There can be a good deal of snobbery in audiophile circles, not only when it comes to audio equipment but also music. Now in some ways this disposition is understandable. Snobbery can sometimes be hard to distinguish from the more legitimate category of refinement. But snobbery, I think, can be described as flaunting a show of knowledge to humble others, to suggest that they have inferior, or at best, middling tastes that render their judgments suspect at best. The snob doesn’t simply enjoy his superior taste, in other words. He or she relies upon it to pump up his or her own ego.
Why am I musing about this phenomenon? The proximate cause, to use a somewhat snobbish phrase, is because I recently purchased a copy of a Mobile Fidelity reissue of KC and the Sunshine Band—which was founded in Miami, Florida in 1973--on its silver label vinyl. This label is somewhat cheaper than its other ones. I purchased mine from Acoustic Sounds where it retails for $22.99. The idea is to try and appeal to younger LP buyers who may not always have deep financial pockets rather than simply offering costly reissues.
Does it sound perfect? Nope. That isn’t the fault of Mobile Fidelity. Instead, you can hear the limitations of the original recording on a number of tracks. No after the fact wizardry can make up for that. But then again, some of the cuts on side B, including “What Makes You Happy” and “I Get Lifted” sound exceptionally good. The bass drive and slam is particularly sensational. But that’s not really the main point. What I really want to say is that the album plain rocks, stirring up memories of the 1970s. I’m not saying this is Proust’s madeleine and all that. Nor am I saying that bell-bottoms should make a comeback. But the LP is a definite treat.
What’s more, it’s a pity, to my mind, if you get stuck in listening to only one genre of music. A couple of years ago Luke Manley of VTL took a look at my record shelves, gazed wonderingly, and pronounced my tastes to be “omnivorous.” Well, yes. Mostly I stick mostly to classical and jazz. But there’s too much else out there to justify a failure to explore the vast recorded catalog of music.
To its credit, Mobile Fidelity is releasing a farrago of recordings on the silver label, ranging from Stevie Wonder to 10,000 Maniacs, from the B-52s to the Raspberries. Good for MoFi. Come to think of it, perhaps it’s time to give Acoustic Sounds another call.