Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison (1968) [Remastered Reissue 1999 (2002)] {2.0 & 5.1} {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison (1968) [Remastered Reissue 1999 (2002)] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 55:49 minutes | Scans included | 3,27 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,05 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound
Genre: Country

Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail. Surely, this dark outlaw stance wasn’t a contrivance but it was an exaggeration, with Cash creating this image by tailoring his set list to his audience of prisoners, filling up the set with tales of murder and imprisonment — a bid for common ground with the convicts, but also a sly way to suggest that maybe Cash really did shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Given the cloud of death that hangs over the songs on At Folsom Prison, there’s a temptation to think of it as a gothic, gloomy affair or perhaps a repository of rage, but what’s striking about Cash’s performance is that he never romanticizes either the crime or the criminals: if anything, he underplays the seriousness with his matter-of-fact ballad delivery or how he throws out wry jokes. Cash is relating to the prisoners and he’s entertaining them too, singing “Cocaine Blues” like a bastard on the run, turning a death sentence into literal gallows humor on “25 Minutes to Go,” playing “I Got Stripes” as if it were a badge of pride. Never before had his music seemed so vigorous as it does here, nor had he tied together his humor, gravity, and spirituality in one record. In every sense, it was a breakthrough, but more than that, At Folsom Prison is the quintessential Johnny Cash album, the place where his legend burns bright and eternal.

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John Denver – The John Denver Collection (2003) [2.0 & 5.1] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Denver – The John Denver Collection (2003)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 63:42 minutes | Basic scans | 4,03 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Basic scans | 1,29 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Delta Music GmbH. # 52-010
Genre: Country

One of the most popular recording artists of the 1970s, country-folk singer/songwriter John Denver’s gentle, environmentally conscious music established him among the most beloved entertainers of his era; wholesome and clean-cut, his appeal extended to fans of all ages and backgrounds, and led to parallel careers as both an actor and a humanitarian. He was one of the biggest superstars of the ’70s.

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John Denver – The Best Of John Denver: Live (1997) [Reissue 2000] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Denver – The Best Of John Denver: Live (1997) [Reissue 2000]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 68:34 minutes | Scans included | 2,81 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,41 GB
Genre: Country

The Best of John Denver Live captures the singer at his charity Wildlife Concert in 1995. Denver runs through many of his best-known songs (“Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song”) as well as two songs (“I’m Sorry,” “I Think I’d Rather Be a Cowboy”) that he previously had not recorded…

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John Coltrane – Standard Coltrane (1990) [Analogue Productions 2002] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – Standard Coltrane (1990) [Analogue Productions 2002]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 34:39 minutes | Scans included | 1.39 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 652 MB
Genre: Jazz

John Coltrane had yet to move into his modal post-bop phase in 1958 when he recorded a session for Prestige Records on July 11 with trumpeter/flügelhornist Wilbur Harden, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb, the results of which were issued in 1962 as Standard Coltrane. His groundbreaking modal work with Miles Davis on Kind of Blue was still a few months into the future, which makes this set more historical than vital or transitional, although it’s pleasant enough, featuring Coltrane on several standards, including a ten-plus-minute version of “Invitation.” Other Coltrane material from this 1958 Prestige era ended up on the albums Stardust (1963) and Bahia (1965), and all of it, including these four tracks, has been collected on The Stardust Session from Prestige Records, which is probably the way to go.

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John Coltrane – Soultrane (1958) [MFSL 2003] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – Soultrane (1958) [MFSL 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:56 minutes | Scans included | 1,61 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 855 MB
Genre: Jazz

In addition to being bandmates within Miles Davis’ mid-’50s quintet, John Coltrane (tenor sax) and Red Garland (piano) head up a session featuring members from a concurrent version of the Red Garland Trio: Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Taylor (drums). This was the second date to feature the core of this band. A month earlier, several sides were cut that would end up on Coltrane’s Lush Life album. Soultrane offers a sampling of performance styles and settings from Coltrane and crew. As with a majority of his Prestige sessions, there is a breakneck-tempo bop cover (in this case an absolute reworking of Irving Berlin’s “Russian Lullaby”), a few smoldering ballads (such as “I Want to Talk About You” and “Theme for Ernie”), as well as a mid-tempo romp (“Good Bait”). Each of these sonic textures displays a different facet of not only the musical kinship between Coltrane and Garland but in the relationship that Coltrane has with the music. The bop-heavy solos that inform “Good Bait,” as well as the “sheets of sound” technique that was named for the fury in Coltrane’s solos on the rendition of “Russian Lullaby” found here, contain the same intensity as the more languid and considerate phrasings displayed particularly well on “I Want to Talk About You.” As time will reveal, this sort of manic contrast would become a significant attribute of Coltrane’s unpredictable performance style. Not indicative of the quality of this set is the observation that, because of the astounding Coltrane solo works that both precede and follow Soultrane — most notably Lush Life and Blue Train — the album has perhaps not been given the exclusive attention it so deserves.

