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Country Blues => Super Electrical Recordings! => Topic started by: paulreso1 on April 29, 2009, 08:13:53 AM

Title: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: paulreso1 on April 29, 2009, 08:13:53 AM
Hi
I am a guitar player & love BLJ's music.  Understandably, it is not the highest recording quality, but there are several versions of BLJ's music available.  I wonder if anyone can point me in the direction of the best remastering of this classic music (I particularly would love to hear the guitar parts more distinctly)

thanks
Paul
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Slack on April 29, 2009, 08:17:34 AM
Hi Paul,

Our listening recommendation:

http://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Blind_Lemon_Jefferson
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: uncle bud on April 29, 2009, 08:46:27 AM
Hi Paul - the CDs Slack points to are the basic completist choices, though really only the Yazoo Best Of can claim to be "improved".

If you are getting down to the individual song level, it's worth seeking out the older, out-of-print Yazoo CD King of the Country Blues for some stuff that was replaced on the Best Of disc, for a couple tracks that are superior to the transfers on the JSP set.

The CDs that come with the Blues Images calendar each year have included several tracks by Lemon. Some of these already appear on the Yazoo. Others are better transfers that don't appear on the Yazoo, like Lemon's Worried Blues, Christmas Eve Blues and Black Snake Moan No. 2. Perhaps they appear on some of the Yazoo compilations like the Times Ain't Like They Used to Be series, I don't know, haven't checked.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Great Bear on April 29, 2009, 10:03:27 AM
Black Swan's Blind Lemon Jefferson CD sounds significantly better than Yazoo's two offerings.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: uncle bud on April 29, 2009, 10:10:48 AM
Thanks for the info, Great Bear. Good to know.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: paulreso1 on April 29, 2009, 10:43:07 AM
Hi all ...thanks for the information...I will check out the Black Swan CD

Paul
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Great Bear on April 29, 2009, 11:08:18 AM
Paramount Blues: Early Morning Blues (Black Swan) is also worth owning for it's four BLJ tracks: Yo Yo Blues, Bootin' Me 'Bout, Empty House Blues and Bed Springs Blues.
Title: Blind Lemon Sets
Post by: doctorpep on October 18, 2009, 06:51:24 AM
Hello, everyone. I'd like to know if you recommend Blind Lemon's Texas Blues Box set, which also includes early T-Bone and Little Hat Jones, or the 4 cd JSP box set? Apparently, the former has 1 more song than the JSP set.

Did Lemon record 94 or 95 songs?

If anyone owns both of these, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Thanks so much!
Title: Re: Blind Lemon Sets
Post by: uncle bud on October 18, 2009, 09:25:01 AM
Hi doctor pep,

It looks like the the set from Snapper includes an additional take of Corinna Blues. The JSP set does not include this first take of Corinna, plus it does not include third versions of Got the Blues, and Long Lonesome Blues. The latter two do not look like they're on the Snapper set. All three of these alt. takes are available on Document, DOCD-5625, Too Late, Too Late Vol 11. I have not heard the Snapper release but I would guess that much like JSP it does not involve much actual remastering beyond playing with EQ and is taken from existing material (such as one would find on Document). Though I would be curious to hear from anyone who has done an A/B of the sets. Don't know whether the Snapper documentation includes discographical information. JSP does.

UB
Title: Re: Blind Lemon Sets
Post by: blueshome on October 19, 2009, 02:45:58 AM
I have the Snapper set in front of me, I was just listening to a Willie Reed song. It has reasonable sound (I haven't heard the JSP, but I doubt there'll be a lot in it on past experience) and a 20-odd page booklet including a discography. At the price you can't go wrong.
Title: Re: Blind Lemon Sets
Post by: doctorpep on October 19, 2009, 04:49:29 AM
Thank you very much for all of the information, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Hutchison!=)
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Gingergeezer on November 10, 2009, 05:18:03 AM
The best remaster of Jefferson's music I have ever heard is on the Pristine Audio label.
http://www.pristineclassical.com/LargeWorks/Jazz/Jazz-Blues.html

All of their Blues CDs feature astonishing sound quality and the jefferson one is particularly impressive. (The Robert Johnson ones are just staggering!)

