Geoff, if MF is saying the LP's will be mono, it's highly doubtful Modern Times will be one of them. Mono reissues are always of albums that were originally available in mono, meaning 60's releases. I wouldn't mind contemporary recordings being mixed to mono, but that just isn't done. At least, not by labels like Dylan's Columbia. Some hip indie labels/artists who think mono is cool is a different story!
There was a lapel button made back in the 70's that read "Back To Mono". I saw a photo of Phil Spector wearing one---he was known for his mono "Wall of Sound" recordings, which were what Brian Wilson tried to emulate in his Beach Boys mono mixes. Brian also used Spector's "Wrecking Crew" musicians on his recordings, so like Spector did he want his productions to sound.
As "bpd24" says. Well said.
The "Original Mono Recordings" from 2010 covered his official releases from 1962-1967. There is still a treasure trove of tape, both released and unreleased, that is said to be coming out in mono. Sony has a lot of Dylan "Bootleg Series" volumes queued up, along with mono reissues.
fromunda OP127 posts01-11-2016 2:03amWe are talking about MoFi Mono reissues. Different from Sony Bootleg Series releaseYes, I know they are different. I was just trying to say that there's a treasure trove of all kinds of Dylan material to be released, re-released, etc.by whomever. I was not very clear. That's what happens when I'm watching TV (on mute), while drinking, listening to some music, and listening to the Mrs (NOT on mute!).
Uh, not necessarily a cash cow.
Shadows in the Night is the thirty-sixth studio album by Bob Dylan, released by Columbia Records on February 3, 2015. The album consists of covers of traditional pop standards made famous by Frank Sinatra, chosen by Dylan. On January 23, 2015, it was announced that 50,000 free copies would be given away to randomly selected AARP The Magazine readers. Dylan made "Full Moon and Empty Arms" available for free streaming online on May 13, 2014.
Bob's 60's recordings are much better sounding than almost all of his subsequent ones (one notable exception being Planet Waves, recorded in late '73 with The Band at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, released in early '74. It has just been released on LP and SACD by Mobile Fidelity, and sounds like the microphones are plugged straight into the recorder, played and sung live, with no overdubs and very little electronic enhancement), made during the time the art and engineering of recording was heading in the wrong direction---solid state boards, mics with "tailored" responses (the Shure SM57 and 58, for recordings? They were designed for live vocals, with a built-in presence peak to aid intelligibility on stage), many, many "effects" boxes (limiters, compressors, expanders, electronic reverb and echo, phase shifters, equalizers, etc.) inserted in the recording chain, and finally "new school" engineers taking the place of the dying and retiring WWII radio engineers who had Hi-Fi standards in recording and reproduction. The new school "engineers" fidelity standards are relative, not absolute.
The worst sounding Dylan albums are those produced (and engineered) by the worst-of-the-worst, Daniel Lanois---Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind. TOoM sounds like the music is coming through the wall from the next room---one of the worst sounding albums I have ever heard. And it garnered Dylan his only Grammy! After Lanois, Bob started producing himself, as "Jack Frost". Much, much better.
Here’s a bunch of Dylan CDs and vinyl taken from the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database. See if you can correlate a good sounding recording of Dylan’s with Dynamic Range numbers. The number 14 is the beginning of the GOOD dynamic range. Numbers lbetween 8 and 13 are TRANSITIONAL and Less than 8 represents BAD dynamic range. The 3 numbers represent AVG, LOWEST and HIGHEST dynamic range for the recording.
Bob Dylan Slow Train Coming [Vinyl] i 1979 15 14 17 lossless Vinyl
Bob Dylan Slow Train Coming i 1979 15 14 17 lossless CD
Bob Dylan Slow Train Coming [HDT 192-24] 2015 12 10 14 lossless Download
Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde i 1989 13 12 15 lossless CD
Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde [Sony SACD 5.1] i 2003 13 12 14 lossless CD
Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde [MFSL SACD] i 2013 11 10 14 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Saved i 1990 13 13 15 lossy CD
Bob Dylan World Gone Wrong i 1993 13 11 15 lossy CD
Bob Dylan World Gone Wrong i 2013 13 12 15 lossless CD
Bob Dylan Love and Theft i 2003 08 07 10 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Love and Theft 2001 08 07 10 lossless. Unknown
Bob Dylan Infidels [vinyl] i 1983 16 14 17 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Infidels [Remastered] 2003 13 11 15 lossless CD
Bob Dylan Modern Times [vinyl] 2006 10 08 11 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Modern Times i 2006 07 06 09 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks. 1991 12 11 15 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan Tempest i 2012 09 05 12 lossless Unknown
Bob Dylan The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (The Original Mono Recordings) i 2010 12 11 14 lossy CD
Bob Dylan Shot of Love i 1989 13 12 15 lossy CD
FWIW, here's my comparison of my two pressings of "Nashville Skyline": My original pressing vs. MOFI 45rpm.
