Patricia Barber - Cafe Blue is an effects album

Drives me a little nuts how many still praise this album as the end all Jazz album for audiophiles. 

Mind you, I really like Miss Barber's music, and some tracks on Cafe Blue, but Cafe Blue, the darling of many an audiophile, isn't even close to her best album.  At best its Audiophile bait. At worst it's preternaturally sterile and lab grown. 

Live at the Green Mill for instance is just such a better album to listen to.




To each his own. I’m not particularly fond of Nina Simone either and there are thousands out there who love her .

Well, it is very well recorded, though of course that isn't unusual for her albums. But if an audiophile is looking to test or compare components, I could see why this album might be in the rotation.

In terms of the actual material, it's not my favorite of hers either, but obviously that's subjective.

 Feel the same way about Famous Blue Raincoat. Growing up, I experience more than my share of 3rd degree hangovers. The ones where you know you're awake but wish you weren't?

Whenever I hear this album, I go back to this place.

I have never gotten Ms. Barber"s appeal.  I haven't listened to all her stuff, but what I've heard hasn't motivated me to make the effort.  Sounds like bland audiophile music to me.

I've grown to like her. Maybe she was wrongly produced, or sounded too hard, in the beginning. I have the Mobile fidelity LP box version of Cafe blue and the sound is great although the performance is somewhat icy. Mythologies is an interesting album. And the sound and music is more warm and relaxed on  Live A fortnight in France, and The Cole Porter mix.

Try this one

Bo Kaspers Orkester - 10 latar live

excellent music and real dynamics…if you got a system for it :-)

@curiousjim  - Nina Simone is in the category of socially relevant, and poignant composers, not necessarily the most beautiful voice.

Love her voice, verve, composition, and to me she is a true talent

Some of the very best digital recording ever done in my opinion.

Prefer Companion and then Cafe Blue.  The SACD's are killer.

But if you don't dig her, I guess you can sell your Barber acquisitions.

Patricia Barber is a wildly talented singer, pianist and jazz artist, and Cafe Blue is an early recording of mostly original songs.  Famous Blue Raincoat is a beautiful album of Leonard Cohen songs, sung by Jennifer Warnes, who has a stunning alto voice.  She, along with Bonnie Raitt,  k.d.Lang, Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther provided background vocals on Roy Orbison's A Black And White Night.  They both happen to be well recorded, and have become audiophile demonstration records.  That just enhances the artistry evident on both albums.  

@erik_squires , yes, Cafe Blue sounds wonderful, but it isn't a favorite of mine either.

Here are a few of the  albums that are favorites of mine and are also very well recorded-

Simple Minds, Glittering Prize

Armstrong & Ellington, Dukes Place

John Fogerty, Blue Moon Swamp

Hot Tuna, Keep On Truckin'

The Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing It So Why Can't We?

Asleep At The Wheel, Western Standard Time

Jeff Beck, Who Else?

Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped World

The Fixx, Extended Versions

That's just a small list of my collection that sounds wonderful.

None of them are boring!

Enjoy the music!

kb54 pretty much sums it up.  Jennifer Warnes !  Leonard Cohen !  Brilliant lyrics.  A gift to the world for his stunningly insightful poetic contribution to the world of music.


It was deep into his fiery heart 
He took the dust of Joan of Arc
And then she clearly understood
If if he was fire 
Then she must be wood

Thanks, all! Yes she is a great composer, musician and artist. Like Dianna Krall. Why are female artists so often overlooked by the men-mostly audiophile community? Even in 2023?

I bought Cafe Blue HDCD back in the '90s when I first heard her cover of "Ode To Billy Joe" on a public radio station I listened to, and I honestly never listened to it much.  (So I cannot really explain all the other Patricia Barber CDs I bought during that same period of time, except, perhaps, that I am somewhat OCD.)  In the last few years I have gained a new appreciation for Cafe Blue & I have picked up a couple of different SACDs of that release and I listen to them frequently and I enjoy the experience.