A film I liked: "Tom Dowd and the Language of Music" (2003)


Do you have any interest in music production, wiring together 8-track tape recorders by hand, the history of Atlantic records, jazz, R&B, southern rock, or atomic bombs? Then get thee to a copy of "Tom Dowd and the Language of Music", a documentary of the man who pretty much single-handedly developed multi-track recording, working with the likes of John Coltraine, Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Tito Puente, and Otis Redding. It's well-crafted and easy to watch—Dowd is an affable old coot, and he was clearly stoked to get some recognition of his contribution to pop music, which as any of the dozens of musicians interviewed will testify, was considerable.

I watched it on Netflix Instant streaming, but it's also on Amazon for twenty bucks.

My favorite part might have been the interlude between Dowd and Les Paul, who had quietly been building an 8-track recording system in his garage while the rest of the recording world was still using gear scavenged from radio stations.

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