help_outline Skip to main content
audiophile foundation logo 

News / Articles

One Track Mind

Alon Sagee | Published on 2/13/2014

Since taking the responsibility of leading BAAS into its future – a mere 24 hours ago – I think I’ve pulled out most of my hair and, I believe, if you look carefully, you can still see some smoke emanating from my ears. Ah, the joys of a crash course in support and communications systems for an online community… and I thought the presidency was going to be all “cush” with limos to trade shows, free drinks and such… Guess not. However, I think I’ve got my arms wrapped around this three-headed technology beast and I’m moving forward. Welcome to my first blog post.

The idea for One Track Mind came to me late last night. I imagine this would be an enjoyable exercise and could have some very rewarding results if enough people participate. I realize that it may be more suited for the forum rather than the blog, but I’m still working on streamlining that little bit of modern wonder, so we’re going to try it out here first.

If you absolutely had to choose only one track, in any format or style, to demonstrate what your audio rig can do, what would it be? And why? Post your answer by leaving a comment to this post.

Over the years, I’ve seen posts listing someone’s top 10 best recorded albums or something like that – which is fine – but here we’re looking for the very best single tune in your collection, on your system. Give this some thought, post your choice, and soon we could have a killer thread with all kinds of new ultra-reference tracks to try on our own systems. By now, most of us are a wee bit tired of Diana, and Holly, and pretty soon, Shelby too.

I’ll start: Since we’re talking only one track, mine would be Good Morning School Girl on the 1987 MCA vinyl re-issue of Folk Singer by Muddy Waters (I’ve yet to find the original Chess Records LP). I bought this regular weight, non-audiophile, not kissed-by-virgin-cherubs album when it was re-released 27 years ago and still I believe it to be the best recording I’ve heard of a single voice and acoustic guitar. When I play this track with lights off (no dimmers allowed in the man-cave), Muddy doesn’t come into my room… it is I who sneaks into his 1963 Chicago recording session unnoticed, and plunk myself down on the floor about 10 feet in front of him. With eyes closed, I can see him shifting his weight in his seat, I can see the movement of his guitar and I actually feel the changes in the room’s air pressure as he slaps its wooden body, creating his own percussion section in between strums. The performance is stellar… even if I didn’t love the blues, I’d still be very impressed.
Your turn.
Post navigation
Favorite Articles About Music
10 thoughts on “One Track Mind”

russbutton says:
February 13, 2014 at 9:49 am

This is a tough. To select ONLY one track… I’ve got a sampler CD I made up with about 20 tracks on it. The track I’ve always gone back to in evaluating a system is “You Are Too Beautiful” from the album titled “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman”. Hartman’s voice is very revealing as to the tonal balance and naturalness of a system.

The recording itself is typical early 1960s, spring reverb and all. But Hartman’s voice lets you know immediately what’s right and wrong in the register where most acoustic instruments live.
Log in to Reply
michael K. says:
February 13, 2014 at 10:13 am

There are so many tracks to illustrate different aspects of my system, but one that comes to to fore each and every time is a vinyl record of Vaughn Williams “The Lark Ascending” with Iona Brown on violin. For me, no other track soars, sings or allows one to hear the semi-quavers of a violin so well as this one, the orchestral accompaniment is not to shabby either. The piece ends as the lark ascends to the heights beyond one’s vision and the strings go forth as well.
Log in to Reply
Drew says:
February 13, 2014 at 11:12 am

I favor small group, acoustic recordings. This one happens to be on CD, but it’s live, open sounding and nakedly revealing: Corey Harris – Live at Starr Hill. One man and one acoustic guitar.
Log in to Reply
skepica says:
February 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

You didn’t restrict this to two-channel format although that was probably how my nomination was originally done. Most impressive on my system must mean 5 channel so I’m gonna say “Three O’ Clock Blues” by B.B. King from the super audio DVD disk B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Riding with the King, (Reprise, 9 47612-9). This advanced resolution disk can also be played four ways including stereo. This excellently recorded song was recorded in 1951 at the Memphis YMCA and helped launch B.B. King to stardom.

Vincent Sauvé
Log in to Reply
Don Naples says:
February 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I generally start with a female vocal and then progress to the genre someone wants to hear, but if only one track is available, I will go with Ray Brown Live at LOA (SACD). The drum cymbals sizzle and the bass has to be real, so it shows the extended frequency range of my system while the live recording is not over processed by a recording engineer.
Log in to Reply
Wim Vuist says:
February 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Vodoo Child , from Electric Ladyland , The Jimi Hendrix Experience
I was reintroduced to this track at the 2013 California Audio Show by Sean Casey of ZU audio. I loved their set-up best not necessarily because of sound quality, but more because of the ambiance. They played vinyl and offered beer during the listening session. They also played requests from the people in attendance. They had a large stack of LP’s from which you could choose your liking. I immediately found the record I wanted to hear: a Japanese pressing of Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland, with the beautiful cover of topless women. ! I own an American release of this record (Reprise Records 2RS 6307) which I bought for $8.00 a long time ago. My version unfortunately, does not have this scintillating cover. (It is not allowed to display topless women on LP covers or anywhere else for that matter in puritan USA). I play this track at home very often and with my set-up it does sound better than what it sounded during the ZU session. My system has been upgraded since I uploaded it to the BAAS website 5-6 years ago. (How do I update my system at BAAS?). This track always confirms Jimi Hendrix to be my guitar hero. He is awesome on this track!! The sheer power and energy radiating from this live session is just unbelievable.
Log in to Reply
Mortsnets says:
February 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Think of all the songs on Townes Van Zandt’s – Live at the Old Quarter as one big track – demonstrates the emotional impact my system can deliver.
Log in to Reply
demoe says:
February 14, 2014 at 1:18 am

I’d have to go with Get out of town, holly cole from here live release ‘it happened one night’
Log in to Reply
Alón says:
February 14, 2014 at 11:23 pm

This is a great. I dug through my music collection and found only two of the recommended reference tracks: Coltrane/Hartman and Jimi Hendrix. I’ll be listening with new ears.

To keep this thread going and encourage more reference level suggestions, when you’ve listened to a reference track recommended by fellow members, please post your opinion and impressions of how it sounds on your system.

Those of you who are still deciding which track it’ll be, we’re looking forward to your recommended reference track.

Thanks to all who posted so far!
Log in to Reply
Dan Rubin says:
February 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Commonwealth Christmas Overture on the Reference Recordings Arnold Overtures.

Early Morning Rain from the Ian & Sylvia album of that name.

Autumn Leaves from Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note.