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Norfolk Slim on November 10, 2009, 06:35:30 AM
There are mixed views on the pristine treatments.

Personally I agree that the Lemon one is excellent- you can hear the top end wailing vocals without them breaking up and being harsh on the ear.

But then there's a some value in that harshness which arguably you lose....  Certainly sounds more "real" to me and less the product of a cheaply pressed record.  Worth a try.
Title: Blind Lemon Jefferson - Best Audio
Post by: misterjones on March 27, 2011, 04:20:04 PM
This has been discussed generally here before (and I'm aware of the page that contains suggested reading and listening), but I wanted to focus on the P-Vine releases.  I have the JSP set.  About a year ago someone opined that the P-Vine set was better.  A CD seller at another site concluded the Patton P-Vine set was the same as the Document Patton set.  I thought the Jefferson JSPs were as good or better than the Jefferson Documents.  And so it all seems to go in circles.

I'm VERY skeptical the Jefferson P-Vines are noticably better that the JSP set.  Are they?  (I have the Pristine Audio and Yazoo versions and I think they are better than the JSPs.  What I'm trying to determine is whether it's worth paying the price for the P-Vines as a relacement for the JSPs as my complete set.  I'm aware the JSPs are three short of complete, but I could download those.)
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: uncle bud on March 28, 2011, 07:52:35 AM
This has been discussed generally here before (and I'm aware of the page that contains suggested reading and listening), but I wanted to focus on the P-Vine releases.  I have the JSP set.  About a year ago someone opined that the P-Vine set was better.  A CD seller at another site concluded the Patton P-Vine set was the same as the Document Patton set.  I thought the Jefferson JSPs were as good or better than the Jefferson Documents.  And so it all seems to go in circles.

I'm VERY skeptical the Jefferson P-Vines are noticably better that the JSP set.  Are they?  (I have the Pristine Audio and Yazoo versions and I think they are better than the JSPs.  What I'm trying to determine is whether it's worth paying the price for the P-Vines as a relacement for the JSPs as my complete set.  I'm aware the JSPs are three short of complete, but I could download those.)

I merged this topic since we already had one dealing with the best Lemon audio. I haven't heard the P-Vine set myself.

I should add that, unless a company is working from totally new transfers, I too would be very skeptical, since it is otherwise playing around with EQ and some digital tricks that may not have much to add. I don't have the Pristine CD but found the sample sounded somewhat "digital" to me.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on March 28, 2011, 04:50:58 PM
Some people swear by the Japanese (Opus Kura) version of Casals' 1930s recordings of Bach's Cello Suites, though to me it sounds like the bass has been artifically enhanced.  But if that gives them a more modern sound, that might not be a bad thing, especially if one also has the more original sounding EMI versions to listen to.  It's just a different perspective.  Perhaps the Japanese have a similar knack with pre-war blues.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: LD50 on March 29, 2011, 09:37:50 AM
Some people swear by the Japanese (Opus Kura) version of Casals' 1930s recordings of Bach's Cello Suites, though to me it sounds like the bass has been artifically enhanced.  But if that gives them a more modern sound, that might not be a bad thing, especially if one also has the more original sounding EMI versions to listen to.  It's just a different perspective.  Perhaps the Japanese have a similar knack with pre-war blues.

The big question would be, when P-Vine reissues prewar blues, do they use the original 78s?
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on March 30, 2011, 08:49:02 AM
P-Vine's methods are not clear to me.  I just noticed that there was one person at this site who thought the P-Vines sounded better than the JSPs.  But I have heard claims of better-sounding "remasters" in a variety of contexts before and been unable to detect a difference myself.

