A Hybrid Stereo SACD edition of Bela Fleck’s Drive album is the latest Super Audio CD release from the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs record label. It is the latest in Mobile Fidelity’s Discovery Series SACDs which bring early albums by key artists to Stereo Super Audio CDs for a list price of $19.98 – some $5.00 less than the company’s full priced SACD releases.
This is the second time Fleck has appeared on a Discovery Series SACD release. The previous time was on Mike Marshall’s Gator Strut SACD (Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 7001) – which launched this series for the label.
SACD Stereo/CD Stereo
(Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 7003)
Drive features 12 original compositions by banjo player Bela Fleck and was recorded in late 1987. The songs on the album were performed by a group of bluegrass music all-stars and remains one of Fleck’s better known releases. It was originally released on the Rounder Records label.
Fleck says that the album “appears to have had one of the biggest impacts of anything I have done, especially in the acoustic music community. People still ask me about it often. I am glad this new version is coming out. It is much closer to what we originally intended, sonically speaking.”
Bela Fleck – Banjo
Sam Bush – Mandolin
Jerry Douglas – Dobro
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle
Mark O’Connor – Fiddle
Tony Rice – Guitar
Mark Schatz – Bass
Peter Rowan – Mystery Vocal (Track 6)
3. Up and Around the Bend
4. Natchez Trace
5. See Rock City
7. Lights of Home
8. Down in the Swamp
10. Open Road
11. Crucial County Breakdown
12. Shuckin’ The Corn (Bonus Track – Previously Unreleased)
The New SACD Edition
The newly released Stereo SACD features new liner notes by Bela Fleck describing the album and its origins. The original album was produced by Bela Fleck, recorded by Bil VornDick at the Nashville Sound Connection and mixed at the Sound Emporium. For the SACD, Bela Fleck mixed the unreleased bonus track entitled Shuckin’ The Corn and the SACD was mastered by Mobile Fidelity’s Chief Engineer Shawn R. Britton at the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in Sebastopol, California.
Listening to the new Drive Super Audio CD will be a treat for bluegrass music fans. The performances are very good and the reproduction on the Stereo SACD track is very well done. The SACD track features deep bass notes and excellent clarity on the instruments throughout. I particularly enjoyed the reproduction of the guitar notes on Track 4 (Natchez Trace) and the group’s interplay on Track 11 (Crucial Country Breakdown).
Next Up On Mobile Fidelity Super Audio CD
Coming next from Mobile Fidelity will be more Surround Sound Super Audio CDs from the Vox Turnabout Classical Music catalog. On April 4th, Mobile Fidelity plans to release performances of some of Gershwin’s Orchestral Works including An American In Paris and Rhapsody In Blue by Walter Susskind conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
On April 26th, they will release a Surround Sound SACD of Ravel’s Daphnis Et Chloe performed by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducting the Minnesota Orchestra. This will be a follow up to that orchestra’s Surround Sound SACD of Ravel’s Bolero & Orchestral Works (Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 4002) which launched the label’s Surround Sound SACD series.
On May 10th, Mobile Fidelity will release a performance of Smetana’s Ma Vlast by Walter Susskind conducting the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This Surround Sound SACD was originally slated for in store availability on January 25th but was delayed to May.
Drive by Bela Fleck is now available at music stores that carry Super Audio CDs including Tower Records. It is also available from web sites that sell SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct, Amazon.Com and CD Universe.