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Armando M. Mesa RSS Feed (Chandler, AZ)
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Cerwin-Vega E-712 12-Inch 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker, Black Ash (Single) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Cerwin-Vega E-712 12-Inch 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker, Black Ash (Single) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of a BASS Dying Breed !, September 24, 2005
Remember when you could purchase REAL stereo speakers within a moderate price range that would not break the bank? Remember what it was like to listen to near audiophile quality speakers with the bass woofers built into them? Many an audio enthusiast will try to get that rich bass sound for their music by using small tiny satellite speakers and a separate sub. What they notice, like I did, is that there is always a slight delay or an out of tune quality between the sub and sats. The Cerwins have the bass woofers built right into them and therefore the woofers are tuned in time to match sonically with the mids and tweets in the speaker cabinets; something that ONLY the most expensive of separate sats and subs can do...In today's so called audio market, slim and bass-less tower speakers are all the rage and norm. You have to fork a few hundred to a thousand dollars more for that separate subwoofer----which most of today's subs will work for theatre digital applications but fall short for musical applications !...Cerwin Vega has always made affordable and reliable mid to hi-fi speakers. They fill that niche that no other audio speaker company cares to. With other name brands you either have an extreme limited choice between their bottom end cheap stuff or their esoteric and elite lines, but nothing in the middle for those on a budget to enjoy near audiophile high quality sound...

No need to fret my friends!In comes the Cerwin Vega E-712. The CV E-712 is one of the best audio speakers on the market (have been for a number of years with different model or badge-letter-numbers by Cerwin Vega such as HED or RE series). Their strength lies in that earth shattering bass producing woofer (you don't need a separate sub--period).The crisp high frequency tweeters are also something to marvel over. Some will claim that the tweeters on a CV speaker are too bright or sharp(that's what those handy-dandy black knobs on the speaker cabinet are for---to fine tune the sound and cut back or increase the highs and mids). You must remember that Cerwin Vegas were first widely used as dance club or DJing speakers.Their car audio line uses the same loud and sharp sounding principle to compensate for automotive engine-environment road noise.The real test is when these are used in a digital surround theatre set up ! The lows will make your stomach and chair rumble. The sound quality is colored and a tad exaggerated.This means that these are not warm or neutral sounding speakers like audiophile-grade speakers which tend to have a more subtle and bland sound for those used to crisp sharp highs and boomy bass. Mids are not accurate, but rather well produced.

The bottom line is that I'm glad I chose these speakers for their awesome sound quality which for me translates into a fun and hair raising experience from using with a turntable to listening to my favorite dvds !!! Does that behemoth Cerwin Vega speaker cabinet prove itself that it's not just for aesthetics? You better believe it! It serves it's HEAVY purpose/function extremely well...They are thickly insulated and constructed so well that you hear no speaker box resonances. I have pesonally seen the inside construction to these and even the cross over network is built pretty rugged---now that should be music to anyone's ears and earnings !


Grado Prestige Blue Turntable Stylus
Grado Prestige Blue Turntable Stylus

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound of Sibilance, September 24, 2005
I have owned this Blue Prestige replacement stylus for over a year now with only one qualm;sibilance!...

Most of the Grado Prestige series cartridges from the black,green to the blue and red series all suffer from not being able to track harsh consonants like sh, s, z or t's very well.This will be highly notable as the cartridge tracks towards the inner groove (inner groove distortion).If you do not like the letter s cutting into your ears, then stay away from this stylus...A much better excellent tracker is the Audio Technica AT440ML with it's micro linear diamond. HOWEVER, a much more SUPERB tracker that will blow away the competition with regards to the Grado and Audio Technica is the Shure V15VxMR...I purchased the Shure about a year ago before all the hype about being discontinued.It is still available through certain online audio retailers.However, the price has practically doubled for the Shure !...

Enough of the Shure.While the Blue Grado stylus is harsh sounding with vocals, all is forgiven by how musical sounding it is with jazz, acoustical and even classical music.Guitar strings are plucky and you can feel the natural high frequency or resonance of cymbals and even tambourines. Bass is tight and not loose or boomy.On loud passages with rock music, electric guitars don't crackle. The sylus holds up pretty well. The mids are very impressive and sound natural.The mids is where this stylus really performs. Also, there is a very solid centered sound image. Some will argue that this only makes stereo music flat or mono-like. Yet, others will commend the Grado for "filling" in the gap of the soundstage!

