Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cat Stevens: Tea For The Tillerman (Analogue Productions/QRP 200 Gram Vinyl): Is it the Perfect Cup of Tea?

The Music
I can think of several reasons why analog maven Chad Kassem chose the audiophile warhorse from Cat Stevens, Tea for The Tillerman, as the inaugural release utilizing his new vinyl pressing facility, Quality Record Pressings (QRP). It is obviously an excellent recording.  But, what struck me the most after revisiting this classic, was how well this 1971 album has aged. Compared to other efforts of the time, Tea For the Tillerman remains timeless, and carries none of the overly-dramatic, heavy-handed orchestration found on other classic efforts of the day, such as Neil Young's Harvest.

The Pressing and Packaging
One of the differences between the original U.S. and U.K. releases of this record, was that only the U.K. pressing featured a gatefold cover.  Kassem has taken some heat in the past for what some felt were cheaply produced covers, but there can be no such claims made here.  Like the glossy gatefold covers used in their deluxe Impulse 45 RPM series, the cover reproduction here is absolutely top-notch. The gatefold cover is perfectly replicated, with a glossy laminated cover and a textured inner gatefold just as found on the original U.K pink rim release. 

The record is housed in a Mofi-style rice paper inner sleeve, which carries the QRP logo. The vinyl itself arrived perfectly clean and flat, and played with nary a pop or tic throughout. The label is colored pink to recall the original "pink Island or pink rim" design, but carries the QRP logo. And while I'd prefer that they use a full repro of the original label, I can understand the desire that their pressings be distinguishable from originals.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Spins: Elvis Costello -- Get Happy!! Mofi 180 Gram Vinyl, Sonny Clark -- Sonny's Crib 45 RPM Vinyl, The Cars -- Move Like This 180 Gram Vinyl

Hello again, from Myvinylreview! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. There are going to be some changes here, which hopefully will result in more reviews for your enjoyment. Today's reviews should give you a taste of the new format, which will generally eschew long discussion in favor of a shorter, encapsulated style. You still won't see star ratings, but particularly strong offerings will still be rated as recommended, highly recommended or very highly recommended. For those who have additional questions regarding comparisons to previous vinyl or cd editions, I'd like to strongly encourage you to join the Myvinylreview Facebook community and post your questions there--either I or one of many others should be able to answer your question.

About My Reviewing and Rating Philosophy

A bit about my review and rating philosophy: In reviewing audiophile reissues, I primarily ask this question: Does this particular reissue sound better than the original release from the country of origin? For example, with Elvis Costello--does the reissue sound better than the UK original? If the reissue sounds better than than the original, it will get at least a "Recommended" following the review. Where a record is particularly rare, possesses particularly stunning sound, and/or has significantly better than average packaging, the ratings of "Highly Recommended" and "Very Highly Recommended" may be used.