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In-Demand Mastering Engineer Shares Career Highlights With EJW

Written by Chief Editor.

Earlier this summer, Elton announced that ten of his recordings would be reissued.

These are Tumbleweed Connection; Honky Chateau; Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player; Caribou; Rock of the Westies; The Big Picture; Empty Sky; Blue Moves; One Night Only--The Greatest Hits; and Sleeping With The Past. All were remastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine. The Grammy winner recently spoke about some of his achievements with this Web site.

 EJW: Before all of the above, you worked on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Have you done anything else with Elton John?

BL: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was a great honour for me.  There are many mastering facilities right near the UK record company, so for them to ship the master tapes of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road to me was a real privilege. 

Before that, I did Written in the Stars (Elton and Leann Rimes); Elton and Tim Rice's Aida (produced by Phil Ramone); The Road to El Dorado; Peachtree Road; Billy Elliot the Musical singles The Letter, Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, and Electricity; and The Captain & The Kid (stereo and 5.1).

EJW: Do you have a favourite Elton John album that you remastered?

BL: Empty Sky was a real treat for me.  I simply had not heard it before and knowing it was his first album in the UK and not until 1975 in the US.  Although Elton has somewhat dismissed it, I really enjoyed all of it!

EJW: You have also contributed to films. Could you name some of these?

BL: I've worked on Nine Inch Nails Live: And All That Could Have Been (2002), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Hammersmith Odeon, London '75 (2005) and Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night (1988).

EJW: One of your first jobs was with Phil Ramone. How did this come about?

BL: I was finishing up my Masters Degree at the Eastman School of Music. I was playing 1st Trumpet with the Utica Symphony and also working many hours in the recording department at Eastman.  During the last summer session for my degree, Phil Ramone came up to teach the first recording workshop ever held there.  I was his de facto assistant and at the end of the classes he offered me a job at his own A&R Recording in NYC.  Phil was my mentor and he taught me a great deal.  He was an amazing person.

EJW: Elton will be performing in your area in November. Do you attend a lot of live shows?

BL: I'm really busy at work so I don't get to nearly as many concerts as I would like to.  Even the average concert is too loud and damaging to one's ears so I have to wear earplugs . . . which is always a drag.