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Lavern Baker

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  • LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith (Speakers Corner) LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith (Speakers Corner) Quick View

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    LaVern Baker Sings Bessie Smith (Speakers Corner)

    It was 1958 when a passably successful R&B singer entered the recording studio with an all-star band to tape a dozen songs from the global repertoire of a legendary blues vocalist. The old-fashioned style in LaVern Baker's tribute to Bessie Smith might seem somewhat strange in the midst of popular R&B numbers and the growing productivity of the Motown hit machines, but it certainly found favour with the public. And for a very good reason too! Right from the very first number, Gimme A Pigfoot, the snappy bass line conjures up the ballroom atmosphere of the Twenties. A bluesy dialogue with the trumpet (Baby Doll, I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle), alternating with robustly orchestrated swing rhythms (On Revival Day), and time and again cool, faltering blues (Black Water Blues) guarantee great listening and entertainment. The great names in the band read like a Who Is Who of outstanding musicians - Nat Pierce, Buck Clayton, Paul Quinichette, Urbie Green and Jimmy Cleveland, all who crown the fantastic sound of their performance with relaxed and easy-going solos and finely balanced background playing that would hardly be more authentic on a live stage. And by the way, fans of traditional big-band swing will love this album too.

    This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head. All royalties and mechanical rights have been paid.


    • LaVern Baker (vocals)

    • Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone)

    • Jerome Richardson (bassoon)

    • Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green (trombone)

    • Buck Clayton (trumpet)

    • Nat Pierce (piano)

    • Danny Barker (guitar)

    • Wendell Marshall (bass)

    • Joe Marshall (drums)

    Recording: 1958 by Tom Dowd

    Production: Nesuhi Ertegun

    About Speakers Corner

    At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.

    During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.

    A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.

    We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky"), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.

    We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.

    To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects - excluding the exception above - and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.

    1. Gimme A Pigfoot
    2. Baby Doll
    3. On Revival Day
    4. Money Blues
    5. I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle
    6. Backwater Blues
    7. Empty Bed Blues
    8. There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
    9. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
    10. After You've Gone
    11. Young Woman's Blues
    12. Preaching The Blues
    LaVern Baker
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
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