Can a Pressing Plant Sound Wonderful? QRP Thinks So
3 LP set began life celebrating Thorens' 125th anniversary
In 2008 Thorens commissioned Analogue Productions to create a 3 LP package celebrating the company's 125th anniversary. The resulting limited edition set—with songs selected from titles that had either been produced by or licensed by Analogue Productions— quickly sold out and now fetches big dollars on Discogs. The least expensive copy listed as I write this is at $170.00. The top price paid was over $400. Now Analogue Productions has repurposed the package, adding it to its "Wonderful Sounds" series that includes male and female vocalist collections as well as a Christmas package. Unlike the Thorens set, this one is also available as an SACD.
Analogue Productions' Chad Kassem asked me to write the liner notes as I had done for the other records in the "Wonderful Sounds" series, though for those I was able to sequence the double LP's sides, which is a great deal of fun for an old free-form FM radio guy. Here, the metal parts ready for pressing already existed, with tracks chosen by Kassem, so it was just a matter of writing notes.
Side A is a collection of female vocals, two by Rickie Lee Jones. Those are "Show Biz Kids" and "Low Spark of High Heel Boys" both from her album It's Like This. Warning: if you don't own that album, after hearing these two tracks from it, you'll most likely want to own a copy both for the performances and the sound. In between is Nancy Bryan's "Nobody's Buying", Susan Tedeschi's take on "Angel From Montgomery", which previous to this version Bonnie Raitt exclusively owned (other than the Prine original of course), and Myra Taylor's delightful "The Spider And the Fly", an Analogue Productions original recorded to 30IPS tape that you're likely to enjoy for both music and sound.
As I wrote in the notes, side B could be named after an old Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops record called Classical Music For People Who Hate Classical Music. It's a side of Reference Recordings' faves, recorded by Dr. Keith O. Johnson. Most of the "tunes" will be familiar to even those who claim to not enjoy classical music. They include "Dance of the Tumblers" from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden performed by Eiji Oue conducting the Minnesota Orchestra, an excerpt from Mozart's Piano Concerto #21 AKA (to Baby Boomers) "the theme from Elvira Madigan" and the 1919 Finale to Stravinsky's The Firebird Suite.
Side C is an all blues collection culled from the rich APO (Analogue Productions Originals) catalog all brilliantly recorded to tape by artists many with whom you may not be familiar, but all of which you're likely to enjoy aided by audiophile quality sound.
There's a side of Rhythm & Blues and two of Jazz that include "Round Midnight" by The Wes Montgomery Trio released in 1959 (that group included organist Melvin Rhyne) Chet Baker's "September Song" from his 1959 album Chet and Bill Evans' "My Foolish Heart" from the iconic Sunday at the Village Vanguard and "Alternate One" from the Pablo release Alternate Blues featuring, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard and Oscar Peterson. Too bad Norman Granz couldn't get any greats to record for Pablo. The side opens with "Poinciana" from Sounds Unheard Of Shelly Manne's answer to Enoch Light's Persuasive Percussion.
Side F gives you two Hugh Masekela tracks from Stimela including the title track—the one with the steam whistle "wooo wooo". A sonic spectacular send off conclusion to 6 sonically incredible sides.
Almost all of it was analog sourced (meaning it was cut from tape), including the Reference Recordings and APO sides. On the APO material Kassem had Kevin Gray cut up masters to assemble the running order after which he returned them to their rightful place. Only a fewtracks only exist in digital form (Tedeschi's "Angel From Montgomery" was recorded to tape but the tape can't be found), but regardless of sourcing, they all produce "wonderful sounds" and of course the pressing quality—at least the copy I received—was perfect: 3 quiet, flat 180s. The Stoughton Press triple gatefold package with gold leaf type accents is D-luxe. Inside are photos of the QRS pressing plant and the hard workers who operate the presses and do QC. And of course the liner notes are brilliant.
2022-12-10 10:06:47 PM
David L wrote:
Welcome to Comments on Tracking Angle!
2022-12-15 05:20:37 AM
Rick Fine wrote:
"Can a pressing plant sound wonderful? QRP thinks so" But... pressed at RTI
2022-12-15 05:44:18 AM
Rick Fine wrote:
Would like to clarify my comment above, as the Discog listing states it was pressed at RTI: "Pressed By – Record Technology Incorporated – 17295"
2022-12-15 11:19:54 AM
Malachi Lui wrote:
most likely pressed at QRP using the old plates from RTI.
2022-12-18 01:09:47 AM
Rick Fine wrote:
The Discogs listing has now been updating showing QRP as the pressing plant instead of RTI.
2022-12-18 01:10:46 AM
Rick Fine wrote:
"updating" = updated.... oops...
2022-12-27 02:14:04 PM
Kevin Jones wrote: