Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Music City: Salina, Kansas

Mike Hutmacher, Wichita Eagle
A remarkable story about a remarkable guy by The Wichita Eagle's  Dan Voorhis. A small Salina company is leading the revival of vinyl record albums. Some excerpts:

The result of this reprocessing can be pretty impressive.
He and his staff played Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” in the company’s listening room. The original featured Cooke’s soulful voice, but the vocal edges were ragged and the sound a little muddy as if coming from the next room – caused by time and the limitations of a 1960s-era mass market disc. The company’s reissued version, taken from the original master and reproduced on high quality vinyl, is clearly the same song, but considerably cleaner and brighter. Sam Cooke’s voice had moved into the same room as the listener.
“Sometimes we blow them away, sometimes it’s just a little bit better,” Kassem said.  …
He’s still torn by his Cajun heart and his Midwestern head. He still loves Louisiana, its culture and its fun-loving attitude. But he’s stayed in Salina because, he says, Kansans are hard-working, modest and conscientious. It’s a good place to build a business, he said.
Plus, he’s trying to prove a point.
After he completed his probation in Kansas, his probation officer wrote a letter to officials in Louisiana. The result: Louisiana then-Gov. Edwin Edwards actually issued Kassem a full pardon.
His life, to some extent, is a validation of that gesture. He’s stayed in Salina, stayed out of trouble, built a solid business that employs a lot of people.
Kassem is still kind of emotional about it.
“They didn’t waste their pardon,” he said.

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