Axis, The Mono Version

This is my Favorite Jimi Hendrix album, and this is truly meant to be listened to as a album. This was a mastery of the recording tech at the time, 4 track. Classic Records with the Hendrix family give us the rare mono version of Axis newly remastered from the original master tapes, and only available on 180 Gram vinyl. The mono mix first off is very different from the Stereo version, EXP loses somes of it's effects and does the end of Bold As Love, Little Wing gains some serious drum echo. Spanish Castle Magic is more up in your face which I prefer over the stereo mix. If you are a Jimi Hendrix fan, you must get this album. Classic Records presents this special mono reissue of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis:Bold As Love on 180 Gram vinyl cut by Bernie Grundman under the supervision of Eddie Kramer. The artwork and labels are the original U.K. Track Records ones, this a Beautiful reissue, and being a much cheaper as a original will put you back a house payment.

Led Zeppelin 1

1969 the hammer of the gods fell, the mighty Led Zeppelin's self titled debut album landed and rock music was never the same.This classic records reissue of this classic album on 200 gram vinyl which is almost as heavy as the music pressed on it. From the opening monster drum sound of Good Times, Bad Times, which sound like thunder coming from your speakers, the acoustic Babe, I gonna Leave You and Black Mountain side. Than you get some blues with Zeppelin's covers of Willie Dixon's You Shook me, and I can't Quit you Baby, which Robert Plant makes his own with a sexual moan. You get the heavy but trippy How Many More Times and the live classic Dazed And Confused with Jimmy Page's guitar wizardry. The closest thing to a single type track is Communication Breakdown, hard and fast, somewhat punky. This album hit all the areas of music and laid the ground work for heavy metal. The recording itself is still fresh even though it is almost 40 years old, who today gets a drum sound like this. I believe this is the greatest debut album in history. Classic Records 200 gram vinyl reissue cut by Bernie Grundman from the original two track masters, super quite vinyl, thundering bass, crispy highs, a very clean sound. This reissue blows my original copy away

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.

The Intimate Guitar

This album was done in Segovia's 82nd year. And, according to him, that would have been his 76th year of playing the guitar. For many Segovia defines the classical guitar and his career spanned pretty much all of the 20th century and his students and disciples are many and remain influential among today's players. This album is indicative of Segovia's genius in that it includes a Bach piece–three movements from Cello Suite No. 1–and he was famous for transcribing difficult pieces of the Bach catalog to the classical guitar. But it was more than Back, as the track listing below shows. His ability to move pieces of tremendous complexity to the classical guitar and play them with the fullness and richness the composers intended is more than legend among guitar players. 

As on most Segovia albums, you find yourself forgetting that there is one person playing here. And even more so you find yourself forgetting that it's an octogenarian playing with such grace and fire in his playing. The notes from Segovia's guitar come almost like breaths and you wonder if playing the guitar was like breathing for this elderly Spanish gentleman with a truly singular talent. Some criticize his techniques and personality in hindsight today, but it's important to remember Segovia was at the forefront of some talented musicians of the first half of the 20th century who gave classical guitar a much more revered place in music than it enjoyed at the beginning of the century. Hearing him play the pieces he plays on this album serves as a able reminder of his place in classical music and, most of all, his place in classical guitar.

This RCA Red Label pressing is good quality on middle-weight vinyl. While it's hard to judge the quality of a 30-plus year old pressing, obviously, the one in my possession is quiet and presents the detail of the recording very well. 

If you're seeking one of those rainy day pieces of music, you could do far worse than to pick up this Segovia album or it's successor.

Track Listing

Side A

Weiss: Bourée
Benda: Sonatina in D; Sonatina in D Minor
J.S. Bach: Three Movements from Cello Suite No. 1
D. Scarlatti: Two Sonatas

Side B

Sor: Andante in Cin Minor and Minuet in C; Minuet in A; Minuet in C
Asencio: Dipso
Ponce: Prelude in E

ARL1-0485

First of two albums under this title by Segovia.

Andres Segovia

Producer: Israel Horowitz

New Hi Fi System – Included Pro Ject Debut III Turntable

First of all, this review covers my entire hi-fi system, and although this is primarily a vinyl website, I thought some may still be interested in the other little bits and bobs. The main parts of this system; the Turntable, CD Player, Amplifier and Speakers were my Christmas present this year, although I probably opened it a couple of weeks before. How could you resist?! I actually got my very first turntable this time last year and I thought it was one of the best things I'd ever received! I wasn't expecting it, as I'd always been told that I couldn't get a record player because of having nowhere to put the records and all that talk. Yet here was a 'Classic' brand turntable with a CD player, Analog Radio and built in speakers… Wow!  Probably the most slated piece of equipment by audiophiles along with the mp3 player, but it was great. It played records even if the sound wasn't brilliant, and to be fair my ear for sound then was that mp3's were great.  Since then I wore the stylus out to the point where it was crackling quite obviously and there was no way of replacing it. I was going to replace it with a similar unit but I thought it was a good time to get a proper hi fi separates system…  

