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The Great Ray Charles: 2010 Rhino 180g LP vs. 1957 US Original Atlantic Mono LP

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by tubesandvinyl, Jun 27, 2012.

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  1. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The Great Ray Charles is one of my favorite records. Although I own a black/silver label Atlantic original mono LP, I took a chance on the recent Rhino pressing based on several comments and the sales hype:

    Mastered from the original master tapes, Rhino's spectacular 180g LP reissue brings the body and cavity of Charles' piano into pristine focus, with dead-centered imaging and incredible spacing. Newman's hot solos and Crawford's horn accents come to life like never before. Accept no substitute. This is by far the most definitive version of this must-have album ever produced. An American classic!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host


    Pretty sure I have this in stereo and mono, with different takes on each..
  3. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The jacket on this Rhino reissue is superb. Glossy front just like the original, along with the tip on pasted rear, a la the original. With its heavy card stock, the jacket weighs 122 grams, just slightly shy of the original's 146 gram jacket. Original on the left in the picture.

    Attached Files:

  4. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm typing Steve....
  5. Hamhead

    Hamhead The Bear From Delaware

    I have a second press with the pinwheel label which (hopefully) came off the original stampers, How's the difference in sound? My original sounds great for what it is.
  6. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Rhino's LP weighs a hefty 192 grams, while the slab from 1957 weighs 146 grams. Rhino did a nice job with the label, using the period correct green (stereo) Atlantic label. The new pressing is dead flat and quiet, with just the odd bit of noise. RTI did a fantastic job on my pressing. For those unaware, original black/silver label Atlantic records tend to have an appreciable amount of surface noise.

    The stereo and mono versions are quite different. Indeed, it's like having two unique records. I'm thrilled because now I can enjoy two versions of this wonderful record. The mono record images across the soundstage, making my speakers almost disappear. The stereo version positions Ray and his piano, and sometimes Fathead and his sax, at various points in the soundstage, while the trumpets tend to be at one side, with Fathead at the other side. Additionally, the positioning changes across songs, which gives a neat effect. Sometimes Fathead is a fair ways back in the soundstage, while at other times he is right up close.......
  7. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The original mono pressing is big, fat, strong mono. Ray's piano is big and dominant. The drums are way back in the stage, but very strong and deep. The bass guitar is also back, but again, very strong and deep. Fathead's playing tends to be supportive of Ray--kind of ensuring Ray is the focal point--but at times Fathead becomes dominant when he solos.

    I have many original mono records, and this is one of the best sounding, most powerful, and full-on sounding records I have. Simply wonderful and something I would never sell.....
    shutdown66 and zphage like this.
  8. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So, how does the Rhino record sound in comparison......

    Man, I'm seriously impressed. My highest praise to Rhino and D. Sax for their investment is this wonderful performance. To bring a tape from 1957 to this level of life and vividness is really something.

    The stereo sound is huge, without at all having that hole in the middle feeling, or that wimpy feeling, compared to a mono pressing.

    Ray's piano is big, natural, and very woody sounding. It really is beautiful. You can hear right into the body of his piano. Fathead's saxophone is very nice as well, and the trumpet section really has bite and fullness to it. With the stereo mix, the drums are very prominent and present, much more so than on the original.

    There are details in this Rhino pressing I've not heard on the original mono. Not sure what it is, but throughout the opener, The Ray, there is a kind of short squeaky sound, perhaps the piano or drum stool, that is out of time with the music. Very cool!

    There are times on the original record when the music gets away a bit, during a quick transient like when the horns blast to punctuate a passage. The new record does not break up. It allows all the music to punch out, clearly and strongly.

    On the mono record, Ray's piano has more volume, and sometimes extension, than on the Rhino stereo, whose liner notes say the performance was originally recorded in stereo, save one song. Steve, do you know if Atlantic ran two machines, or is the mono I've dearly cherished all these years a fold? I ask because the fold might be why Ray's piano is louder at some portions of the performance. Indeed, I feel Ray sounds more natural on the new record. It sounds more like a piano in the room, than on the original. By that I mean the overall frequency extension and the depth and textural sound of his piano and playing sound more lifelike.
  9. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bottom line:

    If you like Ray, get this record. If you like jazz, get this record. If you want a demo record, get this record.

    I'm now convinced reissue records can beat original records. Not all reissues. We know numerous examples where the reissue falls short to the original, either by lacking presence, or air, or detail, or naturalness, or being dull, shrill, blah blah. But the potential is there, given the right people, in the right places, doing the right things, with the right stuff. Even 50+ year old tapes retain magic!

    This Rhino LP beats the original. It's the highest praise I can give. I don't have Blue Note originals, but I'm thoroughly impressed with the MM Blue Note 45 RPM LPs (thanks Steve), with all their wonderful air, vividness, extension and just plain naturally beautiful sound. Steve and Kevin's Rumours completely embarrasses my UK, US, and Canadian originals. And I'm impressed with the recent heavy pressing of Neil's ATGR, with its full sound and detail revelation that totally outclass my Canadian original. Reissues have really gamed up the last couple years. Better sound and nicer jackets. Keep up the good work!

