God bless Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Their Legacy Series is featuring releases of classic albums in their original vinyl format.
Vinyl seems to be making a comeback of late. In fact 1.2 million new vinyl record albums were sold last year. When properly produced, pressed on superior vinyl and played on a good stereo system, the sound can be as clear and powerful as a CD. Sony Legacy has released the following albums as part of their fall catalogue.
1) Agents Of Fortune by Blue Oyster Cult. This was their breakout release. The first three Blue Oyster Cult albums were excellent hard rock assaults. This fourth release by the group was smoother and more pop sounding and was their commercial break through. “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” remains a signature 1970’s hard rock song. While the album does not mention special vinyl, the disc feels heavier than a normal record album. The sound is crystal clear and the packaging down to the inner sleeve is faithful to the original.
2) Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. This was Charles Mingus’ first release for the Columbia label and remains a seminal jazz album. Legacy has decided to issue this important American music album on 180 gram vinyl in order to enhance the sound quality and listening experience. Songs such as “Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul,” “Fables Of Faubus” and “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” find new life and vitality nearly a half century after their creation. Few jazz artists could paint musical pictures like Charles Mingus and Mingus Ah Um finds him at the height of his powers. Vinyl is a good way to hear him again or for the first time.
3) Berlin by Lou Reed. This was a difficult listen in 1973 and remains so today. Despite that, it is superior rock ‘n’ roll from one of the masters. Surrounded by such artists as Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce, Alice Cooper, Randy Brecker and others, he created accessible but dark music. 2007 found Reed touring and presenting a complete production of this release. A good way to listen to this re-mastered classic is to put on your head phones and block out the world.
4) Legalize It by Peter Tosh. I came to reggae late in life and Peter Tosh remains near the top of my current listening pantheon. After his years with the Wailers and Bob Marley, this was his first solo release. Such songs as “Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised),” “No Sympathy,” “Why Must I Cry” and “Whatcha Gonna Do” quickly established him as an artist of note. I played this release and my old original vinyl album back to back and there is no comparison. It is a fine example of how good music can and should sound.
5) Boston by Boston. The most successful debut album in history with 17 million copies sold in the United States returns to its original format on a 180 gram audiophile vinyl pressing. The original packaging and liner notes enhance the experience and propel the listener back to August of 1976. Songs such as “Foreplay/Long Time,” “Peace Of Mind” and the immortal “More Than A Feeling” all are brilliantly re-mastered. The album even feels substantial to the touch.
6) British Steel by Judas Priest. Sledge hammer rock from some of the best practitioners of the type. The original tapes have been cleaned which allows the production to present a lot of the subtle nuances that were lost in former releases. The music still hits you over the head but now clearly
While vinyl has remained a niche collectible since the advent of the CD format, these releases go beyond that. They are meant to be listened too so that the original intent of the releases can be appreciated. It must be remembered that record albums were created by sides and many times the art reflected what was inside.
All of these releases can be found on Amazon and no doubt other places as well. Even record players are not hard to find. So do yourself a favor and give some of these vinyl issues a try. You will not be disappointed and may even find yourself converted.