Al Stewart : The Lostbrook Tape Series - Volume 14

November 09, 1976
The Bottom Line
New York, NY

There were several reasons not to go to this concert. It was an
extremely cold night and my car was unreliable - it often had to be
started from under the hood. It was an 11PM show with an opening act,
and I had a philosophy class at 8AM. None of these are serious obstacles
when you’re 18 of course, and they matter even less when you are a big
Al Stewart fan. We loved his earlier work, especially Past, Present and
Future, but when Year of the Cat was released in October, it was obvious
that Al Stewart was about to hit it big. Paul and I braved the cold and
the car and got to the Bottom Line in time to grab the last two seats at
one of the front tables. We somehow survived the unusual vocals of
Diana Marcovitz, the opening act, and were rewarded with an outstanding
performance by Al Stewart and his band of multi-instrumentalists. They
were on fire this night, and we were particularly impressed with lead
guitarist Mark Goldenberg. Perhaps it was the intimacy of the club, but
I never again saw them approach the intensity of this performance. The
car actually started after the show, and we got home around 3AM. I even
made it to class the next morning, but it was impossible to stay awake
and had to leave after fifteen minutes.

Recording Equipment: Internal Mic - Sanyo tape deck - Alesis TapeLinkUSB - Audacity - WAV
Taper: Lostbrook
Mastering: CQ

01 Introduction
02 Apple Cider Reconstitution
03 The Dark And Rolling Sea
04 One Stage Before
05 Soho (Needless To Say)
06 On The Border
07 Broadway Hotel
08 Nostradamus
09 Sirens Of Titan
10 Year Of The Cat
11 Post World War 2 Blues
12 Carol

Tapers Story:

I first became enchanted by live performances after talking my way into the taping of
Dick Cavett’s Woodstock Show on August 18, 1969 at WABC studios in New York. This was
quite an accomplishment for an eleven-year-old without a ticket. My first major concert
was The Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden on July 25, 1972. I was so impressed with
the enormity of that event that I jumped at the chance to acquire some of the vinyl bootlegs
from the Exiles on Main Street tour. These recordings surely planted a seed in my mind, but
unfortunately, I waited over 25 concerts before attempting my first recording in late
1975. Over the next ten years, I recorded approximately 125 concerts in the New York City
area. In 1985, I moved to Virginia and recorded sporadically, accumulating a few dozen shows
in the Washington DC area over the next 15 years.

My motive for taping has always been selfish. I simply wanted to enjoy the performances over
and over again. I didn’t realize that I was recording both musical and personal history or that
I was witnessing the high-water mark of progressive music. I thought it would last forever, but
in the back of my mind, I must have known that I had something special. With one or two exceptions
that I later regretted, I refused to trade tapes. Very few friends were ever given copies. I have
never considered selling them – I have too much respect for the artists. I protected my tapes for
decades, never knowing what to do with them as they sat dormant on a shelf. In 2010, I found the
time to make digital transfers of my tapes and rediscovered the amazing moments I had recorded. I
also found an answer: I needed to get these tapes to my friends that were with me, whose history I
had also captured, and to others who would appreciate this collection.

My equipment was low-tech but yielded surprisingly good results. Almost all of my recordings prior
to 1989 were made with the built-in condenser mic on a Sanyo desktop cassette recorder (model unknown).
When the unit began to fail in 1977, I replaced it with what I thought was a better recorder, but the
tapes were distorted. I quickly purchased a new Sanyo that was identical to my first and never again
attempted an upgrade. In 1989, I bought a smaller, Walkman-type unit – a Panasonic RX-SR29, which
performed nicely with its condenser mic. I was never interested in producing soundboard-quality
tapes, and was almost always happy with my “souvenirs.” I used TDK tapes initially, then Maxell.

Recording a concert was always an adventure. Through trial and error, I arrived at the following procedure:
To get past the ticket-takers, I wore loose pants and stuffed the recorder down the front where the odds of
being frisked were minimal. I wore a loose t-shirt or sweatshirt to cover the “bulge” and held my breath. The
dead batteries and cheap tape I kept in the recorder were occasionally confiscated, but my friends were already
inside with the real supplies. Once inside, I would meet my friends and exchange the batteries and tape. We had
excellent seats for many concerts, but that put us in close proximity to ushers and stage security. We needed to
be in a constant state of vigilance, and we were also busy with the timing of the tape-flips. I would occasionally
take photographs with a cheap camera, which gave me additional equipment to juggle. Without fail, someone in my
row would be in the wrong seat, and an usher would have to sort it out. It was all I could do to keep the recorder
hidden without covering the microphone. It was always chaotic, but the reward was great as we listened to the
concert again on the way home.

I’m indebted to all those who assisted and inspired me along the way: Gary, Steve, and Paul/Rich, Rob,
and Paul/John, Sue, Al, and Rich/Jody, Laurie, Danny, and Martha/Geri and Allison/Howie and Linda/Kathryn. Thanks
to Mike for all of his efforts. Most of all, thanks to my family – K, M, E, and B – for their support and patience.

You are cordially invited to enjoy these time capsules. There is always room for one more in our row, but
if we are loud or talkative, please don’t judge us too harshly. We were swept away by the magic of the moment,
and we hope you will be too.

Lost Brook
January 2011