Dr. J's Blog
Rock and Roll History, News & Views
Bay City is a great place to grow up and live. It is relatively quiet and safe and provides numerous recreational activities. There are a respectable number of good restaurants and bars in town, although there is a noticeable lack of live music options. Unlike many Michigan cities, the downtown area of Bay City seems pretty healthy. Sports have always played an important role in the city and there are ample opportunities for citizens from children to adults to participate in a wide variety of athletic activities. The Rail Trail and Riverwalk are stellar additions to the community that encourage a healthier lifestyle. Despite the lack of support from the current governor and his cohorts in Lansing, the public school system is in decent shape and the town has both a junior college and university nearby to provide higher education at a fairly reasonable price.
The big economic news is that Uptown at River's Edge project has finally gotten off the ground. The former 43-acre industrial site along Bay City's riverfront is now the home of Dow Corning and will soon include McLaren Bay Region, Chemical Bank, a new hotel, and a number of new restaurants and shops. It's hoped that 500 new jobs will be created, and in the words of current Mayor Chris Shannon: "It's not just the jobs; it's the intangible...that, after decades of economic decline and jobs loss, this brings a level of confidence that investment in Bay City has returned." So where does Madonna fit into all of this?
American Record Pressing in Owosso, Michigan, was one of the state’s most important record producing plants during most of rock and roll’s first two decades. ARP’s legend is large. Besides pressing records for an array of major labels in the United States, the company also pressed the first Motown 45s, the first single by The Beatles to be released in America, as well as many of the records released by Michigan teen bands in the 60’s on a wide variety of small independent labels. Despite its interesting history, the story of the ARP’s ownership, its daily operation, and the mystery surrounding its untimely demise by a fire in 1972 have largely gone unreported.
Forget the lists in Rolling Stone, Pop Matters, Spin and all the other music publications and sites; MRRL’s annual list of the Best CDs is the work of two unrepentant rock and roll junkies who boast a combined total of nearly 120 years of being slaves to the music. With no record company freebies to influence their decisions, Mid-Michigan’s Dr. J and Metro Detroit’s Larry V. present the best of what they bought, borrowed and burned for the 5th consecutive year.