Primal Roots III

Primal Roots 2

 1970’s Led Zeppelin III & a 2010 Primal Roots Red Blend

III-2My day went pretty well today. On my way home this afternoon I stopped in one of my regular vinyl haunts here in Austin (End of An Ear) and came across a missing piece of the vinyl collection. Every time, over the past few years, that I’ve come across Zeppelin III, it has been an utterly thrashed copy. Beaten, abused and loved to death you might say. Today however, I found this gem! A VG+ condition, US gate-fold edition, complete with volvelle intact. A copy of what has to be one of my favorite Zep albums of all Zep albums. It’s an album that I refused to settle for a dilapidated copy of. I might add, it was not a bad price considering what many of the thrashed versions I’ve seen have been going for. Today, I reap the vinyl reward and pair this gem with Primal Roots 2010 Red Blend.

Primal Roots 4I’d been studying the Primal Roots label for some time trying to decide what vinyl would be the best to pair it with. Their website describes the wine as “Provocative, Sensual & Luscious”. This sent me down a few paths before deciding on the Zep. If I had any Robert Johnson on vinyl I would have probably gone with that instead. Yes, the holes in the vinyl collection are endless I suppose.

I also contemplated other more “provocative” artists such as Prince and Sly Stone but I kept coming back to the “Roots” in the name of the wine and to me there has to be some type of blues reference there. So after the days purchase, and knowing what I know about the evolution of rock and Zeppelin’s influences, I felt this album certainly maintains some primal roots and deserves the pairing. It’s not a far stretch to call this album Sensual & Luscious by any means. The second sides’ acoustic numbers alone have enough sexuality to breed what should be, an enjoyable night by the record player with your companion and this bottle of wine.

Primal-Roots-3The wine is a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah that tends to linger a bit on the sweet side for my palate. It’s a bit of a surprising start as you’re hit with a flourish of the sweet Syrah and Zin, followed by a more mellow earthy vibe from the Merlot in the finish. It did take a glass to settle into the ride. It’s a bit of a roller coaster really but that can be a fun adventure for any wine enthusiast. To actually be surprised by where a wine takes you is part of the joy of tasting a wonderfully crafted wine. Blends can certainly have that effect and this tasting adventure is much like life itself.

III gatefold

Life is a ride and you never know where it might take you. The year is still young and we have so many new adventures awaiting us. I’m truly excited about what all life has on the horizon and as for Vinyl Pairings, well let’s just say the voices are growing and things are about to expand significantly. Very exciting stuff. I’m off to blast “The Immigrant Song” one more time!

Until next time my friends! Cheers!

III

Primal-Roots

Afterglow takes Root for the New Year

Afterglow takes Root

Black Country Communion’s 2012 release “Afterglow”
& a 2010 Root:1 Cabernet Savignon from Chile

It’s been a couple of months since our last post. We truly hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday season and is ready to rock and roll through 2013! It’s time to take Root in a New Year and we’re kicking it off with a bang, pairing a Chilean Cabernet Savignon with the super group that is Black Country Communion and their release Afterglow.

Black-Country-CommunionBlack Country Communion, for those that don’t already know, is composed of bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, guitarist and vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. This band has the chops and they truly show them on this release.

From the lead off track “Big Train” all the way through to the finally “Crawl”, this album delivers exactly what you would hope for. Bonamassa is a monster on the guitar and Hughes sounds better than ever. Bonham, well do you really have to say anything other than “Bonham”? He’s laying it down in true family fashion.
I can’t say enough good things about the musical performances that are recorded in the grooves of this vinyl. Many a new band could learn a thing or two from these veteran performers. Glen Hughes as so much depth and grace on this record, it’s truly amazing, in my opinion he outshines the others a tad on this particular release, the bands third album. Hughes is a top notch rock and roll vocalist of the highest caliber and his bass playing on this record is phenomenal. My personal favorite stand out tracks, “This is Your Time” and the title track “Afterglow” on side one and the second sides’ “The Circle” & “Common Man”. Chops galore! Truly not a dud on the entire album and well worth the price of admission.

