Great Android Music Player App: AB Repeat Player

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With this blog post I want to recommend a free Android app that I use myself not only for listening to music but also for figuring out licks, riffs, or lead stuff. It is the AB Repeat Player.

The feature I love most on it is not the one that gave it the name – the ability to define two loop points – but the three ‘Jump’ buttons. These are labelled with 7,5 / 5 / 2.5 and simply make the music jump back for 7,5 / 5 / 2.5 seconds as soon as you press one of these. You are listening to e.g. a fancy Mark Knopfler guitar lick, thinking ‘Wow, what was that?’ – press one button to hear it again. This is to me the best solution, as rewinding or moving the position slider in other apps is very inaccurate and take too much time. You can also combine the three buttons or press one of them several times, e.g. press the 7.5 seconds button twice to jump back for 15 seconds to repeat a longer part.

ab-repeat-player
I love the three jump buttons to hear a phrase again

The rest of the app is fine, too – it simply does what you expect of a music player app.

Here is the feature list:

* AB Repeating Function (Ad hoc and saved)
* AB Points post-adjustment Function with “Check Mode”
* Interval (Pause) between AB Repeats
* Easy traverse inside A and B points
* Easy to play recorded A and B points list.
* Customizable three Jump Buttons
* Bookmark Function (Ad hoc and saved)
* Bookmark position adjustment function with “Check Mode”
* Unlimited recording of AB points and Bookmarks
* Editable list of AB points and Bookmarks
* AB points and Bookmark database clean up
* Backup and Restore of AB points and Bookmark database
* Display order in AB points and Bookmark list. Creation date, name and A point with reverse order for each.(New)
* Mp3 Lyric Display.(Font size and previous position memory)
* Playlist (same as Google’s standard media player)
* Setting to the Ring Tone (same as Google’s standard media player)
* Shuffle modes (same as Google’s standard media player)
* Search (same as Google’s standard media player)(Enhancement: can be invoked from menu)
* Artwork Display (same as Google’s standard media player)
* Audio and Video Support
* Automatic pause/resume on received calls.
* Automatic pause on headset unplugging.
* Controls by Bluetooth.
* SD card installable for Android 2.2 or later.
* Database Migration to a new device.
* Sleep Timer
* Float Pad: Translucent Control Button Pad floating over any other apps.
* Saving the sound between AB as a ringtone, alert, Ankidroid flashcard sound and othe

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Some notes on the Dire Straits “Honky Tonk Demos” – released on vinyl single on Record Store Day 2015

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Misc, MK guitar style and licks

On April 18, 2015, some ‘historical’ Dire Straits recordings were officially released for the first time – four tracks from the ‘Honky Tonk Demos’, a demo tape the band recorded in July 1977. These were the first recordings of Dire Straits at all, five tracks recorded in a little London studio for a demo to help get a record deal. The four songs released now are Wild West End, Sultans of Swing, Down to the Waterline, and Water of Love. The fifth song from the original tape, a David Knopfler composition called Sacred Loving is not included unfortunately.

honkytonkOnly the Sultans of Swing version has been available before: it was released on a sampler called ‘The Honky Tonk Demos’ on vinyl, and later also on CD. The other songs were only available from two bootleg sources: one was a tape I got from a friend in the early 80ies, and the other was the silver CD bootleg ‘Early Demos’. The quality on both was rather bad, only mono, and a poor frequency response. The CD bootleg was even about 8% too fast and almost ‘unusable’ for this reason.

Some notes on guitar aspects

With this blog post I want to concentrate on some guitar aspects of these recordings, mainly on some details we can hear now for the first time.

Down to the Waterline: I already mentioned that both bootleg sources were only mono. What we did not know was that they were not both stereo channels to one mono channel but in fact only the left channel of the original stereo recording. In other words, all information of the right stereo channel was not included on the bootlegs, e.g. David’s rhythm guitar is mainly on the right channel and was hardly audible for this reason. David plays a 16th-rhythm similar to the later version from the first album but here without the phaser.

