David Gray, White Ladder 20th anniversary edition. Remastered by Greg Calbi

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Andrew Littleboy, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Andrew Littleboy

    Andrew Littleboy Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    North Walsham
    It's difficult to see how the sound quality could be improved on this album but it is for the first time coming out on vinyl next year and remastered at Sterling Sound by Greg Calbi?

    Is this a good thing or will it be a victim of the loudness war??

    wwright and Almost Simon like this.
  2. Almost Simon

    Almost Simon Forum Resident

    Wonderful album. I still play the cd a lot. Always thought a vinyl version would be nice to have. Have to see what it sounds like.
  3. djej

    djej Forum Resident

    Album pre-orders are up now. Due out Feb. 12, 2020.

    Shop the David Gray Official Store

    There's also this:
    About — David Gray

    "Recorded for no budget in a Stoke Newington bedroom in 1998 by a down on his luck singer-songwriter and self-released on a kitchen sink label, White Ladder slowly (very, very slowly) found an audience. It took a year to creep into the lower reaches of the British charts, then worked its way all the way up to number one. White Ladder eventually spent 3 years (from May 2000 to March 2003) in the UK top 100, spawning classic hit singles ‘Babylon’, ‘Please Forgive Me’ and ‘Sail Away’. It went on to sell over 7 million copies worldwide. It remains in the top 30 best-selling British albums of all time and the best-selling album ever in Ireland (a nation who know a good song when they hear it).

    Celebrating its 20th anniversary with an expanded edition, it is interesting to consider the extraordinary aftermath of White Ladder. Its success spawned a new wave of singer-songwriters in an acoustic boom that resonates to this day, a soul-baring lineage that can be directly traced from David Gray to the all-conquering Ed Sheeran. Indeed, Ed is a fan, whose passionate live version of ‘This Year’s Love’ can bring tears to the eye. Fellow world beating British superstar Adele is also an admirer, citing ‘This Year’s Love’ as one of her all-time favourite break-up songs.

    In the wake of White Ladder, every major record company began signing and developing guitar wielding troubadours. David Gray was followed into the UK charts by Damien Rice, KT Tunstall, Katie Melua, James Blunt, James Morrison, James Bay, Paolo Nutini, and, ultimately, Ed Sheeran and a second wave of guitar boys including George Ezra, Tom Walker, Tom Grennan and Lewis Capaldi. In the US (where White Ladder sold 2 million copies), Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jazon Mraz were amongst singer-songwriters whose careers received a significant commercial boost. White Ladder was a music industry game changer.

    And yet White Ladder remains apart from everything that followed. While the record company model involved putting young guitarist-singers into the studio with teams of established pop writers and producers, White Ladder was the work of a lone artist plumbing the depths of his soul.

    White Ladder was born of difficult circumstances. David Gray had been struggling on the margins for a decade, a lonely figure with an acoustic guitar swimming against the tide of Britpop, grunge, hip hop and electro. With three albums to his name, he found himself advertised third on the bill to beer and a barbecue. “Futility was so thick on the ground it was utterly soul destroying.” He came close to quitting. But instead, he asked himself some difficult questions: “Can you make a better record? Can you write a better song? The decision was to open up and give it everything I’ve got. The open heartedness that White Ladder has at its very core is in direct relation to the sense of bitterness and defensiveness that prevailed upon me. White Ladder is the negative flipped into positive.”

    He wrote and recorded in a tiny terraced house on Lordship Road in Stoke Newington. He had to record during the day so as not to disturb the neighbours. “The windows were open because it was hot, and you can hear traffic noises very clearly. It’s the ultimate bedroom recording, actually made in my bedroom.” Lacking big studio facilities, David experimented with drum machines and electronic elements, creating a blend of folktronica that has since become a familiar part of the musical landscape, aided by drummer Craig McClune and engineer Iestyn Polson.

    David released White Ladder in Ireland on his own IHT label in November 1998. “We cobbled it together, got a distributor, pressed 5,000 copies and hoped for the best.” Released in the UK in March 1999, it reached number 69 in the charts. American jam rock superstar Dave Matthews was such a fan he personally licensed the album for his ATO label in the US. Meanwhile East West records, a division of Warner, took the reins, releasing ‘Babylon’ as a single in June 2000.

