Hayes Carll + Lindi Ortega + The Cactus Blossoms

Three of the headline acts at the week-long ‘Southern Fork Americana Festival’ in Auckland, New Zealand, 7-16 October.

Hayes Carll is a Grammy-nominated Texan songwriter and  Lindi Ortega originally hails from Toronto, but both have ‘paid their dues’ for well over a decade and have a handful of albums each.

On the other hand, young siblings The Cactus Blossoms have just issued their first album Continue reading


Terminator tonearm (Pt III) – stop the chatter (updated)

The Terminator linear tracking tonearm combines an air-bearing with a (twin) ‘uni-pivot’ bearing.

Uni-pivot bearings need to be stabilised in order to handle the energy generated by a pick-up cartridge.

In this case, twin pivot points were in metal-to-metal contact with the arm-slider ‘V-brackets’ and some instability or ‘bearing rattle’ can be audible at times. Continue reading


Stax Records – Memphis

Most people interested in popular music, and soul music in particular, will have heard of Stax.  And of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Stax Records (originally Satellite Records), was created in 1957 by two ‘white’ siblings, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton – hence the name ST-AX.

Stax soon relocated their studio to an old movie theatre in a ‘black’ neighbourhood in South Memphis – at the time (1961), Memphis was still completely racially segregated. Continue reading


Bargain bin – Rega RB202 tonearm

This guy costs US$395 / £198 – not a small sum, but in hi-fi terms, a bargain I’d suggest.

The current Rega tonearms are descendants of the original legendary RB250/300 tonearms introduced in 1983.  They still sound excellent.  And importantly I think, sound a lot like real music.

I owned (and enjoyed) a Linn Sondek with Ittok tonearm from the same period, for over 10 years, but I don’t remember the Ittok sounding this much fun! Continue reading


Linda Ronstadt – Canciones

To celebrate Linda Ronstadt’s birthday today, I had to spin some old favourites.

These days, Linda cannot sing because of Parkinson’s Disease.  However she has given us over 30 albums of music to enjoy.

Canciones de mi Padre – I love this album (from 1987), together with Mas Canciones  (1991). Both albums contain her renditions of traditional Mexican classics and ‘ranchera’ folk songs from her family heritage. Continue reading


DIY cable thinking

In 1983, Dr Malcolm Hawksford published a seminal and entertaining analysis of AC signal transmission within wire conductors, in The Essex Echo series in HiFi News & Record Review magazine.

(This article, updated, was re-published in Stereophile Oct 1995.)

Dr Hawksford offers plausible explanations of what I was hearing in my humble experiments a few years later, listening to different configurations of single strand copper wire as interconnect and loudspeaker cabling. Continue reading