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Author Topic: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?  (Read 7916 times)

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Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #15 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.

Offline LD50

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #16 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?

Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #17 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).

Offline LD50

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #18 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.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 07:53:14 AM by LD50 »

Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #19 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.

Offline Pan

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #20 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

Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #21 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.

Offline LD50

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #22 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.  :(

Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #23 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.

Offline Pan

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #24 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
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 02:36:03 AM by Pan »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #25 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
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 06:31:11 AM by uncle bud »

Offline dj

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #26 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. 

Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #27 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.)

Offline jostber

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2011, 11:35:05 PM »
I think this Yazoo vinyl has got good sound. Might be hard to find though:




Offline misterjones

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Re: Which is the best source for Blind Lemon Jefferson?
« Reply #29 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