John Coltrane’s – “Afr0 Blue Impressions” – the Vinyl reissue



The “Teaser and the Firecat” episode earlier today  reminded me of this…

Afro Blue Impressions – 4 sides of the John Coltrane Quartet recorded live in Stockholm and Berlin in late 1963.    This is a solid recording of The Quartet during the Impulse years and near its peak – it was not released ’til the late ’70’s some 10 years after JC’s passing.

I like the Pablo Live JC albums – they capture the atmosphere and performance – maybe they are not the essential JC albums – but if you like JC then you should have them – the Quartet space out and are released to play.

Above left you have the cover of the original Pablo Issue –  it looks vibrant. On the right you have the 2014 re-issue – rather black and white, arty and sterile?  In this instance, for me, the covers quite nicely capture the difference in sound. I bought the reissue as I had not managed to find a good Pablo copy  – it sounded clear and crisp – but uninvolving and yes it was boring – for me the life had been drained from the performance – I took the record off after about a minute.  Later I looked and found a cheap secondhand original Pablo copy.  I played the original and it felt real and involving – like you are there.  Why did I feel like that? What is the difference?  I can only guess that the re-issue is from a CD equivalent resolution file that has lost the fine detail. Or maybe I am going mad.




Posted in Music, Vinyl Records | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Remastered? Cat Stevens “Teaser and the Firecat” – The vinyl revival 2015



Yesterday I commented on some of the excellent records issued or reissued over the last year.  Alas things are not always that straightforward.

I had seen an advert saying that Cat Stevens 1970 lp Teaser and the Firecat  was to be issued in the Back to Black/Sound of Vinyl series on the 12th Jan 2015. This is a really nice album of gentle songs – a classic of the genre.

It is out, and, as you might be able to see, it states 180 Gram Vinyl Remastered on the packaging.  I took that to mean that as it was a new reissue it had been freshly remastered.  Remastering is not always a good thing – it all depends who does it and what source they have. But based on recent experiences from Universal I had expected good things.

Mmmm this time I was wrong. It isn’t bad, but it is bass heavy and I am sure it could sound a lot better – it really looks and sounds as though the stampers from an earlier release c 2001 have been just dusted off and used again.  So if you have the 180gm release from c 2001 and wanted improved sound don’t bother.  I would have really hoped for better as I understood this was due for the High Quality Analogue Productions treatment until the money men or similar got involved and only Tea for the Tillerman was released.


By co-incidence I just happen to be reading Mystery in White while the anesthetic from Monday finally works out of my system. It was written by Jefferson Farjeon – a major author between the two world wars – and whose sister wrote the words of Morning Has Broken (Track 2 Side 2 of Teaser and the Firecat).






Posted in Music, Vinyl Records | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The vinyl revival – a quick look back at some of the highlights of 2014

The vinyl revival seems to be continuing at quite a pace if the number of new and re-releases are anything to go by – I am struggling to remember a year like it and can’t help wondering when the bubble will burst. Anyway I thought I would pick out  some of the highlights and pass on my observations in case you missed some of them.


The how it should be done award for a major label goes to The Beatles LP’s in Mono cut from the Analogue Masters at Abbey Road – not the digital copies used for the mono CD issue of a few years ago or like used for the stereo releases – and with special care taken on the sleeves and labels –  what I have heard of them they sound great – 10 out 10.


Another  award to Universal Music.  Back in the summer Island Records, in the Back to Black series did themselves proud with their re-release of 4 ” folk” albums from the late ’60’s and early ’70’s mastered from the Original Analogue Tapes,  and very nicely presented. I think they sound really good (but do not have originals to compare them to).  Even the 3rd re-release  in as many years of the brilliant solid gold classic I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight is welcome (the other two were by Simply Vinyl – presented with the back cover missing the credits and then a US RTI pressed Wax Cathedral issue).

John Martyn london conversation Liege & Lief Sandy Denny North Star       Richard and Linda IWTSTBLT


Well Analogue Productions are revamping some of the RCA Living Stereo titles previously issued by Classic Records, Hi-Q are still issuing records and then there have been some UM Box Sets, but the releases that caught my eye have been;  the Berliner Philharmoniker and London Philharmonic ventures into vinyl with a box set apiece,  Deutsche Gramophone have released some new recordings on vinyl. And the Electric Recording Company have released 5 more of their stunning lp’s.

And then there is Isang Enders recording of the Bach Cello Concertos for Berlin Classics – OK, OK, it is a digital recording but I just like the way this young man  plays the concertos – so full of life – quite a comparison to the highly rated Janos Starker set on Speakers Corner/Mercury Living Presence which I found a bit drab and cloying.

Isang enders



Well my main Jazz focus in 2014 was John Coltrane’s Impulse years and so my pick of the year is the Resonance Records release of JC recorded on 11th November 1966 and issued as Offering: Live at  Temple University (recorded not a week before  Joni Mitchell played at Temple and captured as Live at the 2nd Fret –  and just 6 weeks after JC’s 40th birthday)

But for re-releases Music Matters have completed their first run of titles at 33.3rpm to much acclaim; AP continue their trawl of the Prestige catalogue while ECM have also been delving into the back catalogue and issuing new vinyl editions.

Blue Note have been very impressive celebrating 75 years by digitally archiving and making countless vinyl re-issues at reasonable cost from the new masters.

Similarily Back to Black  have also been delving back to their 50’s and 60’s catalogues.

The archive delving award 

This must go to the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Volume 11; The Basement Tapes. Frustrating if you want the the vinyl edition  and the complete Basement Tape recordings.  As essential as the Smile set from a couple of years ago.  And much better than the disappointing copyright saving 1964 50th Anniversary Set.

