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The Genius Sings The Blues'
The Genius Sings the BluesNumbered Limited-Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity
1961 Collection Gathers 12 Must-Have Songs from Charles' Peak Era
Mobile Fidelity Has Righted the Sonic Wrongs That Plagued Earlier Versions - You Won't Find a Better-Sounding Ray Charles LP
Genius doesnt even begin to describe the greatness of The Genius Sings the Blues. Comprised of a dozen songs Ray Charles made between 1952 and 1960, the collection was released in 1961 by Atlantic Records to counter the singers migration to rival ABC Paramount. What Atlantic originally underestimated is that the album contained many of Charles greatest works, all unified by their bluesy emotions and stirring arrangements. A classic of the soul and R&B canon, The Genius Sings the Blues is a snapshot of the evolution of timeless American music captured by the pianists indelible rhythmic pace, gospel roots, jazz backgrounds, and Southern-styled accents. And its never sounded so good.
From the iconic cover art (a photo of Charles taken by legendary photographer Lee Friedlander) to the distinguished music within, everything about the thematic record is iconic. Now, nearly 50 years later, it can be heard in pristine fidelity sourced from the original mono master tapes. Mobile Fidelitys engineers have taken great pains to ensure that every clink of the piano keys, ache of Charles rolling voice, and rush of the backing arrangements sounds better than they have since first being recorded in the studio. This 180g LP simply lays waste to the competition.
Previous editions of The Genius Sings the Blues, including a remastered digital edition from Rhino, suffered from varying levels, distracting static and noise, and inconsistent vocal balances. Mobile Fidelity has gone back to the original mono master tapes to correct these problems, giving music lovers what is now unquestionably the best-sounding Charles album to stem from his peak era. And these performances are simply on fire.
Whether inhabiting the sadness in Night Time (Is the Right Time) or personifying the loss of Hard Times, Charles invests each song with supreme emotion and undeniable conviction that makes the lyrics ring true and the blues resonate with cathartic pathos. Uptempo country blues numbers (Im Movin On, Early in the Mornin) balance the mournful slow fare, and again prove Charles a master composer, interpreter, and musician who could make any style his own. The Genius Sings the Blues also speaks to legendary jazz pianist Billy Taylors initial impressions of Charles upon hearing him in a way in which few other Charles recordings do.
Taylor recalled: While playing through some new music for a projected Ruth Brown record date, I was asked to listen to an original song played and sung by a young composer and pianist from Seattle, Washington. I can still remember how surprised I was to hear this kind of music from a Northwesterner. He reminded me of Charles Brown, another pianist-singer who was very popular in the Forties, but he had a very personal sound and there was something different about his rhythmic approach. In his handling of melody he seemed to be using devices similar to those used by Dinah Washington and a small group of popular singers who allowed their gospel singing backgrounds to influence their interpretation of popular songs... I was intrigued by the emotional quality projected by both his piano playing and his unusual voice and was not surprised when Ahmet ErtegÜn said that he wanted to let the young musician record some of his own material. He communicates just like the old blues singers, Ahmet said.
Indeed, that innate blues aesthetic dominates this collection, as does Charles distinctive rhythmic mannerisms. Finally, hear them as theyve always been intended to be experienced.
This title is not eligible for discount.1.Early in the Mornin'
2.Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)
3.The Midnight Hour
4.(Night Time Is) the Right Time
7.I'm Movin' On
8.I Believe to My Soul
10.Mr. Charles' Blues
11.Some Day Baby
12.I Wonder Who$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Genius Loves Company
Half-speed mastered from original tapes.
The last studio album completed by the untouchable Ray Charles before his death. Charles sings a dozen duets with a dazzling array of guest artists from virtually every genre. »We cover it all,« Charles said, »from country to R&B, pop, rock and blues. I've never let them put me in a little box, and this (record) expresses that open feeling. A beautiful song is a beautiful song - and to sing with so many beautiful singers is a blessing from God.« Genius Loves Company stands as a remarkable hallmark in a remarkable career, including duets with Norah Jones, Elton John, Van Morrison, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and Johnny Mathis.
Mastered for Pure Audiophile Records by Stan Ricker from half-inch analog tape at 30 inches per second.
