The Gruvy Awards Records
Analogue Productions RCA "Living Stereo" series|
These reissues mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound from the three track masters are the finest sounding "Living Stereo" reissues I've yet heard and in my opinion beat the originals in most ways--unless you've built a system as a shrine to the originals. Try the Rhapsody In Blue.
Music Matters Blue Note 33 1/3 series|
Music Matters' 45rpm Blue Note reissues set the reissue packaging standard a few years ago and the mastering by Kevin Gray, with Steve Hoffman on some, from the original master tapes was superb too, though some sounded a bit soft. The new 33 1/3 series mastered by Kevin Gray in his newly upgraded mastering suite--all new electronics and wiring by Audioquest--sound more transparent, dynamic and tape-like. The gatefold packaging remains sumptuous.
Mobile Fidelity Bob Dylan reissues|
Mo-Fi's stereo Dylan reissues are models of transparency, detail, clarity and warm musicality. The early ones are from analog re-mixes of the 4 track masters that sound better than the originals in my opinion. The "Blonde on Blonde" in particular is astonishing.
This Graceland mastered by Ryan K. Smith and cut to lacquer far surpasses the original DMM cut by Greg Calbi. Original recording engineer Roy Halee supervised. He and Calbi agree this reissue is the one to have.
IMPEX Ellington Indigos|
This reissue of an original 1958 Columbia "6-Eye" mastered by Kevin Gray takes advantage of better mastering and pressing to present with dead black backdrops this elegant Duke Ellington album that presents Duke and the orchestra from a somewhat distant, almost mystical perspective--as if the listener is remembering rather than listening to the live performance. Or the orchestra is playing in an empty ballroom for its own enjoyment. Either way it glitters.
Speakers Corner Nilsson Sings Newman|
A short but amazing album long in need of an all-analog reissue. Nilsson's labor of love almost killed him. The more you listen, the more you will enjoy. It's a gift that keeps giving. Originally issued when vinyl pellets were poor, so good luck finding a clean original.
ORG Blood, Sweat and Tears|
This album has been reissued numerous times by everyone from DirectDisk,to Mobile Fidelity and the original Columbia was damn good too so if you've got one of those you're probably done but if not and you need to again hear "Spinning Wheel" or the others, this double 45 hits all of the right reissue notes. A classic of its era, for sure.
Audio Fidelity Bladerunner OST|
Vangelis's score perfectly complimented Ridley Scott's dystopian vision of Los Angeles. Even if you've never seen the movie, you'll get sucked into the visuals via the evocative music. The sound is spectacularly synthetic and this record contains some of deepest and most powerful bass ever engraved into a piece of lacquer. You might get scared.
Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971 (Reprise)
"New" in the sense that it hadn't been previously released though it's from a 1971 performance, when most of these familiar tunes were new to both Young and his fans. The almost primitive recording is astonishingly transparent and transportive. A must have for Young fans.
Paul Rodgers The Royal Sessions (Pie)|
Still in fine voice at 63, one of the great singers of the rock era steps into Willie Mitchell's studio and proves to the Stax-Volt/Hi-Records veterans that the white kid can sing Otis Redding on his own terms. Great song mix, musicianship and all-analogue recording, mixing and mastering. A miraculous combination in 2014 or at any time for that matter.
Daft Punk Random Access Memories (Sony)|
Retro-Disco ear candy supreme. Brilliantly produced and recorded. The duo is no Milli-Vanilli, but still, they are pretty good. Great in the car and even better at home but of course not an every day to play record. These guys supposedly recorded every track in analog and digital and in the mix chose which sounded better. For that alone they deserve praise!
Doug MacLeod "There's a Time" (Reference Recordings)|
Yes it was recorded digitally (at 176/24) on the Skywalker Soundstage so it's not exactly an "intimate" club date, but if anyone can warm up an empty room and the musicians accompanying him it's Piedmont style blues specialist Doug MacLeod. Sometimes the blues can bring a smile to your face as can Keith O. Johnson's recording.
Thank You Les (Showplace Music Productions)|
This grab bag tribute to the late Les Paul produced by his old pal and playmate Lou Pallo will delight all Paul fans. Among those paying tribute are Steve Miller, Billy Gibbons, Slash, Jose Feliciano, Eddie Brigati and Keith Richards. The songs are standards but the performances anything but standard (though a few were "phoned in"). Recorded analog on vintage tube gear, the sound is as you and Les Paul would want it.
TEXAS HURRICANE Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Box Set (Analogue Productions)|
Everything a vinyl reissue box set should be: sourced from the original analog master tapes—the one digital production transferred to tape to give it some "analog-ness"—, each record in a gatefold "Tip On" jacket, plus a well-annotated booklet. All in a handsome, sturdy box. Oh and by far the best sounding these records have ever been or will ever be, in either 33 1/3 or 45rpm versions.