23 February, 2011

HiFi 天碟 Golden Discs (4): Pop II

HiFi 天碟 Golden Discs (4): Pop II

Is this Pop? Well, it certainly WAS.

Every hifi enthusiast in the 60's-70's probably owns an LP or two of Command Classics' Persuasive Percussion (info on wikipedia). There were several volumes but 1 and 2 were the best known. These LPs, and even the original CD issues now command good money on the second-hand market. Watch my word, one day the LP will likely be re-issued.

The CD has been out of print for a long time. Now, Sepia Records has reissued a CD that combines volume 1 and 2, making it a good buy. Those with sharp eyes shall note that the cover art is an amalgamation of volumes 1 and 2. Of course, the mark-up by HK dealer is a little too much. I don't recommend the music really, but for the right occasion and audition this CD can be fun. The early stereo is very good but layout is simple. I have the original LPs. I think the remasters are good but fall shy of the dynamics of the analogue LP.

The label Command Classics is also known to older classical music collectors for artists like the Pittsburgh SO recordings with William Steinberg, all quite good in performance and sound. Like many recordings on this label, these were recorded on magnetic tapes, much like Everest and Mercury, probably by Robert Fine, later of Mercury fame. For more on this, read the Everest Records link.

Another CD recommended to those who like simple ballroom dance music is this issue of Tea for Two Cha Cha Cha. The orchestra is a very good one, the music is fun and the sound is OK (but I think not as good as the Persuasive Percussion).

I have fondness for this issue because many years ago when I learned to dance this was one of the albums we used. I still have the cassette tape!

Info on: Tea for Two Cha Cha, Persuasive Percussion (previous CD issue)

Both are issued by Sepia Records, browse their fun catalogue! Note that many are not sonically spectacular, and some are mono's.

Finally, a more recent favorite and recommended for its music (as well as sound). This CD that pits ageless Taj Mahal's blues guitar against Toumani Diabate's Malian Kora is spellbinding from the first note. Putting two greats together doesn't always guarantee results, but this one is a masterpiece. Frankly speaking, I think the string playing is much more interesting here than audiophile favorites Nils Lofgren, Friday Night in San Francisco, Pat Metheny etc.

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