A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
It’s been nearly two years but the waiting is over — we’ve found another copy of the famous Bob and Ray on Living Stereo with DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Without a doubt this is the best sound I have ever heard for side one of this album. The sound here is so amazing I’m willing to go out on a limb and make the following recklessly bold statement. Buck Dance on this pressing has the most extended, natural and harmonically correct high frequencies I have ever heard from my speakers (or anyone else’s for that matter).
And the crazy thing about it is, when played against an actual original pressing of Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp, this copy, which one would assume is made from a dub, SOUNDS FAR BETTER. Now of course we don’t have ten copies (or even two copies) of LSP 1866 which would allow us to find one with an even better Buck Dance than the one heard here on Bob and Ray, which means we cannot be definitive in any way about the disparity in sound between the two albums. We can only judge the records we have in hand, not the ones we might have heard years ago or — even worse — speculate about the sound of records we have not actually played, recently or otherwise.
So we will stick to the facts, and the facts of this side one are that it is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING sounding.
But not perfect. We had three Bob and Rays and one of them was a bit more transparent. One of the them had more deep bass. (That first crack of thunder on side one is an obvious test for bottom end; it can really rattle the room on the right copy.)
So let’s be fair and say that overall this copy earns a grade of A++, having two shortcomings, but that Buck Dance earns a grade of A+++, having NO shortcomings!
Sides One and Two
Side one as above. Side two earned a grade of A Plus; the sound is a bit recessed compared to side one and lacks the low end whomp of the best we’ve heard. You can do better but it sure is not easy. These records are hard to find and REALLY hard to find in clean condition.
TAS List and Deservedly So
This is a longtime resident of the TAS List of course, and we all owe HP a debt of gratitude for turning us on to this wonderful record, which just happens to be my favorite LSP of all time and a record I might not have ever played were it not for the TAS List.
For those of you who don’t know it the album is comprised of a group of selections taken from the best of the early Living Stereo releases, some of which obviously sound better than others, all interspersed with hilarious dialogue and sound effects by Bob and Ray. This record is a blast. The entertainment value is off the scale.
Very Quiet Vinyl
The record plays pretty much Mint Minus or better, which is as quiet as any copy gets, in our experience anyway.
Narration with sound effects by Bob and Ray: “Bob and Ray visit Dr. Ahkbar at the castle”
George Melachrino and his orchestra: “Riders in the sky” (from the LP “Under Western Skies”)
Skitch Henderson and his Orchette: “Minuet on the rocks” (from the LP “Pop Goes The Concert”)
Narration with sound effects by Bob and Ray: “Bob and Ray in the round room”
Dick Schory’s New Percussion Ensemble: “Buck Dance” (from the LP “Music For Bang, Baa-Room and Harp”)
Lena Horne: “New-Fangled Tango” (from the LP “Lena Horne At The Waldorf-Astoria”)
Narration with sound effects by Bob and Ray: “Bob and Ray – The Thing”
Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band: “Second Hungarian Rhapsody” (from the LP “Music For Non-thinkers”)
Radio City Music Hall Organ – Richard Leiber: “The First Noel” (from the LP “Christmas Holidays At Radio City Music Hall”)
Julie Andrews: “We’ll Gather Liliacs in the Spring” (from the LP “Julie Andrews Sings”)
Sauter-Finegan Orchestra: “Song of the Volga Boatman” (from the LP “Memories Of Goodman and Miller”)
Narration with sound effects by Bob and Ray: “Bob and Ray in the Laboratory”
Abbe Lane: “Whatever Lola Wants” (from the LP “Be Mine Tonight”)
The Belafonte Singers: “The Ox Drivers” (from the LP “Presenting the Belafonte Singers”)
Narration with sound effects by Bob and Ray: “Bob and Ray – The End”