Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights (1972) vinyl rip


Donald Byrd
“Ethiopian Knights”
Blue Note BST 84380Recorded at A&M Recording Studios
Recorded: August 25th & 26th, 1971
Remix at: Van Gelder Recording Studios
Pub. by Elgy Music Pub. Co. BMI

Producer – George Butler
Engineer – Henry Lewy
Engineer [Remix] – Rudy Van Gelder
Liner Notes – Bill Quinn
Photography, Artwork – Norman Seelf
Album Design – Dave Bhang

VINYL TRANSFER TECHNICAL INFO: Blue Note repress -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable / Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge / Pro-Ject Speedbox power supply -> Creek OBH-18 MM Phono Preamp -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard. Recorded at 24-bit / 96 khz resolution to Audition. Click Repair on very light settings to remove some clicks and pops, some clicks removed manually in Audition. Track splitting in Adobe Audition 3.0. Dithered to 16-bit using iZotope M-Bit noise-shaping. Converted to FLAC using DbPoweramp. ID tags done with Foobar2000.


HOLY CRAP look at that lineup!

I am not sure why this album is not better known. In fact it is almost downright ignored. No doubt it has been eclipsed by the masterwork `Black Byrd` that would come the following year. That´s too bad, as this is a critical ‘transition period’ album, between the Bitches Brewish explorations of ‘Electric Byrd’ and the trademark production and super-tight arrangements of the Mizzell Brothers on ‘Blackbyrd’ and ‘Street Lady’. (Incidentally, although he is not credited on the album, Larry Mizzell claims to have worked on this.. I’m not sure what I think of that, though..)

This album is much looser than what came before or after in Byrd’s body of beautiful booty-work. The two long tracks that make up the bulk of it are built on simple funk riffs around which the whole band vamps and takes solos. Drummer Ed Greene, while he definitely has chops, is not a jazz drummer in the strict sense. He was as session guy who played on some fabulous records by the likes of Eddie Kendricks and Lamont Dozier, and his style only adds to the album’s charm. Because he IS surrounded by some serious jazzista heavy-hitters: the inimitable Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Harold Land on tenor, and from The Crusaders (formerly Jazz Crusaders), Joe Sample and William Felder.

I am not entirely convinced that this vinyl rip has many advantages over the remastered CD version released in the late 90s. {Years-later edit: no, I’m certain it really doesn’t.  In fact you should probably just seek out the SBM remaster, and you don’t have to look far…}


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  1. Very nice work indeed. As someone who is still tripping gently through the foothills of the mountain that is digitising my own vinyl collection I appreciate the work involved in producing a rip as good as this. And this album deserves it.

  2. Thanks man!
    I don't know what your vinyl ripping setup is, but maybe I can help you avoid an error I made when I bulk-transferred a bunch of records recently. I am now having to re-transfer all the ones that I still have access to (a few are in storage now).

    Be wary of using Audacity to digitize if you are trying to do 24-bit rips. I recently discovered that it does not actually record in true 24-bit (at least not in Windows) but instead in 16-bit padded to 24-bit with 0's. This would be scandalous with any other program, but since Audacity is free I guess its not causing too much of a stir.

    This was brought to my attention by an internet gadfly who has made it a crusade to point this out to people, and I didn't believe him at first. But I looked at the evidence, and he's right. After looking at the individual samples it became obvious that Audacity was in fact recording in 16-bit (although with 96khz sampling rate). For a lot of people, this isn't such a big deal, and the difference in sound quality is debatable. But if it matters to you, it's worth looking out for. I actually need to change the descriptions of my Baden Powell and Herbie Mann posts here, at least until I have time to re-rip them.

    Good luck in the adventure through the mountains!

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