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Beatnik’s November LP Picks

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Five of these six albums showed up at my house early in November. The Live in Paris album I have had for a few months; two are remasters of rather old LPs and two are new releases. The two Diana Krall albums are new vinyl released of CDs that have been out for several years.
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances & Vocalise

Donald Johanos conducts the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Analogue Productions’ 45 RPM remaster of the original Turnabout Vox recording
Mastered at AcousTech by Kevin Gray.
Pressed on virgin vinyl at Pallas in Germany.

There is a group of older audiophile who used to take nearly everything that HP said without any hesitation. For those of us, there is little that needs to be said about this old favorite.

The original liner notes tell us that, “The tape recording was made at a speed of 30 inches-per-second, using a transport modified to produce exceptionally good motion: a specially developed constant-velocity recording curve was employed for improved signal-to-noise ratio. The lacquer masters were made directly from the original tape, thus avoiding further transfer degradation. The result is a recording of exceptional clarity, naturalness and freedom from vices prevalent generally in the art.”

The original Turnabout Vox recording was known for its low, deep bass, and warm sound. As good as the original still is, this 45 RPM remaster from Analogue Production really ups the ante. This is just about as good as vinyl playback gets; highly recommended.

Julie London: Julie Is Her Name

ABox’s 45 RPM reissue of the original Liberty recording

Limited Edition

There are several reasons for buying this album. First, it’s Julie London and if you don’t know who she is, well, just think of one of the sultriest singers you have ever heard. Second, you should buy it for how beautiful the music is, and lastly you should buy it to encourage ABox to produce more albums like this.

They used the original full track master to make this 45-RPM/two-LP set. It was mastered by Bernie Grundman using all-tube disc cutting equipment, and pressed by RTI on HQ-180 vinyl. The result is one of the most beautiful-sounding albums I have ever heard. Julie London’s career started in the movies during the 1940s. In 1955 she made her debut LP for the newly formed Liberty Records. This 45 RPM reissue may be the best example of a state-of-the-art mono recording as I have heard. This album has long been regarded by jazz buffs and ’50s pop enthusiasts as a genuine classic. Julie is supported by the legendary Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass, this LP release will conjure up visions of the cool 1950s. I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

Diana Krall: All For You and Live in Paris

Both Albums by ORG /Original Recordings Group

Mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed on Premium HQ-180 Gram Vinyl

I know over the last dozen or so years audiophile have just about OD’ed on Diana Krall, but that doesn’t change the fact she has produced some music that most of us have really enjoyed. Of all her albums these are two of my three favorite Krall albums. I also want to congratulate ORG on their superb work. These ORG albums are by far the best-sounding Krall LPs I have heard.

‘All For You’ is a tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio. She does a superb job of evoking the emotions of the Cole Trio’s music. If you like Krall this is a must have. ‘Live In Paris’ is Krall’s only live recording. It was recorded at the Paris Olympia Theatre. This album captures a degree of emotion and energy that I do not hear on any of her studio albums. If you only buy one of Diana Krall’s albums this is the one. It’s the best music, the most fun, and has incredible sonics.

Sara Watkins: Sara Watkins

Sara Watkins is best known as a fiddle player and vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek. This self-titled album is her debut solo album. Here Watkins displays her skills as a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, ukulele, fiddle, and as a very engaging singer. This album incorporates folk, country, gospel, and pop. It was produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville. She’s joined by alt-country duo Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Tom Petty’s keyboardist Benmont Tench, Elvis Costello’s drummer Pete Thomas, as well as friends from the bluegrass world like Tim O’Brien, Punch Brothers’ Chris Eldridge, Ronnie McCoury, and Rayna Gellert: and Nickel Creek band-mates Christ Thile and Sean Watkins.

The songs cover a span from exuberant, foot-stomping instrumentals to songs in which both the music and lyrics are both heart-wrenching and lovelorn. This album has a very different temperament than the Nickel Creek albums. I found it very enjoyable and liked the music very much. The sound quality is very nice, but not quite up to the standards set by the albums mentioned above.

Anne Bisson: Blue Mind

Mastered by Kevin Gray & Pressed at RTI on 180g Vinyl
Mastering system: MOON power amplifiers, DCS Digital and Weiss EQ, Analogue Mixer: Raindirk, DCS and Weis converter, 24-bit 96 kHz, PCM 9000 for mastering, Moon amplifier for playback
Musicians: Anne Bisson, piano, vocals, Paul Brochu, drums, Normand Guilbault, double bass

This is without question an audiophile recording. It features a rich, warm midrange combined with a sultry female singer. Bisson’s voice comes across crystal clear. The sound is simply wonderful and very musical. The soundstage is wide, deep, and tall. There is plenty of detail and it’s very smooth sounding. Like I said it’s a very good audiophile album, and despite our attempts to kid ourselves, we all own a good many of these.

The music is a blend of vocal jazz and pop. For me it is the music where this album falls a little short. I find Bisson’s voice quite pleasing and the playing of the drums and bass are quite nice. Still, as good as the sound and performance is, it just doesn’t quite all come together to emotionally involve me in the music. Maybe with time I will come to enjoy it more.

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