The Root:1 Cab Sav (average price around $12.99) gets its name from the fact that it’s crafted exclusively from grapes grown on the oldest root-stock system in the world. This original ungrafted root systems tended by the master winemaker in Chile gives the wine a rich, pure, fruit flavor and aroma. It’s a very well-defined and well bodied wine. A supple nose and a silky cab body that truly makes for an enjoyable wine.

Pure Ungrafted Rock and Roll and a Pure Ungrafted Grapevine

As we let the “Afterglow” of 2012 fade behind us, we look ever forward into the New Year with excitement and anticipation for what the future has in store for us all. Keep those Roots planted and until next time when we can again savor the fruits of life via some tasty tunes and some tasty wine, cheers my friends!

Afterglow-Collage

 

Deep Purple

A 2009 Lodi Deep Purple Zinfandel from Cali
& 1972’s Deep Purple Machine Head from Great Britain

This is one of those pairings that was truly “way to literal” to be much of an intriguing success, but it’s also way to literal to go with much of anything else, so there you have it, Deep Purple meet Deep Purple.

The Lodi Californian Zinfandel is a truly tasty Zin and if I’m not mistaken, it is the first Zin that I’ve paired here on Vinyl Pairings. I guess this makes it fairly obvious that Zinfandels are not the first types of wine that I go for. Luckily, this one caught my eye for obvious reasons and I had to give it a shot and pair it up with one of the most classic rock and roll albums of all time.

Still to this day, I have to imagine, that anyone starting to learn how to play guitar is bound to start with a riff from this album. “Smoke on the Water” is still one of the first things anyone interested in rock guitar learns how to play. It’s pretty much the vowels and nouns of guitar chords.

For such obvious reasons we’ll keep this blog short and sweet. The Zin is divine and the Machine Head is sublime. It doesn’t get much better for anyone looking for a tasty Zinfandel and some classic heavy rock and roll.

Cheers Everyone! Until the next cork is popped. Hope to see you soon my friends!

Born to Run

A 2009 Indelible Wines Vintage Ink Deepest Merlot
& 1975’s Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

“Baby this town rips the bones from your back. Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap, we gotta get out while were young. `Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!”

Tattoo You!

A 2008 Napa Valley Cab Sav by Castle Rock
& 1981’s Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones

We’re making a return to Castle Rock winery with this pairing! We were so impressed with their Monterey County Pinot Noir that when I came across this Napa Valley Cav Sav, I had to pick it up for a taste. I’m truly amazed by the variety of grapes and the variety of regions Castle Rock manages to cover. They’re obviously “all in” when it comes to covering the many bases of winemaking.

The Stones are a band that you could easily say the same thing about; they are a band that knows how to cover the bases of rock and roll Tattoo You is a good example of this since it’s primarily composed of a variety of outtakes from previous recording sessions, a little of this and a little of that, some recordings dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs, it covers a lot of ground. Which might be why it’s still one of my favorite and in my opinion, most underrated, Stones albums. Sure it has their last #1 US hit “Start Me Up” but it’s songs like “Worried About You”, “Tops”, “Slave” & “Waiting On A Friend” that are at the core of this release.

This is another vinyl that I’ve had, almost since the day it came out and I can still remember the day I bought it in 1981. I was just a kid, not even a teen yet, but thanks to the early days of MTV (thanks Martha Quinnn you are awesome!), this particular Stones album ended up in my collection early on. Yes, it was my first Stones album, but obviously not my last.

The Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is an extremely well-rounded wine. Maybe I’m just more partial to a Cab but I think if I came across both the Castle Rock Pinot Noir from Monterey County and this one at the same time, I’d go for the Cab Sav myself. It’s truly delicious and loaded with flavor. It’s got a nose that’s more to my preference with earthy nuances that seem to bring out the tannins of the wine in a more well-rounded fashion. Of course, many may say that’s just the difference between the Pinot Noir and the Cab Sav.

