Eagles Live – Musical Memories

“Two chewed, one stolen, leaving this one running strong – Eagles Live IV – Winnipeg, Manitoba”

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Recently I found these words that I had written in my cassette copy of Eagles Live. I purchased it as I waited for a train to take me to Portage La Prairie a very long time ago… (1985). It was the beginning of a journey that saw me through most of my 18th year – Katimavik.  It was a youth volunteer program that saw participants doing work throughout the country and even had a military option, which I was chosen for.

I walked up to the counter at the train station and in my best (which was horrible) French accent asked for a ticket to Portage La Prairie, a city that until only a couple days previous I had never even heard of. The guy behind the counter snickered at me as if I was from Mars – “You mean Portage?”

Me – “Sure.”

Him – “Here”

Me – “Could you tell me where the nearest record store is?”

Him – “It’s out there” (pointing at the door)

Me – “Um. Thanks. That’s very helpful.

Him – “You’re welcome”

Somehow I seem to just bring out the best in people.

Fortunately, the people outside were more helpful and I found my way to the record store. My copy got chewed in my Walkman during the flight from Toronto to Winnipeg, and not having it would be like a three year old having his Teddy confiscated… all, my security in the world just gone. This wouldn’t do.

While I didn’t realize it then, the Eagles in general and more specifically Eagles Live was like a lifeline to social well being. Nobody I knew hated the Eagles. Every teen and adult and… well, everybody liked them. During my “oh woes me” – “teenangsty” – depression filled adolescence, they gave me a social tool to talk about something other than my lack of a meaningful life. So damn, I began to know this band inside out. I owned the James Gang and Walsh solo material. I had seen Henley, Frey and Walsh on their own tours and knew who was backing them on the stage. I could tell you their past bands, who co-wrote what songs and their earlier influences… let’s face it – I was an Eagles geek. Sure you could find a lot of other music with me. I was a big music fan and could be found pontificating about the finer points of Van Halen, or Springsteen; maybe waxing poetic about Hendrix or the depth of the Beatles, but at this point in my life, the Eagles were my favorite band.

This cassette saw me move from November frost bite in Manitoba to a food poisoning Christmas in Quebec and finally rappelling of cliffs outside Victoria, British Columbia. It was my personal soundtrack to entertain myself as I got stuck doing ‘kit musters’. Yep, as a part of the Canadian Armed Forces – Naval Reserves, I found myself in minor trouble on a few occasions and ‘kit musters’ were the punishment. This involved your superior ripping apart your locker and bed and then you had to fix it and stand at attention while it was inspected and ripped apart again.

Much to everyone’s delight, I would put Eagles Live on the little tape deck, and go about my punishment with a smile, shutting it off only a few seconds before inspection. It was a little dance played out numerous times. The last few notes of “Life’s Been Good” would ring and I’d shut the deck off and a second or two later someone would arrive. They would leave, side two would start and by the time “Take It Easy” let out the last chords, it was time for another inspection.

Even at the end of the program, as I took a bus from Victoria to Toronto, it was the music of these guys that got me through. Walsh’s The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get and Barnstorm, Henley’s Building The Perfect Beast, The Souther Hillman Furay Band, Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty and the Eagles.

Like the three year old in need of the teddy, I eventually stopped my obsessive need to use the Eagles as a crutch as I found other music and artists. Actually, I found a whole lot more music and artists. The Eagles became more of a name amongst many in an ever growing music collection… but recently, I started looking back. So when I spotted used copy of Eagles Live on vinyl the other day, I couldn’t resist. An old familiar friend just leapt out my speakers and put me on memory lane… which is a pretty cool place to be for a few hours. Now if I could only get that picture disc vinyl edition of The Smoker You Drink, my life would be complete. (Yep – still a music geek)

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Thank You Eagles

Where To Buy Shi… Stuff #1 – Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Ok, you have started a vinyl collection and you want to get a few of those classic records you loved so much back in the day. Unfortunately, the used copies you found sound like crap and you don’t know where to turn. Well, first place to stop is… http://www.mofi.com/Articles.asp?ID=255

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has been around (with a brief absence) since 1977 and are known for making the best quality vinyl on the market. All their vinyl is put together using the original master tapes and then recorded onto the vinyl at half speed to make sure the music is recorded with “greater precision”. Essentially, Mobile Fidelity are the biggest name in the audiophile vinyl market. Actually they have done similar things with CD’s, and over time I’ve come to own a few of their products. You’ll pay a bit more than the standard vinyl and CD prices, but the end result is worth it. 

For the collector out there ‘mofi’ does all of their vinyl in limited edition quantities of 5000, and once an album has ‘sold out’ you’ll see people asking for huge dollars in the re-seller market. (see Joe Walsh/e-bay links below) 

While my first foray into mofi was a ‘silver’ or  CD copy of Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm,

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http://www.ebay.ca/itm/JOE-WALSH-MFSL-SILVER-CD-BARNSTORM-Sealed-/360689034658?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item53fabde5a2 

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Barnstorm-by-Joe-Walsh-CD-1990-Mobile-Fidelity-Sound-Lab-MFCD-777-/130847271833?pt=Music_CDs&hash=item1e771aeb99

it was my quest to find the first B-52’s record on vinyl that got me into discovering the lengths Mobile Fidelity goes through to release a quality record.

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As it stands, I managed with only a bit of work to get my hands on a copy. Ordering direct from Mobile Fidelity in Canada is costly. The shipping is almost the price of the vinyl itself. However, if the album is still in print, it can be ordered from your local record retailer, or can be found by online retailers within your country of choice. I got mine from Northern Volume and the shipping was free as my order was over $60. (http://www.northernvolume.com/the-b-52s-self-titled-silver-label-audiophile-vinyl-lp-record-from-mobile-fidelity/)

Overall, when the vinyl is put up against the CD copy I own, the vinyl wins hands down. One listen to the opener “Planet Claire” is proof enough. The keyboard/synthesizer is warm and more present within the mix while the guitar seems to hum with slightly more depth. The result is a record that slaps you upside the head with just how damn fine it is – all over again.