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HiRez Poll Stevenson, BW - MY MARIA & CALABASAS [SACD]

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

Rate the SACD of BW Stevenson - MY MARIA & CALABASAS

  • 6

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1: Terrible Content, Surround Mix, and Fidelity

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    13

rtbluray

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this SACD reissue from Dutton Vocalion of the albums "My Maria" and "Calabasas" by BW Stevenson.

MY MARIA
LP APL1-0088 (1973) STEREO/APT1-0088 QUADRAPHONIC
1: MY MARIA (Moore; Stevenson)
2: BE MY WOMAN TONIGHT (Anderson)
3: SUNSET WOMAN (D. Loggins)
4: A GOOD LOVE IS LIKE A GOOD SONG (Kelly)
5: GRAB ON HOLD OF MY SOUL (del Zappo; Stevenson)
6: SHAMBALA (Moore)
7: LUCKY TOUCH (Stevenson)
8: I GOT TO BOOGIE (Smotherman)
9: REMEMBER ME (Stevenson)
10: PASS THIS WAY (Stevenson)

Arrangers: Larry Muhoberac [1-5], Larry Carlton [6, 8]

CALABASAS
LP APL1-0410 (1974) STEREO/APD1-0410 QUADRAPHONIC
11: LOOK FOR THE LIGHT (Moore)
12: LITTLE BIT OF UNDERSTANDING (Edwards)
13: WE HAD IT ALL (Seals; Fritts)
14: (LIVIN’ IT) DAY BY DAY (Stevenson)
15: DRY LAND (Pruitt)
16: ANNA-LISA (Carnes; Ellingson)
17: PLEASE COME TO BOSTON (D. Loggins)
18: ROLL ON (Stevenson)
19: SONG FOR KATY (Stevenson)
20: HERE WE GO AGAIN (Stevenson)

Arrangers: Larry Muhoberac [11-12], Larry Carlton [13, 16, 18], B.W. Stevenson [14-15, 19-20], Bobby Rambo [14-15, 17, 19-20], Jay Pruitt [14-15, 17, 19-20]

Remastered from the original analogue tapes by Michael J. Dutton
Multi-ch Stereo
All tracks available in stereo and multi-channel

SA-CD
This hybrid CD can be played on any standard CD players

CDSML8565


 
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GOS

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OK, just wow. I totally forgot about the song My Maria!!! Holy cow! Now, this is Key West music, for sure. Love it.....

This is a real gem......

Content - 10
Fidelity - 9.5
Mix - 9

Rounds up to a 10. Very deserving. This absolutely sounds so warm and nice. Dang....
 

Q-Eight

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Love this album. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally have this one. Not only was it a two-fer I suggested a while back, but with the rarity of the Canadian-only Q8 of My Maria, now EVERYBODY can hear how well that album was mixed. (Now, I'm not suggesting it was me who brought these albums to everybody, but it's a very happy coincidence that it came to fruition.)

Anywho, My Maria has a great RCA mix. Very discrete. Holds good focus even with the more sparsely instrumented tracks. Definitely worth the price of entry for the title track alone, but then you get "Shambala", "A good love is like a good song", "Grab a-hold of my Soul", "I got to Boogie"..... such a great album.

Not a huge fan of Calabasas; I think it's a textbook example of the excess of the 1970's. Just because you throw a ton of money at something doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a success. Personally, I think artists are at their best when they're starving. Prime example being Aerosmith. I can dig their 70's output. The excess of their 80's stuff just grates on me.
 

bangsezmax

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I've been waiting for this one and it absolutely does not disappoint. I've listened many times to the CD4 of Calabasas and the stereo LP of My Maria so I'm aware of the quality of these two titles in terms of the music. Getting them in gloriously clean quad is such a treat.

I will respectfully disagree with Q-Eight's take on Calabasas. Despite what he might think of the production (more on that in a minute), B.W. sounds much more confident and focused to my ears on the latter LP. He sounds like he's completely in the zone as a performer, and that's when the magic comes out.

As for the production, it's the cream of the crop of L.A. players during one of the peaks of that scene. If that's tagged as "the excess of the 1970's," please give me more. It is smack in the vein ear candy. Larry Carlton. Joe Osborn. Jim Gordon. Freaking Linda Ronstadt, Kim Carnes and Andrew Gold on backing vox. There was magic in those studios and you can still hear it.

