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Author: Subject: Bob Lefsetz reminiscing on the Allman Brothers

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  posted on 1/11/2017 at 01:56 PM
http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2017/01/10/whipping-post-2/
 
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  posted on 1/11/2017 at 05:18 PM
I enjoyed reading that, thanks!.
 

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  posted on 1/11/2017 at 10:56 PM
Yes, that was a good read. I enjoyed it as well. But I have a few dumb questions about the whole remastering thing in general…

With so many CD/digital releases and re-releases throughout the years, how does one even know which one he has, and whether or not it has been “remastered“? And if someone wanted to upgrade from one that is not remastered to one that is, which of the remastered versions should he get? And is it really even worth it?

Let’s take the example used in the article, the ABB’s debut album...

I have a CD of this album…it says “*Capricorn Classics*” along the left side. I don’t think this one has been remastered, but I‘m not sure?

There have been at least 9 different releases of the CD over the years according to all music.com, some designated as remastered, some not. And of these 9 releases, we aren’t even counting the Beginnings remixed+remastered version, or the Deluxe remastered version. A search on Amazon also turns up more than one “remastered” version…some import (Japan), some not, etc. Probably some overlap/duplication with these various versions and websites…but you get my point. It’s all very confusing. And then there is a version that has supposedly been remastered specifically just for iTunes…and on, and on.

So if one wants to start upgrading his ABB CD collection to ensure that he is getting the best audio bang for the buck…which one does he get? And that’s just the first album…

So…I actually did a little experiment tonight using “Whipping Post”. I already had my Capricorn CD downloaded into my iTunes library. So that’s one version. I proceeded to download the version supposedly mastered specifically just for iTunes, and then the version off of the Deluxe Remastered (not Beginnings mix), and finally the Beginnings remix version off of the Deluxe Remastered album. I also already had the version off of the Decade of Hits album in my iTunes (downloaded from a CD). So that’s 5 different versions of the same song. I listened to each version through Beats headphones. If there was a difference in the audio quality when comparing these 5 versions, then it was barely noticeable to my ears. And it certainly was not to the great extent that the author of the article was claiming. So what am I missing? Maybe the Beats aren’t good enough to make the differences stand out? Maybe I need to have my hearing checked? Something else?

Another example…several years ago, I paid out the bucks to get the Layla 20th Anniversary 3 CD box set, hoping the remastered version of the album would be an improvement in quality over the old CD I had owned for years prior. Not so. I still like my old CD better. Maybe it’s just my ears…

So educate me on this remastering stuff…do any of the ABB remasters or Deluxe reissues provide a significant improvement in sound? What about the Mobile Fidelity stuff, or imports? I don’t mind investing the money (within reason) to start upgrading, but I don’t want to waste money on an album I already have just to get a minimal gain in the sound quality (or even no gain). I realize there may be other important reasons to get the Deluxe versions - the extra stuff or live stuff that is perhaps not released anywhere else - but speaking strictly from the quality of the remastering done on the original albums, are they worth it?

[Edited on 1/12/2017 by Redfish7]

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 08:37 AM
I'm with you, I love hear this music with the best possible sound, but I'm not re-purchasing every release of these albums. I have upgraded some, when it has been worth it, but I still have the same Polydor versions of Win, Lose or Draw and Wipe the Windows that I've had since the early 1990s. Those Capricorn CDs are from the mid-1990s when the Capricorn imprint briefly resurrected. The albums were remastered, and were a slight improvement on the original late 1980s Polydor CDs, but not significantly (I recall Idlewild South actually sounding worse - nothing like downgrading, right?).

There were a ton of At Fillmore East reissues, but the one to get is the most recent remaster - The Fillmore Concerts. Yes, it's all of the shows, but the sound quality is worth it.

Same goes for the recent Brothers & Sisters and Idlewild South Expanded Editions (which includes a remaster of the Ludlow Garage show). The sound quality is a big improvement, most notably the separation between instruments, especially on B&S which always sounded kind of muddy.

I believe the first album, Win, Lose or Draw, and [i/Wipe the Windows were remastered and the whole early catalog was recently re-released on vinyl (you can find this on the home page) but I don't know of any major re-release on CD package. However, I did find a deluxe version of the first album with the original mixes as "extras" on itunes, so my guess is you will see fewer CD packages in the coming years.

The key is when looking online, check the release date.

