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Author Topic: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings  (Read 5140 times)

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Offline Bluesygirl

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Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« on: December 31, 2004, 07:48:32 PM »
I want to buy this set but when I look on Amazon it shows two different listings, each with different Columbia/Sony catalog numbers.  One is dated 1990 and the other 1996.  Was this set re-mastered and then re-issued? There isn't anything in the description information about it.  I want to get the one with the best sound quality possible. Thanks. Bg

Offline waxwing

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2004, 08:35:05 PM »
Hey Bg,
According to Larry Cohn, who worked on the project in a capacity I can't remember, the set issued in 1996 is the closest to hearing the 78s that you can get. Apparently there were some issues with speed on the original 1990 set. This was discussed here quite a while ago but the thread may have been recycled. I believe all the text from the first set is included, but in much smaller format.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline Richard

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2005, 05:19:57 AM »
Bluseygirl,
 
If of any help I was given (yet again!) a CD of RJ as a present and to be fair it is by far the best sounding one I have so far (!) the series is called Kings of the Blues and it's label says Castel\Pulse  PLS CD 683.

We have cunningly dectected that you are in the UK so try  locally as you might well find it - I think it could be even a budget label :)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2005, 08:01:32 AM »
Thanks for all the expert help! I am going to order today from an Amazon.com independent seller.  Thanks Richard for the suggestion on the CD but I think I would like the Complete Recordings volume. By the way, I am in the U.S., California to be exact!  Looks like you picked up the wrong scent while trying to pick up my trail!  O0

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2005, 08:06:13 AM »
Maybe it was Katie Blue   ;D

Boots

Offline Richard

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2005, 04:32:46 AM »
Bluseygirl do accept my grovelling apology, it was probably the Chablis over Xmas.. :) as it was indeed KatieBlue and the clue being GCSE which is a UK exam!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2005, 10:22:41 AM »
No problem Richard  ;D. Gotta watch out for that chablis  >:D. And by the way, it's "Bluesygirl" and not "Bluseygirl."  ;D

Offline Richard

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2005, 02:55:34 PM »
Yes, the Chablis is too blame for all mistakes on this one :-X
(That's enough of that. Ed)

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2005, 02:57:31 PM »
This is island living for you. The proximity to France probably has a bearing on the matter.

Boots

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2005, 02:58:37 PM »
Yes, the Chablis is too blame for all mistakes on this one :-X

And the Bordeaux. And the port.

And the cognac...

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2005, 03:00:25 PM »
And hopefully a decent beer or two.  :)

Offline Richard

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2005, 03:08:22 PM »
This is chatroom speed :o  maybe we ought to start a wine thread... would that be a vine..hohoho ;)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2005, 03:11:52 PM »
How can we ftp the samples? :) :) :) :)

Offline Richard

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2005, 03:26:19 PM »
I think that if we consume enough we won't need the ftp :P

If you are still online do you fancy giving the chat a quick test on the test-bed?
(That's enough of that. Ed)

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2005, 03:42:17 PM »
Sure thing Richard. Let's dip our toes in the water.

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2005, 03:57:35 PM »
Hey guys maybe you should take it to a private room.  O0
Bg

boots

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2005, 04:08:08 PM »
All's OK. Richard has gone for a lie down.

Boots

M.Vidrine

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2005, 03:13:22 PM »
Hey Bluesygirl,

The difference is one is in a box set with a book and the other is just in a jewel case. The recordings contained are exactly the same.

Malcolm

Offline waxwing

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2005, 03:21:55 PM »
Yes, it may be that the earlier issued digitizations in the shoebox lid have been upgraded to the quality of the later jewelbox versions, but originally, according to Cohn posting on the PWBL there was an audible difference. Supposedly. as I said, all the text from the booklet in the shoebox lid is contained in the, shall I say, more convenient, jewelbox.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

M.Vidrine

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2005, 03:25:33 PM »
According to Larry Cohn, who worked on the project in a capacity I can't remember, the set issued in 1996 is the closest to hearing the 78s that you can get. Apparently there were some issues with speed on the original 1990 set. This was discussed here quite a while ago but the thread may have been recycled. I believe all the text from the first set is included, but in much smaller format.

Actually, Waxwing could be correct although I was unaware of any issues with the first one. You would think that if there were major discrepancies that Sony would have pulled the first set?

I worked in the returns department for a major music distributor when this set came out. I can't tell you how many came back as defective with little post it notes stuck on them. They usually read something like - this CD sounds like an old record or CD sounds scratchy. Anyway, I see this as the burden of over-promoting.

Either way, you can't go wrong!!
Malcolm

Offline Bluesygirl

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2005, 04:03:39 PM »
I ordered the 1996 version from an independent seller.  I'll let you know what the sound quality is like when I get it.  If it's anything like the audio samples either on Amazon's website or on iTunes' website, it should be pretty good.  Bg

Offline Johnm

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2005, 06:04:46 PM »
Hi all,
I would think any version you could get of Robert Johnson's music would be just fine.  I have the two old Columbia LPs and have never felt a need to replace them or go further.  They were working from very clean copies to begin with, and the only one that was remotely whupped was "They're Red Hot!".  Certainly all of this stuff is easier to hear than Lemon or Papa Charlie's acoustic recordings.
All best,
Johnm

Online Parlor Picker

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Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2007, 06:55:25 AM »
A company called Rockwell has issued the Robert Johnson cuts on heavy duty vinyl, as well as in the form of a picture disc.  I am interested in the former, but am wary of recordings that have been heavily treated with some noise reduction process, such as the dreaded CEDAR.  Some folks prefer this, but I think it compresses the sound unnecessarily and rids it of some treble.  Various CD reissues of previous vinyl releases suffer badly from this.  I have the original LPs from the 1960s and bought the CD reissue, but when played using a good record-playing system, the vinyls sounds better (to my ears anyway).