The slickest track in terms of "kitchen sink" production is probably "(Livin' It) Day By Day," and it's hard to blame the El Lay machine since it's one of B.W.'s original songs and he's the one credited as the arranger. And "slick" or not, it's still a killer track.

I'd actually counter that Calabasas is so appealing because it's a document of what a well-produced L.A. session of that era could do. Every cut sounds like a classic. There was so much talent and feel and the recordings are sublimely pristine. I love love love this two-fer, especially Calabasas.
 
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Bob Romano

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Love this album. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally have this one. Not only was it a two-fer I suggested a while back, but with the rarity of the Canadian-only Q8 of My Maria, now EVERYBODY can hear how well that album was mixed. (Now, I'm not suggesting it was me who brought these albums to everybody, but it's a very happy coincidence that it came to fruition.)

Anywho, My Maria has a great RCA mix. Very discrete. Holds good focus even with the more sparsely instrumented tracks. Definitely worth the price of entry for the title track alone, but then you get "Shambala", "A good love is like a good song", "Grab a-hold of my Soul", "I got to Boogie"..... such a great album.

Not a huge fan of Calabasas; I think it's a textbook example of the excess of the 1970's. Just because you throw a ton of money at something doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a success. Personally, I think artists are at their best when they're starving. Prime example being Aerosmith. I can dig their 70's output. The excess of their 80's stuff just grates on me.
I like how the hi hat in My Maria travels around the room... now THAT's quad!!!
 

Q-Eight

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I will respectfully disagree with Q-Eight's take on Calabasas. Despite what he might think of the production (more on that in a minute), B.W. sounds much more confident and focused to my ears on the latter LP. He sounds like he's completely in the zone as a performer, and that's when the magic comes out.
Mayhaps I came across overly harsh. Calabasas is a decent record to listen to. I suppose the shame comes from the fact that with all the money spent on production and all the talent poured into the project; did the album net a single hit? From my 38 seconds of research, I found that "Little bit of Understanding" got as high as #40 on the Adult Contemporary charts of the time. I could argue that is the albums strongest outing but that's 100% subjective. "River of Love" hit #32 on the AC Charts and #50 on Billboard. A far cry from the Top 10 Hit "My Maria" and Top 20 (bubbling under) "Shambala" which, I'm sure just got devastated by the Three Dog Night version.

Don't get me wrong, I love strings and horns and some of the general over-production of the 1970's, as it makes for fantastic Quad mixes; but I just think Mr. Buckwheat needed to seriously step up his game if he wanted to contend (or even simply remain relevant) with the likes of Waylon Jennings, Roy Clark, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton or any of the country superstars of the time. I think B.W. had the talent, but somehow it just wasn't exploited properly.

It's a good album, but it's not a great album like it's predecessor.
 

weekendtoy

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Never heard of B.W Stevenson prior to this release.
Don't get me wrong, I love strings and horns and some of the general over-production of the 1970's, as it makes for fantastic Quad mixes; but I just think Mr. Buckwheat needed to seriously step up his game if he wanted to contend (or even simply remain relevant) with the likes of Waylon Jennings, Roy Clark, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton or any of the country superstars of the time. I think B.W. had the talent, but somehow it just wasn't exploited properly.

It's a good album, but it's not a great album like it's predecessor.
Have you read the liner notes yet? I believe the producer had veto rights on all the songs included on the Calabasas album. Basically this was the album the record company wanted to make.

But I do agree. My Maria with it's more traditional country sound to it, comes off as the better of the two.

Great mix on both.
 

ar surround

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Five songs into the My Maria album, which previously I had never auditioned, I knew this was going to be a 10. I started reading the liner notes while the album was playing, but I was so impressed that I put them down and concentrated on the music. I've always loved the song My Maria and it certainly sounds great in especially in glorious quad. Remarkably, it is arguably one of the weaker tracks on the My Maria album, albeit spectacular ear candy (and the chorus is my latest ear worm.)

One tune I have to talk about is Shambala. I've always been lukewarm about the Three Dog Night version, so I wasn't expecting much. But I think Stevenson and this production nailed it...it sounds right to my ears. The Three Dog rendition very much copies the Stevenson version, but there's something more appealing here.

I have yet to listen to Calabasas, but My Maria is another one of those undiscovered gems that make this hobby so rewarding.