Also, the Grados are not light trackers with their elliptical shaped styli and bulky looking cartridge body;they require tracking between 1.2-1.9 g. Keeping these setting parameters in mind, what you get is a very lively musical experience that for the price you cannot go wrong. Just don't have high expectations for this budget Grado stylus...


Bud & Travis Latin Album
Bud & Travis Latin Album
Price: $26.80
5 used & new from $26.80

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have (Especially for those who LOVE the guitar) !!!, August 15, 2005
What can I say folks...This is a true treasure from the past! One listen and you will be mesmerized at how a couple of guys can interpret classic Spanish songs, boleros with such perfection and ease. The catch is that neither one of these guys were ever born in Mexico or are from Spanish descent. Truly goes to show that music knows no color or boundaries...Bud Dashiell and Travis Edmonson came together in the mid to late 50's and continued with their success in the 60's producing rich pop-folk music but sometimes with a strong Latin influenced flair.Think Kingston Trio(minus the trio and more like a duo) with sometimes the subtlety of later groups like Peter, Paul and Mary and then influencing the Smothers Brothers and possibly Simon and Garfunkel. Now, cross this with the Spanish/Latin great muscial artists like Trio Los Panchos,Trio Calavera, a dash of Trini Lopez ! At times, their vocal harmonies compliment each other so well that you often forget it's just two guys singing and will think there are three (trio?).You will definitely feel and hear these guys singing from the gut, lungs, and heart---but most importantly, the soul or spirit! Their guitar playing skills are pure masterful artistry ! Sadly, MOST of their albums are completely out of print (as I have obtained rare vinyl pressings from the 50's and 60's at various used record stores). The Latin Album really put Bud & Travis on the map in the early 60's with this release !

What's intriguing about the original vinyl pressings is that you could buy the album in either the monaural (non-stereo) version or the stereophonic version. The stereophonic version, as with most early stereo pressings, tended to exaggerate the soundfield/soundstage. Often resulted in an "unnatural" playback experience(the singer on the left speaker and the entire band or other artists on the right speaker). The mono version had more bass, clarity and less tape source noise and vinyl record surface noise. The limited cd pressing (currently available as of this writing),while it sounds clear and void of all the record pops and ticks, reveals some annoying tape hiss (don't know if it's in the remastering process or an anomaly of the digital medium). I can tell you that the vinyl monaural pressing sounds awesome and clear out of the 3 pressings !
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2012 6:51 PM PDT


Tourist In Paradise
Tourist In Paradise
Price: $12.99
116 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Rippingtons, August 15, 2005
This review is from: Tourist In Paradise (Audio CD)
This cd was my introduction to the Rippingtons back in '89 (fresh out of high school---into college)...I then started to collect some of their other works. Without a doubt, from their classy Jazz Cat (retro beatnik?) mascot artwork to the actual musical material,as a whole, this cd is brilliant ! The vitality and the energy (even the subtle warmth and beauty of the slower tracks like One Night In Brazil) from this project renders each composition to be very special with absolutely no fillers. Styles range from contemporary smooth cool jazz, light pop rock (Earthbound) to a highly danceable salsa track (Aruba!) steeped in it's rich Latin ambience and rhythms really makes this an awesome and complete cd ! Tourist in Paradise is polished to perfection.

I happen to own both the cd version and the vinyl/record version (remember those?). The vinyl pressing is a trip to listen to and makes the music really come alive---now I know why jazz enthusiasts prefer the sound of vinyl over cd sometimes ! There's no elevator muzak here guys. The Rippingtons know how to really surprise and catch your attention by also creating beautiful Latin-jazz infused rhythms and tracks throughout some of their catalog releases; They do it with such genuine command and natural ease !

Out of the entire Rippingtons catalog I recommend these 4 titles: 1. Tourist In Paradise, 2. Moonlighting, 3.Life In The Tropics, 4. Wild Card.


