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Reissues: Bill Evans, The Doors, Billie Holiday, The Weavers, Nina Simone

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Bill Evans / Live At Art D’ Lugoff’s Top of the Gate

Bill Evans / Live At Art D' Lugoff's Top of the Gate
Three 45 RPM, 180 gram vinyl records
Resonance Records, RTI pressing
Mastered by Bernie Grundman
Lift-Off BoxHand-Numbered 13″ x 13″ by Ross-Ellis
All Previously Unheard Performances
Remastered from Original Tapes

Musicians:
Bill Evans, piano
Eddie Gomez, bass
Marty Morell, drums

Selections:
LP1 – Side B:
1. ‘Round Midnight
2. My Funny Valentine
3. California Here I Come
LP2 – Side C:
1. Gone With the Wind
2. Alfie
3. Turn Out the Stars
LP2 – Side D:
1. Yesterdays
2. Emily
3. In a Sentimental Mood
LP3 – Side E:
1. ‘Round Midnight
2. Autumn Leaves
Selections:
LP3 – Side F:
1. Someday My Prince Will Come
2. Mother of Earl
3. Here’s That Rainy Day

It’s a great time for vinyl lovers and jazz fans. Almost every month we have several reissues of some of the best and hardest-to-find performances to have ever been recorded. Heck, ever once in a while we find someone bringing us a heretofore unreleased performance.

Now, Resonance Records brings us this Bill Evans set that was recorded in 1968 by George Klabin, who at the time was the director of jazz programming for WKCR-FM, Columbia University’s radio station. This brings memories back to me for while I was at Baylor, I loved to hang out at the Baylor FM station and was lucky enough to hang out with the sound engineer who recorded most of the concerts on campus.

George recorded this concert with permission, by the way, on October 23rd, 1968. He used his Crown R2R two-track 15 IPS tape recorder, Ampex 4-channel tube mixer and four microphones to record this performance. We should all be thankful that he did, because this performance is brilliant and the recording isn’t bad at all. It’s a little warm and transients aren’t the fastest I’ve ever heard. It does have beautiful texture and a very intimate feel. Still, that misses the point, this recording is all about the music and what music it is.

I highly recommended these LPs for Evans fans, if you’re like me, you will find this great fun.

The Doors / The Doors and Strange Days

The Doors / The Doors and Strange Days
Analogue Productions
Mastered by Doug Sax using an all-tube system and overseen by Bruce Botnick, The Doors producer/engineer.
Two 45 rpm LPs pressed on 200-gram vinyl at Quality Record Pressings

I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said about these to LPs musically. Let me simply say this is the music of my youth and I love it. It still speaks to me 40 plus years latter. I’m listening at this moment to “When the Music’s Over,” this is about as good as it gets.

Their first album The Doors is said to be sourced from the best available master tapes. All I can say is it’s not quite as good as Strange Days, but really close. Strange Days is a complete success though. This double 45 offers incredible dynamics, beautiful detail and just comes alive in my room. The drums are so dynamic and alive it is startling on some cuts. Morrison’s voice is right there with all it’s power and gravel. It never breaks up, but simply sounds so right.

If the question is how do these two hold up to the originals, it is hard for me to say. My copies from back then are noisy and worn. Compared to the Rhino Box Set though there is simply no comparison. To be honest, these are better than I ever dreamed rock music from the sixties could sound. I want to thank everyone at Analogue Productions for bringing me such sweet sounds from some of my favorite music ever. My highest recommendation!

The-Doors-The-Doors-and-Strange-Days-02

Billie Holiday / Songs For Distingué Lovers

Billie Holiday / Songs For Distingué Lovers
Analogue Productions/Verve
2 45 rpm 200 Gram Vinyl Records
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound
From the Original Analog Master Tapes
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings

Musicians:
Billie Holiday, vocals
Harry Edison, trumpet
Ben Webster, tenor saxophone
Jimmy Rowles, piano
Barney Kessel, guitar
Red Mitchell, bass
Alvin Stoller, drums

Selections:
1. Day In Day Out
2. A Foggy Day
3. Stars Fell On Alabama
4. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
5. Just One Of Those Things
6. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

This is simply a beautiful album. The song selection is incredible, the musicians are world class, and the recording is wonderful. Many feel this was her best studio album and Analogue Productions has taken this great LP to a whole new level. They have given it to us on dynamic 45 rpm LPs and a dead quiet pressing. I really like this album and it’s so nice to have such great music sounding so good. My highest recommendation!

