John Lee Hooker’s Mr. Lucky on a 96K DAD

by | May 31, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

John Lee Hooker – Mr. Lucky; Classic Records DAD 1007 (96K DAD) ***1/2: 

No, that is not a typo at the end of the title.  This is a
DAD.  In the old days if you saw this nomenclature on a CD it’d
mean: Digital recording, analog mixing, and digital mastering, but not
in this case.  I know what you’re thinking:  Another
format??!  Well, yeah.  Except this one has been around for a
while—it was the original solution to the sampling and bit depth
limitations of conventional CDs (not counting HDCD).  As far as I
know Chesky was doing this too, but I believe they have abandoned it in
favor of SACD.  The process involves the analog recording being
sampled at 96 kHz and stored with a 24 bit word.  After storage on
a computer, etc. it is transferred to a DVD disc that is playable in
all DVD players.  Classic Records refers to this as “master tape
sound.”  When you first look at the disc you might think it is a
CD, so be careful that you don’t get confused.  Classic records
now offer higher resolution 192 kHz/ 24 bit DVDA discs, so it seems
they have embraced one of the new formats as well.

This recording was originally issued in 1991.  Hooker’s voice
seems to have changed a bit as he’s aged—it’s not quite as powerful as
I remember.  Or possibly the record is just too
produced/scripted.  It’s as if the players don’t always let loose
like they should.  On this record he’s assembled some first-rate
musicians like: Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Ry Cooder, Van Morrison,
Carlos Santana, Johnny Winter, Keith Richards, and more.  Hooker
wrote the words and music either by himself or with the others on all
these songs.  “Mr. Lucky” is a great tune with stunning guitar
work.  Track five is a slow number (that you’ll recognize) that is
either one of the best tunes on the disc or completely out of place
with the rest of the material.  Track six is slower too, but has
an amazing guitar sound and is a more traditional blues track. 
You’ll definitely notice the influence of the guest artists with the
change in style of music.  I don’t know if this is planned or just
happened.  Carlos Santana went on to do it successfully on two
albums within the last five years.  The degree of change is not
nearly as dramatic as it is on those records, but anyone listening can
appreciate the addition made by the guest artists.  The only video
you’ll see on this disc is the album info, track info, and recording
info.  Recording quality is very good, but not outstanding. 
It is no better than the best sounding CDs and I question whether it
makes it worth the effort (in the case of this particular title). 
Songs included are:  I Want to Hug You; Mr. Lucky; Backstabbers;
This Is Hip; I Cover The Waterfront; Highway 13; Stripped Me Naked;
Susie; Crawlin’ Kingsnake; Father Was Jockey.

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