CD+DVD Reviews

DualDisc Reviews (7)


Published on August 27, 2010

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May 2005We have both classical and rock titles this time, plus one of our reviewers who actually likes the new DualDisc format!

Mahler 5th - AbravanelMAHLER: Symphony No. 5 – The Utah Symphony Orchestra/Maurice Abravanel – Vanguard/Silverline Classics DualDisc with DVD-Audio – 284215-2, 61:44:

Another in the series of recordings of the Mahler Symphonies made in four-channel quadraphonic sound in the early 70s by Vanguard. Only the Third was released as a four-track open reel at the time, and for those with four-track 1/4-inch tape decks it was the best realization of the maligned quad effort. The sonics of all these Utah Symphony Mahler recordings are distinguished by the lengthy reverberation time of Salt Lake City’s huge Mormon Tabernacle. The Utah Symphony was not quite up to the level of the BSO or Chicago, but under Abravanel’s dedicated directorship it achieved an amazingly high and consistent level of playing. 

Silverline put a dedicated effort into the restoration of these historic recordings, using specially modified analog open reel decks to play the original tape masters. In the process they gilded the lily by mixing the four-channel tapes to 5.1 digital surround at 96K. This DVD-A mix is on the DVD side of the DualDisc, along with a stereo version. The so-called CD Side of the disc (DualDiscs are not allowed to use the Sony-Philips Compact Disc logo because it doesn’t meet Red Book specs) is just plain 44.1 stereo PCM with no bells or whistles.

Be advised that the DVD side does not include any video footage of the symphony and Abravanel performing the Mahler 5th. It does have three short videos however: a memorial tribute to Abravanel, an interesting behind-the-scenes video titled “Transferring & Restoring a Legacy” (which you may have seen if you purchased any of the previous Utah Symphony DVD-As), and lastly some video interviews titled “Remembering Abravanel’s Utah Symphony.” there are also some historic photos and performance memorabilia and a biography of Mahler, plus some ROM content accessible only with a computer. One other feature not discussed anywhere on the disc that I could find is a special Dolby Headphone mix, which achieves a semi-surround-sound effect with any standard stereo headphones from the multichannel DVD-A side of the disc.

MAHLER 6th - AbravanelMAHLER: Symphony No. 6 – The Utah Symphony Orchestra/Maurice Abravanel – Vanguard/Silverline Classics DualDisc with DVD-Audio – 284218-2, 70:46:

The Sixth is not Mahler’s most popular symphony – those on either side of it consecutively overshadow it easily. If retaining just one recording of it I believe I would prefer the recent Tilson Thomas SACD by a long shot. Ditto must of the just-above; also, all of these Utah Symphony 5.1 recordings were previously released on DVD-Audio with even more video extras than provided here. The only thing they lacked was the standard CD side.If you wanted to have the hi-res DVD-A of any of these for your home AV system use plus a standard stereo for mobile use, I would suggest one of two solutions, depending if you are up-to-date or retro: 1) Make a PCM, AAC or high-sampling-rate MP3 file on your PC or Mac from the stereo DVD-A option on all DVD-As. Then download that to your iPod or equivalent. 2) Dub from the stereo DVD-A tracks to a good cassette recorder using Dolby A and then listen in your car (if it still has a cassette player) and/or on a portable cassette player ($20) with a good portable headphone amp and phones. 100% better sound than any iPod using data reduction of any sort! Never mind the DualDisc…

Beethoven's Fifth - Boult cond.BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor; Leonore Overture No. 3 in C Major – Philharmonic Promenade Orchestra of London/Sir Adrian Boult – Vanguard/ Silverline Classics DualDisc with DVD-Audio – 284219-2, 45:00:

A straightforward interpretation of the Beethoven warhorse, again recorded in four-channel in the early 1970s by Vanguard and here remixed to 5.1 surround on the DVD-A side of the disc. There is also a stereo hi-res mix on this side, along with that “Restoring a Legacy” short video found on all these Silverline Classics DualDiscs and DVD-As. There is a gallery of still photos and memorabilia on Boult and a bio on Beethoven… if you don’t happen to know who he is. Again, don’t expect to see a video of Sir Adrian Boult conducting even a minute of this symphony.

- Above reviews by John Sunier


Now for a slight change of pace in our DualDisc reviews… 

Reggae Tribute to Bob DylanIs It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute To Bob Dylan, Vol. 1 — Silverline Records — 284603-2 — Dual Disc, 58:00
DVD Side: Entire album in DVD-A 5.1 surround sound and stereo, Videos, Bonus Dub Remixes, Photos, Liner and Track Notes.****:

Singer, songwriter, author, freedom activist, poet, actor, music God, are all terms used to describe Bob Dylan. The 13 track release by Silverline Records, Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan, Vol. 1; puts another exclamation point on his brilliant career. Produced by Dr. Dread, Is it Rolling Bob rolls folk/rock and reggae into the biggest joint of the year.

