Vinyl Review: Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues – Sheffield Lab S9 – Released 1971
Vinyl surface noise: 3 (not pops and clicks)
Dynamic Range: 3
Stereo Imaging: 3+
Image depth/perspective: 3-
Overall frequency response: 3
- Grand Boulevard
- Good Vibrations
- Anyone Who Had A Heart
- I’ll Be Back
- Learning To Be Kind
- Up, Up And Away
- Mercy, Mercy
- She’s Leaving Home
- Don’t Think Twice
- All The Things You Are
Released in 1971, I finally obtained this rare album as a used copy, it is rumored that only 1000 pressings were made. Unfortunately track 1 side 1 had a small scratch, and the album appeared to have a minor visible pressing flaw that caused surface noise on side two. Some parts of the vinyl had virtually no surface noise at all while others were almost intrusive; this was not as far as I could see, due to misuse as the album surface/grooves looked very good, even under magnification.
The overall feeling of this recording was that of a group of musicians meeting for the first time. There seemed to be a lack of cohesiveness to their playing – they weren’t tight and lacked lustre. Their playing felt cautious and inhibited, resulting in a feeling of restricted dynamics and a rather sterile recording. It was however, I believe, the first release on the label so I am sure that all members of the team were being very cautious in order to get the session to a lacquer that could be used. Clearly some technical issues existed during the recording, as per the sleeve notes, you are required to adjust the left /right balance by 2dB in order to obtain a satisfactory center image. This was, in fact, absolutely necessary.
All instruments are well recorded. On several tracks the saxophonist in particular provides a wonderful performance, and sounds as if he was in the room with you. The bass is solid and tight but not very extended, while the kick drum and kit seems rather anemic at times. Treble is detailed but seems to be recessed and lacks presence or sparkle.
Despite my misgivings for this album it’s technical performance still significantly exceeds most, if not all, albums of that time. Upon its release it was well received by many in the trade being used extensively for stereo demonstrations. This is a worthwhile addition to my collection. Given the limitations of the album relative to later Sheffield recordings it will only be used for historical listening, and not to impress a listener as to the capabilities of D2D vinyl.
I realize that this review is a little less than stellar for a D2D recording, and that I have previously indicated that D2D recordings can provide an outstanding level of performance, DON’T be put off or dismayed. There are plenty more Sheffield Lab and other D2D label reviews to come that will more than make up for this first release, in what ultimately became an outstanding set of recordings and performances.