SHM-CD SA-CD’s from Japan

At 4,500 yen each (approx. US$54 each), I got these three SHM-CD SA-CD which are non-hybrid (you cannot play them on a CD player, you must use an SA-CD player) – the verdict?  All 3 are re-mastered in Tokyo in 2010 and are amazing.  Master tape sound.  Bit hissy for the Black Sabbath and Blind Faith, but all the sound’s there.  The 10cc is very impressive, really big sound.  I can’t imagine re-buying all my favorite classic rock titles in this format, for this price, however.  Great sound, but…too expensive!

On the horizon, Universal Japan is making SHM-CD SA-CD non-hybrids for Traffic “John Barleycorn” and Caravan “In The Land of Grey & Pink”.  I also got The Who “Who’s Next” in this format, but the sound is not as impressive as, say, “Tommy” in SA-CD.  The UK mastering, no doubt?

– RK

Procol Harum – “Home”


Procol Harum – “Home”

I confess that it was the absence of Procol Harum’s “Home” LP in my collection that lead me down the path of re-buying much of my somewhat extensive vinyl collection, beginning in roughly 1997.  I was discussing “Home” with a friend, and I wondered if the CD issue that I currently possessed had the interior photo of the US A&M version – or the same info as on the insert of the UK Regal Zonophone issue.  It did not.

I went to my US / UK wall of LP’s and – “Home” was missing; I had sold it / traded it earlier in a fit of blithering idiocy.  Well, I figured “What kind of collector am I if I don’t have a “complete” version of one of my favorite albums?”

In 2010, I presently own:

HOME                    A&M US                             SP-4261                              LP

1970 9 TRKS US original issue

HOME                    REGAL ZO UK                 SLRZ 1014                         LP

1970 9 TRKS UK original issue, insert

HOME                    JVC/CUBE JPN               VICP-61312                        CD

1970 17 TRKS (’01 issue) (8 x bonus tracks) kami sleeve

Oddly, I now also have an edited 45 of “Whisky Train” (A&M US 1218).  I re-bought both US & UK original LP’s and I upgraded my EU CD of “Home” on Castle to a Japanese JVC version, with a paper sleeve and bonus tracks.

I really like this album a lot.  It’s not my favorite Procol Harum LP, but it’s a damned good one (I like both the debut album and “A Salty Dog” a bit better).  It’s album #4 and the next-to-last album with guitarist Robin Trower.

I could definitely be sold this album yet again!  Bring on an SA-CD, or Mobile Fidelity DSD mastered version!  Perhaps it could be re-done in Japan with more anatomically correct artwork, and a replica insert (no doubt as an SHM-CD)?

The bonus tracks on the 2001 Japanese JVC version are “Rockin’ Warm-Up / Go Go Go (Move On Down The Line)”, “The Dead Man’s Dream (Take 7)”, “Still There’ll Be More” (Instrumental, Take 3”, “About To Die (Instrumental, Takes 1 & 2)”, “Barnyard Story (Take 4, remix)”, “Piggy Pig Pig (Take 2, remix)”, “Your Own Choice (Take 14, remix)” and “Whaling Stories (Take 2)”.  Odd – no alternate takes or remixes for “Whiskey Train” or “Nothing That I Didn’t Know”!

Originally released in 1970, I had been following Procol Harum for a while, when “Home” first walked down the midway.  It’s as rock-solid as British rock music gets – it belongs in almost anyone’s collection.  Certainly not the Procol Harum album to miss.

Still, There’ll Be More…

Back on 12/1/2010!  Cheerio!

King Crimson


King Crimson

KING CRIMSON – In The Court of The Crimson King

KING CRIMSON – In The Wake of Poseidon



Buy the 40th anniversary 2CD sets of these four titles!  Amazing sound!!

These are the four initial works by one of the best and most important British bands of all time: King Crimson.  Start with these four and then decide if you wish to venture forth.  I can support the next phase of the band, with “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic”, “Starless and Bible Black” and “Red”, but I absolutely go no further than their live album “U.S.A.” – all of their initial works were released by Island Records (UK).

Nothing I had heard previously could prepare me for “In The Court of The Crimson King” – I was about 12 years old, but I remember my reaction like it was yesterday.  Very little music that I can bring to mind even comes close to “21st Century Schizoid Man” (perhaps only Faust’s “Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?”).  For fans of the debut K.C. album, I can recommend the multiple volume set “Epitaph”, with it’s live 1969 shows.

Already splintering by 1970, I think I got “In The Wake of Poseidon” and the McDonald & Giles LP at about the same time; they remain inextricably linked, for me.  I already knew that I liked the sound of the mellotron from The Moody Blues, but “In The Wake of Poseidon” takes mellotron fandom to a whole ‘nother level.

“Lizard” is the odd man out, here.  A new lead vocalist.  Jazz musicians.  Wha…? It grew on me at the time, and I am still fond of it in 2010.  The 40th anniversary edition is super crisp, very clear – and sounds mighty, all remixed.  Definitely the “odd man out” K.C. album.

“Islands” was easier to digest when new, but, again:  A new lead vocalist.  Thank goodness for “The Sailor’s Tale”!  Hook, like and sinker – I kept my favorite British band.  I somehow missed seeing this version of K.C. play live – well, I was too young, in any event – 13 / 14 years old?

