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Everything feels tighter on vinyl version of Bettye LaVette's wonderful new album; 'Blackbirds' / Audiophile Review

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Earlier this month I previewed Bettye LaVette's wonderful new album -- Blackbirds, click here to read it -- based on high resolution streams on Tidal and Qobuz.  The album sounds great there, streaming in 96 kHz, 24-bit MQA and Hi Res formats, respectively. And depending on the nature of your gear, those may be more than adequate for your listening needs and perhaps will fit better in your lifestyle (small physical footprint, cloud-based, reduced clutter, etc.).  I get it.

All that said, I finally got my hands on the vinyl version and I'm not disappointed. I don't know exactly how Blackbirds was made -- I think it may be analog as I've heard some tape hiss-type sounds on quiet parts of a track or two -- but it was recorded at some spiffy studios and has a rich sound to it.  

The thing I like about hearing Blackbirds on vinyl is that everything feels a bit tighter than on the digital streams I've heard. The tracks "Blues For The Weepers" and especially "Book of Lies" are among of my favorites on this album. Producer and drummer Steve Jordan's Al Green / Hi Record- flavored loose-snare drum sound punches more powerfully on the LP version and the kick drum hits like a heartbeat pulse.  On the digital versions streaming, those sounds are not as pronounced and driving. Its all there, but the feel is better on the vinyl version. The ride cymbals floosh mystically in the background without stepping on Bettye's vocals. 

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