Tones
Tones
Offered by Missouri Wholesalers
Price: $35.00
44 used & new from $0.78

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnson's Opening Act !, May 4, 2005
This review is from: Tones (Audio CD)
While Tones is not loaded with the same diversity, edge, or refinement(and lacks just a tad of energy) like Johnson's 1990 release Ah Via Musicom (a cd my brother played over and over) it is still pure musical artistry in the making !I'm no guitar playing expert but the hooks, licks, and atmosphere of Tones kept my attention---it's not hard rock or heavy metal- ear -and -mind- blowing -earth shattering- stuff---but it's great stuff nonetheless! Many have criticized Eric Johnson's vocals (however, I don't buy an Eric Johnson release for the singing. To me, simply put, his vocals are reminiscent of rocker Bryan Adams' without the raspy, grating, sand paper quality---great example is the track Friends)...That said, Tones is like the opening act to a movie or play that is only gonna get better (as is the case with his later releases).Tones is also in essence a teaser or sampler debut. His work on the track Desert Song is incredible and definitely captures a Southwest, Sedona, desert-like atmosphere.Eric Johnson can make his guitar sing, scream, talk, and even whisper. With the diverse tracks on Tones you will be stunned and soothed ! This is an album that definitely gets played from beginning to end without skipping a single track.I also give great credit to his band---especially those drums ! I don't care if a friend or critic says it sounds like 80's pop-rock music(there's absolutely nothing outdated, formulaic or generic on Tones); To me it's timeless and a very important/critical part of my vast music collection. This 1986 release gets five stars because as I said there are quite a few instrumental artists that I cannot listen to their albums in their entirety without skipping a track or tracks; Eric Johnson's Tones is that exception !


A-Koo-De-A!
A-Koo-De-A!
16 used & new from $5.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonedaddys' At Their Best !!!, March 25, 2005
This review is from: A-Koo-De-A! (Audio CD)
A-Koo-De-A! comes from the French word ecouter which means "to listen"...

Listen you will indeed to these guys! Multi-member band who infuses everything from ska,dance,worldbeat,cajun with generous amounts of funk,r&b,jazz. It all adds up to some of the best party music you'll ever hear.Don't be fooled by the band's outrageous costumes; they are artistically skilled and serious musicians and vocalists to the nth degree.The Bonedaddys are no novelty act or fad band.Due to their multi-ethnic approach to their music, this may be only one of many reasons why they have succeeded and lasted since the early 80's. This particular title has been long out of print since 1988 on the independent Chameleon Records label and very difficult to find on cd format---even at bargain basement pricing!Luckily one day I happened on a used vinyl copy at a music store which then led me to hunt down this elusive cd on the net.Found it I sure did at a very reasonable price!...

A-Koo-De-A is eclectic and energetic.Some of the best party-band music around. This ,if you can find a copy, should be included in anyone's music repertoire when having a party !!!Even without the party, it's still a great joy and pleasure to listen to. The Bonedaddys' A-Koo-De-A lifts the spirit for those mundane moments in anyone's life !!!


Los Pacaminos
Los Pacaminos
Offered by Adams' Books and More
Price: $21.95
11 used & new from $17.29

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars European/British Tex-Mex ???!!!, January 26, 2005
This review is from: Los Pacaminos (Audio CD)
First off, I recommend going to the Los Pacaminos website at [...] to discover amazing bits of info on the band members' biographical and musical backgrounds. You will discover these guys have been in the music business for a long time individually... Some of the bandmembers have worked with the biggest European and American musical acts of the past few decades---a real musical potpourri list (from Chaka Khan, Chic,Chuck Berry,Joe Cocker to The Pretenders, Paul McCartney's Wings,Joe Jackson, Sarah Brightman, Deana Carter, Mike & The Mechanics) ! ...In fact, Paul Young, 80's British pop and blue-eyed soul artist, had a huge hit back in '85 with Every Time You Go Away. Point is, you're not listening to the musical artistry of someone new to the industry...So, how do Los Pacaminos sound ??? What does Los Pacaminos mean in Spanish ?...

