ORTOFON IN MONO
I’m not done yacking about the Ortofon 2M Mono and the Ortofon Quintet Mono. Obviously the gorgeous Beatles and Stones reissues in mono sound stunning on both cartridges. But I keep discovering a lot of mono records, both jazz and rock, that I’ve collected over the years that I didn’t even know were mono. ‘Cause I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t have a mono cartridge anyway.
The level of audio nirvana goes way up playing these discs with a mono cartridge. Go get a second turntable for your 2M Mono and a new MC Phono stage for the Quintet Mono if needed. I’m serious. Get an entry level Music Hall or something just for mono. It’s totally worth it. Paul McCartney’s Ram in Mono. Frank Zappa’s Freak Out in Mono. The Amazing Nina Simone’s Willow Weep For Me on Coolpix blue vinyl. Workin with the Miles Davis Quintet on OJC. The Jazz Messengers Hard Bop reissued on Impex Records. All mind-blowingly better with the Quintet Mono. (My slight favorite of the two, probably because the Zesto Audio Andros 1.2 Phono Stage works so gosh darn well with it.)
I’m going through my records pulling out anything from the 1960s, reissue or not, that doesn’t say stereo on it and checking out whether it’s mono or stereo. I’m coming up with some incredible titles that I didn’t even notice were mono.
The 2m is Ortofon’s moving magnet mono cartridge available online at needledoctor.com for $356.00. The Quintet Mono is their entry level moving coil mono cartridge. It has a nude elliptical stylus and retails at NeedleDoctor for $524.00.
STRANGER TO STRANGER
Is Stranger to Stranger Paul Simon’s best record since Graceland? I think it is. The instrumentation, songwriting and Paul’s voice and phrasing are as inventive and compelling as ever. Which is to say the entire package is a hit. It’s high quality pop. Okay? It’s not as overtly groundbreaking a record as Graceland but in its own subtle way as important. In heavy rotation on the GEM PolyTable for weeks now. Highly recommended.
THE BIG O
The Ultimate Collection Roy Orbison on Legacy Recordings is his first complete career spanning anthology and includes material from the Sun, Monument, MGM years, late solo career and Traveling Wilburys. Including “Crying,” “Only the Lonely,” “In Dreams,” “Dream Baby,” “Running Scared and “Oh, Pretty Woman” this two record set highlights Roy Orbison’s unique and incredible voice. One of a kind and one of my all-time faves.
GOT A RARE ONE
Red Devil Records in San Rafael California sent us the following email with the headline “Got a Rare One”: Janis Joplin with Jorma Kaukonen — Live in Washington DC 1963 — this is a test pressing that was made in 1986.
It came with a letter on Relix letterhead signed with only a man’s first name. I discovered his full name and found him online. After reading my email he called me right away. He said “you have an extremely rare record. I bought this recording for $2,000 from a kid who found the tape while cleaning out the garage of a member of Big Brother and the Holding Company. I made ten test pressings. It was going to be Relix #2018.
“I asked Janis’ estate for permission to release it on record, they (essentially her sister) turned me down. I then threw all the copies in the trash except for the two copies I already had sent to her attorney. I cannot by law release this for another 45 years. You have the only copy in existence, depending on what her attorney did with his second copy.”
MORE RARE MUSIC
Rare Earth Live in Chicago is one of the latest offerings from our friends at Culture Factory USA. The LP replica CD format never gets old. Sound quality is great and of course they pick great titles. I regret that I never saw Rare Earth live but I’ve enjoyed their live records for years. Get Ready is one of the all time favorites. I can see myself cruising any long stretch of highway cranking this on repeat in the car. It seems to rock with a little more authority than most. Tons of fun. Be forewarned. If you’re a Rare Earth fan, this collection will give you goose bumps.
Lastly, to all our readers, advertisers and friends, here’s to some great digging, listening and a little peace and prosperity for all of us in the New Year.