2005 Grammy Awards for Genius Loves Company:
Record Of The Year
Album Of The Year
Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best Gospel Performance
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
Best Surround Sound Album
- Ray Charles (p, voc)
- Norah Jones
- James Taylor
- Diana Krall
- Elton John
- Natalie Cole
- Bonnie Raitt
- Willie Nelson
- Michael McDonald
- B.B. King
- Gladys Knight
- Johnny Mathis
- Van Morrison
1. Here We Go Again - (featuring Norah Jones)
2. Sweet Potato Pie - (featuring James Taylor)
3. You Don't Know Me - (featuring Diana Krall)
4. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word - (featuring Elton John)
5. Fever - (featuring Natalie Cole)
6. Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? - (featuring Bonnie Raitt)
7. It Was A Very Good Year - (featuring Willie Nelson)
8. Hey Girl - (featuring Michael McDonald)
9. Sinner's Prayer - (featuring B.B. King)
10. Heaven Help Us All - (featuring Gladys Knight)
11. Over The Rainbow - (featuring Johnny Mathis)
12. Crazy Love - (featuring Van Morrison)$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Sings The Big Ones For Young LoversA marvelous collection of love songs sung wonderfully by Sammy Davis Jr. Restored artwork & 180 gram vinyl.
This album is a marvellous collection of love songs interpreted beautifully by the world's greatest living entertainer, Sammy Davis, Jr. Sam's voice is made for these compositions, a truly wonderful album which reflects a fabulous combination of genius songwriting and a unique singing voice. Beautifully restored cover art and audio-grade 180 gram vinyl. Contains Kansas City and Blue Velvet.1. Kansas City
2. Don't Shut Me Out
3. Deep Purple
4. Walk Right In
5. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
7. Days of Wine and Roses
8. Blue Velvet
9. Not For Me
10. I Wanna Be Around
11. It's All in the Game
12. Fools Rush In$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Upstairs At Eric's (Awaiting Repress)An 80s Landmark: Ex-Depeche Mode Member Vince Clarke and Vocalist Alison Moyet Create Synthpop Classic
Smoky Blues Purring, Cool Jazz Vibes, Disco-Tinged Beats, and Dancefloor Minimalism Add Up to Electropop Genius
All the Grooves Hit the Low-Frequency Targets: LP Mastered on Mobile Fidelitys World-Renowned Mastering System and Pressed at RTI
Includes Hits Don't Go, Situation, and Only You
The 1980s will forever be remembered for electropop sensations, yet few, if any, are quite as sensational as Yazs Upstairs at Erics. A standard-setting mÉlange of smoky blues singing, jazzy arrangements, disco-tinged beats, and dancefloor vibes, the smash debut fits equally as well at a late-night club as it does in a living room, where the records complexity and exoticism takes listeners hostage. No wonder the 1982 landmark remains one of the decades most essential albums.
Mastered on Mobile Fidelitys world-renowned mastering system and pressed at RTI, this numbered limited edition Silver Label LP breathes with a decongested openness, textural richness, and tonal palette never before experienced on previous analog or digital editions. Alison Moyets inimitable vocals, such a huge part of the records appeal, are dramatically enhanced, her sensual timbre, bittersweet crooning, and knockout range now encompassing the full frequency spectrum and projecting outward in a way that traverses the flatness of the original pressings.
Indeed, her bluesy deliveries are at once elegant and exuberant, and give collaborative partner Vince Clarke free range to construct beat architectures that encompass freewheeling disco, house music, uptempo dance, and chilled-out pop. The former Depeche Mode member also layers on elegant keyboard melodies, establishing contagious hooks and electronic-laced landscapes that preceded the techno explosion and do so with a cooler elegance. Tape loops, random field-noise dialogues, and synth-stroked bass notes add to whats nothing less than a perfect collusion of moody paranoia and soulful warmth.
While a cousin to synth-pop LPs by the likes of the Eurythmics, Soft Cell, OMD, and Depeche Mode, Yazs Upstairs at Erics is singular for its chemistry between Moyet and Clarke and an insouciant batch of songs high on emotion, style, and substance.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Don't Go
2. Too Pieces
3. Bad Connection
4. I Before E Except After C
6. In My Room
7. Only You
8. Goodbye Seventies
10. Winter Kills
11. Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Jake Xerxes FussellThe Southern half of the Georgia-Alabama border follows the Chattahoochee River, which cleaves Columbus, Georgia from its decidedly less reputable neighbor, Phenix City, Alabama. Georgia's second city is the hometown of "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey and novelist Carson McCullers, but it was local hillbilly duo Darby and Tarlton's 1927 hit "Columbus Stockade Blues" that first immortalized Columbus in popular culture. Back in their day, if you ended up in lockup in Columbus, chances are you did your dirtiest deeds across the river. Historically rife with vice of every conceivable variety-gambling, prostitution, moonshining, and endemic corruption and violence perpetrated by both gangs and police-the notoriously anarchic Phenix City was once known as "The Wickedest City in America."
