New Release Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series – Hank Mobley’s Soul Station, in stereo. As is usual at LJC, we go under the surface into some of this recording’s vinyl history, strictly for nosey vinyl collectors.
‘ ‘ ‘
Hank Mobley, tenor sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Blakey, drums.; recorded Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 7, 1960.
Four Mobley compositions, two standards.
Track List (Wiki-links)
|2.||“This I Dig of You”||Mobley||6:25|
|3.||“If I Should Lose You“||Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin||5:08|
The rhythm section is impeccable, Blakey, Chambers, and the authority of Wynton Kelly, unmistakable rhythmic propulsion, exceptionally strong both in comping and solo. All the tracks are polished, well crafted, and relaxed.
Perhaps too relaxed? For me, it is not Hank’s strongest album, possibly an unpopular opinion but I stand by it. I prefer Hank’s slightly later titles like Roll Call, Workout, and No Room For Squares: less soft-core bop, more memorable compositions, more muscular, and a little more fire. However you can not have enough Mobley, it is all good, Hank is my man, the chocolate-malt tone, the original inflection, unpredictable twists and turns, always interesting, and occasionally, on fire. Well, definitely smokin’, as on some of his covers. I mean, who wants a non-smoking cover?
Mobley is more exposed In this quartet format, and he doesn’t stray too far from the straight and narrow. On Roll Call, Freddie Hubbard adds another brass voice and a layer of greater harmonic complexity, as do Lee Morgan/Donald Byrd on No Room For Squares, which also brings in Andrew Hill/ Herbie Hancock, more probing and percussive piano. The expanded front line demands Mobley be a little less relaxed, less laid-back. Hank plays his best when pushed.
Vinyl: Blue Note Vinyl Classics BST 84031
Kevin Gray’s customary silky mastering, panoramic presentation, and Optimal have done a very clean pressing, no faults (unlike recent TP)
Van Gelder early stereo, hard panning. With a quartet, once the decision has been made to put the lead instrument, the horn, on one side, options are limited to shuffling the rhythm section around, none very satisfactory. When Blakey is just time-keeping, stuff is belting out from the centre and
right left, there is not much happening on the left right channel. Makes me want to walk up to check a cable hasn’t dropped out. (My L/R channels have somehow got cables swapped)
This session was recorded in early 1960, to two-track tape intended to improve the mono mix, and avoid duplication in tape splicing, not intended for stereo. Kevin Gray’s very wide soundstage even emphasises the primitive stereo. Initially I wasn’t keen on the presentation, but after a few plays, a shrug of resignation, it is what it is, which may be a price worth paying because the Vinyl Classic convinced me that Hank is actually in my room, next to the speaker, tootin’ away. Beer, Hank? Not while I’m workin’, LJC. Umm…something… stronger?
Two years after the sale of Blue Note, Soul Station was issued for the first time in stereo. Normal Liberty practice, copies were manufactured separately on East and West coast. There was no Van Gelder stereo master to work with but they did have Van Gelder’s original two track tape.
The Discogs entry for the first Liberty Stereo 84031 happens to be the East Coast pressing, which conveniently has “9-19-68” etched in the deadwax , which nails manufacture to later Liberty. No VAN GELDER in the deadwax, so Liberty had another engineer cut a stereo master, who likely had access to the original tapes held on the East Coast. The back cover declares “electronically re-recorded to simulate stereo”, a painfully honest claim that does not mean “fake stereo”, in this case, it means a stereo edition newly created from two track tape.
By a stroke of bad luck, I happened to have bought long ago a West Coast Liberty stereo pressing. Bert-Co printed labels, and nothing in the deadwax apart from the catalogue number, in a small precise hand (also seen before). Research Craft routinely remastered Blue Note reissues from copy tape sent from the East Coast, hence no VAN GELDER stamp, resulting in a tape generation loss, and comparatvely lacklustre delivery.
While there were separate stereo masters cut for the East and the West Coast pressings of Soul Station, only one engineer had access to the original tapes: for the East Coast pressing. Whether they used them is an unanswered question, but why would they not?
Stereo Liberty, East Coast
Keystone labels, “Electronically Re-recorded To Simulate Stereo”, back cover Artist and Title set in Bodoni (as original Blue note), runout “9-19-68” etched in the deadwax, no RVG stamp, most likely an All-Disc pressing, very possibly mastered from the original tapes.