The lead guitar on the left channel should be Mark’s 1961 Strat(he got his other Strat later in 1977) which was not red yet but had a wood finish. This should be the bridge & middle pickup combination. Unlike on the first Dire Straits album, the whole demo features hardly any compression on the guitars so whe hear Mark’s guitar with a wide dynamic range.

The demo version features a third electric guitar that only comes in with some chords for the bridge solo part in the middle of the song. This is probably Mark on guitar, and it might be the neck pickup of his Strat.

Sultans of Swing: As this one ws available in even CD-quality, there is nothing new to discover here. The guitar is also the 1961 Strat with what sounds like the middle pickup. Unless Mark dialed in a very bright amp setting, it does not sound like the hot 13k DiMarzio FS-1 pickup that Mark had in the guitar later.

While it seems that Mark played all three electric guitars on the album version, the right rhythm guitar here should be David’s.

Wild West End: Just like on the album, we have an electric lead guitar (Mark), the rhythm on the National (Mark), and an acoustic rhythm guitar (David). The lead seems to be the bridge & middle pickup again. While the acoustic guitar only plays some rather rudimentary chord work on the album, we have a more steady rhythm here.

Water of Love: The bottleneck lead guitar is a National, just like on the first album. I guess it is not his famous Style-0 but his Tricone National from the late 1920ies.  This guitar is more on the right stereo channel and can be heard much better for this reason than on the bootleg sources. As the quality on the bootleg is very poor, I was not sure if it is a National or even an electric (as on stage) but now it is clear.

Just like on the album, Mark played a second guitar but now it is an electric instead of the acoustic on the official album version. David plays acoustic rhythm guitar.

The picture

honky-tonk-single
Picture by Andra Nelki (andranelki.com)

On the inner sleeve of the double vinyl single we find one of the earliest Dire Straits pictures, from the gig at the Clapham Common bandstand on September 10, 1977. This plus some more pictures from the same gig have been released before but in much worse quality. We can definitely see the wood grain on Mark’s Strat body, which was not red yet.

David seems to play the ‘Water of Love’ Telecaster thinline. To me it looks (?) as if it still has the original finish here, with a white or pearloid pickguard (later the body holes were filled, and the body and also the pickguard (!) were painted black).

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Mark Knopfler on the J.J. Cale Tribute Album by Eric Clapton & Friends

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J.J. Cale – who sadly died last year – has been a huge influences for Mark Knopfler.  Especially for the early Dire Straits sound, J.J. Cale was probably the biggest influence at all. So it is no wonder that Mark appears on the tribute album The Breeze that was released on July 25. The project was organized by Eric Clapton, so the official artist is “Eric Clapton & Friends”. Mark sang and played guitar on two tracks, Someday and Train to Nowhere. These were recorded at Mark’s British Grove studio in London.

While the other “friends” – illustre names like Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, and more – all covered some of J.J. Cale’s best-known ‘hits’ , Mark decided two cover two rare and unknown songs, which in fact only exist as unreleased demos.

cale-knopfler
J.J. Cale and Mark Knopfler on a J.J. Cale gig in San Francisco in 1985

 

Someday is a very typical J.J. Cale song but it is really astonishing how much Mark can make it sound like J.J. Cale, not only the guitar sound but especially the vocal style on this song is so close that I can easily imagine to hear J.J. Cale himself. Mark seems to play one of his Strats with a clean sound, played very ‘laid-back’  – the ‘official’  term to describe J.J. Cale’s  cool and relaxed playing, where the notes are played almost ‘behind the beat’.

The chords (one verse / solo) of Someday are:

Dm  Dm  Dm  Dm G  G  Dm Dm

C  G  Dm Dm

G  Bb (1/2) C (1/2) Dm Dm …

 

Train to Nowhere is a typical ‘one-chord groove song’ – the one and only chord being C. Mark plays a rhythm riff and sings the vocals except on one of verses which features Don White. Between the verses Mark plays a few solos and licks, also with a clean guitar sound. Also a nice one.

You can buy the album and listen to a preview of all songs here on Amazon.

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