My first initial impression was a mixture of The Mavericks, Los Lobos, Texas Tornados,Flaco Jimenez, Freddy Fender with some Dwight Yoakam added to the mix !In addition, I listened very carefully to one track titled Raised On Margaritas and I heard influences of Chuck Berry on the guitar licks and The Beatles (early British invasion Beatles). There's even a highly infectious toe tappin', foot stompin' instrumental called Tico---great, great, fiesta material. Various bandmembers of Los Pacaminos take turns on lead vocals---it's not just Paul Young on all tracks singing upfront. As for the group's name, no need to brush up on Spanish because los pacaminos means absolutely nothing. It's just a catchy, creative pseudo-Spanish word or phrase the group came up with that to them means "pack em' in" in reference to packing in an audience or crowd. Sort of a warm invite to come and give them a listen !...Another example of this fun play on made up Spanish words is noted in the opening track My, My, My where Paul humorously turns Rio Grande into Rio Grando to amusingly and rhytmically sort of rhyme with the word ranchero...Those that speak and understand Spanish will kinda scratch their heads at that one; I did at first but then got the gist ! Kinda like when some say incorrectly or jokingly "no problemo", when the correct Spanish way is "no problema" !

Now,ready for this?.... try to grasp this concept folks; Los Pacaminos are not Southwest Americans from San Antonio, Texas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, or even Tucson, Arizona. They're natives from ENGLAND ! Yep, England. The real kicker is that you would never know by ear alone.If I could travel back in time to my teen years in '85 and would have been told by someone with insight to the future that Paul Young would have a Tex-Mex band in the year 2005 (actually, band started in 1995) I would have told them I got swamp land for them in Alaska...

Every track on this cd is just rich in it's Southwestern Tex-Mex, Country & Western influences and styles. Plenty of accordion (a la Flaco Jimenez) and pedal steel guitar work and Tex-Mex country croonin' to go around in generous amounts.Hook-laden melodies and creative lyrics are aplenty to keep the listener enticed. Songs' subject matters cover life,love,hard work,bank heists,margaritas or Margaritas (wink), basically the human spirit (Southern Texas/Southwestern fiesta style)! Flawless musicianship and convincing vocals worthy to sing such genres of music.British singer Young's vocal style is superb for this type of music (not just for the 80's New Wave, pop, and r&b genres).His unique vocal tonality and distinct ability has lended itself to such diverse styles of music in the past and present;now, he can add Tex-Mex to his repertoire. Paul Young's passion, interest, and love as well as respect for the Tex Mex genre is absolutely no come on, novelty act, or passing fad or quirk. This is the real deal.

As an avid collector of a mutltitude of musical genres and artists, I have been collecting Tex Mex music for quite some time. I have come to the conclusion that Los Pacaminos are NOT getting the proper exposure and credit they deserve ! These guys are excellent and awesome...Los Pacaminos have the artistic passion and sheer talent that can strongly be heard on this fine cd. There is NOT a single filler track or waste of cd space. Each song is a remarkable revelation.I highly advise anyone out there who collects different styles of music (and not just collect to say, "I have the biggest collection") to expand a little and get Los Pacaminos.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2009 6:54 PM PDT


Eddie & The Cruisers - Soundtrack
Eddie & The Cruisers - Soundtrack
Price: $4.99
83 used & new from $0.24

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Volcano Got It Right....Ignore The Printed Track Listing, January 18, 2005
Eddie and the Cruisers came out a year before Streets Of Fire would be the next project for actor Michael Pare in another rock n' roll film with an awesome soundtrack to boot. The movie about the disappearance of a (fictional) leader of a rock band was not too shabby ( I only saw it on cable a couple of times)...Point being, both soundtracks (hand in hand) I would highly recommend to any an avid music collector to prove that the 80's music was not all commercialized-synthesized shlock. Both retro in sound to the 50's and 60's with a contemporary edge that have stood the test of time exceptionally well !

Many have compared Eddie & The Cruisers/John Cafferty soundtrack to Springsteen's and the E Band's work (hopefully as compliment and not as a rip off).Let's just say the Boss is the Boss and John Cafferty is John Cafferty. John Cafferty and his band were/are anything but a rip off. He has this very distinct knack for writing original and performing his material with plenty of hooks and upbeat melodies. His vocals are also easily recognized.They seem to have the tough rebellious rockin' edge to them when called for and yet that controllable warm vocal range that allows him to do a great ballad like Tender Years!The Beaver Brown Band can do no wrong---the sheer artistry and musical synergy between JC & BBB is a great musical force unto itself.

