Mapleshade records: Pick the best of

I'm interested in purchasing a few Mapleshade discs just to check them out. I'd like some pointers as to what discs i should shoot for. They currently have a "4 for $40" type of deal going on, so i need to find four discs to obtain that pricing.

For some background, i'm basically a "rocker" that also enjoys "dynamic" Classical pieces and soothing Chamber music. Some "foot stompin" Blues never bothered me and "swing" type Jazz can be fun too. I'm not much up on "experimental" type Jazz as it sounds like a big cacophony to me. Pipe organs do nothing for me and choral recordings are in the same boat.

Obviously, i'd like "good" recordings, but i'm more concerned with "good" music. After all, i'd rather kick back and listen to some good tunes with "pretty good" recordings rather than try to impress myself with a great recording of a mediocre performance ( Holt's Law ).

Any of you's wanna cough up some advice? Sean
Bob Willoughby - Blues, Booze and Oldtimey Soul
The J Street Jumpers - Is you Is of Is You Ain't My Baby

I've tried quite a few of the Maple Shade recordings and find the production to be good to great. Both of these are fun recordings. Everyone always loves Bob Willoughby's music.
As you probably suspect, a good rock fix is not really on the menu w/ these guys. Ended up ditching alot of Mapleshade discs, some of em' hit me as the most sappy, maudlin, cliche ridden stuff i'd ever heard. There may be some land mines waiting for you on this label. I thought these four were solid keepers:
Thurman Green - Dance of the Night Creatures
Hamiett Bluiett - Young Warrior, Old Warrior
Euforia - (Smokin' bass/drums guit. trio Great sound!!)
Andy McKee - Sound Roots

Recommend going to the cd Baby website and digging through their $5 bin, (there are audio samples to click on for all the discs they have).

Greetings amigo. Mapleshade makes somes very nice sounding CD's. I started with their Mapleshade Music Festival sampler. This CD will give you a good roadmap as to what Mapleshade is all about. The CD is more than a sampler ... it also stands on its own.

I have also purchased (and like) the C-Nuts CD; Larry Willis "Sanctuary," and Douglas Allanbrook "Majesty of the Horn."

CD's that I think you might like are ... "13 Shades of Blue," Al Lee's (from 10 Years After) "Ain't Playing the Game," Midnight Blue's "Inner City Blues," and Bad Influence's "Live at the Bad Habits Cafe." Mapleshade's idea of rock is more R&B than pure rock (think horns); more BS&T than the Stones; more Chicago/DC blues than Delta blues.

If you go on Mapleshade's web-site and select an album, you can usually listen to certain tracks. While you are in this exploratory mood try Dave Grisman's Acoustic Disc web-site . The music is primarily bluegrass and country and is typically very well recorded. An excellent one to try is "Old and in the Gray."

Regards, Rich
I've tried a bunch, but Holt's Law is too true. The Cnuts is kinda fun, as the jazzy covers of rock(e.g. Police, Dire Straits) grabs your attention; at least for a while.
The only one that's held my interest over time is Sweetman - Austin Backalley Blue. Some of the best recorded sax I've ever heard. It's sort of bluesy stripjoint music with touches of SRV and Dr.John.
No doubt that the sonics of Hamiett Bluiett & Bob Willoughby are superb, (most of them are), but I never got the urge to grab these from the rack and play them instead of other music.
If they could get some top bands in that studio, it would be magic! Regards,
Sunnyslide Slim - Live!
Drink Small - Electric Blues Doctor
Sean, C-Nuts and J Street Jumpers makes through the rotation for me. One that hasn't been mentioned is Tony Williamson. Great recording. Sort of a combination of blue grass, cajun with some blues and jazz highlights. Reading the liner is a treat and how they recorded the disc.
Another vote for Sweetman - Austin Backalley Blue.
I have 10 Mapleshade CDs, while the recordings are outstanding, the performance have not called me back for repeated listening. It sound quality of these are pretty amazing, they are good to use when you really want to hear the details in your system.
third vote for Sweetman.. extremely musical and fun recording!
Thanks for the responses. I'm sure that others are interested in this too as nobody wants to buy discs that are all flash with little substance. As such, please keep the suggestions coming as diversity of opinion is what makes the internet such an interesting and useful tool : )

It would appear that many here have similar tastes and / or that some of these specific discs are just much more enjoyable than others that they've tried from this label. On top of that, i really appreciate Duane's and Rich's suggestion of other sources for music. Good recordings of good music at fair prices is all anyone can ask for : ) Sean
First, Mappleshade people are techchies and they know how to tweak and make things sound very good (non-CD stuff I'm referring to...) I have owned a few of their CDs (not more than 4) and sound quality if phenomena (I won't comment on the material...) I got their little catalog in the mail booklet too for 4 for $40. It's a good deal but I found myself flipping the pages numerous of times but undecided to buy because I'm not sure I like their music repertoire.
Hi, Sean:

I own 24 Mapleshade CD's, and intend, in response to your post, to write an article that provides information about each recording. Unfortunately, I do not have time to do that today, and I am travelling to Sacramento for the weekend. Hence, I'll have to write the article early next week, and will post it as a new thread on Audiogon, under the title "Review of 24 Mapleshade CD's". In the meantime, feel free to contact me directly if you have questions about any specific Mapleshade releases.
Audiomax: I think that we are in the same boat. I read the descriptions of these discs and none of them comes across as exciting to me. That's why i posted the question that i did. I was hoping that someone else was brave enough to go out on that limb and report back for the rest of us : )

Scott: That is quite a daunting task and one that would be of benefit for all Agoner's everywhere. I wish you the best on your trip and look forward to reading your summaries when you get a chance. Sean
An audiophile friend passed to me a recent Maple Shade quarterly mailer. The hyperbole of the sound engineer talk got to me (the little green symbol in the blurb for most of the disks indicate audiophile or near-SADC recording quality via their two channel anolog recordings--i.e., essentially "live" in the studio) so I ordered six CDs.

I'm a jazzhead, and I like reggae. If you've ever been to a live reggae gig, where there's quality amplification and muscianship, the low end is like nothing on earth. Maple Shade tries to capture it with Midnite's "Ras Mek Peace." It's terrific audio quality re voice and most of the music but the low end is muddy on the first few tracks. Nice try, and if there's some benefit of the doubt, my audiophile buddy tells me his Krell reference subwoofer, Musical Fidelity amp and preamp and $8K worth of speaker cable and interconnects will clear up that attempt to capture live reggae base.

May I suggest, however, recordings of merit if you are a jazz fan: The C-Nuts and Gerard D'Angelo Trio are excellent, both quality of the music and audio quality through the frequency range.
Also, look into the John Cocuzzi jazz combo...nice, hot old school vibraphone-led group with a couple of vocals. The A la Carte Brass and Percussion group CDs will make you feel like you're back in New Orleans...great sound and FUN performances.
Another vote for the A la Carte discs. The theme from I Love Lucy is slammin. I also really like the Frank Foster - We Do It Different disc. Extremely dymnamic presentation of a big band. John Faddis' trumpet sounds exactly like I've heard it live.
I ordered the sampler with my last order of triplepoints as a way of checking out these discs. Should be here this week.
Did someone just say " The theme from I love Lucy"? Man, it may smoke, but I don't know how much play time that would get here!
I don't think they have good CDs in terms of the music, although most albums have a few good cuts. Their straightahead blues and jazz strike me as the best picks. They have a fairly extensive set of samples for downloading.

On the whole, I prefer select recordings from, both musically and sonically. Too bad their $12.00 sale just ended.
FYI. I noticed some Mapleshade CDs for sale cheap on ebay.