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Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Dec 01, 2007 0 comments

While hard-bop tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin’s best known work was with Charles Mingus and his later Prestige albums are regarded as the hub of his solo recordings, this 1961 Candid set offers plenty of muscular grit, superb Nola Penthouse sound and the stellar backing trio of George Tucker on bass, Al Harewood on drums and one “Felix Krull” on piano, most likely a Nat Hentoff-assigned name given to Horace Parlan who was contracted to Blue Note at the time. In fact, Tucker and Harewood were part of Parlan’s quartet, as was Ervin for a spell.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Dec 01, 2007 0 comments

I am an not even remotely aware of the contemporary opera world. Until handed this disc, I was unaware of either 26 Russian-born soprano Anna Netrebko or 35 year old Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón. The foxy-looking Ms. Netrebko has been called “Audrey Hepburn with a voice,” while Mr. Villazón has not.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Dec 01, 2007 0 comments

If you buy only one LP this year on faith because of what you read on this website, please make it this one that comes from so far out in left field, it’s in the bleachers.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Dec 01, 2007 0 comments

Talk about throwing it back to the 1980s! These guys channel Manifestoera Roxy, Brit/Industrial (Joy Division) and even Haircut 100 on their latest double LP set (CD included for easy iTunes/iPod loading).

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Dec 01, 2007 0 comments

They are expensive ($40.00), they are 200 grams thick, the titles are mostly inspired and as you might expect, the pressing and jacket quality are absolutely spectacular.

Turntable Reviews
Michael Fremer Nov 16, 2007 0 comments
Conceptually audacious, elegantly designed, executed with space-age precision, and remarkably compact, Grand Prix Audio's direct-drive Monaco turntable ($19,500) aims to turn the tables on the belt-drive designs that have dominated analog playback for three decades.
Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Nov 01, 2007 0 comments

Funky, bluesy electric guitarist Mel Brown, now 78, is still at it. He was 27 back in 1967 when Impulse released this showcase for his super-clarified style of electric funk/jazz blues guitar.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Nov 01, 2007 0 comments

Buying stereo records issued by obscure labels during the 1960s was always a challenge. First of all, you had tofind them. Most of the local stores in my area only carried mono for “the kids,” so that meant a trip to The Green Acres Shopping Center in Valley Stream, Long Island to hit Sam Goody’s where there was a small but useful “stereo” section where you could find rock.

Album Reviews
Michael Fremer Nov 01, 2007 0 comments

Natalie Merchant’s first solo outing after leaving 10,000 Maniacs, issued in 1995, was among her finest records. For those who may have found her earlier work overblown and precious, the understated, acoustic setting, provided by a trio of then relative unknowns, proved ideal for a set of introspective set pieces dealing with issues of loss, jealousy, escape, sacrifice, loneliness, stardom and martyrdom delivered with cozy intimacy. No wonder it became a big seller.

Album Reviews
Michael Nov 01, 2007 0 comments

I can’t get enough of these Candid reissues from Pure Pleasure. The original label was short-lived and the distribution limited. Candid was originally a subsidiary of Archie Bleyer’s Cadence Records (Bleyer had an unlikely ‘50’s hit single with “Hernando’s Hideaway” from the Broadway hit “Damn Yankees” and scored big with The Everly Brothers). The label was sold to pop crooner Andy Williams, a seemingly unlikely customer, who reissued some of both Cadence and Candid titles on his label Barnaby, distributed by Columbia Records.