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Like everybody else in the Delta, they listened to phonographs, jukeboxes and the radio, and they sang country music, popular songs of the day, even jazz, for both blacks and whites. Singer Johnny Shines, who knew [Robert] Johnson well, said that the singer of the doomy 'Hellhound on My Trail' was also 'a polka hound' - David Gates on the bluesman stereotype, Newsweek

Author Topic: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality  (Read 8350 times)

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Offline Montgomery

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2005, 08:49:05 PM »
The MJH Yazoo is very old and can definitely be improved upon. ?However, I cannot recommend the Columbia set over the Yazoo. ?If you've ever heard any actual 78s, you'll know there's a lot of surface noise, usually far more than appears on the Yazoo CD, even on a mint condition 78 (depending?on the label, but no 78 from the 20s-30s era is devoid of surface noise, pops and clicks, etc). ?If you hear a "remastered" CD of prewar blues that has no surface noise--as is the case with most Columbia CDs (though they've improved a little bit recently)--you can bet their only concern was oblitering all surface noise while giving little care to how it affects the music. ?In my opinion, the Columbia version sounds incredibly flat and a lot of the nuances you can hear on the 78s are plain missing. ?I would never recommend a Columbia prewar blues release, at least in terms of fidelity. ?They have no real concern for the actual music and some of their releases are plain awful. ?If you're going to be listening to a lot of prewar music, it behooves you to become accustomed to the sound of surface noise, which is apparent even on a mint 78. ?With enough listening, your ears will become accustomed to surface noise and you'll be able to drown it out without any work whatsoever. ?I liken it to listening to a 100-piece orchestra and having the ability to pick out one instrument, no matter how buried it is among all the other instruments, and to follow that instrument while being able to more or less ignore the 99 other instruments. ?Eventually you can pick out any number of instruments, listen to any 10, 20, 30, whatever you want, at your own discretion. ?This is a form of ear training I guess, being able to focus on what you want to focus on. ?I think this is an important skill, and listening to scratchy 78s is a good way to learn it. ?I'm not saying you have a bad ear, but there's no question in my mind that there's more "musical information" in the Yazoo transfers than the Columbia ones and the surface noise is a small price to pay. ?That said, it is not among Yazoo's best transfers.

P.S. I know I'm always defending Yazoo, and I want to make clear that I have no connection to Yazoo and rave about them only because I am a fan of their work.? I think they are one of the few reliable prewar CD release companies, and it's a shame that sometimes flashier packaging or "cleaner" transfers by other companies has made Yazoo's business suffer.? They do what they do purely out of love and tend to lose money on their releases, from what I've heard.?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2005, 05:36:01 PM by Johnm »

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2005, 10:27:01 PM »
I will wait to get the new CD and listen to them both before providing my own assessment of musical nuances, noise or lack thereof.  Bg

lebordo

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2005, 11:17:52 PM »
If you're going to be listening to a lot of prewar music, it behooves you to become accustomed to the sound of surface noise, which is apparent even on a mint 78.

Shhhhsh -- don't let that secret out of the bag -- I get too much fun buying 78s that have been rated V+ or V+/E- and priced accordingly, but turn out to be NM or better.? Just got 3today that are as pristine as they day they came out of the press, and a 4th that is E+ to NM-.

That said, at my age I don't mind clean as long as its not overdone.? Maybe it's because cleaning seems to affect the highs more than mid-range and lows.? And at least in my case, what age related hearing loss I have seems to affect the highs most, so I don't see as much difference as someone with perfect hearing.?

But cleaning can definitely be overdone, even to my ears.? Perhaps the best way to find out where the limits of today's technology are is to actually spend time digitally recording 78s and cleaning them up.? Clicks and pops can usually be eliminated with little or no musical loss, although getting the last few out can be quite a challenge sometimes.? Hiss is a little more problematic, although if you are careful you can clean most hiss with minimal musical loss.? I find I have my best luck doing it in several small passes, rather than trying to eliminate all or most hiss in one pass.

Anyway, I think there's plenty of room for those who favor musical integrety, and for those who favor clean and crisp.? Reminds me of a debate I just had with an ebay seller -- is it better to buy Charley Pattons and Tommy Johnsons and other top end (expensive) artists, even if their records are on poorly made Paramounts with more noise than music or?Victors that are so grainy they sound like corn poping; or better to by E+ Lucille Johnsons, Lonnie Johnsons, Tampa Reds and the like that are much more enjoyable listening?? I guess it depends on why you collect.? Trophy hunters will look in one direction.? Collectors another.? And those on fixed budgets who want the records primarily for listening will look in still another direction.? One isn't better or worse -- different folks just need different strokes.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2005, 05:37:45 PM by Johnm »

Offline SFguitar

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2005, 02:15:47 PM »
On a happier note, I absolutely love the two Stefan Grossman CDs I bought, "How To Play Blues Guitar" and "Shake That Thing."? The recordings are excellent and it's quite fun to listen to performance versions of the songs I've been learning. Bg

