Cybertainment: Interviews with music greats available free online

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A top-notch collection of interviews with music icons is now online.

Former record industry executive Joe Smith recorded hours of interviews with some of the world's leading musicians and singers. In June, Mr. Smith donated that audio archive to the Library of Congress, which has added some of the interviews to its website.

The first group of 25 interviews is available online, including Tony Bennett, David Bowie, Ruth Brown, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Herbie Hancock, George Harrison, Mickey Hart, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Paul McCartney and Little Richard.

Mr. Smith, the former president of several major record labels, including Warner Bros., Elektra/Asylum and Capitol Records, had unique access and great rapport with his subjects, many of whom were interviewed for his 1989 book, "Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music."

The Joe Smith Collection comprises more than 225 recordings, spanning all genres and eras.

These are lengthy, unedited interviews, not mere sound bites. The subjects are relaxed and candid. Anyone with an interest in the history of popular music will find someone or something of interest here.

www.loc.gov/rr/record/joesmith

Digital music is convenient and easy to carry around, but many people still like the look and feel of vinyl records.

A new iPad app, Turnplay ($1.99), turns iTunes song files into a virtual vinyl library.

When the listener uses Turnplay to play an MP3 file, it creates an image of the song in record form on the iPad display. It works with MP3s in the iTunes library and with music stored in the iTunes Cloud.

The app simulates popular turntable functions: the listener can speed up or slow down the playback, and play records at either 33 or 45 RPM.

Turntables are expensive and hard to find, so enthusiasts who just want to create the same kinds of effects -- especially professional DJs -- will find Turnplay useful.

music - cybertainment

Adrian McCoy: amccoy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.


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