Speakers Corner / Stax - S723 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
AAA 100% Analogue This Speakers Corner LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head 20 Years pure Analogue
With consistent attention to detail the vinyl re-mastering by Speakers Corner is top-notch. King’s soulful voice is captured with warmth. The various instruments are mixed evenly and are never obtrusive. The horns are understated, and the crisp tonality of King’s Gibson is prominent. Born Under a Bad Sign is worthy of an analog upgrade…and this one is stellar! Sound 4.5/5 AudiophileAudition
"King's first album for the Stax label combines his hard, unflashy guitar playing with the sleek sound of the label's house band, Booker T. and the MGs. Hits such as "Crosscut Saw" and "Laundromat Blues" influenced rockers from Clapton to the Stones and earned King a new rock & roll audience." - www.rollingstone,com
It took more than four decades of patient hard work until a discriminating congregation could proclaim Albert King as one of the three kings of the electric blues, alongside B. B. King and Freddie King. Albert had a tough but highly motivated beginning, playing blues on a guitar he had made himself. Later he bought a really good instrument, then came a couple of promising songs, and a series of successful singles made under a contract with Stax Records in Memphis. Finally, late in life, Albert landed on the sunny side with "Born Under A Bad Sign." The album became one of the most influential recordings in the history of the blues. King's music was appreciated by white people too, which smoothed his path out of small clubs and on to big live events.
Right from the title song, he travels along familiar tracks in the blues world, occasionally making a detour to hectic, soulful realms ("Crosscut Saw") and letting himself be carried away by strident winds ("Kansas City"). Over and over again, the musicians surprise one with ever new sound colourings, as in the hum and buzz of "Oh, Pretty Woman," the brusque admonitory "Down Don't Bother Me," or the swinging fiddling of "The Hunter."
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.
Recording: March 1966 - June 1967 at Stax Studios, Memphis (TN)
Production: Jim Stewart
1. Born Under A Bad Sign
2. Crosscut Saw
3. Kansas City
4. Oh, Pretty Woman
5. Down Don’t Bother Me
6. The Hunter
8. I Almost Lost My Mind
9. Personal Manager
10. Laundromat Blues
11. As The Years Go Passing By
12. The Very Thought Of You
13. Overall Junction
20 Years pure Analogue
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head 20 Years pure Analogue
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump 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 from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.
60 Years Pallas
Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!