Christmachine Easy On The Ears Debut Volumes – The Calm Before The Storm…

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Debut Volumes – The Calm Before The Storm…

The Calm Before The Storm Christmachine Easy On The Ears Early Volumes – Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza

 

Here we go, finally!  Tomorrow begins the reviews en masse.  The first new post review format (tomorrow) will be longer than others that follow because it will include all the information on the way this new format will be presented.  It will also include, most importantly, the specific album review itself.

How it will work is that I will name tomorrow’s review, “Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #30”.  The reason for this is that over the past few years we have done 29 reviews of albums (Located in past posts on this website), the thing is that they were not labelled and tagged with the new “Easy On The Ears Volume # xxx format.

So in this last post before the new series begins (tomorrow), I wanted to give direct links to  the previous reviews here on the website to make it easier for newcomers to understand how past legacy works relate to those that follow.  Further to make it easier for everyone to just click the links posted below, for those who want to view them without having to navigate the whole website.

So, here goes…

 

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #00001

Beck – “Morning Phase” The Review: My Process ~ Vinyls Vs. Digitals CD/HD Tracks…

 

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #00002 – #00004

The Beatles – “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” The Ultimate Review: My Process ~ Vinyls Vs. Digitals W/ Mono And Stereo Love!…Part #1

 

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #00005

The Beatles – “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” The Ultimate Review: My Process ~ Vinyls Vs. Digitals W/ Mono And Stereo Love!…Part #2 [2 UPDATES]

 

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #00006 – #00020

The Best Of “The Beatles” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special]

 

Christmachine Easy On The Ears Volume #00021 – #00029

The Best Of The “Led Zeppelin” Catalog Pressings…[Post Special] [Second Pass Edit 07/02/14]

 

 

So there you have it.  Nice and simple…hope we explained so as not to confuse others that are unfamiliar.  I look forward to this new format, as well as writing more in between over the coming years. Be well.

 

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

(Vielen) Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward

DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward…

The Updated Specs are in Bold below.

AK120 Portable Digital Audio Player and Amplifier Stack ©Christmachine 2017

 

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK120 (No Mods) 24/192 Capable Portable Audio Reference Server (2 X Stock Wolfson WM8740 DAC’s [One For Each Channel]) w/ 3-ohm output impedance (64GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 200GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.

Additional DAP Source Players: Fiio X5 & The Pono Player (For Cross Reference Listening).

Additional Headphones Used: Sennheiser HD700, Audio Technica ATH M50 (OLD Model w/ Coil Chord), Sony MDRV6 (Studio Monitor w/ Coil Chord).

Note #1…I do not use IEM’s (In Ear Monitors) so one has to know whether or not their particular IEM’s match with the 3 Ohm Output Impedance of the AK120.

Note #2…You will notice that the AK120 was not modified (for lower output impedance) as I did with the AK100.  The reason I chose not to modify is because I wanted to use a stock AK120 player…so others could hear what I was hearing if they so choose.

 

Here Is a link to the Spec Sheet for the AK120 (PDF Opens New Tab).

http://www.soundfidelity.co.uk/media/downloads/products/AstellKern_AK120_Manual_English.pdf

 

Disclaimer:  As you know this site is not here to sell anyone anything, so I must disclose that the Pono Player was given to me, as I was an early stage beta tester.  I did not know I was going to be asked to be a beta tester nor did I know that we would be able to keep the player after testing was completed.  More on that another time…I will say that whatever you have read, the people behind Pono are well intentioned.  They created a damn good DAP…all criticisms aside, they really were and are (in the end) just trying to move Hirez forward.  This is a win for all.  The Pono Player will not be a main feature in reviews…I just wanted to let people know my source DAP’s for info.

 

As Far as the other DAP’s:

Some quick thoughts that might be helpful.  I never use the bundled software with the DAP units.  You want headaches…then use the software.  I simply use the DAP’s as default external drives, when plugged into the computer, just drag and drop my music files / folders into the onboard flash or memory cards.  I fill the memory cards by using the adaptor that comes with the cards and do the heavy transferring of music files via the memory card slot on the computer.

Another helpful hint, with the exception of the Pono Player which automatically scans my it’s memory at startup, I never ever ever scan my AK120 DAP…there is no need for me to do so.  I turn automatic scanning off on the AK120 and just remember where I put the files.  I just organize the folders in a way that makes it pretty simple to navigate.  On occasion it will take a minute or two to find something but it’s not a burden.

