Father’s Day Albums, Lasting Gifts to Treasure

You may have guessed by now, but my family has no problems shopping for me for birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas presents. My list is simple. All I want are gift certificates to Acoustic Sounds. So, I bought six albums for Father’s Day with my gift certificates, and here are the reviews for the first three of these albums.

Lyn Stanley: The Moonlight Sessions Volume One
One-Step Limited Edition 180g 45rpm LP or Hybrid SACD

Lyn Stanley’s Moonlight Sessions will be a total of 26 songs when they are all released. Volume One, reviewed here, has 12 tracks. She is supported by some of the best jazz musicians in the industry. In my review of her first album, Lost In Romance, I said, “I love Julie London, June Christy, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, and Anita O’Day, but I don’t care who you compare this LP to, it will hold its own.” Well, with each of release from Lyn Stanley, this continues to be true.

The Moonlight Sessions Volume One is one of the best female vocal albums I have ever heard. I love the song selection—the first two numbers are “All Or Nothing At All” and “Willow Weep For Me.” She brings her beautiful sultry interpretation to these songs, but it is the third song, “Funny Valentine,” that was an emotional experience for me. It is one of my favorite jazz standards, and like several jazz standards, it didn’t start off as jazz at all. It is from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms, where it was introduced by child star, Mitzi Gree. Stanley also does an inspired version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy”. 

Not only is this a great collection of songs, the songs on this album are played by an incredible group of musicians. You have to give Stanley credit for attracting such a talented group to play for her. On just the piano, Just on piano, Mike Garson, Tamir Hendelman and Christian Jacob accompany her. The entire  recording group and Bernie Grundman doing the mastering should be given a huge round of applause for the realistic sound of the instruments on this album.

So now, what about the sound of this Lyn Stanley’s SupersonicVinyl™? Well, this is my first experience with one of the One-Step LPs that are starting to appear. If this album is any indication of the sound on these LPs, I am all in. The disc is dead quite, and the sound played with the DS Audio Master1 is as close as I have ever heard vinyl sound to a master tape. I know it’s expensive, but it’s a lot less expensive than the new reel-to-reel tapes. If you haven’t read about this process on her website, she describes it as the “one-step pressing process that was used often during the early days of vinyl record manufacturing.” When mass vinyl production was needed, manufacturers had to create more cost-effective means to make vinyl copies.

To make a vinyl record, you need a “negative source” to imprint the vinyl grooves. The industry standard today is a THREE-step lacquer process designed to create the largest number of records from one lacquer (they are expensive to create). To do this, three steps are required from the lacquer (positive source):

  • STEP ONE: make a “Father” (a negative source)
  • STEP TWO: Create a Mother from the Father (positive source) and then
  • STEP THREE: Create “Stampers” (negative source) from the “Mother.”

This way the “Father” does not get used very often and is the most preserved “negative source.” However, the record you listen to is three steps removed from the original mastered lacquer and can grab hissing, or subtle glitches that affect the sound recording on your system. The ONE-Step method takes the “Father” from the original lacquer, and that is what will create your vinyl record. Stanley explains this process further in this YouTube video.

The record mastering is suburb, as is the song selection. I could not recommend an album with any more enthusiasm!

Bill Evans: The Paris Concert Edition One

I really struggled with whether or not I need another Bill Evans album, but my love for both live recordings and Bill won out. And what a great decision it was! At least for a while, I have a new favorite Bill Evans’ album, The Paris Concert Edition One.  This album was recorded live in November 1979 at L’espace Cardin in Paris, France. How could you go wrong with a recording of a live performance featuring Bill Evans on piano, Marc Johnson on bass, and Joe LaBarbera playing the drums?

It begins with an inciteful rendition of Paul Simon’s “I Do It For Your Love.”  It also includes my new favorite interpretation of Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy.” Almost every number has that energy that comes with a great live recording. It’s another wholehearted recommendation!

Doug: MacLeod: There’s A Time

I’m pretty sure we all have albums that we have been meaning to buy for a few years but have never gotten around to making the purchase. Well, at the LA Audio Show Greg Roberts of Volti Audio played this LP and I thought,  I’ve got to remember to buy that LP. Well, I did, and I’m glad.

“There’s a Time” was recorded by the Prof, Keith Johnson, of Reference Recordings at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California. On it, MacLeod was accompanied by Denny Croy on bass and Jimi Bott on drums. It was recorded by Keith O. Johnson of Reference Recordings, and it became a double award winner at the 2014 Blues Foundation, Blues Music Awards for Best Acoustic Artist and Best Acoustic Album.

It was Keith Johnson’s first blues recording and featured 13 new MacLeod originals. The music is great blues, and the recording is everything I have come to expect over the years from Reference Recordings. If, like me, you have put off this purchase, let me just say that if you get it, you won’t regret it.