Regardless of the how’s and why’s, let me just say that this is a fabulous wine, not too expensive and well worthy of a trip to a friend’s house. Tattoo You is an album that many should go back and listen to again if they haven’t heard it recently. In fact grab it and take it along with a bottle of Castle Rocks Cab Sav to your good friends house and have a toast or two. Keep on rocking friends!

Santana Especial

Santana (1969) and a chilled Cerveza Modelo Especial (1925)

Tonight we break away from the wine for some tasty suds from Mexico. Modelo Especial is truly a wonderful cerveza to accompany with a meal or just to sip on and hang out listening to vinyl with. This evenings vinyl is one of the all time greats and still my go-to Santana album of choice.

The 1969 debut album from Santana is classic jam from start to finish. Every track has “legacy of rock” written all over it. “Evil Ways”, the second single taken from the album, was a U.S. Top 10 hit and the album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart.

At a rather surprising event I attended last year here in Austin, at the Four Seasons Hotel, I was treated to an acoustic piano performance by Gregg Rolie (keyboards and vocals on this album) who performed the song “Treat” from this album among other wonderful songs in the hotel lobby. Talk about blown away! Gregg is a phenomenal musician and even though his name may not be a household name, everyone that knows “Evil Ways” or “Black Magic Woman”, certainly knows his voice. I can’t imagine this album without Gregg on the keys and vocals, his contribution along with Carlos’s guitar work, made for one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.

While Carlos has made many great albums since this one, it’s my opinion that this album truly represents the initial spark, the breath of life if you will, that set the Santana train in motion that continues to this day. This album embodies the hunger of a young and eager rock band just as many debut albums do.

It is primal soul music with a rocking latin groove that gets your body moving and truly makes you yearn for a cold beer and a warm summer night.

Break open a Modelo and let’s have a toast!
As we break into fall, here’s to the summer’s end and to another fall season that is upon us. As the nights get colder and the winter approaches, I have no doubt there will be many a hot toddy pairing on the horizon. Keep your needle in the groove and the spirits responsibly indulged and appreciated my friends!

For Those About To Rock!


A 2009 Bodega Norton Malbec & 1981’s For Those About To Rock by AC/DC

A wine that starts with a little smack of graphite deserves a vinyl that also careens with a smack of metal and ends with the thunderous rock and roll of cannons, Angus Young’s guitar and the rest of the boys from down under that are AC/DC.

This Norton Malbec is a stout and hearty malbec grape with deep red color and hints of purple. Expressive on the nose with notes of ripe black fruits, violets, and tobacco. This wine has round and sweet tannins, ripe red fruit and figs followed by a long finish. “With a serious, generous opening of graphite, cassis and wild berry aromas, this Malbec is in good shape. It feels full, round and just right, with dark berry, spice and licorice flavors playing off one another. It’s sweet, ripe, dense and a touch woody on the finish.” 90 Points – Wine Enthusiast

As for the AC/DC, well we are all indeed about to rock. The vinyl pictured in this pairing is showing its age and certainly the amount of time it spent getting handled is apparent on the sleeve. A little worse for wear but the ragged shape of the cover only helps to compliment the blazing hard rock that was melted into these grooves. I can still remember the day this album came out. I rode my bicycle down the road to the Fred’s dollar store and bought it. I couldn’t wait to get back home in eager anticipation of the rock and roll that was within and once I did, the air guitar sessions began in earnest.

The AC/DC catalog is truly a testament to doing one thing and doing it really well. You will never hear a ballad from AC/DC, nor would you ever expect it. They are primal rock and roll, nothing less and nothing more.This album was the follow-up to the highly successful Back in Black (which we are sure to get around to pairing at some point, if not Dirty Deeds as well) but FTATR stands on its own as yet another masterpiece. The album became AC/DC’s first US No. 1 album and after its release the band embarked on its first arena tour of North America (late 1981 through early 1982). For the title track, large cannons were placed on stage, set to go off in accordance with the song on the album. Fire!