    Well done, Rhino, for doing Ray the right way. Great sound, great pressing, and gorgeous jacket. If the Rhino is reading, I'd like a similar quality release of Ray's The Genius After Hour and Rock n Roll (Atlantic 8006). And, some Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, and Lavern Baker would be nice too! :)
    marka likes this.
  10. Izozeles

    Izozeles Pushing my limits

    You completly convinced me. Thanks and I´m ordering now:wave:
  11. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Izozeles, I'm glad Ray is coming to your house. You are going to love this record. Enjoy!! I got mine from Soundstage Direct, and, as usual, they did their terrific packaging!
  12. hishou

    hishou Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Wow pretty cool review! You kinda convinced me as well! Would you know by any chance if it is the same case with the Rhino release of the Genius of Ray Charles?
  13. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hishou, that I don't know. But I think I remember Steve saying that the original recording had issues with tape saturation/overload? If you get The Great Ray Charles, I'm confident you will love it.

    I would love a great reissue of The Genius After Hours, which is kind of like part 2 of The Great Ray Charles. It's also an instrumental record. I have a Canadian original that sounds fantastic, so I hope Rhino does that one in future.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Glad it sounds good but make sure people understand that this is conservative, light instrumental jazz. No soulful vocals. I was never sure why Atlantic pushed Ray in this direction.
    marka likes this.
  15. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Me neither. Ray has such a wonderful voice, to say the least. "Genius Sings the Blues" and "8006" have stellar vocals, and music. Could it be Atlantic wanted a stronger presence in the 1957 jazz market, in the same way Chess persuaded Muddy Waters to do "Folk Singer" to capitalize on the growing folk music scene of 1963?

    I'm thankful they recorded "The Great Ray Charles"; the songs 'Doodlin' and 'Undecided' really groove, and the record overall is great small combo jazz. That's why I hope they release "Genius After Hours".
  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    And the Milt Jackson as well, right?
  17. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, that's right :)
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Those of you who like "The Great Ray Charles" and are into digital, try and find the ORIGINAL Atlantic CD issue. It has the album in stereo plus the mono alternates (if I remember correctly) in nice, neutral mastering. All the old jazz Ray CD's are good like that..

    "The Great" was recorded at Capitol in mono (close miked) and three-track and there is considerable difference in sound between them due to the different microphones used for each (like any Capitol of that era). Bob Arnold and Johnny Cue were the engineers. They worked with Ray in the ABC-Paramount era as well.
    scottc1963 likes this.
  19. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Steve, thanks for the recording information!
  20. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    The original (1987) CD has the tracks from Ray's first three jazz sessions for Atlantic, ordered by master number (no alternates). "Black Coffee" is in mono since it was recorded at Atlantic in '56 (fake stereo on the stereo LP). The rest of the tracks that made up The Great Ray Charles are presented in stereo although "Sweet Sixteen Bars" is much narrower than it is on the 1970 Best Of Ray Charles. How is it on the original 1957 LP?

    Oddly enough, these tracks are mono on that CD, even though the rest of the material from that Capitol session is in stereo:

    "Hornful Soul"
    "Ain't Misbehavin"
    "Joy Ride"

    I suppose they never received a stereo mix at the time - were they fake stereo on the Genius After Hours LP (they are on the CD re-issue)?

    The Ray +
    My Melancholy Baby x
    Black Coffee *
    There's No You x

    Doodlin' x
    Sweet Sixteen Bars +
    I Surrender Dear +
    Undecided x

    * Atlantic Recording Studios 4/30/56
    + Capitol Recording Studios (NY) 11/20/56
    x Coastal Recording Studios 11/26/56

    As to why Ray was "pushed" in this direction - I don't know if that's how Ray felt about it but I do know that Nesuhi couldn't possibly have just ignored the incredible jazz talent he had at his label.

  21. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I don't know if I would describe it as 'conservative' or 'light'... it's pretty funky IMO.

    And did Atlantic really push Ray into doing this? I had assumed it was just Ray stretching out. It doesn't sound like a forced performance in any way.

    And tubesandvinyl is 100% correct - the Rhino reissue sounds amazingly rich and lifelike, even holographic at times, and pressing is very high quality.
  22. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Glorious sound indeed! Glad you are enjoying your copy, action pact. :cheers:
  23. AtlTrav

    AtlTrav Forum Resident

    Rhino reissue is fantastic! Just picked it up for $15 from acoustic sounds. Great price for an audiophile quality release.
  24. dint10

    dint10 Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    I just got this too - fantastic.
  25. ROFLnaked

    ROFLnaked Forum Resident

    I've been listening to this album on YouTube over the past few weeks in the wee hours of the morning before my co-workers arrive. Just found a purported NM mono bullseye copy for $10; looking forward to finding how it sounds through the big Altec speakers.
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