Here are the most recent major remasters on Amazon:

Idlewild South: https://www.amazon.com/Idlewild-South-Remastered-Allman-Brothers/dp/B018FZ6 24E/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-13&keywords=allman+ brothers

Idlewild South Expanded: https://www.amazon.com/Idlewild-South-CD-Blu-ray-Combo/dp/B0157FE6AM/ref=sr _1_13_twi_aud_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-13&keywords=allman+ brothers

At Fillmore East: https://www.amazon.com/1971-Fillmore-East-Recordings-CD/dp/B00JZO33VK/ref=s r_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-6&keywords=allman+brothers

Brothers & Sisters: https://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Sisters-Allman-Band/dp/B00DDBB82C/ref=sr_1_ 4?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-4&keywords=allman+brothers

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 09:52 AM
I think the general view is that the latest round of remastering with the expanded editions is top-notch, and you can buy the 1-CD album-only with this latest round remastering without having to buy the expanded editions.

Prior to that, the "Capricorn Classics" from the mid-90s generally got good marks around these parts. (Had not heard that Idlewild South was worse on Capricorn than original Polydor.) Some of the stuff released later was worse or the same remaster, so going by the "Capricorn Classics" imprint sort of ensured you got a good version. And the first generation of CDs from the 80s and early 90s is generally not very good. Those versions were mastered for vinyl/cassette and with the rush to new CD format a lot of crap got released on CD initially without being properly mastered for CD.

The Fillmore Concerts was a bit different in that it got remixed compared to the AFE and EAP versions. The bass is noticeably lower than on AFE and the drums sound different. As I recall from the numerous Fillmore threads here, the Capricorn Classics version was the best remaster of AFE until the last deluxe edition remasters were released a few years back.

Clear as mud, right?

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 10:52 AM
quote:
Prior to that, the "Capricorn Classics" from the mid-90s generally got good marks around these parts. (Had not heard that Idlewild South was worse on Capricorn than original Polydor.)



I felt they were pretty good all around, and it was nice to have At Fillmore East on a single disc for the first time (and the rest of the Capricorn vaults like Ton-Ton Macoute). The Idlewild South Capricorn release that I had was mixed super low and muddy to my ears compared to the Polydor release, but the latest remaster is fantastic.

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 02:32 PM
Who is Bob Lefsetz?

I agree with porkchopBob, and Redfish. I love the Allmans but I'm not going to re-purchase the albums as I already have them on CD, and even vinyl.

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 05:46 PM
quote:
I'm with you, I love hear this music with the best possible sound, but I'm not re-purchasing every release of these albums. I have upgraded some, when it has been worth it, but I still have the same Polydor versions of Win, Lose or Draw and Wipe the Windows that I've had since the early 1990s. Those Capricorn CDs are from the mid-1990s when the Capricorn imprint briefly resurrected. The albums were remastered, and were a slight improvement on the original late 1980s Polydor CDs, but not significantly (I recall Idlewild South actually sounding worse - nothing like downgrading, right?).

There were a ton of At Fillmore East reissues, but the one to get is the most recent remaster - The Fillmore Concerts. Yes, it's all of the shows, but the sound quality is worth it.

Same goes for the recent Brothers & Sisters and Idlewild South Expanded Editions (which includes a remaster of the Ludlow Garage show). The sound quality is a big improvement, most notably the separation between instruments, especially on B&S which always sounded kind of muddy.

I believe the first album, Win, Lose or Draw, and [i/Wipe the Windows were remastered and the whole early catalog was recently re-released on vinyl (you can find this on the home page) but I don't know of any major re-release on CD package. However, I did find a deluxe version of the first album with the original mixes as "extras" on itunes, so my guess is you will see fewer CD packages in the coming years.

The key is when looking online, check the release date.

Here are the most recent major remasters on Amazon:

Idlewild South: https://www.amazon.com/Idlewild-South-Remastered-Allman-Brothers/dp/B018FZ6 24E/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-13&keywords=allman+ brothers

Idlewild South Expanded: https://www.amazon.com/Idlewild-South-CD-Blu-ray-Combo/dp/B0157FE6AM/ref=sr _1_13_twi_aud_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-13&keywords=allman+ brothers

At Fillmore East: https://www.amazon.com/1971-Fillmore-East-Recordings-CD/dp/B00JZO33VK/ref=s r_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-6&keywords=allman+brothers

Brothers & Sisters: https://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Sisters-Allman-Band/dp/B00DDBB82C/ref=sr_1_ 4?ie=UTF8&qid=1484227214&sr=8-4&keywords=allman+brothers


Thank you for the info, and the Amazon links…that is very helpful.

I couldn’t remember for sure, but I just went and checked…I have the *Capricorn Classics* CD versions of the first 5 albums, and my Enlightened Rogues CD is also the *Capricorn Classics* version. I can’t find anything on the CD or the packaging that actually states that they are remastered, or when they were re-released…they just show the original release date for the album. So it’s good to know that these are generally considered to be decent/good remastered versions, with the possible exception of Idlewild South.

