Baden Powell – Apresentando Baden Powell e Seu Violão (1961)

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Baden Powell
Apresentando Baden Powell e Seu Violão
1961 Philips 630 415 L 
2003 Remaster

 1 Stella by starlight (Victor Young)
2 Amor sincopado (Marino Pinto, Chico Feitosa)   
3 Estrellita (Manuel Ponce)   
4 Na Baixa do Sapateiro  (Ary Barroso)   
5 Lover  (R.Rodgers, L.Hart)
6 Maria (Ary Barroso)
7 My funny valentine  (L.Hart, R.Rodgers)   
8 Love letters (Victor Young, Edward Heyman)
9 Samba triste  (Baden Powell, Billy Blanco)   
10 Aquellos ojos verdes  (N.Menendez)   
11 Carinhoso  (Pixinguinha)   
12 All the things you are (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein)
=========================================

A small post just to remind you I’m still here.  Although Baden Powell was no neophyte by the time this was recorded in 1959, this was the first record released under his own name.  And to be honest, it’s utterly forgettable.  The fact that Philips waited two years to release it indicates that there’s probably a good story there, perhaps one involving artistic direction or marketing, but not one that I happen to know.  Baden Powell experts are welcome to explain it.  Or just make something up if you like, I’ll let you.  The fact is that this is as close to “light” music as Baden would ever get, playing against a backdrop of pop string arrangements,  without any of the urgency and intensity we associate with him.  There’s still some great guitar playing here, of course, and a surprising amount of blues and bop flourishes sprinkled throughout.  But there is no fire and no smoke.

Hey there are LOTS of tunes associated with the golden age of Hollywood on this record, with forays into the Rogers and Hart, Kern and Hammerstein songbooks.  I’ve put together a little list of films and plays where some of these songs first became well known –

1 – The Uninvited  (1944)
5 – Love Me Tonight (1932)
8 – Love Letters (1945)
12 – Broadway Rhythm (1944), A Letter For Evie (1945), written for Very Warm For May (Broadway production, 1939)

There is only one original composition on this record, Samba triste co-written with Billy Blanco and sung by an alternating male and female chorus dressed in coat-tails and Capri pants.  Yet another unnecessary version of “Carinhoso” also graces the record in an arrangement suited for a Les Baxter or Martin Denny album.

It should be noted that in spite of the title, the red-haired, blue-eyed beauty on the cover of the album is not Baden Powell.

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Reposts – Oct 30, 2013

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Leny Andrade – Estamos Aí (1965)
Baden Powell with Jimmy Pratt (1953)
Silvio Caldas – Madrugada (1935-1938)
Taiguara – Fotografias (1973)
Poly e Seu Conjunto – Saia Vermelha (1963)
Os Cobras – O Lp (1964)

As I rush to make some deadlines IRL, I have been neglecting this blog a bit, but as a kind of comprise I’ve been going back and trying to fix some of the dead links, including a few that have had a lot of unattended requests.  I promise to bring some new content here very soon, including another Flabbergasted Freeform podcast.

Elis Regina – Em Pleno Verão (1970)

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Elis Regina
“Em pleno verão”
Released 1970 Philips (R 765.112 L)
Reissue 2005 (811 467-2)

1 Vou deitar e rolar (Quaquaraquaquá)
(Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)
2 Bicho do mato
(Jorge Ben)
3 Verão vermelho
(Nonato Buzar)
4 Até aí morreu Neves
(Jorge Ben)
5 Frevo
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
6 As curvas da estrada de Santos
(Erasmo Carlos, Roberto Carlos)
7 Fechado pra balanço
(Gilberto Gil)
8 Não tenha medo
(Caetano Veloso)
9 These are the songs
(Tim Maia)
10 Comunicação
(Édson Alencar, Hélio Matheus)
11 Copacabana velha de guerra
(Sergio Flaksman, Joyce)

