Rob Wasserman – Duets 200g 45RPM 2 LP Analogue Productions Vinyl
“It was a daring idea to suggest songs to some of his guests that were already available in exemplary interpretations. Lou Reed didn’t risk any comparison with Frank Sinatra; instead he composed the hated-by-him ‘One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)’ from scratch completely new. Rickie Lee Jones sang as beguilingly as on the live recording ‘Girl At Her Volcano,’ Cheryl Bentyne and Jennifer Warnes offered their most beautiful bel canto qualities during the sessions, performing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Ballad of the Runaway Horse’ and the standard ‘Angel Eyes’ as elegy or drama. The violin of Stéphane Grappelli sings and swings in ‘Over The Rainbow.’ Bobby McFerrin used ‘Brothers’ for five minutes of his notorious vocal acrobatics. Aaron Neville sounds much less melancholic on ‘Stardust’ than Nat ‘King’ Cole. Kevin Gray’s 1:1 vinyl mastering was meticulously based on the original mix in terms of sound balance and dynamics. Surprisingly, they don’t vary much from song to song (mastering: Joe Gastwirt), although the recordings were produced in more than half a dozen studios with certainly not identical acoustics. Moderate transfer level, excellent press quality.” — Franz Schöler, Stereo Magazine, August 2020
“Far be it for me to renege on my doubts about ‘audiophile’ LPs, which are usually played to the point of nuisance at shows, but the middle volume of Wasserman’s trilogy deserved acclaim. This 30th anniversary edition follows his death in 2016, adding to the poignancy: since its original release, we’ve also lost collaborators Stephane Grapelli, Lou Reed and Dan Hicks. Wasserman was a hugely popular composer and bassist, and a much-admired sideman, associated especially with The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. Along with the above three are Jennifer Warnes, Aaron Neville (‘Stardust’!), Bobby McFerrin, Cheryl Bentyne and Rickie Lee Jones. But Reed doing ‘One For My Baby’? You gotta hear it.” — Sound Quality: 95% — Ken Kessler, Hi Fi News, August 2018
It took a bass player to return vocals to their proper place on Duets — a record that’s a model of simplicity. On the tracks on this LP you’ll find Rob Wasserman’s bass, and another voice. The result is a charming collection of duets featuring bassist Wasserman joined by special guests Aaron Neville, Rickie Lee Jones, Bobby McFerrin, Lou Reed, Jennifer Warnes, Dan Hicks, Cheryl Bentyne and Stephane Grappelli. The experimental release pairs the human voice with the bass guitar, resulting in a collection of unique and soulful material.
And now — we’ve upped the ante even more for true audiophile bliss — the 45 RPM 2LP version reduces distortion and high frequency loss as the wider-spaced grooves let your stereo cartridge track more accurately. Natural tonalities, superb balances, pristine clarity and more are all revealed.
Unlike much of current music, where vocals are squelched and compression molded into something of an afterthought, Wasserman sought to create on Duets a music record — without technology interfering. “It’s kinda like being in a club. It lets you get closer to the song,” Wasserman says.
Not surprisingly, Duets ranks among the most breathtaking collections of popular songs issued in the 1980s.
Stardust (Aaron Neville)
The Moon Is Made Of Gold (Rickie Lee Jones)
Brothers (Bobby McFerrin)
Duet – Featuring Rob Wasserman (Rob Wasserman)
One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (Lou Reed)
Ballad Of The Runaway Horse (Jennifer Warnes)
Gone With The Wind (Dan Hicks)
Angel Eyes (Cheryl Bentyne)
Over The Rainbow (Stephane Grappelli)
Autumn Leaves (Rickie Lee Jones)