LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Dense, compact, and built to run O-rings around the competition, SME's flagship turntable makes every other design I've encountered—with the possible exception of Rockport's System III Sirius—look almost homemade. I don't mean to insult the many fine, well-engineered designs out there, but I've seen nothing else to compare with SME's tank-like approach to spinning a record. Comparing the Model 30/2 to a tank isn't exactly fair: the machining is done to higher than mil-spec tolerances. I don't think anyone else building turntables today is capable of this level of construction quality, never mind design ingenuity and fit'n'finish.
 |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments

The Beatles and The Stones took '50s American blues, country, and R&B, absorbed it, transposed it, and gave it back to a generation of white middle-class American kids from whom the originals had been purposefully kept. Pat Boone redid Little Richard's "Tutti Fruiti" to make it "acceptable" to white America, and, well, surely you know the rest of the story, so I won't repeat it here.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments


Perhaps, in a perfect audiophile world, Shel Talmy would have arranged to remix these three-track originals to analog for the LP release and to digital for the CD. But this isn't a perfect world. However, compared to my original American Decca "stereo" pressing of The Who Sings My Generation (Decca DL 74664), this is perfection. The original stereo edition was an electronically reprocessed, boxy-sounding compressed mess. While purists may have preferred it in mono, the stereo remix found in My Generation (Deluxe Edition) is respectful and keeps most of the action centered, avoiding hard-left and -right separation. I did get a chance to hear an original UK Brunswick mono pressing, and this reissue has nothing to be ashamed of.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments

LPs are back, but they can be expensive--I don't have to tell you that. One of the great frustrations of their return is finding a bin full of unknowns and not knowing which might be worthwhile. That's why you come to this site. But where do I turn? To find this moody, evocative album I turned to a guy working the crowded floor at Rocks In Your Head, a densely packed Prince Street LP emporium in NYC's Tribeca area.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments

Why this elegant-sounding Chicago based band steeped in the best of 1970s folk/rock chose to name itself after an obscure, and pretty much ignored fish--a trout relative (Salvelinus malma) that is not pursued either commercially or as a sport fish--is a question I can't answer. Naming your band after a fish is odd--doubly so when it's one that makes it sound as if you're talking about a person instead of a group, as in "Have you heard Dolly Varden?" "No. Who is she?" Or another response: "Dolly Parton? No, but I heard she did a version of 'Stairway to Heaven'! What was she thinking?"

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2003  |  0 comments

This Otis Rush love fest, produced by Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites at Fame in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was payback for the generosity and help Rush provided the youngsters back in Chicago during their "formative" years. Led by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the white suburban audience that formed the core of the "counter-culture" had discovered the blues. Butterfield had backed Dylan at Newport in 1965, causing a big stir, and soon thereafter Mike Bloomfield and drummer Sam Lay were in the studio with Dylan to record Highway 61 Revisited.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 15, 2003  |  0 comments

Dancing with dangerous abandon on a razor-sharp divide between classic country & western and trailer-park kitsch, Grey De Lisle's Home Wrecker offers a surprisingly wide palette of multi-dimensional musical pleasures, thanks to Marvin Etzioni's sly production and De Lisle's prodigious vocal prowess and songwriting grace.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 15, 2003  |  0 comments

Oops. I mistakenly called this Basie Jam in the March Stereophile's "In Heavy Rotation" listing. How's that? This was sent to me, along with others in the series, as test pressings in plain white jackets. Of course I have written often about the original Pablo issue of this monster of a record, so I have no excuses. Anyway, Basie Jam, another Pablo great, has yet to be issued at 45 rpm, so many of you have figured out my mistake and sent me e-mails about it. Sorry.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 15, 2003  |  0 comments

Groups like Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, and Pentangle thrived in relative obscurity, even at their peaks. They're probably more appreciated and better known today than they were back in the 1960s. Low, a contemplative, musically soft-spoken trio from Duluth, Minnesota and playing since the early '90s, succeeds today with a similarly small but dedicated following much as those fabled "folk" groups did back then: quality of fans over quantity. Low tours, forms musical alliances with other groups (an EP with Australia's Dirty 3, for instance), and issues records and CDs. The band also sells T-shirts and other merchandise online. Most importantly, Low's thoughtful, enigmatic music is in some ways merits comparison to the now-legendary groups mentioned above.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 26, 2003  |  0 comments

One of the great "almost" bands of the 1960s, The Zombies had a career framed by two massive number-one hits: "She's Not There" in the summer of 1964 and "Time of the "Season" in 1969. It would be difficult to believe that any pop-music lover reading this has not heard those haunting minor-key tunes. This 20-track compilation demonstrates that The Zombies had much more to offer in between, but getting it all in one place has been difficult--and this compilation, good as it is, misses a few gems. If you want it all, try to find a copy of the four-CD, 119-track box set Zombie Heaven (ZOMBOX#7) issued in 1997 by Ace in the U.K.

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