Allan Taylor – In The Groove – Stockfisch Records 357.8007.1, 180 gram Metal Master LP *****:
(Allan Taylor, guitar and vocals/ Chris Jones, guitars/ Lutz Moller, piano/ Beo Brockhausen, saxophone/ Hans-Jorg Maucksch, fretless bass)
Allan Taylor is quite an accomplished singer-songwriter and musician, and his songs are imbued with a captivating honesty and emotion that evokes an astonishing range of moods. My previous exposure to his work had only been through the SACD and Blu-ray mediums, and both those releases were uniformly excellent (as always with Stockfisch!) I spend much of my time listening to vinyl, so of course I couldn’t help but wonder how great those discs might sound on LP – and when I heard about this release, I was pretty stoked! Apparently, Allan Taylor had quite the opposite reaction; when he was approached by Stockfisch’s Gunter Pauler about the prospect of releasing a selection of his songs in the vinyl LP format, he had the following comment: “I thought the vinyl format was finished. However, since I have been recording with Stockfisch Records and working with Gunter Pauler I have become used to the supremely high criteria they work to, so when they asked me to choose a few songs of mine from our catalogue for a release on vinyl I thought it was a great idea.” Great idea, indeed – as good as the Stockfish SACDs have been, I just wasn’t prepared for this astonishingly revealing LP, which is one of the most perfect pressings I’ve received in quite some time.
I don’t have to go on about Allan Taylor’s performances here – you can use the search function on the site to read my raves about some of his previous works (part of from which this disc is culled). Gunter Pauler of Stockfisch is a remarkably good recording engineer, and that only becomes even more apparent with this amazing LP release, which offers up the kind of you-are-there realism that just about defies belief. The mostly acoustic affair offers a really convincing illusion of real players performing in a realistic space, with Allan Taylor’s distinctive voice anchoring the proceedings. And this is one of the flattest, cleanest, quietest pressings I’ve encountered in quite some time – I don’t know who’s pressing these discs in Germany (Pallas, perhaps?) but they’re doing a remarkable job. NEWS FLASH: a quick visit to allantaylor.com just offered up some promising information – apparently, “In The Groove” is the title of the vinyl series from Stockfisch that will feature many of their artists, with Allan’s being the first in the series – great news, indeed!
This Direct Metal Mastered, 180 gram LP is an audiophile dream come true – very highly recommended!
TrackList: Brighton Beach; Back Home To You; Chimes At Midnight; Frenchtown; Red On Green; Colour To The Moon; For Those We Knew; Leaving At Dawn; The Dove; Save The Last Dance for Me.
— Tom Gibbs