The Weavers – Reunion At Carnegie Hall, 1963

The Weavers - Reunion At Carnegie Hall, 1963
Analogue Productions
200g Vinyl
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
Sourced from the original master 3 track tape
Gatefold Jacket

Musicians:
Bernie Krause
Frank Hamilton
Pete Seeger
Erik Darling
Ronnie Gilbert
Lee Hays
Fred Hellerman

Selections:
1. When the Saints Go Marching In
2. Banks of Marble
3. Woke Up This Morning
4. Ramblin’ Boy
5. Poor Liza
6. Train Time
7. Wimoweh
8. San Francisco Baby Blues
9. Guantanamera
10. If I Had A Hammer
11. Come Away Melinda
12. Study War No More
13. Goodnight, Irene
14. ‘Round the World

What can we say about this album that Harry Pearson didn’t say years ago. It was for years along with the Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall the albums every audiophile had to have. One of the reasons it’s such a great sounding recording is how simply it was recorded. It was recorded on 3 tracks with an Ampex 300 at 15 1/2 IPS. All three mics were Schoeps M-221B/26 condensers.

I have to admit that I love both of these albums. So, it was with great interest that I waited for this new reissue to arrive. I had on hand for comparison an old and not mint Vanguard and the Analogue Productions 180 gram limited addition reissue from the late 80s. It was mastered by Doug Sax at the Mastering Labs with all tube electronics. The pressing was done by RTI. It easily betters the sound of the older Vanguard, so I’ll use it for comparison.

The two Analogue Productions’ reissues sound very different. The earlier 180 gram one is tilted more toward the treble end of tonality. This causes it to give a first impression of being livelier. This is the only thing I can say might even seem better when compared to the new Analogue Productions’ 200 gram reissue. After a couple of listenings I decided that this was not better though, just more hi-fi sounding.

The new reissue that under review here is easily the best version of this recording I have ever heard. It lets you hear the nuances of the performance like I have never heard before. Things that were hard to hear on the other recording were very easy to hear now. Its ability to let you hear decay, layering, body, and scale was simply better than the earlier copy. I want to thank Chad and Analogue Productions for giving me such a great sounding version of this beloved LP. Very highly recommended!

Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue

Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue
Label – BETHLEHEM LP
Gatefold Jacket

Musicians:
Bernie Krause
Frank Hamilton
Pete Seeger
Erik Darling
Ronnie Gilbert
Lee Hays
Fred Hellerman

Selections:
Side A:
1. Mood Indigo
2. Don’t Smoke In Bed
3. He Needs Me
4. Little Girl Blue
5. Love Me or Leave Me
6. My Baby Just Cares For Me
Side B:
1. Good Bait
2. Plain Gold Ring
3. You’ll Never Walk Alone
4. I Loves You Porgy
5. Central Park Blues

Recorded in New York City, December 1957. This recording is the perfect medium for showing off Nina Simone’s mellifluous voice. It features some of her signature songs, including “I Loves You Porgy,” and “Don’t Smoke in Bed.” Simone has been described as a jazz singer, a soul singer, and a folk singer. Truth is, she is that special kind of singer that can’t be pigeon holed into any one genre.

Little Girl Blue was her first release for Bethlehem Records. She was only in her mid-20s at the time of this recording and you can hear the difference in her voice from recordings she did several decades latter. It lets us hear her voice on ballads, a sound full of mystery and sensuality. It also features several cuts that are an up-tempo jazz style. If you are a fain of Nina Simone as I am, this is an LP that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I know you will, too

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