I already had three quality cassette decks for recording purposes, but I had been using headphones for them as I had no amplifier. These were: Sony – TC 121, Technics M12 and Teac W-600R. The first one, Sony TC121, is the oldest of the lot. I think it was circa 1971 or something close to that, but considering it's age it's in good running condition and the quality is really good too. It's a top loading unit as were most of them at the time, and there is a really powerful spring that pretty much throws the cassette out of it when you press eject. The sound quality is obviously lesser than the later decks but is still really good. It handles the trebbles quite well too as there is no noise reduction on this unit. Overall I'd probably give the sound rating a 3.5 / 5.  

 

The next deck is the Technics M12. I always think that sounds like some kind of aircraft with the M12 but anyhoo… This deck was actually due to be thrown away from my school but luckily I rescued it before they had the chance. This is a really good quality unit. It is a front loader this time and has Dolby B noise reduction. I believe this deck is a 1980 production, so just about the golden age of cassette units. It has a really cool looking VFD meter level and has the option of Metal, Chrome and Ferric equalisations. I'd say the quality of sound is a good 5/5 although the head is very slightly out of line which gives a quiet background of the opposite side. The recording on this unit is also very good quality.

 

 The final deck is a Teac W 600R. This was another deck that was to be thrown out and would also have been a shame! This is a double deck and has light push buttons making it much quieter than the other units. It has normal and high speed dubbing making it very easy to copy tapes. I haven't really used this one much as it only has line in as an option for recording, but it sounds great in the separates system. I think this deck is early 90's but I haven't really been able to find any information about it. The sound on this is great but not quite as good as the Technics so I'd give it more a 4/5.  

Finally the thing that everyone's probably reading on for. The ProJect turntable. It's the best player I've ever used that I can remember and it certainly took a bit of getting used to after my previous deck. First of all was actually having to partly assemble the player. Shock horror! Certainly didn't have to do that with the other one. Setting it up makes you realise how well made it is. The platter is heavy minimising the vibration and the motor switch is conveniently underneath the platter making it more visually attractive. The cartridge is also very resistant to vibrations. I'm sure there's a name for the type of build for the cartridge but I'm not really sure what it is. The stylus is quite far from the main body if that means anything to anyone? I must sound really novice here, but hey, I'm new to this. The tone arm is straight (might be a name for that too) and the antiskating system uses one of those weights on the fishing wire. Once I got the turntable up and running I thought it wasn't working to start with. I'd switched the motor on and there was silence. I was going to try and give the platter a little turn to see if that got it working and I was surprised to find that it was actually working. The motor was completely silent! On the old turntable it sounded like a lawnmower was in the background but this was perfectly silent. Shyeah! And I had a greater surprise when I put a record on and it seemed as thought there was no crackle at all. Made me realise just how bad the previous one was. The sound was also amazing. For the first time I finally agreed that vinyl does sound better than CD. Previously I had just liked vinyl because it had charm; I just pretended it sounded better because everyone else said it did. But wow! It sounded amazing on this player. I think I only have one criticism with this turntable and that is that you have to manually chance the speed of the platter to play 45's. Instead of the switch to change between 33's and 45's, you have to move the belt onto a different slot on the motor arm to change speed. Other than that I'd give the whole thing, sound, build, value a well deserved 5. It might not have the same appeal to long serving audiophiles but I think it's great! Definitely recommend the Debut III in future. 

 

The next part of the unit is the Denon DCD 485 CD player. This was the only part that I got to listen to in the shop and, again wow! It sounded brilliant. Got to turn it up much louder than you could in the house and you could get to that point where it's just the perfect volume. It's just the basic unit really, has all the features such as shuffle and how time is displayed on the display. I think more effort has gone into the sound than the USP's. Can't really think of much to say about it really as the turntable sort of eclipsed its glory. Has a remote which I suppose is the standard? Would rate the sound as 5 again, although not quite on the same par as the turntable. I would certainly recommend it. The amplifier that came with the CD player is the Denon PMA – 500AE. It is a good little amplifier. Has 6 inputs and two speaker outputs and headphone socket. It gets up to an incredible volume although I've not had the chance to try it yet. Maybe when the neighbours go away… The unit comes with a remote too making it easy to switch between inputs. The outputs for tape decks also work great too making it easy to make duplicates of records and CD's on tape. Erm what else…. Has a loudness button which emphasizes the treble and bass when you're playing at a lower volume, very useful feature! There's also a source direct button but not really used that as of yet. 

