Page 2. Comments & Recommendations (評論與推薦)

1: Review Posted by Bruce Kinch in Positive Feedback (March/April 2013)

Positive Feedback ISSUE 66

Primyl Vinyl and The Collector’s Illustrated Vinyl Bible

by Bruce Kinch

Primyl Vinyl

Way back in the last century when Positive Feedback was printed on paper and in living black and white, I self-published a photocopied newsletter for audiophile record collectors called Primyl Vinyl Exchange, PVX for short. The Perfect Sound of CDs had arrived a decade before, and lots of folks had been helpfully dumping entire collections of primo vinyl at Boston’s many used record stores. I was filling boxes with Mercury’s and RCAs and Blue Notes at $1-5 a pop, even less at yard sales over the weekend. I had long been a reader of The Absolute Sound and Stereophile as well as Fanfare, Gramophone, and had started using an early Mac to collate various reviews into want lists. I was still single and had my priorities straight. I spent more money on concerts than records, more on records than audio gear, and more on audio gear than I probably should. Still do. The Internets was only just beginning to take over the arcane knowledge universe, and there seemed a need for a forum for unreconstructed analogists like myself.

But the real reason I started Primyl Vinyl was fraud. I was a college professor teaching photography, and always took a trip to shoot somewhere warm over the semester break. That year, I was heading to Death Valley; from Boston, I could fly to either LA or Las Vegas and rent a car, and Vegas flights were cheaper. I was tire-kicking at one of my regular haunts, Q Audio in Cambridge, when the trip came up in conversation with the then owner, Bob Heenan. He laughed when I complained how hotels in Vegas were surprisingly expensive. “That’s because it’s CES week… and you should go!”. Except CES was not open to the public, trade only. Bob refused to let me steal a business card and impersonate him, but suggested I “go as press”.

So, mea culpa. All I needed was a publication and a business card in 48 hours. I “borrowed” a layout program from a fellow faculty member, and started designing a fake newsletter. For content, I boldly violated copyright on whatever might fill a page. The lead article was from the early days of the LP, complaining that despite the marketing hype, 78s sounded better. Plus ҫa change, etc. I needed a back page, so I scanned record store ads from the Yellow Pages. Avery made sheets of blank precut business cards, so that was easy. I printed a few copies, packed the camera gear, and headed for the airport.

Death Valley was awesome, but when the time came to pack up and head for Sin City, I was more than nervous. As it turned out, at the CES check-in, the fake business card was all I needed to get a Press badge: Primyl Vinyl in bold, me as editor. The Convention Center was a zoo, but high end audio was actually blocks away at a slightly dowdy but slot-free motel, busy but not mobbed. I tried to blend in, but show etiquette requires everyone surreptitiously scanning the badge around every other person’s neck before greeting them like old friends; I had to keep explaining what Primyl Vinyl was, and weirdly enough, people wanted copies. Each night I photocopied another batch at Staples. At the end of the show I had somehow given away over a hundred samples and acquired 13 paid subscriptions. My kind of luck.

Why? Well, I figured I could do a few issues in exchange for discounts (and tax deductions) on equipment and audiophile LPs. I ended up doing four years of Primyl Vinyl, because it was kind of fun, and because subscribers started submitting articles (the Exchange part) on re-wiring Rega tonearms, record cleaning tricks, record reviews, 10-Best lists, all sorts of things.

One of the issues featured (with Harry Pearson’s blessing) a collation of all the titles ever to appear on the many Absolute Sound “Super Discs” lists. Much of the work was done by a subscriber, Larry Toy, who was intent on collecting them all. Between us, we had a complete run of TAS from issue one. We went over them again and again, as there were typos, changes, revisions, and alternate pressings galore. Most of HP’s own LPs had been lost in a fire, so there was no officially “absolute” list possible.

The copyright cops never knocked on my door, but Primyl Vinyl succumbed to its own modest success when subscriptions approached 1500 and the part-time venture began to consume far too much time and energy from my day job and personal life. I had segued into writing occasional pieces for Positive Feedback, Listener, and yes, TAS, so at least I had gone legit. But I still run into ex-subscribers now and then, or get emails about back issues.

