Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TVD's Record Store Day 2010 Label Showcase | Ardent Records & Studios |Jake Rabinbach Interviews John Fry

When I was 19 and a freshman at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, I heard a record by Big Star known as "3rd" or "Sister Lovers." Memphis may as well have been in another country, and Memphis in the 70s seemed to only exist as a mythic place in my mind.

At first, the music sounded like secret messages coming from a distant radio frequency in the middle of the night, and then it got closer and closer until it began to do what any great record can do and define my day to day reality. Back then, I could not have known that 8 years later I'd be recording in the same rooms where Big Star recorded and signing a contract with John Fry, engineer on all three Big Star albums, to release a full length lp on Big Star's label, Ardent.

I met John Fry in the summer of 2004 when I was conducting archival interviews for the Stax Museum of American Soul music in Memphis. I went and sat in the studio A lounge while he recounted stories of early home studios, Dewey Phillips groundbreaking radio show "Red, Hot and Blue," the heyday of Stax Records, and the birth of one of my all time my favorite bands, Big Star.

He described the way Steve Cropper mixed Sam and Dave's 'Soul Man' and how he had to signal to Isaac Hayes when the tape was running out on some of the long takes that eventually made up the "Hot Buttered Soul' Sessions. That day I got to listen to stories from a man that has not only run an amazing recording facility for 40 years, but someone who had a hand in some of the most important cultural contributions of the 20th century. But I also felt I was talking to a man who had very forward thinking about the future of an industry in trouble. It was for this reason that I felt confident about working with him as a label president.

So when I was asked recently to sit down and conduct another interview with John Fry, I didn't hesitate. I am thrilled to share this interview that covers everything from the drum sounds on an obscure early Ardent records single to the tumultuous and ling standing relationship between Rock and Roll and Christianity.

—"Jump Back" Jake Rabinbach
Memphis, TN 3-2010

Jake Interviews John | The TVD Podcast [39.5Mg] (Mp3)

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