This is a fun album that sees Elis taking herself a bit less seriously than would be the case in years to come. Beginning with the beautiful photo on the album cover, it’s sunshine all the way through. Recorded and released in 1970, it sits on a precipice of musical history sort of like the proverbial time capsule left for the extra-terrestrials to tell them about contemporary MPB. With consistently interesting and flawless arrangements from Erlon Chaves, Elis rips through a repertoire of songs that couldn’t get much better spanning Bossa Nova, Jovem Guarda, Brazilian Soul and Tropicália and spinning them into a weirdly unified whole. A delirious take on “Vou deitar e rolar (Quaquaraquaquá)” from Baden Powell and Paulo César Pinheiro has Elis unable to restrain herself from laughing through most of it, which is a cue to the listener to lighten up a bit. Two fantastic tunes from Jorge Ben nestle nicely with tunes from Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil – “Fechado pra balanço” stands out in particular and is a testament to the stylistic strengths of both composer and interpreter here, as their different personalities are completely intermingled and simultaneously distinct, a talent that was an uncanny ability of Elis. She also continues her tradition of lifting up new talented writers by concluding with a song by a young Joyce (“Copacabana velha de guerra”) and especially the inclusion of Tim Maia’s “These Are The Songs” on which she brought him into the studio to sing. This was the same year that Tim’s debut album would come out, and his inclusion on an album by the reigning queen of MPB helped him to explode on the scene.  But for all the great material on here, currently my favorite cut is “As Curvas da Estrada de Santos” in which she is able to out-swagger Roberto Carlos, with big help from her backing band who really work it out. (Wilson das Neves on drums?? I don’t have musician credits for this one..) Although this album doesn’t seem to have any of the titles that would come to be Elis’ “signature songs” associated with her during the remainder of her short life, it’s a nice solid slab of great music in her discography.

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Toquinho e Vinicius – O Poeta e o Violão (1975)

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O POETA E O VIOLÃO (1975)
TOQUINHO E VINICIUS
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RGE (303.0032)

1 Tristeza
(Haroldo Lobo, Niltinho)
2 Marcha da quarta-feira de cinzas
(Carlos Lyra, Vinicius de Moraes)
3 Morena flor
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
4 Chega de saudade
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
5 Dora
(Dorival Caymmi)
6 Canto de Ossanha
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
7 Rosa desfolhada
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
8 Berimbau
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
Consolação (Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes)
9 Januária
(Chico Buarque)
10 Insensatez
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Apelo
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
12 Garota de Ipanema
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
13 O velho e a flor
(Bacalov, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
14 Nature Boy
(Eden, Ahbez)

Toquinho (Antônio Pecci Filho) – guitar and vocal
Vinicius de Moraes – vocal

Luis Enríquez Bacalov – piano on “O velho e a flor”

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TRANSCRIPTION INFO

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename. No EQ or compression.

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It’s a simple enough idea, and it works beautifully. Take these two masters, these two entities incorporating the bohemian culmination of seventeen years of the bossa nova lifestyle known as Vinicius and Toquinho, and put them in a room with nothing but a guitar and some microphones and have them play for four hours. This album plays like we are listening in on a rehearsal or a casual backstage jam session with all the tunes spun off the cuff, but if you listen carefully the sheen of spontaneity dims a little as you realize there is no way that these two — especially the old lush, Vinicius – could have nailed all these tracks so angelically in one take. On their earliest collaborations, Toquinho and Vinicius didn’t always sound this confident in their vocals and often brought in one or another chanteuse to fill the spotlight (Maria Bethania, Maria Cruesa, Miucha). The tracklist is a leisurely stroll through the bossa nova songbook, and the in-between song banter makes it sound like they are deciding on the repetoire right there on the spot. But, again, I ain’t buying it. The song choices, sequence, and arrangments are just too damn perfect – but this is a compliment and not a complaint. The only slightly false step is `Chega de saudade`, to which they add a whole lot of nothing special. Among the other song interpretations that do NOT have the name of Vinicius in the credits, is a respectable version of Chico Buarque’s “Januária”, jazz standard, Nat King Cole hit and touchstone of the bossa nova crowd “Nature Boy,” and a tune from Caymmi, “Dora.” The latter is one of Dorival Caymmi’s rare compositions that is *not* about Bahia but instead is an homage to the city of Recife. The remainder of the tunes dip into all of Vinicius’ famous writing partnerships – Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, and especiallY Baden Powell. Toquinho’s guitar playing may not have had the mercurial energy and vision of Powell, but he has a great sense of dynamics and a lovely voice that blends excellently with Vinicius, giving an urgency and excitement to ‘Canto de Ossanha” and “Berimbau” that do justice to everyone involved, and in the case of “Apelo” make the song particularly suited to the style of this duo.