The first thing I always notice when looking at the cover art, Bob is smiling!!! This is very rare. On this lp and John Wesley Harding, he is smiling and seems to be having fun. (Maybe a coincidence that these are two of my favorite lps from Bob). This may be a sign of good things to come on this lp, right?
The other most notable difference from his earlier lps is that he's changed his vocal style for this effort. I suppose it is in keeping with the subject matter. Still, it shows his versatility.
The first track, "Girl From The North Country" is the stand-out song sonically. (As with most cuts that are recorded in different venues over a span of time, some sound better). (The other is "Lay Lady Lay").
On "GFTNC": From the very beginning, it is apparent from the very first hit on a drum, the very first guitar stroke, the very first time you hear a vocal, that the transient response is on a whole different level. This may be off-putting for purists but very rewarding for those of us who enjoy such gymnastics in our own listening environment. I find it to be very rewarding!
The vocals that Bob and Johnny display are very naturally laid out. This is another pleasing aspect I find here. ( If one was to be hyper-critical, one could make the case that upon listening to this 47 year old recording that, this 45rpm lp, brings out the instruments in a way that still portrays the vocals in that other space in time.) Just an observation.
"Nashville Skyline Rag": This one just envelopes you from the beginning like never before! The bass response is very good and the music creeps around the side walls to just draw me in. Wow! I never would have expected this in my wildest dreams. Good things do come to those who wait?! (BTW, I've had this one on order since Aug. of 2013.) Can you tell I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy?
(The first lp, came dished, so if I think upon listening that it will translate into another listen after flattening, I'll report back.) (Actually, both lps are dished) MFSL: Are you paying attention?
"To Be Alone With You", is obviously a small step down sonically. However, it is two steps up from my original pressing.
"I Threw It All Away": Ditto from above.
"Peggy Day": The additional guitar and the upbeat pace, seems to uplift this track from the past two, in that sense. These three songs are of lesser sound quality but compared to the original pressing, far and away better!
Side 2. No, wait, Side 3, (this is a four sided, 45rpm record, I almost forgot!)
"Lay Lady Lay": This is THE track we've all been waiting for, right? Smooth, silky, and more "studio like" in the sense that the surrounding ambience is prevalent and enjoyed by me. ( By the way, the ambient retrieval is just one more reason to have this lp in your collection!)
"One More Night", "Tell Me That It's Not True", same sonics as described above for "To Be Alone With You" & "I Threw It All Away".
"Country Pie", This track has me tapping my feet and doing the "head nod" from the very beginning! It is a more upbeat song and sonically, a notch above the last several tracks. It just ends too soon..
"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You": I have to say this one is in keeping with the last track in that it is more open, present that some of the past tracks.
This has been a fun time listening to the differences in this lp as described above. I hope you will take it for what it's worth and decide for yourself if you're willing to pay a premium for the positive aspects of this lp, vs. the high price and the fact that it will need flattening.
Now, bdp24, I'll be re-listening to my copies of "No Mercy" as it use to be my "go to" lp for sonics, a VERY long time ago. I know things change, but I'll report back.
I hope you all have found this enlightening?
( My senior moment... I was going to re-read my post before actually posting, but I decided that any mistakes in spelling would be relegated to a AARP moment, and all will understand.
Cheers! Now back to listening.
I'm currently listening to my OP of "No Mercy".
It is not in any way offensive. I do find it now, more "upfront", in it's presentation, than most lps.
If you need/want to hear a poor sounding lp, try Drive By Truckers "English Oceans" on ATO label. Now, that will get your blood boiling!!!
THE MOST POOR SOUNDING LP IN MY RECENT EXPERIENCE!
I'd love to hear this lp in another, more positive light.