Bert-Co labels, simply “stereo”, tracks add timings, address 1776 Broadway/ 6970 Sunset Blvd, back cover artist and title set in same sans serif font as front cover Venosa design, runout simply BNST 84031-A/-B, no other markings, most likely Research Craft remastered from copy tape, and their own pressing.
The Discogs entry for many Liberty issues/reissues is often only one or the other Coast, rarely if ever both. This overlooks the critical distinction of an edition’s mastering source, which is at the heart of the latest TP and Vinyl Classics editions, mastered from the original tapes, not weasel words like “from the original tapes” (everything is), or the meaningless “from the best available sources” (Pure Pleasure)
Pure Pleasure are a UK Twickenham, Middx -based label that claim “mastered by Roy Staff at Air Studios”, Hampstead. A studio founded by George Martin, “the fifth Beatle”, Staff is a consultant to Air Studios. Air employ half a dozen engineers, most of their projects are vintage electric rock and pop restauration (Bowie, Deep Purple, Rolling Stones, Clash, Black Sabbath) riding high on British pop history. The old electric pop stuff was never audiophile anyway. Why would you want The Clash in your living room? Nostalgia isn’t audiophile. When I went to see Deep Purple at Faifield Halls, Croydon, 1970, audiophilia was last thing on my mind – it was a beer at the bar during the drum solo.
Even “mastered from the original tapes” is not in itself enough, is it is done badly or with the wrong equipment. With Kevin Gray’s latest studio output, and theoriginal Van Gelder tapes, we are now just a close distance from “perfection” though there are still occasional issues in manufacture.
About that alternative cover, Bob, can I have a word?
Alternative cover design by Forlenza Venosa Associates – Bob Venosa, a former art director at Columbia Records – based on a literal interpretation of the album title. “Soul Station” is a soulful musical journey, not a ruddy railway station. That image sandwich of a station and Hank’s face is just awful, not even of the “so bad it’s good” school. Who approved this? My Office, now. Whatd’ya mean no office now, working from home, Zoom-me?
It was not Bob Venosa’s only tangle with dual-perspective transparency sandwiches, a peculiarly 60’s design style which Venosa brought to several Liberty Blue Note albums, including Soul Station and Blue Mitchell’s Heads Up, which, unsurpringly, shows Blue with his…head, up… perched shades.
Mind The Gap, Too Many Stations
Discogs has 62 entries for Soul Station, including those low gain reissues from Japan. There are many other stereo reissues, including a shonky Capitol Manhattan. This Capitol/EMI copy I bought, innocently believing the sticker, an “AUDIOPHILE PRESSING” (1997) 180gm., allegedly “Mastered from the original analog tapes”. This is what gave “audiophile” a bad name.
Busy runout, etched “G/Re 1” (Grundman Reissue 1?) MASTERED BY CAPITOL stamp. Who knows what processes went into this “180 gram UK pressing” over 20 years ago. Even if someone in the process had access to original tapes, they can still make a dog’s breakfast of mastering it. My listening notes: “low gain, compressed, sounds weak like a CD”. Likely mastered through a digital delay line from the original tapes, then remastered in UK from copy of the digital re-master tape. Audiophile pressing my arse.
Classic Records 2002 reissued Soul Station in mono, sensible decision given the material.
Bringing its stereo lineage up to date, Soul Station was reissued last year on SRX vinyl by Music Matters, and I would not be at all suprised if Kevin Gray’s master for that issue has just enjoyed a second lease of life The BN Vinyl Classic may be among the few true stereo vinyl well-mastered from the original tapes, the dynamic and tonal range is perfect.
Though the stereo placement can be a little off-putting, taken as a whole, at this price, Soul Station Blue Note Vinyl Classic is the definitive stereo edition..
The Original Beauty! (Sniffs cover, air of 1960, coughs )
Auctions separate the audiophiles from the collectors – the original Soul Station issue comes in well over the £1,000 mark, and seems to be the Collector’s Choice, outside of the super-rareities (BLP 1568 still topping the league table by a mile).
