And I used to think our annual "Records To Die For" issue was difficult. Whew! When it came down to choosing the 40 most influential rock/pop, jazz, and classical records of the past 40 years, during which this magazine has been the most honest and enjoyable source of high-end audio journalism, my initial list contained more than 200 choices. A painful paring-down process ensued, with input from every member of the Stereophile staff.
THE BAND: The Last Waltz Warner Bros./Rhino Entertainment R2 78278 (4 CDs). 1978/2002. Robbie Robertson, prod.; Rob Fraboni, John Simon, co-prods.; Larry Samuels, exec. prod.; Terry Becker, Tim Kramer, Elliot Mazer, Wayne Neuendorf, Ed Anderson, Neil Brody, engs. AAD? TT: 4:10:16 Performance ***** Sonics ****?
NEIL YOUNG: Are You Passionate? Reprise 48111-2 (CD). 2002. Neil Young, Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunn, Poncho Sampedro, prods.; John Hanlon, eng.; Aaron Prellwitz, Alex Osborne, asst. engs.; Tim Mulligan, mix, mastering; John Hausmann, Denny Purcell, mastering; John Nowland, A/D transfer. AAD? TT: 65:29 Performance ****? Sonics ****
As I sit down to write a year's-end musical retrospective, I feel that the old column-writing joke between Stereophile editor John Atkinson and myself about first needing a subject and, second, needing it to make sense, will not be a problem this time out. For me, the music and almost everything else about 2001 have been dwarfed in importance by the mayhem wreaked on New York on September 11.
HANK WILLIAMS: Timeless Lost Highway 088 170 239-2 (CD). 2001. Luke Lewis, Mary Martin, Bonnie Garner, prods.; Bob Brockman, Michael Hopkins, Mark Johnson, others, engs.; Hank Williams (no relation), mastering. AAD. TT: 43:19 Performance **** Sonics *****