Friday Music is releasing a limited-edition 180gram audiophile translucent blue vinyl version of Al Jardine’s A Postcard from California for Record Store Day (RSD) Black Friday on Nov. 23 at participating RSD record stores.
David Beard: What can you tell us about the Record Store Day vinyl release of A Postcard from California?
Al Jardine: The new vinyl was mastered impeccably by Joe Reagoso at Friday Music, giving it a warmer and richer sound. The quality of the original stereo master is better. With mp3s you lose generational quality, so this will give the listeners an opportunity to hear the album as I originally intended it to be heard.
My turntable dates back to the early 1970s; it’s from Brother Studios. I have that turntable now. We played all the acetates on that turntable; including the Surf’s Up album. The Beach Boys’ engineer Steve Desper bought it for the group. It’s so primal it literally runs on a large black rubber band, but there’s no way to protect the needle, so every time I want to listen to my vinyl collection the needle will break. They still make the needle cartridges, so they are putting a needle in the mail to me.
Joe has been a Beach Boys friend and fan for years. He’s been reproducing vinyl for a lot of major recording artists at Friday Music. Our friendship seemed to transcend the impossibilities because every time I tried to get something done the timeline was four to six months just to get a pressing. It was a last ditch effort on my part because I began to think maybe it doesn’t matter anymore because it’s been so long since A Postcard From California was originally released. Joe stepped in and said, “I’ll do it for ya. I can make it happen.” Once Joe gets on to something you can’t stop him and he’s determined to make it right. He went beyond expectations.
David: So, you have been wanting to release this since 2012?
Al: Yeah … I thought that’d be a part of the process. The sales for the CD were so meager when I got my first statement I thought maybe it doesn’t matter. I thought I’d get another project started and maybe A Postcard From California will find its way to vinyl. But things are percolating again, and the surge of vinyl sales are up dramatically, so I decided to do it.
David: Where did the idea of including an autographed postcard come from?
Al: That was Spud (Drifting Sand); it was always his idea. It was very difficult for the manufacturer to stuff 1,000 of the postcards into these packages … They had to do that before the shrink wrap. I had to sign the postcards myself, [laughs] so that might have been easier than having to stuff them (in there). It was a real team effort. Including the postcard is just an old-fashioned way of communicating with people and I think they appreciate it.
The album is just an amazing adventure in music that takes you out to the coast, and the hopes and dreams that we all had when we were all moving our entire families to a better life. I almost break into tears sometimes when I’m singing “A Postcard From California,” with all that hard work that my Dad went through. My Dad typed all those letters for employment, somewhere in a warmer climate.
*The complete unabridged interview with Al Jardine appears in the Winter 2018 edition of ESQ.
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