As January 1, 2000 approaches, and the MP3 whirlpool continues to swirl, one simple fact has made me feel as if I'm stuck at the starting line of the entire download controversy: The sound quality of MP3 has yet to improve above that of the average radio broadcast. Until that changes, I'm merely curious—as opposed to being in the I-want-to-know-it-all-now frenzy that is my usual m.o. when to comes to anything that promises music you can't get anywhere else.
GEORGE JONES: Cold Hard Truth Asylum 62368-2 (CD). 1999. Keith Stegall, prod.; John Kelton, eng.; Mark Nevers, Brady Barnett, Steven Crowder, John Stolpe, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 34:16 Performance ****? Sonics ****?
DUKE ELLINGTON: The Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings Duke Ellington, piano; and his bands, 1927-73 RCA Victor 63386-2 (24 CDs). 1999. Orrin Keepnews, coordinating prod.; Keepnews, Steven Lasker, reissue prods.; Steve Backer, exec. prod.; Lasker, Dennis Ferrante, digital transfer engs.; Lasker, Paul Brizzi, CEDAR restoration engs. AAD? TT: 27:33:35 Performance ***** Sonics ****
BILL LLOYD: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Koch LOC-CD-8035 (CD). 1999. Bill Lloyd, Scott Baggett, prods., engs.; Brad Jones, prod.; Robin Eaton, Marshall Crenshaw, engs. AAD? TT: 56:46 Performance ****? Sonics ****
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Tracks Columbia CXK 69475 (4 CDs). 1998. Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin, prods., engs.; Jon Landau, Stevie Van Zandt, Roy Bittan, Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos, John Hammond, orig. engs.; Ed Thacker, Bob Clearmountain, Thom Panunzio, remix engs. AAD? TT: 4:13:30 Performance ***** Sonics ****?
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Los Super Seven Radv/RCA Nashville 67689-2 (CD). 1998. Dan Goodman, exec. prod.; Steve Berlin, prod.; Dave McNair, eng.; Fred Rennert, Steve Gamberoni, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 41:36 Performance ****? Sonics ****