AAA Vinyl

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Malachi Lui  |  Mar 28, 2019  |  16 comments
Despite recording a handful of legendary Paramount Records sides in 1930, Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. vanished after his rediscovery in August 1941 by Alan Lomax. His recordings gained stature over the ensuing decades, which in 1964 lead Dick Waterman, Nick Perls, and Phil Spiro on a mission to find House. They eventually located him that June in Rochester, New York, approximately 1,000 miles from his origins in the Mississippi Delta. Following his migration, House worked as a New York Central Railroad porter, killed a man in self-defense, and perhaps most importantly in the context of this review, put down his Dobro after the death of close friend and fellow bluesman Willie Brown. However, the younger generation’s enthusiasm for House’s original recordings reinvigorated his desire to play, which he then did for the first time in seven or eight (according to the liner notes) years.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 16, 2017  |  18 comments
When The Crickets' "That'll Be the Day" exploded on the radio in 1957 and the absolutely geeky looking 21 year old Buddy Holly and group appeared December 1st on The Ed Sullivan Show, a generation of kids were moved the way the next one was by The Beatles. You didn't have to look like Elvis. Anyone could be a rock'n'roll star. In fact, "That'll Be the Day" was the first demo cut by The Quarrymen, the skiffle group that eventually morphed into The Beatles.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 30, 2015  |  7 comments
Back in the late 1990s Speakers Corner released the 180 gram LP Oscar Peterson The Lost Tapes (MPS 529-096-1) featuring ten tracks recorded between 1965 and 1968 in the Black Forest villa of MPS Records owner and recording engineer Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 15, 2017  |  11 comments
Musical cults in the rock world can't compare to what goes on in classical music—as anyone who's perused some of the used record prices on popsike.com surely knows. That's certainly true of the late, legendary cellist Jacqueline Du Pré.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 20, 2015  |  76 comments
Donald Rumsfeld once famously said "You go to war with the army you have not the army you want". While reissuing Miles Davis' iconic Kind of Blue is hardly as consequential as invading a country, in context of our little musical and sonic world it probably is.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 05, 2018  |  2 comments
It takes nerves of steel and a healthy serving of humility to agree to record direct-to-disc a solo piano recital but that's what Katie Mahan signed on for here. The results are both musically and sonically rewarding. Mahan gave her first piano recital at age 6, having decided at age 4 that she wanted to be a concert pianist after attending a performance of Gershwin's "American in Paris". From her online bio:

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 21, 2017  |  8 comments
Originally released on CD in 2011 this recorded-to-tape Gillian Welch gem finally has an AAA vinyl release. Welch explains the motivation for the vinyl version in a Washington Post profile .

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 10, 2015  |  7 comments
If you've already got a version of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" that you like, I'm not suggesting you need a "second opinion" though in my world any well-produced, good-sounding musically worthwhile and well-performed D2D record is a treasure worth owning

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 18, 2018  |  7 comments
Simon split from Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield broke up. So did The Youngbloods, The Lovin' Spoonful and of course The Beatles. Yes, many '60s groups remained together, like The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead, but as the tumultuous '60s came to a close, others fragmented with leaders going solo.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2016  |  47 comments
Joe Jackson's "angry young man" stance came late in the cycle and so at the time was less than fully convincing. Elvis and Graham had already been there and done that. The picture of Jackson on the back cover of his debut Look Sharp just wasn't convincing.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 23, 2016  |  20 comments
The just released (November 18, 2016) six LP box set of the four Brahms symphonies recorded direct-to-disc performed by Sir Simon Rattle and The Berlin Philharmonic before a live Philharmonie audience is as meticulously produced and presented as its existence is unlikely.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 01, 2017  |  41 comments
It’s not an insult to call singer Lyn Stanley’s fourth album “formulaic”. Not when the formula includes bringing onboard some of today’s best studio and touring jazz musicians and arrangers, recording in the best studios and hiring the greatest engineers. Another part of the formula is the cover art: highly stylized, glamorous black and white photos of Lyn.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 24, 2015  |  2 comments
Originally released in 1980 on the Swedish BIS label, the double LP la spagna became an instant, certified “audiophile classic”. It was on the late Harry Pearson’s “Super Disc” list since forever, with used copies regularly fetching upwards of $200.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 16, 2015  |  42 comments
The best album with one of the worst covers ever (well, at least of that era), has only grown in stature since it was first released in the Spring of 1966.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 09, 2018  |  11 comments
Gillian Welch's fourth album originally released in 2003 on CD-only finally gets an AAA release, cut by Stephen Marcussen on the Ortofon VMS-80 cutting system Welch and partner Dave Rawlings bought and restored. Now that's progress!

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