I don’t listen the way most people do…I do not use playlists, I tag my own files with mp3 Tag freeware, I listen to full albums (except for maybe electronic).  Every time I listen to an album I try to listen for something I never heard before, and every time…no matter how many listens, it presents itself.  I’m not trying to tell anyone how to listen to their music but I see people giving excellent DAP’s a bad review because the software was buggy, or they fill their memory cards with hundreds of GB of music while in the DAPs’ expansion slots.  Sometimes the GUI in the player itself is a little glitchy, but never miserable unless you’re expecting iPhone fast.

I Have had the AK120 for 2 years now and I use it daily with no battery issues…recharge is  slow, just plug in at night and it’s ready to go the next morning.  I do not use the DAP’s continuously all day, I switch between the phone to DAP’s throughout the day and they just work.  A little clunky but sounds damn good enough to make up for any shortfalls.

Next Up Reviews…

 

 

If there’s anything I forgot I will add to the update section below this sentence.

Update: 

As of today 02/23/17 No Updates At This Time.
Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server – Social Media Icons Explained

Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server – Social Media Icons Explained ~

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Christmachine social media Icons Simplified…It is necessary to do two posts in quick succession before I start unloading all of the Christmachine Audio Reference Server Quality Standards Catalog recommended as best sources to seek out for your listening pleasure.

I will start with an explanation of the second post which will follow soon after (above) this one, just so you know why, as well as my reasoning for this approach.  The following post will be a rundown of the gear / rig(s) that I have been using for the last two years.  It is somewhat similar to an earlier post a few years back (which I will link to below) except for the different Digital Audio Players (DAP’s – More than one) and there updated specs, that have improved the sound quality without my taking a major hit in price to upgrade.  It’s not super cheap to be fair, but I would say within the price range for anyone who already spends money on gear and music already.

You could do with what gear you already have on hand, even go a whole different route and purchase gear within your price range as well as what sounds good to your ears.  You just have to know that your gear supports the formats you get (Easy: see your device specs), and that if you are going to listen to high bitrates that the doc / dacs (Digital To Analog Converter(s)) have to also be able to support and output the quality (# Bit Depth / kHz Sample Rate) of the audio files.

If the file formats are not supported then a little research is needed to convert and preserve the integrity of the files.  If the internal dac / dacs downsample the audio, it will still sound Very Good at say (16/44) but you will not be making use of the full range of sound afforded by the recordings.

If 16/44 is enough for you then you will have the highest quality 16/44 around, he heh!  Make it fun anyway and compare to your CD versions as well as any digital files such as .mp3’s or .mp4’s, notice any differences. Remember that listening tastes change over time,  according to your current perspective (mood/biases), and is greatly affected by ambient noise in your surroundings.  It does not have to be maniacal, whatever floats the boat, right–yeah!

So the next post will show you my reference / listening gear, so that you can get a general idea as to how I listen and made the decisions for this standardized “Christmachine: Audio Reference Server Catalog“.  The three key words to remember are “Reference”, “Standard”, and “catalog”.  These reviews are from “my” personal “reference catalog”.  Therefore it is my subjective opinion as to the “standard”.  It’s not rocket science.

The fun again, is comparing and contrasting different audio sources and training your ears and brain through a critical listening process that will mature over time.  You can learn this on your own, i.e. by say focusing on the individual instruments and differeing sound signatures, etc. inside and between various recordings of the same piece of music mastered for each specific medium and format.

Keep in mind that the recordings must be of the same sessions or you will then be getting into a whole other realm, known as artist interpretations.  These are quite common in Classical Music, for example, for different musicians, conductors, or composers interpreting a standard legacy piece (Say Mozart’s “Requiem” or Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” or Beethoven’s 9th Symphony) differently or according to how they believe it should be represented or played.  That’s another realm of exploration, but I digress.

You already own…right now, “your own” personal reference catalog and may not think of it that way.  These are just meant to be my personal recommendations, if you want to attempt to take the music to another level.  If you listen to one or two or three and disagree, happy where your at, then great.  You can always use this site (or not 😉  ) as a reference, and be solid in your opinion….”knowing” where you think I am wrong.

