my vinyl review

Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, February 3, 2014

Neil Young: Live At The Cellar Door 180 Gram Vinyl

Neil Young has recently released his most recent installment in the Archives/Performance Series, Live At The Cellar Door. This latest addition is labeled "Disc 2.5," and sits chronologically between the already-released Fillmore East and  Massey Hall shows. Cellar Door is the fourth live disc to be released from his classic early period and the third all-acoustic show offering, and consists of material from three shows at the Washington, D.C. club, recorded between November 30 and December 2, 1970. His timeless third album, After The Goldrush, had only been released some four months earlier and Cellar Door does well to feature four songs from the album. The album also features acoustic versions of songs from his days with Buffalo Springfield as well as his first two solo records, plus an early version of Old Man.    

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde Mofi 45 RPM Vinyl Box Set

Mofi is back with their 45 RPM remastering of Blonde on Blonde-- likely the most anticipated title in their 45 RPM series of Bob Dylan audiophile vinyl to date. There are certain titles that catch every record collector's eye when he sees them:  Exile on Main St., Kind of Blue, the White Album. For me, Blonde on Blonde is one of those titles. And there are numerous reasons besides the tremendous music. There are mono and stereo iterations, U.S., Canadian, and UK versions--and of course, Claudia Cardinale. So, like many others, I have acquired more than my share of this particular title over the years. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2013 Recommended Vinyl (Bowie, Beatles, Jack White, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Donald Fagen)

2012 was a huge year for new vinyl releases as well as audiophile reissues, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down in 2013. Here is the latest list of myvinylreview's recommended releases:

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Doors: S/T, Strange Days -- Analogue Productions 45 RPM 200 Gram Vinyl

Analogue Productions has finally released the first two titles of their long-anticipated 45 RPM vinyl remasterings of the Doors core catalog. And the wait appears to have been worth it, with one title sounding excellent, the other likely definitive.

The Music
 I can still remember the very day I bought my first album from the Doors--New Year's Eve, December 31, 1980. In the midst of Doors fever, fueled in large part by the Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Elektra issued Greatest Hits, which provided me and thousands of other junior high and high school kids with their first real taste of the band. In the thirty or so years since, their catalog has been re-packaged and re-worked again and again, including the recent Rhino 180 gram vinyl boxset of the core albums. So, when Chad Kassem opened Quality Record Pressings and thereafter announced that his label, Analogue Productions would be reissuing the Doors catalog on 45 RPM 200 gram vinyl, audiophiles were understandably skeptical about the prospect of buying the catalog "yet again."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Short Spin: Fleetwood Mac S/T 45 RPM 180 Gram Vinyl

Following the major success of last year's Record Store Day 33 RPM and 45 RPM audiophile reissues of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Warner/Reprise is back this year with the band's self-titled 1975 release.   A revamped lineup added Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and also brought about a poppier sound--and the band's first real taste of commercial success, with the album spawning three Top 20 hits: Over My Head, Rhiannon, and Say You Love Me. Today's review covers the new 45 RPM reissue.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Short Spin: Shelby Lynne --Just A Little Lovin Quality Record Pressings 200 GRAM Vinyl

When Chad Kassem's first 200 gram vinyl copies of Tea For The Tillerman rolled off the presses at his Quality Record Pressings plant in Salina, Kansas last August, there was considerable skepticism regarding whether he would be successful. After all, it was the insistence by Classic Records on producing 200 gram records and the resulting inconsistency in vinyl quality that, while perhaps not causing the undoing of the company, certainly helped turn the tide of consumer sentiment against them. With the release of this 200 Gram version of Just A Little Lovin, Kassem has taken an additional big step towards silencing those skeptics and demonstrating his commitment and ability to produce a top notch all-analog vinyl reissue.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crosby, Stills & Nash: Audio Fidelity Gold Cd Review and Giveaway!

Audio Fidelity has just released their gold cd remastering of the classic, self-titled 1969 debut release from Crosby, Stills & Nash. While I normally review vinyl, this particular compact disc release deserves coverage--as it rivals the best vinyl releases this fantastic title has seen over the years.

Crosby, Stills & Nash, was originally released during the 1841 Broadway era of Atlantic Records, and one would expect that original pressings from that era would sound best. In this particular situation, however, the later Seventies-era Warner Communications masterings by George Piros actually sound much better--with much fuller bass, and less harshness to the top end than the originals. 

