and The Hatfield's & McCoy's, & site improvements

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Posted by kevin r schmidt on 04/21/02 - 14:27:49
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After visiting I was left with a very natural feeling.  First its a major accomplishment that the Hatfields and McCoys were able to finally agree on getting the site up.  However, I am not impressed with the site.  But I am not going to be overly critical of the site merely because it will be tweaked over time for improvements.  If it isn't improved then its a waste of everyone's time and money to have it up on the Net.  

The first thing that needs to be done is to correct all the obvious factual errors.  Someone from the Hatfields or McCoys should have done at least a cursory review of the content before the site going live.  Lets start with the discography, beginning with Takes Off.  The site list 10 songs are on the album.  Unless I missed something, Chauffeur Blues was on Takes Off, or someone wasn't paying attention when the site was being built.  

In the discography section I would like to see more historical information about each album recorded.  An example would be personal recollections by Paul & Marty about their songs Run Around and Let Me In, the surrounding controversy with RCA deleting the original mix of the songs on Takes Off.  Everyone in the band should talk about what not only made it onto the albums.  But what they recorded and didn't make it onto the albums and why.  If enough fans are interested in the outtakes.  Perhaps it could create a demand for a commercially viable new box set of unreleased material might to be considered by the powers that be.  Hopefully any new box set would correct the travesty of Jefferson Airplane Loves You unleashed upon us, the fans.  

Other things that could be considered for the discography section could be showing alternate album art work, scans of the two different inserts for Volunteers and its variants.  I would also like to see the singles included and their picture sleeve artwork.  I would not limit the discography to US releases.  But would expand it to include the more interesting foreign releases and picture sleeves.  I personally think it would be interesting to know why Bark was released with a mono mix in Uruguay.  What was behind RCA Spain's motivation to press a special promo album for distribution to Spain's radio stations?  Why were there different album covers used for various albums in different countries, etc.?  This is the type of information I believe that should be included on the Web site.    

I would like to see on the site is a section devoted to the early days of Grunt Records.  Most people have forgotten that people like Jack Bonus, One, Richmond Talbot, Joey Covington, Pete Kaukonen, and Jack Traylor all released some of the most obtuse albums of the early 70's on a major label.  Would an MP3 download of those albums be viable in the future?  

Another section I would like to see included on the site would be a scan of various promo materials used by the Jefferson Airplane and Grunt.  How many of you ever saw a copy of the Grunt comic books, with artwork by Greg Irons and the characters Jumping Jack Flesh and Rollo Turpentine, the Grunt News, The Grunt Dictionary, magazine advertisements for various albums, and lots of other stuff?  Wouldn't you, the fans, be interested in seeing some of this stuff that you only heard about and never saw?  

I like the fact that the site ask the visitor what [they] would like to see being sold in their online store.  Personally, I would like the site to eventually release archived historical live performances.  This is something that is not only being done by the Grateful Dead.  But The Doors, Allman Bros, and John Mayall are now venturing into.  Perhaps the online store could run a limited edition reprint of the Grunt comic books and various promo items.  

From a creative perspective the Web site falls flat on its face.  Its like any other jar of mayonnaise on the shelf in the supermarket.  Sometimes when your too close to something you don't see the bigger picture of your potential.  I would have designed the site much differently.  The front page of the site would have been a picture of 2400 Fulton St in its glory days.  The visitor would enter the front door and would be in a virtual room where you could be visit other rooms in the house.  Each room would offer different options.  An example would be the recording studio would be where the discography could be viewed.  The kitchen is where the individual bios and friends would be stored.  Other rooms would be used for each specific topic of interest discussed.  

The links section even has the option to be distinguished from all other sites as well.  I would use the Fur Peace Ranch logo, for Jorma, perhaps the first business card design by Rick Griffen in the shape of a can of tuna fish for Hot Tuna, a sample of Marty's artwork for his site, etc..  

The Web site is new and it wants our suggestions for improvements and what to sell.  I will be forwarding my site suggestions.  I'm throwing ideas out there for you to chew on.  However, if you want archived performances to be sold in addition to tee shirts, commercially available CD, and other stuff.  You have to go to the site and give it your feedback to make it all possible.  Otherwise the site will be just like all the other jars of mayonnaise on the shelf.      

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