Here is the link I referred to above for reference to my previous rig…

http://www.christmachine.com/christmachine/show-off-the-portable-rig-and-driveline-specs/

 

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Next I just want to take a moment to explain the social media icons, located in the upper right hand corner wedge on all the pages of this website.  There is a reason the icons visual logos do not correspond to the correct link and take you to another of my social media graveyards…heh.  For example the first icon that represents “Linked In” will take you to my twitter page…the reason being that I do not put those icons there to redirect you somewhere else to mess with you.  I do it because, having the right icon for each link just means more traffic and I am not doing this for clicks.  This is a archive website, no frills, not trying to break the net.

So below this paragraph I will post all the links in the order that they are represented in the corresponding icons.  If you want to click on these links to check them out, then you can just ignore the social media icons.  Most of the links are graveyards (save for a few), as I said earlier, but they will be used heavily once I get this website really full of fresh content and reviews.

Another thing there are some other links that readers have been going to via search engines thinking that they are mine. A few are not, and that is why I am explaining and posting all the links here.  For example…there is more than one Christmachine Youtube account…so now you will be able to see the right one, same for FB, and a few others.

Also there are a few links that I use daily, so I added them to the icons and are not my pages, but use them for reference for say Discogs and Wiki Languages and Omniglot.  Some of them like Discogs are there because I reference then a lot in regards to this website, and obviously you can use them too, for cross reference and search.  The Dynamic Range Database is in there as well…again, pertinent to this website.  So here they are for our reference.  All the links below are hot but open in a new tab, so be aware of that if you are on mobile. Stay well!

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/christ_machine

 

Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealChristMachine

 

Scoop.IT:

http://www.scoop.it/u/christmachineandicelandicgurlagenda

 

Omniglot:

http://www.omniglot.com

 

DR – Dynamic Range Database:

http://dr.loudness-war.info

 

Tumblr:

http://christmachine.tumblr.com

 

Christmachine Google Image Search:

https://www.google.com/search?q=christmachine&hl=en&biw=1221&bih=680&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiU3-KV–PRAhWTdSYKHW-uCFwQsAQIIA#imgrc=_

 

Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/ChristMachine/favorites/

 

Christmachine WordPress.com:

https://christmachine.wordpress.com

 

Christmachine RSS Feed:

(You must have a RSS Reader Installed / Or Shared Links On Mac)

feed://www.christmachine.com/feed/

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/public/Lincoln-Dottir-Christmachine

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/christ_machine/

 

Discogs:

https://www.discogs.com

 

Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/christmachine/following

 

Wikipedia Languages:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias

 

Google+:

https://plus.google.com/116278604902632351342

 

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/christmachine/

 

There you have it…Current Rig post up next! And then…  😉 🙂 😉

 

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

 

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

 

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Irish and Italian Associates Make Strange Bedfellows For Organized Crime In Boston in the 1990’s… [First Pass Edit]

This excerpt is inspired by true events. Some of the characters , names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been changed for anonymity purposes. Any similarity to the names, character or history of any person is purely coincidental.

 

The Conclusion of Part 2 – Canada Unleashed: Montreal to Vancouver…Is coming up in the subsequent post. Thank you for your patience!

 

With the universe as my witness, I write because I have to. It is just how writers do things, 48674493wkpand as we know it does not have to follow any sensible guidelines…it can be about some pretty fucked up shit. It does bother me sometimes that the focus is on the frailties of others, sometimes even of those we look up to. It’s further strange how we as people find ourselves fascinated by movies, stories…any medium where we can find ourselves sympathetic to the villains. Music, Cinema, Photography, Art…just about anything, especially when there were real lives connected and destroyed by monsters. We laugh, repeat and mimic lines (whole scenes even), over and over again…we reset the knife or a bullet to the head and chest. I’m not passing judgement, just making an observation. The way violence plays out in real life is worth a shit ton of money, only the victims loose any sleep over it…pretty messed up when you think about it. Dollars drenched with tears, there is blood on our hands. We don’t cause the accident, but we can’t look away either.

It’s very easy to romanticise the days of old in the ethnic neighborhoods of any city, you know before all the gentrification happened and ruined it all. The world governments saw a powerfully lucrative stranglehold of an oportunity to legislate control of their own brand of organized crime. In the past “problems” were handled locally along familial, ethnic, and cultural lines. Now these problems are handled administratively by jurisdictional governmental law through taxes, fees, and for profit institutions.