The issue likely is moot, as the P-Vine "box set" seems to be unavailable in the US and perhaps even unavailable in Japan at this point.  A Japanese person told me the cost of buying it from Amazon Japan would be about $100.  Too rich for my blood unless I was certain that it would constitute an noticeable upgrade of some sort.  I guess I'll stick with JSP and perhaps add the three Too Late Too Late Vol. 11 tracks and/or substitute the six old Yazoo tracks (i.e., those on the original Yazoo release but not on the new "Best Of" release).
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: LD50 on March 30, 2011, 09:42:47 AM
P-Vine's methods are not clear to me.  I just noticed that there was one person at this site who thought the P-Vines sounded better than the JSPs.  But I have heard claims of better-sounding "remasters" in a variety of contexts before and been unable to detect a difference myself.

The issue likely is moot, as the P-Vine "box set" seems to be unavailable in the US and perhaps even unavailable in Japan at this point.  A Japanese person told me the cost of buying it from Amazon Japan would be about $100.  Too rich for my blood unless I was certain that it would constitute an noticeable upgrade of some sort.  I guess I'll stick with JSP and perhaps add the three Too Late Too Late Vol. 11 tracks and/or substitute the six old Yazoo tracks (i.e., those on the original Yazoo release but not on the new "Best Of" release).

Most of them seem to be buyable on Amazon US (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=lemon+jefferson+p-vine&x=0&y=0), but you're right, without being able to hear audio samples no way am I dropping that much money. I personally have never heard *any* BLJ reissue that surpassed the two Yazoos.

Incidentally, even tho they get a bad rap musically (which I don't understand), BLJ's two Okeh tracks sound substantially better sound-quality wise than most of his Paramounts. A shame Yazoo has totally neglected them.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on March 30, 2011, 09:57:02 AM
I was interested in the P-Vine 4-CD set that collected the tracks in chronological order.  (I think the individual discs skip around a bit.)  I don't think that set was ever available in the US.

I received an e-mail from a knowledgeable guy who sells a lot of blues CDs via the internet.  Though he has never listened to the P-Vine set (he does listen to most or all of the CDs he does sell), he said be believes the P-Vine pre-war blues issues are merely copies of the Document CDs.

I wish the Yazoo people would do a second BLJ CD like they did with Patton . . . or better yet, a complete set.  I'm not holding my breath, though.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Pan on March 30, 2011, 03:04:22 PM
P-Vine's methods are not clear to me.  I just noticed that there was one person at this site who thought the P-Vines sounded better than the JSPs.  But I have heard claims of better-sounding "remasters" in a variety of contexts before and been unable to detect a difference myself.

The issue likely is moot, as the P-Vine "box set" seems to be unavailable in the US and perhaps even unavailable in Japan at this point.  A Japanese person told me the cost of buying it from Amazon Japan would be about $100.  Too rich for my blood unless I was certain that it would constitute an noticeable upgrade of some sort.  I guess I'll stick with JSP and perhaps add the three Too Late Too Late Vol. 11 tracks and/or substitute the six old Yazoo tracks (i.e., those on the original Yazoo release but not on the new "Best Of" release).

Well, I guess I'm the person who liked the P-Vine better than JSP.  :-X

I went back and listened to some tracks again closely. I must say that the JSP set is much cleaner regarding surface noise. But to my ears the P-Vine is maybe sonically "richer" than JSP. P-Vine is a little louder too, which might affect the comparison to my ears. I got the P-Vines in the mid-90's when I was living in Japan, and was happy to have them available at the time. Maybe I got familiar with the sound and thus preferred it to the sound of the JSP.

I don't have the document recordings, so I can't comment on that. I also have no idea if P-Vine had/has any access to original 78's.

I have since posting the original post, become aware that people regard different aspects of remastered recordings in value, depending on where they stand and what their needs are. I personally don't collect 78's and have never heard original CB 78 recordings played live to me, so perhaps I'm not the best person to make recommendations. In fact, I'm going to remove my original post regarding the matter. You just have to listen to yourselves. I would, however say, that while the few P-Vine recordings that I have sound fine to me (and I've grown to accept a lot of surface noise), they certainly aren't anything exceptionally better or different than the stuff available in the west, so I wouldn't spend large amounts of cash to them without hearing first, I certainly didn't.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on March 30, 2011, 08:00:05 PM
We could very well be splitting hairs with some of these recordings at this point.  I was happy for years with the excesssively noise-reduced Milestone CD because I found the surface noise on the Yazoos to be extremely distracting.  Now I prefer more surface noise where the underlying music sounds more vibrant.  I guess I've been able to train myself to block out the surface noise (the way we did in the old days with vinyl before CDs came along).