A peek at Popsike threw up an interesting Soul Station auction history. The top auction price for Soul Station, at over $5,000, is double the next highest but both well ahead of the pack. Moment of madness, or jiggery pokery? Take a closer look at the two auctions, both 2020, 14 June and 29 November, remarkably similar apart from the final price:
Both auctions denominated in UK Pounds Sterling, both pictured all-in-one diagonal jacket/viny/sleeve, mounted on the same posing-jig, by the same window frame/ catch light to emphasise the laminated cover, exactly same choice of wording, including double asterisks for emphasis. I don’t think there is any doubt it is the same UK seller, and the same copy of Soul Station in both auctions.
It is not unusual to see a record relisted on Ebay due to non-payment, shortly after the first auction, but in this case six months later? It’s a stretch. The other way you could have this copy to sell in November, using near identical pictures for both listings, is if you were both the seller and winner of the first auction. Jiggery-pokery?
The final auction price is set by the second highest bidder, so two oversize bids would have to be placed to lock in the final £3,679 price . This record routinely sells in top condition at $1500-$2,000. Why would a collector bid over $5,000 – double the going rate, insurance and possibly customs charges on top, and always the risk of a “problem” and return, let alone two real collectors over-reaching double the previous high. A coincidence too far?
Holy Moly, did these bidders not get the memo? It is coming out on Blue note Vinyl Classics at £20. See the top auctions:
Ah, they are collectors LJC, Scarcity Matters, the laminated cover is gorgeous, and it is mono. But (scratches head) even in the topsy turvey world of high-end collectors, it still makes no sense.
I found just one sensible audiophile collector alternative, issued by Liberty in 1966. It is mono and pressed by All-Disc, from Van Gelder’s original master metal, RVG stamped. It is very desirable. There is just one catch.
From the Discogs sales history – Last Sold: Never,
The 1966 Liberty RVG mono edition is actually more rare than the 1960 original, I’d have it like a shot. If a Liberty RVG mono came up for auction. I wondered, would collectors recognise its merit and how much it would fetch? It is indeed rare, I found just one Ebay auction result in about the last ten years.
Despite the seller running it down -“ Liberty pressing, not deep groove, no ear, “r” “ – throwing in the RVG stamp, but hoping a ” 61st St” back cover address might bamboozle some niave punter, may be a dozen collectors could see a real trophy within their grasp, and one took it at a sensible price, a price which nevertheless probably suprised the seller.
Astonishing bargain, no jiggery pokery. It’s not record collectiing, it is more like archeology combined with fishing, and the excitement of a treasure hunt.
today I can add another puzzle piece to the origins of the different Liberty stereo pressings of Soul Station: By further inspecting the deadwax of my copy (west coast cover but Keystone labels, cutting date etching only on Side 1) I found something that I had mistaken for a small scratch before (the copy is not in too good shape). But as it turns out, it is a very faint AudioMatrix stamp which I could identify as indicating a mastering by Audio Matrix, Inc., Bronx, NY: https://www.discogs.com/de/label/288546-Audio-Matrix-Inc.
Both sides of my copy are stamped this way, although only Side 1 has the cutting date 9-19-68 etched beneath it. The way in which the Cat no is etched in the deadwax looks identical on both Sides 1 and 2. I can either hear differences in mastering between the two sides. Maybe other copies which have the date etching only on Side 2 actually are using the same mastering? Does your west coast copy show the AudioMatrix stamp as well? It is very faint and small (resembling the known BellSound stamp), hardly recognizable and only partial on Side 2.
Checked the runout closely, no AudioMatrix stamp, just the catalogue number in a neat precise hand, on both sides, and nothing else. By 1968 Liberty was under pressure from the accountants at Transamerica to cut costs, and using a variety of pressing plants to that end. I reckon good pressing plants were proud of their work and stamped it accordingly. Low-cost jobbing plants preferred to remain anonymous, for good reason. No further clues on my copy, other than the absence of clues, which is a clue in itself.
Do you have a picture of your copy’s deadwax etching so I could compare it to my copy? It seems the date etching was a specialty of AudioMatrix and therefore probably was applied in the course of pressing, not during the mastering stage. So possibly the same master was sent to different pressing plants.
Audio Matrix was a plating plant, not a pressing plant, and the 9-19-68 date in the runout was most likely the date of plating, not cutting or pressing.
True, I stand corrected. However, the etching of the catalogue number probably was applied to the lacquer and could have been used more than once to produce different metal parts?
Quick and dirty runout shot with matrix. Vinyl is strangely spotty.