Go to the neighborhoods now and a fascade of the old country still exists but it does not have the same soul. If the violence was part and parcel of the family ties, part of what gave the neighborhood soul, then I guess it’s better that we have all moved on in the last few decades. Although it did not mean to start out that way, with the eventual corruption of “Respect” and the “Code of silence” by power and greed, with the responsibility placed rightfully on the perpetrators — as that “silence” evolved into sociopathy, this led to everyone singing like birds in last ditch attempts to survive. After all it was one of the most famous gangsters in modern history who said, ‘To get where I am today, I had to burn every bridge that I ever crossed to the ground’…clearly there must have never been any intention of going back. Just as black on black violence has become perversely acceptable, warehousing of the mentally ill and addicts in prisons tolerable, white on white ethnic violence being the only slight outlier, nonetheless all of it was and still is an unholy and unacceptable terror.

I must have had a lot of misconceptions about my environment at the time, but it was the 5766489mn“beloved” neighborhood. It’s only been in recent years that I have been able to fully understand what was really going on around me, things that I had no control over. You know how it is, one hopes to feel good about the neighborhood they choose to move into…it’s only natural to look the other way. There was so much bubbling under the surface that I did not know of, nor would I want to know for that matter. It’s just striking to think that in the middle of all this awesome culture and family and worldy seamlessness, that a large part of what held it all together was so dangerous. It was obviously a case of naiveté on my part, not in the sense of lacking street smarts, as I was aware of organized crime. I actually knew that some of my friends families (over many years) were involved in it, not any specifics…it just was just “unspoken knowledge” if you know what I mean. Gruesome violence was always overshadowed with, “they had it coming kind of vibe”. Catholics and Christians really have it lucky in this arena, you know “The Jesus Christ Option”, all you have to do is ask to be forgiven on your deathbed and whamo…heaven sent! No time at all in Purgatory, what a bargain (That is if you believe in that sort of thing), No!

In the Italian section of the city, there were no supermarkets or big box stores and it was wonderful. In the morning after a couple of espressos, I would head to my local butcher, who would hack the section of meat desired off a fresh carcass in cold storage. The cleaver would come out to section chops or ribs right in front of me. For burgers and meatballs he would grind, also right in front of me, 70% beef and 30% pork to order. The reason for mixing the pork (aside from it’s amazing flavor) was to add some fat to the ground beef. The beef was so lean, that it needed some pork fat to not come apart when cooking a burger on the grill. Assorted Dry Salamis, Sausages, Prosciuttos, and Cappocola hung from the ceiling for the taking. After a little bit of everything wrapped in butchers paper, it was time to move onto the cheese shop.

If I thought the butcher shop was great then the cheesemonger formaggi was divine. Here I would get the finest aged extra sharp Yellow Italian Provolone and while it was being sliced I would taste test the ripe Gorgonzolla, Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesano-Regianna. Grabbing a block of each as needed, the store also served as a local Latteria, so I would also get some local sourced Raw Milk, Mozzarella Di Bufala, and a bucket of Ricotta. After getting what I needed and tasting a world of flavors over a few minutes time, I would stop at the pizza shoppe right next door for a huge slice of Ricotta pizza…their specialty. The Ricotta baked onto the pizza shell was an inch thick and was cooked to exactly the right moment when the surface of the cheese would just start to thicken and brown into a carmelized slice of heaven. The pizza pulled from the oven at just that moment of perfection so as not to burn. The slice could be eaten without care from one hand as I walked to my next destination, the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

The Panaficio was right around the corner and I would purchase my desired breads and pastries. Some Scali, Focaccia, and Ciabatta for Panini’s (sandwiches) and occasional Lobster Claws and Pistachio Macaroons. Right next store to that was the Vegetable Market where I could get the best (just harvested and/or in season) Cilantro, Carrots, Onions, Broccoli Raab, Basil, Red and Green Peppers, Red Potatoes, and Romaine Lettuce. I would also grab assorted fruits: Plum Tomatoes, Olives, Peaches, Pomegranates, Green Beans, Bosc Pears, and Eggplant. Every year I would pine for the time of year, the arrival of the fresh and slightly ripened green whole figs to slice and eat the green gooey flesh…a whole bag sometimes until it gave me a stomach ache. That shit was some serious natural candy.

