Three Greats From
Nancy Bryan, Neon Angel
Wow. Nancy Bryan is the best new (to me) female vocalist I have heard in a long time. She has a combination of introspection and intensity that really gets under your skin. Her lyrics and performance are haunting and intensely personal. And she has an obviously well-trained, strong voice, with articulation that lets you understand the lyrics. Chad Kassem's selection of Nancy to record an original Analogue Productions work was inspired.
The 45 rpm 2-LP set is simply stunning. It has beautiful vocal quality while the acoustic guitar, dobro, harmonica, etc., are right there, and perfectly balanced with one another. (And Jimmy D. Lane contributes some great dobro work!) This is one of the most realistic recordings I have ever heard! In concept, it is evocative of Joni Mitchell's Blue. (And that thought came to me long before I saw the parallel drawn in the Acoustic Sounds catalog.) Nancy creates and sings poetic, original stories of human failings and frailties. This is a tough record to talk over, because it makes you want to sit and concentrate on the lyrics. And it passed my personal goosebump test, which very few recordings can do.
This recording is available on 45 rpm LP, CD or SACD. All I can say is that the LP is phenomenal. Chad Kassem has done a hell of a job with his Analogue Productions label. This LP was recorded at Blue Heaven Studios is Salina, Kansas, a venue with which I am very familiar (see my article on Acoustic Sounds' Blues Festival).
If you own a turntable that runs at 45 rpm, buy this record. If you don't, trade in your old one for one that has a 45 rpm speed and then buy this record. Don't delay.
Sound Quality: 100
Wild Child Butler (Direct to Disc)
I was there. I heard this guy live, performing in this space. Stan Ricker was there, and his direct-to-disc lathe captured everything that the recording engineers up the chain fed him. Here's an excerpt from my article on Acoustic Sounds' Blues Festival:
Sound Quality: 80
Lazy Lester (Direct-to-Disc)
Like the Wild Child review above, I was there. I heard this guy live...
Lester is a blues harmonica player and vocalist, and he simultaneously plays foot percussion. He solos on one side of the direct-to-disc LP, and Henry Gray joins him on piano on the other side. He really has fun with the harmonica and percussive foot instruments going at the same time, and he's obviously a natural musician. My favorite cut is the third one on the side with Henry Gray, entitled "Blue Lester."
Lester is a true original. He is honest, straightforward, noncommercial, and most definitely "the real deal". The sound of this recording gives the impression of a direct transcript of history in the making; it is honest, pure, and definitely not gussied up to make it more commercial. Chad is to be congratulated for having the vision to make these festivals, and the Analogue Productions blues recordings, really go.
Sound Quality: 90
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