THE BEATLES PART 2: Choosing a MONO Pressing

The blank cover of The White Album was perhaps symbolic of the Fab Four’s reluctance to reveal their internal disintegration. Lennon and McCartney still shared songwriting credit, but were being pulled apart by their differing creative and philosophical interests. As a result they were composing almost exclusively on their own. Their songs, along with George Harrison’s, covered a wide variety of emotions – joy, disdain, empathy, boredom, hope, sadness, love, anger, even hysteria. The White Album not only stretched the rules, it broke them.

By 1968, stereo albums were becoming increasingly popular, and this would be the last Beatles album to receive a dedicated mono mix (1969’s Yellow Submarine mono soundtrack is a fold down). The mono mix of The White Album differs from the stereo version on several songs. This makes for interesting listening for those who are intimately familiar with the US LPs – released in stereophonic sound only. One example is Eric Clapton’s guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, which is more modulated and goes on longer before the fade-out. Continue reading “”



After Rubber Soul and the artistic heights of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles followed up in 1968 by forming Apple Records and releasing a double LP that would go on to become their biggest seller and perhaps the favorite Beatles album for younger listeners. Sporting a clean white cover featuring only their embossed name and a serial number printed in gray ink, The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) was a strong departure from what had come before.

Many of the tunes were written in India where the group had attended a spiritual meditation retreat with the Maharishi Yogi. Recording the tracks in England was a less than blissful experience however. John was bringing Yoko into the studio every day, Ringo temporarily quit the band in frustration, and producer George Martin was unable to end the bickering or edit the band’s output. The result was an album of thirty songs that bordered on the self-indulgent. Continue reading “”



Thirty years ago today, Washington state’s Mount St. Helens had its catastrophic eruption. It was the most destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed, and 250 homes, 47 bridges, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. The eruption spewed ash for hundreds of miles and caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain’s summit some 3,000 feet from its prior height of nearly 10,000 ft. The resulting crater, dust covered surface, and barren fir trees made for an eerie lunar like landscape. Continue reading “”



Backed by Lee Sklar on bass, Russ Kunkle and Butch Trucks on drums, Michael Utley on keyboards, Chris Hillman on mandolin, and influenced by Sly Stone and Brian Wilson… well you get the picture. No Other was the fourth solo studio album by ex-Byrds Gene Clark, now widely regarded as a lost masterpiece of ’70’s folk rock. Continue reading “”



I’m back on the road again – this time to Monterey in my modified 1972 911T/ST. I’m headed for the annual R Gruppe track day and weekend gathering (Treffen). I’ve been to every one of these over the past ten years, so there’s no reason to stop now! I’ll also be photographing along the way – shooting HD video is my latest passion. So inland Oregon, the Redwoods and coastal California will be my subjects over the next two weeks. Continue reading “”



On April 22 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values. Continue reading “”



Today marks the 3rd annual Record Store Day, a national celebration to support independent music shops. Brick and mortar record stores have been a dying breed across America for several years now. The on-line convenience of downloading music from the internet is at least partly responsible. Unfortunately, the community reality of a well run and experienced local record store is being lost in the process.

If you saw the movie “High Fidelity” you know what I’m talking about. In order to celebrate independent record stores across the nation, the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, Coalition Of Independent Music Stores, Music Monitor Network, Newbury Comics, and Value Music Group of Indie Stores have named this Saturday in April as Record Store Day. Continue reading “”


The 2nd Annual Targa California Rally took place this past week south of Monterey. Over fifty pre-1975 cars (twenty of which were Porsches) drove 1,000 miles over varied terrain during the peak of this spring’s wildflower season. The participants experienced a unique blend of long country roads, sports car museums and automotive companionship over three days traveling at their own pace. Continue reading “”



Yesterday I was sitting in my parked car working on a new title for my book on America when the strangest thing happened. In the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, with absolutely no one else around, my car started moving as though someone was bouncing up and down on the rear bumper. I jumped out of the car only to discover a hummingbird off to my left side and nothing else. Discovering a new title was a revelation, but I did not think it would be followed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Continue reading “”



The Palm Springs Photo Festival has been fantastic. Thanks to all the reviewers and seminar presenters for a very informative week! Special thanks go out to Russell Hart, Christopher Robinson, Tony Bannon, Mary Virginia Swanson, Jane Brown and Michelle Dunn Marsh. Next stop on my road trip is LA for a car collection photo shoot, then Tucson to see “Swanee”, then back to LA for the Targa California Rally. Continue reading “”



A witness to ’60’s rock history and one of the greatest Leica M photojournalists, Jim Marshall passed away in New York City yesterday. He was 74. His photographs of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, and The Beatles’ last concert in San Francisco in 1966 are legendary. He was well known for capturing decisive musical moments and was the chief photographer at the original Woodstock festival. A strong personality with a solid business sense and great stories to tell, his is a dying breed in still photography. He may well be the end of an era. Continue reading “”


I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to live a life that has allowed me to pursue my passion. Photography, words and music are an integral part of my core being. Reinventing myself within these disciplines as my life unfolds is where I am today. No doubt, times like these are challenging and they will probably continue to be so. However, I feel it’s very important that we identify those paths that will work best for each of us in the coming years ahead. Honoring the process that defines our lives is integral to our future success. Continue reading “”



It might seem like yesterday, but Déjà Vu was released 40 years ago this week. It topped the US Billboard pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock. This was the first album by CSN (David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash) that included Neil Young. Stills estimates that the album took six months and 800 hours of studio time to record with multi-layered tracks and lots of overdubs in the mix. Wally Heider’s Studios in San Francisco and Los Angeles were both employed. Continue reading “”


The Porsche GT3 R Hybrid race car debuted at the Geneva Motor Show today. This unveiling occurs 110 years after Ferdinand Porsche developed the world’s first hybrid automobile, the Lohner-Porsche. Porsche engineers decided to expand on previous designs by creating a very modern high-tech hybrid. Instead of batteries, braking energy is stored in a flywheel generator that can spin up to 40,000 rpm. Power from the generator is available for six to eight seconds following each charge, much like last year’s Formula One race cars. Continue reading “”



I’ve been a fan of Leica cameras since I bought a used Leicaflex SL back in 1979. Since then I’ve come to value their mechanical precision, durability and astounding image contrast and shadow quality. M2s, M3s, M4s, M6s, Leicaflexes, R4s, R6s and R8s have passed through my hands over the years.

With each succeeding model, the innovations have impressed just as much as the consistent “look” provided by the superb German optics. Leica has just introduced a brand new Leica S-system that combines 35mm handling with a medium format digital sensor. The first of these S2 cameras and lenses are just now being delivered, and I hope to test one soon. Continue reading “”