Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Oct 24, 2013  |  8 comments
Warner Brothers put Randy Newman on a college tour in 1969 with Ry Cooder and Captain Beefheart. The idea was to familiarize college kids with the label's eclectic artistic mix.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 24, 2013  |  12 comments
In 1972 and '73 you'd hear this classic album playing in every hippie crash pad and college dorm room in America. It was a "chick" album guys could dig. Her friend James Taylor had encouraged the veteran song writer to sing her own songs.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 17, 2013  |  29 comments
What would Mobile Fidelity do without a master tape? It doesn't exist. Or at least it can't be found. A Mo-Fi person asked me what I knew. I told them I knew the tape's been missing for years but that I'd check with the late Levon Helm's people to see what they might know. A search of Levon's tape library didn't produce it and a someone else I know checked with Robbie Robertson's people. No master.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 25, 2013  |  30 comments
How to follow up Highway 61 Revisited released in the summer of 1965? Dylan had an impending nine-month world tour to deal with and a band to assemble. He hooked up with an outfit called Levon and the Hawks and after a few weeks of rehearsing and well-received live performances in Texas, he took the group to Columbia Studios in New York.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 24, 2013  |  48 comments
Over the past few Record Store Days Sony/Legacy has been slowly rolling out on 180g vinyl, much of the Miles Davis catalog mastered from original analog tapes. This coming Record Store Day, November 29th, the label will release on vinyl Miles and Monk at Newport, Jazz Track and Kind of Blue. At that point, all nine mono vinyl titles will have been released. The same nine mono titles will debut on CD in a new box set MILES DAVIS: The Original Mono Recordings to be released on November 11th of this year

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Michael Fremer  |  Sep 15, 2013  |  2 comments
Like Marshall Crenshaw’s debut, Cyndi Lauper’s first album would be difficult to top and neither she nor Crenshaw managed to do it. Better to peak early than not peak at all—not that either of them didn’t release some very good follow-ups.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 11, 2013  |  5 comments
I'll never forget the first time I heard well-recorded vibes on an audio system. It was at an E.J. Korvette's in Douglaston, NY on a pair of their XAM "house brand" speakers playing in the store's record department. I bought a lot of records there. The album was Terry Gibbs Quartet's That Swing Thing (Verve V6-8447) recorded live at Shelley's Mannehole in Los Angeles.

 |  Sep 04, 2013  |  18 comments
Probably not by accident was this second Blood, Sweat & Tears album not called Blood, Sweat & Tears 2, even though that’s what it is. Child Is Father to The Man the first BS&T album, a jazz infused production featuring on occasion a string section and heavily under Al Kooper’s influence, including the some would call grotesque album cover, was a critical success and a commercial flop.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 19, 2013  |  6 comments
The late Carl E. Jefferson's Concord Records, (now owned by Concord Music Group, which owns Fantasy, Prestige, Riverside, Stax, Specialty, Telarc, Hear Music etc.), founded in 1972 at a time when the pioneering jazz "majors" Blue Note and the above mentioned Prestige, Riverside, etc. had been bought and turned into catalog to be "asset managed" with little or no forward direction, remains, like Norman Granz's Pablo Records, among the most underrated and undervalued on the used LP market.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 19, 2013  |  15 comments
Note: What's directly below is a very personal review of Sony/Legacy's late 2000's In A Silent Way 180g vinyl reissue originally published on musicangle.com, followed by an update review of Mobile Fidelity's recent AAA reissue.-ed.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 19, 2013  |  5 comments
Only side one was actually recorded live at New York's now shuttered Half Note back in June of 1965; the other side was taped during an Autumn studio date at Van Gelder's place in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. The Kelly Trio, which included Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers — the rest of Miles Davis' former rhythm section — is joined by one of the world's most original jazz guitarist, the late Wes Montgomery, on a smooth set that goes down easy both because of the straight-ahead swing of the playing and Van Gelder's superb recording. The live side captures Montgomery's rich sound better than any other recording I've ever heard, and the studio side is only down a notch from that.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 10, 2013  |  34 comments
Escaping The Doors' "Light My Fire" was impossible throughout 1967's "Summer of Love". Likewise, unless you shuttered yourself indoors throughout this year's "Summer of Blah" you simply couldn't avoid Daft Punk's break out hit "Get Lucky" culled from the unlikely number eight spot in the album's thirteen song sequence.

What do I mean by "Summer of Blah"? Is this not the most, compliant, passive, drippy, "blah" generation to come down the pike in decades?

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 10, 2013  |  9 comments
As you know, digital is "perfect", so it shall remain a mystery why Part 1 of the Rolling Stones Box Set feature originally published on musicangle.com in 2011 got lost in the conversion to analogplanet.com. Part II made it. The omission was discovered recently when a reader asked about the recent ABKCO individual clear vinyl reissues. He was told to read the two part story because according to ABKCO, the new clear vinyl reissues were sourced from the files that produced the box set's excellent results, but of course Part 1 was nowhere to be found on the site. So belatedly, here it is.-Ed.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 24, 2013  |  1 comments
Back in 1995 in The Tracking Angle's second issue I wrote of acoustic folk/blues artist Doug MacLeod's performances on his Audioquest LP Come to Find (AQ 1027): "You'll hear a lifetime's accumulation of feelings, experiences and influences in his fingers, in his voice and in his songs...."

MacLeod was 46 at the time. Eighteen years or so later MacLeod is still at it, as he's been since he picked up bass and guitar as a child. He's issued 19 studio albums some live ones and even an instructional DVD. The years have only enhanced and enriched MacLeod's technical and communicative abilities. He's an even more fluid and nuanced guitarist and singer than he was back in 1995.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 21, 2013  |  22 comments
Real name Sarah Joyce, the 34 year-old singer-songwriter who goes by the name Rumer (after the English writer Margaret Rumer Godden), was born in Islamabad, Pakistan and is most often described as having a Karen Carpenter-like soothing, dreamy voice.

The daughter of a British woman whose British engineer husband was assigned there to work on a dam, Rumer and her six older siblings lived isolated in an ex-patriot community. Not until she was 11 and her “parents” divorced and the family moved back to England did she and her siblings discover that her father was the family’s Pakistani cook.

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