David Honeyboy Edwards
Frankly, i am not sure of my own qualifications to review such a legend in our own time (is anyone?). David "Honeyboy" Williams, age 84, grew up in the Mississippi Delta. He received his first guitar in 1929, a Sears Silvertone if you must know, from his father as a gift and has been playing ever since. Honeyboy can play and sing those Delta blues just like other legends such as Muddy Waters and Charlie Patton. When i first saw Honeyboy in concert in sweet home Chicago. In fact this was the best concert i had experienced in quite some time. When Honeyboy plays and sings, you can tell it is coming from his soul. Great stories about life, death and riding the great trains. It is rare moments such as these that make my love of music feel so rewarding.
Chad Kassem, the head honcho behind Acoustic Sounds, Analogue Productions, Blue Heaven Studio and Acoustech Mastering/Electronics has brought us many great blues legends such as Jimmy Rogers. The music, while recoded to audiophile standards, cries out to a much larger audience. In fact in 1995 the Jimmy Rogers Blue Bird album won the W.C. Handy Traditional Blues Album of Year! The point i am trying to make here is that you need not be an audiophile to appreciate the incredible music contained within this recording. While Shake Em On Down is available on CD and top quality 180 gram vinyl, you can also see the performance live while it happened on high resolution DVD!
i am not sure if i should talk about each individual song or simply say that to hear this album is to experience many truly legendary performances. On the CD and DVD you get a great 13+ minute impromptu interview where Honeyboy talks about various subjects ranging from receiving his very first guitar in 1929 to great stories about Muddy Waters. Honeyboy always seems to be capable of captivating his audience with a great side guitar style and down home vocals. Four songs on this fourteen song album feature just Honeyboy, while the others also include duets or trios with Madison Slim on the Harmonica and/or Jimmy D. Lane on acoustic guitar. This is a 100% acoustic album fit for a king!
Recorded in Chad Kassem's own Blue Heaven Studio, all the usual top quality customized super tweaked audiophile gear was used to capture Honeyboy's performance. Yes, the vinyl sounds slightly better than the CD due to better microdynamics and presence. Maybe it is due to using different recording gear as Chad wisely chose to record in both pure analogue and also 24-bit/96 kHz. While the CD is very good, the DVD uses the full 24-bit/96 kHz master tape bits so all the better! i will not start getting into debates about if the DVD is better than the vinyl. Buy 'em both! The DVD, in fact, is not just the music like Classic Records DAD disc, but is the full motion video (and audio) of the actual recording studio performance! As for myself, i got the vinyl for ultimate analogue pleasure, the CD for my car, and DVD for those nights when i want to sit back and enjoy a celebrated "live" concert.
Enjoyment: 100+ (all formats)
Sound Quality: 95 (vinyl), 90 (CD), 95 (DVD)