DEAR LEONA & JIM: Although no "authorized" CDs of Dean's Reprise tracks have been issued in this country, a couple of imports have turned up in some mail-order catalogs. However, nothing yet offers a comprehensive collection of Dino's 11 Reprise years (1962 - 1973).
We have recently been told that Capitol/EMI has now licensed the Reprise material, so keep watching this column for news of their plans. For openers, expect a combination "Hits" package of both Capitol and Reprise tracks. Stay tuned for more on this exciting development.
Thankfully, everything pre-Reprise - namely the Capitol years - is now available in an exquisite, boxed, two-volume, 16-disc set. Volume one, "Dean Martin - Memories Are Made of This," (Bear Family BCD-15781) is out now. Volume two is set for release next month. Thus far, none of the vast Cameo-Parkway has been issued on CD.
Why not do as I have and make your own CDs?
Since we last discussed recordable CD technology, the prices on CD-Rs (compact disc recorders) have dropped, and the restoration software has improved, incorporating features only dreamed of a few years ago.
Most folks with computers already have the required hardware: 1. Windows 95 or NT 4.0. 2. Minimum 16MB system RAM. 3. Fast hard drive (19ms average access time, 1MB/sec transfer). 4. Available 16-bit expansion slot.
I use a Smart and Friendly CD-RW 226 Plus External, though internal models are also available. The unit includes the software necessary to select, organize and write to blank discs the tunes of your choice - up to 74 minutes per CD for audio (or 650mb if used for data). That usually allows for up to 32 tracks on each homemade disc. A 10-pack of blank CD-R discs sells for around $20. (Mac system requirements vary somewhat. Consult Smart and Friendly)
The source of most of the "Osborne's Personal Picks" CD series (40 volumes and growing) is vinyl records. For this, I use Dart Pro32, a multi-purpose restoration program to remove scratches, pops, clicks, hiss, hum, surface noise, and anything else you don't want to hear on your new CD.
After performing a digital cleaning of your tunes, which takes only a minute or two per song, you can dump directly to the CD-R within Dart Pro - meaning you need not work in two programs at once.
Few programs operate trouble-free right out of the box, and I did indeed have questions when I first began making CDs. This is where Dart Pro's distributor, Tracer Technologies, really shined. Every call I placed to their tech support staff was answered by a real person, who wouldn't rest until they had solved every problem.
For a crash course on converting old records and tapes to CDs, contact Tracer at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Unit 101, York PA 17404. (717) 843-5833. A 40-minute educational video on CD is available which is far more informative than space here allows.
Now I have all my Cameo-Parkway favorites, and the best of Dean's Reprise years on custom CDs
IZ ZAT SO? Philadelphia-based Cameo-Parkway gained fame as the record company looked to for the hottest new dances - the twist, pony, bird, fish, limbo, etc. - but the hit that started it all has nothing to do with dancing.
On "The Class," Chubby Checker's first release (Parkway 804), the chubby one does impressions of how "Mary Had a Little Lamb" might have been done by such stars as: Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Cozy Cole, and even the Chipmunks.