It was only two years ago, that Rhino released their own 180 gram audiophile vinyl reissue of this title, mastered by Bernie Grundman--and at that time, I thought it sounded very good, as it addressed the shy bass and tamed the top-end harshness of the original. The Audio Fidelity gold cd reviewed today, was mastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Mastering.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jethro Tull: Aqualung 40th Anniversary Deluxe Vinyl Edition

The Music
In commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Jethro Tull's landmark 1971 album, Aqualung, E.M.I. has just released a newly re-mixed 2 cd version of the classic, along with the deluxe version reviewed today. Like many others, during my youth, I went through a multi-year progressive rock phase listening to Yes, Genesis, and the like. That phase included Jethro Tull as well. Admittedly, it has been quite a few years since I've re-visited the genre--and one of the most pleasant surprises about re-discovering this record has been that there's actually very little prog, and more Cat Stevens and Black Sabbath. In this vein, most of the included alternate versions and unreleased tracks from the Aqualung sessions, weigh heavily toward the folksy and acoustic--rather than the long time heavy FM staples generated by the record.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beatles: 7 inch vinyl singles and T-Shirt Target Exclusives and Giveaway!

As the prospect of remastered Beatles vinyl still remains uncertain, EMI appeared to float an additional trial balloon this weekend, with combo packs of 7 inch vinyl singles and t-shirts showing up in select Target stores this past weekend. The four singles chosen for this limited release were Can't Buy Me Love, b/w You Can't Do That, Help! b/w I'm Down, Hello Goodbye b/w I Am the Walrus, and Let It Be b/w You Know My Name (Look Up the Number). Every title is in mono--except for the Let it Be single, feature the original U.S. sleeves and singles mixes, and are pressed on heavy vinyl.  Each single includes a different Beatles t-shirt, sized either S/M or L/XL. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cat Stevens: Tea For The Tillerman (Analogue Productions/QRP 200 Gram Vinyl): Is it the Perfect Cup of Tea?

The Music
I can think of several reasons why analog maven Chad Kassem chose the audiophile warhorse from Cat Stevens, Tea for The Tillerman, as the inaugural release utilizing his new vinyl pressing facility, Quality Record Pressings (QRP). It is obviously an excellent recording.  But, what struck me the most after revisiting this classic, was how well this 1971 album has aged. Compared to other efforts of the time, Tea For the Tillerman remains timeless, and carries none of the overly-dramatic, heavy-handed orchestration found on other classic efforts of the day, such as Neil Young's Harvest.

The Pressing and Packaging
One of the differences between the original U.S. and U.K. releases of this record, was that only the U.K. pressing featured a gatefold cover.  Kassem has taken some heat in the past for what some felt were cheaply produced covers, but there can be no such claims made here.  Like the glossy gatefold covers used in their deluxe Impulse 45 RPM series, the cover reproduction here is absolutely top-notch. The gatefold cover is perfectly replicated, with a glossy laminated cover and a textured inner gatefold just as found on the original U.K pink rim release. 

The record is housed in a Mofi-style rice paper inner sleeve, which carries the QRP logo. The vinyl itself arrived perfectly clean and flat, and played with nary a pop or tic throughout. The label is colored pink to recall the original "pink Island or pink rim" design, but carries the QRP logo. And while I'd prefer that they use a full repro of the original label, I can understand the desire that their pressings be distinguishable from originals.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Spins: Elvis Costello -- Get Happy!! Mofi 180 Gram Vinyl, Sonny Clark -- Sonny's Crib 45 RPM Vinyl, The Cars -- Move Like This 180 Gram Vinyl

Hello again, from Myvinylreview! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. There are going to be some changes here, which hopefully will result in more reviews for your enjoyment. Today's reviews should give you a taste of the new format, which will generally eschew long discussion in favor of a shorter, encapsulated style. You still won't see star ratings, but particularly strong offerings will still be rated as recommended, highly recommended or very highly recommended. For those who have additional questions regarding comparisons to previous vinyl or cd editions, I'd like to strongly encourage you to join the Myvinylreview Facebook community and post your questions there--either I or one of many others should be able to answer your question.