The Volcano company did include ALL the right tracks that were on the original vinyl pressings and cassette versions. The only small quirk (which in no way affects playback or has deleted anything) is the way the tracks are physically/digitally numbered on the disc; they do not correspond with the printed listing on the back cd cover. Does this matter? Heck no...but I was ready to return the cd before I listened to it's entirety. I thought the track Hang Up My Rock N' Roll Shoes had been deleted and that Season In Hell (Fire Suite) had been cut down to only two mintues plus (scratching my head like crazy)! Volcano has kept Hang Up My Rock N' Roll Shoes as part of Down On My Knees track (as one big track). Season In Hell (Fire Suite) has been split into two separate tracks (again, no sweat ,the suite/track still blends smoothly---no breaks or "cuts"). Believe me, I was ready to take my copy back to the cd music store...

The mystery of why this soundtrack was not released in it's correct entirety in the first place is like the mystery surrounding Eddie's disappearance in the film (though, we the buying public can draw many a conclusion of our own why the screw ups occurred with the initial cd release).As for the Volcano version and the other version that many felt ripped off by (two tracks missing), there will be no surprise if in time another version is released with additional material (definitive soundtrack)...Aye, aye, aye, the things record companies do to drive us buyers nuts !!!
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2015 9:34 PM PST


Moonlighting
Moonlighting
Price: $12.99
78 used & new from $0.84

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonlighting...One of My Three Favorites, January 13, 2005
This review is from: Moonlighting (Audio CD)
I own only three Rippingtons titles: Moonlighting, Tourist in Paradise, and Life In The Tropics. All three are like your kids...you can't have just one favorite. Likewise, all three titles are my Rippingtons favorites. Moonlighting is where it all started for the Rippingtons. It's great contemporary, fusion jazz with guest performances by Kenny G on a few tracks (a year before he would strike it big with his own Duotones album) and David Benoit.Moonlighting by Russ Freeman and his crew evokes a positive, uplifting beginning and welcoming invitation to the rest of their future releases ! Absolutely the kind of music to calm the jangled nerves and get rid of the daily work stress or traffic jam anxiety and still awesome enough to dance to with that someone special. It's definitely music for pure pleasure for the senses, mind, heart and soul.

Whether it's 1986, 1996 , or 2005, Moonlighting holds up extremely well...I truly also recommend getting Tourist In Paradise (excellent track on cd called Jupiter's Child) and Life In The Tropics (Latin, tropical flavored fusion jazz).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2009 8:34 PM PST


Hidden Agenda
Hidden Agenda
Price: $11.98
60 used & new from $0.85

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked Since The First Listen !, January 13, 2005
This review is from: Hidden Agenda (Audio CD)
Had I not been up late one night recently listening to a local jazz station playing Burma Road (which caught my interest and piqued my curiosity)I would have never known about this artist!Hard to believe this cd has been out already ten years and I have barely found out about it's existence...

The title of this c.d. could also have been "Smooth Operator" ...smooth, slick, hip, are just a few of the adjectives to describe it. Two more words would be pure class to describe Adams' grand artistic solo performance. Tracks like Burma Road, Moon Over Palmilla, 5 O'Clock Somewhere inspire rich mental visualizations of said places.The listener becomes transported to these mysterious places. Hidden Agenda is completely filled with positive atmosphere and artistic ambiance. Try to pick out one single track to qualify as a dud and NONE will be found ! Guaranteed.

There's so much upbeat vibes and plenty of colorful energy from this spectacular fusion of jazz, hip hop, R&B, funk elements. His rendition of Sade's Smooth Operator, as I understand, was probably the first track to get rotation on jazz/fusion airwaves. Smooth Operator sounds very much like it could have also been specifically written by or for Greg Adams as an instrumental only track ! Most popular songs with vocals that are covered by other artists as instrumentals do not translate very well... It is the extreme opposite with Adams' rendition.

In no way form or fashion will you mistake Greg Adams' Hidden Agenda for generic elevator muzak.If you are hard-pressed to make a comparison, it's almost like Herb Alpert teaming up with Paul Hardcastle on the Jazz Masters series. However, Greg Adams still has a very distinct project and sound with all the musical and horn arrangement hooks you could ever hope for and also be surprised by. This cd did not have to grow on me; It instantly became one of my all-time favorite smooth jazz cd's on the first listen!...It's no hidden agenda on Adams' part to get you to like this cd. Guaranteed you will on your own (practically on the first listen) !


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