Video: Art Dudley and Herb Reichert on Listener Magazine

A couple of weeks back, we posted a video profile of our Deputy Editor, Art Dudley, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback for Art—and deeply nostalgic comments about Listener Magazine, which he founded in late 1994, and which ceased publication after the September/October2002 issue.

Listener's writers included Herb Reichert, Michael Fremer, Alex Halberstadt, Rob Doorack, Adam Sohmer, and the late Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg, as well as guitarist Duck Baker, trombonist Roger Oyster, poet Robert Kelly, and a host of others. Features included equipment reviews, how-to articles, regular columns, record reviews, and original interviews with a great many musical artists, including Andy Partridge, Gary Brooker, Roger McGuinn, John McEuen, and Scotty Moore.

Art also pointed out—not necessarily with pride—something he and his wife, Janet Dudley, came to know as "the Listener curse": They published the very last interviews with at least two musicians of note: Rick Danko of the Band and Randy California of Spirit. ("There might have been more," Art says today. "It kinda weirded me out, so I stopped counting after two.") In fact, Listener was in the news recently, when their interview with Randy California, by writer Jeff McLaughlin, was introduced as evidence during the copyright suit against members of Led Zeppelin, who were accused by California's estate of basing "Stairway to Heaven" on a riff from the Spirit song "Taurus."

In this video, shot in Art's listening room, Art and Herb Reichert reminisce together about Listener and its legacy.

Before signing off on this, Art pointed out two errors: He describes the last issue of Listener as having been published in 2003—it was actually 2002—and he refers to listening with his dog to Benjamin Britten's opera Billy Budd when he meant to say Peter Grimes.

Allen Fant's picture

Yep, I bought every issue of Listener back in those days.

johnnythunder's picture

Listener's legacy obviously lives on in the Stereophile writers like Art and Herb and Mr Fremer. With those writers it's always about how certain components create this magical, emotional and spiritual connection between you and the music. Listener was where i first heard about the Jean Marie Reynaud speaker line ( and I ultimately purchased a pair.) Those speakers supercharged my appreciation of music a thousandfold and exactly in the ways they described. So, in Art I trust.

brucej4's picture

Though I somehow have missed ever seeing a copy of Listener, I really enjoyed the discussion. Seeing and hearing Art and Herb will enhance my reading of their columns in the future.

fetuso's picture

With all due respect, I fail to see how this type of content is going to attract a younger audience to Stereophile in particular, and high end audio in general. Jana was supposed to be providing a more youthful, and feminine, view point. Instead week after week she's hanging out with these older guys filming their trips down memory lane. I understand there's an apprenticeship period, but that should be happening behind the scenes. Please don't misunderstand; I enjoy Herb's and Art's writing, but frankly these pieces are boring and self indulgent.

Art Dudley's picture
That's a legitimate point of view, and while I don't agree that these videos are boring, I understand your frustration, fetuso. I hope you will find the patience to stay with us: more youthful—and, I hope, more feminine—viewpoints are coming to domestic audio, and we will seek them out and present them here.
Pretzel Logic's picture

....and it permeates seemingly all of entertainment and culture EXCEPT Stereophile, which is why I come back to it week after week. (Go to any other website on most any other subject and try to count to ten before someone drags out the 'old white guys' trope in the comments section.) Not picking on fetuso here, just want to be another voice in favour of these older guy vids.

dalethorn's picture

Agreed. When the balance occurs naturally, or through long and thoughtful pre-planning, it has a good chance of succeeding. Patience is the companion of wisdom.

fetuso's picture

I would like to clarify my comment, if you please. First, I never said anything about race, so let's leave that out of it. Second, I made my "old guys" comment in the context of what we were told Jana's role was to be; a millenial who was to provide a youthful point of view on all things audio. There is no ageism here. I'm not advocating for the silencing of Herb, Art, or others. There is no subsititue for the experience they bring to their reviews, but they have their owm columns in which to provide it. Thank you.

fetuso's picture

I appreciate your respectful reply as the last thing I wanted was to pick a fight. And at 44 I'm no spring chicken. I visit Stereophile's site primarily for reviews on gear amd music and I'm interested to hear Jana's take.

volvic's picture

You are probably not wrong Fetuso, but to me this video shows how these two writers that I enjoy reading, got to Stereophile and how their experiences with Listener magazine marked them. It is also insightful as it explains their persona a little more and helps me understand their approach to equipment review and how it interacts with the music they listen to. Anyone who consistently uses Elgar's Dream of Gerontius by Adrian Boult for reviewing equipment rather than kick drum test records is someone who above all is immersed in music and I for one want to learn as much about who they are as possible.

The same applies for Mr. Reichert, his eastern-mystical approach to reviews ("vintage turntables are like Egyptian ka figures: they capture and hold the spirit of their former owners"), is so different and enlightening that I no longer look at my used records and used hi-fi gear the way I used to. Who wouldn't want to sit down with him and talk music and equipment, over a glass of bourbon....I sure would.

I think Jana captured a nice moment of conversation between two great music lovers, that I enjoy reading and there is nothing wrong with that.

donlin's picture

As a 54 year old white guy, I find these videos fascinating. Before Jana started creating them I rarely ever visited the Stereophile website but now I check it out frequently and read the magazine with a completely new perspective. It's nice to have some content available that doesn't give the impression that anybody over the age of 30 is irrelevant. I give Jana credit for being respectful to people with a great amount of experience, wisdom and personality regardless of their age.

Glotz's picture

It was great to Art finally talk a bit about Listener magazine! I've bought about 5 of them, and found all of them a complete breath of fresh air. I still use an sable paint brush for one of my stylus cleaners, and I remember Steven Guttenberg stating he watches the dust go round and round.. lol. I also remember Art thinking Lou Reed's writing was 'Blech'.

I still kinda wish Stereophile was a digest-sized magazine. What about going full-sized, instead? I do think it's time for a style-change, as it has been awhile in the same format and font... for what, 20 years? It may allow for more photos and illustrations in the pages, but I am no publisher; I have no idea of how expensive or feasible this would be.

volvic's picture

May I possibly trouble Mr. Dudley or Mr. Reichert and get the label, performer and number of that opening piece they are listening to? thank you

Art Dudley's picture
Hi Nick! We were listening to a selection from Julian Bream's The Golden Age of English Lute Music, which is one of RCA's Soria Series records. (It was issued in both mono and stereo; we were listening to the mono version—LD-2560—although I also have the stereo version.) It features music by Dowland, Morley, et al., and in true Soria Series style it comes with a booklet containing some very nice color prints. I don't think it's difficult to find.
volvic's picture

Thank you kindly Mr. Dudley, off to Academy to seek it out. BTW great article in "As We See It" in the latest edition.

jimtavegia's picture

people will complain about everything and how it is done. This IS important as for any magazine to last as long as Listener did is remarkable as so few care about high end audio, then and now. The fact that they share their thoughts about what they did is just fun stuff. The fact that the two of them are still writing about audio is also remarkable and there are still enough of us out here to keep a magazine alive and kicking is a good thing.

RoundMidnight56's picture

I'm glad this video was posted on the Stereophile site.

I'm ALSO glad I kept the copies of Listener that I got as part of that subscription (I've even tried to find back issues/a complete set).

JackG's picture

And I bought all the back issues as well when I subscribed. I enjoyed the writing as much as the equipment info, perhaps more. I even had a letter published (28IF). And I really enjoy these videos.