Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wolfgang's Vault

(Thanks to my sister Sue for this blog-worthy lead.)

The Wall Street Journal calls it "the most important collection of rock recordings ever assembled." You'll call it a lot of discordant junk if you're under about 45 years old. But for those of us that came of age in the late 60s and early 70s, this collection of live concert events absolutely rocks.

All tracks are from the collections of legendary rock promoter Bill Graham who had thousands of high-profile concerts taped and archived during his illustrious and infamous career. Wolfsgangs Vault subsequently acquired the collection and has negotiated rights to "play" the music on the Internet.

It's like the ultimate oldie's collection, minus the Archies and Monkies, and plays seamlessly in most browsers, without the hassle of plugins or separate programs. As each song is played, a window is displayed showing the artist, the name of the song, when and where it was recorded, along with pictures from the actual concert, background information as well as a list of all songs in current rotation. There are also links to purchase concert and band memorabilia, such as period posters, tickets and photographs.

The Vault player is very resource-friendly and easily plays in the background of your computer. A sample of some of the music recently in rotation include:

The Band
The Weight
02/14/1974 Los Angeles Forum

The Staple Singers
For What It's Worth
04/19/1968 Fillmore Auditorium

Bruce Springsteen
Blinded by the Light
03/02/1973 Berkeley Community Theatre

Eight Miles High
09/27/1969 Fillmore West

Elvis Costello
(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
06/07/1978 Winterland

Led Zeppelin
How Many More Times
01/10/1969 Fillmore West

Taj Mahal
She Caught the Katy
09/18/1969 Fillmore West

If you appreciate the unadulterated raw sound of concert performances from the 60s and 70s, you've got to check out this site. The audio quality can be inconsistent at times, but I found the 128k digital stream to be perfectly listenable with the occasional distortion and static somewhat augmenting the nostaglic charm. I guess it's just a matter of time before the music becomes available for downloading, but for now you get what they give you. Enjoy!

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