The Cal Tjader Quintet – Latin + Jazz = Cal Tjader (1968) [Audio Fidelity 2003] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

The Cal Tjader Quintet – Latin + Jazz = Cal Tjader (1968) [Audio Fidelity 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 44:54 minutes | Scans included | 1,8 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 874 MB
Genre: Jazz | Remastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-004

TVibraphonist Cal Tjader is in typically fine form on this live set from 1968. His quintet at the time featured Armand Perazza on congas and pianist Joe Kloess and his repertoire ranged from Afro-Cuban jazz to occasional straightahead tunes. Six of the eight selections on this date are originals by band members or Gary McFarland. Although Tjader had been playing this style of music for 15 years by this time, he still was quite creative and enthusiastic, and is heard throughout in excellent form.

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Various Artists – Get It On (2014) [Audio Fidelity] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Various Artists – Legends: Get It On (2014) [Audio Fidelity]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 79:02 minutes | Scans included | 3,2 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,5 GB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-179 | Genre: Rock

Time Life is proud to introduce something new in the realm of compilation albums – for the first time ever in conjunction with Audio Fidelity we have assembled the original masters of some of rock’s biggest stars and greatest hits and remastered these classics for Hybrid SACD.

The collection is based on the original TimeLife LEGENDS product. With GET IT ON! Audio Fidelity has taken these hit tracks to another sonic level. You have never heard a hits collection of such consistently high standards. It’s like hearing these classic hits for the first time.

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Various Artists – Legends: Crank It Up (2014) [Audio Fidelity] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Various Artists – Legends: Crank It Up (2014) [Audio Fidelity]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 70:56 minutes | Scans included | 2,88 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,32 GB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-178 | Genre: Rock

Time Life is proud to introduce something new in the realm of compilation albums – for the first time ever in conjunction with Audio Fidelity we have assembled the original masters of some of rock’s biggest stars and greatest hits and remastered these classics for Hybrid SACD.

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America – Hearts (1975) [Audio Fidelity 2016] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz}

America – Hearts (1975) [Audio Fidelity 2016]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 4.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 36:24 minutes | Full Scans included | 1,54 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 37:04 mins | Scans included | 670 MB
Features Stereo and Quadrophonic surround sound | SACD Mastering by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ5 231 | Genre: Rock

Hearts is the fifth original studio album by American folk rock trio America, released by Warner Bros. Records in 1975. The album was produced by legendary Beatles producer George Martin.

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America – Homecoming (1972) [Audio Fidelity 2015] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz}

America – Homecoming (1972) [Audio Fidelity 2015]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 & DST64 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 34:00 minutes | Full Scans included | 2,78 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 33:37 mins | Scans incl. | 590 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Audio Fidelity # AFZ5 204 | Genre: Rock

Homecoming, America’s finest album, refines and focuses the folk-pop approach found on their debut release. The songs here are tighter and more forthright, with fewer extended solo instrumental sections than before. The sound quality is clear and bright; the colorful arrangements, while still acoustic guitar-based, feature more electric guitar and keyboards. The performance quality is more assured, among the most urgently committed the group would ever put on vinyl. Verses are still sometimes banal and clunky (“You can’t disregard your friends/But life gets so hard when you reach the end”) or cryptic (“Sorry, boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain”), but a number of the song subjects here exhibit a yearning sense of wanderlust and love of the outdoors that proves to be highly evocative and compelling (particularly on “Moon Song,” “Ventura Highway,” “California Revisited,” and “Cornwall Blank”). Chordal progressions are sophisticated and contain many subtle surprises. A few new style wrinkles can be seen in the country-influenced “Don’t Cross the River,” the drivingly gutsy “California Revisited” (perhaps the hardest-rocking song the group would ever produce), and the hushed yet mildly funky “Head & Heart.” Chart hits from this release include “Ventura Highway,” “Only in Your Heart,” and “Don’t Cross the River,” but each song here has something to recommend it. This top-flight album is a very rewarding listen.

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America – America (1971) [Audio Fidelity 2013] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz}

America – America (1971) [Audio Fidelity 2013]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:16 minutes | Scans included | 1,88 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 886 MB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-167 | Genre: Rock

America’s debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg. Crosby, Stills & Nash are the group’s obvious stylistic touchstone here, especially in the vocal harmonies used (compare the thick chordal singing of “Sandman” and “Children” to CS&N’s “You Don’t Have to Cry” and “Guinevere”) and the prominent use of active strummed acoustic guitar arrangements (contrast “Riverside” to CS&N’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”). America’s intricate interplay of acoustic guitar textures is more ambitious than that of their influences, however. Performance quality is usually good, though on occasion sloppily executed or out of tune (especially on the openings to “Donkey Jaw” and “I Never Found the Time”). Lengthy instrumental introductions (“Donkey Jaw”), middle improvisatory interludes (“Here”), and closings (“Clarice”) are frequently encountered. Most of these selections boast highly unusual and inventive chord progressions that work well without drawing undue attention to themselves. Lyrics are sometimes trite (“I need you/Like the flower needs the rain”) or obscure (“He flies the sky/Like an eagle in the eye/Of a hurricane that’s abandoned”), but the music more than makes up for any verse problems; only the odd “Pigeon Song” seems an unsalvageable misstep. Sound quality here has a covered, intimate feel that lends a ghostly aura to this release. Chart hits from this album include the spectrally loping “A Horse with No Name,” the squarishly tuneful “I Need You,” and the nervously dour “Sandman.” Other highlights include the buoyantly charming “Three Roses,” the yearningly lovely “Rainy Day,” and the quietly ringing “Clarice.” In spite of its flaws, this platter is very highly recommended.

