Which track do you demo to your friends?

You know when a friend arrives at your house, sees your stereo and says "how much did all this cost". You tell him/her the $$$ and they say "are you mad?" Of course, the next step is to justify it by playing something that will make their jaw hit the floor. Which track do you play? Me, I play a track called "Spanish Harlem" by Rebecca Pidgeon off an album called "The Raven". Works every time :-) Their jaw hits the floor, and no-one speaks till the song is over. Then they something along the lines of "Oh, I see what you mean". Follow up/alternate demo tracks for me would include "Fire and Roses" by Mimi Goese and "Ordinary Life" by Christen Barry. What track do you play in this most demanding of moments?
!. Music For Your Neighborhood by Jude Swift 2. Somewhere, Somebody by Jennifer Warnes (The Hunter CD) 3. Way Down Deep by Jennifer Warnes same CD 4. Little Blind Fish by CPR (David Crosby's Group)
Any cut off the "Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane" cd.
Ricki Lee Jones, Chuck Es in Love, from Naked songs, is the best pop live recording I have ever heard. Lyle Lovett, North Dekota, from Joshua Judges Ruth. Hard times Come Again No More, with James Taylor, from, Appalachian Journey, Yoyo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Mark Oconnor.
whatever they find in my selection of albums/cd's that interests 'em...
Same for me Doug. If they can't find something they like in my selection they don't really like music anyway
I guess I do both. First, I play something I want to hear (and share) and then I turn the controls over to my victim. My favorite has to be the "I've listened to this a thousand times and I never knew they did THAT." The other night I played the Rebecca Pigeon track for my brother. A good one. Usually I lead with a cut from the Victor Wooton solo CD, Brother John, because it is one of the more fun tracks for imaging and such. It starts as a fairly straightforward bluesey piece with fun instrumentation, all very centered, but then there is a full gospel-style chorus that kicks in that simply blossoms around and engulfs the listener. If you don't know it's coming, it's almost startling. The choir then claps along, with varying syncopated rhythms, and you can hear where each of them is standing around you. And my favorite part, one of them evidently brought a little kid along, standing in the back right of the soundstage, who chimes in from time to time. That usually getsÂ’em. It gets me. When folks ask how much it all cost, I invariably shake my head and admit, with unfeigned chagrin, "too much." Rarely do they get more than that out of me.
Rebecca Pidgeon does it for me. Another goods are track 8 and 10 of Strunz and Farah Primal Magic where you get bird chirps and percussion instruments that switch chanels in the back part of the soundstage. Pictures at an exhibition organ played by Jean Guillou good for Bass and also for large church ambience. Long Black veil from Chieftains track #7 Coast of Malabar Regards
Track 3 and 6 of "BLACK LIGHT SYNDROME" with terry bozzio, tony levin, and steve stevens. Incredible transparency and imaging. Terry bozzio has a huge huge drum set and each drum has it's own place in the soundstage and you can distinctly here the different tone of each drum. Also the acustic guitar throws a huge image and is very defined. No vocals though.
Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti "In concert Mehta" on London (any cut). Rossini "Comic Overtures" on Acum, Israel (any cut). Dudley Moore "Songs Without Words" GRP Records, for piano (any cut). Clapton "Unplugged" track #13 "Old Love". Lou Reed "Perfect Night in London", two cuts "Busload of Faith" and "Coney Island Baby". Ry Cooder "Bop Till You Drop", two cuts "I Think It's Going To Work Out Fine" and "I Can't Win", Hmmm quite a contrast. Also anything by KD Lang and by The Cowboy Junkies.
Whatever is in the CD player usually works, or I ask them what they want to hear. Most of the time I can pull it out of the record collection. I also let them set the volume level. The only thing I insist upon is that they sit in "the chair".
I agree with Doug in that I think it's best to play them music that they like and are familiar with on probably mid-fi equipment at best. That said, I personally like Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road"-- tracks #7 and #12 for dynamics, imaging, soundstaging,-- well the whole works. And also it's great popular music. I also use Cowboy Junkies, and Enigma. Also, Enya "Paint the Sky with Stars". Cheers. Craig.
Man, I love these posts the most. Thanks for all the suggestions for new music purchases. I spent about 3 hours listening to my favorites pondering this question. (What a pain.) I have used Ms. Pigeon’s “Spanish Harlem” and “The Word Around Town,” as well as several cuts from the “Chesky 10th Anniversary Special Edition”, but I have to settle down to seconding the Lyle Lovett “North Dakota” cut from Joshua Judges Ruth. I also ask them to look around my collection for something they are very familiar with and love to hear. Take care. Charlie
Donald Fagen Nightfly Track 1, Jennifer Warnes Hunter Track 8, Dire Straits Brothers in Arms Track 2
Garfish, I mirror your opionions exactly. I usually let people choose from what I have. But, if they insist on me picking, I either take the title track of Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road", or one of many cuts from Southern Culture On the Skids "Dirt Track Date". Usually, people want to be blown away, as they equate power, bass, and loudness to sound quality. Most people don't spend enough time there listening for esoteric things such as microdynamics, low noise floor, soundtaging, detail, etc.(all the stuff we revel in). If you don't play something that rocks, you will often receive a comment such as, "Ah man, c'mon. All that money for that?!? My JBL's blow the doors off your $10K speakers! You really should check out my JBLs, I think they're the best speakers out there."
