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When I was comin' up, of course I had no idea as to playin' music for a livin', I just sing the blues 'cause I _had_ to - it was just somethin' I had to do - Muddy Waters

Author Topic: robert johnson  (Read 3936 times)

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Offline LD50

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2011, 09:50:45 AM »
If you want better sound quality, look for copies of the Columbia/CBS LPs.
I can't tell if I have blind nostaligia for that specific vinyl, but I do admire those masters.

As an experiment, yesterday I got out my old copy of the RJ King of the Delta Blues Singers LP that I first bought in the 1980s, and burned copies of the LP tracks to MP3, in order to compare them to the sound quality on the new double CD (not the box). While the sound on the LP tracks is good, the sound on the new CD *is* better. 

Offline misterjones

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2011, 11:07:06 AM »
But isn't lack of compression or sampling (or whatever the correct terminology is) a major advantage of the pre-digital LPs? 

Offline Stumblin

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  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: robert johnson
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2011, 11:29:36 AM »
Escaping the Delta by Elijah is a must read for Weenies.  If you strip away all the rubbish that's been written about Robert Johnson, what's left is a great artist.
Absolutely.
If you haven't read it, do so stat. Heck, it's probably even available in paperback by now.

Offline LD50

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2011, 07:14:18 PM »
But isn't lack of compression or sampling (or whatever the correct terminology is) a major advantage of the pre-digital LPs? 

Maybe I have a tin ear, but frankly I don't hear any problem. To me the kind/degree of noise reduction used, along with other mastering niceties like stylus, etc., make much more of a difference.

Offline LD50

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2011, 07:16:41 PM »
Escaping the Delta by Elijah is a must read for Weenies.  If you strip away all the rubbish that's been written about Robert Johnson, what's left is a great artist.
Absolutely.
If you haven't read it, do so stat. Heck, it's probably even available in paperback by now.

I agree completely. It strips away the bullshit and hype and clarifies what Robert Johnson was really doing with his music. I think it basically renders all other RJ bios unnecessary.

Offline misterjones

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2011, 06:54:34 AM »
Perhaps this all belongs in CD reviews, but . . .

I compared some tracks from disc 1 of the Centennial Edition to those on the King of the Delta Blues Singers CD and the 1996 re-issue.  The Centennial Edition people did an excellent job removing all of the vocal harshness that plagues Johnson's recordings generally while retaining overall sound quality.  It's better than the 1996 re-issue.  No real dispute there.  However, its vocal harshness aside (very hard to put aside in some instances - e.g., Terraplane Blues), King of the Delta Blues Singers still has the best underlying sound.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 06:55:56 AM by misterjones »

Offline LD50

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2011, 09:54:14 AM »
Can anyone here who's bought the whole box set comment on any of the tracks on the 'Rare Victor Blues' CD included in it?

For example, what are the two unissued tracks by Samuel "Fat" Westmoreland like?

Offline harry

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2011, 05:21:56 AM »
The tracks by Westmoreland are played on a ukulele. Singing with a high-pitched voice. Personally didn't find the 2 songs particularly memorable. Sound quality is very good wich counts for the entire album. All songs have been remastered. It's pretty cool to hear songs that were recorded the same day Robert recorded (on CD 2). Liner notes by Tony Russell and Ashley Kahn (very brief).

Perhaps this discussion should be over at the "Buyer Beware" topic.

Offline LD50

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2011, 08:37:43 AM »
I'd consider buying the 'Rare Victor Blues' CD, if the sound is that much of an improvement, but I wouldn't pay 300 whatever dollars for it. Maybe if we're lucky someday they'll offer the tracks for sale on MP3.

The Westmoreland tracks sound pretty disposable.

The tracks by Westmoreland are played on a ukulele. Singing with a high-pitched voice. Personally didn't find the 2 songs particularly memorable. Sound quality is very good wich counts for the entire album. All songs have been remastered. It's pretty cool to hear songs that were recorded the same day Robert recorded (on CD 2). Liner notes by Tony Russell and Ashley Kahn (very brief).