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John Coltrane – Lush Life (1961) {1957-58 Recordings} [Fantasy Remaster PRSA-7188-6] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – Lush Life (1961) {1957-58 Recordings} [Fantasy Remaster '2003]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 36:33 minutes | Scans included | 1.53 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 433 MB
Genre: Jazz

When he recorded Lush Life, John Coltrane was rapidly gaining recognition for his innovations in jazz soloing. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, he had become known far beyond a small circle of jazz insiders. Coltrane’s development as a soloist came at a pace and an intensity seldom witnessed in jazz. It was immeasurably aided by two factors: He jettisoned his drug and alcohol habits and, during a hiatus from the Davis band, he worked with Thelonious Monk. The boldness and daring that began to characterize Coltrane’s playing during the Monk period are evident here in three pieces on which he is accompanied only by bass and drums. Freeing his astonishing creativity from the imposed harmonies of a piano, he employs his massive technique to put into standard song and blues forms nearly all that they could contain. In two pieces with pianist Red Garland, his colleague from the Davis group, Coltrane is scarcely less inventive. The clarity and definition of SA-CD technology make the intimacy of Coltrane’s style seem even more conversational.

Lush Life (1958) is among John Coltrane’s best endeavors on the Prestige label. One reason can easily be attributed to the interesting personnel and the subsequent lack of a keyboard player for the August 16, 1957 session that yielded the majority of the material. Coltrane (tenor sax) had to essentially lead the compact trio of himself, Earl May (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). The intimate setting is perfect for ballads such as the opener “Like Someone in Love.” Coltrane doesn’t have to supplement the frequent redundancy inherent in pianists, so he has plenty of room to express himself through simple and ornate passages. Unifying the slippery syncopation and slightly Eastern feel of “I Love You” is the tenor’s prevalent capacity for flawless, if not downright inspired on-the-spot “head” arrangements that emerge singular and clear, never sounding preconceived. Even at an accelerated pace, the rhythm section ably prods the backbeat without interfering. A careful comparison will reveal that “Trane’s Slo Blues” is actually a fairly evident derivation (or possibly a different take) of “Slowtrane.” But don’t let the title fool you as the mid-tempo blues is undergirded by a lightheartedness. May provides a platform for Coltrane’s even keeled runs before the tenor drops out, allowing both May and then Taylor a chance to shine. The fun cat-and-mouse-like antics continue as Taylor can be heard encouraging the tenor player to raise the stakes and the tempo — which he does to great effect.

The practically quarter-hour reading of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” is not only the focal point of this album, it is rightfully considered as one of Coltrane’s unqualified masterworks. The performance hails from January 10, 1958 as Coltrane sits in with Red Garland (piano), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass), and Louis Hayes (drums). Coltrane handles the tune’s delicate complexities with infinite style and finesse. Garland similarly sparkles at the 88s, while Byrd’s solo offers a bit of a tonal alternative. It should be noted that the reading here does not include a vocal from Johnny Hartman. That version can be found on the ever imaginatively monikered John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (1963).

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John Coltrane – John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965) [Analogue Productions 2011] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965) [Analogue Productions 2011]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 37:59 minutes | Scans included | 1,59 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 849 MB
Genre: Jazz

One of the turning points in the career of John Coltrane came in 1965. The great saxophonist, whose playing was always very explorative and searching, crossed the line into atonality during that year, playing very free improvisations (after stating quick throwaway themes) that were full of passion and fury. This particular studio album has two standards (a stirring “Chim Chim Cheree” and “Nature Boy”) along with two recent Coltrane originals (“Brazilia” and “Song of Praise”). Art Davis plays the second bass on “Nature Boy,” but otherwise this set (a perfect introduction for listeners to Coltrane’s last period) features the classic quartet comprised of the leader, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.

