The great AppleScript iTunes master, Doug Adams, created an app a while ago that allows me to join together LP sides so they play in the sequence as originally released on vinyl.
For me, I use this to emulate listening to an LP in iTunes. Sometimes I only want to hear a particular side of an LP that I’m familiar with. I don’t want to shuffle it, I don’t want to hear the whole thing, perhaps I’m listening on my headphones while on my treadmill, or walking around avoiding carjackers or whatever.
In the pre-digital days, you put an album on your turntable, and only one side played. If you wanted to hear the other side, you had to get up and flip it. Or you could listen to something else.
Producers or artists sequenced their albums accordingly. There were many heated discussions about which track came first on a side, which track closed the side, yadda yadda.
Of course, you can choose which tracks to listen to in whatever order you choose, even on a vinyl record, but it takes more effort.
The genius of Join Together is that once you create the music file, you can just queue that one file.
Here is my procedure, which works in iTunes1
1. Select the files which constitute a side of an LP. For instance, today, I used Glass Eye’s Hello Young Lovers2 – looked up the track order at Discogs.com, and copied the tracks that were on side A to Join Together.
2. In Join Together, entered in the “Name” field, “Hello Young Lovers – Side 1”, and also added the phrase “JoinedTogether” to the Grouping field.
3. I personally make every digital file as large as possible so they sound better, so I chose 320kbps as the export.
4. After the merged AAC file is completed, it is added to my iTunes library.
5. I use the Grouping field so that I can add all of these album sides to a Smart Playlist3, and also exclude it from certain Smart Playlists4
6. Then duplicate this procedure to create Side 2. Voilà!
Double LPs take longer, or triple LPs like Sandinista! give 6 files, or maybe even less…
There are some LPs that I always skipped a certain song, this can be recreated in Join Together. For another favorite album of mine, Meat Puppets II, when I used to play it in my college years, I always skipped Side 1 track one, and started on the second song. Sometimes I would play the 1st track later at the end, but I felt strongly that the first song, Split Myself In Two – a punk thrash song – didn’t fit with the mood of the rest of songs. Later on, after some other songs played, it was ok to hear, but not as the first song. So when I created this LP in Join Together, I simply put Split Myself In Two at the end of Side 1. Perfect!
Same with some LPs that the CD version added new songs. They don’t always “fit”, so why play them? For instance, the LP of Sonic Youth’s Sister has less songs than the CD version. Skip ‘em! I felt they changed the mood, so why include them?
Anyway, Join Together is well worth the $5 Doug Adams charges.Footnotes:
- I haven’t upgraded to a Mac that requires the new version called Music, yet [↩]
- which I had on vinyl when I lived in Austin and now own on CD [↩]
- I have 10 sides that sync to my iDevices, based on not hearing them in the last few weeks [↩]
- specifically, New Rips, i.e., songs that I’ve only listened to less than 5 times [↩]