Hello everybody! I’ve been missing in action for a while now, with it being a month to the day since my last post. Thanks to those of you who dropped me a note to check up on me to make sure I was ok – appreciated!
It has been a rough go for a while now, as my normally invincible elderly parents both have gone through a tough time health-wise since November, and were in and out of the hospital with serious health issues that ended their ability to live independently in their home. Mom (below) is 89, Dad (above) is 90, they’ve been married nearly 70 years!
In June 2013 at Dad’s 90th birthday celebration they were both still driving their cars and living independently, but a fall by Dad, followed by falls by Mom, that led to hospitalization, put an end to that. They have now moved into assisted living near me, which is much better for all, as I can visit frequently, and stop in quickly in the event of an emergency, rather than the minimum 3-day multi-state trip that it took before.
As you can imagine it has been a life disrupting time for all of us, but things are starting to settle down a little. I’ll still have lots to do on this front for a while, but many thanks to my Mom & Dad’s neighbor, Chuck, for all he’s done to help them, he’s a true saint if there ever was one. Many thanks to my friends Chad & Bob who helped me do a long distance furniture move for my Mom & Dad, and to my girlfriend, Rose, who has made my life a lot easier to deal with during this difficult time! Thank you all!
As you have witnessed, it has been hard for yours truly to find much time to write about Hi-Fi during this difficult time, but I was able to finish up the review of the Sophia Electric 91-03 300B integrated amplifier for Positive Feedback Online in Issue 72 here. I’d like to thank Richard and Sue at Sophia Electric for the opportunity to review their 91-03, and particularly for being so patient with me during the review process, for it took an unusually long time for me to complete the review. Eventually I’ll mirror that article here at Jeff’s Place with some high-resolution photos.
For the first time in months I had a nice ‘Sunday Afternoon at Jeff’s Place’ Hi-Fi time with my friends Leo (left) and Stephaen (right) above.
We enjoyed listening to some fine music, vintage Hi-Fi gear, drank some excellent wine and Champagne (particularly Leo’s 2004 Napa Valley Cab), and ate some great food!
For this Sunday afternoon Hi-Fi get together Ron was traveling, as was George and Pido, and they couldn’t attend. Missed you guys!
Stephaen grilled up some tasty chicken on his barby: Stephaen is a grill master and can really make that BBQ sing! Stephaen also brought by some great music to listen to: Lighnin’ Hopkins’ walkin this road by myself, Aaron Neville’s Warm Your Heart, and Sonny Boy Williamson’s Bummer Road.
You’ll notice that the theme of the music was not exactly upbeat, as both Stephaen and I have been through the wringer lately, with Stephaen losing his Mom unexpectedly in the last few months, and me having a tough go with my parents too. So this was a listening session on a thematic dark side, which oddly enough was comforting for us!
By the way, The Ligtnin’ Hopkins is a must get album, with Lightnin’ transitioning to electric from acoustic for the album, and he nails it. Great music!
Bummer Road was also good, with an Amazon reviewer, Ida Mae, amusingly saying “The piano player is clearly Sonny Boy’s smacked-out brother-in-law who keeps falling face-first into the keyboard about 10 seconds into each take. Sonny Boy yells at an exasperated engineer: “He’ll git it, he’ll git it!!” The tinny voice of the engineer replies: “OK. Take 92–Little Village.” Sonny Boy hits it & blammo–the piano player falls off his bench.”
We listened to two Classic Records reissues that were 33s on one side, and 45s on the other side: Aaron Neville’s Warm Your Heart and Bill Henderson’s Live at the Times. Both of these are must have records for the music, as well as for the sonic fun. We listened to the 33 sides and loved them, then played the 45RPM sides … which completely blew us away! 45RPM pressings are vastly superior to 33RPM pressings, and listening to one of these demos with both will convince you in a heart beat.
I’ll have a lot more to say in my next posts about Westminster Royal SEs, Duelund Silver components, vintage McIntosh electronics, upcoming reviews, and other exciting audio topics! More to come!