A similar frontier liminality and skewed sense of place characterize the music of Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell, whose self-titled debut record, produced by and featuring William Tyler, transmutes ten arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments and crooked riverine rambles. Jake Xerxes (yes, that's his real middle name, after Georgia potter D.X. Gordy) grew up in Columbus, son of Fred C. Fussell, a folklorist, curator, and photographer who hails from America's Wickedest City. Fred's fieldwork took him, often with young Jake in tow, across the Southeast documenting traditional vernacular culture, which included recording blues and old-time musicians with fellow folklorists and recordists George Mitchell and Art Rosenbaum (which led Jake to music, and to some of the songs herein) and collaborating with American Indian artists (which led Jake eventually to his graduate research on Choctaw fiddlers.)
As a teenager Jake began playing and studying with elder musicians in the Chattahoochee Valley, apprenticing with Piedmont blues legend Precious Bryant ("Georgia Buck"), with whom he toured and recorded, and riding wild with Alabama bluesman, black rodeo rider, rye whiskey distiller, and master dowser George Daniel ("Rabbit on a Log"). He joined a Phenix City country band who were students of Jimmie Tarlton of Darby and Tarlton; he accompanied Etta Baker in North Carolina; he moved to Berkeley, where he hung with genius documentary filmmaker Les Blank and learned from Haight folkies like Will Scarlett (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Brownie McGhee) and cult fingerstyle guitarist Steve Mann ("Push Boat"); he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. He did a whole lot of listening, gradually honing his prodigious guitar skills, singing, and repertoire. In 2005 he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he enrolled in the Southern Studies department at Ole Miss, recorded and toured with Rev. John Wilkins, and, last year, met up with acclaimed artist William Tyler to begin recording his first solo album.
Collaborating with Tyler and engineer Mark Nevers in Nashville was a conscious decision to depart cloistered trad scenes and sonics for broader, more oblique horizons. Tyler, a guitar virtuoso known for his own compositions that untether and reframe traditional six-string forms and techniques, helmed the push boat in inimitable fashion, enlisting crack(ed) Nashville session vets Chris Scruggs (steel guitar, bass, fiddle: Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Marty Stuart), Brian Kotzur (drums: Silver Jews), and Hoot Hester (fiddle: Bill Monroe, Ray Charles) to crew.
So it's no accident that Jake approaches the songs and styles represented here with both interpretive respect and unfussy irreverence, imbuing them with equal parts vaporish, percolating atmosphere and academic rigor, honoring the folksong headwaters by emphasizing their liquid mutability, alien strangeness, and sly humor above preconceived notions of static authenticity. Fussell recognizes that folk revivalist preciousness about spurious genre boundaries often feels absurdly at odds with the unruliness and restlessly inventive practices of tradition bearers-no revival or reenactment gear is necessary when the music lives and breathes and throws around hips and knees like these. Likewise, when you examine their lyrical content, ostensibly linear tales about rivers and work (labor of the hands, as in "Boat's up the River" and "Man at the Mill" and labor of the heart, as in "Star Girl" and "Pork and Beans") reveal themselves as fractured, riddled with narrative lacunae that open up the texts as squirrelly riddles or gentle metaphysical jokes.
