A must is "Audiophile Voices, Volume 3". You can buy it on ebay.
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I really like:
1. Diana Krall, Live in Paris
2. Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley
3. Oscar and Ella- Duo
4. Carmen McRae - ( This is a poor recording, on a small label, Jazz Merchant, but, I love the music on it and Carmen sounds great on it.)
Just a few suggestions, Tube gear preferably of course. Although I just picked up a Proton A1150, which initially I thought sounded thin, but after further review, it's not too bad for a bedroom setup.
I'd add to the list:
Jennifer Warnes - "Famous Blue Raincoat" & "The Well"
Holly Cole: "Temptation"
Bonnie Raitt: "Luck of the Draw"
Eva Cassidy: "Songbird"
Etta James: "Life, Love & the Blues"
Mark Knopfler: "Golden Heart" & "Shangri La"
Dixie Chicks: "Home"
Chris Thomas King: "Me, My Guitar & the Blues"
Runaway Express: "Oh, Boy" (local Denver band does Buddy
Holly stuff really well; check their web site)
Ray Charles: "Genius Loves Company"
That should get you started.
Hmmm I'll throw an odd ball pick only because I find these threads usually have the same names over and over...
Hole - Live Through this
The track "Softer, Softest"
Yes I'm recommending a Courntey Love tune. I was shocked at how good this was recorded. This track was actually listed on SimAudio's reference track list for demo playback. I already had the CD, but didn't remember the song. Perhaps my system (when I first bought the cd many moons ago) wasn't up to snuff. But oh boy.
I can't help with jazz, etc., but I can recommend Johnny Cash's four American Records albums with Rick Rubin: "American Recordings," "Unchained," "Solitary Man," and "The Man Comes Around." Each has incredible sonics, with Johnny's voice dead center and BIG and booming--as it damn well should be. Most of Johnny's records were pretty well recorded, but, to my ears, these sound the best. "The Man Comes Around," in particular, will send shivers up your spine. It was his last album before his death--and let's just say this: The man went out on TOP.
Some suggestion for out ot this world places:
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Mustt Mustt
Madredeus - Ainda
Much better than Diana Krall, Jacintha, Norah Jones etc. Well, and if someone can recommend Johnny Cash for great vocals, you got to listen to the early Waits albums...
Tom Waits - Closing time, Heart of Saturday Night, Small Change
At THE Show in Las Vegas in 2004, there was a group called "Misty River" that played live. They have 4 women who sing and play guitar, bass, violin, and accordian. I have 2 of their CDs: Misty River, Live at the Backgate Stage, and Misty River, Rising.
Here is a link to their web site:
In the 1st CD, they sing an accapella song called "Heather's Song" (track 11). This is one of most wonderfully recorded tracks with very compelling harmonic voices. Each singer is placed equally across the sound stage, and are clearly separated and distinct. The realism is astounding from the dead quiet, to the in breaths, to the intertwining and blending of each part.
While at THE Show, I took these CDs into several rooms to evaluate audio systems, and in each case was asked repeatedly what was playing and where it could be found. If you like live vocals with accoustic instruments, these are a must.
Heavenly Voices by various artist on the Cleopatra label.
Cleopatra released this "best of" from the Heavenly Voices series on Hyperium. "A collection of the finest female vocals in ethereal, darkwave & gothic."
I was in Barnes & Noble this w/e and came across a vocal jazz CD by Sara Gazarek named "Yours". I gave it a listen and bought it. It's been playing for the last hour on my system, very nice. Very well recorded and she reminds me a little of Holly Cole, a very pure voice. Might be worth checking out.See it here.
Hi, I would highly recommend the CD After hours by Jeanne Lee and Mal Waldron it is on the sunnyside owl label from 1994. I also agree on the Patricia Barber recordings especially the latest A Fortnight in France, Jim Anderson is a great recording engineer. Also agree with Hooper on the Johnny Cash American recordings. The man comes around is really good.
If I want to hear vocals I sit down and retrieve following albums from my collection because of how superbly they were recorded to bring out the vocals right upfront!
Tracy Chapman (first album no title)
Patricia Barber - Cafe Blue
Eleanor McEvoy - Yola
Ella and Louis - Porgy and Bess
Suzanne Vega - Solitue Standing
Diana Krall - Live in Paris
Natalie Cole - Unforgetable
There are many but you can consider the above if you like.
Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 3 Opus 36 (1976) - To hear an angel listen to soprano, Dawn Upshaw. Amazing,dreamy, and inspiring.
A Tribute To Gram Parsons - Return of the Grevious Angel. This is a collection of various, talented artists. Just loaded with wonderful vocals (Emmylou Harris, Cowboy Junkies, Beck, Julianna Hatfield, Chris Hillman, Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Gillian Welch, plus). Emmylou Harris put this together and did an incredible job at it. Very worth owning. (Kinda' makes Parson's original recordings sound flat by comparison.)