Thanks! Although the handwriting looks quite similar in style and size to the one on my copy, it is definitely a different cut.
Do you think the piano would be in center if your other speaker was dead?
Not sure I get your point, Sam. If one of my speakers was “dead”, everything would be located at the side that wasn’t dead. The centre is the sum of equal signals from left and right. Or am I missing something?
Reposted to get out of the dreaded WordPress drainpipe
Platte74 commented on Hank Mobley: Soul Station (1960) Blue Note Vinyl Classics (2021)
New Release Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series – Hank Mobley’s Soul Station, in stereo. As is usual at LJC, we go under the surface …
I wouldn’t dare dispute your findings on the different labels and their origin! As a profound source of highly reliable information I’ve been using your site for many years now. But I have noticed that, in the labelography mentioned above, all new Liberty releases from 84287 on (up to 84299) have labels that use a “1” with serif, Stanley Turrentine’s The Look of Love (84286) being the last with “Side I”. That applies for the Bert-Co Labels as well as for those labels that, apart from the odd serif for “1”, show all signs of a Keystone printing.
One explanation could be: Keystone has lost its “I” type in this specific size and replaced it with “1” (while at the same time replacing the former “1” for the smaller track numbers with “I”). OR: Those labels weren’t printed by Keystone at all, but by a different company altogether that tried to imitate the former design and could be located anywhere. Taking into account that my copy of Soul Station has these “almost Keystone” labels but is housed in a jacket printed in LA and combines the “East Coast” stamper (with date etching) on Side 1 with a “West Coast” stamper (without date etching) on Side 2, while other pressings have it the other way round,
I humbly dare to propose the following conclusion: Maybe, around the time after 84286 was issued, Liberty’s label and record production moved from East to West completely so that metal parts and labels that, up to that date, had been in the hands of different production plants spread across the country could more easily come together in one place? Pure speculation, of course.
Good thinking, you may be on to something!
We do not know when “the vault” (tapes and metal library) moved to the West Coast – as it must have. Both Liberty/United (black turquoise label) and United Artists had access to some original Blue Note metal – I guess Michael Cuscuna would know, one of the few who had access. Maybe they all went West at some point in time, good hypotheses.
Line-casting machines used metal font characters in foundry-manufactured cartridges for use in specific makes of line-casting machine. Bert-Co had Linotype machines, Keystone had Intertype machines. Both print-shops will have stocked a limited range of fonts and point sizes for their make of machine. Though line-casting compositor/ operators had some freedom in layout of text, the chosen label fonts used by Bert-Co (Spartan Family) and Keystone (Vogue Family) are remarkably consistent over many years, like a fingerprint. Contemporary used a lot of Memphis, Columbia frequently used Erbar.. I don’t think it is possible to “mix them up”, so a third party label printer with a similar but not exactly the same font family is another good hypothesis. Or there was a continuity break in the font set design.
WB of New York seems to know all the font families in use by different labels (see post on Contemporary today) but there are little wriggles where the current download of that font has some tiny design difference to what is on the old printed labels. Label print is the key to understanding vinyl manufacture. This all needs more careful research and attention
UPDATE May 18
At 84284, Keystone (I am sure it continued to be Keystone) adopted a new smaller font size for the catalogue number and Side information, reducing from about 18 point to 16 point. The font Keystone use for Artist/Title/CatNo, Intertype Vogue, has changed slightly and the number character set now has a serifed “1” instead of the previous “I”. All labels printed with the reduced font size thereafter have the serif character in “Side 1”. Presumably an incidental result of a change in the point size, and the character set as supplied by the foundry which supplied the Intertype cartridges. . Very occasionally the old font size and “Side I” appears on a new title, so some old cartridges still hanging around.
By superimposing a transparent image of old and new label, you can see the change in font size and character accompanying it. Everything else in the template synchronises in the two labels, except interestingly the spindle hole.
There is more to do, but I think we can put the Side 1 to bed
Thank you for this eye-opener! I’m glad I was able to contribute to your fabulous site. With regard to the labels on Mobley’s Soul Station (East Coast Pressing), the origin might require some more research as the font style shows other deviations in the smaller print, particularly visible in the sans serif “I” for the track number and the capital “M” – compare “MOUR” in the picture above with “REMEMBER” on Soul Station. Would be interesting to see how that one synchronises with the old Keystone labels.
