Saturday, May 6, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
June 1, 1978
Mike Millard first gen via JEMS
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Vol. One
Recording Info: AKG 451E mics (CK-1 capsules) > Nakamichi 550
JEMS 2014 Transfer: first-generation reel copy (3-3/4 IPS) made by Mike Millard for SG > Otari 5050 mkII azimuth-adjusted transfer > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 (24/96) capture > iZotope RX3 > Peak 6.0 with iZotope Ozone 5 (pitch correction) > iZotope RX MBIT+ resample 16/44.1 > Peak Pro XT (indexed) > xACT 2.2.1 > FLAC
01 Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
02 One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
03 You're A Big Girl Now
04 One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)
05 Blowin' In The Wind
06 I Want You
07 Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
08 Masters Of War
09 Just Like A Woman
10 To Ramona
11 The Man In Me
12 Band Introduction
13 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
14 Forever Young
15 The Times They Are A-Changin'
JEMS is pleased to release the first in a series of recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin in and around LA circa 1975-77.
The 14 first-generation tapes (ten cassettes and four reels) were sent by Millard to SG, the beloved S in JEMS, in the mid-'80s after the pair had met in person in Orange County on two occasions. To the best of our knowledge, none of the eight shows (spanning the 14 tapes) has ever been attributed as a Millard recording. In fact, there are no extant references we are aware of to Millard ever recording Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, the two artists captured on the tapes.
Several of the tapes we believe are uncirculated; others may be out there, but not credited as Millard's work. Even those that turn out to be previously circulated (and there is at least one confirmed so far) will be released in this series from verified first-generation tapes made by Millard himself and marked/ notated in his signature manner. As such, we expect all of them to be upgrades at a minimum and new sources in many cases.
At this point you might be asking yourself, "So if JEMS received these Millard tapes in the mid-'80s, why haven't they circulated previously?" Fair question. And in condensed form, here is the answer, which also provides the "Lost" portion of our series title:
Twenty-six years ago, Millard sent SG a box of tapes. I remember having it my hands in 1986 at SG's house, right after it arrived in the mail. But that was the last time I ever saw the box. It disappeared. Nearly all of SG's tapes have since been consolidated into the JEMS North archive, but we never found the box of Millard tapes. Over the years, my memory faded of what was in the box. I thought there were Springsteen shows, but that fuzzy notion was all I could recall.
Now to the "Found": A few months ago, WG, a long-time collector friend of SG, contacted him and said, "I found a box of tapes of yours when I was moving furniture." Sure enough it was the Millard tapes and more. Turns out WG borrowed the tapes and some other SG masters after a Dylan show in 1986 and the box wound up misplaced and forgotten about by both parties, only to be rediscovered 28 years later.
Once the box was returned, SG sent it to me at JEMS South where we proceeded to make fresh transfers of its contents.
If there's any mildly disappointing element to this otherwise charming story, it is that none of the lost Millard tapes are of previously uncirculated shows; there are other recordings by other tapers of all of them. But the good news is the quality of most of them is indeed up to Millard's legendary standards. There are some excellent pulls here, and in at least one case, Millard's recording is more complete than the circulating source.
Our series opens with Dylan's summer residency at the Universal Amphitheatre in June 1978. This recording is of the opening night of the run, but the tape is incomplete. Millard's notes state: "Missed first half of concert. Only recorded from intermission on."
But what Millard did record is, to my ears, awfully good. I haven't compared it to the two other known recordings (per Lossless Bob) of this show, but it is hard to imagine they could top this. The notes don't confirm Millard's infamous wheelchair taping set up, but they do confirm exactly what microphones were used (AKG 451E with CK-1 capsules) and his familiar Nakamichi 550 recorder. Interestingly, at another show in this run, Millard used a completely different set of gear, but we'll get to that when the time comes.
Millard's notes (posted in the comments section and included in the torrent) also famously warn the recipient, "This tape has been electronically coded. If this recording is reproduced and falls into the wrong hands I will know where the original source came from. Please do not reproduced (sic) this tape." Sadly, we can't request Millard's permission, given his untimely passing in 1990. But we hope enough time has passed that we can honor his work by sharing it in a manner he could have never dreamed would be possible three decades ago.
If you'd like to learn more about Mike the MICrophone, the links below fill in some of his story.
Millard's Wikipedia page
The best article written about Millard has been deleted from the original website but is reprinted here:
Thanks to WG for finding the tapes and to SG for providing JEMS with another fascinating chapter of taping history.
Here's to Mike the MICrophone and to finding lost tapes.
BK for JEMS