Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Mining America's musical blue highways is Sundazed's specialty. This collection of Wray's Swan singles, “A” and “B” is a perfect example of what the label does best. Best known for his classic hit, the trend-setting, iconic “Rumble,” the guitar twanger had a long, if not quite as successful recording career afterwards, specializing in rock'n'surf tinged, raunchy instrumentals. When he did sing, it was Elvis all the way-and a good Elvis it was, augmented by some hard-edged falsetto screaming.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2004  |  1 comments

Dylan's Halloween '64 performance before an adoring Philharmonic Hall (currently Avery Fisher Hall) audience waited forty years for release but remarkably, here it is in the digital age, still available in the LP format, sumptuously packaged, mastered and pressed for Sony by Classic Records.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 31, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Musicians have fans. Baseball players have fans. But mastering engineers? It would seem unlikely that a guy or gal who transfers tapes to CD or vinyl would garner a substantial public "following" ( a few groupie audiophiles notwithstanding), but over the past decade Steve Hoffman has managed to do just that.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 31, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

M.F.:Here and there. Okay. Now what's happening with these Everest 35MM tape classical LP titles. Are they selling?

S.H.:Yeah. We would like to do some more. It's so expensive

M.F.:What 35 millimeter plyaback chain are you using to play those back?

S.H.:We're using a local collector in Los Angeles who has a pretty good sounding set up.

M.F.:It's a Westrex?

S.H.: It's been modified a little bit, but it's still very hard on the film.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2004  |  0 comments

I’m not comfortable writing about classical music. I’m not an expert, and I can’t tell you how this performance of Schumann’s music compares to others. According to the liner notes Mr. Lill is a world-class concert performer who has toured with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony and many others, and performed with the New York Philharmonic and more than a dozen others. He was the joint winner of the prestigious Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1970.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2004  |  1 comments

If you search the musicangle data base for “Dolly Varden,” you'll find a review of Forgiven Now, also issued on Diverse Records 180g vinyl. The Dumbest Magnets is the group's previous album, not the follow up to Forgiven Now. Therefore it can't and doesn't demonstrate musical growth, or greater chance-taking. It does prove that the group's previous album is yet another exquisitely turned out pedal steel drenched acoustic/electric album of introspective country-rock.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2004  |  0 comments

The review of the original Blix Street vinyl issue appeared in the February, 2003 home page. I wouldn't bet heavily against Nick Webb's Abbey Road mastering and Pallas's pressing quality, so when this S&P reissue showed up, I wondered how it could possibly improve upon the original—good as Steve Hoffman's work can be—but this reissue, mastered at AcousTech and pressed at RTI, does improve on the original.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2004  |  0 comments

While Four Sail was an obligation owed to the old label (Elektra) after Lee had signed a new contract with Blue Thumb, and while Lee shows signs of losing his muse, the album has actually added luster over the years, as in hindsight, the brilliance of Lee’s eclectic, restless mind comes through with greater clarity, even as the originality hangs mostly on his arranging skills.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2004  |  1 comments

Perhaps this 1963 session isn’t peak Mingus, but it’s still unpredictable, volatile Mingus, leading two different 10 piece ensembles recorded in January and September of 1963. Side one’s group includes Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin and Jaki Bayard, among others, and Mingus’s arrangements let them take flight beginning with a rumbling “II B.S.” (two bullshit), which probably became the template for every second rate jazz composer scoring for 1960’s television crime shows. The track absolutely smokes, fueled by Britt Woodman’s angry trombone blats and Jaki Bayard’s controlled keyboard pounding. Try not to get charged up when this track is playing.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

There was a great deal of excitement a few months ago when Toshiba-EMI announced a new series of Beatles albums. The 1970’s EAS series from the label are considered by most collectors to be among the best sounding Beatles albums issued anywhere, but a ‘90’s series issued by the label, and cut from digital masters was expensive and sounded brittle and uninviting, though as usual, the packaging was sumptuous and the pressing quality was pristine.