Bluesygirl -- I'm curious about your copy of "How To Play Blues Guitar."? Is it the one re-issued by Fantasy that is a compilation of the old Kicking Mule LPs?? (E.g., it has such pieces as "Moon Going Down," "If You Haven't Any Hay," "Hard-Time Killing Floor Blues," etc., and features Jo Ann Kelly, Sam Mitchell, Son House, etc., in addition to Stefan?)? The reason I ask is this:? the one I got (the Fantasy re-issue) has perhaps the worst remastering job I have ever encountered, as it has a "jump" in it every five or ten seconds or so, as though it was remastered directly from the LP and the vinyl was so warped that it caused the stylus to "jump" (not quite skip) regularly.? I'm wondering if yours has this same defect.? You can hear it on mine quite plainly, although it is more prominent when listening with headphones.? If it is not on yours, just mine, perhaps I should try finding another copy.? I'd appreciate it if you could let me know, because I love the music on it.? Thanks.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2005, 05:39:01 PM by Johnm »

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2005, 06:44:27 PM »
Hey SFGuitar:
My copy has the same songs/artists you mention.  It's on the Schanachie label, catalog #98001/2. Release date says 1990. The booklet states that it was digitially remastered by Robert Vosgien at C.M.S. Digital in California.  It sounds wonderful and I highly recommend it. Bg

Brimhoff

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2007, 05:38:53 PM »
Seems like its been a while since Yazoo has put out a new release (I think the last one was Stuff that Dreams are Made of back in 2006) or updated their website anyone know whats up with the label?

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2007, 10:46:58 AM »
Welcome to WeenieCampbell, Brimhoff.

I'd be interested to hear an answer to this as well. I remember reading rumours that Yazoo would not be doing anymore single artist CDs (like the remastered Patton discs) but have not heard anything beyond rumour. Richard Nevins has been doing the remastering for the CDs that come with the Blues Images calendars (another reason to buy these calendars -- quite a few of the songs are significantly improved to my ear, the most recent notable ones for me being the Blind Blake tracks Low Down Jail House Blues and Ain't Gonna Do That No More).

Offline waxwing

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2007, 12:11:26 PM »
Why not ask over on the Woodshed? Isn't Stefan pretty involved with Shanatchie, which has owned Yazoo for some time?

All for now.
John C.
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Offline unezrider

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2007, 06:44:37 PM »
hello friend,
i too, have been wondering about this. (they are my favorite label when it comes to remastering country blues.)
i wrote richard nevins @ the yazoo address about a year ago & never got a reply. not that that should be expected from him, but a couple of years earlier he was nice enough to write me back to answer a question i had. (i've only wrote twice)
in regards to what wax said, i did post a similar question on the woodshed, maybe about a year ago, & no one left a reply, stefan included.
i really hope sales from companies like jsp aren't helping to put a company like yazoo out of business. it would be such a shame. (if thats a fair premises, to begin with)
by the way, i know that they put out a re-remastered disc of the early skip james sides, & that hasn't even been added to their website.
chris
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2007, 11:31:29 PM »
They did have a Texas one called Don't Leave Me Here, and Georgia compilation as well, both based on LP versions I believe. They deleted them, along with several other good collections like the two St Louis albums. They're worth seeking out.

Stefan Wirz has a Yazoo LP discography which also notes CD issues (and whether they're in production or not - sadly, many are not). http://www.wirz.de/music/yazoo.htm
« Last Edit: December 30, 2007, 11:36:37 PM by andrew »

Offline Spatz

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2008, 05:38:31 AM »
 I've got most of the Yazoo label on vinyl, although I'm missing a half dozen or so LPs. It would be good if Yazoo still offered their cataloque on vinyl, same thing with the Document label.


Offline Stuart

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2008, 08:58:19 AM »
I've got most of the Yazoo label on vinyl, although I'm missing a half dozen or so LPs. It would be good if Yazoo still offered their catalogue on vinyl, same thing with the Document label.

I also have many Yazoo vinyl LPs. Offering everything in their catalogues on vinyl is perhaps asking a bit much in this day and age, but I'd like to see Yazoo and Document offer custom CD-Rs on a per-order basis of every item in their catalogues as Smithsonian-Folkways say they do. (However, the list of titles on the S-F website does not cover everything in the S-F catalogue.)

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2008, 03:46:20 PM »
I am brand new to the site and I really love it. I posted about the JSP and Proper box sets. I read that the Yazoo cd's have great sound quality, I would appreciate any feedback about Yazoo releases.

RJ

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2008, 11:52:34 AM »
are there any Yazoo Box sets??

RJ

Offline frankie

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Re: Yazoo: Sales, Service, and Sound Quality
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2008, 12:41:40 PM »
Just Kentucky Mountain Music - 7 CDs and a 32 page booklet.  Lots of essential music if your tastes run to old-time music.

 


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