About My Reviewing and Rating Philosophy

A bit about my review and rating philosophy: In reviewing audiophile reissues, I primarily ask this question: Does this particular reissue sound better than the original release from the country of origin? For example, with Elvis Costello--does the reissue sound better than the UK original? If the reissue sounds better than than the original, it will get at least a "Recommended" following the review. Where a record is particularly rare, possesses particularly stunning sound, and/or has significantly better than average packaging, the ratings of "Highly Recommended" and "Very Highly Recommended" may be used. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fleetwood Mac: Rumours -- 45 RPM 180 Gram and 33 RPM 150 Gram Vinyl Review and Album Giveaway!

One of the best selling popular rock albums of all time, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, finally received the audiophile treatment this Record Store Day 2011, with releases of single 33 RPM and double 45 RPM vinyl versions. Though most fans of the record are likely unaware, the mastering for these releases was done nearly four years ago, and has sat on the shelf, pending the resolution of legal-wrangling. Nonetheless, this highly anticipated release is finally here--and expectations, especially for the 45 RPM version, are high.

The Music
Originally released in 1977, Rumours holds a special for me as one of the first records I have a very clear recollection of purchasing at or near the time of release. And over the years, I have acquired it more than a few times on vinyl and compact disc. One of the versions reviewed today is as good or better than any of them--the other, nothing short of definitive.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Record Store Day 2011 Preview and Giveaway!

Saturday, April 16, 2011, is Record Store Day. With more than 200 vinyl releases this year, there is certainly something for everyone--with 33 RPM LPs, 7" singles, 10" EPs, a Seventies rock classic on 45 RPM, and even a 78 RPM 10" set. And while everyone will have their own personal wish list, here's a few reissues that have captured my attention.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Short Spin: John Coltrane -- My Favorite Things 180 Gram Rhino Vinyl

The Music
Rhino continues their vinyl reissue campaign with several Atlantic releases from John Coltrane, including the 1960 classic, My Favorite Things. This record marked his first collaboration with pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones, who would stay on to record in his classic quartet. The title cut also brought Coltrane his first signature song, and introduced the world to his use of the soprano saxophone. If you'd like to share your love of jazz with your children, grandchildren, or even your husband or wife--My Favorite Things, is the perfect song to do it with.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Rolling Stones: 1964-1969 Vinyl Box Set

The Rolling Stones have just released two vinyl boxes, covering the span of their recording career from 1964 to 2005. The first box, reviewed today, covers 1964-1969, and was sourced from hi-resolution DSD files and pressed at the GZ Facility in the Czech Republic.  I do not plan to review the 1971-2005 box, which was reportedly sourced from lower-resolution digital files and mastered by Stephen Marcussen, who also mastered the disappointing and over-compressed 2010 vinyl remaster of Exile On Main St

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Len Price 3: Pictures (w/included cd and bonus cuts)

Pictures [Vinyl]

If you watched the Super Bowl Halftime Show last night and found yourself yearning for simpler times--even for last year when half of the Who--Townshend and Daltrey, took the stage and played ten minutes of music that sounded familiar and went down easy, you aren't alone. Sure, you're open to new music--but, it really helps if it's good. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Robert Plant: Band Of Joy -- 180 Gram Vinyl

Led Zeppelin's longtime front-man, Robert Plant, is back with Band of Joy, the follow-up to his surprisingly successful 2007 Grammy-winning collaboration with country-folk singer Alison Kraus, Raising Sand. For Band of Joy, Plant recruits a host of Nashville session players, including guitarist/co-producer Buddy Moore, and Patty Griffin, who shares singing duties with Plant on seven of the twelve cuts on the record. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reissue Review: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, 1984 -- 180 Gram Rhino Vinyl

Rhino continues their Van Halen vinyl reissue program with the release of three more titles: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, and 1984.  Their 2009 vinyl reissue of the self-titled debut, Van Halen on 180 gram vinyl, proved superb--and turned out to be a re-pressing of the now out-of-print DCC vinyl reissue, mastered by Steve Hoffman. One of the primary improvements achieved by that reissue was to bring the vocals and guitars out of the shroud of echo found on earlier versions of the record. One title reviewed today had that issue as well--and the reissue definitely adresses it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bob Dylan: Original Mono Recordings Vinyl Box Set (w/ included digital download)

The Music
Following the sucess of last year's Beatles Mono Box Set, Sony/Legacy has released a box set of Bob Dylan's first eight albums using their original mono mixes. Like the Beatles, Dylan's Sixties output--and particularly his all-acoustic efforts, are best heard in mono--as the stereo mixes can be unnatural, wonky affair, with vocals on one side, guitar on the other. The original mono mixes, approved by Dylan himself, are much more focused and are simply the best way to hear the music. 

