01 September, 2017

LP Pressings of Different Generations

Music Diary: Rock Legends, Vintage LP Pressings and Current Re-issue's, Children's Music
Talk Vinyl: Vinyl Pressings from Different Generations
Letter from NYC (64) 2017 (3): Listening Notes, Chez Moi and Chez Andy

Article finished in HK.

Stairway to Heaven
If resale values were a concern, I'd spend more time shopping for rock and jazz LPs rather than classical. But my favorites remain with thrift shops and dollar bins - you never know what you are going to find.

On my recent UK trip, unusual for me, I went to this Rock and Pop store that I had visited before and unusually decided to spend a princely 20 GBP for a very good latter-day copy of Led Zep pictured above (not current re-issue). Some years ago, I heard it on a big horn system and it became something that I have always wanted. And, boy, what great stuff played on my horns! Indeed, Stairway to Heaven! :-)

I have always been a fan of The Band, whether by themselves or with Dylan. I picked up this UK pressing for 2 GBP at a thrift shop. Again, what great music on the horns!

Back in NYC, I picked up this beaten copy of this controversial Lou Reed album after half an hour of sifting through the dollar bin. Quite adventurous music that grew on me after repeated listening. I particularly like the collaboration with Don Cherry, better than many a jazz album! Great sound again on the horns.

Click Pics to Enlarge. R: Note the very rare Stax electrostatic arm and cartridge on the Garrard 301 to the right. Walker Proscenium to the left and ET arm on Thorens 125 in the middle. L: from top to bottom, Mono (LOC), early and later Stereo (LSO).

Sojourn in South Pacific - Chez Andy
This trip I have so far listened to Andy's downstairs system twice. The setup has not changed much from last visit:

Cartridge: Pickering 380 black body with D3807ATG stylus in gold color
Turntable: Walker Proscenium Gold Signature
Preamp: Conrad Johnson Premier 2
Amp: Canary CA 300 w/Western Electric 300b reissued tubes
Loudspeakers: 4-way - JBL 075 ring radiators, JBL 2440 compression drivers with 2390 horns and baffled lenses, Altec 515b woofers in Altec A7 cabinet, Entec SW-1 active subwoofers.
Crossovers: JBL LX-5 and diy 7000Hz with L-pad
Interconnects: Monster Cable Interlink Reference A, Magnan Type Vi
Speaker cable: 16, 18 gauge zip cords, WE solid-core wires

Andy is another vinyl junkie with a taste more eclectic than mine. These days when I go to his house I mostly stayed downstairs (upstair is where his classical and serious rig is) and just chat and drink wine, and he would play for me all sorts of albums on his "easy-listening" system, from Mancini to Broadway Musicals. The music is largely forgotten, but think about this, these composers were actually classically trained and seriously proficient in what they do.

On one occasion, we listened to three pressings of Roger and Hammerstein's South Pacific. The earlier Living Stereo and its later stereo reincarnation (LSO's) are cut form the same cloth, but the Living Stereo had greater impact, though not nearly as much as its mono predecessor (LOC)! Of course the stereo pans out more and has greater depth, but some may just prefer the more focused mono the way Beatles fans swear by their mono's.

Click to Enlarge. L: Ellington Uptown. To the Left, Later Six-Eye Mono; To the Right, Earlier Blue-Label Mono.

I have always been a fan of Ellington. His big band just sounds much better to me than the others (with the possible exception of the occasional Count Basie in top material).

Ellington Uptown Quite a while ago I casually listened to Ellington Uptown (blue-label mono) at Andy's. Some days later I chanced upon a beat-up Six-Eye Mono and bought it for a dollar. As is wont for audiophiles, a comparison was in order. Boy, do they sound different! Again, the earlier pressing is more impactful, visceral.

Ellington Indigos
This is another famous Ellington album. I got to listen to a friend's current re-issue (Impex). It sounded very good, but then too modern in a way. I happened to have a very early CD, and so played it for comparison. Well, I am not so sure the vinyl is that much better - if at all. I personally would not buy the current re-issue. That said, this is a great album that one can enjoy no matter what!

So, when it comes to mono pressings, definitely the older the better! Many of the later "mono" LP's in the early stereo era I am convinced have no different modulations than their stereo counterparts.

Play with Me, Sing along! Not just for Kids!

I recently attended a kindergarten graduation ceremony, and while watching the children perform was thoroughly captivated by some of the music performed by a female singer. After some research I discovered Patty Shukla (official website). I immediately ordered the CD Play with Me, Sing Along! from Amazon and it was waiting for me when I got back to NYC.

Sample her songs on Amazon (MP3 samples here). I particularly enjoy her catchy tunes, dance rhythms and thoughtful lyrics. My favorite is Elephant Steps, which I'd rather listen to than, say, many of the so-called jazz singers favored by audiophiles. Sound is very good. If you have kids, try this one, or send one as a gift. Or, better yet, discover the kid still lurking in you.

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