SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
July/August 2001

Lightnin' Hopkins - Goin' Away
JVC XRCD JVCXR-211-2, 2001

SnapShot! Rating:

Need a new demo disc? The sound on this XRCD2 remaster originally recorded in 1963 is spooky, especially on a hi-rez system -- there are no digital nasties to worry about here. The instruments -- guitar, bass, drums -- along with Lightnin' Hopkins' voice have an unforced clarity, and the ambience is so present that it almost sounds like trickery at times. The splash of the drum work -- hear it and you'll know what I mean -- on the title tune, right to left, seemingly defines the walls of the recording venue. "Stranger Here" boils slowly, throbs down low, and sounds utterly palpable throughout -- a deft mix of you-are-there and they-are-here sound. If you've wanted to buy an XRCD to hear what all the hubbub is about, buy this one. The same goes if you own a few of the discs and are looking for another that's particularly distinguished. And if you are a hard-core aficionado of spirited blues (or Lightnin' Hopkins) -- oh heck, everyone should own this disc. It's a gem....Marc Mickelson

Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture
Telarc CD-80541, 2001

SnapShot! Rating:

It's hard to justify the existence of another recording of the "1812 Overture" unless it's from Telarc, whose 1979 release of this, uh, classical war-horse [CD-80041] was early audiophile ear-candy with its digital cannon shots, and warning thereof on its cover. On vinyl that first recording was notoriously difficult for even good tonearms and cartridges to track properly, and this new version will be even more difficult -- it's available on CD, SACD and DVD-A only, but in two- or six-channel formats. The DSD sound of the CD is pure Telarc -- full, warm and enveloping. The cannon shots, performed on Civil War-era cannons by the same cannoneers who participated in the original recording, won't disappoint the subwoofer crowd. As a sonic bonus, Telarc recorded the carillon at the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland via microphones placed atop the 150-foot tower, all to simulate the raucous bells of the battle scene....Marc Mickelson

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