Speakers Corner / RCA LSP-4289 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
Pressed at Pallas Germany
AAA 100% Analogue This Speakers Corner LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head 25 Years pure Analogue
Winner of a Gruvy Award, chosen by AnalogPlanet's editor, Michael Fremer, for vinyl records that are musically and sonically outstanding and are also well mastered and pressed.
Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!
Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 9/11 Sound Sonically it's as good as it can get and you'll never tire of listening to it. I've got forty three years and counting and still loving it. - Michael Fremmer
The Gruvy Awards are chosen by AnalogPlanet's editor, Michael Fremer, and go to products that are found to possess a combination of high build quality, exceptional sonics and in the case of less expensive gear, provide great value for the money.
Vinyl records awarded Gruvys are musically and sonically outstanding and also well mastered and pressed. We've sorted them into two categories: New Records, and Reissued Records.
When two talented, cussed men such as Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman get together to record an album, you can be sure of an exceptional record filled with great vocals and poetry. Nilsson, who is described as a man who performs his songs with one cynical, laughing eye and one nostalgic, tearful eye in Rowohlt’s Rock-Lexikon, finds inspiration in the then relatively unknown Newman, a docile but caustic social critic who often attacked American society in his songs.
In the layers and harmonies achieved partly by overdubbing, and which alternate between cowshed, barbershop and the Beatles, Nilsson manages to make his bitter words somewhat easier to digest. He relates the bizarre chronicle of a couple who have a dull relationship and who morbidly look forward to passing away in an old people’s home ("Love Story"), or he swears his undying love to a certain Caroline in springtime, or he is transported back in time in his mind’s eye to an idyllic little town in the countryside ("Dayton, Ohio 1903"). A weighty musical background would lend nothing to these highly sophisticated songs. Piano chords, a little bit of electric harpsichord, and a tinkle on the organ keys here and there suffice to dally in an old-fashioned manner – with a sarcastic smile or even a nasty grin – in the desolation of reality, without getting the blues.
Named Stereo Review's album of the year (and, really, can you ask for a better endorsement than that?) upon its release and generally regarded as the album that introduced Randy Newman the songwriter to a wide audience, Nilsson Sings Newman has gained a reputation of being a minor masterwork. This, in a way, is misguiding, since this isn't an obvious record, where the songs are delivered simply and directly. It's deliberately an album of subtle pleasures, crafted, as the liner notes state, line by line in the studio. As such, the preponderance of quiet piano-and-voice tracks (featuring Newman himself on piano, Nilsson on vocals) means the record can slip away upon the first few listens, especially for anyone expecting an undeniable masterpiece. Yet, a masterpiece is what this is, albeit a subtle, graceful masterpiece where the pleasure is in the grace notes, small gestures, and in-jokes. Not to say that this is devoid of emotion; it's just that the emotion is subdued, whether it's on a straightforward love song ("Caroline") or a tongue-in-cheek tale like "Love Story." For an album that introduced a songwriter as idiosyncratic as Newman, it's only appropriate that Nilsson's interpretations are every bit as original as the songs. His clear intonation and sweet, high voice are more palatable than Randy's slurred, bluesy growl, but the wild thing is, these versions demand that the listeners surrender to Nilsson's own terms. He's created gentle, intricate arrangements of tuneful yet clever songs, and as such, the album may be as much an acquired taste as Newman. Once you've acquired that taste, this is as sweet as honey." - allmusic.com
Best of all, here is the beauty of Nilsson's voice, recorded closely miked and sans effects or reverb. He's right on the mic and right in your room for most of it. His performances are astonishingly complex and ever-changing. The more often you listen the more that's revealed and the more you will appreciate. Doing so is made easy by a superb set of basic piano and vocal tracks, deft splicing and of course the overdubbed Nilsson chorale background singers.
Finding a quiet original, issued in 1970 when PVC was in short supply, is difficult. In fact, given the album's lack of success, finding an original period is not easy, so this reissue is welcome. It is very, very well done. Though not quite as transparent as the original, that is more than made up for by the ultra-quiet Pallas pressing. LP Review
August - October 1969 in RCA's Music Center of the World Studios, Hollywood, with Grover Helsley
Production: Harry Nilsson
Harry Nilsson (vocals, keyboards, percussion)
Randy Newman (piano)
Harry Nilsson Nilsson Sings Newman Track Listing:
1. Vine St.
2. Love Story
3. Yellow Man
6. The Beehive State
7. I'll Be Home
8. Living Without You
9. Dayton, Ohio 1903
10. So Long Dad
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.
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!