Great music but poor recording recommendations.

It hit me that, when I visit most of my audiophile friends, that they are always playing Holly Cole, Pat Barber, Diana Krall, Kraftwerk, Dead Can Dance and other things that are well recorded but not very consonant with my musical sensibility. Most of the music I really enjoy is pretty badly recorded. So I thought that, in the interest of widening musical exposure, we could start a thread with great music that is not particularly well recorded but deserves a hearing from our audiophile friends. Doesn't have to be the worst recording ever or anything like that, just mediocre will do. I'll throw three out. "Introducing Roland Kirk", originally released on Argo and subsequently on Chess. This is Kirk's first record as a leader, before he became Rashaan, a real winner. Recording quality suffers in comparison to his later work on Mercury/Limelight and Atlantic. Robert Earl Keen, "Number 2 Live Dinner". OK, I said that I wouldn't pick the very worst recording, but this may be right up there, hey, it's my thread so I can cheat. Unbelieveable songwriting from this unsung Texas troubadour. Townes (who made a few terrible sounding recordings as well) would be proud. The Strokes "Room On Fire", their latest effort sounds like a direct-to-disc compared to this sophomore outing. More sludge than a Mississippi River flood. One can easily argue that, in this case, we are dealing with artisitic intent. For a brief moment, the only new band that mattered. Next.
Rush-A Farewell To Kings/Hemispheres. GREAT ALBUMS!
But BADLY recorded!
I might get flamed for this, but I'll say Led Zeppelin's "Physical Graffiti".
Oooh, I second Rush's Hemispheres. One of my favorites. You may want to try the remastered version of this album, some say it improved. I can't tell all that much.
Audioslave - Out of Exile.

Poor recording/mastering/whatever is highlighted by playing back to back with their first album.
Duke Ellington's "Live, 1940 From the Crystal Ballroom in Fargo, ND". It's a transcription from a radio broadcast of a typical night on the road of the world's greatest dance band. It's very low-fi, the band is at times quite sloppy, but it's pure magic.

A more recent offering, Dwight Yoakam's "". Just Doo-wight and his guitar doing what amounts to a greatest hits collection. Overly compressed, but great performances and outstanding song writing.
My whole music library is made up of music I like regardless of recording quality. I have only purchased two recordings in my life soley because is sounded so good. I only play them to show off my system to people who ask.

The reason I am into high end audio is simply to make whatever great performances I own sound as good as possible.

It is interesting because sometimes a record company will reissue a CD and claim it is improved because it was mixed at a higher resolution (the lastest digital gear). I many times find that these CDs sound worse to my ears, and I stick with the old CD and sell the new one on eBay.

They can't really improve on the master. I find they enhance the highs when they remix them to the detrement of the lows. I guess this will sound good on a portable devise, but it sounds like crap on a good system.

The new remixes sound better on first listening, then later become annoying as I realize they sucked the sole out of the recording. Kind of like the way Bose speakers sound good at first until you realize there is little or no bass detail.
So, Sugarbrie, your answer to the thread's question is that you cannot make a recommendation?

C'mon, pick one. How about "Kiss Alive!"

Tvad... dissing (SP?) Kiss ALive?? That was one of the first albums I ever bought... Yes Fragile was first...... I haven't listened to it since about 1980, so I can't coment on the recording....

FWIW I just got an older version of Husker Du's "don't want to know if you are lonely on a compilation CD set my stepdaughter bought me for Christmas, and YES the recording SUXXXXXXXXXs, but the song is so powerful you can overlook that... So I guess for me, that would get my vote.... along with the Minutemen "politcal song for Michael Jackson to sing"

What can I say, I still have a warm spot in my heart for the angry old punk.....

We won't even start on the UK Subs and Dead Boys... forget the SP's, and DOA, Red Kross etc....

Tvad... dissing (SP?) Kiss ALive?? That was one of the first albums I ever bought... Yes Fragile was first...... I haven't listened to it since about 1980, so I can't coment on the recording....

Not dissing it at all. I think it's an appropriate addition to "Great Music But Poor Recording Recommendations..." I played it nonstop in 1976 ( or was it 1977?).

And I agree that Yes' "Fragile" is great music abysmally recorded.
i gotta agree on the audiophile play list,it's all just music to show case a good sounding rig & not stuff that i can really get into & have fun with,i have to question people who really get into the audiophile type recording's,did they start out enjoying these type's of music or did they gravitate to it beacuse of how well it's recorded & how great it make's their rig sound.

canned heat, the canned heat cookbook.

john lee hooker & canned heat,hooker & heat.

zz top,one foot in the blues.

black sabbath,black sabbath.

blind faith.

the mother's of invention,live at the filmore.

way too many to list but for me ive totally given up on trying to look for recording's to showcase my rig.
A couple of cds with great music that is poorly recorded are Santana's "Abraxas" and "The Joshua Tree" by U2. It may just be the particular versions I have but these have less than audiophile sound. These two recordings are some of the ones I listen to when deciding if speakers are keepers or not.
-Iggy and the Stooges, Raw Power/It's good to have this stuck in your head, but it's painful to go back and listen to cuz the recording is so bad.
-Roland Kirk, Prepare Thyself to Deal With a Miracle
-Sun Ra, Astro Black
-Ornette Coleman, The Art Of Improvisers
-T-Rex, Slider
-Mule, Wrung
So much mentioned on A'gon about Joni Mitchell these past few days. For me it's BLUE. Also, does anyone know of a good sounding remaster of Exile on Main Street (Stones)? I find the 180 gram vinyl edition a TOTAL waste of 25 bucks.
I also agree very strongly about Yes- Fragile, fabulous work of art but disappointing recording (why does this happen when Yes was at the top of their game???)
Sting's collection, what was it called, the goldy-yellow cover, a double LP. Wretched recording and wonderful songs.
OK Tvad,

I owe you a drink... or several.

