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Dave Brubeck Quartet, Norah Jones, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Phoebe Snow, on Vinyl

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The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall

The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall
Speakers Corner 180g LP , 2LPs, Pure Analogue Mastering
Musicians: Dave Brubeck, piano, Paul Desmond, alto saxophone, Eugene Wright, bass, Joe Morello, drums
Tracks:
LP1 – Side 1: 1. St. Louis Blues 2. Bossa Nova U.S.A. 3. For All We Know
LP1 – Side 2: 1. Pennies From Heaven 2. Southern Scene (Briar Bush) 3. Three To Get Ready
LP2 – Side 3: 1. Eleven-Four 2. King For A Day 3. Castilian Drums
LP2 – Side 4: 1. It’s A Raggy Waltz 2. Blue Rondo A La Turk 3. Take Five

I live in Concord, California, within walking distance from the “Dave Brubeck Park” and almost across the street from what use to be called the Concord Pavilion where the Dave Brubeck Quartet preformed so many times, and of course the original home of Concord Records. Listening to this LP preformed live at Carnegie Hall made me ask myself what my favorite Brubeck recording is. Without a doubt, the most famous one is Time Out, recorded and released in 1959. As much as I like Time Out, I think my two favorite Brubeck albums would be, Jazz Goes To College, recorded the year I was born, 1954. My other favorite is another recording from 1959, Gone With The Wind.

Both Time Out and Gone With The Wind are studio recordings, and when played on my system, came across as having a very, they-are-in-my-room sound. Jazz Goes To College is a compilation album from live recordings made as the group crossed the country visiting universities and junior colleges. It has great music but the sound varies a lot in quality.

This LP, The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall, was recorded in 1963 and is a Brubeck album that somehow I had missed. This recording has a very much “you are there” sound with a mid row F – I prospective. The recording is simply superb and the music is even better. The LP plays most all of their hits. This is a great LP and I highly recommend it for the music, the performance, and the wonderful perspective of the live performance.

Norah Jones The Vinyl Collection

Norah Jones The Vinyl Collection
Analogue Production 200g LP, 6 LPs

Five individual titles on 200 Gram Vinyl An Exclusive Bonus Album of Covers
Housed in a Deluxe Textured Sturdy Box
Re-Mastered from the Original Source by Kevin Gray
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings

In my review of “Little Broken Hearts” I wrote, “Who is Norah Jones? I listened to Little Broken Hearts and Come Fly Away With Me back to back. Then just for the heck of it I listened to The Little Willies Norah Jones Project. You do this and I bet you’ll ask who is Norah Jones, too. I don’t do this to fault her but to credit her for having gumption as we would say in the South, because if you are always looking for the singer from Come Fly Away With Me, you’re going to be disappointed. I love her performance on “Austin City Limits”, but that’s still not the Norah Jones you get on this album, or the altogether different Norah Jones who sings with the Little Willies. What other popular female vocalist do you know who has the guts to do this with almost ever new album?”

The only thing new in this set is the bonus LP of Covers, which contains a great rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry; and I especially liked the way Norah sang Fats Domino’s “My Blue Heaven.”

The real news here is the quality and sound. Most of Norah Jone’s LPs have sounded only slightly better than the CD to me, and no better than the SACDs. These LPs sounded wonderful. I was shocked to discover that this pressing of Come Fly Away From Me sounded better on my system than the Classic Records, Clarity, one sided, 45 rpm box set.

If you like Norah as much as I do, this is a wonderful set. They sound great, they look great, and they are all in one nice box. I already owned all except the Covers LP, but found it easy to sell the others so I was very happy with this purchase.

Phoebe Snow – Phoebe Snow

Phoebe Snow - Phoebe Snow
Analogue Productions 200g 45rpm LP, 2LPs

Tracks:
LP1 – Side 1:
1. Let the Good Times Roll
2. Harpo’s Blues
3. Poetry Man

LP1 – Side 2:
1. Either or Both
2. San Francisco Bay Blues

LP2 – Side 3:
1. I Don’t Want the Night to End
2. Take Your Children Home

LP2 – Side 4:
1. It Must Be Sunday
2. No Show Tonight

I was 20 years old in 1974 when Phoebe Snow’s self-titled debut album came out and what an album it was.. Snow’s signature hit “Poetry Man” established her as a leader of the female singer-songwriters. She died in April 2011 at the age of 60, but one album will keep her singing at my house for years to come. Most of the songs were written by a then 23-year old Snow, including “Poetry Man. Snow was variously labeled a jazz, blues, pop, funk and gospel artist, depending on the record she released. Most of all, from the very beginning she had a very special contralto voice and a very special way of scatting; this album quickly became beloved by many.

Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds has brought us a fantastic sounding 45 RPM double LP of this great LP. The sound is full-bodied with a wonderful lifelike sense of space and air. It’s not always the case in Snow’s other LPs but I find that I often like 45 reissues better than the originals and this is one, too. My original sounds great, but this 45 reissue sounds even better.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – WIll the Circle be Unbroken

THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN
40th Anniversary Edition, 180g Vinyl 3LPs, Mastered from Original Analog Mixes

This is without a doubt one of the great LP sets of all time. I was originally released in 1972 and I’m lucky enough to have a first pressing from 1972. The set contains three LPs chock full of collaborations between the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and some of the greatest names in Bluegrass history, such as Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and many more.

Most of the tracks were recorded on the very first take, a few from second takes, and all straight to two-track masters. This results in an album that sounds alive, real, raw and unprocessed. They also ran another recorder continuously throughout the entire week-long recording session capturing all the dialog between the musicians, much of which has been added to the LPs.

Now we have the 40th Anniversary Edition. It has been pressed on 180 gram vinyl and mastered from the original analog. The packaging is very nice and the sound is very good. It’s now quite as alive sounding as my original, but if I didn’t have the original I would enjoy listening to this reissue almost as much. If you’re not lucky enough to have an original then I highly recommend this 40 Anniversary Edition!

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