National Jukebox

Friday, May 13, 2011


The Library of Congress recently launched a new online jukebox with 10,000+ early recordings (1900's-1930's).  These were originally issued as 78 rpm record sides from the Victor Talking Machine Company. .   Early recordings can be tough to listen to (pops, clicks, noise), but to the careful listener they offer a glimpse into history being made. Check this side from December 4, 1901:

Phil Lesh and Friends 1999-08-22

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Phil Lesh and Friends
County Bowl
Santa Barbara, CA
(Download or Stream)

My first experience with Phil Lesh and friends was in the summer after I graduated from high school. My old friend Critical Chris and I decided to go Gathering of the Vibes in upstate New York. I was already big into Gov't Mule and the Grateful Dead, and Mule was featured one of the nights of the festival followed by Phil Lesh and Friends. We had a devilishly smart plan to fund our entire trip by selling grilled cheese sandwiches once we got inside the festival. Who could possibly turn down a delicious and competitively priced grilled cheese sandwich? Apparently a lot of people, because we sold very few of them.

I found this Phil Lesh and Friends show by accident. I was searching for something with an entirely different vibe, but was drawn in by Soulshine on the track list. Warren wrote the song for the Allman Brothers, and he took it with him when he left for Gov't Mule. If you asked me in high school what my favorite song was, I would have told you hands down Soulshine. Older and wiser now, I am no longer bold enough to answer that question with anything less than a top 25 list. This potent blend of memories combined, and I downloaded the show and made myself a grilled cheese sandwich.

Youth, large, lusty, loving--youth full of grace, force, fascination, 
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace, 
force, fascination? 

Day full-blown and splendid-day of the immense sun, action, 
ambition, laughter, 
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and 
restoring darkness. -Walt Whitman
The set is rambling and perfectly fit in with my day off today.  There is a lazy organ intro to Soulshine, and drawn out My Favorite Things. The show ends entirely within the vein of the Grateful Dead with a upbeat and loose version of Iko, Iko.  Sound quality is good.  Sorry about the lack of pictures in this post. I had difficulty finding royalty free images....

Papadosio 2010-08-21

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Papadosio 2010-08-21
Camp Barefoot Music and Arts Festival
Bartow, WV
(Stream or download)

I've always been a big fan of the so-called "Livetronica" movement, listening to bands like Sound Tribe Sector 9 (I posted a show of theirs back in 2008), Brothers Past, The New Deal, Particle, Club D'Elf, The Histronic, and so on. The best electronic/techno is designed to pull you in, to work you into a frenzy of anticipation during the build and the break, and then explode in that nearly orgasmic release known as "drop". When it's done well, it's like mainlining a drug. It's everything that, musically, we're programmed to react to emotionally and chemically, distilled and purified a thousand times. Livetronica combines that with everything I love about the free-form and improvisational elements of a traditional jam band, in order to form a more perfect union. It's fantastic stuff and I'm honestly surprised that it's not more popular than it is.

Livetronica, by its nature, is very well suited to live recordings, since the entire point is about the experience created for the listener at each show. If you can't make livetronica outside of a studio, you're not going to last very long, and indeed some of these bands don't even record studio albums. It's also a genre with a very taper-friendly culture, and it is very well represented on share and trade sites like Touring is the bread-and-butter aspect of this music, and any savvy act is going to gladly trade a free live show for a new fan that's going to buy a ticket to see them the next time they come to town.

Papadosio is one of the up-and-coming groups representing the genre. Hailing from Athens, Ohio, they've been around for about four years. I actually found this show while looking to see if recent dance music icon Deadmau5 was represented on He's not, but Papadosio has chosen to be and it so happens that they periodically do a great cover of the Deadmau5 remix of "I'm Not Alone".

Papadosio is excellent at really ranging across the different sounds of the genre. They've got a chameleon sound, for sure. At times, you'll think you're listening to Sound Tribe. The next track, you'd swear it might be The New Deal. On a cut like "On Cue", you could easily convince yourself that you're listening to Umphrey's McGee. I wouldn't honestly say that they're breaking a ton of new ground just yet, but the meld of existing styles is a very interesting one and they do quite a good job with it. This is a band that is still developing their sound and yet sounding really good as they do it. Mark my words, you will be seeing and hearing these guys on the big festival circuit quite soon, so get in on the ground floor with me. You can sound smart when they show up at your favorite fest and you are able to tell folks you've been listening to them for a while...!

