Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Dec 13, 2013  |  5 comments
Chamber music at a corner dive? Not likely, but this Kickstarter financed double LP set bears witness to the unlikely success of what sounds like an impossible combination of Beethoven and beer at an ex-polka bar located in the recently gentrified but once less than savory area now known as Cleveland, Ohio's Gordon Square Arts District.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 02, 2015  |  39 comments
The story that has been handed down through the decades goes like this: Simon and Garfunkel’s vinyl LPs were originally produced using master tapes. Because S&G became so popular, over time the tapes would show signs of wear, so Columbia engineers would make a copy, toss the original, and begin cutting lacquers using the copy.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 28, 2017  |  10 comments
What always felt like it would be a nasty bump in the Dylan Bootleg Series road turns out to be a smooth walk on the water thanks to a concept the Dylan boot team perfectly executes by covering the mutable artist's evangelical period with highly charged live performances, outtakes and rehearsals that will turn you into a believer, if not in Christ, then in Dylan's absolute commitment to what he then preached and in the power of the songs and especially the supercharged performances he delivered.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2016  |  3 comments
Producer/annotator Jay Landers has pulled from Capitol's rich vaults some of the label's best Christmas music that the label has issued as a double LP set complete with excellent liner notes (they are back.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2015  |  6 comments
If you're looking for a good place to delve into the Sam Records reissue catalog beyond the obvious Chet Baker entry point, try this record featuring pianist John Lewis originally issued by Disques Versailles (MEDX 12005) in 1956.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 26, 2016  |  7 comments
The late Allen Touissant preferred working in the background for most of his long career. He got his start playing piano in the 1950’s, when his Dr. Longhair-influence rollicking style caught the ear of Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino’s producer.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 24, 2013  |  23 comments
Ridley Scott's 1982 "future noir" classic "Bladerunner" based on Philip K.Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was a box-office flop when first released. Like "TRON", another flop, it has gained stature over the years, though like "TRON", the movie's visual and sonic pleasures are greater than the storytelling.
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 25, 2013  |  29 comments
How to follow up Highway 61 Revisited released in the summer of 1965? Dylan had an impending nine-month world tour to deal with and a band to assemble. He hooked up with an outfit called Levon and the Hawks and after a few weeks of rehearsing and well-received live performances in Texas, he took the group to Columbia Studios in New York.

 |  Sep 04, 2013  |  18 comments
Probably not by accident was this second Blood, Sweat & Tears album not called Blood, Sweat & Tears 2, even though that’s what it is. Child Is Father to The Man the first BS&T album, a jazz infused production featuring on occasion a string section and heavily under Al Kooper’s influence, including the some would call grotesque album cover, was a critical success and a commercial flop.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 30, 2015  |  4 comments
Recorded music comes to us pressed in plastic and frozen in time. The work leading up to the master often gets lost, tossed or erased and recorded over without a thought that it might be of interest to anyone. That’s most often true. Alternate takes, when they do surface, usually make clear why they were passed over in favor of the one programmed into your brain, though there are exceptions.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 07, 2018  |  21 comments
Let's get directly to the point: the packaging of this almost $100 set is inversely proportional to the sound quality. The packaging is deluxe.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2016  |  17 comments
“Too expensive to record to analog tape” we often hear from major label representatives, from producers and from artists. And there are those who don’t think the sonics are better or as good as ProTools.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 23, 2017  |  8 comments
Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (Paul Emil Breitenfeld) best known for his work with Dave Brubeck made solo albums of greater musical consequence than his string-accented confection, including his duet album Two of A Mind (RCA LSP-2624) with Gerry Mulligan, also on RCA-Victor. Nonetheless, this album pleases every play.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 15, 2016  |  14 comments
Originally released as a double LP back in 1956, Ella Fitzerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book was both the first of her "songbook" albums and the first release on Norman Granz's then brand new Verve Records (MG V-4001/2).

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  2 comments
Charles Lloyd's young group, together but a year, played this set September 8th 1966 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, opening with the title tune—actually the two-in-one "Forest Flower-Sunrise" and "Forest Flower-Sunset", both lilting, hypnotic and mesmerizing "hippie-like" tunes that presaged in its mood the next year's "Summer of Love" Monterey Pop Festival.

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