2387565yh

Johnny Depp – “Black Mass” Movie [Warner Brothers Promotional Photo]

These days some might think, what a pain in the ass to go all these places for your food. I can assure you that it was not, and is one of the best experiences one could ever have in life. Exactly the way it’s still done in many parts of the world…you got to know and talk to the people, actually see the hands that helped you to gather and select your provisions. The proprietors would clue you in on a seasonal or new gem that had fallen into their hands. We the locals got first dibs and a taste test of everything bought, and more importantly might desire to buy. I have never bought a tomato in a supermarket or big box store that had that distinct heirloom tomato taste, NEVER. The nightshade family, oh an ode to the nightshades…did you know that Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant are all in the same family as Tobacco (Nightshade Solanaceae)? Did you also know that all of these nightshade varieties contain small amounts of nicotine, even more when unripe? This is why nicotine is known to be one of the most effective and safe pesticides. This naturally stable form of nicotine is what helps keep pests away from the fruit. Oh how do I long for those days again.

There were several execution style murders right in front and in the area of my butcher shop, within the stretch of only one or two years. It was very strange how when a shooting would happen it would blow over so quick. White on white gangster crime obviously not a big priority for the police. I remember walking down the street after the bodies had already been removed, the shop owners would be outside washing their sidewalks with pressure washers as the blood ran in the gutters to the storm drains. The incidents would not even make big news…like page six at best.

I actually did not know that some of these murders were literally right on the sidewalk directly in front of my butchers’ street facing store front window. I had noticed right after the killings that the butcher shop had drawn closed steel garage doors, but because it was afternoon I just thought he had closed up for the day. The next morning while getting some stocks he told us what happened. That he was tending shop and all of a sudden bap bap bap, three shots and three dead people right in the street in the light of the day. He said it was over before anyone even had the time to register that something this crazy had happened. Their were just dead bodies lying all over the street. At that moment, a lot of shop keepers including him closed up shop for the day. Precisely the reason why his steel safety garage doors were closed so early in the day.

My flat was in the direct cross roads of the North End, in between Prince and Charter Streets. Not far from my door stoop was the Old North Church, famous for Paul Revere’s ride (“One if by Land, two if by sea”, in reference to the British Invasion of the US). Looking South was Haymarket Square and Faneuil Hall. At the time Boston’s Big Dig Construction Project was in full swing and was a major demarcation point separating the North End from Downtown Boston. It was early in 1990 and I was working two jobs to make ends meet. One was at the Fish Pier by day and the other I had begun in 1989 working at all the clubs on Lansdowne Street. I was tasked with local concert crew and band/ stage/ venue security.

Coach was dealing weed out of the flat at the time, but we were small fish, just small amounts of green to people who we were friends with (mostly College Students…none of whom lived in the North End). What was strange though was that as anyone who smokes weed knows that at times there would be “dry spells”, meaning that for many possible reasons…that a city or a whole state (or region) would have times when there was no weed to be had. The suppliers higher up on the food chain would be completely out or “dry”, unable to supply the street level dealers. This would cause minor panic within the weed community because they were unable to get their daily high. I remember one particular dry spell which lasted several months because a major dealer had been pinched by the feds for trafficking cocaine and marijuana. The thing was that Coach’s dealer never hit this dry spell so we always still had weed, but again Coach did not sell to anyone in The North End. The word that was going around in the neighborhood was that it was impossible to find a dime bag of weed, but heroin was plentiful everywhere for a mere five dollars a bag (and it was extremely potent). I’m sure you can see where this was heading, right down the tubes, and fast.

I remember one day hearing commotion outside my apartment window, dogs were barking, kids and people were whistling and screaming. So I head over to the window overlooking the street and I see a young guy who I knew was a local. He was rolling and falling onto the hoods of cars, obviously extremely high on heroin. He kept nodding out and waking up again over and over falling on to the sidewalk. Next thing I know, I see his elderly mother come around the corner with a broom screaming at him about being a “Waste” and a “Junky”. Next she starts beating him with the broom, first with the brush part then the wood handle. I was thinking this is crazy…and as usual whenever something crazy like this happened in the neighborhood, you could feel the eyes of all the people living on the street focused on what was going on from the awkward comfort of their flat’s living rooms. It was very sad, someone must have called emergency services because a few minutes later an ambulance pulls up and scoops him off the sidewalk to take him to the hospital. That’s just one example, but incidences like this were happening with more frequency.