Trelja, well said. What track(s) might you use if one of "us" came over to audition your system?
I let my friends pick whatever they want to listen to out of my collection. If it's my choice 2 of my favorites are James Newton Howard and Friends(sheffield) or Madonna- The Immaculate Collection(gold import version). I also like to use Dead Can Dance because most people have never heard them before, so it really gets their attention, plus the aound quality is incredible.
Let them choose! If you go to dealer to hear some equip do you want dealer to play some music you never heard before, no you bring music or have them play music you know so you have a point of reference for how good it sounds. Trelja no need to worry about big bass, guests will hear so many new details and spatial resolution they never knew existed from a CD they heard a 100 times, usually they will refuse to believe that it is the same CD that they have till you let them exmine it closely
Thanks for the responses here - more music for me to check out :-) I do agree that letting them choose makes a lot of sense - however, sometetimes they chose poorly recorded CDs. For example, the Moby Play CD (great stuff) has so much background noise on the CD, one would think it was introduced on purpose - one of my friends was surprised this background noise was still there - he thought my system would miraculously eliminate it. I wish....
Outlier, so what if they pick a crappy sounding recording? I believe that a well put together high end system will serve the music regardless of the recording quality. Good music will sound great on any system, but it will come across even better on a well put together and setup high end system. Good systems sound great only with audiophile recordings -- great systems sound good on anything! Just an opinion.
I 2nd Onhwy61's opinion. He told a truth.
......I played a particularily well recorded Patsy Cline CD for my brother-in-law (because she's a favorite of his), and after about 1/2 the CD he said "it sounds like she's in the room with us"-- high praise indeed. OTOH, he can't believe that I have a $5000. amp! :-) Cheers. Craig.
I have used: The opening to Also Sprach Zarustha (please don't check my spelling) The opening track from Audiophile by Victor Feldman Hotel California from Eagles Hell Freezes Over Too Rich For My Blood or a taste of Honey from Cafe Blue by Patricia Barber Under the Sea from Manheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse Flight of the Cosmic Hippo Years ago I used to use Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon but times have changed The reactions haven't-they always stop laughing. Have fun.
I pick any Reference Recording CD's, POMP AND PIPES (2nd and 4th track)in perticular. Any Mapleshade CD'S,Makin' Whoopee: Tribute to the King Cole Trio ( 5th and 6th)OR A LA CARTE BRASS AND PERCUSSION: Boogeyin'!Any)in perticular. Most from the above two labels are good for DEMONSTRATION. I will have to try out some of the track(albums)mentioned in the above posts.
This is great ! Some if this music i have , some i don't. I'm buying some CD's tomorrow ! :) The 1st CD i would play to a show off my system would be James McMurtry , Candyland, Track 6 & 10 ! After eight years these two songs still give me goos bumps !!!Follow up. John Prine, The missing Years , Track 2 & 3 !!!! Both of these CD's have other good songs also. :)
I ALWAYS let guests decide what they want to hear. If it is just about showing off the system I have a few that I use but sonics on there own is never a criteria. Folks want to hear MUSIC not audiophile drivel. Earl Hines "Fatha" album Sophisticated Lady is a show stopper for piano. No one gets by that one. Dynamics of an orchestra; 3rd movement of Rach 2nd Concerto with Jorge Luis Prats Piano and the Mexico City Phiharmonic Orchestra. The power of the orchestra at the opening of this movement is conveyed in a most real manner. Female vocals - I play Ella singing "My Funny Valentine". It isn't the greatest recording but is good enough and really is an eye opener to those who aren't familiar with what a great artist she was.
I would pick Dick Hyman from "From the Age of Swing" on Reference Recordings: "You're Driving Me Crazy/Moten Swing", "Moonglow" or "Dooji Wooji"; from Marian McPartland, "Reprise": "In Your Own Sweet Way","Tickle Toe","Symphony" and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be", from Duke Ellington, "Three Suites" (Columbia): "Overture", "Toot Toot Tootie Toot", "Sugar Rum Cherry" and "Entr'acte". These last four are jazz arrangements of well-known movements from Tchiakovski's "Nutcracker" and show the absolute musical genius of Ellington. Recording ain't bad either. From Charles Mingus' "New Tijuana Moods" (RCA), I choose "Dizzy Moods", "Los Mariachis" and "Flamingo" and from "Louis Armstrong Sings Back through the Years" I choose "A Kiss to Build A Dream On", "Dream A Little Dream of Me", which he sings with Ella Fitzgerald, "La Vie en Rose" and "Blueberry Hill". Leaving jazz, from Gloria Estefan's CD "Hold Me, Thrill Me , Kiss Me" (Epic): "Everlasting Love", "Traces", "Turn the Beat Around" and "Cherchez la Femme". For an unclassifiable CD, try "Bob and Ray Throw A Stereo Spectacular" a reissue of an old RCA LP available from Classic Records.
I forgot "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" off the Gloria Estefan CD.