Please Mr. Postman: The great Guitar solo debate, reissues and more!

‘Midnight Train…’ talking points

Regarding the article “Memories Of ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’” (Goldmine, 5/23/08), I was quite struck by songwriter Jim Weatherly’s quote: “And then this line hit me: ‘I’d rather live in her world than live without her in mine’. And that locked it up, and I knew that it was a really decent song.”

Reading that took me right back to a memorable moment which ocurred at the 1975 Grammy Awards, the year after Gladys Knight & The Pips won the Grammy for “Georgia.” At that time I had just started playing drums for singer/songwriter Harry Chapin and was in attendance with him at the Grammys, he being nominated as Best Male Vocalist for his #1 hit “Cat’s In The Cradle.” A few minutes after we were seated, Harry got up, walked about eight rows back in the theater where Gladys Knight & The Pips, up for yet another award, were seated. He said a few words to them and then returned to his seat when Harry’s wife Sandy asked him what that was about. Harry replied: “I just told them what a great line I thought ‘I’d rather live in his world than live without him in mine’ was.”

I took note at that moment about the power and art of great lyrics and how that made Harry tick. In any event, reading Weatherly’s own reflection back on that lyric transported me right back to that moment. 

— Howard Fields
Bergenfield, N.J.
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Guitar solo
First off, may I congratulate Mr. Popoff on what I’ve been saying for years: Jimmy Page is overrated as a lead guitarist and the best Led Zep album is Physical Graffiti, not IV.

That being said — “Flying High Again” is superior to the overplayed “Crazy Train,” (but that’s quibbling), but “All Along The Watchtower,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Back in Black” and “Godzilla”?

Wake up and smell the cat food.

Hendrix, Queen, AC/DC and BOC have probably 20 songs a piece with better solos.

 Where’s Chuck Klosterman when you need him?

— Bill Sperger
Ithaca, N.Y.

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Expand reissue campaigns
MCA/Universal got off to a good start with their vinyl reissue project really well around 1998 and then stopped it after four issues, only to start it again more recently. The fact that they and other companies are still issuing music on records is fantastic. Especially since Uni plans to issue approximately 60 more vinyl reissue titles later in the year if their current vinyl project keeps going well.

Problem is, they need to stop reissuing the same old “cash-cow” titles over and over again!  I’m speaking for other record companies as well, like CBS/Sony and EMI, etc. This is not my first letter about this, nor am I the first person who’s written about this subject. This is a serious issue!

Reissue specialists such as Sundazed, Simply Vinyl, and Mobile Fidelity, etc., have put out a lot of good stuff, and they, though especially the big companies, need to observe what’s on the market at all times. Some selections are being reissued by two or more companies as I write this letter!

Perhaps the best way to explain my point is to list a few well-known, well-loved album titles from over the years that could easily be put in the “safe” seller category, stuff that hasen’t been issued on vinyl for 20 or more years, that is. Other than the

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