George Benson – White Rabbit (1971/2013) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

George Benson – White Rabbit (1971/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 36:00 minutes | 777 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet | Label: Masterworks Jazz

Legendary guitarist and singer George Benson is joined by a historic band which includes Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira and more for this 1971 gem. The ensemble performs the ‘60s classic “White Rabbit,” “California Dreamin’” and “Summer Of ’42.” Benson’s guitar is in full blaze on this must-have audiophile download. White Rabbit remains one of Benson’s finest outings.

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George Benson – Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole (2013) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

George Benson – Inspiration: A Tribute To Nat King Cole (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:51 minutes | 954 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet

Inspiration (A Tribute To Nat King Cole) is one of George Benson’s most compelling albums to date. The recording is one of the most meaningful of Benson’s career and is a testament to the spirit of Cole’s timeless body of work. Benson’s heartfelt renditions of some of Cole’s greatest songs with Nelson Riddle arrangements and the 42-piece Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra are complemented by duets with TONY Award winner Idina Menzel and rising star Judith Hill, along with a special collaboration with multi-GRAMMY and Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

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George Benson – Guitar Man (2011) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

George Benson – Guitar Man (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:03 minutes | 907 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital booklet | Label: Concord Jazz

National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master and Grammy-winning legend George Benson brings his guitar to the forefront in his newest album Guitar Man. The 12-song collection includes a mix of jazz and pop standards – some in a combo setting and some solo, but all of them tied together seamlessly by Benson’s soulful and exploratory signature sound. The album includes masterful takes on such classics as Coltrane’s “Naima,” “Tequila,” The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” and more.

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George Benson – Breezin’ (1976/2005) [HDTracks FLAC 24/96]

George Benson – Breezin’ (1976/2005)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 38:50 minutes | 632 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover

The 1976 triple-platinum album by 10X Grammy Winner George Benson marked the beginning of the guitarist and singer most successful commercial period. The album garnered 4 Grammys, including Best-Engineered Album, Non Classical and “Record of the Year” for the massive hit (and Leon Russell cover) “This Masquerade,” which topped the Pop, Jazz, and R&B charts.

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Copland – Morton Gould – Billy the Kid & Rodeo Suite & Grofé – Grand Canyon Suite (1960/2006){SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Aaron Copland – Billy the Kid & Rodeo Suite / Ferde Grofé – Grand Canyon Suite
Morton Gould & His Orchestra
SACD ISO (2.0/5.0): 3,16 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 1,39 | Full Artwork | 3% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: RCA Red Seal “Living Stereo” # 82876-67904-2 | Country/Year: Europe 2006, 1960
Genre: Classical | Style: Contemporary

I’m familiar with two other major interpretations on RBCD of the Copland ballets: Bernstein’s with NY Phil and Slatkin’s with St. Louis. While the Slatkin rendition was very satisfying in its simple approach, Morton Gould and his orchestra play these works as if it were for an old classic western movie. The style is very old fashioned but highly effective, and listening made me feel nostalgic even though I’m too young to have grown up in that just-after-WWII era. The Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe has that same cozy nostalgic feel further enhanced by some UNusual instrument placement and editing. A serious recording technician would probably laugh at the approach used by this orchestra and Living Stereo, but to me it’s a silly but highly enjoyable masterpiece. The SACD Stereo sound is fantastic, and this is one of my SACD Top Picks! sacd_fan @ SA-CD.net

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Cikada Duo – Nordheim (2007) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Cikada Duo – Nordheim (2007)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 59:39 minutes | Scans included | 3,23 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,08 GB
Genre: Classical | Features 2.0 Stereo & 5.1 multichannel Surround sound | Lindberg Lyd, Norway # 2L-039-SACD

Since 1960 the composer Arne Nordheim has enchanted both musicians and audience with a unique soundscape. His music may be considered a source to the later Nordic Sound of electronica. Today’s DJs might not willingly announce “Grandfather taught me this”, but that’s actually the case!
Nordheim’s music is recently re-vitalized by publications like Dodeka and Electric by the renowned Norwegian label Rune Grammofon, and Nordheim Transformed by Biosphere/Deathprod. CIKADA and 2L now bring you the world premiere recording in surround sound, as originally intended by the composer.
CIKADA DUO is Kenneth Karlsson (piano/synthesizer) and Bjørn Rabben (percussion). They are joined by Åke Parmerud (elektronics) and Elisabeth Holmertz (soprano) in this production of Arne Nordheim’s music. Take the stand within the percussion and let yourself be embraced by electronica, vocal and synthesizers in an extreme surround sound recording, produced by the GRAMMY-nominated Lindberg Lyd.

