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Positive Feedback ISSUE 25


The Carl Verheyen Band, Rumor Mill (AIX Collectors Edition 83039)
by Clay Swartz


This limited-edition, signed and numbered two-disc set from AIX offers various ways of listening to the music and watching the concert and recording session. The first disc is a Dual Disc (CD plus DVD-Audio), and the second is a two-sided DVD-Video disc with over three hours of content. Among the extras are guitar demonstrations, a guitar master class, a photo gallery, extensive artist bios, alternate 5.1-channel mixes from audience and stage points of view, extensive liner notes with information about the performers and the session, information about the DVD format and 5.1-channel surround, and setup instructions.

The band features Carl Verheyen on vocals and guitars, Cliff Hugo on vocals and bass, Bernie Dresel on drums, and Jim Cox on Hammond B-3. Verheyen was the guitarist for Supertramp and a sideman with many other groups. Fellow Supertamp bassist Cliff Hugo and Brian Setzer Band drummer Bernie Dresel join Verheyen on the disc. This set does a great job capturing a rock performance, both in concert and in the studio. It also demonstrates the abilities of several different recording methods. Although the concert footage, which was shot in high-definition video, is of very high quality, it is slightly limited by rock concert lighting. The close-up shots of Verheyen’s playing are interesting. The quality of his playing is first class. The vocals are also quite good. All of the songs were written by Verheyen, except “Holly House,” which was co-written with Craig Copeland. The lyrics are good, but not memorable.

If you want the most musical truth, the 96/24 PCM stereo track is the way to go. It is very dynamic, crisp, and detailed. The next-best sound is on the MLP 5.1 track, which is only slightly less live-sounding than the PCM track, and adds surround sound. Then comes the CD, which is a definite downgrade in dynamics, extension, and detail. Everything sounds a little rounder and slower. Nevertheless, the CD is one of the better-sounding CDs now available.

Both the MLP and 96/24 PCM tracks offer stagnant pictures with the sound. The MLP is a stage mix, but I would have preferred an audience mix. Of the video tracks, the DTS mix of the recording session is the best. The stage monitors and amplifier speakers compromise the sound quality of the live concert. On the Dual Disc, the first couple of tracks in the acoustic section, which consist solely of Verheyen playing guitar, sound pretty good. When other instruments and vocals are added, the limitations of Dual Disc become more apparent. When you switch to DTS, the sound gets more crisp, more dynamic, and more focused. All of the recordings on this disc should be considered of reference or near-reference quality for their type. Good, well-recorded music and high-quality video makes this disc easy to recommend.


Sound Quality

96/24 PCM **** ˝

MLP 5.1 **** ˝

CD ****

DTS ***

DD ** ˝

Video Quality ****

Music Quality ***

Performance quality ****

Note: I feel that four and five stars are given out far too much. Only a recording that has near-perfect sound (perhaps one in a thousand albums) should get a five-star rating. It should sound like a live concert. I consider the sound of most CDs to be two-star or less, and the music on the average pop album to be about the same. To get as many as four stars, an album must have really strong music throughout, with no filler and at least a couple of memorable songs.