This set is from a live late-night performance at the Camp Barefoot Music and Arts Festival, the late hour of their set is immediately apparent when they start out by apologizing to anyone trying to sleep. "On Cue", "I'm Not Alone", and "Eyes Have Eyes" are personal favorites of mine.

Sound quality is an A for sure, it's a super-clean soundboard recording with some crowd sound from right in the front.

The Radiators 2011-02-11

Friday, February 25, 2011


The Radiators 2011-02-11
The Bluebird Theatre
Denver, CO

This is the second time I posted a Radiators show on this blog.  They are one of my favorite bands to explore on They have over 500 shows available for streaming and downloading and always seemed to be doing something interesting. I was pretty sad to read the following on their website a few weeks ago:
FOLD UP THE BIG TOP After 33 years..over 4500 live shows..and a dozen albums..legendary New Orleans rockers The Radiators are finally calling it quits. The band has officially decided to break up in mid-June following their final tour which will include one last New Year's Eve run, a MOMs Ball and also headlining their final appearance at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The band will honor all dates already on their schedule and are planning to add as many shows as possible before ending their storied 33 year career. The guys want to whole-heartedly thank their long time fans for making this ride as amazing as it has been. They truly feel that their fans are the best and most dedicated in the world and have kept their traveling circus alive. Individual band members will announce their plans in the near future.
I can only guess why the band decided to call it quits. It is not easy keeping a group of musicians moving forward on the same musical path, and it is remarkable the band has toured, recorded, and performed for so long. In the meantime, they are still putting out great music. I can never seem to get over the interplay between the bass, drums and keyboard. Not to discount the guitar playing, it's just as a bass player I enjoy listening to a great rhythm section at work.

This show is only encoded in FLAC. See my previous on how to listen to this format.  The sound quality of this recording is excellent.

Justin Townes Earle 2010-12-17

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Justin Townes Earle 2010-12-17
Boston, Mass.
(Stream and Download)

I should have gone to this show. What was I doing? I don't remember, but it probably wasn't as important as seeing Justin Townes Earle. Justin released his third album Harlem River Blues last year, and it's been in my playlist ever since. The quality of the recording is excellent. To friends who are automatically turned off by country, watch the video bellow. It's a live performance from Letterman. I'm loath to promote Letterman's show, but Paul Schaffer sits in and kills it. It will also determine in 3 minutes and 41 seconds if you like Justin Townes Earle.

Grateful Dead 1970-08-19

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


The Grateful Dead 1970-08-19
Fillmore West
San Francisco, CA

I am a deadhead. Jerry Garcia may have died before I was old enough to see them, but the spirit of the band always resonated with me. I am a long time subscriber to the weekly Grateful Dead podcast, the Deadpod. My roots with the band go back as far as middle school.  I remember trading Grateful Dead cassettes with my friends.  Finding a new one at a yard sale made you a hero. Maybe I ran with an odd crew, but we passed Dead tapes around in the same way our peers passed around adult magazines. They were a glimpse into another world, one meant to be surreptitiously enjoyed.

The Dead have their own section on  Many of the shows are either stream only (in the case of soundboard recordings) or are listed, but are no longer available (put out on a commercially available release). It is a reminder that for all their taper friendly policies, the Grateful Dead are still a multi-million dollar business. This show is available for download (only mp3!) or streaming directly from the site.

This show is divided into two sets; the first acoustic and the second electric. For me, the acoustic set stole the show.  A version of "The Monkey and the Engineer" recently appeared on the David Rawlings solo CD, and I have never heard someone else cover it.  The song "Dark Hollow" is a bluegrass standard. It's inclusion foretells much of what Jerry would go on to do with his solo projects. Fans of Old Crow Medicine Show will recognize "Cocaine." This traditional tune appeared on OCMS' self tittled album as "Tell it to Me."  The electric set contains the staples of this period of the Dead. I especially liked the version of "I Know You Rider" and "Not Fade Away."

The audio quality on this recording is poor. It is an audience recording done with an old Sony TC-124. There are tape squeals and the frequency response is compressed.  To be honest, I am totally fine with that. Sounds like a good Dead tape should.

A Reintroduction


We have decided to slowly bring back thejivefather. In the years since we last posted on this blog much has changed. There are additional distractions and downward pressure on free time. The importance of live record music only increases with these pressures. Neither of us seem to have the free income or time to hit up all of the live shows we would like. Searching through helps ease that pressure by giving an outlet to approximate the live music experience at home.

