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Michael Fremer  |  Jan 03, 2017  |  10 comments
There was a period in '60s record history when you could buy "by the label" and pretty much be assured of a great listen. It was true of Elektra and later, after it got off its "high horse," Columbia, which for a while wouldn't touch rock.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 03, 2017  |  12 comments
"Mood music" is how the annotation characterizes this album of medium-sized ensembles imaginatively arranged by the then still in his 20s French jazz enthusiast Michel Legrand. Previous to these 1958 sessions Legrand had released three "mood music" concept albums: I Love Paris (CL555), Columbia Album of Cole Porter (C2L4), Legrand in Rio (CL 1139) and I Love Movies (CL 1178). This was his first stab at a real jazz album andgiven the assembled cast of greats what a heady experience it must have been for him to both arrange and conduct in New York City those three days in early summer, 1958 .

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 03, 2015  |  28 comments
Long time Gerry Rafferty fans were thrilled for the long-suffering artist when he finally had a hit single under his own name with “Baker Street”, taken from his late ‘70s release City to City.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 17, 2015  |  32 comments
One of the greatest Broadway shows ever was also one of the great recordings of the dawning stereo era. Just reissued by Razor & Tie imprint Analog Spark and sourced using the original 3 track analog master tape, the music leaps from the speakers with new found conviction intensity and astonishing transparency.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 10, 2018  |  16 comments
It's difficult to believe that British born cellist Jacqueline Du Pré was but 20 years old on August 19th, 1965 when she delivered this recorded performance in famed Kingsway Hall with Sir John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 22, 2016  |  24 comments
1971's Jack Johnson is Miles Davis making as close to a rock record as he's made.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 20, 2016  |  21 comments
By now you know the drill: The Electric Recording Company finds a collectible and music-worthy title to reissue and does its fanatical-attention-to-details thing, both in the mastering from the original tape on a lovingly restored all-tube cutting system to a meticulously produced record sleeve and jacket that are in most ways difficult to distinguish from the original as described in previous ERC reviews.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 09, 2017  |  16 comments
A heavenly pairing of Bacharach's suburban pop melodic intent and Costello's insightful lyrics that well-capture the required Bacharach late afternoon bedroom melodrama produced this 1998 gem of a soap operatic collaboration.

 |  Dec 02, 2015  |  8 comments
At the top of the Costello album heap (not there alone, though), Trust issued in 1981 is Elvis Costello peaking in anger and disillusionment and coupling his discontent to wiry melodic constructions riding atop tautly tensioned rhythms. The album title is obviously ironic.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2018  |  16 comments
The Buffalo Springfield box set reissue fans have long awaited is finally here and it was well worth waiting for. Neil Young points out in the enclosed heavy paper full color "one sheet" that all five records were cut directly from the original master tapes, not tape copies. Each record has a Neil-created "SPARS code"

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 05, 2019  |  2 comments
Buddy Guy’s 1967 Chess release—his first— has nothing to do with San Francisco, nor was it recorded July of 1967 though the jacket says it was. No big deal. Someone (probably Leonard Chess) chose to reference San Francisco because “flower power” was happening and it seemed like a good way to grab the white kids’ interest. The recording date was chosen close to the original release date so it would sound current but in fact, this is a compilation that includes tracks recorded between 1962 and 1967.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 26, 2016  |  15 comments
Recording direct-to-disk is difficult enough. The entire side has to be cut in one long take. Consider a big band vocal album like this, which has four songs per side. The orchestra and singer have to be ready as soon as the cutting stylus hits the lacquer and then they have to perform flawlessly on each track, pausing but a few seconds between songs.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  20 comments
Bassist Scott LaFaro's death in a Geneva, New York car accident ten days after the Sunday, June 25th, 1961 recording of this Village Vanguard set did more than add a tragic luster to the story. It upended what might have been a very different track order here and on Waltz For Debby, the second record sourced using tracks recorded that day by engineer David Jones on a modified Ampex 350 using Scotch 111 tape.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 04, 2017  |  5 comments
Pianist Jamie Saft's trio recorded a well-received, sonically superb 2014 album called New Standard. If you need a group or individual backgrounder, please hit that hyperlink.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2015  |  7 comments
Gerry Rafferty has long been under-appreciated. Oh, sure, "Stuck in the Middle" was an unlikely hit when first released by A&M in 1972 and later found its way into Quentin Tarrantino's "Reservoir Dogs" where the bouncy, anthemic, Dylanesque record company exec knock reached a new audience.

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