Publisher Profile

June 2010: A Heavenly Month for Vinyl at the Beatnik’s Place

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Elvis Is Back

Elvis Is Back
Elvis Presley

Reissue by Analogue Productions
RCA AAPP 2231 2 180g 45rpm LPs
Produced by: Steve Sholes and Chet Atins
Engineered by: Bill Porter at RCA Studio B, Nashville, TN

Mixed by: Bill Porter
Mastered by: George Marino at Sterling Sound

I grew up hearing Elvis on jukeboxes, tiny transistor radios, and 7 inch 45 records. I even remember in my college days listening to some Elvis and laughing about the Las Vegas singer versus the rock and roll singer of his youth and my childhood. I don’t think I had listened to Elvis on a high-end audio system until I was at an audio show in either San Francisco or Los Angeles and heard it in the Wilson Audio demo. Peter McGrath played the cut ‘Fever’ from the Elvis is Back LP. Simply put, it blew everyone away. It was at that same show that in the room next door Eva Manley and Jeff Joseph brought the room down playing a vinyl cut of Satchmo’s “Saint James Infirmary”.

Well, now Analogue Production has brought us an incredibly well done 180 gram, 45 RPM reissue of the Elvis is Back. It has been said that just the cut ‘Fever’ is worth the cost of the whole album, even at the cost of this 45 RPM reissue, but truth is there is a lot more to this LP than one great cut to show off your stereo. Like so many great demo cuts, “Fever” makes almost any LP sound great. The real truth about this album is much more than a demo album, it’s great music, by great musicians, that was well recorded. The LP was recorded over the course of forty-eight hours with some of the best Nashville studio musicians: Hank Garland, Scotty Moore, Floyd Cramer, Bob Moore, “Boots” RandoLPh and The Jordanaires. Let me tell you the whole thing is amazing, not just a demo album.

Bill Porter did an amazing job with this album. The sound is as good as it gets, and while some of the music is a little dated, but so is early Beatles music or any of the songs from what we call the “American Songbook.” This is really a great album by the King of Rock and Roll when he was at his very best.

I have an original pressing of this album (though it is a bit scratched up; seems people played it a lot), I also have the 2007 Speakers Corner LP reissue, but neither of these come close to the transparency, timbre, and scale that these 45rpm mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound. Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at AcousTech have done their usual great work here, but this LP sound so far superior to the other that it is hard for me to explain, but easy to recommend. Buy it while it last!

Seven Steps To Heaven

Seven Steps To Heaven
Miles Davis
Reissue by Analogue Productions
180g 45rpm LP* (2LP)
Columbia Stereo “360 Sound”

Recorded: April 16, 1963 at Columbia Studio, Hollywood and
May 14, 1963 at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York
Musicians: Los Angeles: Miles Davis, George Coleman, tenor sax, Victor Feldman, piano, Ron Carter, bass, and Frank Butler, drums
New York: Miles Davis, George Coleman, tenor, Herbie Hancock, piano, Ron Carter, bass, and Anthony Williams, drums

Maybe the reason I have loved this album for so long is that it is Mile Davis’s last album that relies mostly on standard tunes. It has great tunes like ‘basin Street Blues’, ‘I Fall in Love Too Easily’, and ‘Baby Won’t You Please Come Home’ among others. Well, like I said I love this recording.
Still, I struggle with buying another copy, even a 45rpm from Analogue Productions. I already had two copies, both sounded great, but one did have a few more pops and ticks than I liked; so I broke down and ordered it. Was it $50 well spent?

For one, this LP let me hear this great music and these great musicians like I have never heard this recording before. There’s great scale, wonderful musical flow, and a presence that is so lifelike you may even forget you’re listening to recorded music. It genuinely moved me if you can’t tell.

Cool Struttin’

Cool Struttin’
Sonny Clark

Blue Note 180g 45rpm LP
2 LPs Music Matters LTD
Remastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman
Originally Engineered and Mixed by: Rudy Van Gelder

Like the Elvis is Back LP, the music on Cool Stuttin’ is about as good as Jazz gets. It all starts, of course, with Sonny Clark on piano, Art Farmer on trumpet, Jackie McLean on alto sax, Paul Chambers on bass and Joe Jones playing the drums. With all that talent and numbers like the title tune “Cool Struttn’” and “Sippin’ At Bells”, and this 1958 recording is just plain fun. Add to this the job Kevin Grey and Steve Hoffman did, and this is one special release. The quality of the gatefold cover should not be overlooked, neither.

From the minute my Shindo SPU begin to play the first few cut, you get that great mixed feeling of excitement and relaxation that only great music and good vinyl can give you. The sound is transparent, clear, and full of life. The cymbals and bass especially come through in such a realist way that it’s hard to describe.

But really, the sound is so good that what you want to talk about with this LP is the music. The music has that bluesy jazz sound that Blue Note recordings from this time period are known for. Framer and McLean harmonize beautifully on the opening number while Clark really makes the piano talk to your soul.

My favorite cut, though, is Mile Davis’ “Sippin At Bells”. Clark’s playing on this cut is the highlight of the album for me, but for you, one of the other cuts may set your soul right with the world. I promise you: this album is not only “Cool Struttin’, it’s just great jazz!

Someday My Prince Will Come

Someday My Prince Will Come
Miles Davis

Reissued by Analogue Productions
180g 45rpm 2 LPs
Recorded in March 1961 New York City

Musicians: Miles Davis, trumpet, Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone, John Coltrane, tenor saxophone (1,5), Wynton Kelly, piano, Paul Chamber, double bass, and Jimmy Cobb, drums

Tracks:
1. Someday My Prince Will Come
2. Old Folks
3. Pfrancing
4. Drad – Dog
5. I Thought About You
6. Teo

The album over the years continues to have great critical acclaim, and why not? It has a hall of fame of jazz musicians to play some of the great arrangements of some of the most popular tunes of the day and some of the most progressive – all on the same LP. The Question again is does anyone need another copy of this wonderful LP. The only copy I had was a fairly early reissue and while it is very quiet and very nice sounding, it in no way compares to these 45rpm LPs. They are simply fantastic.

I know that $50 is a lot of money for an LP, but there is a reason these albums are getting hard to find; they allow you to experience this music in a way that soothes the soul.

(Editor’s Note: I have confirmed in a phone conversation with Jack that he did buy all four LPs at regular prices.)

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