It pays to remember that in 1975, there were not yet thousands of coffee shops, restaurants, airports and the like with some poor sap paid to sit on a stool plunking away at “Garota de Ipanema.” I sometimes feel empathy for these poor souls, unless they have decided to accompany themselves with a drum machine or sequencer, in which case I silently curse them and all of their offspring for seven generations. But I digress. Even without the official designation of this song to background restaurant dinner music (which, in fact, most likely had already occurred by 1975), there is just not a lot of room to make this song terribly interesting beyond the first, initial burst of recordings by singers and jazz-bossa combos. But Toquinho and Vinicius manage to give it a bit of a nudge back into relevance and remind us that we are, after all, listening to masters of the genre. Last but not least, the songs that Toquinho and Vinicius actually composed together are likely to lose place to their more famous brethren on this record, and there are only three selections out of fourteen songs represented here. But those three demonstrate that not only could they hold their own in the company of ‘the classics’ but that their partnership was really onto something during the first half of the 1970s. “Morena flor” featuring heavily their interwoven vocal harmonies; “Rosa desfolhada” is more of a solo vehicle for Toquinho and had heavy overtones of Chico; the penultimate track on the album “O velho e a flor” is one of the most interesting, as it also features Argentinian composer and arranger Luis Bacalov on the piano. (The casual between song banter becomes rather tongue-in-cheek here as Bacalov just *happens* to be hanging around the studio, and with a piano, to help them out…)

This album was recorded in Milan, Italy. As per the back cover:
“This album was recorded in 4 hours of studio time in Milan with the special participation of mestres Bacalov and Bardotti, in a climate of total distraction.”

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Baden Powell – Programa Ensaio (1990) (SESC)

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Baden Powell
Programa ENSAIO
Part of “A MÚSICA BRASILEIRA DESTE SÉCULO POR SEUS AUTORES E INTÉRPRETES”
Boxset #2

Originally recording from the Fundação Padre Ancheita for Programa Ensaio in 1991
Directed by Fernando Faro
Released in 2000 by SESC – SP (JCB-0709-021)

1 Voltei(Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)
2 Revendo o passado (Freire Jr.)
3 Naquele tempo(Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha)
4 Palhaço(Washington Fernandes, O. Martins, Nelson Cavaquinho)
5 Minha saudade (João Donato, João Gilberto)
6 Rapaz de bem (Johnny Alf)
7 Samba triste (Baden Powell, Billy Blanco)
8 Deixa (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
9 Tem dó (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
10 O astronauta (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Samba em prelúdio (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
12 Formosa (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
13 Bocoché (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
14 Canto de Yemanjá (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
15 Tristeza e solidão (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
16 Canto de Ossanha (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
17 Canto de capoeira (Folclore)
18 Berimbau( Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
19 Lapinha (Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)
20 Falei e disse (Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)

Beginning sometime in the late 90s, the SESC – São Paulo branch began preparing a series of boxsets. SESC is an arts foundation that is mostly or perhaps entirely state-funded, and thus able to produce live concerts, CDs, books, and videos that are invaluable for the researcher or lover of Brazilian music. For this project, the objective was to collect the audio portion of the programs fillmed for the extinct TV Tupi which ran under the names of ‘Ensaio’ and ‘MPB Especial’ but were both essentially the same program conceived and produced by Fernando Faro, as far as I know. They are famous for the informal atmosphere in which the musicians, individually or with a small group for accompaniment, being interviewed about their lives and careers in between playing songs related to the conversation. Sort of like a musical biography. But the programs were also famous for the oddity that the questions are never heard in the final production — just the answers. Nobody I have talked to in Brazil seems to know why this is, and everyone finds it kind of strange and amusing. I plan to call the SESC office in São Paulo and get to the bottom of it one day.

These boxes were originally released with a fairly large book in each package. The book contained the complete transcripts of the interviews as well as essays about the artists by various authors like Tarik de Souza and Sérgio Cabral. Unfortunately, these books are no longer available, but I was surprised just to learn that the CDs still existed, since they had been described to me as ‘very rare’ when in fact they can still be found.