I’m glad you mentioned AFE..that one has really confused me with all the different re-issues…and seems to be a lot of duplication/overlap across the different re-issues. So as I mentioned, I already have the *Capricorn Classics* of AFE and EAP. And then a while ago, I tried to fill in any gaps from what was missing from AFE/EAP by just downloading individual songs from “The Fillmore Concerts (Live)” which came out in 1992, the “AFE (Deluxe Edition) which came out in 2003, and then the “1971 Fillmore East Recordings” from 2014. But trying to do that got really confusing…downright impossible. So…it sounds like I might just need to bite the bullet and buy the whole “1971 Fillmore East Recordings” 6 CD box set…is it worth it?

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 05:55 PM
quote:
I think the general view is that the latest round of remastering with the expanded editions is top-notch, and you can buy the 1-CD album-only with this latest round remastering without having to buy the expanded editions.

Prior to that, the "Capricorn Classics" from the mid-90s generally got good marks around these parts. (Had not heard that Idlewild South was worse on Capricorn than original Polydor.) Some of the stuff released later was worse or the same remaster, so going by the "Capricorn Classics" imprint sort of ensured you got a good version. And the first generation of CDs from the 80s and early 90s is generally not very good. Those versions were mastered for vinyl/cassette and with the rush to new CD format a lot of crap got released on CD initially without being properly mastered for CD.

The Fillmore Concerts was a bit different in that it got remixed compared to the AFE and EAP versions. The bass is noticeably lower than on AFE and the drums sound different. As I recall from the numerous Fillmore threads here, the Capricorn Classics version was the best remaster of AFE until the last deluxe edition remasters were released a few years back.

Clear as mud, right?


Thank you, this is helpful info. The mud is getting a little clearer. Good to know that the Capricorn Classics are good versions since that’s what I have…at least for the first 5 albums and Enlightend Rogues.

Is the AFE 6 CD box set considered the standard now (as far as remastering quality goes )?

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 05:57 PM
quote:
Who is Bob Lefsetz?

I agree with porkchopBob, and Redfish. I love the Allmans but I'm not going to re-purchase the albums as I already have them on CD, and even vinyl.


I have no idea who he is.

 

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  posted on 1/12/2017 at 06:05 PM
I do think he's a sorta well known industry pundit/commentator type:

http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/who-is-bob-lefsetz/

And his wiki page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Lefsetz

[Edited on 1/12/2017 by berkhath]

 

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  posted on 1/13/2017 at 08:48 AM
quote:
Who is Bob Lefsetz?


Robert Scott "Bob" Lefsetz is an American music industry analyst and critic, and author of the email newsletter and blog, the Lefsetz Letter.

I subscribe to it. His letters are usually interesting and I agree with him most of the time. His advice his always geared to musicians. He also has a deep appreciation for Duane Allman.

 

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  posted on 1/13/2017 at 07:15 PM
Agree with much guy says...............

Coincidently, been thinking of these two albums lately, and the need to play the vinyl. My first Allman purchase as a kid was Idlewild, before Fillmore came out. So that was my intro to the Brothers, not live. I like both albums for the studio purity. Duane was a session man ace by then and knew how to work in a studio. Maybe he conveyed that spirit to the band, as they to my ears, are extra tight, often restrained, and play as studio cats. Hearing the early Bros with GA at best voice, well, DUANE, and young "Richard" playing. I personally really, really like studio Liz. Perfect and to the point.

Before Fillmore Live, before the Bros' had a Ramblin' Man, or Statesboro, or OWO mainstream indentity as recognizers, well, they DIDN'T have a national recognizer song.... they were some newbie FM cool band who some in the know lovingly referred to friends as a band to listen to..... so if you liked them in the Idlewild and first record days, you picked your own favorite song to identify with them.... a clean slate so to speak.... nobody told us what was the best.... it was just.... new..... so my song that to me, for what unknown reason... was Leave My Blues At Home.... THAT was the Allman Brothers in my early high school on a cheap stereo platter. Manual repeat..... had to lean forward, heck.... pick up needle, drop down, do again...

 

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  posted on 1/13/2017 at 10:02 PM
If you are like me...and employ vinyl for critical listening; look no further than Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MOFI). Audiophile-grade analogue reproduction...so delicious and absolutely brilliant. MFSL Idlewild South is dripping with fidelity...timbres in IMOER you may have never even experienced.
 

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  posted on 1/13/2017 at 11:25 PM
Yes the Fillmore East Box set is worth it! Buy It!