Which, in a roundabout way, is why a few months ago I received a very interesting and impressive hardcover book, The Collector’s Illustrated Vinyl Bible, direct from the author, Alfred H.C. Wu. Alfred had emailed me a while back asking for a copy of the TAS List issue. We were cited in Wu’s bibliography, and he most graciously sent me a copy. Crime pays, Mom.

The Collector's Illustrated Vinyl Bible

And Wow! An active collector/audiophile himself, Wu has managed to print full color photographs of the covers of every LP, CD, and SACD ever on the TAS lists, with basic discographic and production information and even a price estimate (basically what he had paid). That takes up the first 394 pages, followed by pictures of other TAS recommendations from Sid Marks, Jonathan Valin, and Mark Lehman, illustrated summaries of James A. Mitchell’s “Golden Era of RCA” list, the Gramophone Top 100 lists, a compilation of the best early Everest LPs and the entire Lyrita stereo catalogue. There are often pictures of alternate covers and reissues, labelographies, and an index by artist and composers. It ends up at 693 pages, and nearly 6 lb. There is even a ribbon bookmark, just like those other Bibles.

The Collector's Illustrated Vinyl Bible

Many collectors I know can happily flip through countless LP jackets in record store bins and yard sale boxes, but don’t carry around detailed want-lists and check catalog numbers. Eventually, one simply develops a visual memory of covers, labels, and other indicators of desirability. But if you’ve never seen a copy of something, you can often pass it by (I know I have, all too often). Spend some time with Wu’s magnum opus and you won’t flip by the less many obvious audiophile spectaculars, like Cantabile CSPS 1349, Orion ORS 78282, or Richardson RRS 70001.

The Collector's Illustrated Vinyl Bible

There are some limitations to this ultimate audiophile discography, however. It is TAS/Gramophone intensive, so primarily covers classical music recordings and the few pop/rock/soundtrack LPs HP favored. While all the essential information is in English, some of Wu’s own commentary is in Chinese only. It is also a limited edition, and I think he may have only about 100 copies left (it has done well in the Chinese/Taiwan market). There is no official US distributor, so the books must be shipped from China or Austria (where Alfred is based).

Given the superb reproduction quality, and personally understanding the research involved, I consider it an amazing bargain at the official list price of $75, and. However, Alfred understands the language and shipping problems, and is willing to offer a substantial 25% discount to US-Canadian buyers, available through 4/30 if you mention you saw this on Positive Feedback. (I’m sure he would consider trading for a copy of Valin’s RCA Bible, too).

For more information, see his web page, www.alfredwu.com, note the link to web page 8, which has the ordering information.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE © 2013 – HOME

 

2: Review Posted by Rudolf A. Bruil (February 2013) 

http://www.soundfountain.com/books/vinylcollectorsbible.html

Collector’s Illustrated Vinyl Bible
Collector's Illustrated Vinyl Bible
Alfred Wu's Vinyl Bible Chapter One

 

3175331

 

SOUND FOUNTAIN

 

hobbyists’s views for hobbyists

Alfred Wu’s Big and Heavy Reference Book

Many collectors may already know the name of Alfred H.C. Wu. They may know him from eBay when he bought records from them. Wu is a vinyl collector like so many of us. And you can see that he lives with his treasures. At right you see just part of his collection in his study.

Now Alfred Wu, who started collecting vehemently a couple of decades ago, has published a heavy book.

The cover is well designed and departs from the usual. The lay-out of cover and pages show the origin of the man who compiled it, his cultural background. It is colorful, the pages have an enriched appearance by including a soft background illustration, and it has the English text translated into Chinese (or vice versa). One sees that Chinese takes up more space compared to the Western-style of typesetting, and the density of it. That is only one reason for the book having 693 pages. The main reason are the many records with references and images.

Illustrated Collector's Discography Alfred WuThe book is compiled on the basis of lists by other people, generally considered to be experts, and lists published in magazines have been used too. Images of the listings are from Alfred Wu’s own 6000-records-collection.
I am not sure where he got the prices from. He must have consulted Popsike and eBay as well as Peter Fulops’ Mikrokosmos. But a price tag can also have been based on his own experience when buying vinyl discs. He lists Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances on Turnabout (American pressing) which he bought from me a couple of years ago for $30. It is listed with a reference price of $30. There is also the Dimitri Alexeev recording of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 – an interpretation which has its own merits – that he bought from me. Alfred Wu stresses that the price he gives is just an indication and can vary of course.