But thank goodness for the modern technology that gives us what we have.  I have a Blind Lemon Jefferson 78 and it's about 2/3 surface noise and 1/3 music.  My Papa Charlie Jackson 78 is even worse.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: LD50 on March 31, 2011, 07:51:47 AM
I wish the Yazoo people would do a second BLJ CD like they did with Patton . . . or better yet, a complete set. 

I think I can say with 99% certainty that that will not happen.  :(
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on March 31, 2011, 08:59:00 PM
I went back and listened to some tracks again closely. I must say that the JSP set is much cleaner regarding surface noise. But to my ears the P-Vine is maybe sonically "richer" than JSP. P-Vine is a little louder too, which might affect the comparison to my ears.

I guess it wouldn't kill me to buy one of the P-Vine discs just for comparison purposes.  From what you're saying, there are at least some noticeable differences.  I no longer have the Documents, but I did compare them to the JSPs awhile back and thought the JSPs were as good or better.  Perhaps the battle over the best complete set is P-Vine vs JSP.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Pan on April 01, 2011, 02:26:41 AM
I went back and listened to some tracks again closely. I must say that the JSP set is much cleaner regarding surface noise. But to my ears the P-Vine is maybe sonically "richer" than JSP. P-Vine is a little louder too, which might affect the comparison to my ears.

I guess it wouldn't kill me to buy one of the P-Vine discs just for comparison purposes.  From what you're saying, there are at least some noticeable differences.  I no longer have the Documents, but I did compare them to the JSPs awhile back and thought the JSPs were as good or better.  Perhaps the battle over the best complete set is P-Vine vs JSP.

FWIW, last night I thought of comparing my 1993 P-Vine Blind Blake collection to the Document complete set I also own. Well, guess what? They sound absolutely identical!  :o Still, on another forum people have discussed the P-Vine remastering quality and compared it to others. Apparently the later "remasterings" sound "harsh" to some ears. I really don't know what to make of this.  :-\

Cheers

Pan
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: uncle bud on April 01, 2011, 06:29:34 AM
I think that ultimately, if you are looking for the best Lemon transfers, you are going to have to do more than buy one of the complete sets of recordings. There are better transfers of certain songs on the Yazoos, on the various CDs that come with the Blues Images calendars (with some overlap with the Yazoos), and the Black Swan disc that Great Bear mentioned earlier in the thread (I can't say myself, haven't heard that one yet). And in addition to the Too Late, Too Late discs required to complete one's collection of his work, there is the Tradition CD Moanin' All Over, on which a previously unacknowledged alternate take of Blind Lemon's Penitentiary Blues can be found, as discussed awhile back on Weenie.

And now, of course, stuff is getting reissued on vinyl again as well.  :P
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: dj on April 01, 2011, 06:55:09 AM
I've come around to the idea that isn't necessarily a "best" version of a lot of music from the 1930s and earlier.  If I'm trying to figure out a lyric or hear an instrumental part of a song that I have several different issues of, I often find that I'll hear one word, note, or phrase better on the Document issue, and another more clearly on JSP, and yet a third on Blues Images.  It all comes down to the source used and what knobs were twiddled during mastering for each song.

Having said that, there are clearly some issues that are just sonically outstanding, such as the BMG/RCA Bluebird reissues back in the 1990s, or Archeophone's King Oliver set.  But for the great mass of reissues, each version has its pluses and minuses.

