But it’s Benson’s sequence of albums for Creed Taylor Incorporated which arguably represent the cream of his work, and are indisputably the purest in terms of jazz. They are also all consistently and beautifully engineered — by Rudy Van Gelder at his Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey studios. This superb sonic quality was a feature which at the time was all too often obscured by flimsy vinyl and poor manufacture. This makes the outstanding new release from Speakers Corner, beautifully pressed on 180g vinyl, all the more valuable. Body Talk has never sounded better. (Well, maybe on the master tapes.) - Londonjazz
The definitive modern jazz guitarist, whose bluesy, soulful grit and gospel-tinged singing made him a commercial and critical success.
With an eye and ear on what was happening on the soul charts -- James Brown in particular -- Benson made a decided swerve toward R&B on this release. Indeed the JB's Pee Wee Ellis turns up as a big band arranger on three tracks, and he no doubt had a direct influence on the distinct JB groove of one of the non-big-band tunes, "Dance." It should come as no surprise by now that this formidable guitarist has no problem handling any kind of groove, although the mixed rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, electric pianist Harold Mabern, and percussionist Mobutu sometimes sends mixed messages. Earl Klugh has a few tasty moments on his own, and there are some reconnaissance flights back to the jazz side of George, which he handles with his usual confident aplomb.
Just listen to the first thirty seconds of this LP and you know that it’s all about the 'Godfather of Soul' – the unique James Brown.
But it’s just as obvious that such a great artist as George Benson doesn’t just present “Greatest Hits” in a new guise. Six of his own compositions plus one by Donny Hathaway/Gene McDaniels provide the guitarist and singer with a great platform to launch from. He shoots off into orbit, accompanied by first-class guest soloists such as Jon Faddis, Frank Foster, Earl Klugh and Jack DeJohnnette. Ron Carter’s bass doesn’t boom in the low register but offers a light and airy, yet solid, base.
"Body Talk" is by no means the declaration of a world-shaking, new and avant-garde jazz. It is, however, a successful blend of jazz, soul and fusion.
And when such a superb arranger as Pee Wee Ellis has his finger in the pie – or rather: his pen on the manuscript paper – then one can be sure that the almost 50-minute-long LP is a great success from beginning to end. Finally, one shouldn’t forget the helping hand of the producer Creed Taylor, who made a significant contribution to this milestone on the CTI label.
Recording: July 1973 at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (USA), by Rudy Van Gelder
Production: Creed Taylor
20 Years pure Analogue
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head
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!