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LP Reviews – Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Mumford & Sons, The Band Stage Fright, Neil Young

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Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, Jerry Garcia & David Grisman

Mobile-Fidelity-Sound-Labs
• Numbered, Limited Edition, 180 grams, 2 LPs
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
• Pressed at RTI

Musicians:
Jerry Garcia, guitar, vocals
David Grisman, mandolin
Jim Kerwin, bass
Joe Craven, percussion, fiddle

Selections:

Side 1:
1. The Thrill Is Gone
2. Grateful Dawg
3. Two Soldiers

Side 2:
1. Friend of the Devil
2. Russian Lullaby
3. Dawg’s Waltz

Side 3:
1. Walkin’ Boss
2. Rockin’ Chair

Side 4:
1. Arabia

If you like either of these two legends, if you like Dawg music, if you like mandolins, heck if you like music, run as fast as you can to your computer and order this LP. I have never and I mean never heard a more beautiful recording of a mandolin, and the guitar is right up there too. The interpretations of these songs is just fantastic. I was never a “Dead Head” but this LP is going to at least make me go back and listen to some of the Grateful Dead LPs.

The tones and flow of the music between these two instruments are simply amazing. The bass and the fiddle are also done well, but the star of this show is Grisman’s mandolin. Side 2 and 4 are my favorites on this recording. Every song on side 2 is just incredible and Arabia, the only song on side 4, is amazing.

I have not liked a lot of the MoFi recordings, but in this case the sound of the LP matches the sound of the music. Both are simply wonderful. To say highly recommended is an understatement. This is the best LP I have heard this year.

Benny Goodman Orchestra Feat. Anita O’Day

Benny-Goodman-Orchestra
Musicians: Benny Goodman, clarinet, Anita O’Day, vocals, Russ Freeman, piano, Red Norvo, vibraphone,
Jack Sheldon, trumpet, vocals, Flip Phillips, tenor saxophone, Bill Harris, trombone,
Jerry Dodgion, flute, alto saxophone, Jimmy Wyble, guitar, Red Wootten, bass, John Markham, drums

LP 1 – Side A:
1. Air Mail Special
2. Get Happy
3. Honeysuckle Rose
4. Come Rain Or Come Shine
5. Boogie Blues / Let Me Off Uptown
LP 1 – Side B:
1. Lead-in Benny Goodman / Body and Soul
2. Whispering
3. But Not For Me
4. Four Brothers
5. Anita’s Blues
6. Breakfast Feud
LP 2 – Side C:
1. Slipped Disc
2. I Want To Be Happy
3. Memories Of You
4. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
LP 2 – Side D:
1. Applause & Lead-in / Ten-Bone
2. Riff Raff
3. Medley: Don’t Be That Way/Stompin’ At The Savor?Sunny Side Of The Street/In A Mellow Tone/ Moonglow / Sing, Sing, Sing / Bei mir bist du scheen

I love to hear a great jazzman playing a clarinet; I own nearly all of Pete Fountain’s records and almost every other jazz clarinet LP I can find. The problem is that most of my Benny Goodman LPs sound warn and noisy. The other thing I should mention upfront is I love to hear Anita O’Day sing and I have had equal problems finding her on NM LPs.

So, I was very excited to see this Jazz Haus release. My fellow vinyl loving, Dagogo Reviewer Philip Holmes has already brought to your attention the story of the new Jazz Haus label and their seemingly endless number of never before released great jazz performances.

This isn’t an audiophile recording, but it’s a more than acceptable recording of live radio recordings of the late 50s. The vinyl is quite, the sound has plenty of air, and best of all the music is just simply incredible. You get Benny Goodman on clarinet, Red Norvo on vibraphone, Jack Sheldon on trumpet, and several tracks of Anita O’Day singing her heart out. I’m in heaven as I sit here listening to this great music. As far as I’m concerned stuff like this is one of the real reasons I own a stereo.

Mumford & Sons Babel 180g LP

Mumford & Sons Babel 180g LP
Musicians:
Marcus Mumford, vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin
Ben Lovett, vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums
Country Winston Marshall, vocals, banjo, dobro, guitar
Ted Dwane, vocals, string bass, drums, guitar

Selections:

Side A:
1. Babel
2. Whispers In The Dark
3. I Will Wait
4. Holland Road
5. Ghosts That We Knew
6. Lover Of The Light

Side B:
7. Lovers’ Eyes
8. Reminder
9. Hopeless Wanderer
10. Broken Grown
11. Below My Feet
12. Not With Haste

Of course I had heard of Mumford & Sons, but somehow I had never listened to them. I got my daughter-in-law a turntable for Christmas and when she gets an LP she gives it to me to clean and of course I give them a listen if I don’t know the music. This was the case with this LP and I was shocked by how much I liked it.

