I've been listening to some of my favorite recordings this weekend and was wondering what others on Audiogon felt were there favorites. We have all seen the Stereophile "Records to Die For", The Absolute Sounds recommended list, Music Directs' list, The Golden Ear, etc. now I'm hoping to assemble the Audiogon "Recordings To Die For". Please list your five favorite recordings, the ones you listen to over and over or play for friends. I would assume the sonic quality is excellent in that this is an audiophile site. The performance and enjoy ability should also be excellent. Please leave your top five, even if they are already chosen so we can discover the very top for the Audiogon listeners. ALSO PLEASE REFRAIN FROM CRITICIZING OTHERS OPINIONS AND JUST LEAVE YOUR FAVORITES!

August 2002: I have compiled a summary and a full printer-friendly list of all of the recommendations below.
click here to view summary
I guess I should start with my own top five.
1)Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue" remastered at the correct speed from the back-up tapes.
2)"Natures Realm", The Philadelphia Orchestra, Water Lily Acoustics.
3)Patricia Barber, "Cafe Blue", Re-mastered by First Impression Records, gold cd or vinyl.
4)Janis Ian, "Breaking Silence", gold cd
5)Cowboy Junkies,"Trinity Session", gold cd
Jadem6; nice thread, but I seldom buy "audiophile" CDs, yet what I like sounds good on my system. No particular order:
(1) Cowboy Junkies "Waltz Across America"
(2) CCR "Bayou Country"; new remaster w/JVC 20bit K2 system
(3) Enigma "Cross of Changes"
(4) Melissa Etheridge, "Brave and Crazy"
(5) "Strike A Deep Chord" sub-title, "Blues for the Homeless, Various Artists. Only five is tough! Cheers. Craig
I also do not buy CDs just because they sound good. The only CD to die for I can think of was 8 years ago. A CD reissue of an older 1973 recording Decca only released in Europe, and not on their US London label. It was Mozart piano concerto #20 and #27; Clifford Curzon pianist; English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten (yes, the composer). This was before eMail, so I wrote to a British friend in London, who hunted around for a copy and mailed it to me in the States. It may now be available in the US, but I am not sure. It may be under the Great Pianists of the 20th Century label or the Decca/London Masters Label. This recording should be in the collection of all who love Mozart's piano works.
Appears it is not available. But if you do not have a friend in Europe, then the other Clifford Curzon recordings with other conductors is still worth your hard earned music dollar. Curzon's Schubert Trout Quintet with the Amadeus Quartet is still my favorite even thought it was recorded in the late 1950s.
1. J.S. Bach Unaccompanied Violin Sonantas and Partitas performed by Arthur Grumiaux (though I think overproduced, Itzhak Perlman's may have better texture, sound-wise, and be more liberal emotionally and in interpretation; regardless, a superb recording and performance)
2. J.S. Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites performed by Mischa Maisky (darker and slower than Rostropovich's)
3. Marhler 9th conducted by Bruno Walter (1961 version) (Or, Otto Klemperer's reading -- a tough choice)
4. Bruckner 9th conducted by Bruno Walter.
5. Shostakovich 10th conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky, live (Phillips) (Karajan's readings on 10th -- recorded it twice -- are as superb).
1. Beethoven Bagatelles and Dances Vol. 1 (Naxos)
2. Copland 100 (RR)
3. Jacintha Autumn Leaves (Groove Note)
4. Peter Gabriel (Geffen) and
5. Tom Petty Full Moon Fever (MFSL).
I don't have a huge collection of CDs, yet. So, I'm sure this list will change. I hadn't really listened to Copland until late last year. The FWSO is performing alot of his works in celebration of his 100th "anniversary". Check out Copland 100 - the sonics are fantastic and the music is even better. Jacintha's voice is to die for in my opinion. Autumn Leaves is a great recording (maybe the original artists where better - but with her voice who cares). I discovered the Naxos label in a Stereophile article. They have some great recordings and at $5 or $6 each you can experiment without losing too much money. Peter Gabriel has always been my favorite Pop star (well, he and Phil Collins). I think Us is his best album (even if it contains alot of "re-releases"). Tom Petty has an interesting voice and for some reason MFSLs Full Moon Fever struck a chord with me. Thanks Jadem6 for a great thread. I'm going to check some of the other posters favorites.
Technically best recording I have is Denon One-Point recording : A set of five classical CD's (Vivaldi, Mozart, Liszt, Mussorgsky and Dvorak). They are apparently recorded using a single stereo pair mic without any mixing. The imaging and detail are unbeleivable. Unfortunately they are only available in German-speaking Europe. Denon in Atlanta didn't even know that these existed. I would strongly recommend this set. Catalog numbers are CO-78824 thru 78828.
On the top of my list is, The Famous Sound of Three Blind Mice on JVC XRCD, Bryan Ferry-Boys and Girls, Jennifer Warnes-The Hunter, Sir Neville Mariner and the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields-The Mozart Collection (Philips Label), and Vivaldi Le quattro stagioni (Decca Legends 1969), Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington-The Great Summit (The Master Takes on Roulette Jazz Label)
Oops, that should have read: Sir Neville Mariner and the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields-The Mozart Experience (Philips Label)
Vinyl and/or CD, DVD-A, SACD, all formats should be concidered in that so many of us have multiple format reproduction capabilities. (JUST TO HELP CLEARIFY)

