Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spinning (45 rpm) Vinyl

The other night, as I am wont to do, I sat down, turned it up, and listened to music on vinyl. The first song was James Brown's Funky Drummer, the nine-minute extended version from In A Jungle
Groove 1986. The next thing that caught my eye was an XTC 45 rpm single of Senses Working Overtime and an unusually funky Egyptian Solution (homo safari series no. 3), which finds a unique cross-roads between James Brown and Can. Since the turntable was set for 45, I sought out selections in the format.

If LPs sound better than CDs (and they do), then 45 rpm is better still. Compared to LP, the fidelity of 45 is very high, sort of like red-book CD compared to SACD, DVD-A, or high-resolution files, all of which have the potential to sound just as good as analog.

Next up was Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride And Joy from the Analog Productions pressing of a Canadian TV special performance with Albert King. Super-hot performance made even better by a fine recording. After that were several cuts from The Anthony Wilson Trio's Jack Of Hearts. Wilson has released most of his records on vinyl, and several of them, like this, in 45 rpm. Wilson is a fantastic guitar player and is always surrounded by only the best support. Groove Note's pressing on fat slabs of vinyl sounds incredible.

After that, it was 7-inch singles. Revolution by The Beatles (wow), the Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love by the Stray Cats (the b-side of Rock This Town), John Lennon's Stand By Me (a superb Japanese pressing), and an early Nick Lowe single of Goffin and King's girl-group
classic Halfway To Paradise, which is both funny and perfect. Graham Parker's live White Honey and Soul Shoes from the Hold Back The Night single followed, and then Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Is In. Oh yeah, today's finest soul outfit takes on Kenny Rodger's foray into psychedelic music. Priceless.

I don't own many seven-inch singles, or many 45 rpm twelve-inch LPs like the Albert King or the Anthony Wilson, but they sure are fun to hear. I don't want to hear great recordings of mediocre performances, but all of the above are great performances made all the better by quality sound.

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