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B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Riding With The King (2000) [Audio Fidelity 2015] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Riding With The King (2000) [Audio Fidelity 2015]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 62:02 minutes | Scans included | 2,49 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 1,11 GB
Mastered for SACD by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-211 | Genre: Rock

The potential for a collaboration between B.B. King and Eric Clapton is enormous, of course, and the real questions concern how it is organized and executed. This first recorded pairing between the 74-year-old King and the 55-year-old Clapton was put together in the most obvious way: Clapton arranged the session using many of his regular musicians, picked the songs, and co-produced with his partner Simon Climie. That ought to mean that King would be a virtual guest star rather than earning a co-billing, but because of Clapton’s respect for his elder, it nearly works the other way around. The set list includes lots of King specialties — “Ten Long Years,” “Three O’Clock Blues,” “Days of Old,” “When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer” — as well as standards like “Hold on I’m Coming” and “Come Rain or Come Shine,” with some specially written and appropriate recent material thrown in, so King has reason to be comfortable without being complacent. The real danger is that Clapton will defer too much; though he can be inspired by a competing guitarist such as Duane Allman, he has sometimes tended to lean too heavily on accompanists such as Albert Lee and Mark Knopfler when working with them in concert. That danger is partially realized; as its title indicates, Riding With the King is more about King than it is about Clapton. But the two players turn out to have sufficiently complementary, if distinct, styles so that Clapton’s supportive role fills out and surrounds King’s stinging single-string playing. (It’s also worth noting that there are usually another two or three guitarists on each track.) The result is an effective, if never really stunning, work.

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Yes – Going For The One (1977) [Audio Fidelity ‘2013] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2]

Yes – Going For The One (1977) [Audio Fidelity ‘2013]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:48 minutes | 1,55 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 724 MB
Audio Fidelity SACD #AFZ-157 | Mastered for this SACD by Steve Hoffman

Going for the One is perhaps the most overlooked item in the Yes catalog. It marked Rick Wakeman’s return to the band after a three-year absence, and also a return to shorter song forms after the experimentalism of Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and Relayer. In many ways, this disc could be seen as the follow-up to Fragile. Its five tracks still retain mystical, abstract lyrical images, and the music is grand and melodic, the vocal harmonies perfectly balanced by the stinging guitar work of Steve Howe, Wakeman’s keyboards, and the solid rhythms of Alan White and Chris Squire. The title track features Howe on steel guitar (he’s the only prog rocker who bothers with the instrument). “Turn of the Century” and the album’s single, “Wonderous Stories,” are lovely ballads the way only Yes can do them. “Parallels” is the album’s big, pompous song, so well done that in later years the band opened concerts with it. Wakeman’s stately church organ, recorded at St. Martin’s Church, Vevey, Switzerland, sets the tone for this “Roundabout”-ish track. The concluding “Awaken” is the album’s nod to the extended suite. Again, the lyrics are spacy in the extreme, but Jon Anderson and Squire are dead-on vocally, and the addition of Anderson’s harp and White’s tuned percussion round out this evocative track.

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Yes – Close To The Edge (1972) [2012 Audio Fidelity SACD AFZ 147] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2]

Yes – Close To The Edge (1972) [2012 Audio Fidelity SACD AFZ 147]

Sony PS3 SACD to ISO | DSD 1bit-2822,4kHz 2.0 | 2.12GB
24bit-88.2kHz FLAC-CUE 2CH only | DR11 (6.0dB Gain) | 765MB
Genre: Rock | Label: AudioFidelity | Catalog Number: AFZ 147

Mastered by Steve Hoffman at Stephen Marsh Studio

…Close to the Edge is pure progressive rock – thoughtful and intelligent compositions executed by the classic lineup of Chris Squire (bass, vocals); Rick Wakeman (mellotron, moog, Hammond organ, piano); Steve Howe (electric, acoustic guitars); Bill Bruford (drums and percussion); and Jon Anderson (vocals). All of the musicians in Yes are true virtuosos. The individual and group ensemble work on Close to the Edge is breathtakingly complex and the arrangements are incredible, everything flows flawlessly from one piece to the next.

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Peter, Paul And Mary – Peter, Paul And Mary (1962) [Audio Fidelity 2014] {SACD ISO + FLAC 24/88,2}

Peter, Paul And Mary – Peter, Paul And Mary (1962) [Audio Fidelity 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 33:51 minutes | Scans included | 1,38 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 683 MB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-161 | Genre:  Folk

The debut album by Peter, Paul & Mary is still one of the best albums to come out of the 1960s folk music revival, a beautifully harmonized collection of the best songs that the group knew, stirring in its sensibilities and its haunting melodies, crossing between folk, children’s songs, and even gospel (“If I Had My Way”), and light-hearted just where it needed to be, with the song “Lemon Tree,” which became their first hit single, and earnest where it had to be, particularly on “If I Had a Hammer.” Ironically, the trio’s version of the latter song, which Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes had written in the early days of the Weavers’ history, helped push popular folk music in a more political direction at the time, but it was another song in their repertory, Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” that also helped indirectly jump start that movement. The group had performed it in Boston at a concert attended by the Kingston Trio, who immediately returned to New York and cut their own version, which charted as a single early in 1962. Other highlights include “It’s Raining” and “500 Miles.” Peter, Paul & Mary, which hit the top spot on the album charts as part of a 185-week run, is the purest of the trio’s albums, laced with innocent good spirits and an optimism that remains infectious even 40 years later.

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