Actually, it is the sound of Time Out of Mind that I find so atrocious, and that as a CD. I haven’t heard it on LP (guess you’re an even bigger fan of Bob than I, Slaw! ;-), and when mentioning it threw in Oh Mercy just assuming it, also being a Daniel Lanois production, was the same (I would listen to it now but for it being in storage at the moment, due to my current in-progress relocation to the Northwest. I haven’t heard it in ages, now that I think of it.). Guess I’d better not jump to conclusions so automatically!
I haven’t been buying as many audiophile LP reissues as I used to, feeling that my impending mortality is becoming alarmingly near, leading me to try and hear as much as-yet unheard music in my remaining time as possible. I’ve been focusing more on stuff like the latest boxsets---Bootleg Vol.12 and The Basement Tapes, both fantastic!
Bob smiling on both John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline was quite deliberate, I believe, and done for the same reason as The Band including a picture of themselves with their "Next of Kin" (as the caption reads) on the inside of the Music From Big Pink LP gatefold cover was. All three albums came out at the height of the "revolution", which pitched the older WWII generation against the younger, squares against the hip, alcohol against weed, earnestness against cynicism, church-goers against atheists, and, especially, parents against their children. Scowling was in style, as was everything else done in the spirit of the refusal to respect authority (Don Stevenson, drummer of Moby Grape, giving the middle finger on the cover of their first album. Just, you know, in general.)
Bob had been leading the charge against the hypocrisy and conformity of the 50’s and early-60’s American culture, but had his motorcycle accident in the Summer of ’66, just as the emerging counter-culture was starting to catch up to him. During his two years of "recuperation" (kicking his amphetamine addiction?), Bob got married, had a kid, adjusted to life in the country (Woodstock), and reflected on things. In 1968, out of nowhere comes John Wesley Harding, a complete rebuke of what was going on in the world he was returning to. The R & R music in vogue at the time of the release of JWH and MFBP couldn’t have been more different from them; psychedelia was rampant (even The Stones went there with the horrid Their Satanic Majesties Request), "songs" were the whole side of an LP, everyone was trying to play like they were virtuosos or "Classically-trained" wunderkinds, guitar solos went on foreeeeever, and lyrics were very preachy, judgmental, and holier than thou. And the music was loud---real, real loud (I have the tinnitus to prove it).
In 1968, Country music was viewed by the young as the music of the enemy---church going, flag-waving, work-ethic embracing, squares; the very subjects of the songs in Dylan’s previous albums. It was also viewed as the music of racists---music from and of the South. Here comes John Wesley Harding, and it’s about as Country as you can get! Pedal Steel Guitar, acoustic rhythm---no Marshall or Hi-Watt stacks, no distortion or wah-wah, no double bass drum kit. Very simple, quiet music, minimal playing, and short songs. AND, lyrics full of Biblical references. WTF?! Music From Big Pink comes out, and not only is the music not-dissimilar from that on JWH, but The Band takes a picture with all the members of their families, including their, horrors, parents, and includes it on the inner cover. AND, they do a Lefty Frizzell song on the album, fer Christ’s sake. WTF?! "You know something is happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"
Dylan was now in his late 20’s, as were, though they were just releasing their first album, The Band. The same age as The Beatles, Stones, etc., but having spent the entire decade playing live six nights a week, they had become a real, real good band. All The Beatles said they were a much better band, as a band, before they became big. Imagine if they had kept playing live in clubs during the entire 60’s. George was knocked on his ass when he heard MFBP, giving a copy to everyone he knew. Eric Clapton dissolved the biggest band in the world, Cream, upon hearing MFBP. Hugely influential. These two albums started a whole counter-counter culture! Every good guitarist I knew ditched his Les Paul and Marshall for a Telecaster and Deluxe Reverb. I got rid of my second bass drum and extra toms, and had to completely rethink my approach to playing the drumset. Making music, not just playing an instrument, became what it was all about. All in service to the song. Dylan was always about the song.
Dylan was STILL the leader, and having spent all of 1967 being tutored in American music (remember, four of the five of them are Canadian) by Bob in the basement of Big Pink, The Band were also preaching the new Gospel. Unlike in ’65, Bob (and The Band) was now way out ahead of the youth culture (with whom he obviously felt no kinship), and few knew what to make of JWH and Nashville Skyline (and MFBP). Only some like-minded musicians (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield), songwriters, singers, and smarty-pants.