This is not my favorite disc in the SESC boxes( hell, I haven’t gotten through listening to 25% of the CDs yet, as each box contains on average 12 CDs each) but its very good. Obviously those who understand Portuguese will benefit more from the interview portions, which on this set includes an amusing story of Vinicius de Moraes accusing Baden of plagiarizing Chopin while they were working together, and insisting they wake up his sister in the middle of the night to confirm it. Other than the interviews, Baden’s playing is top-notch, and his singing voice is, well, basically the same as it ever was — at times ‘desafinado’ but somehow perfect for his music. All good stuff with the exception of his performance of ‘Lapinha’ which I find really abrasive and irritating for some reason

I was somewhat surprised to find an actual review of this disc, on the cool site and useful resource ‘Clique Music’:

O violão de Baden Powell influenciou uma geração inteira de instrumentistas, dos anos 60 pra cá. Na entrevista ao programa Ensaio feita em 1990 e reproduzida neste disco da coleção lançada pelo Sesc-SP, Baden traça sua vida e sua carreira em uma hora de música (só voz e violão) e conversa. Muito apropriadamente em se tratando de um músico profissional desde os 15 anos de idade, a memória de Baden se dá através das música. Da infância e adolescência, com influência do pai – o entusiasta de escotismo que tocava violino e lhe deu as primeiras noções de música –, Baden se lembra tocando a valsa Revendo o Passado (Freire Jr) e Naquele Tempo, de Benedito Lacerda e Pixinguinha, aqui numa versão com ecos do espanhol Agustín Barrios (1885-1944), compositor que pontuou os estudos clássicos de Baden. Pixinguinha, ele conheceu na casa do primeiro e grande professor de violão, o lendário Meira (“que me ensinou tudo de violão”) e na Rádio Nacional. Criado em São Cristóvão, Baden também freqüentava a Mangueira, e não esconde sua admiração por Nelson Cavaquinho. Pois aqui está a oportunidade de ouvir o violonista tocando Palhaço, grande sucesso de Nelson na voz de Dalva de Oliveira. Nos anos 50, as lembranças voam para as noitadas da boate Plaza, onde, aos 16 e 17 anos, tocava ao lado de Ed Lincoln, Luiz Eça, Johnny Alf, Tom Jobim (ainda estudante de arquitetura), João Donato, e às vezes esbarrava com um certo “Joãozinho”, que, depois que todos os clientes iam embora, sentava e tocava em seu violão “umas coisas assim, tipo ‘bim bom, bim, bom’”, que mais tarde viriam para revolucionar a música brasileira. “O Plaza foi o início de tudo”, lembra Baden, tocando Minha Saudade (João Donato/João Gilberto), Rapaz de Bem (Johnny Alf) e Samba Triste, seu primeiro sucesso, parceria com Billy Blanco, de uma época em que tocava com Dolores Duran. Um pouco mais tarde, no início dos anos 60, veio a parceria com Vinicius de Moraes. Dessa dupla as histórias são muitas e já conhecidas. Algumas são aqui confirmadas pelo compositor, como a de que, pouco depois de terem se conhecido, Baden foi para a casa de Vinicius fazer uma música e acabou morando lá por quatro meses, quando produziram um quantidade respeitável de obras-primas. Não por acaso, dez das vinte músicas do disco são assinadas pela dupla Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes. Há muitas outras boas histórias, como a de que Formosa foi feita com Vinicius em homenagem a uma passageira do trem São Paulo-Rio (que os dois pegaram porque morriam de medo de avião) ou a de que Paulo César Pinheiro, seu parceiro em Lapinha e outros tantos sucessos, morava na casa em São Cristóvão onde Baden havia sido criado.

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Baden Powell – É de lei (1972) (aka Images On Guitar)

baden powell
baden powell

Baden Powell
“É de lei”
Released 1972 on Philips (6349.036)
01 – Até Eu (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
02 – Petite Waltz (Baden Powell)
03 – Violão Vagabundo (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
04 – Conversa Comigo Mesmo (Baden Powell)
05 – Blues à Volonté (Baden Powell / Janine de Waleyne)
06 – Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber (Baden Powell)
07 – É de Lei (Baden Powell / Paulo César Pinheiro)
08 – Canto (Baden Powell)

Baden Powell – guitar,vocal
Janine de Valeyne – vocal
Ernesto Ribeiro Goncalvez – bass
Joaquim Paes Henrique – drums
Alfredo Bessa – percussion

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

This is a truly breathtaking album, one of the most progressive records I’ve heard by the great Baden Powell. A lot of the album is instrumental, but the vocals from Janine de Valeyne truly take those tracks to another sphere of existence, giving a baroque twist to the compositions (although I do have one friend who finds her vocals too operatic, I politely disagree with him). Baden’s own voice is technically-less-than-perfect but in other ways it is a perfect foil for his guitar playing, which is almost TOO perfect — his voice reminds us that he is human and not a machine! When the two of them sing together, the mixture is like sand and silk, and I fully approve. This is a unique record in Baden’s discography but it is a good example of why his music can be so hard to categorize, pushing boundaries between bossa nova, samba, jazz, classical. It is Baden Powell, and that’s all that needs to be said. For me, the monster cut on this album is “Blues à Volonté” where everyone just cuts loose in a 9-minute groove, complete with scat singing from both Baden and Janine. This tune convinces me that Baden Powell is the only Brazilian guitarist to actually understand the blues of black North America. And then there are other tracks full of ethereal beauty, like Sentimentos Se Você Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber, and Canto, the latter of which receives a good musical analysis in the review references below.

