AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Pure Pleasure - PPAN BSK 3156 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Audiophile Mastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering London
Limited Edition - Pressed at Pallas Germany - Warner BSK 3156
Damn, I miss Etta: possibly the least understood, most underappreciated singer of her era – maybe tied with Nina Simone – Etta deserved to be as renowned as Aretha Franklin..but her own demons mitigated against huge success early in her career. Bad luck played its part in this, too, as this LP from 1978 should have done for her what The Healer did for John Lee Hooker. Stellar backing ensured all was peerless: Chuck Rainey, Merry Clayton, Jeff Porcaro, Cornell Duoree, Larry Carlton, Richard Tee- at least two of whom worked on Howard Tate’s masterpiece debut on Verve. For one track alone this will always be a fave: her interpretation of The Eagels’ ‘Take It To The Limit’. Astounding! Sound Quality 94/100 Ken Kessler HIFI News
Pure pleasures excellent reissue of fine effort is a great testament to one of our most underrated female musicians - HIFI Plus
But in 180-gram vinyl, the sound is exceptional. James’ voice is captured with a fullness and emotional range
Originally released on Warner Brothers to scant acclaim in 1978, this Jerry Wexler-produced masterpiece finds James in astounding voice with a batch of great material to apply her massive interpretive powers to. The band, including the cream of the late '70s Los Angeles session hot-shots (Cornell Dupree, Jeff Porcaro, Chuck Rainey, Plas Johnson, Jim Horn), lays it down soulful and simple and the result is a modern-day R&B classic.
Highlights abound throughout, but special attention must be turned to James' takes on "Only Women Bleed" and the Eagles' "Take It To the Limit".
Female blues singers have sustained an important legacy. Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Memphis Minnie, Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ruth Brown and Bonnie Raitt immediately come to mind. But no singer connected blues to rock and roll like Etta James. With her powerhouse voice and soulful resonance, she began her ascent to blues (at to some extent, crossover) stardom at Chess Records. Her early career included the singles, “If I Can’t Have You” and “Spoonful”. But it was her performance of “At Last” (the same title as her Chess album debut) that broke through.
Between stints at Chess and Warner Brothers, James became an unforgettable singer, incorporating jazz and gospel into the blues. Her personal life was marked by substance abuse and a myriad of other issues (Note; It was rumored that her father was pool-shooter “Minnesota Fats”).
Despite gaps in her recording career, Etta James released albums and continued to perform. She won six Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. Hits like “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” and “At Last” became a part of advertising iconography. She opened for the Rolling Stones and appeared in the Chuck Berry documentary “Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll”. Her distinctive contralto and performances at festivals (especially Montreux) elevated her musical profile and introduced her to new generations of fans. In 1993 Etta James was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram re-mastered vinyl pressing of the 1978 Warner release, Deep In The Night. Produced by Jerry Wexler (Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Allman Bothers, Aretha Franklin), the album endeavors to connect James with rock and roll and soul mainstream. From the opening groove hooks of “Laying Beside You” it seems that Etta James is redefining herself as a soul singer. The arrangements are lush with choral flourishes, ’70s electric guitar and saxophones (arranged by Jimmy Haskell). Even with the heavy dose of studio polish, James’ vocal power is compelling. Only a truly great singer would take on Janis Joplin’s signature number “Piece Of My Heart”. James brings a slow-burning intensity that the song requires, but eschews the vocal histrionics. She creates a gospel vibe and it works in this muscular setting. It is more than credible. Where the gospel metamorphosis doesn’t work is on The Eagles hit, “Take It To The Limit”. “Only Women Bleed” (a hit for Alice Cooper) takes full advantage of visceral soul with sexual connotation and social relevance. Here James cuts loose from the indulgent musical framework in the final refrain. Perhaps the most compelling performance is the title song. James initiates a sultry, spoken word lyric (for about half of the cut) that is both anecdotal and mesmerizing. Her ability to manage lower-register singing is impressive. Here the strings offer a delicate counterpoint to the eventual impassioned vocals.
For anyone who has listened to Hank Williams’ yodel-infused “Lovesick Blues”, they will be in for a shock. James reinvents this country tune as an up tempo, nasty r&b opus. With attitude and barrelhouse piano, the song is invigorating. There has always been a bond between gospel and country, and this treatment is evidence of that. Reverting back to Sunday morning church aesthetics, “Strange Man” is a celebration. A soul-pop ballad, “Sugar On The Floor” boasts Haskell’s most intricate string, but is overly formulaic. However, James shines on Allen Toussaint’s “Sweet Touch Of Love”. Full of New Orleans funkiness and swing elements, her gritty vocals and wailing represent the apex of her talent. The finale is an odd reworking of “I’d Rather Go Blind” (here, titled “Blind Girl”). It is unadulterated soul and has some all too rare “over-the-top” scatting.
Deep In the Night is not a quintessential Etta James album. But in 180-gram vinyl, the sound is exceptional. James’ voice is captured with a fullness and emotional range. Her pitch and vocal phrasing is superior. The Haskell strings and rock instruments are textured and blend well. Subtle touches like organ and pedal steel feel graceful. As it turns out, this is a very good soul album and worth the money if you don’t already have it!
Etta James, vocals
Chuck Rainey, bass
Jeff Porcaro, drums
Keith Johnson, electric piano
Cornell Dupree, lead guitar
Larry Carlton, rhythm guitar
Brian Ray, slide guitar
Richard Tee, piano
Tom Roady, percussion
Jim Horn, saxophone
Plas Johnson, saxophone
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
Produced by Jerry Wexler
Recorded at Cherokee Recording Studios, Hollywood
1. Laying Beside You
2. Piece of My Heart
3. Only Women Bleed
4. Take It To the Limit
5. Deep In the Night
6. Lovesick Blues
7. Strange Man
8. Sugar On the Floor
9. Sweet Touch of Love
10. Blind Girl
Pure Pleasure Records
The Restoration of the Art of Sound
180g Vinyl Mastered From The Best Available Sources
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records. During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped 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 to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production. To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
There really is nothing quite like it. It’s the touch, the feel, you have to stop and stare, the cover, the real thing, even the smell.
Its tangible, you can feel it, see it, study it, muse/dream over it, it’s real, someone has spent hours and hours over its construction and presentation. Pure Pleasure Records is just that, Pure Pleasure and that is what it has set out to be.
The music and the physical record. Something to keep, treasure, admire and above all enjoy.Of course with vinyl it’s not just a record, it’s the cover, the sleeve notes, you are holding a unique package, produced by craftsmen.
Pure Pleasure Records bring you vinyl albums of quality Jazz - Blues - R+B - Soul - Funk, remastered by some of the best engineers in the world and pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl at what is probably the best pressing plant in Europe
Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
Plated and Pressed at Pallas in Germany on 180 Gram Virgin Vnyl
Released in Limited Quantities
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!