I’ve read some consternation over the release of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary LPs. As in, how do they sound for a mere $15? And who is doing the pressing? For those who read the deadwax/runout groove, here is the information I found on side A: B0020066-01A, U, RJ, Sterling.
Sterling is the pressing plant, RJ is almost certainly Ray Janos, who operates the lathe at Sterling.* The one oddity is the letter U, surrounded by a circle (looks like the copyright symbol, except sideways minus 90 degrees). Maybe it is the copyright symbol? If so, why is it sideways? If you know, contact me or comment and I’ll update this post!
I managed to pick up this Albert Ammons LP, the second release ever on Blue Note (originally BN02), on a Wednesday afternoon at Rasputin’s in Mountain View, CA., four days after Record Store Day 2014, for $14.99. There are two songs: Boogie Woogie Stomp and Boogie Woogie Blues.
As for the sound, I don’t have much I can compare it to. I’d say it sounds pretty good for 1939. There is some life in the Ammons’ piano that comes through. He’s rollickin’ right through the tune. I can hear why Blue Note wanted Ammons to record. The guy’s a performer, that’s for sure. I could sit in a room and listen to the man play for an extended period.
Is the recording compressed (photo at left)? I can’t say with certainty, but probably not. I mean, why would you if you’re Blue Note? Is the pressing, or the vinyl itself the highest quality? I think I’ll leave that to pundits who know more than I.
Suffice to say, it’s cool to hear a nice version of this very early recording from the BN vault…no matter how or why it was done. Whether it’s better or worse than previous releases of these two songs…
Got just 36 seconds? Check out a brief medley of the two songs, Boogie Woogie Stomp and Boogie Woogie Blues, direct from the LP! No processing, no noise reduction. Yea, there are some clicks and pops. Cool.
* My assertion about Sterling and RJ is per a November, 2010 post concerning deadwax info, from the Steve Hoffman website forums, but is not from Steve himself.