Album Reviews

Sort By:  Post Date TitlePublish Date
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 04, 2014  |  9 comments
With most artists, by the time you get to the third greatest hits album you're scraping the bottom of the barrel but not with Elvis Presley. In fact, it could easily be argued that Volume 3 was the "sweet spot" among the original RCA Elvis's greatest hits releases. It's also the first from Elvis's stereo era.

Michael Fremer  |  May 14, 2014  |  4 comments
Billed in the blurb accompanying this modestly packaged LP as a new album by an up and coming jazz singer crossing over to classic country after being turned on to Leonard Cohen by Nancy Wilson (the jazz singer not half of Heart) and later falling under the influence of Dolly, Kitty and John Prine, once you hear some of the readily available downloadable tracks from this just released set you'll be hearing another strong influence not cited as one along with Joni Mitchell and Allison Krauss: Norah Jones.

Michael Fremer  |  May 08, 2014  |  10 comments
Sam Records is a one man, Paris, France-based operation began in 2011. The one man is Fred Thomas, who has self-professed interests in both jazz and photography. He also obviously is a man who cuts no corners and who believes in authenticity.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2014  |  11 comments
In a truly just world every Jethro Tull fan would know and appreciate Rahsaan Roland Kirk but as with Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones, these things take time. If you don't know Kirk's music and you're a Tull fan you surely know his "Serenade To A Cuckoo" covered by Ian Anderson on his debut Tull album This Was.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 05, 2014  |  9 comments
A thousand United Airlines commercials later and Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" still sounds fresh, lavish and grand. It epitomizes New York City in its golden jazz age and with every listen opens the mind's eye to yellow incandescent lit Art Deco granite skyscrapers and the general urban dazzle of pre-WWII America. I never get tired of listening to it, the later at night the better for some reason. It could only have been written in America by an American.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 03, 2014  |  47 comments
Given a choice of great mastering and pressing or packaging true to the original, which would you choose? Yes, I know, why not produce a definitive reissue that offers great mastering and pressing and the original triple gatefold jacket and the original limited edition booklet? But clearly that wasn't in the cards for whoever was in charge in order to bring this project to market within budget so it could be sold at a particular price point, which in this case is $39.00 for the double LP set.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 23, 2014  |  24 comments
Last Record Store Day Sony/Legacy reissued three Paul Simon albums: his eponymous solo debut (not counting 1965's U.K.-issued Paul Simon Songbook), There Goes Rhymin' Simon and this record. While all three are musically fine, if you're thinking of buying just one, my vote goes for this one.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 18, 2014  |  4 comments
True Coltrane wasn't yet producing "sheets of sound"—limiting himself maybe to just "pillowcases of sound", but he was still hot to Milt Jackson's cool so this was an interesting experiment—one that succeeded beautifully.

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.