 

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  posted on 1/14/2017 at 01:54 AM
The Fillmore East Box Set has a great sound. If you like you could then burn your own CD's to mimic whatever you envisioned as the ultimate Fillmore East performance. I did this and it was pretty cool. A couple of quibbles- because this is the entire recorded Fillmore March run and June closing show, the only Stormy Monday version includes Thom Doucette's performance. He was pretty much edited out on the original AFE (you can hear him on the final crescendo). While I like most of his playing I always thought his opening fills detracted from this performance. Also the beloved Whipping Post and Mountain Jam that were previously released are on separate CD's so you have to work a bit to get a smooth segue if you go the single CD route. Finally the original You Don't Love is a splice of two performances. Of course on the box set you get the two original performances plus even another from the first night early show.

Of interest, the set contains what I believe to be the first live performance of One Way Out. Interesting to hear but nothing compared to the later standard (of course also included).

Did this whet your appetite a bit more?

 

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  posted on 1/14/2017 at 12:02 PM
quote:
The Fillmore East Box Set has a great sound. If you like you could then burn your own CD's to mimic whatever you envisioned as the ultimate Fillmore East performance. I did this and it was pretty cool. A couple of quibbles- because this is the entire recorded Fillmore March run and June closing show, the only Stormy Monday version includes Thom Doucette's performance. He was pretty much edited out on the original AFE (you can hear him on the final crescendo). While I like most of his playing I always thought his opening fills detracted from this performance. Also the beloved Whipping Post and Mountain Jam that were previously released are on separate CD's so you have to work a bit to get a smooth segue if you go the single CD route. Finally the original You Don't Love is a splice of two performances. Of course on the box set you get the two original performances plus even another from the first night early show.

Of interest, the set contains what I believe to be the first live performance of One Way Out. Interesting to hear but nothing compared to the later standard (of course also included).

Did this whet your appetite a bit more?


Yes, it does whet my appetite. I have no doubts that I will eventually end up getting the FE box set. It’s really just a matter of prioritizing at this point. I still have other gaps to fill in my ABB collection. For example, I don’t yet have “Live from A&R Studios” or all the live shows from the Archive Series, such as Boston Common, etc. And I can’t buy everything I’m missing at the same time. So is the FE box set really a priority at this point, or should I work on filling those other gaps first?…that’s my current thought process…

I took to Google a couple of nights ago, and read a bunch of reviews on the box set. If I could summarize and condense them all…the general consensus seemed to be:
1) The sound/remastering is fantastic, although there were a few who disagreed with this.
2) Its really only for hardcore fans of the band…very similar set lists each night (lots of duplication for a casual fan), live unedited “warts and all” performances, etc….but hardcore fans will love it anyway.
3) For the most part, Tom Dowd got it right on the original AFE album. His song selections, editing/splicing, etc. captured the best moments of those historic shows. However, for the hardcore fan or the “completest”, the box set is a must have.
4) The packaging sucked. No jewel cases for the CDs. However, the booklet was a nice addition.
That pretty much sums it up (based on the reviews that I read anyway)…

BTW…I thought I had read somewhere that the Liz Reed on the original AFE was also a splice of two performances?

 

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  posted on 1/14/2017 at 04:29 PM
I love having the 1971 Fillmore East Recordings collection, but it is true that the best cuts really are on the original 7 tracks from the album (and later, Eat A Peach). Still, there is a ton of stuff to enjoy for an Allman Brothers fan, those other cuts are sublime. I can't speak to packaging, because I only buy digital media (well, it's all digital, but nothing physical). They are significantly cheaper ($36 on itunes).

I had the A&R Radio Show on bootleg for years, it might be my favorite show outside of the Fillmore shows. I initially wasn't going to repurchase, but the remaster is fantastic. I highly recommend.

I actually never bought Boston Common, nothing jumped out at me about it, but the other Archives are great, especially the second half of Stonybrook.

I highly recommend the Brothers & Sisters expanded edition. Physical copies might be out of print, but you can download from amazon or itunes. Not only is the original album crystal clear, probably the best sonic improvement of any of their early albums to my ears, but you get the whole Winterland 1973 show. It's one of the highlights from the Lamar/Chuck-era, and Dickey sounds fantastic. Plus the entire "Early Morning Blues" (which turned into "Jelly Jelly" for some reason) is a treat.

 

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  posted on 1/15/2017 at 01:21 PM
quote:
BTW…I thought I had read somewhere that the Liz Reed on the original AFE was also a splice of two performances?

Not so. Some confusion about what was on different tape reels by Tom Dowd himself led to this belief. As confirmed once more by the box set the original live Liz Reed from AFE was an unspliced single performance.

