I just picked up a remastered CD version of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding, one of Dylan's many permutations of himself, and one where his singing is more emotional than some of his other work. I'm happy to acquire this CD, and I'm thinking, "Remastered? Didn't Greg Calbi do these remasters at Sterling Sound?" So I go to look for the credits — and despite the fact that there's a big yellow sticker permanently affixed to my CD case with the excited yet, vague sentence "Spectacularly remastered from original source tapes", there's no mention of who remastered this CD anywhere on the packaging. There are two credits for Bob Johnston's production, as there should be, and credit for Dylan writing the songs, the players and the engineer, Charlie Bragg — but nowhere are there credits for who did the remastering, let alone who tracked down the "original source tapes" or who oversaw the process of remastering Dylan's back catalog.
I was visiting an old friend and former band member last year. Right as I was about to drive off she said, "Hey, there's a record you really should check out. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins." I replied, "Uh, I engineered some of that album and even played bass on a song!" Then she told me, "Oh, I've got a copy someone burned for me."
I buy a few tunes from iTunes every once in a while. Sometimes you buy a track and ask yourself the same question, "Who recorded this?" Good luck finding out. Or the time I wanted to know who did string arrangements for Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman". The name Al De Lory took a while to dig up on Google.
Speaking of Google, that's what I use a lot when researching, editing and proofing articles for Tape Op. I spend a lot of time looking for album credits, proper album titles, discographies and such. Most are available through retail sites, though these can be very iffy — certainly no need to mention albums they don't sell! All Music is supposed to be a database for this kind of information, but I find it to be impossible to navigate these days and full of misinformation. I know — I looked up my own discography, then tried to change it, and nothing ever came of my efforts.
I make part of my income because people look at the credits and say, "Hey, so and so recorded at Jackpot! with Larry Crane. Maybe we should go there for our next record." If these credits are impossible to find, how are people like us gonna get work in the future, and will we even get acknowledgment among our peers for work well done?
The irony is I didn't even listen to the Dylan record — I sat down and wrote this rant. Through searching the Internet I found out that Greg Calbi did remaster it, Steven Berkowitz was the reissue producer and Didier C. Deutsch did the tape research. Now maybe I should just put the CD on and enjoy it.