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John Coltrane – Coltrane (1962) [Analogue Productions 2010] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – Coltrane (1962) [Analogue Productions 2010]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:53 minutes | Scans included | 1,62 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 812 MB
Genre: Blues

Considered by many to be his finest single album, Coltrane finds John Coltrane displaying all of the exciting elements that sparked brilliance and allowed his fully formed instrumental voice to shine through in the most illuminating manner. On tenor saxophone, he’s simply masterful, offering the burgeoning sheets of sound philosophy into endless weavings of melodic and tuneful displays of inventive, thoughtful, driven phrases. Coltrane also plays a bit of soprano saxophone as a primer for his more exploratory work to follow. Meanwhile, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones, and especially the stellar McCoy Tyner have integrated their passionate dynamics into the inner whole of the quartet. The result is a most focused effort, a relatively popular session to both his fans or latecomers, with five selections that are brilliantly conceived and rendered. “Out of This World,” at over 14 minutes in modal trim, is a powerful statement, stretched over Tyner’s marvelous and deft chords, the churning rhythms conjured by Jones, and the vocal style Coltrane utilizes as he circles the wagons on this classic melody, including a nifty key change. “Tunji” is a mysterious, easily rendered piece in 4/4 which speaks to the spiritual path Coltrane tred, a bit riled up at times while Tyner remains serene. Hard bop is still in the back of their collective minds during “Miles’ Mode,” a sliver of a melody that jumps into jam mode in a free-for-all blowing session, while the converse is to be found in Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes,” the quintessential ballad and impressive here for the way Coltrane’s holds notes, emotion, and expressive intellectuality. On soprano you can tell Coltrane is close to taking complete control of his newly found voicings, as a playful, jaunty “The Inch Worm” in 3/4 time is only slightly strained, but in which he finds complete communion with the others. Even more than any platitudes one can heap on this extraordinary recording, it historically falls between the albums Olé Coltrane and Impressions — completing a triad of studio efforts that are as definitive as anything Coltrane ever produced, and highly representative of him in his prime.

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John Coltrane – Blue Train (1957) [Reissue 2003] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – Blue Train (1957) [Reissue 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 59:08 minutes | Scans included | 2,41 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,34 GB
Genre: Jazz

Although never formally signed, an oral agreement between John Coltrane and Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion was indeed honored on Blue Train — Coltrane’s only collection of sides as a principal artist for the venerable label. The disc is packed solid with sonic evidence of Coltrane’s innate leadership abilities. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry — touching upon all forms in between. The personnel on Blue Train is arguably as impressive as what they’re playing. Joining Coltrane (tenor sax) are Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Kenny Drew (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). The triple horn arrangements incorporate an additional sonic density that remains a trademark unique to both this band and album. Of particular note is Fuller’s even-toned trombone, which bops throughout the title track as well as the frenetic “Moments Notice.” Other solos include Paul Chambers’ subtly understated riffs on “Blue Train” as well as the high energy and impact from contributions by Lee Morgan and Kenny Drew during “Locomotion.” The track likewise features some brief but vital contributions from Philly Joe Jones — whose efforts throughout the record stand among his personal best. Of the five sides that comprise the original Blue Train, the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer ballad “I’m Old Fashioned” is the only standard; in terms of unadulterated sentiment, this version is arguably untouchable. Fuller’s rich tones and Drew’s tastefully executed solos cleanly wrap around Jones’ steadily languid rhythms. Without reservation, Blue Train can easily be considered in and among the most important and influential entries not only of John Coltrane’s career, but of the entire genre of jazz music as well.

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John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964) [Analogue Productions 2010] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964) [Analogue Productions 2010]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 33:01 minutes | Scans included | 1,35 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 699 MB
Genre: Jazz

Easily one of the most important records ever made, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme was his pinnacle studio outing that at once compiled all of his innovations from his past, spoke of his current deep spirituality, and also gave a glimpse into the next two and a half years (sadly, those would be his last). Recorded at the end of 1964, Trane’s classic quartet of Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison stepped into the studio and created one of the most thought-provoking, concise, and technically pleasing albums of their bountiful relationship (not to mention his best-selling to date). From the undulatory (and classic) bassline at the intro to the last breathy notes, Trane is at the peak of his logical yet emotionally varied soloing while the rest of the group is remarkably in tune with Coltrane’s spiritual vibe. Composed of four parts, each has a thematic progression leading to an understanding of spirituality through meditation. From the beginning, “Acknowledgement” is the awakening of sorts that trails off to the famous chanting of the theme at the end, which yields to the second act, “Resolution,” an amazingly beautiful piece about the fury of dedication to a new path of understanding. “Persuance” is a search for that understanding, and “Psalm” is the enlightenment. Although he is at times aggressive and atonal, this isn’t Trane at his most adventurous (pretty much everything recorded from here on out progressively becomes much more free, and live recordings from this period are extremely spirited), but it certainly is his best attempt at the realization of concept — as the spiritual journey is made amazingly clear. A Love Supreme clocks in at just over 30 minutes, but if it had been any longer it could have turned into a laborious listen. As it stands, just enough is conveyed. It is almost impossible to imagine a world without A Love Supreme having been made, and it is equally impossible to imagine any jazz collection without it.

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