This blog is a musical conversation between two friends. It is an easy way for us to share shows with each other, while at the same time sharing with the world. Stylistically, we are all over the map. Show to show we jump from genre to genre. The only thing tying it all together is good music. Until someone starts paying us to write (or to stop writing), this rough-hewn and disjointed trip through music will continue.

The lossless audio tutorial is now updated and available as a stand alone page.

How to: FLAC, Shorten (.shn), Lossless Audio


Lossless vs. Lossy

The majority of our digitized music collections are stored as mp3, aac, or ogg vorbis files. These formats (or codecs) are popular, because the file size is small and the audio quality decent. Like most things in life, the benefit comes with a price. To create small file sizes, the encoder compresses the file by jettisoning elements of the recording it deems unnecessary. It's a pretty advanced process and the results can be quite convincing, but it still looses elements of the original recording. In audio circles, these are called lossy formats.

A lossy audio codec is great when importing your CD collection to your computer. People have been doing this for years. They offer compatibility across platforms and devices. Especially when you have the original copy to refer to. Lossy audio codecs are also the default for purchasing music online from iTunes, Amazon or eMusic.

Lossless audio formats (like FLAC, Apple Lossless, Shorten, and others) maintain all elements of the recording. Encoding music in one of these formats creates smaller file sizes than raw digital audio, but are still much larger than those using a lossy codec. Keeping audio in this format insures that the recording will retain its original quality. While conventional wisdom says this doesn't matter if you have crappy speakers, I disagree. Even on shitty computer speakers, lossless sounds better.

FLAC (free lossless audio codec) is currently the most popular format to trade live shows. Shorten (.shn) is an older format, but still found on many shows on

My Approach

There is no one solution for how to deal with these lossless files. iTunes will not play them natively (attention Apple: after all these years, still a major drawback. Instead of creating a music social network that few use, create an extensions framework for adding additional codecs). Personally, I use the Mac application xACT. It can decode both FLAC and Shorten to a wav file or a AIFF file. I'll import the files into iTunes, and convert them to the Apple Lossless format. Delete the raw audio files and tag the tracks. I usually retain the FLAC or Shorten files for future reference. It takes some time, but works well. If I just want to listen before I decide to go through the effort, I'll use Cog.

It is considered poor form to convert a lossless audio file to a lossy format (ie. FLAC to mp3 for the sake of iTunes). My personal view is: do whatever you want with the audio on your computer, but don't even think about redistributing in a lossy format.

Players (contact with others to include):
xACT (Mac) - will decode FLAC and Shorten to a wav or aiff file that iTunes can read.
VLC Player (Mac, Windows, Linux) - FLAC support. Most people already have this player.
WinAmp - (Windows) FLAC support.
Cog - (Mac) will play Shorten / FLAC.
Sogbird - (Mac, Linux, Windows) FLAC support.

More information:

Audio Compression on Wikipedia
Xiph - Official home of FLAC, OGG and others.

The Decemberists 2008-01-22

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


The Decemberists
January 22, 2008
The Crystal Ballroom
Portland, OR

With all honesty, I don't remember exactly how I first learned about the Decemberists. Two weeks ago, I found the name on a scrap of paper stuffed in the center console of my truck. Could have heard about them on NPR. Or maybe it was from a friend. Judging by the coffee stains decorating the paper, it was some time ago. Luckily, the band is taper friendly and allow their shows on

The Crane Wife 1 And 2/The Crane Wife 3
Billy Liar
The Legionnaire's Lament
The Engine Driver
Eli, The Barrow Boy
The Gymnast, High Above The Ground
O Valencia
Leslie Ann Levine
The Chimbley Sweep
The Perfect Crime 2
The Tain
California One/Youth And Beauty Brigade
I Was Meant For The Stage
Out off all the Decemberists shows on, it was difficult for one unfamiliar with the band to choose. After a few false starts, this 2008 show stood out for its diversity of material (old and new), excellent sound quality, and high energy. Listen to the "The Crane Wife Pt 1, 2 & 3" and "The Legionnaire's Lament." You will find out very quickly if the Decemberists are for you. These tracks are the best of indie rock: rich musical texture and infectious melodies. Run time is 2:05:02. Sound quality is A.