Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


Last week (June 6), prompted by a letter from a Washington man, we provided in lay terminology the first five steps necessary to transfer music to compact discs from vinyl records and cassettes.

We reached the point where a music disc could be created from the wave (.wav) files we made, but left the chapter on sound restoration for this week.

As for software, I find none better at restoration than DC6, so we'll use it for this lesson.

6. Activate DC6, then open a .wav file. You will quickly see the wave form stretching across the screen.

7. Open the EZ CLEAN feature either of two ways: with the “EZ” button on the toolbar or by bringing down the FILTER menu.

8. The three most common types of unwanted noise are shown here as SCRATCH, CRACKLE and HISS (not exactly the same sounds made famous by Rice Krispies). Any and all can be eliminated in just one pass.

By default, the settings result in a fairly aggressive attack on all three, which you can just accept and run. However, you can easily zero in on the specific noise standing between your vinyl source and a much-improved product.

9. By clicking the PREVIEW button, you will hear the audio with DC6's presumption as to what should be eliminated. Usually it is correct, but by moving each of the three sliders (Scratch, Crackle, Hiss) you can vary the attack and hear the music change accordingly.

The offending noise on one record may be scratches, while another disc may be scratch-free yet plagued with crackles. Having separate controls for each is a marvelous approach.

10. When your ears tell you the sound is as clean as possible, hit the RUN FILTER button. EZ Clean will sweep the entire file, making the improvements you selected.

You can call it quits at this pit stop and save the file for burning, or you can move on to the enhancement process.

Included with the program are several audio enhancement tools, some of which will be familiar (i.e., equalizers) and some may not (i.e., tube simulators).

For example, those who have lost a little high-end hearing, may want to customize their music with a little high boost. Dogs may choose just the opposite.

As with the EZ Clean feature, you can preview your modifications on the fly. Save the file only when you are satisfied with the result.

So stop staring at that pile of records and wishing you had them on compact discs. Now you can.

Appreciation is extended to Jeff Klinedinst, of York, Pa., whose technical expertise contributed mightily to this essay.

DEAR JERRY: I read with great interest your forum on the first rock and roll recordings. I am pleased to learn of tunes that qualify musically, though are very obscure because they did not become hits. Two examples are “Rock and Roll,” by Paul Bascomb (1948), and a completely different song, also titled “Rock and Roll,” by the Doles Dickens Quintet (1949). Great stuff!

All of which has me wondering what might be the earliest recording with the phrase “rock and roll” in the lyrics. Any ideas?
—Bonnie Frye, Stewartstown, Pa.

DEAR BONNIE: The earliest use of “rock and roll” that I know of that pertains to that form of music came along in early 1938, in the jazz band hit, “Rock It for Me.”

Smack dab in the heart of the swing era, two excellent versions of this tune came out, by a pair of that genre's brightest songbirds: Ella Fitzgerald and Mildred Bailey.

Not only are those exact three words sung in “Rock It for Me,” but the phrase specifically refers to a rockin' style of music that had not yet been born.

To wit:

“Now I'm all through with symphony, c'mon and rock it for me
It's true that once upon a time, the opera was the thing
But today the rage is rhythm and rhyme
So won't you satisfy my soul with the rock and roll”

In 1934, the Boswell Sisters had a Top 10 hit with a tune titled “Rock and Roll,” but it is about being at sea in a boat and rockin' and rollin' with the waves.

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