It’s a great combination of English-folk and alternative rock music, much of it played on bluegrass instruments. The recording is good, the sound isn’t very compressed for a modern recording, and the vinyl was quiet. I found it a ton of fun to listen to. You should give it a try if you don’t already listen to them. If you do then you should surely have the LP.

The Band Stage Fright – Mobile Fidelity 180 Gram Vinyl

The Band Stage Fright - Mobile Fidelity 180 Gram Vinyl
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes

Selections:
Side 1
1. Strawberry Wine
2. Sleeping
3. Time To Kill
4. Just Another Whistle Stop
5. All La Glory

Side 2
1. The Shape I’m In
2. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
3. Daniel And The Sacred Harp
4. Stage Fright
5. The Rumor

My high school years were spent at San Marcos Academy in San Marcos, TX. Music was one of the most important things in my life. When I was 15 The Band released their self-titled album and then, when I was 16, they released this great LP, Stage Fright. I already had a copy but it was pretty beat up so I jumped at the chance to buy the MoFi reissu.

It wasn’t a disappointment; now I don’t have a NM copy of the original to compare it to, but compared to my worn copy it’s a no brainer. The tone is good, the surface is quiet and the music is great. The title cut and “Daniel and The Sacred Hearts sounds especially good.” If you like The Band and don’t own a NM original, you won’t be disappointed with this LP.

Neil Young A Letter Home Mono

Neil Young A Letter Home Mono
180g Vinyl LP
Recorded live to track to one-track
Recorded to acetate by: George Ingram
Mastered by Bob Ludwig for Gateway Mastering Studios
Mono

Tracks:

Side 1
1. A Letter Home Intro
2. Changes (Phil Ochs)
3. Girl From the North Country (Bob Dylan)
4. Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch)
5. Earthly Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
6. Crazy (Willie Nelson)
Side 2
7. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin)
8. On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)
9. If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)
10. Since I Met You Baby (Ivory Joe Hunter)
11. My Hometown (Bruce Springsteen)
12. I Wonder If I Care As Much (Everly Brothers)

Just recently I reviewed the Neil Young & Crazy Horse LP “Americana” and told you how it had become one of if not my favorite Neil Young album. This is not the case with his newest release “A Letter Home.” This his latest release is a collaboration with Jack White. Neil Young has made the decided to release the lowest-fi album I have ever heard. This recording was made in a restored 1947 Voice-O-Graph booth. These were made as a fairground attraction that allowed users to take home a vinyl record of their voice.

The result is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it would have been fun to have one song, maybe even one on each side recorded this way and then the done to be really well recorded, unplugged music. A whole LP of muffled, with distortion, hiss; and snap, crackle and pop; it is just too much bad sound. I have heard that some think it adds a magical patina to the sound, but to me it just sounds bad. I went to the trouble of cleaning it before I played it, what a waste of time. The songs are good, but I just don’t get it. By the way, the video clip sounded better on my computer than the LP sounded. Buy at your own risk.

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2 Responses to LP Reviews – Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Mumford & Sons, The Band Stage Fright, Neil Young


  1. LVMAN says:

    “… A whole LP of muffled, with distortion, hiss; and snap, crackle and pop…”

    OTHER THEN THAT….HOW WAS IT?

  2. mike p says:

    Hi Jack,
    While I don’t qualify for “deadhead” status,(15-20 shows, 1968-1974), I think that a lot of my tonal sensitivity came from these show’s and the subsequent live recording’s (thanks, Bob and Betty). You might want to check out the vinyl Dick’s Pick’s #2 and #3 and the new Veneta vinyl. I too have never been a fan of MOFI vinyl, tactile and great to look at but DOA for my purposes, but maybe I’ll give this one a spin. Thanks…..
    Regards,
    Mike
    PS….the Dicks Picks are pretty much gone but I’ve seen some copies at Ameoba, in Berkeley in the last few weeks, I haven’t seen any Veneta’s, anywhere, though.

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