Speakers Corner / RCA - LSP-3420 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - 4260019712219
AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition - RCA LSP-3420
Analogue Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
The sound on this record is natural, open and airy...A very entertaining album recommended for listeners who enjoy great sound and the unusual." - Sound 9/10 Music 8/10 - Richard Foster, Hi-Fi+, Issue 37
Songs from Africa: Just by reading this subtitle, one might well ask oneself whether an album with such an unpretentious title would ever manage to find its way to the charts. But as soon as the disc is placed on the turntable, all doubts are dispelled that this collection of songs was actually one of the top sellers of its genre in the Sixties. The melodies, all of which stem from South African tribal songs, are treated lovingly to sensitive new arrangements. It goes without saying that the producers only wanted a minimum of background instrumentalists for these two star singers in order to preserve the original character of the songs. A little bit of guitar here, a touch of mouth organ there, and the soft rhythm of drums are all that are needed for the soft springy sound. Central to the authentic sound is a mixed chorus that mostly uses the traditional art of antiphonal singing with the soloists.
Such delightful sounds and harmony will make you want to put the stylus back on the groove again and again. This is addictive music of the world, which one can listen to for hours on end.
Since Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba had appeared together in concert frequently in the early '60s, customers spying an LP called An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba might reasonably have assumed that the record would contain a joint live performance by the two, and that might help explain why this album charted in the Top 100 despite its challenging material. To begin with, it is not a live album, but rather a studio recording. And it isn't so much a duo album, for the most part, as a joint album; Belafonte and Makeba perform together on only two tracks, "Train Song" and "Cannon." Otherwise, they split up the selections, each appearing on five.
The real point of this album is to present a group of South African songs in more or less authentic fashion. They are sung mostly in either Xhosa or Zulu, with one song in Sotho and another in Swahili. Despite the English song titles (with the original titles following in parenthesis), there is only one moment on the album when the English language is spoken; that is when Makeba explains the meaning of "Khawuleza" (the Xhosa title of "Hurry, Mama, Hurry!") as referring to situations in which children alert their mothers that the authorities are coming. Both Belafonte and Makeba are frequently accompanied by a choir for some wonderful effects. This is a powerful album of traditional South African music, and anyone buying it realizing that will be well satisfied. Just don't think the disc is what it appears to be from the title.
"An Evening with Belafonte / Makeba"
Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba
Jonas Gwangwa (arr, cond); Sam Brown, Eddie Diehl, Jay Berliner (g); William Salter (bass-v); Auchee Lee, Solomon Ilori, Chief Bey, (perc)
1. Train Song
2. In the Land of the Zulus
3. Hush, Hush
4. To Those We Love
5. Give Us Our Land
6. Beware, Verwoerd!
7. Gone Are my Children
8. Hurry, Mama, Hurry!
9. My Angel
12. Show Me the Way, My Brother
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.
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!