Its interesting that one thing that seldom gets discussed when we're comparing reissues is the quality of the notes and discographical information.  That stuff is really important to me, and often influences which version of a given artist's work I'll purchase. 
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on April 01, 2011, 07:50:43 AM
. . . there is the Tradition CD Moanin' All Over, on which a previously unacknowledged alternate take of Blind Lemon's Penitentiary Blues can be found, as discussed awhile back on Weenie.

And now, of course, stuff is getting reissued on vinyl again as well.  :P

Just checked out the thread.  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=7182.0
Rather amazing detective work, indeed.

What about the vinyl?  Are there any sound differences there, or are CDs still the best bet?  (I've wondered this about pre-war blues generally.)
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: jostber on April 01, 2011, 11:35:05 PM
I think this Yazoo vinyl has got good sound. Might be hard to find though:

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wirz.de%2Fmusic%2Fyazoo%2Fgrafik%2F10694.jpg&hash=8bf95fd0d0f7cf8b1f18fdd45827ea73f25c09dd)

Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on April 02, 2011, 03:29:14 PM
There are Yazoo reissues on vinyl, but I don't trust that they haven't been made from digital versions (which sort of defeats the purpose).  The original Yazoo LPs are used and expensive.

On another subject, I managed to obtain a few P-Vine tracks in mp3 format.  PM me if anyone could e-mail me the same four from their Document Records collection for this academic exercise.  I then could compare:

Yazoo
JSP
Pristine Classical
Document
P-Vine
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on April 10, 2011, 03:25:14 PM
I have compared the following four songs (in various simultaneous A-B comparisons using headphones) . . .
(1) Wartime Blues
(2) Rabbit Foot Blues
(3) Easy Rider Blues
(4) See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (2nd Version)

. . . on the following five collections:
(1) Document
(2) JSP
(3) Yazoo (Best of)
(4) Pristine Classical
(5) P-Vine

Given the number of songs compared, my conclusions about these collections are hardly definitive.  But I note the following for what it's worth:

The volume levels on Document are generally low and uneven from song to song.  I had to EQ it in this regard before I made the comparison.

JSP appears to be a copy of Document with slight noise reduction and concomitant slight decrease in sound quality.  The sound levels on the JSP were appropriately uniform and louder.

The bass on the Yazoo and Pristine Classical was greater than on the JSP and Document, especially on Wartime Blues and See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.  The higher bass made Lemon's voice sound more natural, but made the guitar seem less natural.  I compared my scratchy 78 of Wartime Blues to Document/JSP and Yazoo/Pristine Classical and concluded the Yazoo/Pristine Classical sounded more like the original 78 in this regard.  I don't know why Document has a thinner, more trebly sound (though not all songs had this problem - the Document version of Rabbit Foot Blues sounded the same as the Yazoo version). Increasing the bass on my stereo seemed to bring the Document and JSP more in line with the Yazoo/Pristine Classical, but it's hard to make A-B comparisons where you have to make such back-and-forth adjustments.

Yazoo and Pristine Classical are very similar, but Pristine classical in three out of the four songs seemed to get more noise reduction with no loss in sonic quality.

P-Vine is a mixed bag.  It is not simply a copy of Document.  It bested Document half the time.  It was about the same as Yazoo half the time, but not as good (more noise/harshness and less sonic quality) in the other two instances.

Overall, Yazoo and Pristine Classical sounded the best - a bit better underlying sound with the same or less surface noise, but, as noted, the bass differentials made comparisons tough.  The JSP seems to be the best comprehensive collection because the sound levels are more uniform, and boosting the bass on your stereo makes the JSP sound more like the Yazoo/Pristine Classical.  If the Document CDs were EQed for sound levels, they might be preferable to the JSP (especially for those who don't mind more surface noise as a trade off for better voice and guitar).  The noise reduction on the JSP was not great by any means, though.  (It is not nearly like the Milestone collection where the severe noise reduction really mutes the underlying sound.)  