pat methany "secret story",
steely dan "aja"(mfsl),
level 42"world machine",
nusrat khan &michael brook "night rose",
beatles "yellow submarine"(songtrack).
thats my top five this last few months.
I did not really incorporate the sound aspect into consideration, so I am going to retract my recommendations after rereading the original post. With respect to sound, try Perman and Rostropovich for the Bach pieces, Pierre Boulez for Mahler 9th, Giulini for Bruckner 9th, and Karajan (DG Karajan Gold) for Shostakovich 10th. But, can't really say they are my favorites though their performances are still top notch (maybe except Boulez's reading of the last movement of Mahler 9th). Sorry for my confusion.
Cogito, no confusion, I did not factor sound quality in either. My friends are musicians and if I played them a perfectly recorded CD that had terrible musicianship, they would wonder why I like it so much, and wonder if I am starting to lose it. They would never complain about a great preformance on a CD that was typical of most in sound quality. I have that Karajan Shostakovich 10th CD also and would recommend it first to anyone looking for a good CD of this symphony.
Neil Young's "Harvest", Nautilus re-issue LP. You can still find one from time to time on eBay. It's obvious almost every track was recorded live, in one take.
Sugarbrie, thank-you for all the great ideas. I went to the public radio music store, and found 6 disks by Clifford Curzon and cd connection with 10, if your out surfing and I could ask you to give me your opinion on wich one might be best I would be greatful. Thanks again, J.D.
Five only Huh?
1) Maria Mckee/geffen-- You can reach out and touch her on track 10.
2) Yo Yo Ma Bach Cello suites( also catch the inspired by Bach series on PBS)
3) Peter Gabrial -So.
4)Neville Brothers- Yellow moon.
5) James Taylor- New Moonshine
Charles Mingus..CUMBIA and JAZZ FUSION.I have it on the ATLANTIC import label.Great CD.My other favorites that I never get tired of is that one and INDIA"Dicen que soy"Also Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"Also I like RMM tropical tribute to the BEATLES.Also CURTIS MAYFIELD "SUPERFLY" soundtrack and ISAAC HAYES "SHAFT" the original...These are my favorites.And of course anything thats classic soul from the 70s.
Jadem6, great thread! My five favorites are:
1. Steely Dan "Aja" Mfsl remaster.
2. Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue" Columbia Remaster.
3. Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" Warner Remasters.
4. Jacintha "Autum Leaves" Groove Note Records.
5.Lucinda Williams " Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" Mercury Records.
Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue",
Sonny Rollins - "Theme From the Movie ALFIE", Steely Dan - "Aja",
Lucinda Williams - "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road", and
The Clash - "The Story of The Clash".
5 is hard to whittle down to.
Many of my favs are listed her, but the two recording that I've been enjoying (and forcing others to enjoy) most recently have been Keith Jarret's Kohln (sp!) concert and Giya Kancheli's Lamment, both available on ECM (which is rapidly becomming my favorite label).
Bruno Walter w/ Columbia Orchestra, "Beethovens Ninth",
The Who, "Who's Next" (British pressing),
Chet Baker "Last Great Concert" I & II,
Edgar Meyer,"Uncommon Ritual",
Chris Isaac, "Baja Sessions".
Honorable Mention:
Chieftans "Long Black Veil",
Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" (correct pitch remaster).
At this moment I can only think of three. I'm taking this seriously and some of my favorite recordings are what I have recorded and not commercially available. So, here it goes:
1) Dave Brubeck- "Gone with the Wind", 6 eyed Columbia in Stereo. 360 also sounds great. I believe this album came out prior to "Take 5". However, it is a terrific album and gets played more often than "5". Just, listen to those drum skins!......................................................
2) Grateful Dead- "American Beauty", Warner Bros. "Green Label" I have had this album on the other Warner Bros. labels and believe me until you hear a mint "Green" you don't know what you are missing. Also, I think that due to the accoustic nature of the compositions in lends towards a sweet, solid and clean sound. I swear I'm listening to the master tape. It is that good!............................