10
 

skherbeck

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I have no history with this music, other than I've heard the Three Dog Night version of "Shambala"... pretty enjoyable two-fer overall. The quad mixes are excellent and discrete; I think Calabasas benefits a bit more from the surround mix because there are more elements to put in the rears, and in terms of overall fidelity, I think Calabasas wins as well. In terms of songwriting, Calabasas doesn't have any real stand-out songs for me aside from "Look For The Light" (love hearing Linda Ronstadt in the left rear), but it's still a pleasant listen throughout. Glad to get a couple hits with "My Maria" and "Shambala", but I'm not that into some of the more countrified tunes... I don't know if I'll listen to this often, but it was definitely worth the purchase as the three tracks I mentioned are making my surround playlist. 9.
 
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quicksrt

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As for the production, it's the cream of the crop of L.A. players during one of the peaks of that scene. If that's tagged as "the excess of the 1970's," please give me more. It is smack in the vein ear candy. Larry Carlton. Joe Osborn. Jim Gordon. Freaking Linda Ronstadt, Kim Carnes and Andrew Gold on backing vox. There was magic in those studios and you can still hear it.
It is sad that those days are so far gone now. The studios are mostly gone too. We may never get back to the era of super-star sessions of the recording world all available on a day or so of notice. But we have the albums and they still sound great, and these will spin forever.
 
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bktouchstone

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I voted a 10 on this one based mostly on the fidelity, performance, song quality and cohesiveness of "My Maria." Of course this is a DV two-fer so get another album "Calabasas" which I will get to in a moment. BW Stevenson has a rich timbre to his voice, but it has at least 3 modes, which I will call falsetto, relaxed, and high-not-falsetto (HNF). HNF has a nasal quality, somewhat strained at times. It's probably my least favorite but when it isn't straining it sounds good. Relaxed is more in his middle range, and here is where the deep richness of his voice comes through. His falsetto is amazing, and used sparingly, very effective. On the album "My Maria" his voice is less strained in whichever mode it is in vs "Calabasas." The songs and music can be described as a country tinged "singer songwriter" style even though he covered a lot of material written by others. Vocally, "Calabasas" seems to me in more of the HNF/strained category.

"My Maria" contains two of his most well known hits, the title track and "Shambala." Overall the album is beautifully recorded, with a modern sounding bass that is clear and deep. Percussion sounds like drums, not boxes being struck, cymbals/hi hats sound good. I think there is a washboard in "My Maria" that travels from speaker to speaker but that may be a mistake on my part. I may be able to figure it out with more listens. "My Maria" is pure bliss, vocals have timbre and detail, and the supporting harmonies under the falsetto chorus (which sound like they were BW multi tracked but I am too lazy to get the disc and look at the credits) contain a lot of subtlety - I wish these could have been brought up in the mix just a little. I loved this song as a young teen, and hearing it in multi-channel is just a kick! "Shambala" was the revelation here. I never knew he released a version that preceded the Three Dog Night version, and I like it better than 3 Dog Night's (which I like a lot). Again, the detail in the instrumentation is superb and the multi-channel presentation is excellent. Whereas 3 Dog's version took me to a place in Tibet (yeah, I knew a little about Eastern philosophy as a 13 year old thanks, I think, to Reader's Digest or maybe National Geographic running some articles about Tibet), BW's version takes me to a rocking church somewhere in Tennessee, the chorus "whoops" and the "Tell me how!" line sounds like a fired up church choir. In 3 Dog's version the lines about brothers and sisters having flowers in their eyes always freaked me out a little because of my allergies. "Get the flowers out of their eyes for God's sake!" I would think. But BW's version downplays it more and I think about allergies less. All in all, from song choice, arrangements, atmosphere, I give the album "My Maria" highest grades.

"Calabasas" is another story. Interestingly, mostly the same creative team worked on "Calabasas" as "My Maria" and they were separated by just a year. But it seems someone had a different idea about where BW's career should go, and it just doesn't work. "Calabasas" seems to be growing on me with additional listens, but BW never seems to be comfortable on this album. He is in high not falsetto/strained mode in a lot of the songs, and the arrangements are crowded. In my opinion he seems to be fighting the arrangements most of the time.

