Years ago I was Googling “audiophile male vocals”, partly because I don’t see nearly as much hype about it, and probably even more, I don’t really find the male voice nearly as exciting from an audiophile standpoint as the female voice. Sorry guys, I know there are exceptions - like Sinatra, Johnny Hartman, Mel Torme, and I’ll admit I’m not too big into opera, so I’m sure there are plenty of examples there. But for the types of music I prefer - jazz, Americana, folk, alternative - the ladies just have the pipes that do more for me audio-philicly. But in this search I ran across the album Joshua Judges Ruth (1992) by Lyle Lovett. Not only male, but COUNTRY? I listened to it again last night and in a better room with a better system, it blew me away even more than last time. His voice is captured so artfully, with amazing detail and dynamics - he is IN the room. But I also heard this time more of what’s going on to support his voice - the background vocals, the perfect soundstage, the incredible arrangements - each element complex in its simplicity. I got to the end wanting so much more. This also falls into that category of “you have to listen to the whole thing to really get the full picture”, with each piece being very different. This album is beautifully creative, beautifully traditional and beautifully humble, and the audio quality adds to all of these elements. So yes, male, yes Country, but even more because yes, audiophile artistry.
“The Road To Ensenada” aint too shabby either.
I could not agree more.
JJR is one of my top 2 or 3 favorite “demos” and a just plain favorite album of mine.
Speaking of audiophile country - the Analog Productions’ Tennessee Ernie Ford – Country Hits…Feelin’ Blue is an astoundingly great sounding record pressing. I don’t listen to a lot of Country, but picked it up after reading reviews. So, so good
We saw Lovett and REK in Bristol, just the two of them sitting on stools with their acoustic guitars. They met each other at Texas A&M and became life long friends. They would each play a song and then tell stories about their friendship over the years. An exceptional evening of entertainment.
I love the song Her First Mistake from that album.
Thanks, I’ll give it a listen.
A strong vote for “Ensenada”.
Hey, I just went to Apple Music to get a feel for that recording, and even over my Mac’s studio speakers, can tell it’s a great recording - and a great suggestion for someone looking for audiophile male voices in Country! You say it’s the Analog Productions pressing - they want $100 for it, but the original Capitol can be gotten for $30. You think the Analog would be that much better?
Its really great isn’t it? They don’t seem to make voices like that anymore
I wish I could tell you about the original, but I dont have a copy to compare it to I’m afraid. The other question is if its one of those albums that was played-to-death by most original owners - how many clean copies are available, etc.
Yeah, could easily be worn out - the eBay pic looks pretty good, but the cover has seen better days. Might be better to just enjoy the digital. As far as the voice goes, wow, I haven’t heard any TEF for years and forgot what a powerful singer he is - and that was before any kind of pitch manipulation, or even much overdubbing was available. Speaking of great voices and Lyle Lovett, his regular guitarist for many years was Ray Herndon who has quite a great voice too. Check out his album Living the Dream - his rendition of the Kris Kristoferson song “Loving Her was Easier” is absolutely spell-binding.
I agree completely - Lyle Lovett produces some of the best sounding music that you will ever hear! “North Dakota” from Joshua Judges Ruth is one of my favorites, and is definitely on my audiophile reference playlist. I finally had the opportunity to see him and his “Large Band” earlier this year in Phoenix - wow, what a show!
Another well-recorded country album is Wichita Lineman. The title track soundstage is huge, especially the orchestral parts.
I have caught LL and whatever version of his band he was traveling with three times at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville.
Just fabulous musicianship and music, in person…
Sure been a while since I listened to that one. I am a huge fan of Jimmy Webb, who wrote “Wichita Lineman,” as well as “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Galveston,” and many other remarkable songs. The recording of his song “All I Know” from his 2010 CD Just Across the River, a duet with Linda Ronstadt, is the last recording she made before retiring (that’s what Jimmy Webb said in concert several years ago). It is a phenomenal recording, just beautifully mixed, and if it doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you have a potato for a heart.
A fellow audiophile turned me on to Lyle over thirty years ago! His second album “Pontiac” was very well recorded. Haven’t listened to it in a while, have it on both CD and Vinyl, maybe I’ll listen to the CD tonight since my turntable cartridge was just sent off for an inspection at Soundsmith. I normally dislike country, but he gives it my kind of twist. I like him so much I have almost all of his albums on CD and several on vinyl. All of his albums are well recorded and worth a listen!
Is that Ms. Reed at stage right? If yes, indeed, you enjoyed a treat.
I would put that track, and “Church”, near the top of my top 20 “test tracks”.
The dynamic range, variety of vocals, quality of recording and musicianship, and the “layers of details” make these two songs great for hearing whether you are getting the overall “best” out of your system.
Yeah, calling Lyle Country is kinda like calling Bela Fleck Bluegrass. It’s in there, but they sure do different things with it. I also have Pontiac, but I think my next is Road to Ensenada.
Lyle Lovett is a witty and romantic story teller, with a pinch of raunchiness.
A delicious, lyrical and musical mix of entertaining artistry.
(Yeah, I am a bit of a fan.)