Dimitri Alexeev’s name is in the index at the end of the book, whereas the names of Philips artists Haitink and Van Beinum – who appear in the CD-section only – are not mentioned, nor is the name Beaux Arts Trio indexed; the names of its members are not listed.
There is a CBS recording of Jean Casadesus playing Debussy Preludes, a recording I do not know the merits of; it probably has audiophile qualities. If I come accross it I will give it a try. In the index that recording of Jean Casadesus, on page 525, is mentioned as being by Robert Casadesus. Of course mistakes can happen, especially when compiling such an enormous book with that many names, data and details. Everyone who has published a book at one time or another knows that it asks for scrutinous proofreading when preparing a publication and also knows that a small error easily creeps into the final text. Wu told me that for convenience sake he compiled the Index for all recordings listed, except for those mentioned in Chapter 1.3, Chapter 2.2 & Chapter IV. For everybody’s convenience he also has published a short list with errata on his website.

Everest LabelographySo several names that are listed with records are not mentioned in the index. However most collectors know by experience what label carries an artist and will go directly to that section in the book about a label, or a specific series. But the newbie will have to browse and browse. Which is not bad because he would have done that anyway. I know indexing is a time consuming job. However, a more complete index could be helpful.

There are labelographies of Argo, Mercury, Everest, etc. Many readers will find LPs they own themselves in these pages. Cherished recordings on labels like Columbia, Mercury Living Presence, RCA Living Stereo, Decca (London), Everest, Sheffield Lab, Reference Recordings, Chesky, etc. Yet, it is inevitable that several recordings which they cherish themselves are not listed. Not every record is mentioned in the lists consulted by collectors and are not worth the highest praise.
I myself miss the Nonesuch LP with Dreigroschen Musik and Création du Monde. There is no mention of the 3-record set with the ‘Complete Works for Piano’ of Maurice Ravel performed by Philippe Enteremont on CBS that I find so impressive on French pressings.

And where is Kyrill Kondrashin’s Scheherazade with the Concertgebouw Orchestra on Philips? All Kondrashin’s RCA recordings are mentioned of course. The only Philips LPs Wu mentioned are of the Haydn Piano Trios. Of course I conduct a bit of a chauvinistic search, but the common idea that Philips did not make good recordings, is repeated too often and is certainly not true in all cases. The question is: What are the criteria for a recording to be labelled “audiophile”, or technical superior?

While Everest recordings are being mentioned, I do miss a section with the Command label of which many recordings were made by C. Robert Fine and cut by George Piros; they also did the many Mercury Living Presence discs. Regarding that omission Alfred Wu explained to me:

Mercury Labelography“This book started from those best sounding LPs from TAS, RCA and the Top 100 from Gramophone (old & new list) etc. If I put my personal favorites or many other rare LPs, even listed in the Penguin Edition, the book would have more than 1000 pages! I am working day and night on a complete illustrated Decca-London cross-index; EMI-Columbia SAX series; EMI ASD 3 digit series, etc. There are too many good discs to write about. Westminster, which many collector’s love, should be introduced, and also the Command Label from 35mm film, etc. But my purpose is to list them with color photos, which are easily remembered and be discovered in the internet shop. For that I need more time and the book needs more space.”

Collector's Vinyl Bible Film Jazz and PopFrom reading Wu’s comment, we may expect more great things to come from his hand.
Of a relative small number of original vinyl recordings the tranferred-to-CD versions are mentioned, and of course CDs that never appeared on LP.
Interesting is also that the book shows the period when Decca had an agreement with RCA. Decca’s Ken Wilkinson appears to be a recurring recording engineer in RCA listings. The names of recording engineers, recording venues, and dates of recordings, give extra value to Wu’s Vinyl Bible.

And there are also several pages with jazz and pop, the lighter side and film music. A few names: Earl Hines, Joni Mitchel, Gordon Lightfood, The Beach Boys, Thelma Houston, Kraftwerk. Another positive feature.

