Track Selection: Blues Walk (NY, RVG STEREO MASTER)
Lou Donaldson (as) Herman Foster (p) Peck Morrison (b) Dave Bailey (d) Ray Barretto (congas) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, July 28, 1958
LJC History: Previously posted as King Japan reissue. You can compare what King Japan made of the track with the RVG Stereo, though the new USB TT has much higher gain, hence louder. I recall wishing I had an affordable original. Well, that day has come. There are times when a Japanese reissue, however good, is simply, not enough.
There are some records you just fall hopelessly in love with and for me, Lou Donaldson’s Blues Walk is one. At the risk of repeating myself, Lou plays alto as a blues guitar, laying down a series of licks which climax at high points, a vibrato wail, released with a figure of grace notes, laying the ground for the next phrase. The only other player I know that executes in this style was the great Sidney Bechet, whose fleet fingerwork, the gymnastic figures with their elegant tails, leave you intoxicated by their effortless perfection.
Stereo Alert! May attract nuts! The record is an RVG master with “RVG STEREO” in the trail-off, not simply a VAN GELDER which happened to be stereo. It is quite primitive stereo too, with Donaldson hard left, piano and bass centre, and drums right. I don’t think anyone would opt for this presentation today, where the centre stage belongs to the leader, and often the piano and drums are stretched the entire width of the soundstage. But it is Van Gelder’s judgement in its day, and the RVG STEREO imprint to my mind confirms it is a separate artistic enterprise from the mono master.
Vinyl: BST 1593 RVG Stereo edition, NY labels and ear, deep groove, circa 1962-4
I had no problem with it being a second pressing on NY labels, or Stereo, it has all the pedigree I ask for. But what is this? The B Side reveals an alternate source master B-1 Is this an early replacement – they are all B-1, or some later intervention? Only Rudy knows. And may be some LJC readers.
Source: Ebay Location: US
Sellers Description: Lou Donaldson Blues Walk Blue Note jazz LP NM stereo New York USA label EX cover
Jacket condition: EX Record condition: NM
“The cover is in very nice condition with some very light ring wear detracting just a little. The labels are New York USA versions and are in nice condition with a few light spindle marks on Side 2. The vinyl is bright and glossy and shows no signs of wear. As an added bonus the record is still contained in its original Blue Note inner sleeve.Please note that for some reason the original owner cut off the top corners of the inner sleeve so the sleeve is not fully intact”. (ends)
I had narrowly missed this auction first time around, when my sniping service declined to bid as my snipe was below the current bid in the closing seconds of the auction. To my surprise the record, with its very distinctive combination of Stereo sticker and NY labels, popped up again on auction a month or so later, from the same seller. It had to be the same record. Quizzing the US seller, he recounted a tale of woe, a parcel of a half-dozen sales which a European buyer had reneged on. Because my snipe did not fire first time around it meant I was not given the “second chance” offer, which reveals an unexpected downside to sniping.
I had already made up my mind this record was mine. All I had to do was to repeat the bidding performance, and so it transpired, it was mine. Some things are just meant to be. All I need now is to track down a mono. Not that I’m being unfaithful to my stereo, you understand. There are times when a Japanese reissue and a second pressing stereo, however good, is simply, not enough.