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Carrie Underwood – Storyteller (2015) [HIGHRESAUDIO FLAC 24/44,1]

Carrie Underwood – Storyteller (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz  | Time – 45:51  minutes | 561 MB | Genre: Country, Pop Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | ©  19 Recordings Limited/Arista Nashville

“Something in the Water,” the new single tacked onto Carrie Underwood’s 2014 compilation Greatest Hits: Decade #1, was an operatic blowout on par with her 2012 smash “Blown Away” — something grand and melodramatic, suggesting Vegas as much as it suggested inspirational music. Storyteller, her fifth album and first since her career recap, certainly contains cinematic elements — Underwood has been proud to be a diva ever since she prowled the stages of American Idol a decade prior — but the title isn’t a feint; she spends a good chunk of the album reiterating, singing about heartbreak, hair triggers, red wine, dirty laundry, and smoke breaks, the mundane details that turn life so joyous and tragic. Subtlety isn’t Underwood’s strong suit so the songs tend to be a bit on the nose, whether she’s pledging devotion to her newborn son on the sweet closer “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted” or streamlining Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe” via the stomping “Choctaw County Affair,” but that directness is key to her appeal: there are no greys in Carrie’s music, only blazing primary colors. Appropriately enough, Storyteller gleams with steely assurance, perhaps the toughest and boldest record yet but one that hardly soft-pedals her softer side. Carrie isn’t an unapologetic spitfire like her “Something Bad” duet partner Miranda Lambert. She is, as she says in her album title, a Storyteller, and there’s an unmistakable distance between her theatrics and the subjects of her tunes; she isn’t living these songs, she’s performing them. Like a skilled actor, Underwood chooses her roles wisely — she’s comfortable swaggering through the leadoff pair of “Renegade Runaway” and “Dirty Laundry,” while she eases into the comforting melancholy of “The Girl You Think I Am” — and she knows how to deliver the essence of each song, modulating her performances not only so they match the grand productions of Jay Joyce, Mark Bright, and Zach Crowell but so they always are the focal point. That’s no small feat and Storyteller is no small album: it demands attention and it deserves it, too. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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10cc – The Original Soundtrack (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2010] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

10cc – The Original Soundtrack (1975) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2010]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:40 minutes | Scans NOT included | 1,68 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans NOT included | 824 MB
Genre: Rock

10cc’s third album, The Original Soundtrack, finally scored them a major hit in the United States, and rightly so; “I’m Not in Love” walked a fine line between self-pity and self-parody with its weepy tale of a boy who isn’t in love (really!), and the marvelously lush production and breathy vocals allowed the tune to work beautifully either as a sly joke or at face value. The album’s opener, “Une Nuit a Paris,” was nearly as marvelous; a sly and often hilarious extended parody of both cinematic stereotypes of life and love in France and overblown European pop. And side one’s closer, “Blackmail,” was a witty tale of sex and extortion gone wrong, with a superb guitar solo embroidering the ride-out. That’s all on side one; side two, however, is a bit spottier, with two undistinguished tunes, “Brand New Day” and “Flying Junk,” nearly dragging the proceedings to a halt before the band rallied the troops for a happy ending with the hilarious “The Film of Our Love.” The Original Soundtrack’s best moments rank with the finest work 10cc ever released; however, at the same time it also displayed what was to become their Achilles’ heel — the inability to make an entire album as strong and memorable as those moments.

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10cc – Deceptive Bends (1977) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

10cc – Deceptive Bends (1977) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:22 minutes | Scans included | 2,1 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,02 GB
Genre: Rock

When Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left 10cc in 1976 to pursue a solo career, many thought it was the death knell for the group. However, Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman kept the group alive as a duo (with the assistance of percussionist Paul Burgess) and turned in a surprisingly solid album with 1977’s Deceptive Bends. It may lack the devil-may-care wackiness that popped up on previous 10cc albums, but it makes up for it by crafting a series of lush, catchy pop songs that are witty in their own right. Deceptive Bends also produced a pair of notable hits for the group: “Good Morning Judge” told the comical tale of a career criminal over a hook-laden, surprisingly funky pop backing while “The Things We Do for Love” was an irresistible Beatles pastiche that showcased 10cc’s mastery of pop vocal harmonies. “People in Love,” a surprisingly straightforward ballad built on a gorgeous string arrangement, also became a modest chart success. The remainder of the material doesn’t stand out as sharply as these hits, but each of the tracks offers up plenty of naggingly catchy pop hooks, oodles of catchy riffs, and surprising twists in their arrangements. Highlights among the non-hit tracks include “Marriage Bureau Rendezvous,” a satire of dating services set to a lilting soft rock melody, and “You’ve Got a Cold,” a portrait of illness-influenced misery set to a percolating pop melody. The only place where Deceptive Bends slips is on “Feel the Benefit,” the lengthy medley that closes the album. Its excessive length and hazy lyrics make it less satisfying than the album’s shorter tunes, but it is kept afloat by a catchy, mock-Spanish midsection and some lovely string arrangements. All in all, Deceptive Bends is the finest achievement of 10cc’s post-Godley and Creme lineup and well worth a spin for anyone who enjoyed Sheet Music or The Original Soundtrack.

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Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – Round-Up (features Frankie Laine) (1986) [Reissue 2006] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – Round-Up (feat. Frankie Laine) (1986) [Reissue 2006]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 62:33 minutes | Scans included | 3,99 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,14 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound (New Surround Mix!) | Telarc # SACD-60141 | Genre: Score, Soundtrack

The Cincinnati Pops is one of America’s favorite orchestras, playing classical hits, orchestral versions of pop and jazz, movie themes and show tunes…

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