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Peyroux, Getz, Warnes, Jarosz

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Madeleine Peyroux “Standing on the Rooftop”

Madeleine Peyroux Standing on the Rooftop
Double 180 Gram Vinyl
Mastered at Sterling Sound
Musicians:
Madeleine Peyroux, vocals
Christopher Bruce, guitars
Charley Drayton, drums
John Kirby, keyboards
Meshell Ndegeocello, bass
Glenn Patscha, keyboards
Maruo Refosco, percussion
Marc Ribot, guitars
Jenny Scheinman, violin
Allen Toussaint, piano
Patrick Warren, keyboards

This is Madeleine Peyroux’s fifth solo album and, without a doubt, the most different. The music is more sophisticated, and somewhat darker. On her website, she calls it a “more roots oriented record,” and I would agree that it is certain more her own.

I don’t know why she started the album with a short rendition of the Beatles’ “Martha My Dear”, it just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album. Track two is “The Kind You Can’t Afford,” and it sets the tone for the album. Thanks to guitarist Mark Ribot and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, it also has a considerably more driving sound than her earlier work.

The rest of the album slows down even more. The album has a rich, textured sound that is big, with intentional muddy drum beats and slow attack. There are a few uplifting moments, but overall the album sounds dark and desolate. This is an album that requires active attention from the listener; I don’t think you’ll walk in to an upscale boutique and hear it playing in the background like so often the case with “Careless Love”.

Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, the two-LP, 33RPM set offers sound that I think is better than her last two MoFi LPs. Surfaces are quieter, the bass is full with an earthy richness. Like her earlier LPs, they sound more like great SACDs than great LPs.

Stan Getz: The 1953-54 Clef/Norgran Studio Sessions

Stan Getz: The 1953-54 Clef/Norgran Studio Sessions
Limited to 5000 copies, 180 Gram Vinyl 4LP Box Set

Mastered From the Original Clef/Norgran Analog Tapes
by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Sound

I’ll be honest, I just don’t know what to say about Mosaic’s latest box set that compiles mono recordings produced on the Clef, Norgran, and Verve labels. These recordings were made during one of Getz’s lowest points in his personal life. At the time, he was battling heroin addiction.

Ashley Kahn’s liner notes offer more history than I’m prepared to get into here now. I just want to say that while this may have been a low point of his life, but it’s a high point in Stan’s music.

The seven albums that comprise this collection should be enjoyed by as many as can be. The mastering engineer, Kevin Gray, did a great job and he used the original full-track mono masters. The sound is simply spectacular. A slight bit of tape hiss exists in the quietest part of some tracks, but everything else is exceptional. These records do not sound like remastered LPs; they sound alive and are just plain wonderful.

Leonard Cohen & Jennifer Warnes Various Positions

Leonard Cohen & Jennifer Warnes Various Positions
4 Men W/Beards 180g Audiophile Vinyl

Selections:
1. Dance Me to the End of Love
2. Coming Back to You
3. The Law
4. Night Comes On
5. Hallelujah
6. The Captain
7. Hunter’s Lullaby
8. Heart With No Companion
9. If It Be Your Will

Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen of the Famous Blue Raincoat album are two of my favorite music makers. Jennifer sings Cohen’s songs as well or better than anyone.

Various Positions was originally released in February 1985 on the independent label Passport Records. It was Cohen’s seventh studio album and it marked not only his turn to the modern sound with the use of synthesizers. It’s a rather eclectic album featuring tunes from “Dance Me To The End Of Love” to the classic “Hallelujah”. By the way, it’s nice to finally have a couple of choices on LPs of “Hallelujah”. If you’re a Cohen fan, this is an album you will want to have.

Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down

Sarah Jarosz - Follow Me Down
Sugar Hill Records

Tracks:
1. Run Away
2. Come Around
3. Annabelle Lee
4. Ring Them Bells
5. My Muse
6. Floating In The Balance
7. Old Smitty
8. The Tourist
9. Here Nor There
10. Gypsy
11. Peace

Even though she is just 20 years old, this is Sarah Jarosz’s second album from Sugar Hill Records. She is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter. Her first album, Song Up in Her Head, resulted in a Grammy nomination. If you’ve never listened to Sarah’s music, you need to. Her approach to acoustic music is invigorating; she puts all her heart into playing, singing and writing. Her choice of songs is expansive and vital.

“Follow Me Down” shows her definite bluegrass influence. Her husky, alto voice brings these songs alive. My favorite song is “Annabelle Lee”, but nearly every song draws me in and I find them really enjoyable. If you like female vocals, modern bluegrass, or folk with punch, then you should give this album a try. I hope you like it as much as I do.

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