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Reviews: Mighty Sam McClain: Soul Survivor

Reviews: 6

Review by ma June 9, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the first sacd I ever bought, and is one of the best albums I have ever heard.
It is soulful blues mix that Mighty Sam McClain sings from the heart. The sound is sweet and delicate yet powerful and robust. I cannot say enough about it so just go buy it. Highly recommended!

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Review by jimmyjames8 July 23, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Mighty Sam on SACD is something else. This is a best of compilation that smokes. Gospel tinged blues and r&b. Incredibly tight backing band. Excellent sonics. A must have SACD if you dig the blues. This is one to play for your friends to show them what SACD sounds like.

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Review by lenw May 28, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is one of the first SACD albums I bought - and it's awesome! "Where You Been So Long?" features a killer horn section (track 6) and "Hanging On The Cross" (track 10) are worth the price of admission alone. The musicians, particularly Sam McClain (vocals) and Bruce Katz (piano/keyboard) are simply mismerizing on this album. The tracks were transferred to SACD from a 30 ips direct to two rack tape. The sonics are excellent with individual instruments clearly defined in the soundstage. If you like blues - this is a difinitive SACD.

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Review by Dan Popp February 9, 2005 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Now that's what I'm talking about.

Here's a disc that deserves all the stars given by previous reviewers. Smokey soul, blues, R&B...with heavy 'gospel' influences throughout. Mighty Sam and Co. deliver.

Despite the DSD logo, "All tracks were recorded @ 30 ips direct to two track tape." Wow. Not only are these real performances by the musicians, but by the recordists as well. Hats off to Michael C. Ross and producer Joe Harley. These are the Real Men of audio. Sam don't need no steenking Autotune! There aren't even any overdubs!

The band is tight, displaying flashes of amazing virtuosity and yet keeping it all contained; playing for the sake of the song, not their egos.

Even though this is a "Best Of" collection, the sonic differences among tracks are minimal. The imaging, space and "feel" of the vocal and instruments is very consistent. (Stereo only, boys!) If that feel is a bit "affected," (this is your head inside a kick drum!) it's all good - it all serves the singular vision of the music.

The only thing that might seem a bit odd on first listen is the juxtapositon of the themes of human love and divine love - sometimes within the same song. But again the word "real" applies - it just seems that this is Mighty Sam's world and he's laying it out for us without pretence.

Sam belts in the first track, "Too Proud":
"For one who thought love would last forever,
Oh...I should have checked my record!"

I checked it, Sam. Well done.

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Review by analogue July 12, 2011 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a very solid sacd release. If you love a combination of blues and soul then this is for you.

A solid dsd transfer which reveals some of the pro's and con's of this particular analogue recording.
To my ears it seems as if the recording is a little tepid during certain songs and passages where the audio levels are not as rich as other tracks. As if some instruments are not recorded at their peak solidity. Its very subtle but on a decent system it will be revealed. Regardless the sound on this sacd is excellent.

Other than that....this is fabulous music...very rich and deep in scope. From start to finish a great album of McCLains best songs from three different albums.

Great vocals and terrific musicianship. A real treat.

Highly recommended.

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Review by Marpow July 18, 2015 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Mighty Sam McClain: Soul Survivor, Hybrid SACD Stereo Only.

There are 5 excellent reviews before me starting in 2005. The first SACD for some. That says a lot right there. Last November 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing Mighty Sam McClain at Bluesmasters At The Crossroads show in Salina Kansas. Lets just say a great lost weekend in Kansas, but I fell in love with Mighty Sam McClain as he clearly had a significant soul sound compared to the other blues artists. This disc called Soul Survivor is a greatest hits, on the disc cover almost unnoticeable says, "The Best of".

Quick Facts: Released by AudioQuest. 13 tracks from I think 4 previous albums, all Sledgehammer albums, 1992 to this release 1999. Born in 1943, Monroe, Louisiana. Unfortunately he just passed, June 15, 2015.

Performance: Old school soul with a touch, just a touch of blues. Primarily a 4 piece band with some tunes adding horns. 11 of the 13 tracks written by McClain. Good uptempo recordings certainly toe tappers.

Stereo Sonics: Not sure if it is because it is a best of disc but not quite the overall sonic gem as the other AudioQuest discs in this series. As other reviewers have noticed. Beautiful from the instruments point of view the entire disc, but on some tracks Sam's vocals just go a little shrill when he raises his vocal volume. My favorite tracks are the first and last. But to be honest I like discs that stretch out, better to have all highs and a few lows than a flat boring SACD quality. This will fit everybody's expectation of a great SACD.

Packaging: Plastic SACD jewel case. Extensive liner notes by Andy Grigg. Not quite the extensive notes on recording as other audioquest discs.

Well I can say I was very happy to meet Sam, actually sat and talked with him for awhile, and sad that this beautiful voice has passed on.

I hope my review was helpful, if not send me an email and tell me why.

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