Originally released in 1994, The Raven was the solo recording debut of actress and singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon. Pidgeon would release four albums with Chesky, but it was The Raven that made her something of an overnight sensation in the audiophile community. With a pure, breathy soprano, Pidgeon is reminiscent of both early Joni Mitchell as well as Sandy Denny, and the mostly self-penned tunes on The Raven—some were co-written by her husband, David Mamet—encompass a range of pop, folk, and jazz-inflected styles. Yet for many listeners the standout tune here is Pidgeon’s excellent cover of Phil Spector’s “Spanish Harlem.” Newly mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and plated and pressed at QRP, The Raven holds up very well musically, and the minimally-miked recording, using a custom 128x oversampling DAC and tube gear designed by George Kaye, is outstanding in a natural as opposed to spectacular way. Pidgeon’s lovely, somewhat delicate voice is very nicely captured and surrounded by cushions of studio air. Her accompanists—piano, guitar, bass, light percussion, and backing vocalists—are beautifully balanced into the mix, and there’s an easy, organic whole to the LP that’s highly appealing.
By Wayne Garcia
Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.More articles from this editor