Rhino Records – Randy Newman and WAR – New Quad Audio Blu-Ray Releases

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Randy Newman – Good Old Boys – Reprise Records (1974)/Rhino Entertainment Company BA2 2193 603497828036 Quad Audio Blu-ray, 33:28 *****:

Album Cover for Randy Newman - Good Old Boys(Randy Newman – piano, vocals; with  Jim Keltner – drums; Milt Holland – percussion; Ry Cooder – guitar; Glenn Frey – background vocals; Don Henley – background vocals; Bernie leaden – background vocals and many others)

Rhino Entertainment Company has released another stellar batch of Quad Audio Blu-rays. Originally this updated technology were used for collections from Chicago and The Doobie Brothers. Transferred from the original half-inch four-channel masters at 192/24 resolution, these re-mastered discs inject much needed sonic muscle and advanced engineering into rock music.

Album Cover for RandyNewman - GoodOldBoys - QuadioOne of these re-mastered Blu-rays (part of the latest “bundle”) is the brilliant and controversial Randy Newman album, Good Old Boys. This thematic commentary of Southern culture was sardonic, though-provoking and rich in musical textures. As the opening track, “Rednecks” unfolds the music expands from the piano, vocal and drum in the front speakers (classic quadrophonic) to horns, background vocals bass evenly rendered in the rear speakers. The mix focuses on Newman’s vocal storytelling. The uneasy balance of racism and hypocrisy is rendered with a racial epithet. He captures the pride of a steel worker in “Birmingham” with rear channel strings and a well-timed steel pedal guitar. In a simpler arrangement, the use of strings (Nick DeCaro)  is moving on the lush romantic ballad, “Marie”. His ability to shift from biting cynicism to abject sentiment is impressive. Attuned to economic struggles, “Mr. President” is earnest and steeped in bluesy Americana motifs. His affinity for this genre is evident on the laconic “Guilty” with evocative string accents and near-dissonant counterpoint.

One of the certain highlights is the plaintive narrative of “Louisiana 1927”. His recounting of the hopelessness of the great pre-Katrina flood is emotional and the catch line, …”They’re trying to wash us away…” is compelling. He briefly covers Huey Long’s self-penned campaign tune, “Every Man A King”. Then the story of the fallen, but revered governor (“Kingfish”) is a funky musical statement. His grasp of flawed, weird characters inhabits “Naked Man” and “A Wedding In Cherokee County”. The final pair of songs are trademark Randy Newman. “Back On My Feet Again” is hilarious and socially biting with a raucous New Orleans feeling. “Rollin’” is slower-paced and has a wonderful string accompaniment. The re-mastered hi-res stereo is also excellent.

Highly recommended!      

—Robbie Gerson

More Information through Rhino Records

Randy Newman – Good Old Boys

TrackList (DTS-HD Master Quad 4.0 and DTS-HD Master Stereo192/24):
Rednecks
Birmingham
Marie
Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)
Guilty
Louisiana 1927
Every Man A King
Kingfish
Naked Man
A Wedding In Cherokee County
Back On My Feet Again
Rollin’

Album Cover for RandyNewman - GoodOldBoys - Quadio

Album Cover for Randy Newman - Good Old Boys

WAR – The World Is A Ghetto – United Artist Records (1972)/Rhino Entertainment Company BA2 726002 603497827886 Quad Audio Blu-ray, 43:49 *****:

Album Cover for WAR - The World is a Ghetto

WAR – The World Is A Ghetto – United Artist Records (1972)/Rhino Entertainment Company BA2 726002 603497827886 Quad Audio Blu-ray, 43:49 *****:

(Howard Scott – guitar, percussion, vocals; B.B. Dickerson – bass, percussion, vocals; Lonnie Jordan – organ, piano, percussion, vocals; Harold Brown – drums, percussion, vocals; Papa Dee Allen – percussion, vocals; Charles Miller – clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, percussion, vocals; Lee Oskar – harmonica, percussion, vocals)

Another outstanding Quad Blu-ray in this bundle is the 1972 War hit, The World Is a Ghetto. With a unique blend of funk, soul and Latin-infused hooks, the multi-tracked blended audio is significantly enhanced by the 4.0 mix. Leading off, the magnetic, celebratory street anthem “Cisco Kid” incorporates relentless percussion (mostly back channel), engaging vocals and their unique blend of organ, echo-laden guitar, harmonica and saxophone. This had become the signature musical expression of this amazing band. The layered instrumentals and vocals are handled evenly. The upbeat vibe continues on “Where Was You At” with a funkier arrangement and more harmonica. There is a party-like chanting, call and response vocal and hard rock tempo breaks. Adding jazzy themes to the repertoire, “City, Country, City” (an instrumental), establishes a swaying Caribbean intro before gliding into soulful articulation with an emphasis on powerful drumming, gritty saxophone and extended organ runs that add palpable intensity. The harmonica “voices” the melody and the groove never abates. 

Album Cover for RandyNewman - GoodOldBoys - QuadioSwitching gears, War’s eternal message about understanding and tolerance is at the core of  the mellower, atmospheric, “Four Cornered Room”. With atmospheric subtlety, a dark vamp, unison and harmony vocals, there is a spoken word interlude followed by exquisite r & b lead singing (with falsetto). There are psychedelic motifs that are hypnotic. The title track exudes a relaxed vibe in the beginning of the number with soaring harmonies, wah-wah guitar and harmonica. Then, the inevitable break into a magnetic two-line chorus. Soulful saxophone creates tonal shading and there is always a steady undercurrent of pulse (powerful bass) and raw feeling. The finale, “Beetles In The Bog” is a Latin-infused romp with unison singing and infectious cadence. There is a nice fade at the end.

These two Quad Audio releases are a welcome addition to the burgeoning hi-res market. The four-channel mix is robust and the front/back separation is top notch. Both stereo mixes are great. These titles can be purchased in bundles (with other releases) or stand alone. 

Highest recommendation!    

—Robbie Gerson    

WAR – The World Is A Ghetto

TrackList (DTS-HD Master Quadio 4.0 and DTS-HD Master Stereo 192/24):
The Cisco Kid;
Where Was You At;
City, Country, City;
Four Cornered Room;
The World Is A Ghetto;
Beetles In The Bog      

More Information through Rhino Records

Album Cover for RandyNewman - GoodOldBoys - Quadio

Album Cover for WAR - The World is a Ghetto   





 

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