This offer good for any audio fest when ever, where ever....RMAF HE CEDIA etc..

Dan Fogelberg 'The Innocent Age'. Great music, poorly mixed and mastered.
One example leaps to mind for me- Jimi Hendrix.

IMO, much of his recorded legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of properly recording musical talent.

Still, I listen :)
U2 the Joshua tree, love every track but sounds like a wet blanket is covering my speakers.
Ditto on Yes "Fragile", also Yes "Close to the Edge", and "Relayer".
Tvad is right about Zep's "Physical".
Soft machine's recordings.. very poor until you get to "5"
King Crimson's 1st.
Rush's "Farewell" was rather poor, but I remember "Hemispheres" as much better recorded and pressed.
John Coltrane's live at the Village Vanguard I and II...
can you imagine if you could go back in time with top-notch recording equipment and techies and re-do these?
I like a couple of the Midnight Oil Cds but they could have been recorded better.
IMO the Coltrane VV recordings, esp from 1961, are very 'alive' and sound great. I wouldn't trust anyone else to have recorded them. That aside, his European tour pablo set has lousy sound and great music.
Yes - Close to the Edge - very compressed, but Killer synth...
Steely Dan--KATY LIED
There are more poor recordings out there than I want to think about. I know an audio engineer who told me most are voiced for car radios. That being said a live album by Van Morrison from 1973 available on CD called Its too Late to Stop Now is my favorite music. I still listen to it. It is poorly recorded not mixed and it shows when using a good system.
Almost anything by Nirvana, I really like to pull out something from these guys, but it can sound real bad. One exception is their MTV Unplugged album.
How dare you listen to music that isn't recorded well. What is music more important than audio? shame on you all ;)

Mine would be Al Dimeola and Paco de Lucia Friday Night in San Francisco? Very mediocre recording, but one of my favorites. And many others. I usually listen to them in the car but on my hifi system as well.
In comparison to Zep's PG, and Yes works like Fragile and CTTE, which I would suggest are not bad, here's one I cannot get to sound "right" no matter what I do or how I tilt my head:

Runt's "A Wizard, A True Star"
U2's "All That You Can't Leave Behind". Really excellent rock music, but a recording that will peel paint! I listened to it in my car today on a factory system and it was still WAY too hot (treble) for my taste. It is nearly unlistenable on my home system.

Honestly, I can't believe the Band or recording engineer really wanted this recording to turn out this way.

Ned's Atomic Dust Bin "God Fodder" and "Are You Normal". I really like both of these recordings, but they are very thin sounding and get "muddled up" when the music picks up and/or gets louder.

Agreed on The Rush recording mentioned earlier and basically think most of the original Rush CDs sound pretty poor. This was my favorite Band for 10-15 years, but I rarely listened to them at home once I got a decent system. Very thin with NO bass.

Counting Crows "This desert Life". Again, I like the music, but too thin and muddled-up when it gets loud.


dire straits "communique"
don't care it's their best stuff to me
FatParrot, are you kidding??
Katy Lied is superb! what do you mean? P.S. my parrot is thin... can't get him to eat right, always prefers junk food
Lindisfarne: How true about most of Todd's work! I always liked "Initiation" but no bass! "RA" and also from same period The Tubes (can't remember the title -- cover had a photo of a baby suckling on a portable TV)produced by T.R... sound very good.
"Katy Lied" has some well documented audio problems. All the vinyl and CD versions I've heard sound fairly compressed and somewhat rolled off at the frequency extremes.
Xiekitchen, must be a full moon, I am in awe of Onhwy61s picks and agree fully with him on the Katy Lied issues as well. Here is the link to the unbelievably bad luck that befell production of the album. But as they say, "If it sounds good to you....."
Well, I donno, on the MFSL LP version (the only version I've known) frequency extremes are fairly normal if subdued, to me very natural sounding, compared to the over produced slicked up Gaucho. I'll check out the link above.
You know it's funny that you bring this up; there is so much good music out there that isn't recorded well. It's unfortunate because from a purely music perspective a lot of the super well recorded "audiophile" stuff just doesn't appeal to me.
I agree with the Iggy & the Stooges recordings...great music, crumby recording. T-rex Slider remaster sounds pretty good. I've seen Electric Warrior remaster available so I'll be picking that up. My Great Music poor recording pick would be Johnny Thunders, both solo & with the Heartbreakers. Some great stuff...recorded poorly. Also the first 2 Damned albums...classics recorded like trash.
Exile on main street
01-11-06: Matt8268
Oooh, I second Rush's Hemispheres. One of my favorites. You may want to try the remastered version of this album, some say it improved. I can't tell all that much.
I just received the Rush Remasters version of "Hemispheres", and I think it sounds really terrific.
Agreement re: Exile On Main Street. It's even poor on 200gram vinyl. A real mess actually. Too bad.
I agree about Exiles, but the most horribly produced Stones album ever was Between the Buttons. IMHO. I have not even heard a modern, hot-compressed CD mix that can equal it for sound degradation (and I do not wish to be educated)!
Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" -- some great music, but a pretty rotten sounding redbook CD. Perhaps the worst sounding LP I've ever owned is (a blast from the past here) Mott the Hoople "Live." Sounded like the music was struggling to emerge from a large coffee can stuffed with wet towels.
Happy Listening.
Nina Simone, Live at the Village Gate, captures a wonderful performance; but, the recording engineer must have been asleep.
John Barlycorn, Traffic. even the Reel to reel stinks to listen to.