If anyone has any questions or comments, let me know.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Jay Bee Rodriguez on April 10, 2011, 04:35:46 PM
I mostly agree with you. misterjones, except the P-Vine's, which I don't have.
I just did my own "Best of Blind Lemon" compilation burn to CD with this, in this order:

- the 20 Pristine tracks (to my ears, the more "comfortable" way to enjoy Lemon's music!)
- 6 tracks from Yazoo's "Best Of" not in Pristine
- 14 tracks from Yazoo's "King Of C.B." Db album not in Pristine's (including gems like "Prison Cell", "One Dime", "Hot Dogs"etc)
- 10 tracks from JSP not in any of the others, like "Penitentary", "long Distance Moan" etc.

Well, not "complete Blind Lemon", but some fifty greatest ones.
Of course, the cover was no other than Yazoo's Double album's, the best one!

I must say, by the way, that after nearly 30 years living with all those blues records, I think am really begin to enjoy the music of this Texan master now...
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on April 11, 2011, 06:58:45 AM
The bass on the Yazoo and Pristine Classical was greater than on the JSP and Document, especially on Wartime Blues and See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.  The higher bass made Lemon's voice sound more natural, but made the guitar seem less natural.  I compared my scratchy 78 of Wartime Blues to Document/JSP and Yazoo/Pristine Classical and concluded the Yazoo/Pristine Classical sounded more like the original 78 in this regard.  I don't know why Document has a thinner, more trebly sound (though not all songs had this problem - the Document version of Rabbit Foot Blues sounded the same as the Yazoo version).
[emphasis added]

It occurs to me that this must mean the Yazoo/Pristine Classical are more consistently EQed with respect to bass and treble.  This is a logical conclusion that flows from the above, but I haven't tested it directly.  (I doubt I will, since I'm sick of listening to these four songs over and over again to try to identify what can amout to very slight differences.)
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: minuszero on May 03, 2011, 04:50:22 PM
I want to make my first BLJ purchase.
I have the 4CD JSP Box in digital format, and the two Yazoo comps. - The Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson and King of the Country Blues
I also have a 13-track (remastered) Charly comp. which has better sound than everything else

I am looking to purchase Black Swan's 'Blind Lemon Jefferson' or Pristine's 'That Black Snake Moan'.  Which is the better of the two?
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: uncle bud on May 05, 2011, 06:15:29 AM
Can't compare the two as I am still not interested in Pristine much based on existing samples, but I recently picked up the Black Swan release that Great Bear tipped us off to awhile back, and I can say that it is an excellent choice for those seeking better transfers. I think the key is that it seems they've used actual 78s, not simply played around with equalization.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on May 05, 2011, 07:27:59 AM
I think the sound on Pristine is as good as anything else out there, and I am unable to detect what others assert is improper and/or artificial-sounding remastering.  The idea that Black Swan has used some new 78s and started the process from the ground up - a proposition I cannot find discussed elsewhere on the internet - is interesting.  I may have to stick a crowbar in my wallet again and see for myself.

UPDATE - I'll have a copy of the Black Swan in about a week, so I probably can provide my view shortly thereafter.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: minuszero on May 05, 2011, 09:27:17 PM
Good and helpful info., thank you uncle bud and misterjones.

Glad I held off on making the Pristine purchase, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the Black Swan release mister jones.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on May 11, 2011, 07:11:57 PM
Can't compare the two as I am still not interested in Pristine much based on existing samples, but I recently picked up the Black Swan release that Great Bear tipped us off to awhile back, and I can say that it is an excellent choice for those seeking better transfers. I think the key is that it seems they've used actual 78s, not simply played around with equalization.

I will second that assessment.  There is a bit more surface noise on the Black Swan, but the sound quality on the Black Swan is consistently better than Yazoo's "Best Of" disc (though not by a lot).  It's essentially the standard 78 transfer trade off - surface noise vs underlying sound quality.  Though the track listing is not the same, from a sonic standpoint I'd keep the Black Swan if I could have only one disc.

I think Pristine Classical remains the best choice for those who prefer a bit more noise reduction.  As I noted before, Pristine Classical is extremely close (and often identical) to Yazoo with respect to the underlying sound quality but manages to eliminate a bit more surface noise.
 
