Candid Records Relaunch Features 5 Classics Cut From Tape by Bernie Grundman

Candid Records, founded in 1960 with Nat Hentoff as A&R director produced a catalog of great jazz and blues releases that also featured superb sound. A label relaunch was announced last week by new owners Exceleration Music with 5 exceptionally fine titles leading the way, mastered by Bernie Grundman. The press release didn't specify if BG mastered from tape or from hi-res files so before posting this I asked the publicist to clarify.

Good news! Bernie cut from tape! The five records, from 1960-61 are Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, Max Roach's We Insist!, Lightnin' Hopkins Lightnin' in New York, Abbey Lincoln Straight Ahead, Otis Spain Is The Blues. Here are two images from the Candid website.

Recorded and released during the struggle for civil rights, the music reflects those turbulent times. The five titles are available now for pre-order on the Candid website hyperlinked above. The five titles will be available on CD and streaming services April 15th with AAA vinyl due June 24th.

The Otis Spain and Lightnin Hopkins albums were re-issued in 1970 by Barnaby Records distributed by CBS Records and the sound of those records is exceptionally fine so these cut by Bernie Grundman should be worlds better (the originals were cut by George Piros). My advice would be to not miss these!

dbp's picture

I have the Pure Pleasure Records pressing of Lightnin' In New York and find it absolutely stupendous. I wonder how these will compare? It's always hard to know if something so spectacular can be bested. For instance, I always thought my 45rpm Analogue Productions version of Muddy Water's Folk Singer was a true reference, so I wondered if I really needed the One-Step... but holy cow, the One-Step revealed so much more and placed me on a chair in the room so much more so than the AP 45... it was arresting. Point is, you never know if it can be bested until you hear the bester. BG on the mastering makes me wonder, though... could it be an upgrade?


dbp's picture

I just looked at the track listing on Candid Records' website. The 9th and last track, "Black Cat", is not listed. Only 8 tracks are. The Pure Pleasure recording had Black Cat on it. There were versions of this album released in the 1970s that also didn't have that song on it, likely due to his final words where finally the black cat told the white cat to "sit your white self down". And here we are in 2022... and our precious white ears still can't hear such lyrics? Why wouldn't this song be included?

Montpier's picture

Good catch dbp, but the original 1961 Candid release only had the 8 tracks. An edited 4:10 version "Black Cat" was initially released on the 1962 Candid 'Jazz Life' compilation and later appended to the initial 1970's Barnaby reissue.

A 1992 Mosaic boxset with complete Lightnin' Hopkins (and Otis Spann) Candid recordings was first release with all 14 tracks recorded at the session as well as first issue of full unedited 6:26 version of "Black Cat."

Possible that the lyric you refer to would, let's say, raise eyebrows but it's important to note that Hentoff released on Candid Mingus's' "Original Faubus Fables" which included the lyrics calling out Faubus by name that Columbia would not allow on 'Ah Um'. Also, Roach's "We Insist" was also extremely outspoken and controversial (though ironically that album was later reissued by CBS!).

Most importantly all these albums are masterpieces IMO, regardless of sound quality.

Thanks much MF for highlighting these releases

dbp's picture

Ahh, interesting, and thank you for the correction of the original track listing. My first experience with the album was with the Pure Pleasure release, and knew of some of the ridiculous "controversy" of these lyrics from the time, so just made an assumption, I guess. I may get this new issue to compare sound quality, but Black Cat is one of my favorite songs on there! Again, I appreciate the correction here.

jazz's picture

which are from good masters. They say „best available source“ and mostly in my experience this was no really good one. I don’t know a single release which is available from another high class remastering company in parallel, which wasn’t better than the according PP release.

So I definitely think the PP will be worse again here.

jazz's picture

is also available from VMP as blue colored vinyl.

What did you guys experience, is it better to get a less noisy black one or a non “magnetic” colored one?

Lately I experienced, the colored ones weren’t clearly noisier.

MalachiLui's picture

VMP says their blue vinyl mingus is being pressed at independent record pressing in NJ, so i assume all variants of these titles will be pressed there. it's a passable pressing plant but far from an exceptional one, prepare yourself for some light surface noise no matter which color variant you grab. blue vinyl is typically noisier than black, translucent red, or clear vinyl, though i find that translucent blue is quieter than opaque blue. usually i like buying color variants for collectibility, but often with the knowledge that they're probably noisier than standard black.

jazz's picture

Normal colors less so. And for all without a demagnetizer, vinyl different than black has this other advantage.

MalachiLui's picture

picture discs have actually gotten a lot better in recent years, sure they always have that rumbling sound but as far as pops and clicks they're not terrible. a good picture disc is better or at the very least equal to a mediocre normal vinyl pressing. a couple examples: i have the US (united) black vinyl, precision/GZ picture disc, and EU (optimal) black vinyl of tyler, the creator's 'igor,' and i'll take the noisy picture disc over the garbage united black vinyl any day of the week. i also have the 1975's 'notes on a conditional form' on standard GZ clear vinyl and GZ picture disc; the picture disc has the typical whooshing rumble, but the clear vinyl is pops and clicks galore. the picture disc sounds a bit weaker overall but in some ways it's a bit more enjoyable. however, i have the recent 'the man who sold the world' reissue on black vinyl and picture disc (the RSD 2016 one with the german cover), both pressed at optimal, and i prefer the black vinyl.

Cello High End Audio's picture

Opaque white EU pressing of Notes On A Conditional Form on Dirty Hit quiet and very good.

Noodlebluesman's picture

remaster in stereo or mono? Not clear on the Candid web site.

DaK's picture

Will these be available in the EU as well, or are they only distributed by the label itself? Thank you very much!

Dominique29's picture

My copy of Ch. Mingus Presents Ch. Mingus bought in Hungary (EU) was distributed by Bertus (Netherlands) and retailed by many shops (big one like Media Markt/Saturn as well).

rich d's picture

A distant cousin of Otis Spann perhaps? A Spanish blues artist? We want to know.

richiep's picture

Some great new titles that haven't been rehashed, produced AAA by one of the Masters! Can't ask for much more, Thanks Candid.

crisarg's picture

Is the pressing plant known for these releases? I haven’t seen it specified.

Dominique29's picture

Albeit it seems (source: major US online stores) that the release date of "Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus" was delayed in the US, I have received mine on the original date (24th of June), here in Hungary (EU). No information on the pressing plant on the hype sticker/runouts. The label and jacket are saying "Made in USA". I have noticed that the edge of the record is cut completely flat, not rounded/narrowed (as the majority of the records in my collection, mostly Europeans, my few US pressings are from RTI or QRP), not "groove guard" style neither, so it gives the impression of being thicker when holding the record by its edge.

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