Well there you have it. A lovely hearty wine and a lovely heavy vinyl to get the weekend started off right. Here’s hoping you are indeed all about to rock!!
If so, we Salute You!!

Aguaribay Graffiti

A 2010 Aguaribay Malbec from Argentina
& 1975’s Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin

It’s about time we got the Led out, don’t you think? How could we celebrate vinyl without eventually getting to the Zep monsters. In a bit of fitting timing, to coincide with the news today regarding a certain new feature film hitting theaters soon, we present the evenings pairing. Led Zeppelin returns! Maybe not for the live tour we all hoped for but a tour of a single filmed show none the less.

Physical Graffiti has always been one of my favorite Zeppelins but then again, ya know, every album they ever made has a place amongst my favorite albums. Side three of this album especially holds some serious memories for me. I rank it amongst one of my most influential sides of vinyl of all time. I first discovered this particular album during my high school days (many moons ago) and it seriously struck a chord with me. It’s an album that has such universal depth that it floors me every time I hear it.

On to the wine! The Aguaribay Malbec is truly a pleasant wine and well worth the price, It’s not an expensive wine (we typically stay in the affordable price range for our wines) and certainly won’t break the bank at around $10 a bottle. It’s also not one of the heaviest Malbec’s I’ve tasted and I consider that a good thing. Many Malbecs for me these days can be a bit too heavy on their own. Lately I’ve grown to prefer them in a blend, that tends to mellow them out a bit and keep them under control. This particular Malbec is fairly mellow though. Maybe it’s the vintage or maybe it’s the particular vineyard; either way it’s the kind of Malbec that I truly prefer these days. It’s not one that will have you calling for the antacids in the middle of the night.

Together the senses of the two bring together a cacophony of universal bliss. The sounds of Zeppelin merge quite well with the flavors of Argentina in the grapes and earth of this particular Malbec. I can’t imagine much not agreeing with the soulful rock and roll sounds of a band such as Zeppelin but at this moment this particular bottle of wine is providing exactly what is needed.

Until the next pairing, we bid you a great weekend!
Cheers, Salud and Good evening!

Bohemian Highway

A Bohemian Highway 2008 Merlot and the 1967 Cream Classic “Disraeli Gears”

Tonight’s pairing takes us for a ride, reminiscing down the Bohemian Highway with an album in true bohemian form. The second album released from the British supergroup featuring Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Bruce. They deliver what has always been one of my favorite vinyls. Featuring such pivotal tracks as Strange Brew, Tales of Brave Ulysses & Sunshine of Your Love; this album still stands up amongst the best of classic rock albums. In 2003 the album was ranked number 112 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001.

The Bohemian Highway Merlot is an inexpensive bright ruby-red merlot that truly pleases the palate. As with any wine it’s better to let it breathe in your glass for a period to allow the wine to truly aerate and present itself. By allowing wine to mix and mingle with air, the wine will typically warm up and the wine’s aromas will open up, the flavor profile will soften and mellow out a bit and the overall flavor characteristics should improve. Once the Bohemian Highway catches some air, the resulting wine is quite fine indeed.

Paired with classic Cream the two make for a Friday night combo that hits the spot. After a long week at work, many of us are ready to dream about a weekend journey down the Bohemian Highway to sites unseen and destinations unknown. Happy weekend everyone! Cheers!

 

A Day at the Races with Ramon

1975’s Queen – A Day At the Races and a
2007 Ramon Bilbao Tempranillo from Spain

Well we’ve had nearly a month off here at vinylpairings due to the fact I moved and the personal life has been a bit disheveled of late. While there has still been vinyl and wine over the past four weeks, I truly haven’t had the time or energy to sit down and write about some of the pairings I’ve posted on Facebook recently.