I looked at the archived sale of BN4031, and language in the listing leads me to believe this is from a known UK seller (….house UK) who claims to have a process to restore covers. This seller was involved in a questionable auction a few years ago for a copy of BN1568. The auction ended at a very high final value- a new record for the record (sorry). Some interested parties later discovered that the buyer did not pay, but the reported price was picked up by data aggregators, and moved the market higher. Abt 2 mos later the same seller produced additional copies of BN1568 for sale against the new higher price level….. Mania and money changing hands attracts a lot of different people.
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About the different East and West Coast Liberty Pressing with the ugly cover. Are we sure there is different metalware for thos pressings. Could not the same stampers have been sent to different pressing plants? I do not own either copy so I cannot check myself.
We know from the Discogs uploader that the East Coast Liberty stereo pressing of Soul Station has the date of mastering etched in the runout (1968).. I have the West Coast stereo pressing and there is no date etching, the runout is blank apart from the catalogue number. It would be better to have a good picture of the East Coast runouts but in the absence of that, the date etching indicates different mastering.
I have around a hundred Liberty reissues of earlier Blue Note titles, about eighty are East Coast pressings and twenty West Coast pressings (Bert-Co labels). With a few exceptions, the East Coast pressings all have Van Gelder stamp, and the West Coast pressings mostly none have Van Gelder stamps, just the odd exception.
Titles like Soul Station, whose first issue in stereo was by Liberty, needed a first stereo master cut. It might have made sense to master it once from the original two-track tape, and share metal between the two pressing centres, but it looks like that wasn’t the way things worked.
New Liberty titles issued after 1966 have RVG stamps on both East and West pressings (where Rudy cut the master, of course) but reissues had an established different manufacturing route, which was followed for the new stereo master of Soul Station. Why East and West did things differently is something we can only guess. Rivalry between new and old engineers? Who knows.
Cool – I was not aware of the mastering difference in reissues for West/East. So which one sounds best 😉 IMO the the new classic sounds very very good, but I have to give the price to the MM45 and it’s spectacular Blakey Drums!
The original recording engineer was Van Gelder, and he knew best how to master his own recordings. If you can get it, always choose East Coast Liberty (Keystone printed labels) with Van Gelder stamp,
Yeah I know quite a bit about RVG. Kevin Gray is no slouch either but I understand what you mean. Thanks!
I can confirm that my Liberty copy has the date etching, only on side B, and hard to see. Sounds great. I also have the MM-33, and that also sounds great, but creamier than the Liberty, which sounds more direct, edgier by comparison.
today I acquired a copy of the first stereo edition, with the alternative cover design, it has East Coast labels, but the West Coast Cover (without „electronically rechanneled“). Contrary to bopmodalfree’s copy, the date etching is only on Side 1. The labels show all the signs of a Keystone printing, but what puzzles me is the serif on Side „1“ (as shown on your label shot, too): what do you make of that?
Without a picture I’m guessing but one of the oddities of the fontsets used by Bert-Co and Keystone is the numeral 1.
Keystone used Intertype Bold Vogue, whose number font 1 is a simple sans-serif upright: Side I
West Coast Bert-Co’s Linotype Spartan fontset has a numeral with serif: SIDE 1
Beyond that , we are still in the process of discovery.
The labels on my copy are exactly the same as in the pictures of the East Coast Pressing in your text above, which you refer to as „Keystone labels“, although they, too, clearly use a serif font for the 1 in Side 1 and the serial no.
You are right, I didn’t notice it at first but the Keystone number one in Side 1 is the same as the Bert-Co SIDE 1, with a serif. Something very odd has gone on in the typesetting department.
Very odd indeed! By the way, in your detailed report on the Liberty “typology” (Liberty III) you show some examples of new Liberty titles using the same typesetting, i.e. a “1” with a serif for “Side 1” and the catalogue number, while using a sans serif “I” for the smaller text parts (matrix number below “Side 1” and track number):
Especially ‘Bout Soul by Jackie McLean and Slow Drag by Donald Byrd have the same characteristics as the “East Coast Pressing” of Hank Mobley’s stereo Soul Station. Considering that obviously different combinations of stampers for Side 1 and 2 (with and without date etching) exist for these labels as well as different combinations of label and back cover design: Maybe this isn’t a West Coast/East Coast thing at all?
