Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine

2009 by the numbers

Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine

Sept. 9, 2009, dawned like any other morning in Austin. Except it was raining.

Mostly I was in denial. A Tuesday morning constitutional on Town Lake might keep me sane during high Austin City Limits Music Fest season. By the time I reached Sixth and Lamar, the light drizzle had heavied. Shit. That's when I saw the line outside Waterloo Records.

I knew what day it was, in fact. I'd put in a call the night before. Growing up, I hooked my star to the Rolling Stones and my best friend Steve became a Beatles scholar. Our crossroads met at the Who. We loved each other's No. 1 every bit as much as our own, but collecting, that was black and white: Beatles or Stones. Steve didn't hesitate when asked the $64,000 question.

"Mono." (And I'm paraphrasing here.) "The Beatles oversaw the mono mixes themselves. They just pop better. Get the Abbey Road reissue for stereo and the The Beatles in Mono box set."

So there I stood, under Waterloo's awning with a half-dozen other middle-aged 9amers. Exercise had been the first order of business, with maybe a stop-in at the record store on the way home, to eyeball the goods. I couldn't afford either the stereo or mono box set of reissues anyway. Unfortunately, I had a credit card.

John Kunz, Waterloo fountainhead, waved me forward to the register. He thought it appropriate that my purchase should be recorded at 9:09am on 9/9/09. It is, bless him. The second receipt is time-stamped 9:28am.

I'm still not sure why I flipped a U-turn once I was northbound on Lamar, The Beatles in Mono beside me. Given that The Beatles stereo box was an additional $227.31, in this the year of our box set lords (Beatles, Neil Young, 13th Floor Elevators), I dropped almost $500 that gray misty morning. Was it 9/9, or, as far as my checking account was concerned, 9/11?

Steve applauded the decision. So did Jeff Tweedy, as we talked about building iPod civilizations (see "Shouting Across the Void," Music blog, Oct. 1, 2009). Now, "the Cloud" appears on the horizon, an iPhone jukebox app to render iPods as useless as CDs.

"Take this, brother, may it serve you well," injects John Lennon seven minutes into the soup of "Revolution 9," mind-warp in stereo, Mansonesque in mono (see "Box Sets," Oct. 2, 2009). Imagine no albums. I wonder if you can.

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Top 10s music, The Beatles, The Beatles in Mono, Abbey Road

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