Request Concert with RCA

Henry Mancini
Chet Atkins
Elvis Presley
Harry Belafonte
Thelonious Monk
Carlos Santana

Until recently, the records listed here were not to be found for love nor money, but at long last they are now available once again as fresh new pressings. Again and again, music lovers have asked about these titles, which have been out of stock for years. They have made it possible for us to ensure that these five top releases from RCA are now on the shelves and turntables again. Let’s start off with Henry Mancini’s The Music From Peter Gunn. The easy-going, powerful music comes over in a manner that is just as cool and telegenic as our hero and private detective in his investigations. For a television soundtrack, Peter Gunn attained an extraordinarily good position in the charts, which encouraged RCA Victor to produce a further album later. In Session At Pete’s Pad, legendary trumpeters such as Pete Candoli and Conrad Gozzo blaze out their sound while Barney Kessel’s electric guitar sings out pensively in Dreamsville. Here we have a major number from the history of jazz and pop, which »enters your ears and remains there« (Image Hifi) and which is sound-wise far better than on the original disc.

Sooner or later even the brashest rocker, wildest jazzer or powerfully-voiced minstrel will be won over by the delicate, airy veil of the strings. What some merely tolerated was more than appreciated by the creative “Mister Guitar”, Chet Atkins. As boss of the RCA Studios, he had at his fingertips the very best production resources for his Hollywood album, with tender, captivating arrangements instead of bombastic movie tracks and showstoppers. The lush heavenly sound unites the languishing Santa Lucia, Chaplin’s cinematic Limelight or the all-time favourite Greensleeves – the one title is just as good the other. The LP offers a »dozen crooning numbers in first-class arrangements« wrote Stereo magazine while the specialist magazine Good Times asserted that »Here the waves lap gently«. And – as always – in »the very best sound quality in this re-release.« (LP). Likewise, “Mister Guitar” captivates the listener with beautiful tones on the album of the same name where he presents his absolutely top-notch and immaculate steel-guitar-string sound. This maestro, who personally functioned as production manager for the album, convinces us with polished and varied refinement in his playing, competently accompanied by a subtly balanced rhythm group. This technically accomplished and wonderfully melodic high-end folk music from the New World is balm for the soul.

Unpretentious and with intentional understatement in the very best sense is Elvis’s album For LP Fans Only. For lack of new recordings during Elvis’s military service, the producer mixed a few singles from his Sun Records days and a few early RCA recordings to create an LP full of youthful and »impulsive Hillbilly sound« (Image Hifi). The presumed makeshift solution turned out to be a winner and was lauded as one of the best rock ‘n’ roll albums in an »exquisite new issue from Speakers Corner« (Good Times). The record in ultrasensitive mono is »good for us vinyl friends, because it was issued by Speakers Corner« (HEF). Or to quote Hifi & Records: »Elvis lives!«

A thrilling acoustic experience with Harry Belafonte in live recordings is offered by several legendary late-summer shows at the Hollywood Hills, which took place on various evenings in 1963 at the open-air Greek Theatre there. Fans who didn’t manage to obtain an entrance ticket climbed the surrounding trees in order to hear and see something of the “Calypso Man“. Super hits of the evening, such as the rocking and vibrating Zombie Jamboree, Look Over Yonder, or the crooning Try To Remember had hitherto only existed as studio recordings. Many brand-new titles were heard for the very first time. »More live atmosphere cannot be captivated by the microphones« exulted Stereoplay. And as if that weren’t enough: the album Belafonte At The Greek Theater was judged by experts as the most important testimony to his highly productive creative period from 1959 until 1963. The producer received high praise, which is valid right up to this day: »The choice of tapes – a wise decision – and the same goes for Speakers Corner with this re-issue« (HEF).

A real home match in the truest sense is surely the Columbia album Big Band And Quartet In Concert, with Thelonious Monk. The maestro walked from his home to New York’s Philharmonic Hall where he presented his complete band of musicians in December 1963. The congenial All Stars Phil Woods, Steve Lacy and Thad Jones took the underground railway to join in the grand gig and stunned the audience with such famous numbers as I Mean You, Four In One, and Epistrophy. Even after all this time, the album blazes with the electrifying mood of the evening: »Each solo is a pleasure. And that goes for the reissues from Speakers Corner with their excellently remastered sound and top-notch pressing«, exulted Good Times. »An album that belongs in every serious jazz collection« and thanks to Speakers Corner now available »in a really great vinyl quality« (HEF). Good news for lovers of fantastic sound comes from Hifi & Records: now »all those who possess a suitable hi-fi system can enjoy analogue, pleasurable vinyl authenticity«. And are there any signs of rust after 50 years? Not in the least. Just sheer performance, for here we have »the absolute highlight of Monk’s discography« (Stereo).

Long after Monk had withdrawn from public appearances and no impresario or club owner anywhere in the whole world could persuade him to new exploitations, it so happened that the Tokyo double album landed in the hands of the dealers. What a surprise! It unites the best recordings made during the tour in Japan in 1963 and is remarkable for its mixture of intense, glorious themes and the good old favourites such as Just A Gigolo and I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You. Monk In Tokyo is far more than a happy memory for Japanese fans. These two LPs combine »as some would say, his best time, impressively documented«. As such they rank as »an important benchmark in the history of jazz and are released – as all vinyl records from Speakers Corner – with an outstanding cover« (Fono Forum). In a nutshell: a »Best Of from a grand old man of jazz at the end of his career« (Vinyl).

Compared to Carlos Santana’s fiery live appearances, the studio production of a tribute to a butterfly by the name of Borboletta is far milder, but no less cultivated. Starting off with naturalistic sounds, the Canto De Los Flores swings along with dabbling sounds on the Rhodes piano. According to the carefully worked-out dramaturgy, Life Is Anew then follows – a powerful ballad, then an agile rock-like style (Give And Take). This mix contributes to and gives added freshness to Santana’s unbelievably creamy, broadly flowing and silky, vibrating guitar sound (Promise Of A Fisherman). Now, at the very latest, one can get under the skin of the highly sensitive outdoorsman, who chases after Borboletta in gorgeous, wallowing sound. Whoever wants to wallow in such sounds »can dive deep into this vibrant mixture of jazz, rock and Latin. The superb sound quality of this new issue from Speakers Corner fits the bill perfectly.« – »Listen with the volume up high!« (HiFi Stars).

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