I have e-mailed Rockwell to see if these pressings have been processed in this way, but they were not able to give a satisfactory answer.

Do any Weenies have first-hand experience of this new edition?  I thought the heavy vinyl album might present these vital recordings in the best possible sound quality.

"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

dowling

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2007, 07:32:44 AM »
Hi Parlor Picker
I haven't herd the new heavy vinyl from rockwell so i cannot help you with that,but i think your right about the 60s records, the best recordings iv herd of johnsons songs comes from well respected old Lps, and i don't know anything about rockwell but that sounds like it could just be one of these gimmicks to get us blues lovers to part with some hard earned cash.The reason they haven't answered your questions could be that they cannot answer them, or they don't care about the quality as much as you do(we do) so it makes you wonder if they should be making money from these beautiful old recordings at all, but it would be interesting to know if anyone has heard these recordings and how good they are.
Paul
C*KID...

Online Parlor Picker

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2007, 08:26:41 AM »
To be fair to Rockwell they did reply, suggesting that the recordings probably had undergone some kind of process, but they were unable to be specific.  They did say the new LPs have been taken from clean 78s.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Johnm

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2007, 11:00:40 AM »
Hi all,
Unless these new releases include previously undiscovered recordings of new songs, alternate takes, etc., I can't imagine any reason for someone already owning any version of Johnson's recordings to pick up this new set.  His music can be heard perfectly well on every re-issue set of his music I've ever heard, and I've never heard the original LP versions improved upon yet.  All of the re-issues of Robert Johnson's music, with the exception of "They're Red Hot", have been exceptionally clean.  If someone comes up with cleaned up versions of Papa Charlie Jackson's recordings, or Lemon's, or Ishmon Bracey's or Tommy Johnson's, I'll be right in line, but with Robert Johnson it seems so unnecessary.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2007, 11:18:41 AM »
Hi, John,

For me, it's not a question of being able to hear Johnson's music, it's a question of the "musicality" of the sound.  I bought the first version of the Sony Complete Recordings when they came out in 1990, and, quite frankly, while the music is enjoyable, the sound of the music isn't, if you get my drift.  The CEDAR processing they used to clean up the recordings, in my opinion, left them thin and lifeless.  If there were a version of Robert Johnson's recordings that sounded as good as the Bluebird Tommy McClennan reissue from 1997, I'd go out and get it.

I guess at this point I should ask:  any opinions on the best sounding currently available Robert Johnson reissue?  I understand that Sony quietly upgraded the sound on their version a few years ago.  Anyone A/B'ed 'em?

Offline Richard

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2007, 12:22:36 PM »
Quote
I have the original LPs from the 1960s and bought the CD reissue, but when played using a good record-playing system, the vinyls sounds better (to my ears anyway


PP I agree entirely and then go one more and 78s are even better again... sadly no RJs though or I would flog 'em and buy a whole clutch of real squarenecks... ;)

I must admit only the other day I thought should I put all my 78s onto CD and flog 'em.... a lot easier to move and wouldn't break on being dropped!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 12:26:13 PM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Online Parlor Picker

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2007, 01:52:45 AM »
Richard - I agree.  I never got into buying 78s myself, but usually take relevant opportunities to replace CDs with vinyl when I can.  A friend of mine did start collecting old 78s and eventually got some fine ones.  He sold a Charley Patton last year to Richard Nevins for big bucks.

I have fond memories of being at his house (he has since moved to Ireland) and listening to a Bukka White side.  Talk about freaky!!  It was like being in the room with Bukka.  Your mind cancels out the background sound of the fish and chips frying and you listen to the music and pick up the ambience of the room.  Of course, they were recorded straight to disc then - no mixing, overdubbing, farting around and certainly no dreadful CEDAR.

By the way, apparently the technical reason that records sound better than CDs is that all the information goes into the groove, whereas with CDs, not only is it digitised, but some of the information is clipped off as well.  So there...

Guess I'll stick with my old CBS LPs.  If, like me, you are foolish enough to have the LPs and the CD reissue, just try putting them both on and switching between the two - you'll soon realise how poor the digital ones sound by comparison.  It's all a con, this digital revolution.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Richard

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Re: Anyone familiar with new Robert Johnson albums?
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2007, 11:55:04 AM »
&8s rule  :P

CDs have a couple of advantages, you can play 'em in the car and they don't scratch like LPs and of course, I don't make copies of CDs but understand it's very easy  ;D

Ooohhhh.... I forgot the big advantage, where would the Juke be without 'em!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 11:56:43 AM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Question re Robert Johnson Complete Recordings
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2007, 09:58:34 PM »
Hi all,
I have merged the discussion of the new Rockwell Robert Johnson re-issues with an old thread, since it is essentially a continuation of the earlier discussion.
All best,
Johnm

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