    After that, the floodgates opened. ‘Babylon’ became one of the hits of the summer, White Ladder became a multi-million global phenomenon, and David Gray jumped from playing pubs to theatres to arenas in the space of a few frenetic months. “It was nuts. We were just laughing all the time. It was like a slow explosion, with moments of detonation that took it to another level. It was perfect in a way you could never design.”

    White Ladder has become part of the fabric of the world. “A friend was in the Himalayas and ‘Sail Away’ was playing at base camp. I’ve heard tell of my songs coming out of radios and stereos in the strangest places, from Tel Aviv to Timbuktu. We made the best record we could, and by some miracle it managed to charm its way across the threshold. It didn’t just open the door a crack, it kicked the ****ing thing down. We came straight through. That was astonishing. You can make a great record but it is exceedingly rare that it will go on and become something bigger than itself. It was charged with all kinds of energies, the right thing in the right place at the right time, in this openhearted moment.”

    White Ladder caught something of the mood at the end of the century and the start of a new one, the comedown from the pomp of the nineties mixed with nervous hope for the future. Gray’s music is both intimate and broad, intensely personal yet capable of speaking to the masses. “I don’t write behind some sort of cloak. I’m the opposite of an enigma, I am just heart on sleeve. I think your strength as a creative person is your vulnerability. If you're not venturing anything you’re nowhere, there has to be something fragile and breakable being handed over. That was White Ladder. It is almost all I can say about it.”

    Gray has released 11 complex, ambitious, heartfelt albums across his career. Some have been big commercial successes (2002’s A New Day At Midnight and 2005’s Life In Slow Motion were UK chart toppers), others have been more intimate and experimental. “It’s instinctive, you have to go where the music needs to go, otherwise the gleam, the sparkle will fall away.” All offer up songs of the highest quality, performed as if his life depends on them. Gray’s passionate, vocational approach has established an incredibly loyal audience prepared to follow him on every adventure.

    “I've been happy after the event to get back to writing the music that I felt was in me and following my creative path. I don’t think the records I've made since have been worse or better. I just think what happened with White Ladder involved more than music. It was a sort of heart and soul moment of total surrender for everybody involved, for me and the audience. That was it. It doesn't get any better than that.”

    Twenty years on, White Ladder remains an album of great depth and startling beauty, a superlative collection of emotional songs capturing a very special moment in time, as raw and immediate as when it was recorded."
    A6mzero, Defrance, mrbiggs and 12 others like this.
  4. diveintoyesterday

    diveintoyesterday Well-Known Member

    Wow, what an inspirational story. Good on him!
  5. wwright

    wwright Forum Resident

    San Francisco, CA.
    I went for the box set. That looked really interesting:

    This expanded, deluxe release features the iconic album newly mastered on 2 pieces of white vinyl plus previously unreleased and rare White Ladder -era B-sides and demos on 2 pieces of black vinyl. It also includes a digital download card for both albums. David Gray has also personally crafted a series of writings about his White Ladder experience, chronicling the people involved, and the stories behind some of the songs and most memorable shows. These writings are featured in a commemorative book alongside rare photography and housed in beautiful packaging that also features the lyrics to timeless hits such as “This Year’s Love,” “Babylon,” and “Sail Away.”

    “What happened with White Ladder involved more than music. It was a sort of heart and soul moment of total surrender for everybody involved, for me and the audience. That was it. It doesn't get any better than that.” - David Gray


    LP Disc 1 & 2
    1. Please Forgive Me
    2. Babylon
    3. My Oh My
    4. We’re Not Right
    5. Nightblindness
    6. Silver Lining
    7. White Ladder
    8. This Year’s Love
    9. Sail Away
    10. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

    LP Disc 3 & 4
    1. Lights Of London
    2. Over My Head
    3. Monday Morning
    4. Tired Of Me
    5. Roots Of Love
    6. Walking In Circles
    7. Through To Myself
    8. Over My Head (demo)
    9. What On Earth (demo)
    10. Silver Lining (demo)
    11. This Year’s Love (demo)
    12. Please Forgive Me (demo)
    David Gray - White Ladder (20th Anniversary Edition) 4LP Boxset | Shop the David Gray Official Store
  6. Groovy

    Groovy Forum Resident

    Red Star Merch are running the David Gray store. I've ordered from them before and they had a weird way of doing things. I can't remember what the problem was but I know I vowed not to buy through them again.

