Mercury Living Presence CD's  

Posted by The Simple Layman

One of the things I like is music I grew up with.  My dad had a couple of albums by "Mercury" that he listened to when I as a kid.  They were some of the earliest "stereo" recordings at the time, and of course, listening to them on cheap record players I never really appreciated their sound with all the "pops" and scratches.

I've always liked classical music, I picked that up from my dad who also loved it.  He went to a music conservatory for a year and could have been a concert pianist and was recommended to do so.  I believe it was WWII that changed that for him.  In any case, he loved music in general, and I can remember him listening, sometimes for hours to music.

One of my favorites

With the advent of CD I moved away from record albums to some extent.  I have found a few over the years in mint condition and have committed to copying them from my turntable to a digital format to listen to.  I still have a few of my dad's records but don't play them because they wore out a long time ago.  Some I have replaced with newer copies on CD and some with mint recordings I have found along the way.

I believe it was five years ago when I saw my first cd copy of the old Mercury Records recordings they had begun committing to cd.  They had been out for a couple of years unknown to me. It was a copy in our library that I checked out.  I had remembered them sounding pretty good but was really amazed at hearing them in the digital format.  It sounded more full and rich with clearer highs, full bodied bass, and cleaner sound than many of my cd's with recordings made completely digital from original recording to finished cd.  I could hear distinct separations of instrments in the listening field and their placements in the orchestra.

This was the first one I purchased

Mercury Records began making stereo recordings in the early fifties using a state of the art process for them.  They used only three microphones and recorded it to a three channel recorder built just for this purpose.  Many of the recordings were practiced but recorded in just one take.  They began using 1/2 inch magnetic tape, (1/4inch magnetic tape was used for the old 8 track, reel to reel, and 1/8 inch for cassettes).  Later, they advance to 35mm film stock because of it's lower noise and more consistant recording.  The use of the three strategically placed microphones produced a more realistic sound but unlike today's recordings, once the sound was committed to tape it couldn't be mixed and altered as thoroughly as today's recordings with their sixteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two track recording consoles.  But their straight forward clarity and warmth keeps me listening to them.  I hope to increase my library of them.  On the same note, the RCA "Living Stereo" Recordings from around the same time period were done in a similar fashion and have a larger library available, (60 recordings), that have been given the same sort of quality treatment if you want to try some of those too.  I particularly like the Mario Lanza recording and the Boston Pops recordings.

This one is the second one I bought

Cover art I downloaded for the purpose of showing the one I am currently listening to from our local library and will be purchasing on ebay in the next day or two-

If you want to listen to some great timeless recordings from a by-gone day, these are the ones to listen to.