Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Vinyl

Perhaps the biggest reissue surprise in Analogue Productions’ Atlantic Records 75th anniversary partnership is Matchbox 20’s 1996 debut album Yourself Or Someone Like You. Yet the band maintains a more devoted fanbase than you might think, and this reissue is by far the best sounding edition of their diamond-certified debut.

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genre Rock format Vinyl

On July 18, 1951, Bill Broonzy got off a plane in Brussels, was met by a member of the Hot Club of France and began his first tour of Europe. A Black American guitar playing, self accompanied blues singer was a little understood novelty in Europe in 1951. Blues was considered by jazz critics and fans to be a primitive form of jazz that had flourished in the 1920s only to degenerate into a simplistic, sexually suggestive dance music. Very few Europeans, only those who... Read More

genre Blues format Vinyl

Let's go directly to the sound because to wring something new from the music, especially to this audience, is a time waster. Play a half-dozen editions of Crosby, Stills & Nash and you'll hear six wildly different sonic presentations. Which is "correct"? There's no "artists intent" on this one, there are just different takes depending upon who's doing the mastering and pressing—and even then there are wild variations.... Read More

genre Rock Acoustic Folk Rock format Vinyl

In his annotation for this 1969 Milestone release, Down Beat writer Alan Heineman makes a good case for why back then (and perhaps even now), the late Joe Henderson, whose sound, both sweet and gruff is instantly recognizable, was an underrated tenor saxophonist. No matter the reasons then, today he's far better appreciated as a leader and sideman on Blue Note albums (leader on five including Inner Urge, sideman on more than two dozen including Larry Young's... Read More

genre Jazz Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

Transitioning from the ‘70s to the ‘80s wasn’t easy for Ozzy Osbourne. The Birmingham-born vocalist found himself without a band when the members of Black Sabbath ousted him due to his heightened substance issues. Stuck in a drug-and-booze haze for three months at a Los Angeles hotel, salvation came in the form of his manager and future wife, Sharon Arden, who encouraged Osbourne to pursue a solo career. The impact of his first two solo albums, Blizzard of Ozz and... Read More

genre Rock Metal format Vinyl

The story behind this "forgotten" release and re-release is interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the music, which is a refreshing turn in a world of "undiscovered gems" that often turn out to be undiscovered for good reasons and not gems at all. Downbeat critic Ira Gitler gave Matador a well-deserved very positive review when it was first released in 1963 (Dorham was also for a time late in his life a Downbeat critic). Two things... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

In a recently published New York Times piece titled "The Worst Masterpiece: 'Rhapsody In Blue at 100" the pianist/composer Ethan Iverson pilloried the popular Gershwin piece as "naïve and corny"—and those were among the nicer things he wrote about it. The online comments are worth reading but one published letter is wroth quoting here: "By calling the work 'the best cheesecake,' Mr. Iverson aligns himself with a long line of... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Andrew Hill was one of the most remarkable jazz pianist-composers, a rare true original. His music is ripe with strange intervals, dissonant harmonies, and off-centered rhythms, yet the resulting sounds are riveting, often gorgeous. Imagine the lush tonal colors of Gil Evans, combined with the fierce cadences of Mingus and the jagged precision of Monk, and you get some idea of his music’s odd pleasures. Hill led a dozen recording sessions for Blue Note in the... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Everyone reading this site has by now probably heard about Rhino High Fidelity’s controversial reissue of Television’s landmark 1977 debut Marquee Moon. This latest edition sounds good but nothing like the original, which raises the question: what's the difference between good and bad mastering? And who's responsible?

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Is it a "conflict of interest" to review a record mastered by a Tracking Angle writer? I could care less. This is mastering engineer Dave McNair's second pass on Kiko, Los Lobos' best selling (other than the La Bamba soundtrack) and arguable best album. Though recorded analog and mixed to 2 inch 30IPS tape, It was originally released domestically on CD only in 1992 during vinyl's sunset fade. It got a digitally sourced European release that... Read More

genre Rock format Vinyl

Louis Hardin, who renamed himself Moondog, was one of the most unusual composers of the 20th century. Tall, bearded, and blind from a childhood accident involving fireworks, he spent much of the 1960s living on the streets of New York City, often standing ramrod straight at the corner of West 54th Street and 6th Avenue, dressed in square-patch clothing of his own making, his head cased in a Norse helmet (some dubbed him “the Viking of 6th Avenue”), playing his music,... Read More

genre Experimental format Vinyl

Sub-genres aside, Green Day can be considered one of the elder statesmen of punk. The Bay Area punk rockers have been in the game for 35 years and are marginally responsible for bringing the DIY aesthetics of punk into the mainstream forefront. Albums like Dookie, Insomniac, and Nimrod established Green Day’s unique sound of power chords, melodic vocals, and fast tempos. Instead of the group growing with only its core audience, they crossed a musical threshold with... Read More

genre Rock Punk format Vinyl

Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell's best selling album, originally released 50 years ago yesterday (January 17th 1974) was preceded by a series of well-recorded by Henry Lewy demos that Rhino and the Joni Mitchell Archives say were "newly unearthed". The record was released on RSD Black Friday November 24th, 2023. Copies are easy to find on Discogs.A friend told me it's a "must have" so I ordered one. He was correct. Hearing these songs in... Read More

While Rhino's "High Fidelity" series lacks a clearly identifiable direction or purpose—it seems to meander around the catalog without regard to time, place or purpose—there's one consistent strategy: each two record release has a rock title and a jazz title. Credit Rhino with chance-taking guts this round. Marquee Moon isn't exactly mainstream rock (though the reissue gives it that sound), and Ornette Coleman's music scares a lot of... Read More

genre Jazz Avant-Garde Jazz format Vinyl

The three Heath brothers, Jimmy, Percy and Albert formed their short-lived group in 1975 a year after The Modern Jazz Quartet gave its "final" performance at Carnegie Hall, November, 1974. Of course like many groups and solo artists, it wasn't really the MJQ's final performance and the group had been performing its "farewell" tour around the country all year, but for the time being following the Carnegie Hall appearance bassist Percy... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Alright, Las Vegas, let’s lose our money and lose our minds!On September 20, 2003, The White Stripes took hold of Sin City and rocked it into oblivion. The Detroit garage rock duo blitzed through a setlist of familiar favorites, such as “Hotel Yorba” and “Fell in Love With A Girl.” Their then-new album, Elephant, took precedence with blistering renditions of “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Black Math.” The show caught its breath once drummer Meg White stepped away... Read More