It was normal each day to walk past the old timers sitting out in front of their stores, homes, or social clubs located in the basements of the packed together row houses. There was one guy in particular that stood out…he was often by himself sitting out in front of his building and although he was almost always alone…he seemed to interact with everyone in the neighborhood from his sharp little corner. I always greeted him everyday and he was very cordial in response. One particular day I walked by him and after saying hello, I continued on as usual. Next I went down to one of the local haunts in the tourist areas of downtown to sit and have some pints of beer.

The bartender who I knew pretty well from my patronage at his bar, was complaining that day about back pain. Somehow we got on the topic of pills, percosets to be exact, saying he needed to pick some up when he got off work. I half-jokingly asked if I could get a few as well, he affirmed and just had to make a phone call. Like ordering pizza, the only difference was that they did not deliver and that I would have to go get them from someone in the North End. Hmmm…that’s a strange coincidence. Not only that but he said that I could go get them right away if I wanted. He explained to me where I had to go and as luck would have it…I was going to get them from the guy I passed every day on the corner and had been saying hello to for like forever. Of all places to send me in the city, the bartender was an Irish guy from “Southie” (South Boston) directing me to my own neighborhood in the Italian section, the North End to pick up the pills.

I quickly finished my pint and got on it. It only took about ten minutes to walk there. So I cautiously walk up to the guy and I say, “So and so” sent me to pick something up. Without pause he yells out the name of a woman, then proceeds to tell me to go inside the door behind him…to walk up to the apartment at the top of the stairs and just knock on the door and give her the money. So I did as he said and after knocking on the door, an elderly woman opened it up and said a kind hello. I then gave her the money and she gave me a plastic bag with all the pills in it. That was it and I left just as I had come, walked back to the bar and divided up the goods, all were happy.

Sometime in the next month we decided to do it again, he made the phone call and then said I could go, but this time he had different instructions for the deal. This time I had to go inside a particular store and ask for a specific number of pills using a particular “code word”, and that they would hook me up. So I again walk over in short time and walk inside the store as instructed. There were a number of people inside doing actual business as it was the middle of the day. Again I did as was told, said the number followed by the codeword and within thirty seconds or so I was handed my merchandise. As soon as I received the goods, I noticed everyone scrambling in the store…someone ran to the store front window and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed”, just like you would see in the movies. I thought for a second was this a raid…no…I did notice a car had just pulled up that was double parked on the one way street. Then someone ran over to me and said “off you go”…ok, that’s odd.

As I walked out the store, I noticed I was the last one out besides the store workers, who stayed behind. As I’m walking out the storefront, just as I’m about to turn right out the front door, I noticed a man get out of the vehicle that was double parked. Another man was walking toward the store with him, however I could not take my eyes of the first man, he was creepy looking. I remember vividly thinking the guy looked like a psychotic leprechaun. He had shades on and was bald on the front and top with shiny grayish blonde crown of hair from the sides to the back. I could not get the look of that man out of my head, he was all business and projected the body language of person with zero fucks given. I don’t know why I got that idea or feeling from him, but I did. I also felt the sudden urge to get as far away from the area as possible immediately. In all seriousness I was not scared just a little creeped out, again I did not know who he was but his face is burned into my brain to this day. It was also not a big scare to me because I had walked amongst gangsters before. It was common knowledge that if you keep to yourself and show active - BULGER Wanted POSTER.PDFrespect you will “most likely” get the same in return.

Several years later, after I had already left the city and was traveling on tour with bands, I read an article in a newspaper and there were a few photos of a particular gangster who was near the top of the US Most Wanted list. The article was about, and photos were of that man (in a different incident and location), who I had cautiously passed that day near that store front. I quickly realized after some research on the internet, that it was the one and only “Mr. White” (J.J. “Whitey” B.). There is a lot more to the story for another time and another day. Not common for an Expat Icelander living in a US Italian neighborhood taking advice from an Irish Bartender in an Irish Town…while running into a famous Irish Gangster (who lived in the Irish part of town) in the Italian section of Boston. Go figure…fahget about it…what a tangled web we weave.

 

 

 

For those who want a larger overview, separate but surrounding this piece visit & read:

http://bostonmobscene.blogspot.com/2005/01/mob-in-boston-1990s-until-early-2000s.html

 

 

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CM ☕

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