Speakers Corner / RCA LPM-1990 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - 4260019712998
Limited Edition - Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the December 2009 Issue of Stereophile!
Along with A Date With Elvis, For LP Fans Only is one of the most important special productions of the young King of Rock 'n' Roll.
Because Elvis had been conscripted into the US Army, no new recordings could take place, and so record producers delved deep into the sound archives and dug out a few singles from his Sun Records days, mixed them with a couple of early RCA songs and a number from the Love Me Tender soundtrack, and, presto! a new Elvis LP was born.
The overwhelming success of this album is not solely confined to the stylistic homogeneity of this collection of fresh, youthful songs. Far more, it's because for many fans the record offered the only substitution for the highly coveted but rare original singles
OK, to be fair, For LP Fans Only is no more a real Elvis Presley album than, say, Yesterday and Today was a real Beatles album -- Elvis was nine months through his two-year hitch in the army and RCA needed to get something "new" in the way of an LP out on him, so they threw together a quartet of sides from his Sun Records singles that had never been on album, five of his early RCA sides (which don't sound too different from the Sun stuff stylistically) that had similarly missed being put onto long-player, and one odd song off of the Love Me Tender soundtrack EP, and voila -- a new Elvis LP.
It doesn't sound like much from that description, but in its time For LP Fans Only was (along with its follow-up, A Date With Elvis) one of the choicest of all Elvis Presley albums. From 1959 until 1976, unless you wanted to try hunting down the original singles, this was the only way that any listeners got to hear the King's Sun Records singles "That's All Right," "Mystery Train," and "My Baby Left Me," and the only album to offer such early RCA sides as "Shake, Rattle & Roll" as well. Maybe it could all have been done better and more coherently, and it would've been nice if the producers had avoided the electronically rechanneled stereo through which the original mono sides were processed, but all RCA was trying to do was get some Elvis Presley material out there
-- they didn't get interested in the history or the particulars of the music until about 20 years later, and considering their obliviousness, they did astonishingly well. At least the songs were out there -- a lot of listeners wore out copies of this album just lending them around to the uninitiated -- and taken on its own terms, there weren't five more exciting rock & roll albums than this that you could buy in 1959 (or a lot of years after). It still holds up as one of the best rock & roll albums ever released, and for anyone who wants to remember (or find out) how most listeners discovered Elvis' early stuff during the '60s and '70s, this is one place to start.
"That's All Right," "Mystery Train" and "My Baby Left Me." Features:
"From Elvis In Memphis"
Tommy Cogbill, Mike Leech Gene Chrisman ; The Memphis Horns and background vocals;.
1. That's All Right
2. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
3. Mystery Train
4. Poor Boy
5. Playing For Keeps
6. My Baby Left Me
7. I Was The One
8. Shake, Rattle And Roll
9. You're A Heartbreaker
10. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
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.