3) Bill Berry-"For Duke", Direct to Disc, MK Records. Put this on your table and turn out the lights. In front of you unfolds and real band in real space. I play this for "newbies" that wonder what it is always about. Afterwards, I give them the mop to clean up the mess. And, from that day on they "get it"!............................
*** All of the above are recommended on vinyl only. I don't have any 96/24 or SACD. And, I haven't heard a standard CD that compares to what turntable can do. That's not to say that I don't enjoy my cd's. I do! But, that is not what the post is about. I'll submit my next 2 after further serious consideration. BTW, Great post!
1) Miles Davis- The Complete Concert: 1964
2) Debussy: Images, Etudes, etc.- Jean-Yves Thibaudet
3) Faure: Requiem and other choral music- The Cambridge Singers conducted by John Rutter
4) A Meeting by the River- Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt
5) Maceo Parker- Life on Planet Groove
Listing dark horse material only (Kind of Blue is hard to leave off)
1. Introducing Ruben Gonzales, an 83 yr old cuban piano player whose soul and chops are astonishing.
2. Senor Blues, Taj Mahal. The best taste in R&B.
3. Yellow Moon, Neville Brothers, powerful & moving.
4. Ballad of the Fallen, Charlie Haden. Makes you want to take up arms for the cause.
5. Crosswinds, Capercaille. Kare Mathessen's voice is pure sunlight. Special mention: John Hiatt's Feel's Like Rain as a single.
Hi Rosstaman, I see you picked "The Great Summit" by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. This gives me quite a bit of pride as my father was the engineer on the original RCA recording. I have the RCA reissue CD and, while I would say it is a good recording, I would not say it is in that ultimate category. Is this Roulette Records reissue that you speak of on vinyl or only or CD? What formats, if CD? How can I get it? Thanks a lot. Ray
Jacynthia titled "Here's to Ben". A tribute to Ben Webster. While not the greatest singer, this album is the best recording I have ever heard. The vinyl is the best I have ever seen. The record is heavy and it is flat. The silent passages are totally silent without a hint of surface noise. The dynamics are incredible. The back up band is very good. The bonus 45 rpm is even more awesome. I did not know vinyl could be that good. She has another album that I must get a tribute to Johnny Mercer.
Most of these probably will not make any other list so here she goes.
1) So What, Jerry Garcia and David Grissman do Jazz Miles style.
2)Old and in the Way - Breakdown (the wild horse's on here is done with great style!
3) Dick's Pick's Volume 18
4) Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (just one of my favorites that I listen to again and again)
5) Beatles - Revolver (probably the best Beattle album ever)
1. Barbara Keith, "Barbara Keith," Warner LP ca 1973 or so, now available on a Japanese cd through Amazon. Hearing her on Skip Weshner's radio show midnights, KFAC in Los Angeles and sponsored by local high end retailers turned me on to hifi.
2. Eva Cassidy, "Live at Blues Alley." I cant really pick one of her albums over another but this one has Fields of Gold which has become something of a hit.
3. Los Lobos, "Will the Wolf Survive." LP. I cant really pick one of their albums over another either, but this one is a classic. Most audiophiles would pick "Kiko," and I wouldnt argue with that. Sound quality is better.
4. Lucinda Williams, white album reissued in the last couple of years on Koch has Passionate Kisses. An American classic.
5. Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Their first album. LP, but the cd's ok too.
I think I really would die if I was only allowed 5 albums. Following are a few I would die for - chosen from a much longer list, mainly for their obscurity (rather than repeat the many others listed above that I agree with).
David Sylvian "Secrets Of The Beehive";
Jessica Williams "Jessica's Blues";
Steve Poltz "One Left Shoe";
Ani Difranco (eponymous);
Christy Moore "Graffiti Tongue";
Steve Poltz "One Left Shoe";
Philadelphia Jerry Ricks "Deep In The Well"
Per "the usual" for me, my recommendations are for VINYL versions.
1) Jay McShann - "What a Wonderful World" on Groove Note LP with a bonus 12" 45RPM
2) Bach - Brandenburg Concertos (2,3&5) on Super Analogue LP
3) John Coltrane - "Lush Life" on DCC LP reissue
4) The Allman Brothers - "Live at Fillmore East" on pink label Capricorn LP (Nautilus if you can get it)
5) Joni Mitchell - "Miles of Aisles" (domestic pressing sounds fine to me)