So, perhaps to make a statement, perhaps just to be contrary, Dylan puts a picture of himself smiling on the covers of JWH and NS, and makes music with Country influences. The guys at Rolling Stone were caught scratching their heads, not realizing they were the new Mr. Jones. When Dylan’s Self Portrait came out two years later, the heading of it’s review in RS read "What is this sh#t?". The writer of that review (Greil Marcus) has recently admitted the error in judgment that review has proven to have been. It was caused by his ignorance and arrogance, to which he has not admitted.
Hearing now heard about the great sound of MF’s Nashville Skyline, I am anxious to get it and some other new audiophile editions (and the Oh Mercy album on Sony LP, which I don’t have), and get my new turntable put together up here in the dark, wet hills of Vancouver. Thanks for the education, Slaw!
It is I, that thank you for your perspective as a musician and what this brings to this discussion. I really enjoyed reading your post above. It brings a very personal aspect from your unique perspective that I miss from being an end-user/listener/wanna-be-mucisian.
To be truthful, I'm recently discovering/re-discovering artists that I should have been more knowledgeable about all, these many years. (It is with the advance of great gear that we are now experiencing in our home environment, that I can now make confident contributions to what I'm hearing).
Regarding this threads' inception: If MOFI can do (magic) on the early mono Dylan lps like they did on "Surrealistic Pillow", WOW!, this would be great. Until then, I'm more than happy with my Original Mono Recordings box set.
(By the way, my two lps of "Oh Mercy" are the domestic issue and the Simply Vinyl.) I reported yesterday on my domestic copy.
Thank you, bdp, that was an incredible post. I really appreciate you taking the time to share that perspective. I will re-listen to those albums with renewed enthusiasm!
As for Time Out of Mind- I always loved the album- as a matter of fact it's one of my favorites. But, unfortunately, even the vinyl pressing sounds kind of meh. Which is alright- there's some music I critically listen to, some I just listen to because I love and it's a real bonus when those two come together!
Just for the record, I have "Time Out Of Mind". I bought it when it was initially released, played it once, put it away. (Many, many years/system changes ago!) By the way, was this the lp that had Dylan on stage at the Grammy's, when "SOY BOMB" came on stage?
19 years ago, many things have changed. bdp24, you have moved me enough for a good cleaning and, really, a good evaluation. I thank you for this self-imposed challenge!
I re-listened today.
One point to mention, Regarding these two artists, (both, I assume would not be agreeable to being in "the background". This aspect is present in "TGFTNC", as these two artists/singers, are relaying this song, "in their own" interpretation, (not "a singular" interpretation), in any lesser degree as you'd normally hear. These two "strong" artists, are delivering their own performance, within the constraints of a singular recording!!!
This would never/not be in the conversation today! It works.
Slaw, your mention of the sound of Oh Mercy on LP has reminded of the fact that by the time that album came out, I was of the opinion that since LP's were in all probability being mastered from a digital source, there was no point in getting the LP (a digitally sourced LP---the worst of both worlds). Now I'm curious to compare the LP to the CD of both it and Time Out of Mind. I would love to have those albums in better-than-CD sound!
FWIW, I listened to "Time Out Of Mind" today.
What stands out to me is that DL was trying to get a certain type of sound, say from an era gone by, (hence the title of the lp) as opposed to an audiophile approved sounding lp. This can be off-putting in the sense that it kind of accentuates the digital nature of this recording on some tracks more than others. The content, however is excellent, IMO.
Comparing "Oh Mercy" and "Time Out of Mind" on sonic qualities alone,
"Oh Mercy" is consistently superior.
Thanks for bringing this lp up in the conversation. I will enjoy listening to it again.
Slaw, Time Out of Mind is pretty amazing---"Not Dark Yet" absolutely hypnotic. But the sound is sooo bad (on CD, at least), like it’s coming from the bottom of a well. Musically, Lanois was after something Dylan didn’t particularly care for (he broke off the sessions many times, the two fighting constantly during the recording of the album), and wasted the talents of guitarist Duke Robillard, whose parts were left largely on the mixing room floor (Google Duke’s comments about the recording of the album). Duke left and went to play guitar for Lucinda Williams, and just tore it up when I saw him with her. I don’t care for Lanois, at all. He’s okay for U2, but who cares about them ;-)?
I’ll look for a copy of Oh Mercy on LP. I just moved North, and there is a pretty good LP store nearby---Music Millennium in Portland.