Stereophile Test CD 3 Music Tracks 6-7

Music Tracks 6-7

[6] Jimmy Rogers: "Blue Bird" (AAD) 4:44
(from Blue Bird, Analogue Productions Originals APO 2001)
Composer: J. Lane (Cordero Music/BMI, administered by Bug Music)
Musicians: Jimmy Rogers (vocals, guitar); Carey Bell (harmonica); Johnnie Johnson (piano); Jimmy D. Lane (lead guitar); Dave Myers (bass); Ted Harvey (drums)
Producer: John Koenig
Executive Producer: Chad Kassem
Recording Engineers: Mark Ettel, with Stefan Taylor
Recording Venue: Chicago Recording Company, Studio D, Chicago, IL
Recording Date: November 18, 1993
Microphones: Neumann M-49 (vocals); Neumann U-67 (piano); Neumann M-249 (drum overheads); AKG C-12A (floor toms); Neumann U-47 FET stereo pair (Jimmy Rogers Fender Twin Reverb guitar amplifier)
Microphone Preamplifier/Console: Neve VR 72
Recorder: Ampex ATR-104 *", two-track open-reel at 30ips, with custom Ocean Way two-track head stack. No noise reduction.
Tape: 3M 996
Digital Mastering Engineer: Doug Sax at the Mastering Lab

Born in 1924 in Mississippi, Jimmy Rogers made his first guitar from a broom and a wire when he was 11. Rogers moved to Chicago in 1938, and by the end of the '40s was playing the blues evenings and weekends. Then the nephew of a friend also moved to Chicago and joined up with Rogers. That nephew was Muddy Waters, and for the next 13 years, Rogers was a cornerstone of the Muddy Waters Band—the band that defined the new urban electric-blues style.

As a singer and songwriter, Rogers is preeminent among the older generation of blues men still active on the Chicago scene. And as a guitarist, he's acknowledged as an influence on those who rode to fame in the '60s—the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, for example, in an October 1992 LA Times interview, described himself as being "in there between Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Rogers."

For the Analogue Productions Blue Bird album, Rogers got together with a bunch of old blues friends—including Chuck Berry's long-time pianist Johnnie Johnson—and his guitarist son "Little Jimmy" Lane to cut a mixture of blues standards and originals. The track featured on Test CD 3, "Blue Bird," is a classic 12-bar blues that Rogers had been "fooling around with for years," and which he currently performs with his band.

What you should hear: The slack-strung snare drum lights up a smaller, more intimate acoustic than on the previous two cuts. The voice sounds very upfront, as is Little Jimmie's guitar solo—both will be very revealing of loudspeaker problems in the low treble. Johnnie Johnson's piano sounds both drier and more "honky-tonkish" than the Baldwin played by Dick Hyman.

For more information on Analogue Productions Originals releases, contact Acoustic Sounds, P.O. Box 1905, Salina, KS 67402-1905, USA. Tel: (800) 716-3553.

[7] Doug MacLeod: "Rollin' & Tumblin' " (AAD) 3:10
(from Come to Find, AudioQuest Music AQ-CD1027)
Composer: McKinley Morganfield (Watertoons/BMI, administered by Bug Music)
Musicians: Doug Macleod (vocals, guitar); Bill Stuve (double-bass); Jimi Bott (drums)
Producer: Joe Harley
Recording Engineers: Michael C. Ross, with Dave Shiffman
Recording Venue: Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, CA
Recording Date: January 15-16, 1994
Microphones: Neumann U-47 FET, Neumann M-50, Neumann KM54 FET, Neumann U-87, Neumann 269, AKG C-12A, AKG 452-20, Sony C-55p
Microphone & Mastering Cables: AudioQuest Diamond x3, Lapis x3, Digital ProRecorder: Custom-modified Ampex ATR-100 two-track open-reel at 30ips, with Flux Magnetics headstack
Tape: 3M 996
Digital Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman, using the Apogee UV22 Encoding System

The connection between this track and the last is the late, great Muddy Waters, who wrote "Rollin' and Tumblin'." New York-born Doug MacLeod has been an established electric-blues guitarist for many years. Unlike Muddy, however, who played acoustic blues before establishing the electric Chicago blues sound, MacLeod switched from electric to acoustic guitar for his debut album for AudioQuest Music.

It was after MacLeod moved to St Louis as a teenager that he first heard the blues. "I was just amazed at the sound," he wrote about first hearing B.B. King. "I had thought blues was a sad, crying music, but then I saw everyone dancing to B.B.'s music, and I just loved it."

Many from my generation would have first heard this song from Jack Bruce's harmonic-based outing with Cream. But MacLeod learned it from the source. "I used to do this when I was playing in the clubs back in Norfolk [Virginia]. I learned it from Muddy's recording of it when Al Lamoreaux [Doug's mentor] played it for me. Soon as I heard it, I remembered what [Piedmont-style guitar picker] Ernest Banks had told me; that it had to be something I could relate to. And it sure was. We were sitting around the studio, Jimi, Bill, and I, and they said, 'You want to do anything?' I said, 'Oh, I don't know, man, I'm kind of tired,' and then I started to play it, and we went on and recorded it."

What you should hear: Dig the combination of brushed snare and big-ass bass that drives the song along behind MacLeod's baritone, particularly after the shift to double time in the second half of the solo. The voice is intimately miked, The slide guitar licks should almost "bark" from the speakers, while the rattle of the metal slide against the wirewound strings should be easily discernible. The blues don't get much better than this.

For more information on AudioQuest Music releases, contact AudioQuest Music, c/o Valley Entertainment, 333 W. 52nd St. Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10019.

mav52's picture

eveytime I try to order this test disc it brings me to the review.  Not the page to move to check out.

BacHolz's picture

As above, attempts to order this "Stereophile Test CD 3" brings me to the review page, not checkout.

John Atkinson's picture

attempts to order this "Stereophile Test CD 3" brings me to the review page, not checkout.

I just went to the shop page for Test CD 3 - - and when you click on "Add to Cart" it works properly. However, when I went to the Test CD page - - and clocked on "Buy Now" yes it opened this page.

Clinking on "Buy Now" for Test CD 2 brought up a page for both Test D 2 and Test CD 3.

We will fix this problem.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

hellmwc's picture

Great test CD,... The recordings are exceptional in every respect.

Regarding the CD booklet; Is this available as a PDF file for download?

Thank you,

William Hellman

John Atkinson's picture
hellmwc wrote:
Regarding the CD booklet; Is this available as a PDF file for download?
Unfortunately not. But the booklet text was identical to what is published in this Web article.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Satya's picture

I am unable to use any of the links in the article or in the comments. I would like to purchase this CD.