Vinyl Jam records in UK

"Kino" in Vinyl Junkies, London

Dear fellows!
Finally our last album hits a shelf of Vinyl Junkies store (SOHO, London)

It is a very special place for us. Jean-Paul, who runs this outlet is a world-
renown DJ by himself and he is with Vinyl jam records since day one.
Now all our releases are available here.
some other places in the same town, when our stuff can be found:
Juno records
Amazon
Piccadilly records , Fat city (Manchester, seems to be out of stock though)
etc.
Happy digging! Support analogue, there is not much left…..

Getting all warm …

Bogen RP-60 Receiver

 Well, after about two months of vintage tube sound driven by 7355 tubes, I can't ever imagine listening to music seriously any other way. It's like my ears have found exactly what they've been looking for courtesy of a nearly 50-year old Bogen RP-60 receiver. There are 19 tubes in this baby! Sweet.

So I find myself just listening to everything through this receiver just to hear how much better it all sounds when played with those wonderful 7355 tubes and those lovely Mullard 12AX7 pre-amp tubes that are still singing sweetly after all these years. Amazing.

When I listen to older albums like Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music it feels like hearing the music exactly as it's supposed to be. Warm, rich and just right to the ears. Even a solid-state era piece like Steely Dan's Can't Buy a Thrill picks up a lot of fatness in the mids through this amp section. "Reelin' in the Years" with its overdriven guitar solos is a revelation on this set up.

Even CDs pick up some detail through this along with my Grant Fidelity B-283 tube processor to improve the signal going into the amp. I was listening to Dwight Yoakum's Under the Covers tonight and the B3 organ used througout this album comes singing right through in ways I've never heard it before.

Vintage tubes … just right.

Yaqin amps and other stuff

Hello all,

 

as you might have noticed I haven't been exactly active on vinylfanatics.com recently. For many various reasons which I won't go into here.

But I recently received a Yaqin MS-2A3 amp from Hong Kong and have been quite immersed in music, mainly from my vast collection of black spinning discs. I also hooked up a touch screen digital music interface computer thingy but that sounds shite in comparison so it doesn't get used much. Its really nice to use though 🙂

Perhaps over the Easter weekend I might get a review of the amplifier in and maybe even a few records. I have been sent a few in the post that I really should get around to reviewing. Sorry if you're one of the ones kept waiting.

Oh and if you ever are thinking of sending something in, its far more likely to get areview if its on vinyl rather than on CD.

Thanks

 

Here's a nice picture 

yaqin ms-2a3 amplifier 

Richard

Still Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Emmylou I sat down with Emmylou Harris last night–at least the vinyl version of her on her All I Intended to Be album released last year (2008) on Nonesuch Records. I had listened to the record several times before and found it an easy listen and her voice was smooth and crystalline as ever–few have a sound anywhere approaching hers.

But I finally sat down with the two substantial 180-gram LPs last night and really listened to the richly layered, beautifully structured work by Harris and a cast of capable musicians and  producer who is well-matched to her in Brian Ahern.

The title for this album draws on Billy Joe Shaver's song, "Old Five and Dimers Like Me,"which is on this album. A blend of solid country songwriting favorites and new pices by Emmylou and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, this album is all about the songs. 

And that, it turns out, is what had me slowing down to listen deeply, especially cuts like "How She Could Sing the Wildwood Flower." This is an album of love, loss, regret, heartache, loneliness and bursts of wistful joy. In essence, the perfect piece of Emmylou's work. It's at the front of the record rack now wating for more listens, more discoveries and more joy in the details of songs well sung by a beautiful woman whose voice still makes her the sweeheart of the rodeo.

 

Music to cry to …

One of my big regrets in life is that life somehow intervened the several times I had a chance to see Ray Charles live and I never got to do it. So today I was checking out the vinyl at the local Goodwill and there it was: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music with a near mint cover still in the shrink wrap and a neatly labeled "Norma" in ballpoint ink on the shrink wrap plastic. The record itself had some scuffs but not any serious wounds–it just looked well loved. I found several other "Norma" albums and picked them up as well as they matched my mood for the day.

So, after a quick clean with the microfiber cloth and distilled water/alcohol, Ray hit the turntable. WOW! Just WOW! I know this album well but I've never had it on vinyl until today. Even with some surface noise and the occasional pop and click, the sound on this mono pressing from 1962 was simply amazing. Ray's vocals are just right there and you can hear him pull away from the mic ever so slightly as he reaches for those notes sometimes. You can even catch him turning his head a bit as he sways on some of the tunes.

This album deserves all the acclaim. It redefined Ray Charles as the artist who could, simply, do it all. And it served as a serious kick in the ass for Nashville in terms of showing just what could be done with some of those wonderful tunes written by some of Nashville's best.

I can only wish that "modern" country music was this good. But that's all right. I have this album and I have Ray's voice and performance that once again reminded me that music still carries the power to move me to tears. And today, when I listened to "I Can't Stop Loving You" on this 1962 performance, I was right there … crying.

 

Missing Chet

Chet Atkins album cover Just sitting listening to this Chet Atkins standard (Me and My Guitar) today. While I bought this from a used record store this weekend primarily for one cut–the haunting version of Don McClean's "Vincent," it's a great album all the way around and one that I think will wind up toward the front of the box where my more frequent listens seem to be.