For Fussell, these odd disjunctures demonstrate the way that verses and choruses, the stories we tell, disintegrate and erode over time, worn smooth as river stones and transmogrified by their repeated telling, more lovely for their fissures and absences than for any imaginary original integrity. (Aptly, "Chattahoochee" may mean something like "writing on rocks" in Muscogee or Yuchi.) Each song rendered here contains its own twinned inversion-its own Columbus, its own Phenix City-and Jake navigates their shoals with intuitive grace and authority.1. All in Down and Out
2. Let Me Lose
3. Star Girl
4. Raggy Levy"
5. Rabbit on a Log
6. Boat's up the River
7. Man at the Mill
8. Push Boat
9. Georgia Buck
10. Pork and Beans$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Black Beauty28-page, full-color book (11" x 11")
Extensive essay by Ben Edmonds (Creem, Rolling Stone, Mojo) featuring all-new interviews
Abundant, never-before-seen photographs by Herbert Worthington (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours)
Brilliantly mastered by multi-GRAMMY® nominee Dan Hersch (Paul Simon, Kinks, Cars,The Band)
Mastered for vinyl by multi-GRAMMY® winner Doug Sax (The Who, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd)
Black Beauty, the never-before-released masterpiece by Arthur Lee's legendary psychedelic rock band Love, is available on 180-gram vinyl LP. Recorded in 1973 for the ambitious new label Buffalo Records,
the album remained unreleased when the company folded. Finally, after 39 years High Moon Records is honored to fulfill Arthur Lee's wish that Black Beauty be heard by music fans worldwide. Black Beauty is making its first-ever official release
in any format, anywhere! With unparalelled sound and state-of-the-art packaging, critics are hailing Black Beauty as an instant classic. Black Beauty is that rarest of rock artifacts: an unreleased,
full-length studio album, from an undisputed musical
genius. Black Beauty is the missing link in a catalog that includes Forever Changes, the classic 1967 Love album the New York Times called "one of the most affecting and beguiling albums of all time. With Black Beauty, Arthur Lee manages to combine searing 70's-rock with gorgeous melodies and stellar songwriting - topped off by his most distinctive, snarling, soulful vocals ever. With its wonderfully eclectic collection of songs, the
album offers Love fans a rare glimpse into a previously undocumented phase of Arthur Lee's fabled career, while shining a light for new fans to discover the unique genius that is the music of Arthur Lee and Love.
It's tempting to play what-if with Love's lost labor, Black Beauty, which was recorded in 1973 but shelved for nearly four decades. What if Buffalo Records hadn't gone out of business just prior to the album's release? What if Black Beauty had actually hit stores? What if it hadn't languished in limbo until years after Arthur Lee's death? Would it have stopped Love's slide into obscurity? Would it have signaled a comeback for the man who masterminded Forever Changes, still one of the most complex and compelling artifacts of 1960s Los Angeles? Would his life and career have played out any differently? Would we think of him today as something other than a cult artist, inspired as well as damned by his era?
It's difficult to imagine any answers to those questions, but it says a lot about Lee that the album even raises these what-ifs and coulda-beens. The very qualities that made him such a fascinating voice-- restlessness, excitability, paranoia, perfectionism, single-mindedness-- may have doomed any commercial prospects more than his notorious fear of travel ever did. After recording Forever Changes, he fired the band and hired new musicians to take their places. Every subsequent album featured a different line-up, although the changes seem based more on personality than on musical direction or ability. Never stagnant, Love was in constant flux, always in a state of development but never quite arriving. So the operative question becomes: Was this the version of Love that Lee had been working toward?
For Black Beauty-- which is finally seeing release via High Moon Records, although the reissue has been delayed for two years-- Lee assembled guitarist Melvan Whittington, bass player Robert Rozelle, and drummer Joe Blocker. This may be the hardiest and most muscular of Love's post-Changes rosters, with remarkable force and range. With crisp production by Paul Rothchild, best known for his work with the Doors, Love build from a potent blues rock foundation not dissimilar to that of Jimi Hendrix, but without the distracting shamanistic persona and guitar pyrotechnics. "Walk Right In" struts into country rock territory, rewriting Cannon's Jug Stompers 1929 hit into a plea for empathy, and "Beep Beep" attempts a sort of pop reggae, albeit not entirely convincingly.
On the whole, this particular line-up sounds perfectly rough and unrehearsed, generating a tense energy on "Skid" and "Stay Away" even as they suggest a band still figuring out exactly what they can do together. It's a strong album, but it's not another Forever Changes, whose accomplishments in retrospect were unrepeatable, or even another Four Sail. On the other hand, Lee wasn't aiming to craft something in that vein. Still, especially considering the professional setbacks he had faced in the years leading up to Black Beauty-- which includes being dropped by Elektra and shuffling through a series of independent labels-- Lee sounds engaged and invigorated, forgoing the bitterness that had rankled the band for a slightly more hopeful outlook. On stand-out "Can't Find It", he sings, "Every time I cry my heart out, and every time I play the fool, but there's gotta be something in this lonely world for me." The confession is all the more bittersweet for being capped with the line, "but I can't find it without you." It's ostensibly a love song, but could just as easily be addressed to his audience. His creative satisfaction relies on having a listener to complete the circuit, which makes this album's long shelf life all the sadder.
-Stephen M. Deusner (Pitchfork, May 15, 2013)1. Young & Able
2. Midnight Sun
3. Can't Find It
4. Walk Right In
6. Beep Beep
7. Stay Away
8. Lonely Pigs
9. See Myself In You
10. Product Of The Times$26.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now