As you enter his electric era, opinions differ whether the mono or stereo versions are better--but as a listener, you'll be rewarded by the differences in the mixes, especially if you've never heard the mono versions that have now been out of print for thirty years.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Myvinylreview: Coming Soon in 2011 -- Vinyl From The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Bob Dylan, The Len Price 3, Robert Plant

2010 is now coming to a close, and no matter what holiday you celebrate, chances are you're either taking some time off from work, or at least following the slower pace so many can thankfully enjoy during this final week of the year. And hopefully, you're also enjoying some great music as well.

2011 brings the start of the third year for Myvinylreview--and with your increased support, you can expect to see even more of what you've come to expect--honest, unbiased reviews of new and reissue vinyl, along with the occasional live show review, music related art and photography feature, and a few other surprises along the way. And with a newly added Myvinylreview community on Facebook, I hope to explore some new ways to add value to your experience. But most importantly, you can continue to count on Myvinylreview for frank advice, to help you decide whether to part with your hard-earned cash for that latest and greatest reissue of your favorite album--or to simply pass. Here's some of what's coming up:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Preview: Bob Dylan -- The Original Mono Recordings Vinyl and Compact Disc Box Sets

Following the success of the Beatles Mono Box released in 2009, Sony/Columbia has just released box sets of Bob Dylan's first eight albums, using the original mono mixes. Going back to the original analog mono masters, this is the first time these versions have been available on compact disc. At the time of this writing, I still have not received the vinyl box, which has likely been mired by holiday postal delays. I have, however, spent some time with the compact disc mono box and I must say I'm impressed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Short Spin: Herbie Hancock -- Maiden Voyage (Analogue Productions 45 RPM Vinyl)

The Music
The latest release in the Analogue Productions 45 RPM Blue Note vinyl series, is the 1965 masterpiece from Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage. Rooted in both hard bop and Miles Davis-inspired modal jazz, this mood-setting jazz concept album goes from haunting, to serene, to ethereal as Hancock is joined by Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor sax, Ron Carter on bass, and Anthony Williams on drums.  And while it isn't quite as forward-thinking as other albums of the time, from the likes of Coltrane or Eric Dolphy, its accessability has earned it top placing on "best of jazz" lists year after year. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Myvinylreview's Best of 2010 and Year End Vinyl Giveaway

Myvinylreview's Best of 2010

2010 has been another big year for vinyl. With a dizzying number of reissues, super deluxe boxsets, and new vinyl releases coming out every month, it has become more important than ever to have some idea what you're getting when you plunk down your hard-earned cash. Here's a list of some of the best vinyl releases of 2010, along with a few other non-vinyl items of interest to the Myvinylreview reader. I hope you enjoy it! 

Myvinylreview's Year End Giveaway

As a year end Thank You, and to help encourage participation by those on Facebook, here's a little contest that you can easily enter: JUST CLICK THE "LIKE" BUTTON IN THE FACEBOOK BOX ON THE RIGHT SIDE COLUMN, and you'll automatically be entered to win any one item of your choice that is featured in the Best of 2010 feature. Good Luck! *The winner will be announced the week of December 13, 2010.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bruce Springsteen: The Promise --180 Gram 3 LP Vinyl (w/included digital download)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of his 1978 masterpiece, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen has just released The Promise. This long-awaited set features twenty-two previously unreleased songs, which had their genesis during the turbulent three-year period between the Born To Run and Darkness albums. They are now available as part of deluxe dvd and  blu-ray box sets, on a  double cd, and on the three-record vinyl set reviewed today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Myvinylreview's Top Five -- November 15, 2010

This time of year, with so many new reissues, box sets, and deluxe editions coming out, Myvinylreview is here to help you decide which ones are worth your hard earned cash. In addition to last weeks's Paul McCartney and Tom Petty deluxe vinyl reissues, lots of folks have been searching for Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg--likely due to Richards' new autobiography, Life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Damn The Torpedoes -- ORG Deluxe 180 Gram Vinyl (including hi-res digital download)

In commemoration of the album's thirty-year anniversary, the Original Recordings Group (ORG) has released a deluxe vinyl edition of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' landmark 1979 record, Damn The Torpedoes. This two-record set includes the original album on disc one, as well as a second disc of nine tracks, consisting of bonus album cuts, alternate takes, b-sides and live versions--seven of which are previously unreleased.