I finally got to see King Crimson play live in my hometown in June, 1973 – for “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” – it was virtually my first rock concert (I was not quite 15 years of age).  To say the least, it made quite an impression on me.  It would be at least another 6 or 7 years in my young life before I saw anything else that matched the intensity of this show (possibly Ultravox in ’78 or Magazine in ’79?).

We are lucky that Mr. Fripp is still alive and releasing archival material to the delight of fans.  You should read his blog sometime; fascinating stuff!

Emerson, Lake & Palmer


Emerson, Lake & Palmer

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1st)

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Tarkus (2nd)

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Pictures At An Exhibition (Live album)

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Trilogy (3rd)

EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Brain Salad Surgery (4th)

This is the classic contiguous set of EL&P albums.  You can have your “Works” and “Love Beach”, and all post-80’s albums.  These 5 titles are the reason they are highly regarded in many circles.

Keith Emerson = The Nice, Greg Lake = King Crimson, Carl Palmer = Atomic Rooster.  A “Super Group”, if you will.  They were wildly successful in the 70’s, but EL&P were one of the groups that new wave music rendered redundant.  All but the last of these titles were originally released on Island Records (UK) – those are the vinyl pressings to own.

I do not know quite why – but the US Cotillion label of the first album never had particularly good sound, while the British Island LP has astonishing “sound” – crisp highs, deep low frequencies – real ‘clarity’, too.  In fact, almost any non-US copy of this LP has “real good sound”.  I presently own a Japanese paper sleeve CD version that is, additionally, an SHM-CD ( = Super High Materials; a CD that will last for 100 years instead of 50 years; I bought this – and “Tarkus” – as they were both freshly mastered to 2008 standards).

“Pictures At An Exhibition” I bought originally as an Island Records UK pressing, as it was released in England before it got a US issue – so the black / pink label is what I am used to.  Took ages, but I eventually found a variant pressing, on German Island (with a normal ‘palm tree’ label).  I also have a DVD of this suite of songs being performed before a camera.

I really dropped the ball on “Trilogy”; to me, it’s the weak link in this set.  I suppose I had moved on to European bands like Focus, Amon Duul II, Le Orme – and EL&P no longer had the market cornered on 3-piece keyboard electric prog rock.  I was just busy elsewhere, during “Trilogy”.  And, no, I never had the chance to see them perform live.

Things picked up a bit with “Brain Salad Surgery”; I actually elected to pay attention once again largely due to the lyrical contribution of Pete Sinfield (also late of King Crimson).  It was the mighty “Tocatta” that caught my ear – proving that EL&P still had something to offer the field of esoteric classically-oriented prog rock in 1973.

I like “Tarkus” the best, and always have (Side 1!!!).  The debut album comes a close second (When was the last time you played a good quality copy of “The Barbarian”?  That’s such a hot track!).  Kids today are largely left off of the EL&P truck; that’s too bad – they made some great records for a few years there.

Strange Days Magazine – List #2


Strange Days Magazine – List #2

Here’s Part 2 of yesterday’s List – 1972 to 1976 – “The 100 Best Mini-LP CD’s” – of which I own:

  1. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

11.    King Crimson – Red

18.     T. Rex – The Slider

22.    King Crimson – Larks’ Tongues In Aspic

24.  Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery

25.  Roxy Music – Roxy Music (Debut)

39.  Hatfield & The North – Hatfield & The North (Debut)

40.  Procol Harum – Grand Hotel

41.  Santana – Lotus

43.  Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets

45.  David Bowie – Aladdin Sane

55.  Focus – Hamburger Concerto

75.  Steve Hillage – Fish Rising

79.  Robert Wyatt – Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard

86.  Khan – Space Shanty

91.  Brian Eno – Discreet Music

So, not quite as many as yesterday.  Only 16 out of 100 titles.  And same as yesterday – I own many more LP’s & CD’s on this list, but the ones listed here are the ones I own as Japanese Mini-LP CD’s.

Of course, I have a “Want List” of titles that I am looking for in this format variant.  It’s your typical Ron Kane kind of list:

The Frank Zappa titles that I’m missing, Beggar’s Opera “Waters Of Change”, Bob Dylan “Self Portrait”, Celeste – Celeste (Debut), The Damned “Strawberries”, Earth & Fire “Atlantis”, Edgar Froese “Epsilon In Malaysian Pale”, Gentle Giant “Octopus”, Giles Giles & Fripp “The Cheerful Insanity Of”, The Incredible String Band “Be Glad For The Song Has No Ending”, Jethro Tull “Benefit”, Juicy Lucy “Lie Back and Enjoy It”, Klaus Schulze “Cyborg”, Latte E Miele “Acquile E Scoiattoli”, Osanna “Milano Calibro 9”, Paul McCartney – Paul McCartney (Debut), Peter Banks “The Two Sides Of”, P-Model “In A Model Room”, Procol Harum “In Concert”, Pulsar “Strands Of The Future”, The Rolling Stones “No. 2”, The Soft Machine “Volume Two”, Spring – Spring (Debut), Steve Hackett “Spectral Mornings”, Still Life – Still Life (Debut), Syd Barrett “Barrett”, T. Rex “Electric Warrior”, Uno – Uno (Debut), Web “I, Spider” and The Who “Odds and Sods”.

Got any of these for sale as Japanese mini-LP sleeve CD’s?  Get in touch!