Top Artists – Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan / Dreamy – Forget the Roulette Originals

More of the Music of Sarah Vaughan

Hot Stamper Pressings that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

Records We’ve Reviewed that Sound Their Best on the Right Reissue

The original release for Dreamy is on Roulette, a label we have often found to have problems in the sound department (not to mention notoriously bad vinyl). The originals we’ve played over the years have much too much honk and hardness in the midrange to be taken seriously, at least by us anyway, and certainly not at these prices. When we stumbled upon these good Emus reissues, the skies opened up and the sun shone down upon Sarah’s wonderful 1960 album of ballads as it had never done before.

This reissue is spacious, open, transparent, rich and sweet. It’s yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology, with the added benefit of mastering using the more modern cutting equipment of the ’70s. We are of course here referring to the good modern mastering of 30+ years ago, not the dubious modern mastering of today.

The combination of old and new works wonders on this title as you will surely hear for yourself on these superb sides.

We were impressed with the fact that these pressings excel in so many areas of reproduction. What was odd about it — odd to most audiophiles but not necessarily to us — was just how rich and Tubey Magical the reissue can be on the right pressing.

This leads me to think that most of the natural, full-bodied, lively, clear, rich sound of the album is on the tape, and that all one has to do to get that vintage sound on to a record is simply to thread up the tape on the right machine and hit play.

The fact that nobody seems to be able to make a record that sounds this good these days tells me that in fact, I’m wrong to think that such an approach would work. It just seems to me that somebody should have been able to figure out how to do it by now. In our experience that is simply not the case in the modern world of vinyl reissues, and has not been for many years.

Sarah Vaughan – Sings George Gershwin, Volume One

More Sarah Vaughan

  • No other copy could touch this original Black Label Stereo Mercury pressing for warmth, richness, and, most especially, in-the-room presence and intimacy
  • Hard to imagine we would ever run into a quieter copy than this one – Mint Minus Minus with no marks that play and no groove damage makes this a very special copy indeed
  • Hal Mooney brilliantly handles the arrangements, letting Sarah stretch and bend Gershwin’s notes to her heart’s content
  • 4 1/2 stars: “A lush and opulent effort… [Vaughan’s] embellishments accentuate the romantic lyrics on these classics…”

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Sarah Vaughan / The Lonely Hours on Classic Records

More of the Music of Sarah Vaughan

Classic Records remastered this album back in the day, and I can see why: the average pressing on Roulette is borderline unlistenable.

Of course we didn’t know that when we started this shootout. We had found a nice sounding copy and subsequently went on the hunt for more. Little did we know how wide the variation in sound quality we would find on the original Orange Label pressings.

There was simply no denying that many of the copies we played were just too thin, shrill and pinched in the midrange to be of any interest to our audiophile customers.

As mediocre as Bernie’s Classic cutting may be, it’s still better than the average Roulette original one might throw on the turntable.

And you can forget the monos completely; they were by far the worst sounding of them all.

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Sarah Vaughan – In a Romantic Mood

More Sarah Vaughan

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  • Sarah Vaughan’s superb In a Romantic Mood album from 1957 finally debuts on the site, and what a copy it is, taking top honors for side two and earning our coveted Triple Plus (A+++) grade
  • No other copy could touch this original Black Label Mono Mercury pressing for warmth, richness, and, most especially, vocal intimacy and in-the-room presence
  • If all you know are the Classic Records and Speakers Corner Heavy Vinyl reissues, our Shootout Winner here should be a sonic treat you have simply never experiences before
  • An original Mercury pressing that has no audible marks and plays as quietly as this one does is a rare find indeed – it seems to be the quietest copy from our shootout, and even better, no other copy earned higher grades

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Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie – Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan

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More Count Basie

  • A KILLER copy of this superb collaboration with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one
  • On a copy this good, Vaughan will appear as a living, breathing person right in your very own listening room – we call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades
  • Here is what’s best about vintage analog – sound that is exceptionally spacious and three-dimensional, relaxed, full-bodied and natural
  • 4 stars: ” Basie’s Orchestra and pianist Kirk Stuart are purely in a supporting role behind the magnificent voice of Sarah Vaughan… her wide range and impeccable musicianship carry the day.”