When comparing "My Maria" to "Calabasas" it is a poignant glimpse at what could have been given BW's death at the young age of 38. Good songs, simpler arrangements, rocking backing vocals, and look out - no telling how many hits he could have had once the momentum started. But we are blessed and rightfully thankful that Dutton Vocalion has resurrected these songs so that we can appreciate them anew, and hear again this great but sadly lesser known talent.
 

ar surround

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I voted a 10 on this one based mostly on the fidelity, performance, song quality and cohesiveness of "My Maria." Of course this is a DV two-fer so get another album "Calabasas" which I will get to in a moment. BW Stevenson has a rich timbre to his voice, but it has at least 3 modes, which I will call falsetto, relaxed, and high-not-falsetto (HNF). HNF has a nasal quality, somewhat strained at times. It's probably my least favorite but when it isn't straining it sounds good. Relaxed is more in his middle range, and here is where the deep richness of his voice comes through. His falsetto is amazing, and used sparingly, very effective. On the album "My Maria" his voice is less strained in whichever mode it is in vs "Calabasas." The songs and music can be described as a country tinged "singer songwriter" style even though he covered a lot of material written by others. Vocally, "Calabasas" seems to me in more of the HNF/strained category.

"My Maria" contains two of his most well known hits, the title track and "Shambala." Overall the album is beautifully recorded, with a modern sounding bass that is clear and deep. Percussion sounds like drums, not boxes being struck, cymbals/hi hats sound good. I think there is a washboard in "My Maria" that travels from speaker to speaker but that may be a mistake on my part. I may be able to figure it out with more listens. "My Maria" is pure bliss, vocals have timbre and detail, and the supporting harmonies under the falsetto chorus (which sound like they were BW multi tracked but I am too lazy to get the disc and look at the credits) contain a lot of subtlety - I wish these could have been brought up in the mix just a little. I loved this song as a young teen, and hearing it in multi-channel is just a kick! "Shambala" was the revelation here. I never knew he released a version that preceded the Three Dog Night version, and I like it better than 3 Dog Night's (which I like a lot). Again, the detail in the instrumentation is superb and the multi-channel presentation is excellent. Whereas 3 Dog's version took me to a place in Tibet (yeah, I knew a little about Eastern philosophy as a 13 year old thanks, I think, to Reader's Digest or maybe National Geographic running some articles about Tibet), BW's version takes me to a rocking church somewhere in Tennessee, the chorus "whoops" and the "Tell me how!" line sounds like a fired up church choir. In 3 Dog's version the lines about brothers and sisters having flowers in their eyes always freaked me out a little because of my allergies. "Get the flowers out of their eyes for God's sake!" I would think. But BW's version downplays it more and I think about allergies less. All in all, from song choice, arrangements, atmosphere, I give the album "My Maria" highest grades.

"Calabasas" is another story. Interestingly, mostly the same creative team worked on "Calabasas" as "My Maria" and they were separated by just a year. But it seems someone had a different idea about where BW's career should go, and it just doesn't work. "Calabasas" seems to be growing on me with additional listens, but BW never seems to be comfortable on this album. He is in high not falsetto/strained mode in a lot of the songs, and the arrangements are crowded. In my opinion he seems to be fighting the arrangements most of the time.

When comparing "My Maria" to "Calabasas" it is a poignant glimpse at what could have been given BW's death at the young age of 38. Good songs, simpler arrangements, rocking backing vocals, and look out - no telling how many hits he could have had once the momentum started. But we are blessed and rightfully thankful that Dutton Vocalion has resurrected these songs so that we can appreciate them anew, and hear again this great but sadly lesser known talent.
Yep, my sentiments exactly. (Well perhaps not the flowers/allergies part. :))

BW Stevenson...my new heretofore-in-ignorance-of, favorite dearly departed artist.
 

quicksrt

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I saw BW in concert in ‘74. He opened for the Guess Who at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Rotunda. Actually I think Redbone opened up, and that was when “Come and Get Your Love” was charting top 30. BW was the second act up.

The Guess Who were then touring on their Quadraphonic Quadradisc album #10. They performed a stunning set which was like the Best of albums. I do recall them opening up with “Bye Bye Babe” and sounding incredible.

BW Stevenson’s Set I don’t remember to much about other than it was good. His name is on the ticket stub which I saved. Can you believe that I saved and still have all my ticket stubs going back to Jan. 1973?
 
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