page, adding in what I want to say, and making this one page longer and longer...
What have I been up to recently? Well, I've had a couple of paid bits of work in recent months which helps keep the site going. A German collector of Slade bootlegs got in touch earlier this year, and offered to pay for my time in downloading a list of around 20 Slade live recordings and then burning them to CD for him. He was so pleased with what I did, he's since asked for another 20, which I'm in the process of doing. He then plans to ask me to do a full Live and Loud!-style restoration on a selection of those - some of which no doubt will eventually end up in the Live and Loud! Archive here on this site (Slade shows are always popular).
As a sideline I offer sound restoration services - restoring old cassette recordings (or even MP3s) for example. It's surprising how GOOD you can get these to sound. Anyway, recently I did some work for the rock band Shed Seven, transferring some old songs from a cassette from the 1990s, which was the only copy they had (yes, a band that still plays arena gigs entrusted ME with their only copy of a tape that had been in storage for over 20 years...). That was nervewracking, praying my cassette deck didn't chew it up! But it was ok - and I then worked on restoring the contents to sound really clear and punchy again. They were really pleased - with the work and the cost; Paul, their guitarist, was a pleasure to deal with.
Another one I've been working on is a very old cassette containing a copy of a home reel to reel tape recording from 1962 of a piano recital. Again, it's really rewarding resurrecting something of such personal value to somebody.
I can copy and restore old tapes from as little as £5 - so if you have anything you want rescuing get in touch! My email is on this page. Instead, you can of course buy those little USB cassette players and do it yourself - but believe me, the sound quality is usually far worse than transferring from even an average quality cassette deck (even if you fiddle with it later with audio software). As I said, I can of course also improve old MP3s or other format digital files.
No more adverts 😀
Last week saw the upload of the 6th live restoration of 2021 - Genesis at Wembley, from 1981. My source for this was a lossless copy of an old vinyl bootleg. I have to say the recording wasn't originally very good! Just because bootlegs appear on vinyl or CD does NOT give you a guarantee of decent sound quality. That doesn't stop people telling me their old version of a gig I've restored sounds far better "because it's on CD". To those people, I nod and smile (and run away).
Anyway, Hopefully owners of the Genesis vinyl bootleg will one day find my restored version and enjoy the gig all the more. More details on what I did to clean up that recording are on the page - but it took about a month, on and off.
Those bits of paid work mentioned above (and ongoing "life" stuff) have rather delayed work on the shows at times this year but I'm confident things will speed up a bit - I have literally hundreds of recordings here and people contact me fairly regularly with more - either ones they have as files, or old tapes they ask if I can make use of. So I am never short of material!
Several shows are in the current plan for the next couple of months but the plan changes sometimes for several reasons - might talk more about that another time. I have several things I'm currently doing work on with a view to uploading soon. More on those next time.