Collector's Illusrtrated Vinyl Bible DiscographyAs Alfred H. C. Wu is originally from Taiwan and Chinese is his native language, he was clever enough to write the contents also in Mandarin Chinese. And this is not only an idea that first came naturally, I suppose, but it certainly is a clever step to selling high volumes now that more and more Chinese music lovers are going to collect records. This guarantees the commercial success of his enterprise and will make it easy to publish a revised and upgraded version – if he would think that to be necessary in time. The book represents a great value to the Chinese collector. It also may lead to a gradually increase of the prices of a few individual items. It is alway like that. I started writing about specific labels myself, and gradually prices were getting higher and higher.
I thought that the commercial aspect of his undertaking was one of the important reasons to publish also the Chinese text. Important it certainly is, because he made a second edition in simple Chinese. That is why you see two different covers on Wu’s website. But Alfred Wu says that he published the book not for business reasons. He states that it is for all the music lovers, especially for the Chinese collector. That is the reason why he put more Chinese comments in Chapter I.

Wu: “It is an illustrated Discography for English readers too. I found that the most important thing about my book for English readers is the weight (2.6-2.9 kg) and the cost of shipping. That’s why I offered more price discount to them in order to compensate for the ca. 100 hundred pages of Chinese text.”

Is this Vinyl Bible for me personally a must to have? Lists like the TAS, etc. can be viewed on the internet and can be downloaded. A subscription to Gramphone.net can also provide reviews from the early days of the LP to the present time of digital media. And if you do not want that, because of the subscription rate, there are the older Good CD Guides and editions of Penguin Guide. These give expert information about the era of the LP and also about recordings transferred to CD; this cannot always be said of the many fora on the web and YouTube uploads.

ALFRED WU WebsiteBut now that I have Alfred Wu’s richly illustrated Vinyl Bible, I will browse and browse and will enrich my knowledge about many more remarkable recordings that became collector’s items. And so will many a record collector, I am sure!
The Collector’s Illustrated Vinyl Bible is not only a labour of love, it is a vast compilation of beautifully executed and recorded music.

You can go to Alfred H. C. Wu’s web site www.alfredwu.com and find the details. Or you can click on the page at right. For ordering your copy go to page 8 and scroll down. There you will find all the details.

 

Rudolf A. Bruil

Rudolf A. Bruil. Page first published on February 16, 2013

 

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3: 音響論壇 288 期 (AUDIOART, Issue 288), 劉漢盛先生特別報導

 

4: 音響論壇網站討論區 主編特別報導:  (2012-8-22)

[黑膠] <黑膠唱片聖經收藏圖鑑,還不快跑步去買一本?> 

我的天啊!這是什麼?總共693頁、菊八開全彩印刷、厚背精裝、收錄2,340張唱片封面、重達2.9公斤!由吳輝舟所寫的「黑膠唱片聖經收藏圖鑑」熱騰騰的送到「音響論壇」編輯部!
吳輝舟是誰?1952年生的吳先生,工作之餘喜歡音樂,參加合唱團、組織「維也納台北市內樂團」,曾擔任旅奧中國人協會理事長、奧地利台商會會長,也是歐洲之星旅遊公司負責人。多年來創立過高爾夫球隊、開過撞球俱樂部、義大利餐廳、中餐廳等等。二十年前因為音響論壇的「唱片聖經」,引發他搜尋黑膠唱片的烈焰,在工作之餘不計一切代價的找尋TAS榜單的黑膠唱片、SACD、CD,RCA唱片黃金年代最值得收藏的唱片,Sid Marks最佳40張Mercury唱片,Mark Lehman與Jonathan Valin合力推薦的20世紀古典音樂最佳100張,以及Everest、Lyrita唱片等,最後的成果就是這本「黑膠唱片聖經收藏圖鑑」!