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Sarah Vaughan – Dreamy

More Sarah Vaughan

More Pop and Jazz Vocal Albums

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this Emus pressing of Sarah Vaughan’s Dreamy album
  • Forget the honky originals – our killer Hot Stamper reissues of this 1960 All Tube Recording are rich and relaxed, just the way they should be
  • And please don’t confuse the good reissues we offer from decades past with the mediocre crap being pressed today – there is no simply no comparison, not when it comes to sound quality anyway
  • “Trumpeter Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison contributes some soft, melodic trumpet but the focus is very much on the singer during such numbers as ‘The More I See You,’ ‘Star Eyes,’ ‘My Ideal,’ and ‘Crazy He Calls Me.'”

The original release for Dreamy is on Roulette, a label we have often found to have problems in the sound department (not to mention notoriously bad vinyl). The originals we’ve played over the years have much too much honk and hardness in the midrange to be taken seriously, at least by us anyway, and certainly not at these prices. When we stumbled upon these good Emus reissues, the skies opened up and the sun shone down upon Sarah’s wonderful 1960 album of ballads as it had never done before. (more…)

Sarah Vaughan – Audiophiles Should Give This One a Miss

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Sarah Vaughan

Hot Stamper Pressings of Outstanding Pop and Jazz Vocal Albums

This is just one of the recordings by Sarah Vaughan that we’ve auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we’ll just say this album suffers from a poor performance, poor sound, or both, and therefore is unlikely to  deserve a place in an audiophile record collection.

For more than 35 years we’ve been helping music loving audiophiles the world over avoid bad sounding records.

To see the records with bad sound or bad music we’ve reviewed, click here.

Mostly we write about good sounding records, and there are thousands that can be found here.

It’s yet another public service from Better Records, the home of the best sounding records ever pressed. Our records sound better than any others you’ve ever heard or you get your money back.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – A Guide to the Fundamentals

Sarah Vaughan – Sassy Swings Again

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  • Superb nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side one – big, rich and spacious
  • Side two earned a Super Hot grade for its full-bodied brass and Sarah’s breathy vocals
  • A great selection of Jazz, Pop and Blues standards for her last Mercury release from 1967
  • Allmusic 4 Stars “…[an] essential session from that most divine of jazz chanteuses.”

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Sarah Vaughan – Live In Japan

  • With two shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sides and two superb Double Plus (A++) sides, this is a phenomenal copy of Live in Japan
  • This album captures Vaughan’s rich, playful style and transfixing vocal range like you’ve never heard before
  • Full, big, present, and open, this album will recreate the sound of the concert hall right in your very own listening room
  • 5 stars: “This two-fer (which finds Sassy accompanied by pianist Carl Schroeder, bassist John Gianelli, and drummer Jimmy Cobb) gives one a definitive look at the brilliant (and sometimes miraculous) singer.”

You may remember that Mobile Fidelity remastered this very album on CD, one of their very first releases, long before they came up with the idea of gold plating their discs and doubling the price. Some of those early discs were outstanding; I still own many of them to this day. That said, I don’t think I ever played this particular title. (more…)

Sarah Vaughan – The Lonely Hours

 

  • The Lonely Hours debuts with killer Hot Stamper sound – this copy took top honors with Triple Plus sonics on both sides
  • No other copy could touch this early Roulette pressing for size, space, clarity, dynamics and, most especially, vocal richness
  • With Benny Carter brilliantly handling the arrangements, we feel that this is a badly underrated album of Ms Vaughan’s from 1964, a glorious year for music
  • “Vaughan sounds excellent on “I’ll Never Be the Same,” “These Foolish Things,” and “If I Had You,” lightly caressing the notes.”

Wonderfully warm, big and clear, not to mention exceptionally dynamic, this copy shows the listener just how good the master tape must be.

Not only could no other copy touch it; as far as I can tell it’s the only copy with two sides good enough to put on the site!

Classic Records remastered this album back in the day, and I can see why: the average pressing on Roulette is borderline unlistenable. Of course we didn’t know that when we started this shootout. We had found a nice sounding copy and subsequently went on the hunt for more. Little did we know how wide the variation in sound quality we would find on the original Orange Label pressings. There was simply no denying that many of the copies we played were just too thin, shrill and pinched in the midrange to be of any interest to our Hot Stamper customers. (more…)