The connection between Bert-Co/ no Van Gelder and Keystone (Blue Notes original print supplier) and Van Gelder metal is indisputable, based on my actual hundred Liberty pressings.
The label pictures I culled from Internet auctions. May be there is another layer of complexity where we are not understanding the process, including possible changes in how records were manufactured between 1968 and 1970. By then Liberty were using at least four pressing plants, perhaps other print suppliers?
Do you have an alternative hypothesis?
I wouldn’t dare dispute your findings on the different labels and their origin! As a profound source of highly reliable information I’ve been using your site for many years now. But I have noticed that, in the labelography mentioned above, all new Liberty releases from 84287 on (up to 84299) have labels that use a “1” with serif, Stanley Turrentine’s The Look of Love (84286) being the last with “Side I”. That applies for the Bert-Co Labels as well as for those labels that, apart from the odd serif for “1”, show all signs of a Keystone printing. One explanation could be: Keystone has lost its “I” type in this specific size and replaced it with “1” (while at the same time replacing the former “1” for the smaller track numbers with “I”). OR: Those labels weren’t printed by Keystone at all, but by a different company altogether that tried to imitate the former design and could be located anywhere. Taking into account that my copy of Soul Station has these “almost Keystone” labels but is housed in a jacket printed in LA and combines the “East Coast” stamper (with date etching) on Side 1 with a “West Coast” stamper (without date etching) on Side 2, while other pressings have it the other way round, I humbly dare to propose the following conclusion: Maybe, around the time after 84286 was issued, Liberty’s label and record production moved from East to West completely so that metal parts and labels that, up to that date, had been in the hands of different production plants spread across the country could more easily come together in one place? Pure speculation, of course.
Whoops, seem to have stood on the proverbial garden rake with my comments on “primitive stereo” All opinions welcome, we all like our cup of tea made differently. Well I do, Skimmed milk, two sweeteners.
There is some great technical background on Van Gelder’s recording and mixing equipment at the RVG Legacy site. They have picures of Rudy’s gear I have never seen anywhere else.
1959-60 (date of the Soul Station session:): ”
The section on the characteristics and evolution and of the Van Gelder sound
is dominated by reverberation and acoustic space, recreating the live experience, but doesn’t address – or neatly sidesteps – the vexed question of stereo, so we can carry on arguing.
I’ve never understood the aversion to stereo recordings such as these and the incessant criticism of “non-centered”, “hard-pan” recordings. RVG was very consistent in his stereo placement, you basically know exactly what you’re going to get–which is: Horns right on top of the speakers. In fact i’ve never heard an RVG recording that deviated from this…and honestly very few from other labels and engineers either including many who made arguably better, more “realistic” recordings than RVG did.
Folks like to throw around “hard-pan” in a somewhat derogatory manner, or as a negative description…Have you ever heard a stereo recording with zero information in the middle, and no reverb bleed from L-R? That to me is an unnatural and poor stereo sound, as if the two sides of the recording took place in different rooms. RVGs recordings do not fall into that category whatsoever in my experience. In my opinion, he recorded very natural and logically arranged stereo…you can imagine the players in their own spaces but still cohesive and together in the same room. With this space, in my opinion it is easier to listen to an individual player (granted you still can on a mono recording by listening into the “depth” of the recording), just as you would when listening to a live, acoustic recording. How is the typical RVG stereo recording any different than that? Why would an engineer making a stereo recording, given the full width of tape, pan everything into a blob in the middle of the soundstage?
“Have you ever heard a stereo recording with zero information in the middle, and no reverb bleed from L-R? That to me is an unnatural and poor stereo sound…RVGs recordings do not fall into that category whatsoever in my experience.”
“The center was empty on occasion, as it was with Blue Train, for example, with horns, reeds, and piano on the left and drums and bass on the right)”
Ok, one example. Thanks for proving me wrong.
“Why would an engineer making a stereo recording, given the full width of tape, pan everything into a blob in the middle of the soundstage?”
Uh, ever been to a jazz club? Don’t mean to offend but I do find your defense of “hard-pan” recordings a little off center ; )
Let’s be grateful for all the decently recorded live jazz we have. The more “hard-pan” the better, in most cases.