Time to get back down to business though! The boxes are getting unpacked, the shelves of vinyl are almost organized and we are truly ready for a Day At the Races!

This particular Queen album (though there are many) has always had a soft place in my heart, with tracks like “Tie Your Mother Down”, “You Take My Breath Away” & “Somebody to Love”; this album is a filament of rock and roll legacy that can not be denied. The 180 gram gatefold reissue by Hollywood Records is a testament to the albums longevity and every classic rock vinyl collector should certainly have this monument upon their shelves.

Paired with Ramon Bilbao’s Tempranillo, which has a well-balanced palate and a spicy finish, Queen’s music sizzles and sways with a rock and roll swagger that truly is not present in most modern-day rock bands.

It’s a lovely wine that could be paired with many foods or vinyl selections. The bottle recomends a salted pork dish and I concur with this recomendation. Although I would imagine a tasty BBQ would be a nice food pairing as well. As for the musical pairing,tonight was all about the majesty of Britain’s royal rock icons Queen. Inspired a bit by last weeks London Olympics closing ceremony, the time was right.

We’re glad to be settling back into a somewhat normal routine again after our relocation. The move was truly worth it, even though the vinyl collection gets heavier and heavier… it is still the superior format and worth every crate haul to move and crate dig to discover.

Until next time! Sooner than later we hope! Drink up and keep digging into those grooves folks!

Silky Metal Kimono

12 Year Old Hibiki Japanese Blended Whisky and a Japanese Import Edition of the Scorpions Tokyo Tapes

Delicious rays of whiskey gold from the eastern shores of Japan. While not the first locale that comes to mind when you think of great whiskey but let me just say; it truly should be. The legendary Hibiki represents true harmony. The enigma of perfection, the paragon of the art of whisky and the art of Japan’s artisans.

Hibiki, meaning resonance in Japanese, speaks to the soul and emotions of the most discerning whisky lover. Hibiki resonates from nature, and all the subtleties found from the twenty-four seasons of the old Japanese lunar calendar. Numerous types of pure single malt whiskies ageing in various types of casks, including Mizunara, a very rare Japanese oak, all combine to create a full orchestra of flavors and aromas.

I sampled the Hibiki neat, straight up to truly savor the craftsmanship that went into this blended art. I put on “Tokyo Tapes” as I usually do starting with side B of this 4 sided live behemoth of soulful classic metal. A song like “We’ll Burn the Sky” just kicks things off in the Scorpions spirit for me. I usually go back to side one before switching to the second vinyl. The only downside toi the Tokyo Tapes in my opinion is the rocibilly cover songs they threw into the live set. I mean I get the nostalgia but it’s the Scorpions man not Carl Perkins!

Uli Jon Roth’s early work in my opinion is probably best represented by this particular recording. I’m not as much a fan of the neo-classical, Yngwie like stylings he perfected after this era. I’m much more of a fan of this Hendrix esq bluesy era and I’ve got to admit, he’s one of the only guitarists that when I listen to his playing, I feel as though I can truly visualize exactly what he’s playing. Almost as if, I’ve played the parts myself. There’s not many guitarists that I relate to on this level. Essentially, this era of his playing is so much like what I aspire to do with the guitar and so similar to my own style that I can actually picture in my mind what and how he’s playing it. It’s a bit bizarre.

Anyway, enough of my Uli Jon Roth guitar visualizing. Back to the whiskey!

On the trivia side of things, any fan of the movie “Lost in Translation” may recognize the Hibiki as the whisky Bill Murray was hawking in the movie. As one of my favorite movies this only makes this whiskey that much hipper.