Perhaps this discussion should be over at the "Buyer Beware" topic.


Offline misterjones

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2011, 08:49:10 AM »
The tracks by Westmoreland are played on a ukulele. Singing with a high-pitched voice.

The original Tiny Tim (a well-known part of the early Greenwich Village folk scene before he became just another TV novelty act in the late 60s and early 70s).  Perhaps an influence.  I think I might like this Westmoreland guy.  I'll have to listen to some samples.

Robert Johnson and Tiny Tim in the same thread.  Go figure.

Offline Stumblin

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  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: robert johnson
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2011, 11:18:50 AM »
The tracks by Westmoreland are played on a ukulele. Singing with a high-pitched voice.

The original Tiny Tim (a well-known part of the early Greenwich Village folk scene before he became just another TV novelty act in the late 60s and early 70s).  Perhaps an influence.  I think I might like this Westmoreland guy.  I'll have to listen to some samples.

Robert Johnson and Tiny Tim in the same thread.  Go figure.
I like a bit of ukulele myself, too. Good luck finding the samples, let me know when you do.
Ta.

Offline RobBob

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  • Blues is truth.
Re: robert johnson
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2011, 01:17:37 PM »
I listened to the first CD of the centennial set and it is very clean and clear.  But I have heard several reissues lately, like the Riley Puckett that Chris King did the mastering on, that were mind blowing good.  This set is good as well, you get a feel for the music and force of its reach and a feel for what it might have been like to sit and listen to this man.

Offline misterjones

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2011, 01:50:46 PM »
You certainly cannot go wrong with this set, and if one set were all I could have it would be the Centennial Edition.  The masterful re-mastering, I think, lies in the total removal of the distortion sometimes present when Johnson's voice becomes louder and/or higher.  But to clean that up, I guess they had to take a (very) small portion of the quality of the underlying guitar and voice away.  To get the full effect of Johnson's guitar and vocal inflections, one should have The King of the Delta Blues Singers handy for at least an occasional listen.  That's my plan, at least.

Offline Big River

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2011, 11:34:45 AM »
While the mastering on the new Centennial Collection is excellent in many ways (this is our first chance to hear many of the alternate takes in good sound) does anyone agree with me that perhaps they did too much filtering on this? When they talk about "cleaning up" a recording they are removing certain frequencies and you can end up with thin, lifeless sound. The lower midrange and bottom end seems to be missing in action on this set. Still, worth getting. A lot of clarity to the sound. Excellent notes with a lot of information about missing metal masters and alternate takes that were melted down in WW2 (kinda makes you sick)!
 Personally, I think the excellent Columbia "King of the Delta Blues Singers" CD issued in 1998 (and Volume 2) has a much fuller sound with great fidelity that hits you right in the gut. If you have not heard it, you must. Anything is better than the awful sounding 1990 Complete Robert Johnson box set. The original Columbia LP's had much, much better sound than the 1990 set and still sound great on a high quality system.
Also, this is probably your last chance to pick up the super pricey $349 deluxe edition. Only a few of the 1000 copies remain. This is a classy production with very cool 10" reproductions of his 78's (vinyl, not shellac, playable at 45 RPM). Nice vintage style slip cover, large format booklet (different, with more information on the mastering and original 78's), bonus CD and DVD. I got a copy and don't regret it as it is once in a lifetime chance to have. Yes, you can hear the moaning already from the people that won't even shell out $15 for the Centennial Collection. Well, enjoy your 1990 box set...maybe you are waiting for the upcoming 150 year, RJ anniversary edition in 2061? Just kidding.

Offline Big River

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Re: robert johnson
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2011, 05:59:39 PM »
Just after posting the above response I ran across this You Tube video about The Deluxe Robert Johnson Centennial Collection. Some of you may find this interesting. Also, there are 12 discs in this set, not the 10 that I stated in the previous post.


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