No Room For Squares is my favourite Mobley, mainly because the compositions are stronger, Lee Morgan is a better front line partner and Andrew Hill is the best pianist for this sort of session. ‘Carolyn’ is a beautiful track.
No Square’s “Carolyn” is sublime, probably Hanks finest solo ever, I can play this album over and over and never tire of it, that’s the test of great music..
That must be the curator’s dilema, what to choose next?
I agree that “Carolyn” is a beautiful track and that Mobley has a nice little (~72 sec) solo on it, but “Hanks finest ever”? Really?
….and what do you think of the little solo on the later released alternate take?
Can’t compare something I have not heard. Carolyn alt.take issued 2010 Analog Production on SACD? Wrong technology, I’m vinyl only, I don’t even own a CD player. However there are some Youtube uploads, I’ll give it a listen, I see there are other track alt takes, interesting. I wonder if they are on Hank’s CompleteBN Mosaic Boxset, long OOP.
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That’s where I heard the alternate take too – YouTube, a good resource to check out things I don’t have. My real surprise was at your calling Hank’s little solo on the original “probably Hank’s finest ever.”
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I should have known it is dangerous to claim anything is “best”, sure enough someone will always diasgree and demand an arm-wrestling play off.
Safe to say it is the solo I like the most, along with the solo in Cute ‘n’ Pretty (2:38) from Slice Off The Top.
and Funk-osity on Kenny Drew’s Undercurrent.
and everything on Miles Davis Friday and Saturday Night at the Blackhawk (Mosiac unedited set)
I could go on…
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OK, OK I get the point – very nice selections. My comment was not meant in a pugnacious way. However…..I do think that Hank Mobley’s 21st century reputation has been somewhat unduly influenced by the exorbitant prices fetched by some of his vinyl record albums. In the day I believe he was viewed more as a “journeyman” player, a reliably solid player who was not exceptionally creative or innovative. In one of his very few recorded comments about Hank, Miles Davis said, “Playing with Hank just wasn’t fun for me; he didn’t stimulate my imagination.” Jazz critic and biographer Joe Chambers wrote, “Mobley’s presence in Davis’s quintet, while giving it a competent, experienced soloist, imported nothing new.” On the other hand, Richard Brody paid exquisite homage to Hank in The New Yorker magazine and helped to explain why Mobley was frustrated in both his career and art:
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I’m in total agreement. I would definitely put NRFS on the Classic “To-do list.”
See, this is why I like to listen to mono records, and keep my speakers closer together than most (only a few feet of separation).
Very informative details regarding this lp.
I wonder why Blue Note Classics re release the stereo edition of Soul Station and not the Mono one which is the Holy Grail??
Indeed! Of course recent CD releases like the amazingly mastered by Yoshida XRCD24, claims to be from the original stereo master tape. Which tape they refer to?
I got my reply by reading the relevant analysis on the mono/stereo/peseudo stereo article in your site. It is the genuine 2-track stereo tape this CD is mastered from.
“[ … ] Hank is actually in my room, next to the right speaker, tootin’ away.”
RIGHT speaker? Are You sure?
I’ve got that many wires in my system, channels have been transposed somewhere during some recent tinkering. Yes, Hank should be on the left, you are quite …err… right.
Hello, and hope this reaches you. I found your comments on Mobley below quite accurate, and have always thought No Room For Squares excellent. However, the playing of the rhythm section on Soul Station is killer. Should be mentioned.
Nice article by Marc Meyers here: https://www.jazzwax.com/2020/08/hank-mobley-soul-station.html
Just thought I’d mention it.
Another top quality post LJC, thanks again lots of great info.
In the above you appear to suggest that the KG MMJ cut is used to press this release. It is not, all of the BNCs are fresh cuts by Kevin but I suspect that’s what you meant.
Agree, best Hank for me is also Roll Call. As Freddie is pushing Hank a lot and during this time Freddie is unstoppable. But as you said….the more I listen to Jazz the more I like Hank…You never get tired of him or his chocolate tone. Fantastic composer and his records are high in price for a reason.
I managed to bag the Music Matters pressing of this. Sounds wonderful. Unsure as to whether this new Classic Vinyl pressing would sound better?
It’s a poor pressing. Try ‘if I should lose you’, some v strange noises on the copy I have (about to be returned). Moanin’, the title track, is similarly flawed (and also being returned). Lost confidence in these Classic reissues. Tone poets are in a different league.