Labels We Love – Skye

Lena Horne & Gabor Szabo – Lena & Gabor

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  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides this copy sounds right from top to bottom
  • Some of the most UNPROCESSED and REAL sounding jazzy pop we have ever played
  • A True Sleeper from 1968 – love the choice of material, love the players, love Lena, love the album!
  • “The contrast of Horne’s full-throated voice and Szabo’s unconventional, modal guitar playing is mesmerizing…”

As music lovers and audiophiles this was a truly marvelous discovery for us years ago. True, we had known about the album for a long time, but as a practical matter it had been all but impossible to find enough clean copies to do a shootout — until now of course. We had a big pile to work with, a pile that took about five years to acquire, and one that includes both Buddah and Skye pressings.

Dave Sanders, a name I was not familiar with, brilliantly engineered the album as well as other favorites of ours, including Szabo’s 1969, Gilberto’s Windy and McFarland’s Does The Sun Really Shine On The Moon? It’s hard to find a recording he did that isn’t full of Tubey Magic, huge studio space and right-on-the-money instrumental timbres.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

This is the most realistic drum kit I have heard on a non-jazz album in my life. The drum sound on the first track is exactly the sound we all know from hanging around small clubs and our friends’ garage bands. There is simply no audible processing on any part of the kit. The drums are centered behind the vocals and lead instruments, with what sounds like to me the barest of miking, surrounded by just the right amount of unbaffled studio space. (more…)

Gary McFarland – Does The Sun Really Shine On The Moon?

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Look at the track listing — these are pop tunes by The Beatles and The Beach Boys set to jazzy arrangements, perfect for your bachelor pad. Enjoy this one for what it is — enchanting pop tunes without the vocals, superbly well recorded and well played by jazz guys who know how to have fun with these kinds of songs. 

DCC did this title on CD and if you want one just drop us a note and we will include one with your order gratis.

This copy is dramatically more open and spacious than any of the other copies we’ve heard. The organ and bass are especially well recorded.

Drop the needle on God Only Knows to get a taste of how good side one sounds. (more…)

Gabor Szabo – Dreams – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This original Black Label Skye LP has an EXCELLENT SIDE TWO backed with a pretty good side one.

Szabo has made a number of mediocre albums, some of which are poorly recorded, but thankfully this is not one of them. In fact, this is some of the best sound and music he produced for Skye. Side two is open and spacious with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music.

Side one is pretty darn good as well. While not quite as three-dimensional as side two it still retains some of that quality. Listen to all the crazy studio recording effects on the first track. (more…)

Gabor Szabo – 1969

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  • A KILLER sounding copy and the first to hit the site in many years — Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides here are incredibly rich and full-bodied yet still clean, clear and spacious with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music
  • Superb choice of material, with a heavy emphasis on Beatles tunes — “Dear Prudence”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “In My Life” and “You Won’t See Me”, all make an appearance here
  • “Szabo acknowledges that worthwhile popular music didn’t die with George Gershwin… [he] deserves credit for bringing a jazz perspective to songs that so many other improvisers were ignoring.” – All Music

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Gabor Szabo 1969 – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Superb choice of material, with a heavy emphasis on Beatles tunes. Now how can you go wrong with Beatles tunes? Those four Beatles tunes are the highlights of this album: “Dear Prudence”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “In My Life” and “You Won’t See Me”, as well as two folkie tracks by Joni Mitchell: “Both Sides Now” and “Michael From Mountains”. A heartfelt ballad is handled with quiet and warm intimacy: Buffy Saint-Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go”. More uptempo pop classics like Bobby Hyland’s “Sealed With A Kiss”, The Classics IV’s “Stormy” and The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” round out the best of the rest.

That’s an awful lot of good material to work with! This is not Jazz Jazz, this is Pop Jazz: pop tunes played in a jazzy style. I love the stuff.

Cal Tjader – Sounds Out Bacharach

More Cal Tjader

More Sounds Out Bacharach

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  • A KILLER sounding copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • Both sides are super big, full-bodied and present with tons of energy and a solid bottom end 
  • Critics may pooh-pooh this record but if Bachelor Pad music is your thing, you’ll find plenty to like on this wonderfully arranged, groovy tribute to the melodic music of Burt Bacharach

This vintage Skye pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)