Review: Chris Jones - Roadhouses and Automobiles - 180 gram 45 RPM

Discussion in 'Music Reviews' started by Decibel_116, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Decibel_116

    Decibel_116 AK Subscriber

    Madison, Alabama, USA

    Artist - Chris Jones
    Title - Roadhouses and Automobiles
    Year of Original Release - 2005
    Record Label - Stockfisch
    Genre - Folk (Acoustic Guitar) Singer-Songwriter

    Product Specifics: 2016 release on two 180 gram 45 RPM discs
    UPC: 4 013357 802711
    Stockfisch Records SFR 357.80271
    Cost: $50

    This is my first review of music here on AK. I hope you find it useful. Please feel free to provide constructive criticism of my review so I can improve in the future. I normally do not take the time to write reviews of vinyl - or anything else for that matter, but this time I really could not help myself. Thank you for reading it. Now on to the review.

    I found out about Chris Jones on one of those "audiophile" sampler discs. His music wasn't actually on the disc, but several other artists on the same label, Stockfisch, (such as Sara K. and Allan Taylor) were and YouTube suggested a couple songs by Chris Jones. I liked what I heard on YouTube, so I decided to purchase the 45 RPM Album to get the best sound quality recording. Well at least I assumed it would have the best sound quality. I mean, why would a record company normally associated with audiophile recordings go to the trouble to produce a 45 RPM, two record set unless it was of outstanding sound quality. First off, I really like the music on this record. Like most singer-songwriter materiel worth it's salt, the performance is stellar. But, the sound quality is not. The microphone setup used to mic the guitar is decent, but not great. The other instruments must of been of little concern to the engineer when setting up the microphones. The steel guitar is way too far back in the mix as is the rest of the accompaniment as levels are up and down all over the place and fader operation is amateurish. If that was the extent of the SQ issues, I could live with it - maybe. Remember, this is an "audiophile disc" company. The most irritating SQ issue is the lead vocal mic overload that happens almost every time Chris sings loud. Don't engineers these days know how to use a compressor/limiter properly? The sad thing about these issues is they are most likely permanently recorded in the master recording and can't be fixed short of re-recording (impossible now that Chris is gone). What a shame! The tonal balance and frequency range of the recording and the soundstage seems very good - wide and deep. This includes the bass content of the album. The bass guitar is reproduced with no roll-off down to the lowest registers. This helps to portray the dark color and tone of "Thank You" - a song that gives the middle finger to the tobacco companies and the federal government that supports these companies and highlights the struggle with tobacco addiction that so many people struggle with. Chris's emotions really come out in this song which may have had something to do with being diagnosed with lymphoma which caused his death in 2005 at the young age of 46. I'm sure many people can relate to this. The title track, "Roadhouses and Automobiles" is a song about his struggle with life balance of being on the road as a performer and trying to maintain being a family man at the same time. Anyone who has to spend time away from home travelling for business to earn a living will feel this one. "No Sanctuary Here" has to do with the struggles of immigrants trying to move to a better life and finding life across the border may not be so welcoming. It starts out with a foundation element that relates today's immigrants struggle to that of Joseph and Mary in biblical times and the struggle they had when there was no room at the inn. He is so successful in putting you on the immigrant side of the experience, that it will bring a tear to your eye no matter what your views on illegal immigration are. The rest of the songs are very enjoyable and typical of Chris's style. His untimely death really was a loss to the singer-songwriter genre. This record is a gatefold design that is nicely done with good quality sleeves. Due to the production quality of the recording, I do not believe this warrants a 180 gram 45 rpm audiophile format. A CD or download is probably the best way to purchase this exceptional music. I do not recommend the vinyl version of this recording.

    My ratings are below (1 - 10) 10 is best:

    Recording: 5

    Production: 3

    Album Design/Packaging: 8

    Musical Content: 9

    Playback Equipment Used:
    Audio Technica AT-OC9/III cartridge
    Technics SL-1210M5G w/damped tonearm
    Aragon 47K phono preamp
    Emotiva XSP-1 Preamp
    Emotiva XPA-2 Power Amplifier
    JBL Studio 590S Speakers
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018


    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. DesertTwang

    DesertTwang Active Member

    Tucson, Arizona
    Huh. I guess this is not Chris Jones of the "Chris Jones and the Nightdrivers" bluegrass band...
  3. Decibel_116

    Decibel_116 AK Subscriber

    Madison, Alabama, USA

Share This Page