這本書定價台幣2,200元,以目前黑膠唱片一張動輒上千、上萬台幣的價格而言,2,200台幣等值於一張稍有價值的黑膠唱片,相對而言並不貴。這本書中的每一張唱片都有彩色封面,代表每一張唱片都是他真金白銀買下的,這份毅力與耐心不是常人可及。

比較可惜的是,書中並非每張唱片都有詳細的文字解說,許多只是刊登唱片封面以及編號、買入時的價錢而已。回頭想想,真要每張唱片都撰文介紹,一來這本書的完成時間不知要拖到何時;再者頁數恐怕也要暴增,這二者都不利於現實條件。這也是作者刻意把書名命為「收藏圖鑑」的原因。

「是你把理想當車馬炮?還是生活將你當兵卒?
是鐘錶為時間把脈?還是時間為鐘錶算命?
收藏是生命中愛心、耐心、期許與智慧結下的愉悅果實。」~吳輝舟

(2012-8-22)

想當年,音響論壇出版的「唱片聖經」,是無數音響迷人手一本,用來按圖索驥購買唱片的寶典,連我當年也不例外,買到的唱片,就在「唱片聖經」中那張唱片的說明上打個勾,想買但還沒找到的就打個星號,開始到每家唱片行地毯式搜尋……,這段經驗,應該是許多音響迷的共同回憶。
不過,大多數人遇到真正買不到的唱片,通常都選擇放棄,不過吳輝舟先生卻是一個例外,他不但搜遍海內外,找齊了「唱片聖經」裡的所有唱片,甚至還進一步拓展範圍,將TAS、Gramophone、Everest、Lyrita等各大榜單的LP、CD、SACD全部找齊,最後集結成一套多達2,340張唱片的超精華收藏,這種毅力,可不是一般人所能具備的。

吳先生不但蒐藏唱片,還認真的替大多數唱片寫下說明文字,成果就是這本份量重到可以砸死人的全彩鉅著「黑膠唱片聖經收藏圖鑒」。前面已經說過,這本書之所以稱為「圖鑒」,是因為書中有一半篇幅的唱片只有基本資料,沒有說明文字,如果裡頭每張唱片都有簡介,那麼重量與厚度都會變成兩倍以上!

看過作者簡介,我才發現吳先生並不是一般的唱片收藏家,他從1977年開始長期旅居奧地利維也納,並曾在維也納大學音樂學研究所就讀,由他替這些經典名盤撰寫說明文字,絕對比時下一堆所謂「樂評」更有資格。

作者簡介中有兩張小照片值得注意,一張是吳先生書房中數量驚人的黑膠收藏,另一張則是他的聆聽室,只看到一對落地喇叭,不過看不出型號。

值得注意的是唱片架上的紅酒瓶數量也很驚人!原來吳先生不但熱愛音樂,而且還是美食家,曾經開過義大利、日式與中式餐廳。後來轉行從事旅遊業,剛開始時替有志到奧地利學音樂的學生代辦出國及留學事務,後來發展成為經營全歐精緻旅遊的「歐洲之星旅遊公司」,在台灣旅遊界是非常知名的品牌。

隨手一翻,就找到了音響迷熟悉的「皇家芭蕾」。吳先生的唱片簡介中,有一個其他榜單都沒有的特點,那就是每張唱片都標明了他購入時的價格,比如這張「皇家芭蕾」,狀況良好的原版二手片,價格都在700~1,500美元之譜,不過吳先生並不會一昧追逐首刻黑膠,他的「皇家芭蕾」就是Classic Records的180克重刻版,購入時價格為60美金。

事實上,因為吳先生的許多黑膠在購入時二手價格都已經攀高,所以他還是投入了極高的代價,才有辦法收藏到這些名盤。

TAS竟然推薦過流行團體a-ha!的唱片!?許多人應該會對這本書所收錄的TAS黑膠發燒流行、爵士極電影原聲帶單元感興趣!

定價2,200元,博客來九折價1,980元,值得樂迷收藏!

 

5: Review Posted by Bruce Kinch in Phonogram (August 2012)

I received a very interesting and impressive hardcover book last week, The Collector’s Illustrated Vinyl Bible, from the author, Alfred H.C. Wu.

Some Pholk on the list will recall that I published a newsletter called Primyl Vinyl for a while in the last century. One of the issues featured (with HP’s blessing) a collation of all the titles ever to appear on the many TAS “Super Discs” lists. Much of the work was done by our own Larry Toy (his version with commentary is available on line I think). We were cited in Wu’s bibliography, so got an early copy.

