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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: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment  (Read 1992 times)

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Offline outfidel

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MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« on: February 01, 2008, 08:10:00 AM »
The Man From Avalon - Mississippi John Hurt

check out the sound samples...sounds like MJH is sitting in your living room (especially on the NYC tracks 3-13)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 08:44:33 AM by outfidel »
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Offline rjtwangs

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 10:59:04 AM »
Yep it sounds great to me, so much that I just ordered it!!

RJ

Offline doctorpep

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 11:03:31 AM »
Sounds fantastic! It would be wonderful if the same thing could be done for Patton and Stokes & Sane's Paramount work. I'm very satisfied with whoever cleaned up Skip James' stuff on the "Illinois Blues" cd.
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Offline Blue Poodle

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 07:55:21 PM »
I downloaded my copy of the MJH recordings and listened to it today.  I think that it sounds great!
All the world loves a lover, but a lover doesn't always love love.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 08:47:52 PM »
Hiya fellars,

Good to hear the positive reactions to the MJH remastering. Can anyone go into detail about what makes it so great? Have people A/B'd these recordings with the Yazoo, Document and/or Columbia releases? What are the differences? What are the improvements? Any tracks in particular that stand out?

Does anyone know what the source recordings are for this release?

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 09:15:46 PM »
I have the Columbia version, I just purchased the Pristine Audio version this morning, when I get it it I will for sure tell you what I think. After Charley Patton I'm hoping he'll tackle Blind Blake, fingers crossed!!

RJ

Offline uncle bud

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2008, 11:02:53 AM »
I've been listening to the samples on Pristine's webpage for the past hour or so, comparing with others. Here are my own first impressions, though I for one am still very interested in hearing what others like (or dislike) about these. It can give people a better idea about what to listen for, myself included. I'm not an audiophile, can't talk the talk, so my comments are limited by that.

First off, "Frankie." Here is the most dramatic difference in these recordings, because of the correction to the speed of the original. We're all used to hearing John Hurt start at one pitch then end rather higher (I forget what the pitch differential was between the beginning and end of the recording, but it's significant). This new version corrects the error introduced by the original wonky cutting lathe motor on the recording machine, as explained by Andrew Rose on the webpage cited above. This speed-corrected version of Frankie can be heard in its entirety at that page. Absolutely worth visiting for that alone.

I have versions of the original "Frankie" on 3 CDs: the Columbia set "Avalon Blues: the Complete 1928 OKeh Recording Sessions"; the Document set "Never Let the Same Bee Sting You Twice"; and the Anthology of American Folk Music compiled by Harry Smith and available from Folkways. The Anthology is to my ear the best of the three. It sounds closest to what Rose has done (excluding speed correction of course) but ultimately no cigar.

The Rose remaster takes out much of the boominess (probably a result of the original transfers?) found on these other versions of Frankie as well as on a number of these Hurt tracks overall. What I'm hearing is more clarity, better separation between bass and treble, more 'string' on the guitar. It is more noticeable on some tracks than others. I do find these much improved. However, I found I could play around with the EQ in iTunes and significantly improve the sound of one track or another on other versions as well, especially if the transfer itself was good, like the Anthology Frankie. I remember JohnM playing around with the equalizer on his boom box in classes at Port Townsend to bring out certain aspects of a troublesome recording, and having rather dramatic success many times to my surprised ears. Many of us don't bother, but it can make a big difference even with limited technology like a boombox or a 10-channel equalizer in something like iTunes. Obviously I can't duplicate Andrew Rose's EQ magic just by using iTunes (otherwise I be selling you guys CDs), but it's worth noting that twiddling around with it can always help your listening experience.

Some of Rose's experiments have been less successful (the Patton and Jefferson samples, for instance). And when I'm listening to many of his samples, I'm sometimes reacting to something I can't quite put my finger on but that I would characterize vaguely as "digital" and occasionally "lacking warmth". I'll have to listen closer to these Hurt recordings to see if I have the same reaction.  I do wish Rose would get in with the 78 collector crowd and work with original 78s, because then I think we'd be hearing some real magic. Not likely if he's based in France.

Anyway, those are my first impressions of this John Hurt remaster. It seems the best example of Rose's work I've heard, and I am probably going to take the plunge and buy this one, despite having two other versions of Hurt's early recordings.

Are people generally buying the FLACs or ordering CDs?

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2008, 11:08:00 AM »
Andrew I ordered the 'deluxe' cd version for 14 euros. I'll review it when it arrives.

Rick

Offline Stuart

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2008, 01:40:36 PM »
I do wish Rose would get in with the 78 collector crowd and work with original 78s, because then I think we'd be hearing some real magic.

You hit the nail square on the head, Andrew. My thoughts exactly. As others have mentioned this is a work in progress--or perhaps a "process in progress." At some point, he will have to start with the 78s.

Offline waxwing

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2008, 02:04:29 PM »
Judging from his response to my post on BBF, he feels that is out of his reach. Too bad.

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Offline Stuart

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2008, 04:30:24 PM »
Hi John C:

I read the posts over at the BBF--thanks for the re-direct. Obviously Andrew Rose knows what he's up against and the limitations involved. It's a complex can of worms to say the least. In an ideal world,  everyone would be on the same page in the interest of preserving and making available (as custodians of this culture of ours) this great music in the best form possible. But we hardly live in an ideal world. Most of the efforts are labors of love (stealing a line from our own Stefan W.) driven by the interests, passions, and last but not least, financial resources of individuals. Maybe Corey Harris' MacArthur grant will focus some attention on this area.

A year or so ago I had a conversation with Glenn Jones. He told me how he and Jack Rose went down to Maryland and spent a day with Joe Bussard. He said that listening to the sound of the 78s played on Joe's system was just like being in the presence of a live performance. Of course, there's a great deal of variation between 78s, so he was probably referring to the cream of the crop. Nevertheless, Andrew Rose should and probably will keep the thought in the back of his mind. Maybe someday things will loosen up and he can access the originals. In the meantime, IMHO he should be thanked for his efforts.

P.S. There's an interesting article about Joe in The Fretboard Journal #8 (Winter 2007).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2008, 04:47:04 PM by Stuart »

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: MJH 1928 recordings get the Pristine Audio treatment
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2008, 04:48:14 PM »
This is just a thought, but, if there was enough money in it Andrew could probably travel to the US and remaster form the best 78's available, remember it's always all about money!!

RJ

 


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