This album has been repackaged and reissued in a variety of ways: as “Images on Guitar” in Germany, in a double-CD set that includes all the MPS label recordings he made, and as part of an expensive 13-CD box set that is no longer in print.

There exists a wonderful German website devoted to Baden Powell that is a unparalleled resource for those interested in his massive body of work, which can be confusing to get a grip on since his recordings were issued in different countries with different titles and different album artwork and on different labels (often on different labels in the SAME country, it should be noted), then repackaged over the years in even more permutations. The site – Brazil On Guitar which you can find here – helps make sense of all this but also has attentive, serious reviews of the music. I have taken the liberty of reproducing the review for this album in its entirety. Not only did I learn a few things from it, but I concur completely with its aesthetic assessments:

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After his japanese studio recording in April 1971, this record was the third and last recording for MPS in cooperation with the Japanese Canyon label in October 1971. BP found a new quartet with Ernesto Ribeiro-Goncalves, Alfredo Bessa and the drummer Joaquim Paes Henriques, the last one would accompany him in studio and on stage until 1974. However, after this recording the quartet split up. The following recordings three weeks later were recorded without them. In 1990 Baden, Ernesto and Alfredo would work again together on the re-recording of the “Afro Sambas”.

BP’s Images on Guitar is conceptionally one of the best records of the seventies. Hardly any other record sounds as thematically closed as Images on Guitar or Canto on Guitar. While the last Quartet recordings had their focus on Afro-Brazilian music he was now playing his own compositions. Elaborate themes used elements from Jazz, Baroque, Blues and Funk. These combinations would remain unrepeated. Many of these themes were only recorded once.

Ate Eu can be seen as an continuation of the three last Quartet recordings of December, 1970. However Petite Valse seems to be the true introduction to this record. This title would be the first in many of his concerts.
While Baden Powell (1971) was an hommage to Garoto and Pixinguinha this record can be seen as an hommage to Janine de Waleyne. The complete title can only be found on the MPS cover: Images on Guitar / Baden + Janine.

In four duets BP gives his favourite singer the necessary space for her impressive voice. The dynamics of these compositions increase and culminate in Blues a volonte. It is a powerful and cheerful improvisation and the best example of the inspirational work of everyone involved in the recording. Conversa Comigo Mesmo (dialogue with myself) seems like a well-done extension of his 1966 recording Invencao Em 7 ½.
E de Lei, in an instrumental and accurate arrangement, is followed by the inspiring and evocative Canto.

Canto: the guitar takes up the theme of the vocals. In an short rhythmic part this seems reversed. The guitar gives the impulse. The last note of the vocal remains unaccompanied and is followed by an altered D-minor chord (Dm9/#11). This chord shows great tension. The powerful quint on the bass strings is eased by guide tones as chord extensions (Bb and E) on the higher strings Finally the motiv of descending perfect fifths is repeated, played only by the guitar. The piece ends with a straight quint sound (D,A,d). This seems like a confirmation or easing. Maybe Canto tries to show the importance of the voice as the original instrument, the instrumental player trying to imitate the voice.

The cover art of the German release is one of the most beautiful of BP’s covers.
The Japanese CD release lacks a reprint of the gatefold cover. The record was released as E De Lei in Brazil in 1972, with a release on CD in 2003.
The Japanese CD release is from 1998 (POCJ 2556), in 1997 the record (except for one track) was released on the CD: Jazz Meets Brasil
(MPS 533 133-2). A re-edition with the original cover art remains to be released.

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Vinyl rip is from a first pressing in VG+ condition with light surface noise in places but very dynamic and robust. As usual, I prefer to leave a potential click or pop alone when in doubt, rather than remove ‘wanted’ audio (in particular, the very last track, “Canto”). Single clicks were removed after Click Repair, but very sparingly and I am sure I didn’t get them all. There are other vinyl rips of this floating around the interwebs but I happen to think mine is “special”. There is also a 24-bit/96khz fileset available if anyone is interested.

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