This 1977 album shows the changing Chet Atkins as he moves from the twangy Gretsch Country Gentlemen days of his early career–when he was also one of the top producers and A&R people at RCA records. This one includes much more of a jazzy sound–still some twang–and it's also much more focused on melody. 

And, listening today, I'm carried back to an early Doc Watson festival in my hometown of Wilkesboro, N.C., where I watched in near suspended animation as this old man with his glasses and slightly geeky looking clothes redefined guitar playing for me all by himself on that stage. I can remember staring at his hands and the casual body language as he played incredibly complex passages as if he was just standing at the kitchen window washing dishes. It was one of those moments in my life where music has moved me to tears. It was simple stuff that he was playing–at least it seemed so until you realized that the vocals you thought you were hearing somehow were just Chet playing guitar and that the parts were all coming from the hands of that old guy on stage.

Many Americans got to know Chet Atkins through his friendship with Garrison Keillor on the radio in his last years. They certainly heard some great guitar playing and a quiet man with a wickedly funny sense of humor ("I Still Write Your Name in the Snow") but you hope that some of them–at least a few of them–dug deeper and found a little of this Chet. This amazing guitar player who has been mentioned on the top influence list of artists like George Benson, Steve Lukather and Mark Knopfler. In fact, it was Knopfler who said he would be pleased to spend the next five years just learning how to play the guitar from Chet Atkins. I miss him.

Better to give than receive

Well, it was a great Christmas here. I spent Christmas evening giving my 20-year old son his present. How does that make it a great Christmas? Well, his gift was a vintage Yamaha CA 410 II integrated amp, a pair of decent Infinity bookshelf speakers and a Technics turntable in great condition with an Ortofon cartridge. I went simple throughout on this one and the turntable is a P-mount system but the cartridge gives it great sound and makes for a solid introduction to vinyl.

The coolest part was walking him through the set in my kitchen and watching as he listened to the sound that came from his "new" system. I have to say I found the Yamaha amp impressive in all directions. Great phono stage, warm clean sound and efficient use of the relatively small wattage it is rated for. We went through a bunch of my records and I discussed various things about them with him and he was just soaking it all up. I then let him choose a stack of 15 or 20 records from my own collection (with a few off limits, of course!). 

And, best of all, we spent Saturday cruising used record shops in Atlanta. He wound up buying more records and adding extensively to his collection with some advice and recommendations from me and the staff at the record stores. At one point we had several people gathered around us discussing selections and a young lady was listening in and soaking up the information and buying similar material to what my son was buying. It was a cool day. One that was a nice break from the stresses of what has been a nightmarish holiday season in many ways.

So, yeah, I had a great Christmas.

Lull before Christmas

Well I haven't been up to much musically recently, apart from rearranging sections of my vinyl collection to tidy it up and make a little more sense. I now have a folk cum blues cum gospel section. I'm not sure how much sense that makes but it'll do for now. 

 As for recent buys err, not many if any. I did receive a Lykke Li 7" in the post but that was ordered at the same time as the album a few weeks ago. An album I haven't listened to very much since.

I do want to get Vampire Weekend when

A) I have the cash

B) I see it in a shop

 I've just opened up a shop selling computer supplies in the heart of Dublin. I figured that the start of a recession was a great time to setup a new business. Anwyay the upshot is that I'm broke and I won't be spending $300 on that new Miles Davis box set. Crazy prize. Seems like a bit of a ripoff to me. Do you not get a bulk discount when buying that many record in a box??

 Currently listening to

MGMT

MGMT – Nice quirky pop from Brooklyn. 

Bon Iver gig

So I got to see Bon Iver at the National Stadium in Dublin the other night. The national stadium is a funny place. Its mainly used as a boxing ring and seems a throwback to the 1980s and the days before our Celtic tiger and economic boom. Now that we're heading back into a recession its seemed appropriate to be heading along here for a gig. The place itself is bare and a little bit grim but strangely likeable. The icing on the cake for me is that you can buy a cup of tea at the back of the venue.

I missed fleet Foxes, it was sold out, at one of the premier venues in Dublin, so I was delighted to see Bon Iver. Justin Vernon did ask if we were disappointed at there not being any boxing before, during or after. Naturally we all said yes. 

I was surprised at Vernon's appearance. I expected someone malnourished, hairy and a little bit nerdy. He was hairy but was also well built and seemed fairly sure of himself. There was some rapport with the crowd but not a huge amount. Not like Richard Hawley who is more like a stand up comedian from Blackpool who sings a few songs on the side. 

Musically it was pretty much what you expected. He played the wonderful songs from For Emma which didn't deviate much from that recording. These were interspersed by four new songs from an EP called Blood Bank which will be out in January and was actually on sale on lovely 12" vinyl at the gig. I bought it but haven't actually listened to it yet. In the concert teh songs seemed inferior to the tracks taken from his album but that coudl be just lack of familiarity. I'll review it soon. There was some harder rocking from the EP.

The unexpected highlight of the evening was a cover of 'Spirit' from teh magnificent Talk Talk. Talk Talk themselves refused to tour their last two albums as they claimed it would be impossible to recreate that music and ambience in a live atmosphere. Listening to their music and reading the credits, you'd be persuaded to agree. So Bon Iver's version, sung by the drummer, was inferior but was a delight simply to hear this sing in a live setting.

After the 'last song' Justin asked if we minded if they didn't actually head off the stage for a fake encore and so just stayed on and played their last two songs.

A very good gig but not approaching greatness. Bon Iver is still one of the albums of the year though.