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: minuszero on May 12, 2011, 06:29:07 PM
Can't compare the two as I am still not interested in Pristine much based on existing samples, but I recently picked up the Black Swan release that Great Bear tipped us off to awhile back, and I can say that it is an excellent choice for those seeking better transfers. I think the key is that it seems they've used actual 78s, not simply played around with equalization.

I will second that assessment.  There is a bit more surface noise on the Black Swan, but the sound quality on the Black Swan is consistently better than Yazoo's "Best Of" disc (though not by a lot).  It's essentially the standard 78 transfer trade off - surface noise vs underlying sound quality.  Though the track listing is not the same, from a sonic standpoint I'd keep the Black Swan if I could have only one disc.

I think Pristine Classical remains the best choice for those who prefer a bit more noise reduction.  As I noted before, Pristine Classical is extremely close (and often identical) to Yazoo with respect to the underlying sound quality but manages to eliminate a bit more surface noise.
 

This comes as good news... I became impatient and ordered the Black Swan disc two days ago.  Anticipating it's arrival even more so now, thanks for the feedback.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on May 19, 2011, 09:23:27 AM
Just to tie up a couple more loose ends:

(1) I listened to several tracks on Complete Blues' "Texas Blues".  I assumed it would sound like a clone of Document Records recordings (given the bonus tracks), but it in fact sounded identical to the JSP's BLJ tracks.

(2) The BLJ tracks from the Blues Images CDs sound the same as the Yazoo tracks (though "Black Snake Moan No.2" sounded the same as the version on JSP). The Blues Images track that was on the Black Swan CD (forget which one it was) sounded better on the Black Swan, which seems to be besting the competition across the board.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 20, 2012, 08:55:09 AM
I want to make my first BLJ purchase.
I have the 4CD JSP Box in digital format, and the two Yazoo comps. - The Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson and King of the Country Blues
I also have a 13-track (remastered) Charly comp. which has better sound than everything else

I am looking to purchase Black Swan's 'Blind Lemon Jefferson' or Pristine's 'That Black Snake Moan'.  Which is the better of the two?

Just noticed this by accident.  The "13-track (remastered) Charly comp" sounds like it might be the mysterious CD I've been inquiring about in another thread.

Minuszero:  If you are still around, could you provide some details about this CD?  (Check out my "Blind Lemon Jefferson CD" thread below.)  Does it have these tracks?

  1    Broke and Hungry
  2    Bad Luck Blues
  3    Matchbox Blues
  4    Easy Rider Blues
  5    Rambler Blues
  6    One Dime Blues
  7    Mean Jumper Blues
  8    Hangmans Blues
  9    Oil Well Blues
10    Tin Cup Blues
11    Big Night Blues
12    Southern Woman Blues
13    That Crawlin' Baby Blues
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 24, 2012, 07:50:11 AM
Can't compare the two as I am still not interested in Pristine much based on existing samples, but I recently picked up the Black Swan release that Great Bear tipped us off to awhile back, and I can say that it is an excellent choice for those seeking better transfers. I think the key is that it seems they've used actual 78s, not simply played around with equalization.

All of a sudden I'm not liking the Pristine Audio as much as I previously did.  Perhaps one has the tendency to like something better after he or she has paid for it.  (I noticed that many - I think oddly - really liked the Bob Dylan Mono Box after shelling out $100 or so for it.  I borrowed a set and concluded the remastered Stereo versions were much better.  Wanting to like something might help a bit.)  The Pristine Audio remains a good noise-reduced set, but I find myself even prefering the Classic Sides versions now.  Go figure.

I note that the sound engineers at the Robert Johnson symposium - prompted by my inquiry, no less - uniformly expressed their dislike of Andrew Rose's work . . . and they did not seem so fond of him either.  Perhaps that's messing with my mind a bit, as well.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Rivers on January 24, 2012, 04:52:04 PM
Perhaps one has the tendency to like something better after he or she has paid for it.

That is a profoundly true statement, especially in the cases where you can't easily return it. We intuitively know it when reading gear reviews. Sometimes it really is good though, I'll put my Guild and NRP in that category.

