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Reference-quality Bluegrass Recordings? (1 Viewer)

Mark Hedges

Second Unit
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Mar 21, 2003
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442
I was wondering if anybody can help me find some bluegrass recordings (CD) that they consider to be audiophile quality.

Thanks!

Mark
 

george king

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 29, 1999
Messages
625
Alison Krauss - New Favorite is excellent.

I have her Live album on order from Amazon. This is supposedly one of the first direct DSD live recordings. Problem is, the SACD was supposed to ship on the first. I get an e-mail from Amazon saying demand for the album has been greater than expected, and they do not know when I will get a copy, even though I ordered it over a month ago.
 
Joined
May 13, 1999
Messages
46
Try the Chieftains- Down the Old Plank Road. This is a collaberation with various artists and the recording is very well done. (This is also out on DVD which I haven't heard as yet. Will be getting it for my birthday- April 13th)

Also the "O" Brother soundtrack is first rate an I heartily agree with the New Favourites reccommendation.

Regards
Emmett
 

Mark Hedges

Second Unit
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Mar 21, 2003
Messages
442
I have the Allison Kraus CD and the O brother soundtrack. I agree they are fine recordings. What I have in mind though are the less mainstream bluegrass acts that aren't on the major labels - Ralph Stanley, The Seldom Scene, IIrd Tyme Out, etc. Most bluegrass CDs are put out by small garage labels. Any suggestions on good ones vs. bad ones?

Mark
 

Jeremy:L

Agent
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Feb 19, 2003
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I have an album by a guy named Dan Crary. One of the best flatpickers there is. I don't know if the recording is reference quality, but it sounds great to me.
 

Paul Bryan

Agent
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Mar 4, 2003
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28
Just about every disc that Bela Fleck is involved with is recorded with 20-bit equipment, and I have been very pleased with the sound quality of the CD's...

Some good instrumental Bluegrass/Newgrass CD's:

Bela Fleck - Tales from an Acoustic Planet
Chris Thile - Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg & Edgar Meyer - Skip, Hop & Wobble
Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck & Mike Marshall - Uncommon Ritual
Bela Fleck - Tales from an Acoustic Planet 2, The Bluegrass Sessions (also in DVD-A)

Hope this helps,
--Paul
 

AaronD

Stunt Coordinator
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Dec 4, 2001
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234
We've got a local group where I live that has a very well recorded CD out. Their name is "Potato Moon" and the CD is "Midnight Water". You can get to 'em via their website at www.potatomoon.org. They've got some downloadable samples available, I suggest you check them out if you get a chance.

-Aaron
 

Piers C

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Jun 3, 2002
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228
Tony Rice.

Especially Manzinita, Cold on the Shoulder, Backwaters, Me and My Guitar, and Native American.
 

Sam Rossi

Grip
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Jun 30, 1997
Messages
19
Try the Tony Rice and Norman Blake collaboration CDs. Rounder did an exemplary job on the mastering of these. The acoustic guitars sound warm, but very distinctive. Vocals are excellent, as well.

SamR.
 

KendallT

Agent
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Aug 28, 2002
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Also check out some of the Peter Rowan work with Jerry Douglas on SugarHill; Yonder and Dust Bowl Children are two with stunning sound.

-Ken
 

Doug_B

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Feb 11, 2001
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1,081
The aforementioned Peter Rowan worked with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and others on an album called "Old and in the Way". Just happened to listen to it for the first time recently; sounds bluegrass to me. The quality of the recording was pretty good for mid-70's, and there appears to be a more recent remastering than the one I heard. Also, I recall seeing a more recent album with a subset of these players called "Old and in the Gray".

Doug
 

Jim Garbern

Stunt Coordinator
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Jan 22, 1999
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Not exactly bluegrass, but both Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas have audiophile recordings on the Water Lily Acoustics label, both available as redbook CDs and also as SACDs. I particularly like Fleck's Tabula Rasa.

I second the nomination of the DVD-A version of Bela's Tales of the Acoustic Planet II.

I also recommend Nickel Creek's first album, and Chris Thile's 'All who wander are not lost'.

Another gem is Bering Strait, a terrific bluegrass group from, believe it or not, Russia.

I don't think the technical quality of the recording is as good as the others, but the musicianship on Strength in Numbers 'The Telluride Sessions' is outstanding. SIN includes Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Mark O'Connor, Sam Bush and Edgar Meyer.
 

Mark Hedges

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
Messages
442
I guess I can make some recommendations, allthough I don't feel qualified to say if something is truly reference quality. I will recommend the new album by the Gibson Brothers "Bona Fide" - very nice sound.

I will also warn against some of the cheapo compilation CD's. I bought a $10 disc at borders yesterday - "Down Home Gospel" on the Rural Rhythm label. Some songs sound OK - others sound like the singer has a kazoo in his mouth.

Mark
 

Mark Hedges

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
Messages
442
I have been looking into this further and found about a label called "Maple Shade Records". They record 2 track straight to tape, with no mixing, eq, reverb, anything, for the audiophile market. They have at least one fine bluegrass recording - Tony Williamson "Still Light of the Evening".

Mark
 

Paul.S

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Mark Hedges, Joe Cole et al.:

How about "Will the Circle be Unbroken?"

I do not know who the CD sounds quality wise.
As ya'll are probably aware, there are three Will the Circle Be Unbroken releases.

The two I don't have are on my list of discs to get, but 1989's Volume Two is a terrifically well-engineered recording (by Ron "Snake" Reynolds). The album features some sublime performances.

Cheers,
Paul
 

KeithH

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Mar 28, 2000
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I am not a long-time bluegrass fan, but every Alison Krauss disc I have, be it a CD or SACD, is reference-quality. The music is excellent as well.
 

Rich Malloy

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Apr 9, 2000
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3,998
The Alison Krauss material is definitely some of the best recorded I've heard, and particularly the 2-disc "LIVE" set. However, I would recommend you buy the hybrid CD/SACDs if you believe you'll be SACD-capable at some future point, as these are some of the finest SACDs I've heard. Again, this goes double for "LIVE" as it's one of the rare "direct to DSD" recordings. Very Highly Recommended.

And I'd very much like to second the recommendation for Jerry Douglas, et al., "SKIP, HOP AND WOBBLE". Perhaps not "reference quality" if you're comparing to the AK+US SACDs, but an absolutely wonderful recording of some of the finest music I've ever heard. These guys are virtuosos, no doubt, as fine as any musicians working in any idiom, but they don't let their virtuosity get in the way of the feel and soul of the music. This isn't "down-home/back porch" like John Hartford (who I also love), but it isn't "Al DiMeola-fied" like some of the Tony Rice Unit stuff either. There's as much soul as there is technique on display here.
 

Jeff O.

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 12, 1999
Messages
190
I am not a bluegrass expert, but Jorma Kaukonen's Blue Country Heart on SACD is one of the best sounding recordings I have. However, I don't know how the regular CD sounds.
 

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