The mail order only award

This has to be the glorious Vault release from Third Man Records of the manic Jack White, Live at Bonnaroo (2014) – still can’t quite work out why I like him…..

Other notables

Asylum/Warner Brothers/Sire are still sneaking out some re-issue gems, cut by Chris Bellman, and issued at a reasonable price while you are not looking – I noticed them filling gaps in their Talking Heads vinyl catalogue, an Otis Redding release, the two Reprise Gram Parson’s  albums as well as Joni Mitchell’s Hejira and 5 or 6 Eagles albums recently. Oh and the second Neil Young studio archive box appeared – lp’s 5 to 8 - Time Fades Away, On The Beach, Tonights The Night and Zuma. And I almost forgot a rather fine Captain Beefheart Box – Sun Zoom Spark 1970-1972  to sit alongside the reissued Apostrophe (Zappa).

Parlophone sneaked out the 3 Harvest label Syd Barret lp’s – Barrett,  The Madcap Laughs and Opel.

Early in the year there was the lovely lp by the Haden Triplets – daughters of jazz bassist Charlie Haden (who sadly passed away in 2014) – produced by Ry Cooder – and issued on Third Man Records.

And the list goes on and on……

  • the expanded versions of the first 5 Led Zeppelin lp’s
  • an 8 lp box set of Deep Purple’s Made in Japan
  • a 4 lp box set of Queen at the Rainbow
  • a box of the the first 7 Springsteen lp’s
  • 2 more Grateful Dead Live RSD Releases and Two from the Vault (a Kevin Gray cut)
  • Miles Davis Bootleg Series 3 – Live at the Fillmore
  • Mo-Fi continue their 3D programme (Dylan, Davis  and Dead)
  • a Cream box set……….

And this is not to mention current music, soul, reggae and other genres I know little about……

Nor the impending Beach Boys Analogue Productions collection hitting this side of the Atlantic.





Posted in Music, Vinyl Records | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Saying goodbye to Henry

Really this is silly – I chose to give my Hernia a name – how mad is that?

Anyway, as many will know, injury and body failure can cause quite a shift in what you can and can’t do – it has been a massive reminder how tough it can be especially when you get old and frail.

For me walking has become troublesome, cycling on road just about manageable and cycling off road is a complete no no -?but I am grateful it is curable. I have massive admiration for those who have to live with the incurable.

So today I am sitting waiting for an Op to repair it – I have an hour to go before they trolley me off – and the anxiety is building.

It will be probably 4 weeks before I can cycle again and some parts of me might turn black and blue pretty soon.

Plenty of time for reflection.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Do you really mean what you have written?

I think you can guess where this was posted!

I think you can guess where this was posted!

I think we can all guess what they meant – but they messed up – and it is easy to mess up and misinterpret and take offence at communications – written – spoken –  gestures – there is  far too much of it happening  –  I am getting old but don’t you just find it sad that we can’t live in peace without wanting to **** others because of differences.



Image | Posted on by | 2 Comments

Item 47-74


I saw and liked this photo on the blog of a great couple from Aus we met while in Vietnam the week before last. I do hope they don’t mind me sharing it with you – I really like it and it kind of sums up the last week and a half :)


Posted in Cycling | Leave a comment

Hello 2015 – New Year’s Resolutions and Travel Notes

I am sitting at my table and wondering what time it is – we landed at Heathrow about 8 hours ago after 10 days travelling and I  feel weary and out of sorts – so what better way of spending a few minutes than jotting down some random notes.

New Year Resolutions 

  1.  Improve my written word (grammar, spelling….).  This is actually going to be quite hard.  I read a hurried comment I made  New Years Day on a web site. I made it while getting ready for the off to visit daughter 2 in Singapore.  Arrggh I was so embarrassed – in it I mentioned I had dislexic (dyslexic) fingers – it is more than that.
  2. Regain fitness and “youth” – ok I know it is a bit late for that but….. We needed a 60×40 mug shot for the Visa to enter Vietnam – looking at the photo’s on screen before printing was awful – lines, wrinkles – I am sure my rate of aging has started galloping.

Travel Notes  Pictures

Morning 1 - Singapore

Morning 1 – Singapore

A street market - Saturday night in Hanoi

A street market – Saturday night in Hanoi

Motor bikes everywhere: I person, 2 person, Mum & Dad and Baby, Boxes, Bruskes, Vegetables - unbelievable

The workhorse – I person, 2 person, Mum & Dad and Baby, 2 people and a goat, boxes, brushes, vegetables – unbelievable

Early morning Hanoi

Early morning Hanoi

My daughter 2 with a friend

My daughter  with a friend







Hanoi Railways Staion - heading for the20:10 to Hue and Danang

Hanoi Railways Station – heading for the 20:10 sleeper train to  Hue and Danang

View from the train (2)

View from the train (2)

View from the train (1)

View from the train (1)

Hue Railway Station

Hue Railway Station

View from the train (3)

View from the train (3)

Ry Cooder and David Lindley's 1990 Tour of Europe finishes in Vietnam January 2015 (ok I dumped the worn out T-shirt in the bin)

Ry Cooder and David Lindley’s 1990 Tour of Europe finishes in Vietnam, January 2015 (ok ok I dumped the worn out T-shirt in the bin during the trip)








The Tombs of Hue - Quite dissapointed to find these were anly about 80 years old and taxes were raised to build the tomb



Lost in Halong Bay


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , | 1 Comment