An active collector/audiophile himself, Wu has managed to print color photographs of the covers of every LP, CD, and SACD ever on the TAS lists, with basic information and a price estimate (basically what he had paid). That takes up the first 394 pages, followed by pictures of other TAS recommendations from Sid Marks, Jonathan Valin, and Mark Lehman, and illustrated summaries of James A. Mitchell “Golden Era of RCA” list, the Gramophone Top 100 lists, the best early Everest LPs and the entire Lyrita stereo catalogue. There are often pictures of alternate covers and reissues, labelographies, and an index by artist and composers. it ends up at 693 pages, and nearly 6 lb . There is even a ribbon bookmark, just like those other bibles.

Many collectors, I know, can happily flip through countless LP jackets in record store bins and yard sale boxes, but don’t carry around detailed want-lists and check catalog numbers. One simply develops a visual memory of jackets, labels, and other indicators of desirability. But if you’ve never seen a copy of something, you can often pass it by (I know I have, too often). Spend some time with Wu’s magnum opus and you won’t flip by the less obvious titles, like Cantabile CSPS 1349, Orion ORS 78282, or Richardson RRS 70001.

There are some drawbacks, however. It is TAS intensive, so primarily covers classical music recordings and the few pop/rock/soundtrack LPs HP favored. While all the essential basic information is in English, Wu’s own commentary is in Chinese only. Larry Toy may have some comments on the text. It is also a limited edition, and I think he may have only about 400 copies left (it has done well in the Chinese/Taiwan market). There is no official US distributor, so the books must be shipped from China or Austria (where Alfred is based).

The US price is a very reasonable $75 + shipping, but Alfred understands the language problem, and is willing to offer a substantial discount to English-only buyers. I’m sure he would consider trading for a copy of Valin’s RCA Bible, too.

For more information, see his web page, www.alfredwu.com

Other than having sold a few LPs to Alfred on eBay in the past, I have no financial interest in this venture, of course.

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CONTENTS

                                                                                                                            

I ): “TAS-Harry Pearson’s Super LP & CD List”                                                 Page

-Complete old & new lists from “The Absolute Sound”-Editor’s Choices      001-393

1.1. Super LP List: Special Merit of the Classical; Operas & Collections.

(Listed according to Record’s Label)                                                             001-302

1.2. Super LP List: Special Merit of the Informal; Popular, Rock, Jazz & Soundtrack. (Listed according to Record’s Label)                                                             303-356

1.3. HP’s Super CD & SACD List: old and new lists of 1998 , 1999, 2000 & 2002.

List of Classical (Listed their composers alphabetically)                               357-377

List of Collections                                                                                            378-383

List of Informal (Pop and Jazz)                                                                       384-389

List of Soundtrack                                                                                            390-393

II ): “TAS Recommended List”                                                                         394-476

2.1. The Recommended List includes TAS ratings: +, ++, +++ for labels DECCA、EMI、LONDON、LYRITA、MERCURY & RCA; the ratings: +, ++, +++ from Sid Marks’s ‘Mraks Barks Column’ and his Top 40 ratings about the sound-quality of the Mercury Records: N01 to N40.            (Listed according to Record’s Label)                                 394-455

2.2. ‘TAS 100 Best-of-20th Century Classical Music Recordings’                   Mark Lehman & Jonathan Valin’s ‘100 Best-of-Century Classical Compositions’. Includes additional LP labels & photos.     (Listed their composers alphabetically)                               456-476

III): “The Golden Era of RCA Records”                                                               477-577

3.1. Summary and Remark in English                                                                477-480

3.2. Summary and Remark in Chinese                                                               480-489

3.3. The best of James A. Mitchell’s List (16th ED, April 1990), includes ratings: JM10+, 10++ & ++* (Listed according to serial number)                                                 490-577

 

IV): “Gramophone Top 100 (1995 to 2008, Old & New List)”                                578-620       

(Listed their composers alphabetically)

V):  The best of “EVEREST RECORDS”                                                              621-646

(Listed according to serial number)

VI):  Photo Index of the ”LYRITA RECORDS”                                                       647-668                (Listed according to serial number)

 

★ INDEX

★ BIBLIOGRAPHY