 Finally are the speakers. They're bookshelf speakers, as the pitch of the roof restricts the height of speakers (all this is up in my loft). They're a nice cherry wood and I find it hard to believe you can get better sound but of course I'm sure you can. They have a really good bass response. And I can't really say much more about them. They're just great and compact too. Great if you're a little short on space.

 

(£425 for – CD, Turnable, Amplifer and Speakers)

Get Rhythm

 This 2002 pressing of material recorded early in Johnny Cash's career at Sun Studio in Memphis is a great look-back at material that was originally compiled into an album in 1969 from original sessions recorded in 1955-58. In these sessions you can hear Cash working with his early collaborators Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant on a new sound that wasn't exactly country music and could, in many ways, be defined as early rockabilly and yet it was so much more. The heatbeat rhythm that Cash made famous is prominent in these simple, stripped down recordings that sound great on this heavyweight vinyl pressing from Italy.

If you want a good look at early Cash, this is a good place to start with a nice, clean pressing of his beginning sounds that made him part of Sun's Million Dollar Quartet along with Elvis Pressley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Boy, wouldn't you like to have been hanging out in the lounge there one day in the mid-1950s?

Track Listing

Get Rhythm
Mean-Eyed Cat
You Win Again
Country Boy
Two Timin' Woman
Oh Lonesome Me
Luther's Boogie
Doin'  My time
New Mexico
Belshazah
Sugartime

GET 7507

180-gram Pressing Made in Italy by Abraxas under the Get Back Label

 Personnel

Johnny Cash

Luther Perkins

Marshall Grant

Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett's debut, self-named album. Early signs of the eclectic mix of styles he has shown across a long career that always surprises and pleases his fans with new sounds and the ever-present wry sense of humor in his songwriting.

Track Listing

Side One

Cowboy Man
God Will
Farther Down the Line
This Old Porch
Why I Don't Know

Side Two

If I Were the Man You Wanted
You Can't Resist It
The Waltzing Fool
An Acceptable Level of Ecstasy (The Wedding Song)
Closing Time

MCA-5748

Recorded at Chaton Recordings, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Engineered by Steven Moore; Assistant Engineer Andy Seagle

Session Personnel

  • Mathew McKenzie – bass
  • Jeff Borree – drums
  • Matt Rollings – acoustic and electric piano
  • Mark Prenticeorgan
  • Lyle Lovett – acoustic guitar
  • Ray Herndonelectric rhythm guitar & background vocals
  • Billy Williamselectric lead guitar
  • Tom Mortensen – steel guitar
  • Glen Duncan – fiddle
  • Steve Marsh – saxophones
  • James Gilmercongas
  • J. David Sloan – background vocals
  • Bass on "Farther Down the Line" – Emory Gordy, Jr.
  • Drums on "Farther Down the Line", "This Old Porch", & "An Acceptable Level of Ecstasy" – Bob Warren
  • Piano on "God Will" & "Farther Down the Line" – Mark Prentice
  • Synthesizer on "You Can't Resist It" – John Jarvis
  • Acoustic lead guitar on "God Will", "Farther Down the Line" & "If I Were the Man You Wanted" – Mac McAnally
  • Electric rhythm guitar on "You Can't Resist It" – Vince Gill & Jon Goin
  • Electric lead guitar on "Farther Down the Line" and "Why I Don't Know" – Ray Herndon
  • Electric lead guitar on "You Can't Resist It" – Jon Goin
  • Background vocals on "You Can't Resist It" – Rosanne Cash & Lyle Lovett
  • Background vocals on "An Acceptable Level of Ecstasy – Francine Reed
  • Saxophones arranged by Billy Williams
  • Produced by Tony Brown and Lyle Lovett
  • Associate producer Billy Williams

 

 

Can’t Buy a Thrill

Debut 1972 release from Steely Dan, a collection of solid musicians who had toiled long with others who came together under the leadership of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who wrote some songs that everybody knows to create the album that everybody had to have.

Track Listing

Side One

Do It Again

Dirty Work

Kings

Midnite Cruiser

Only a Fool Would Say That

Side Two

Reellin" In The Years

Fire in The Hole

Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)

Change of the Guard

Turn That Heartbeat Over Again

MCA-1591

1972 MCA Records

Recorded at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles

Engineered by roger Nichols; Assistant Engineer Tim Weston

Personnel

  • Jeff "Skunk" Baxter: Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Spanish
  • Walter Becker: Electric Bass, Vocals
  • Denny Dias: Guitar, Electrict Sitar
  • Donald Fagen: Piano, Electric Piano, Plastic Organ, Vocals
  • Jim Hodder: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
  • David Palmer: Vocals
  • Along With:
  • Elliot Randall: Guitar
  • Victor Feldman: Percussion
  • Jerome Richardson: Tenor Sax
  • Snooky Young: Fluegel Horn
  • Clydie King, Shirley Mathews, Venetta Fields: Background Vocals
  • Produced by Gary Katz