Enjoy, and support the LP!
Lucinda Williams, no way! i just went a bought it per recommendation this thread, the worst vocals i think i have ever heard. (imo) maybe you like it. oh well not for me.
Yah... donald fagen "nightfly"/pat barber "blue"/chris issak "blue" / dire straights "bros"/ annie lennox "diva"
Ok, replace Lucinda Williams on my list with Merle Haggard's Okie From Muskogee. Really belongs anyway. And how about Sam Cooke's Night Beat in the number 5 spot.

Cant take the criticism. If I wanted that Id go to
Here goes;
1) Lee morgan "Candy"
2) "For Duke" M&K Records
3) Louis Smith "Smithville"
4) Mobley/Morgan "Peckin' Time"
5)Nearly anything "pre-sabatical" Sonny Rollins
6) Nearly anything on the Contemporary label during the 1950's.
(Sorry, it is so hard to limit choices to only 5)
Excellant posts by all, THANK-YOU. Please keep up the great work. P.S. Lucinda is about emotion, the raw unedited emotion makes her special. I agree the voice is raw! J.D.
"The Who Live at Leeds", Restored ans Remastered.
"Cinemagic" Dave Grusin.
"Underwater Sunlight" Tangerine Dream
Dvorak: Sernade OP.22, Notturno OP.40. Under the Delos label, Gerard Schwarz and the L.A. Chamber Orch.
"Trampoline"* The Mavericks.

These are some of my current fav's
* This is a HDCD! It is in the Country section at most stores but it's not really too country. This Band is hard to place in any grouping. They are kinda like Little Feat with a twang.
Frank Zappa "One Size Fits All" Rykodisc CD reissue;
John Coltrane "A Love Supreme" Impulse CD reissue;
Peter Gabriel "Us" Geffen CD;
Samuel Barber "Adagio/Symphony No. 1" Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Zinman Argo CD;
The Edgar Winter Group "They Only Come Out At Night" Frankenstein Epic/CBS CD.
This really is one of the better threads for awhile now. Here goes:
1) Beethoven Piano Sonatas Op. 27, 13, 81a, 57, A. Rubinstein, RCA Gold Seal (breathtaking),
2)Vivaldi 4 Seasons, ASMF, Marriner, with Alan Loveday, Decca Legends,
3) Vaughan Williams/Elgar, Greensleeves, Thomas Tallis, Lark Ascending, Intro/Allegro for Strings, Serenade for String Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, Virgin Classics,
4) Mephisto & Co., Minn. Orchestra, RR-82, and 5) Rebecca Pidgeon, The Raven, Chesky. While all of these choices are great (to me) for content, the RR pick is a sonic blockbuster.
These are all on vinyl for recommendation:

1. Blue Nile - Hats
2. John Klemmer - Touch (MFSL)
3. Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman (MFSL, 1990s)
4. The Doors - Strange Days
5. The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
All my favorites are listed above, so to spare redundancy I'll refrain from adding a list. I will however say I just purchased a wonderful disc, Erik Truffaz Quartet "The Mask". Jazz trumpet, if you like that, but possibly the BEST sounding redbook CD I've ever heard. A sonic stunner. It's on Blue Note, and knocked my socks off.
I would have to list what I consistenly playing at this time but this changes when something new comes along I really like: Eva Cassidy Live At Blues Alley,Mike Ness Cheating At Solitare,Coco Montoya Suspicion,Greg Brown Covenant,John Campbell One Believer
so many favorites already listed; but here goes some not yet mentioned;
1."st james infirmary" louis armstrong --classic records 45 rpm single--this will blow you away-i bought 3 copies.
2."couldn't stand the weather" stevie ray vaughn--sony sacd (the sony gold cd is pretty good too)
3."just like love" eric bibb --opus 3 sacd
4."88 basie street" count basie and his orchestra --xrcd
5."my life" iris dement --warner bros. cd
"Must-haves" for Jazz fans/audiophiles:
1.) Patricia Barber - "Nightclub"
2.) Bill Evans Trio - "Waltz for Debby"(gold cd)
3.) Sonny Rollins - "Way Out West"
4.) Big Joe Maher & Jeff Sarli - "Mojo" (Mapleshade rules!)

...and one classical recording:
1.) Mahler, Symphony No. 1 w/ "Blumine" - Florida Philharmonic (Harmonia Mundi - Fra)
1)Stan Getz & Joao/Estrud Gilberto self titled.
2)Miles Davis "Sketches of Spain"
3)Juan Carlos Formell "Songs from a Little Blue House"
4)"Ellington's Indigos"
5)Sting "Nothing like the Sun"
Some new ones and some repeats:
1. Tom Russell - The Man From God Knows Where
2. Eva Cassidy - Live at Blues Alley
3. Soundtrack - O Brother, Where Art Thou
4. Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman (remastered)
5. Soundtrack - Gladiator
I highly recommend my first 2 picks.
1. Emerson String Quartet, Schubert, The late string quartets/string quintet.(DG)
2. Emerson String Quartet,Webern, The string quartets(DG)
3.Albert Brendl, Schubert, Piano impromtus(Vanguard)
4.CSO/Levine,Schubert, 9th Symphony(DQ)
5.Henry Mancini, Peter Gunn (RCA/Living Stereo)
The last one is great for testing systems with its tremendous dynamics, great recording(except the hiss),
imaging and soundstage are very impressive plus great
easy listening (the beginnings of smooth jazz?)
Plus you get to hear some really fine studio jazz musicians.
The pianist is John Williams (yes that John Williams of Star Wars fame) who does an outstanding job. Those Living Stereo
recordings are all great. As a kid my dad had all those
recordings so they kind of stuck with me. Does any
remember Buddy Morrow or Prez Prado ,easy listening at its
Frank Sinatra "Sinatra At The Sands"
Frank Sinatra "In the Wee Small Hours.." (MoFi LP)
H Belafonte "At Carnegie Hall" (original LP or Classic LP)
Linda Rondstadt "Canciones De Mi Padre" (original LP)
Tchaikovsky "1812 Overture" - Dorati (Mercury LP or CD)
Neri Per Caso - Untitled X-mas Music CD
Getz/Gilberto "Getz/Gilberto" (Mo Fi LP)
Mahler "symphony # 8" - Solti on Decca or Shaw on Telarc
The Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" - Simply Vinyl LP or DVD
Muddy Waters "Folk Singer" - MoFi LP or Classic DAD

OK, so its a bit more than five. Who said I could count?
Herb Alpert's early A&M recordings--go ahead and laugh! But if you want audio perfection, give a listen.
1. Dire Straits "On Every Street" - great cd for auditioning equipment and incredible music as all-time favorite.

2. Lou Donaldson "Blues Walk"

3. Jimmy D. Lane "Long Gone"

4. Rolling Stones "Exile On Main Street"

5. Dave Brubeck "Time In"
I am new to this and at present I only have a few that I will recommend. This first...a club mix LP done in 1985 that is a total of 19 mins. of absolute pleasure...I wish I had a truely hifi system to enjoy this cut. The others are on cd and are generally very clean, dynamic, and Hell.... just really sound great (will also have to improve my newbe audiphile vocabulary. So here goes!

1) Commodores "Night Shift" LP club & instrmt mixes 19mins
2) Dire Straits "On Every Street" CD
3) Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" DVD
4) Steve Winwood "In the Light of Day" CD

Since I am new to this site, I am really hoping that I can get a good idea of what is considered audiophile sound while still being able to enjoy the music. I will attempt to sort through the posts and select the most choosen recording for my next purchase.