What would have been interesting though is if all the band had to work with were the other two Liz Reed performances from this set of shows. While each is very good Juicy Carter's work on sax is pretty atrocious (and I listen to a lot of jazz). Tom Dowd would have had his work cut out (literally) to come up with a top level performance. Personally in making my own CD's I cut out the sax solos.


[Edited on 1/15/2017 by dzobo]

 

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  posted on 1/15/2017 at 02:01 PM
quote:
Personally in making my own CD's I cut out the sax solos.


Just out of curiosity...how do you cut out the sax solos?

Too bad Dowd didn't cut out the drum solo section on Mt Jam...with apologies to Butch, Jaimoe, and all the drummers out there...I have just never been able to get into a drum solo!


 

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  posted on 1/15/2017 at 03:16 PM
There is a lot of audio editing software that let's you cut and splice. The stuff I use is very old but I am comfortable with it. I am sure other posters can point you in specific directions. There is also some freeware out there but you always need to be careful what comes bundled with it.

The original Mountain Jam was on two sides of vinyl. Part 2 always received a lot more play (also Duane does hit one terrible clunker on part 1).

[Edited on 1/15/2017 by dzobo]

 

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  posted on 1/15/2017 at 06:04 PM
If you run across a vinyl copy, don't pay extra for the pink version. This was issued on a Capricorn label and the inner circle is pink. Hence the title. It costs more because it is more difficult to find as it was released in more limited production.

The sound is the same so unless you want it as a collector's item, pass on it.

And I would buy it in person so you can see it rather than getting in on amazon or some site like that.

 

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  posted on 1/15/2017 at 10:50 PM
quote:
I love having the 1971 Fillmore East Recordings collection, but it is true that the best cuts really are on the original 7 tracks from the album (and later, Eat A Peach). Still, there is a ton of stuff to enjoy for an Allman Brothers fan, those other cuts are sublime. I can't speak to packaging, because I only buy digital media (well, it's all digital, but nothing physical). They are significantly cheaper ($36 on itunes).

I had the A&R Radio Show on bootleg for years, it might be my favorite show outside of the Fillmore shows. I initially wasn't going to repurchase, but the remaster is fantastic. I highly recommend.

I actually never bought Boston Common, nothing jumped out at me about it, but the other Archives are great, especially the second half of Stonybrook.

I highly recommend the Brothers & Sisters expanded edition. Physical copies might be out of print, but you can download from amazon or itunes. Not only is the original album crystal clear, probably the best sonic improvement of any of their early albums to my ears, but you get the whole Winterland 1973 show. It's one of the highlights from the Lamar/Chuck-era, and Dickey sounds fantastic. Plus the entire "Early Morning Blues" (which turned into "Jelly Jelly" for some reason) is a treat.




Thanks, porkchopbob - I know it’s old school, but I still like to have the physical CD when available…even though, the first thing I do is download the tunes from the CD into my iTunes library (on my PC), and then onto my phone. One of our vehicles is an older model that doesn’t have Bluetooth capability, and I am on the road for at least two hours a day. That allows me a lot of time to listen to music, but I need the physical CD to do so if I happen to be driving the older car. I do have a question though…probably a dumb question, but I guess I’m just not totally up to speed on all the technology…if I download the digital version of a remastered album (for example, the $36 1971 Fillmore East Recordings on iTunes that you mentioned) and then burn that to a CD, would the audio quality of my homemade CDs be exactly the same as if I had purchased the physical CDs, or is there some quality lost in that process?

Also, about the Winterland 73 show on that expanded edition of B&S…is that from the same show that is on the “Wipe the Windows…” album?

 

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  posted on 1/16/2017 at 01:57 AM
Regarding Wipe the Windows- Wasted Words, Southbound, Ramblin' Man and Liz Reed are from the Winterland set.

 

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  posted on 1/22/2017 at 10:54 PM
quote:
I had the A&R Radio Show on bootleg for years, it might be my favorite show outside of the Fillmore shows. I initially wasn't going to repurchase, but the remaster is fantastic. I highly recommend.


Got this a few days ago and have listened to it several times. You're right. It is fantastic...both the music/show and the audio quality are great. I love it and I agree that it is definitely a close rival to AFE. In fact, right now I think I like it even more than AFE...but I'm sure a lot of that enthusiasm is just due to the fact that the A&R CD is new and fresh to me, whereas I've been listening to AFE for years. We'll see...

Also got Dose...this was my first Gov't Mule purchase. Awesome. I love it too, and really hate that I missed the Mule party and am just now discovering them. But better late than never I guess. Any suggestions on what my next Mule purchase should be?

 
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