Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Mar 18, 2014  |  9 comments
Recorded during a six show stint at tiny Cellar Door, a circa 100 seat Washington D.C. basement club November 30th through December 2nd, 1970, this 13 song collection recorded by the great Henry Lewy (thanked in the credits even though he passed away in 2006) presents Neil Young as intimately and as powerfully as you'll hear him on record.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 08, 2014  |  13 comments
The opening wash of gorgeously recorded massed strings might just paralyze you. "Who arranged those? " you might say to yourself but before you could scour the liner notes you hear familiar Sea Change-like guitar strums and you melt.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 01, 2014  |  10 comments
Nothing Los Lobos recorded previous to 1992’s Kiko could have prepared anyone for this piece of sustained, surreal brilliance. Dreamlike sonic vistas, ominous lyrical horizons, mysterious musical crevices, and spring-like rhythmic compressions and extensions combine to create a dayglo, funhouse-like environment filled with familiar, but oddly drawn musical elements.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 23, 2014  |  19 comments
You can argue over who is the greatest rock singer, but there's no arguing whether or not Paul Rodgers would be high up on every list compiled by music critics and fellow musicians alike. Rolling Stone placed him at #55 in its list of greatest singers male and female all rock era genres but I'm more inclined to side with John Mellencamp who in 1991 called Rodgers "the greatest rock singer ever".

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2014  |  16 comments
The first stereo release from The Electric Recording Company is a reissue of Columbia SAX 2386 first released in 1959 . It is a much sought after record as the used prices for clean copies are nothing short of astronomical— $3000 and up. Kogan was born in the Ukraine in 1924 and died of a heart attack in 1982 at age 58 a few days after playing this piece in Vienna. His western discography isn't extensive and the few he recorded for the Columbia division of EMI are the most collectible.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2014  |  52 comments
Was Mel Tormé a jazz or cabaret singer? Or was he both? Some music "purists" actually argue such things. Mr. Tormé's recorded vocal and interpretive talents demonstrate his ability to work both rooms. He wasn't worried about being pigeonholed one way or the other. Though rhythmically adept and an excellent scat singer, the “Velvet Fog” could also croon.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 05, 2014  |  2 comments
This new double LP pairs Será una Noche with the appropriately titled follow up Segunda two of M A Recordings’ most popular releases, first on CD then on XRCD and later available as high resolution files. Será una Noche was previously released on vinyl and reviewed on Naturally vinyl cut from high resolution digital sounds better than the same files decimated to 16 bits. Todd Garfinkle’s simply miked, spacious-sounding 24 bit recordings have earned him a following among audiophiles, even though most of the exotic “world” music Garfinkle prefers to record is anything but traditional audiophile fare.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 05, 2014  |  1 comments
"Mr. Ho" otherwise known as Brian O'Neill has a passion for "exotica" but it would be wrong to call him a trader in nostalgia. Yes, he's clearly a fan of Les Baxter, Martin Denny and especially of the Mexican arranger extraordinaire Esquivel. While I bet he'd be comfortable downing a Mai Tai or two at Trader Vic's, Mr. O'Neill is a thoroughly modern multi-instrumentalist.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 04, 2014  |  14 comments
The BBC did not preserve the master tapes of any of The Beatles BBC appearances. The tape was considered more valuable than the performances recorded therein. That's not exactly a secret. The audio used for the original edition of this set first issued in 1994 came from BBC Transcription Service vinyl, tape copies and radio broadcast tapes provided by fans.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 03, 2014  |  16 comments
Comments following the review of the mono reissues of the American version of Are You Experienced? and Axis: Bold As Love indicated some dissatisfaction with the reissue of the U.K. version of the album, also mastered by Bernie Grundman.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 03, 2014  |  6 comments
Frank Zappa’s sprawling 1969 soundtrack from a movie (he correctly supposes in a speech balloon) “….you will probably never get to see”, has ripened beautifully with age.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 13, 2013  |  5 comments
Chamber music at a corner dive? Not likely, but this Kickstarter financed double LP set bears witness to the unlikely success of what sounds like an impossible combination of Beethoven and beer at an ex-polka bar located in the recently gentrified but once less than savory area now known as Cleveland, Ohio's Gordon Square Arts District.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 12, 2013  |  37 comments
This ravishing beauty, originally released in 1960 or fifty three years ago, has been a long-time audiophile classic. It's also considering to be among the finest if not the finest performance on record or any other format.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 18, 2013  |  3 comments
I don't know what "defo" is, but judging by this record, life after it is achingly melancholic. Actually after writing that I did web search and learned that "defo" means something like "certainty". So who can argue that life after certainty would leave you anything but melancholic or worse?

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.