Re. Black Swan reissues, and if it's the same outfit, I have a Charlie Patton double CD from them which I like a lot. I've heard lyrics on it I couldn't get from other issues.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 25, 2012, 10:50:08 AM
Worth seeking out. 

I've noticed some large disparities among Patton CD transfers.  I recently finished my Catfish vs Universal comparison.  Many tracks sounded the same, but many others on the Universal set were amazingly better.  With Blind Lemon Jefferson, on the other hand, differences from one set to the other are relatively minor.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 29, 2012, 08:14:38 AM
I also have renewed interest in the Document CDs (for the tracks not on Yazoo and Black Swan).  They seem to be a straight trade off of surface noise vs underlying music vis-a-vis the JSP set.  JSP is a very good noise-reduced set, but it does squeeze Lemon's music a bit.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: CF on January 29, 2012, 09:14:40 AM
 . . . this belongs more in the discography section but it should be mentioned here RE Jefferson & the question of completeness:

The Documents & The JSP pretty much contain everything EXCEPT:

Document's 'Too Late Vol. 11' has three very rare alt takes from early sessions

AND, most interestingly, an alt take of BL's Penitentiary Blues' was discerned by WC contributor Blind Arthur & posted here a while back. Go here to read the details
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=7182.msg57224#msg57224 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=7182.msg57224#msg57224)

After you get the Complete Lemon you want to get Yazoo's Lemon releases for best sound.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 29, 2012, 06:07:29 PM
I'm assembling my own BLJ set, using the following basic prioritization:
(1) Black Swan
(2) Yazoo's "Best of"
(3) Yazoo's "King of the Country Blues"
(4) Blues Images
(5) Document (including volume 11 of "Too Late Too Late")
I'm also adding the alternate of Blind Lemon's Penitentiary Blues from the Tradition CD.

If anyone has any suggested changes to the above, I'd like to hear them.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: Rivers on January 29, 2012, 06:57:19 PM
Has anyone heard the Black Swan BLJ set? I know they did a good job with Charlie Patton (to my ear) but as we all know from other labels there are no guarantees the same would apply to other releases in their catalog. Unless there are encouraging indications on that specific release I'd personally hesitate to make it #1 on my list, that would be a leap of faith.

Cheapfeet, I absolutely agree with you, the best sound I've found, actually astoundingly so, is the semi-recent Yazoo "Best of BLJ". I've said it before and will say it again, I hope Mr Nevins will do a 'Complete BLJ" project at some point.

[later: having read back through the thread I see you already have the Black Swan set misterjones and are hence recommending, not making a wish list. Apologies, and thanks for the recommendation]
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 30, 2012, 07:59:37 AM
The Black Swan ranges from slightly better that Yazoo - presumably the result of better source material - to the same as Yazoo.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: jpeters609 on January 30, 2012, 08:29:49 AM
Based on my listening to Black Swan's Charley Patton set (which are his complete Paramount recordings, minus the alternate takes), it seems pretty clear that Black Swan has access to different copies of at least some of the original 78s. Because Black Swan's parent company is the owner of John Steiner's Paramount materials, I wonder if his holdings are where some of these different copies are coming from. (It also begs the question: does Black Swan have and/or plan to reissue those metal mothers of Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman" or, if it indeed still exists, the "buckled" metal mother of Willie Brown's "Grandma Blues" that Steiner was said to have in his possession. See the Frog Blues & Jazz Annual #1 for that whole story!)

I may be wrong about this, but Black Swan also doesn't seem to use a whole lot of noise reduction (if any). I find myself listening to their Charley Patton set a lot. It has a great deal of presence. I am curious to hear their Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake sets.
Title: Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
Post by: misterjones on January 30, 2012, 02:17:15 PM
Black Swan is similar to Yazoo in that it does not use a lot of noise reduction.  In those instances where I say Black Swan is better than Yazoo, I mean the underlying music sounds better.  I really haven't focused on the surface noise, but off-hand and without a re-listen, I'd say  they're probably about the same.
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