    I'm going to order the 4 LP set from Bullmoose, it's cheaper and the shipping will be free.

    David Gray - White Ladder (20th Anniversary Edition)
    wwright likes this.
  7. wbhendrix

    wbhendrix Forum Resident

    Austin, TX
    This is one of my favorite records and I’m all in for the box set. I’ve always been confused as to why there hasn’t been a vinyl pressed of this record but I’m glad it’s finally here and being done right.
    wwright likes this.
  8. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

  9. fitzrik

    fitzrik Forum Resident

    At €33 it's pretty expensive for a 10 track album, which is most likely a standard res digital recording. At that price, most likely I'll pass.
    Andrew Littleboy likes this.
  10. Crush87

    Crush87 Forum Resident

    New York
    It's DAT sourced so yes 16 bit
  11. moonshiner

    moonshiner Forum Resident

    At last
    sunking101 and wwright like this.
  12. Andrew Littleboy

    Andrew Littleboy Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    North Walsham
    DAT went up to 24bit
  13. Crush87

    Crush87 Forum Resident

    New York
    Well it was 16 bit then, that’s all I know.
  14. wwright

    wwright Forum Resident

    San Francisco, CA.
    I'm fine with the digital thing, at least nowadays. The digitally recorded Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Session" (Classic Records and QRP) and Donald Fagen "Nightfly" (MFSL One-Step) vinyl reissues sound wonderful.

    But yes, many older digitally sourced or "digitally remastered" pressings on LP can sound pretty sterile. There are a few notable exceptions - I think the Joe Jackson "Big World" LP was recorded live to digital, and it sounds fantastic. Pretty sure Bob Ludwig had something to do with that. :)

    I'm an AAA guy, so the jury is out. But the CD SQ is great, at least on my system. There's likely some good source material to play with.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  15. DarreLP

    DarreLP Forum Resident

    I'm happy it's finally being released on vinyl. Been wanting this one for a long while.

    I don't know why the loudness war would be an issue.
    wbhendrix likes this.
  16. ponkine

    ponkine Forum Resident

  17. Andrew Littleboy

    Andrew Littleboy Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    North Walsham
    The original cd is very good.

    Like a lot of remasters these days they tend get messed up though so I'll look forward to see how this turns out.

    Take a listen the the Micheal Jackson remasters, they're awfull.
  18. domesticmachine

    domesticmachine Resident forum

    Portland, OR
    The VMP pressing claims to be 45rpm and pressed at QRP. Seems like the way to go especially for those of us in the US (assuming VMP is still in business in March...). Any details on the other pressings? Track list is the same across the board. Are they all 45rpm?

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    just got an email alert my copy shipped out
  20. domesticmachine

    domesticmachine Resident forum

    Portland, OR
    where did you order it. I quit VMP but assume the one I ordered and paid for is still shipping. Can’t log in to see.

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    I didn't get it from VMP but from the David Gray website.
  22. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    Anyone got theirs yet?
  23. domesticmachine

    domesticmachine Resident forum

    Portland, OR
    Is there anywhere to get a black vinyl outside the box set? I’ve only seen colored LP variants outside the deluxe box.
  24. ferrari

    ferrari Forum Resident

    Started to check out side 1 of the 2lp white last night. Towards the end of Babylon started to get a scuff/scratch sound suggestive of underfill. Was awaiting other comments before shipping it back. (Amazon)
  25. LeeGriffin

    LeeGriffin Forum Resident

    Fort Mill, SC
    The album is still on white vinyl in the deluxe box. It's the "B sides and Rarities" that are on the black vinyl. I don't know of an option to get the album on black vinyl.

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