AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / Epic JE 35701 - 180 Gram Virgin Viny -
AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition
Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
This Speakers Corner LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head 25 Years pure Analogue
"FOLLOW THE RAINBOW is characterized by popular music of the time, which also explains some disco elements (" party down "), but because of the clever instrumental settings, they never sound banal, but crisp and direct." Sound 5/5 Good Times
When George Duke made the transition from jazz instrumentalist to R&B star in 1977, he received both negative and positive reviews. R&B-oriented publications tended to provide favorable reviews-even glowing ones-whereas much of the jazz media routinely trashed soul/funk efforts like 1979's Follow the Rainbow. To many jazz critics, Duke was a sellout-a virtuoso who had forsaken creativity and was pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to enjoy financial security. But truth be told, jazz musicians don't have the market cornered on creativity.
Follow the Rainbow is, in fact, a creative album, and it's an album that has very little to do with jazz. The LP includes a few fusion instrumentals, including the Brazilian-flavored "Festival." But 90% of Follow the Rainbow is devoted to R&B, and anyone who judges it by those standards instead of jazz standards will have to agree that Duke is triumphant on sweaty funk tunes ("Party Down," "I Am for Real") as well as mellow soul ballads and slow jams like "Say That You Will," "Straight From the Heart," and the Earth, Wind & Fire-influenced "Sunrise."
The fusion movement has a lot in common with a tropical storm: it rages fiercely in its early phases but becomes less wild later on, yet still blows a gale. In the eye of the storm that tore its path through the various musical styles and genres as from 1960 is George Duke, who entered into creative and stormy partnerships with such artists as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and Jean-Luc Ponty. The rainbow colors with which Duke chose to tint this album are taken less from the paintpots of fusion jazz and rock, and rather more from the black, natural colors of rhythm and blues. Next to a relaxed love groove ("Say That You Will") we find a polyphonic vocal number with solos ("Sunrise"), which conjures up the nostalgic atmosphere of Motown, now on the decline. Then there is snappy funk in all manner of variations, such as "Party Down", which swings trendily along but then comes over unfiltered and dry as a bone.
In "Follow The Rainbow", genial musicianship, expert arrangements and a special feeling for resonance amalgamate to create a tightly-knit sound which is ever fresh and easy-going.
This album is consistently excellent, but it isn't recommended to jazz snobs -- only those with a healthy appreciation of 1970s soul and funk will enjoy this album.
George Duke, vocals, keyboards
Larry Williams, tenor saxophone, flute
Eric Culver, trombone
Charles Icarus Johnson, guitar
Byron Miller, bass
Ricky Lawson, drums
Leon 'Ndugu' Chandler, drums
Sheila Escovedo, percussion, vocals
Napoleon Murphy Brock, vocals
1. Party Down
2. Say That You Will
3. Funkin' For the Thrill
1. I Am For Real (May the Funk Be With You)
2. Straight From the Heart
5. Follow the Rainbow
Recording: 1979 at Westlake Recording, Los Angeles, by Kerry McNabb and Electric Lady Studios, New York, by Dave Palmer
25 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.
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