AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Pure Pleasure / Columbia - PPAN CS 9151 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
Mastered by Ray Staff at Air Mastering London - Columbia CS 9151
"One of the great myths in music is that Aretha didn't blossom until she signed with Atlantic. It may be true commerciallky, but her ten LPs or so with Columbia are still... well... this is Aretha for goodness' sake. This set - recorded live at New York's Columbia Studios, as opposed to at a gig in a club - shows her taking control of at least three genres, from blues to jazz to standards, with emphasis on the jazz, and she simply soars past Dinah, Sarah and Billie on material like 'Misty' and 'Trouble In Mind'. Don't let the pro-Atlantic mythology overshadow this superb-sounding gem from 1965, which also features Kenny Burrell on guitar as a bonus." - Ken Kessler, Hi-FiNews, May 2017, Sound Quality 90%
Pure Pleasure Records solidify their reputation in pre-eminent vinyl re-mastering. The stereo separation is excellent. Franklin’s voice is captured with verve and precision. Both higher and lower-registered vocals are crystalline. The backup instrumental mix is understated, and never interferes with Aretha’s singing. There is a stunning, tight face shot on the cover. AudiophileAudition
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London
This 'live' nightclub date with a jazz trio, revealed to be a faked on the Columbia compilations that have since come out, is nonetheless a great LP, maybe the best single Columbia LP from Aretha. John Hammond discovered her and just wanted great music, but the label couldn't decide if she was a show tune singer, jazz or r&b and never figured out she was all of the above and deserved her own category. This is the most jazzy Aretha ever and if she'd wanted to concentrate on this one area of her talent, she would still be ruling it. Worth the buy just for the track “Without The One You Love”. J. Ellis
She was known as The Queen Of Soul. But that moniker does not begin to assess the musical force that is Aretha Franklin. As a young girl, she became a gospel recording star with a traditional, limited audience. That changed when she was signed to Columbia Records by none other than John Hammond. The label attempted to find a way to market Franklin. Her versatility was unusual. The mezzo-soprano was comfortable singing rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, pop and soul. The Queen never hit her stride at Columbia. However, at Atlantic Records, she became the greatest singer of all time, winning 18 Grammys. Aretha was the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
A lot of the Columbia sessions are becoming available once again. Pure Pleasure Records has released a 180-gram vinyl reissue of Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!!. This album reflects the label’s attempt to showcase Aretha Franklin as a jazz singer (or as the liner notes proclaim…”a swinging chick”). She is backed by a stellar quartet (Teddy Harris/piano; Kenny Burrell/guitar; James “Beans” Richardson/bass and Hindell Butts/drums). There are 12 tracks recorded live in studio. (Note: there was a lot of nightclub background chatter and noise that turned out to be fake). Opening the “set” is Steve Allen’s theme song, “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big”. The arrangement is finger-snapping jazzy and Aretha goes with the flow. There are flashes of that unbridled vocal power just under the surface.
Drawing on accessible standards, “Once In A Lifetime” (from the Broadway show Stop The World I Want To Get Off) is an odd choice. The innate schmaltz of this number is somewhat distracting, but Aretha’s vocal tone and soulful inflection shine through. “Misty” has been covered by a plethora of jazz singers. Even within a restrained structure, her powerful emotions cannot be restrained.
Switching to up tempo, “More” (from Mondo Cane) is a high-speed waltz that cooks. This quartet is efficient at backing up the star vocalist and they stay in lockstep. Franklin’s extraordinary voice is an equal instrument. “There Is No Greater Love” is torch music with a decidedly soulful core. The band contributes a nimble bossa nova break in the second chorus. Her talent is finally cut loose on the blues classic, “Muddy Waters”. Her overall command and singing eminence is unstoppable. Teddy Harris gets a rare, but well-deserved solo.
Side B elevates the session. On “If I Had A Hammer”, Franklin does what great artists do, transform a well-known song. She exerts her gospel roots with dynamic, heartfelt vocals. It is evident where her trademark sound was born. The arrangement is dramatic, as Franklin sits in at the piano. A pair of melancholic slow dance tunes (“Impossible” and “Today I Love Ev’rybody”) display some jazzy nuances. When she returns to piano on an original composition (“Without The One You Love”), the gospel testimony and chords show her core style. She is a first-rate blues singer and her cover of “Trouble In Mind” is up-lifting. The saucy, confident wailing has a spine-tingling resonance. The finale, Cole Porter’s unforgettable “Love For Sale,” is the most compelling arrangement on the album. A nimble, fast-walking bass line launches a cool, swinging take on the American Songbook.
Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! is a glimpse into the early search for an artistic vision. There are high points and low points, but her phenomenal talent is never obscured. Pure Pleasure Records solidify their reputation in pre-eminent vinyl re-mastering. The stereo separation is excellent. Franklin’s voice is captured with verve and precision. Both higher and lower-registered vocals are crystalline. The backup instrumental mix is understated, and never interferes with Aretha’s singing. There is a stunning, tight face shot on the cover.
Aretha Franklin, vocals
Kenny Burrell, guitar
Teddy Harris, piano
James "Beans" Richardson, bass
Hindel Butts, drums
1. This could be the Start of something
2. Once In A Lifetime
5. There Is No Greater Love
6. Muddy Water
1. If I Had A Hammer
3. Today I Love Ev'rybody
4. Without the One You Love
5. Trouble In Mind
6. Love For Sale
Recorded live in New York, February 10, 1965.
Produced by Clyde Otis
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.
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