Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hey Alexa....Engage Recipe Records Cookbooks....

OK...I have always been a little creeped out by artificial intelligence. But today's technology has reached a new level and, as my friend Jude Southerland Kessler pointed out recently to me, technology has now caught up to Recipe Records Cookbooks.

What am I talking about?

Well, most of you are Recipe Records Cookbooks fans and are aware of one of the hippest features for the books:   The Suggested Song List

My late friend and co-author, Maggie McHugh and I, cleverly combined our rock and roll recipes with music. The great addition to the cookbook was the suggested song list contained on each layout. To me, THAT is the greatest part of the book. I always said it was about the music. But, the recipes, stories and trivia are pretty spectacular, too :)

Beam me up, Scotty.

Well, Alexa was given to me as a gift by Ms. Kessler and I was not sure at first if this was a path I should walk. Note:  Do not say "record" and "Alexa" in the same conversation (or same room for that matter, trust me). But I soon found out that while I am slicing and dicing, I can tell Amazon's AI tool, Alexa, to play The Meters, or Otis Redding, or opera music. I can ask her to turn up the volume, or turn it down.

Inject Recipe Records Suggested Song Lists:

Ms. Kessler pointed out to me that while you are making a recipe out of one of the cookbooks, you can ask Alexa to play each song on the Suggested Song List. 

This is what Maggie and I had in mind some 10 years ago when we wrote the first cookbook. We wanted you to enjoy the music and the food.  So, get those Recipe Records Cookbooks out and turn up THE BEAT in your kitchen today! 

Send me a pic of your Recipe Records moments via social media:

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Giles Martin & Bruce Spizer
Check out the latest episode of "She Said She Said" on blogtalkradio. Jude Southerland Kessler and I interview the scholarly Beatles expert, Bruce Spizer:

Bruce on She Said She Said

Thursday, April 12, 2018

HELP! Here Come the Strawberry Fields!

George experienced it.
The long, cold, lonely winter.
Harrison was craving the radiance of the warm sunshine at the end of a winter that was particularly difficult, for professional reasons and likely, personal as well....which led to his monumental song:  Here Comes the Sun.
We have experienced a winter that has extended itself in multiple ways and I, for one, am relieved for the promise of spring. For years I have stared at a bare spot in my lovely back yard that has been sorely ignored. The plot has good drainage, soil and sun, and I have always "Imagined" a "Strawberry Field" in this thoughtful spot. Like you, I have a billion things to do, but so did The Beatles. I've been inspired to plant my own "Strawberry Field," channeling George and John and...."with a little help from my friends" (more on that below).  

Beatanical Garden
Friar Park, Oxfordshire, England

George Harrison was an exceptional gardener and musician. The chaos he was exposed to during his life ultimately led him to seek peace and quiet in the garden. Of course, George's garden was (and continues to be) in a completely different category than my garden. George's garden is what I call a Beatanical Garden...lavish horticulture on a mania level. The quiet Beatle lived at Friar Park which is an exquisite estate, and he shaped the gardens - one thoughtful and purposeful day at a time.

Back to my project. I've decided to grow a field of strawberries and such and I would like to name the garden. I plan to put the name on a sign and hang it at the garden. Would you HELP! me? 
Here Comes the Strawberry Field
As you can plainly see, there is a lot of work to be done here and I can use all the suggestions I can get! 
I am having a contest to name the Strawberry Field. Check out the prize package below and directions to submit your entry. You can send me gardening tips and suggestions, too!
I look forward to sharing this labor of Beatle love with you!

CONTEST!  "Name the Strawberry Field"

Prizes:  *$25 Amazon gift card
*Original Art canvas tote bag - your choice of Beatle (original art by Susan Derbacher)
*PLUS 1 Complete set of Recipe Records Cookbooks! ($175 prize pkg)

Original Paul McCartney
canvas tote
-original art by Susan Derbacher-
Submit your entry via Facebook, Twitter, commenting below or via email:
May 10, 2018

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Sign up at my website to receive my newsletter - it's easy! I will also share the winner of the contest and pictures of the garden in next month's newsletter.

Lanea Stagg's Website

Jude and Lanea
Jude and Lanea have a radio show series called She Said She Said and our theme this spring is #i-Candy.

Check out our recent episodes with guests who are indeed, eye candy!

#i-Candy Guest: Ivor Davis

#i-Candy Guest: Linda Chorney

#i-Candy Guest: Bruce Spizer

George at Friar Park

I'd like to share this lovely article with you about George's garden:     George's Estate

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wicked Cool Minute #8: Which is Better; Mono or Stereo?

Jerry Hammack, Author of
The Beatles Recording Reference Manuals
We are quickly becoming a generation that does not know what "Mono" means.
Do you?

I asked author/expert Jerry Hammack to weigh in on the topic. As an American producer and engineer, Jerry knows quite a lot on the topic of the wonder of sound and he definitely has an opinion. In my effort to give you wicked cool data in just a couple of minutes, I challenge you to make note of Hammack's composition and use it in your next water cooler conversation. Leave your comments below as well, as we'd love to know your opinion on this very important matter!

From Author Jerry Hammack:

If you're in the audiophile community, you'll hear discussions of vintage recordings that tend to go something like this...

"I love the new vinyl re-release of Blah and the Blahs!"

"Oh, it's okay, but you haven't really heard them until you've heard them in mono!"

Heard them in mono...It's the equivalent of saying you haven't really 
read the Bible if you haven't read it in Hebrew. And in many cases, it's a true statement. But what is the difference between stereo, the way most of us experience our music today, and this mysterious thing called "mono"?

You can trace the origins of mono recordings back to the earliest Edison 
wax cylinders, played back though a single "horn" or speaker. Mono, or Monaural, means  "of, relating to, affecting, or designed for use with one ear." The easiest way to think of it is as a single point of focus in a recording, or even easier, a recording meant to be heard through a single speaker.

Many of the earliest pop recordings were meant to be heard this way, as 
home (or later, car) audio systems commonly only had a single speaker. The engineers of the era worked to insure that everything they wanted you to hear came through loud and clear through just a single point of output.

Famously, the majority of The Beatles best work was focused on mono 
output. In the UK during their era, mono was king - unlike the US where stereo (or stereophonic, "of, relating to, or constituting sound reproduction involving the use of separated microphones and two transmission channels to achieve the sound separation of a live hearing") had made early inroads commercially with home systems. Knowing 
this, they focused their work to insure the mono versions of their recordings were everything they envisioned. They actually spent very little time on the stereo versions of the same songs until late in their career.

Image result for album in monoWhich is better mono or stereo? Neither, really. Purists would say you should experience music the way it was intended to be heard: Bach on ancient instruments; jazz, live in a club: The Beatles in mono, and so on.
While that's desirable in many ways, finding those ancient instruments or even a real mono system is problematic and costly. Many mono recordings have now been recreated in a "summed" output, meaning you can play them on a stereo system, but they are still from one "single point of focus."

The interesting thing is - once you are some distance from your stereo (far enough to not be able to distinguish the left from the right channel), you are listening in mono anyway!

So enjoy your stereo or enjoy your mono, but mostly, just enjoy your music.
Jerry Hammack lives in Canada and is a frequent guest at The Fest for Beatles Fans. Read more and purchase his book at:

The Beatles Get Back to Mono:

Wishing you PEACE,
Lanea Stagg
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