Steve Strauss – Just Like Love – Strauss, vocals & guitar – Stockfisch

by | May 2, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Steve Strauss – Just Like Love – Multichannel SACD Stockfisch SFR 357.4036.2, 64:33 – Sound quality:  SACD stereo ****1/2,    5.1 SACD ****,   CD ***1/2, Music quality: ****1/2:

Steve Strauss wrote all the songs here, except Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen. He  is a recently-discovered singer-songwriter and this is his second album. His main band is made up of Steve Strauss, vocals and guitar; Chris Jones guitar, Hrolfur Vagnsson, accordion and Hans-Jorg Maucksch, fretless bass. Other guest artists appear on various tracks. I first heard this album on David Robinson’s (Positive Feedback) system. It took one cut to know that this album was really special. I requested a copy for review and was delighted to receive one.

Strauss has a very blues-influenced style of singing and a fairly deep voice. The songs are filled with a feeling of real life happenings. He has a somewhat laid back guitar playing style, which is caught with great clarity in this recording. The accompanying instruments are amazingly well recorded and vibrant.  Stockfisch Records is a German audiophile label. The only thing that keeps this album from being the best sounding pop SACD that I have heard is a slight overemphasis on the bass frequencies. The stereo SACD layer has slightly more focus than the 5.1 mix, but the 5.1 mix involves you more in the music. Bass enthusiasts may really like the bass. Systems without strong deep bass may not even notice the exaggeration. The song quality is better than 99.99% albums. I can sit and listen to this album over and over again. There are very, very few albums that I feel this way about. I especially like the emotion that he gives his cover of Youngstown – Springsteen’s version has nowhere near as much emotion. This is what an album should be: great music, great sound and over sixty minutes of sheer audio catharsis. I look forward to other titles from this artist and this label. Very highly recommended!

Tracks: 1. Just Like Love   2. Angel   3. Youngstown   4. Old Crow  5. Dead Man’s Handle  6. Jennie Mae  7. Brother Mule   8. Sunday Best   9. The Dirt   10. Lord Franklin  11.Closer   12.The Dog and the Dancing Girl   13. A Western

– Clay Swartz

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