Upon taking my first sip of the 12-year-old Hibiki the first thing that came to mind was “Silk”. It’s truly a silky smooth vibe as this creation hits your palette and slides down the back of your throat. Then the kaleidoscope finish of flavors kick in. The woody hint of the barrels that reveal themselves slowly with a long finish that lasts for two or three minutes with clean and sweet notes predominant before a cool spiciness reminiscent of white pepper emerges towards the finish.

I actually own the original USA pressing of “Tokyo Tapes” but that copy is in such bad shape that I had to reinvest in another copy. I found this Japanese import gem using musicstack.com which is a great services for searching independent resellers of used vinyl and CD’s to find that special edition you might be looking for. I’ve ordered numerous times from various dealers and have had nothing but great experiences each time. This Japanese pressing of Tokyo Tapes is remastered and features a much cooler cover image, that of an embossed silver scorpion perched upon a rose. Way slicker than the American pressing that I grew up with. In terms of audio quality I have to lean towards the original pressing before the remaster. As with many reissue remasters, this one sounds a bit flatter and was probably digitized before it went back to the wax. So while this edition is truly a great looking package; I may need a third copy and just get a better conditioned US pressing to replace my old thrashed copy.

I truly can’t wait to try more of the Hibiki, this being the youngest aged whiskey they make, I can only imagine what the older vintages might reveal. Someday. Oh yes, someday soon my new Japanese friend Hibiki. we will meet again!

Purple Haze

 Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced &
a 2010 Alex Elman Malbec from Mendoza Argentina

There are lots of Malbecs out there that I find a bit too strong. They have me reaching for the antacid before I can even finish a glass. This particular Malbec is one that is quite pleasing and so well rounded without the harshness or acidity of many Malbecs. Still, it’s a very hefty wine with a pleasingly smokey grape nose that once it opens up, truly just screams “yummy”! There’s a haze of licorice and currants that runs deep but the grape always rolls out on top in the end.

Perfect for gaucho style Argentinian grilled cuisine this is truly one of the better Malbecs in its price range that I’ve experienced lately and it is just that, an experience ;).

So without further ado, let’s get to the vinyl for the evening. Without a doubt it is one of the most quintessential rock albums of all time. Truly an album that changed the game, changed history and laid the groundwork for what rock and roll was to become. Along with the likes of Jim Marshall, James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) reinvented the nature of what is expected from the electric guitar as an instrument of rock and roll. He was a master of the blues and a purveyor of the infinite universe. The man had soul and he knew how to pour it into his music.

When Jimi came onto the scene he changed the game and influenced everyone else that was making the scene at the time. He became the scene.

This 180 gram reissue of Are You Experienced is a true treasure for any Jimi fan with a turntable. The sound quality is pristine and the track list of this album, well, as many of you well know, every song is a classic, start to finish. An encyclopedia of rock guitar.

As a guitar player myself, I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been a Hendrix pairing yet, there are surely many more albums by Jimi in my collection that are worthy of a pairing but it seemed appropriate to start at the beginning.

Released in 1967 this album was #2 on the charts next to Sgt Peppers. In March 2000 a poll from Guitar World Magazine named Are You Experienced the greatest album of the Millennium. Later, in 2006, a reader’s poll from that magazine placed the album at #3 on a list of the greatest guitar albums of all time. “The Jimi Hendrix Experience are a musical labyrinth—you either find your way into the solid wall of incredible sound, or you sit back and gasp at Hendrix’ guitar antics and showmanship, wondering what it’s all about,” a review from the article “Walker Surprises” by Keith Altham from the New Music Express Magazine on April 8, 1967.

All in all, this album and a tasty bottle from Alex Elman is truly a safe bet for stirring up the haze and getting the emotions flowing. Third Stone From the Sun, we should be so thankful for such awesome wine makers and master musicians that allow for such evenings as this.

Until next time! Cheers! Salud!
Enjoy!

