Canteloube / Songs Of The Auvergne Vol. 1 & 2 (and a Swipe at Classic Records)

This 1972 Vanguard pressing (VSD-713/714) has SUPERB SOUND for the Volume One material — it’s super-transparent, with an extended top end that is not often heard on the typical vintage Vanguard pressing. The overall sound is HTF – Hard To Fault — and if it hadn’t been for one other pressing we heard that blew our minds even more, we would surely have thought this first disc was as good as it was going to get. (As you can imagine, many copies over the years have been rejected as they came in and never made the cut, for both noise and sound issues.)

Miss Devrath is front and center, live in your livingroom, as natural a human voice as you will ever hear on record. It’s clear what the best copies are really capable of — completely natural Demo Disc Sound.

Sides Three and Four

Good, but quite a step down from sides one and two. Although musical and enjoyable, sides three and four were somewhat veiled and smeary compared to the sound we heard on sides one and two. We gave them both a grade of A Plus. Even these two lesser sides would probably beat the Classic reissue, and sides one and two would kill it.

TAS and Classic Records

I believe Volume One used to be on the TAS Super Disc List, and for a time the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue may have been as well. I remember playing the Classic years ago and thinking the sound was not bad, not as awful as most of their stuff, but still far from what it should be.

How anybody can take Classic Records seriously is beyond me, yet HP has many of their records on his Super Disc list and he is certainly not alone in praising their remastered vinyl. In our opinion, you should be able to hear what’s wrong with their records from another room, a test we would happily submit to. That dark, hard, smeary, transient- and texture-free sound one hears on all their records is pretty obvious to those of us who listen to The Real Thing all the time.

How these audiophile reviewers can be fooled by such second-rate fare is frankly beyond our understanding. 

The Music

This is an album of folk songs from the Auvergne area of France, arranged by Canteloube. These are some of the most beautiful tunes you’ll ever hear, with delicious orchestration perfectly fitting the works. Davrath’s pure, innocent young voice is clearly the ideal interpreter of these songs.