Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I found your column several months ago about making your own CDs quite compelling.

After being a radio jock and music director for 30 years, I have amassed quite a collection of 45s, albums, and CD singles. And, since so many record companies find it strangely necessary to add filler, alternative takes, unreleased live takes, and demos (who cares!!!) to so many of their boxed sets and “hits” collections, I have lately seriously given thought to creating my own collections on CD.

My questions are:

1. Aside from the actual computer itself (which I already own), how much can I expect to spend for the necessary hardware and software. I would want better than average. I have already learned that I can't just go to a competitive retail chain store, like Circuit City, but have to deal with the more upscale (i.e. not competitive) audiophile shop.

2. Having made very professional-sounding cassette collections for myself for many years and being rather proficient with stereo equipment — but not being a computer whiz — just what level of difficulty can I expect?

3. Is the technology for making your own CDs at a good level right now, or would I be better off waiting a couple of years for further advances in CD recorders and better software?

4. If you do a professional job on your home-made CDs, is there a noticeable audio difference from what you would obtain from the same collection made by the manufacturer? In other words, if you're a stickler for sound, is the cost and time spent on this project worth it?

I don't know if it matters, but I would primarily be transferring from mint condition records and CDs to CD, but not scratchy records.

I would very much appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions.
—Jay Elliott (

DEAR JAY: First of all, Jay Elliott is an excellent air name.

Now let's tackle your questions numerically:

1. Merely owning a computer does not mean you have the multimedia capabilities necessary to operate a CD-R (Compact Disc Recorder). However, since most recently-manufactured systems are CD-R friendly, I'll assume you do. You then need only the CD-R unit, which should come packaged with Easy CD Creator software. You should be able to find CD-Rs at numerous shops. Heck, I got mine at Costco. For no more than $400 to $500 you'll likely get everything you'll need.

2. Whiz or not, the whole process is in my opinion quite simple — especially with your audio background.

3. I wouldn't wait. Most manufactured products improve with time but I believe this technology to be as good now as most of us are ever going to require. Let's face it, you already bought a computer and they improve drastically every year.

4. This is a digital process, which means you'll lose nothing. Your finished product will sound as good as your source material - perhaps even better if you use a restoration program.

DEAR JERRY: I have been a fan of Marty Robbins for many years. I have most of his recordings, and one of my favorite songs, “ The Ballad of the Alamo,” contains a phrase that has puzzled me for a long time.

The mystery words are after “Santa Anna turned scarlet,” and before “he roared.”

It sounds to me like “play to quay lo.” I know the words are Spanish, so I asked a co-Puerto Rican co-worker to interpret, but they could not. Can you?
—Berlin Wittig, Broadway, Va.

DEAR BERLIN: You are very close, and you are right about it being Spanish. I hear it as: “Santa Anna turned scarlet, play 'De Guello' he roared.” Phonetically, “De Guello” sounds like “play to quay lo.”

“De Guello,” you may also recall, is the haunting Mexican instrumental heard throughout the film “Rio Bravo.”

Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra — particularly his trumpeter — furnish “De Guello” in “Rio Bravo,” and they also released it on a 45 rpm single in 1960 (Capitol 4448).

IZ ZAT SO? Marty Robbins owns the unique distinctions of being the last person to perform at the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, and the first to perform on the stage of the new Grand Ole Opry House.

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