One of my absolute favorite songs Lay Lady Lay, performed by the classic group The Mighty Diamonds, captures the pure essence of the song, like it was written for them. We know the history behind Reggae music and its musicians. Listening to this CD really captures the folk spread that Dylan put out there. There is also an amazing rendition of Maggie’s Farm by Toots Hibbert, one listen and you will be sold too. These are Dylan’s everyday man and woman songs, the feelings of emotions put out there, spreading the gospel with music. This is folk music at it’s best, with a bit more bass in the background.

If the cover of the album looks familiar, it is a spin on Highway 61 Revisited with a twist of Rasta. By far one of the best CDs released in a long while. With Dylan still putting out music and going on tour, Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan, Vol. 1 may raise the popularity of an already uber popular musician, with a whole new genre of people that may not have listened to his music otherwise.

Some of the songs include: The Times They Are A Changin’, Just Like A Woman, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Blowin’ In The Wind, Subterranean Homesick Blues and more! Extras on the DVD include a video of Subterranean Homesick Blues, a Dylan classic video in it’s own right, done in the same kind of way with the flip cards, purely awesome. As well as a Making of the Album video, bonus dub remixes of; The Times They are a Changin’, Lay Lady Lay, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol, One Too Many Mornings, Blowin’ in the wind, and A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. Photos, liner and track notes are included as well as ROM content.

Tesla DualDiscTesla, Standing Room Only — Silverline Records — 284582-2 — Dual Disc, 1 hour 18 min.
DVD Side: Entire album in DVD-A 5.1 surround sound, Liner Notes, Artist Photos and ROM Content **:

Another live album from a very popular 80’s hair band has been released by Silverline Records. Standing Room Only, Tesla’s newest attempt to sell some records while they embark on a national tour is a rehashing of 2001’s Replugged Live. The 13 track 2 sided CD& DVD does have excellent live quality sound. All the songs were recorded in 2001. I haven’t heard any of these songs in many years and this was definitely a trip down memory lane. If you haven’t heard Signs lately give this a listen.

I do recommend this disc if the price is right. It is very important for me to go back and listen to the bands that were such a big part of my growing up. Standing Room Only is also a great reminder why big hair and loud guitars can still fill the seats at stadiums, and leave your ears ringing for days. Standing Room Only is another good reason to grow your hair out and get your air guitar practice in while you can.

Songs include: Cumin’ Atcha Live, Signs, Song & Emotion, The Way It Is, Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out) amongst others. I am surprised by the quantity on the 2-Sided Disc, with 78 minutes of music on the CD side.

Slaughter DualDiscSlaughter, Then and Now — Silverline Records — 284501-2 — Dual Disc, 58 minutes
DVD Side: Entire album in DVD-A 5.1 surround sound, Band Bio, Artist Photos and ROM Content **:

Then and Now, Silverline Records release of Slaughter’s greatest hits on Dual Disc format has one thing going for it, the sound quality is superb. Slaughter’s two MTV and radio hits Fly to the Angles, and Up all Night are included with live versions of them both. As well as other favorites from the band that rocked their socks off for over a decade. There are artist photos, band bio, and ROM content on the DVD side, as well as the whole thing in 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound. I don’t see this being the catalyst for Slaughter’s comeback, but for any fan a must have if they want the 5.1 Surround Sound quality that does not disappoint.

Other songs included are: Get Used To It, Tongue and Groove, Searchin’, Heaven it Cries, It’ll be all Right, Breakdown N’ Cry, Can We Find a Way, American Pie, Let the Good Times Roll, and Unknown Destination. I like this format of CD/DVD Dual Disc. There is a band bio, artist photos and ROM content, but not enough that would warrant me spending more money on it. And the added extras are readily available on their website.

Gene Simmons DualDiscGene Simmons – ***Hole — Simmons Records Ltd., Sublicensed to Sanctuary Records Group/Silverline Records. — 284601-2 — Dual Disc, 45 minutes
DVD Side: Entire album in DVD-A 5.1 surround sound and stereo, Firestarter Music Video, Photos, Lyrics and ROM Content ***:
[Parental Advisory Explicit Content]

I am not a member of the Kiss Army, but sign me up now! Simmons Records Ltd. has released ***Hole, by Gene Simmons. Another Dual Disc that fails to disappoint. The 13 track album is Gene’s latest pacifier for any Kiss fan, and his first solo effort since 1978. With his cover version of Prodigy’s Firestarter, Gene liberates his pop/rave ego that he has been so eager to let out of the cage.

The mass of soldiers used to put this album together spans many genres and decades of music. Bob Dylan helped out with the writing on the surprise hit, Waiting For The Morning Light. The Zappa family; Dweezl, Gayle, Moon, and Ahmet all join in as there is also a spoken word and guitar selection from the archives of Frank Zappa on the song Black Tongue. Dave Navarro helped out with guitar on Firestarter. As well as the Tweed/Simmons families singing background on Whatever Turns You On, Carnival of Souls, and Now That You Are Gone.

The disappointment of this album is that it is only 45 minutes long. There are pop, folk, jazz, rave and rock songs on ***Hole. The CD was over when I thought it was really going somewhere. I love the funkiness of it! Gene still has what it takes to put out a great album. ***Hole will not collect dust on your shelf.

- above reviews by Paul Pelon IV

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