Packaging and Pressing
The *black 180 gram vinyl was pressed at the Pallas facility in Germany, and the gatefold cover was constructed of medium-heavy cardstock. In a move that hopefully will become standard for audiophile releases, ORG includes a free digital download of your choice of 24/96, Apple lossless, FLAC. or 320k mp3 files. A twelve-page booklet containing photos, liner notes, and lyrics rounds out a very nice package. 

*A limited edition red vinyl pressing was also available and has sold out.

Paul McCartney & Wings: Band on the Run -- Deluxe 180 Gram Vinyl (w/included digital download)

Following the recent agreement between Paul McCartney's MPL and Concord Music Group, the first installment of a multi-album McCartney reissue program has begun, with the venerable 1973 effort from Paul McCartney and Wings, Band on the Run. Widely regarded as McCartney's peak as a solo artist apart from the Beatles, this album was a natural place to start the campaign--with multiple formats, including a super deluxe cd/dvd edition (including a code for downloading a hi-res 24/96 digital version of the album).

Today, I review the deluxe two-record vinyl set, which includes remastered versions of the original album, three bonus cuts--including Helen Wheels (originally not on the UK version), as well as six live cuts from the One Hand Clapping television special.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Coming Soon: Paul McCartney and Wings -- Band on The Run Deluxe 180 Gram Vinyl

Following the recent agreement between Paul McCartney's MPL and Concord Music Group, the first installment of a multi-album McCartney reissue program has begun, with the venerable 1973 effort from Paul McCartney and Wings, Band on the Run. Reissued last week on multiple formats, including a super deluxe cd/dvd edition (including a code for downloading a hi-res 24/96 digital version of the album), as well as a deluxe two-record vinyl set, each version includes remastered versions of the original album tracks, three bonus cuts--including Helen Wheels (originally not on the UK version), as well as six live cuts from the One Hand Clapping television special.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Coming Soon: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Damn The Torpedoes Deluxe Edition 180 Gram Vinyl

On November 9, 2010, The Original Recordings Group (ORG) will release a deluxe edition of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' landmark 1979 record, Damn The Torpedoes. This two-record set will include the original album on disc one, as well as a second disc of nine tracks, consisting of bonus tracks, alternate takes, b-sides and live versions--seven of which are previously unreleased.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Short Spin: Foreigner -- S/T Mofi 180 Gram Vinyl

Mofi continues their foray into Seventies rock, with their reissue of the 1977 self-titled debut from British-American rockers, Foreigner.  Released at the peak of the disco craze, Foreigner offered an appealing alternative, with its mixture of straight-ahead rockers, such as Headknocker, radio-friendly mid-tempo numbers such as Cold As Ice and Feels Like The First Time, and a smattering of progressive and psychedelic influences--including an homage to the Who's Tommy, in the form of a coda to side one's closer, The Damage Is Done.  The album rose to #4 on the Billboard North American album charts, and went on to earn two top ten singles.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bonus Feature: John Lennon and Yoko Ono -- Double Fantasy Stripped Down; Myvinylreview's Top Five -- October 18, 2010

Double Fantasy Stripped Down [New Mix + Original Recording Remastered]

This week, Myvinylreview presents a bonus feature in addition to the weekly Top Five.  To coincide with with John Lennon's 70th birthday, Capitol/EMI, in conjunction with Yoko Ono, has released Double Fantasy Stripped Down, a brand new re-mix of the Double Fantasy sessions. The re-mix was prepared by the original mixing engineer Jack Douglas, with the cooperation of Yoko Ono. Also included with Stripped Down, is a remastered version of the original album mix. Both have been mastered by the original mastering engineer, George Marino.