Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Eagle Vision EVB335309
Format: Blu-Ray

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Picture Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Elvis Costello has been recording for nearly 40 years, which makes him even more venerable and established than the rock acts he and other punk and new wave musicians were rebelling against in the late 1970s. Since then, he’s cast his musical net wide, recording more than 25 pop albums notable for their stylistic variety and consistency of quality, and showing a willingness to venture into more ambitious territory. He co-composed and recorded a song cycle with the Brodsky String Quartet (The Juliet Letters, 1993), and composed and orchestrated a ballet score (Il Sogno, 2004).

Eagle Vision EVB335159
Format: Blu-ray

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Picture Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher was never the big star in the US that he could have been, largely because he didn’t spend much time touring here. He was as good a blues player as some of his better-known contemporaries -- so good that he was the guitarist on The London Muddy Waters Sessions, from 1972. Aside from the leader, he’s the best thing on that album.

S-Curve Records 7315500429
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

The booklet for Tom Jones’s new disc, Long Lost Suitcase, is filled with pictures of the singer, from his childhood to his years as a hitmaker in the 1960s. The disc was released in conjunction with Jones’s autobiography, Over the Top and Back, and its songs encompass the many styles of music that have influenced him.

Blue Note B0023668-01
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Blue Note’s web page for its vinyl initiative, which began in March 2014, includes this hopeful statement from label president Don Was: “Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary, our catalog runs so deep that we will faithfully be reissuing five albums a month for many years to come!” While I certainly hope this will turn out to be true, as I write this review in mid-December 2015, I don’t see any listings for releases after November 20. Since LP sales for 2014 totaled 14 million, there’s reason for the label to continue mining its deep catalog for more vinyl.

Legacy/Sony Music 88875150542
Format: CD

Musical Performance
*****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

When I was 12, two friends and I decided to start a rock’n’roll band. I had a cheap Woolworth guitar, my friend Brad played his brother’s set of Rogers drums, and his neighbor Kevin played a powder-blue Sekova hollow-body guitar. We didn’t have a bass player. The first song we learned had three chords. At that moment we joined kids around the world who, in the mid-to-late ’60s, were filling their parents’ basements and garages with the sound of “Gloria.”

Provogue PRO 7463 5
Format: CD/DVD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Picture Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

When I caught Robert Cray in concert about ten years ago, he played a very good, very professional show that somehow fell just short of being memorable. When I saw him last spring, he played a show that I’d rank among the best I’ve seen. At both events he was in good voice, his guitar playing was outstanding, and his band was on point. The difference was that indefinable quality that lifts a performance or a record from the level of routine into the category of special.

Warner Music Canada 2-052349
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
****

Blue Rodeo has been around for 30 years now, and while a large US audience seems to elude them, they’re enormously popular in their native Canada. Their command of folk, country, and rock is so acute that US fans of alt-country should have flocked to them. But in the end, all that matters is that this band has an extensive catalog of great music and a reputation as a potent live act.

Work Song WSD009CD
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

For more than 35 years, Joe Jackson has refused to be pigeonholed, making records that embrace everything from new-wave rock (Look Sharp! and I’m the Man, both from 1979) to the Latin-jazz influences that crop up on Night and Day (1982) and Body and Soul (1984). He’s recorded a uniquely orchestrated Symphony No.1 (1999), a tribute to Duke Ellington (The Duke, 2012), and a collection of jump-blues tunes.

Columbia Records 88875123262
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

David Gilmour certainly takes his time between recordings. He has released four discs since 1978, and there was a more than 20-year gap between his second LP, About Face (1984), and his next outing, On an Island (2006). He was at the helm for two Pink Floyd records during that period, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), both of which sold well but received largely poor notices.

Prestige/Analogue Productions APRJ 7180
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
****1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

Although, in his liner note for Rudy Van Gelder’s 2005 remastering of Gene Ammons’s Boss Tenor, Bob Porter calls this 1960 recording a “masterpiece,” he points out that Ammons was not in great shape at the time: “That it came off as well as it did is something remarkable. Take a look at the cover photo. Gene Ammons is as high as a Georgia pine.” Indeed, Ammons looks as if he’ll nod out at any moment.