 

Single Barrel Emotion & Commotion

 Jeff Beck Emotion & Commotion paired with a 10 yr old Eagle Rare Single Barrel

I’m going to start this pairing off talking about the bourbon; this has to be one of the best deals out there for a single barrel bourbon right now. The Eagle Rare is easily on par with bottles thrice it’s price. At $22 for a whiskey this refined, it’s truly hard to beat. Excellent when served neat to get the full body and flavors of this amber, honey, topaz libation or when served over ice to cool yourself down, the bourbon still remains assertive and expressive even when chilling over rocks.

The Eagle Rare was recommended to me by my friend at the local Beverage World and I’ve already been back to pick up another bottle. So with this pairing the beverage came first, then Jeff Beck found its place first and foremost just based upon the artwork alone. These two elegant works of art when combined make for a truly wonderful merging of auditory pleasure and flavor, as the eagle leaps from the front cover of the album into this bottle of Kentucky gold.

Jeff Beck’s album Emotion and Commotion has got to be one of his greatest masterpieces to date. It’s an album of immense maturity and restraint and showcases a talent that knows talent and knows how to assemble together the most world class musicians on the planet to produce a truly glorious album achievement.

The first name that has to come up here, rather surprisingly, is Jeff Buckley. Beck performs two songs that Mr. Buckley also recorded during his unfortunately short career on Emotion and Commotion (Corpus Christi Carol & Lilac Wine), and in true Jeff Beck fashion, he makes these masterpieces his own. I’m a huge Jeff Buckley fan as well, so to hear a master guitarist like Jeff Beck paying homage to one of the most talented and yet short lived performers to emerge in the 1990’s is a real treat.

I was living in Memphis at the time Jeff Buckley drowned where the Wolf river meets the mighty Mississippi river and it was truly a devastating occurrence. I visited the site where Jeff was last seen diving under on numerous occasions when I lived in Memphis and it always served as a reminder for me to our mortality and how one mistake, just one bad call could end it all.

In the liner notes of the album Beck says, “When I heard Jeff Buckley’s album, the simplicity and the beauty of the way he sounded amazed me.” This is not only what pulled me into Jeff Buckley’s music, but  it’s also what has kept me enamored with Jeff Beck’s music for decades.

Jeff Beck has always been a master of less is more and it’s one of the things that still floors me to this day about his playing. Beck is the master of the slightest nuance and a true example of a player who’s tone and vibe is more about the touch that is in his hands, than it is about what kind of equipment he plugs into.

Other highlights abound on this album such as the vocal work of Joss Stone bringing a youthful, yet wise beyond her years, amount of soul and vibe to the songs “I Put a Spell on You” and “There’s No Other Me”, the rhythm section on the later of those tracks featuring Tal Wilkenfeld and Vinnie Colauta, lays down one of the most masterful fusion grooves I’ve ever heard. Perfection.

This album has got to be one of the most perfectly produced, engineered and mastered recordings, start to finish that I’ve ever heard. Ever. Nominated for five grammy awards it’s safe to say that there are others that probably shared my opinion. It’s not an easy feat to listen to a recording of an orchestra and a rock band, as an audio engineer and not hear the recording mechanics of how the album was put together. Most of the time with a recording, once you’re ears are trained, you can hear technically how many albums are recorded but with this recording all you hear are the natural sounds of the instruments. This is not an easy feat to achieve when trying to put all of those instruments inside of two speakers and it’s ultimatley what every audio engineer is striving to achieve. This album delivers just that, it is an album that manages to not sound produced at all but instead sounds like a natural representation of the performances that were captured, as if you are in the studio with Jeff, the band and the orchestra. Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn both deserved Grammy’s for this feat.

The last track I’d like to mention is “Nessun Dorma”, the 2011 Grammy winner for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song features Jeff Beck accompanied by the orchestral arrangement of Pete Murray. It is truly one of the most majestic pieces of modern music you will ever hear. Listening to it and sipping on a chilled single barrel bourbon from Eagle Rare… well, it’s just a little bit of heaven here on Earth indeed.

Cheers!