Here it is: the definitive version of Jennifer Warnes’s newest masterwork. Supervised by the artist and mastered by Bernie Grundman Mastering from Jennifer’s analog master tapes, this is the ultimate expression of The Well that will ever be made. Includes the bonus tracks from Impex’s new gold CD version plus an amazing new recording of Bob Dylan’s haunting “Born in Time” that marks a graceful coda to Ms. Warnes’s examination of love and loss in uncertain times and places. Spread across six sides; devoted audiophile fans will be enrapt by this lovingly and lavishly produced epic, packaged in an individually-numbered wood box with a large-format booklet, personal notes by the artist, and a deluxe insert
NEIL GADER – ABSOLUTE SOUNDS MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2011
Jennifer Warnes is one of the most underrated pop singers of her generation. Her albums, though few and far between, brim with melody and craft–and lyrics both intelligent and emotionally weighted. The Well was originally released in 2001 but time hasn’t dulled its spirit. Along with the title track, standouts include “Patriots Dream” in duet with Arlo Guthrie, a stunning cover of Tom Waits’ “Invitation to the Blues,” and Dylan’s classic [exclusive to this 45 rpm release] “Born In Time.” The songs are lovingly produced, inventively orchestrated, and stocked with a who’s who of studio musicians. But Warnes’ expressive vocals overshadow all. She’s a singer who asks a lot of her gifts, always seraching for finer degrees of nuance and dynamics like a painter mixing color on a palette. The reissue from Impex Records is a model for the premium LP industry. Its three-disc, 45 rpm 180-gram pressings are presented in an individually numbered wood box with a twelve-page, large format booklet that includes notes and lyrics. Bernie Grundman presided over the all-tube remastering. Sonically this is about as good as it gets from a studio-bred multitrack–fabulous acoustic textures, deep bass, and awesome ambience. A vinyl-lover’s dream come true.
HI FI WORLD, MAY 2012
Jennifer Warnes? Some will know her from her seventies hit “Right Time of the Night” while others will be more familiar with her duet with the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley on “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the film Dirty Dancing. The cognoscenti will also know her from her critically acclaimed LP release, Famous Blue Raincoat, her album of Leonard Cohen songs. This album, originally released in 2001, scores in three ways: as a creative project, sonically and as a piece of art. As a vehicle for her carefully crafted songs, The Well is haunting, spiritual, lilting and innovative with a story to tell. As an object in itself, the album is a work of beauty. Presented within a wooden box, custom made for this release, with updated artwork and a numbered brass plaque positioned on the front, the package contains the album – which spans three discs – and a 12-page, large format book that features lyrics, notes plus words of wisdom from Warnes herself on each and every track. You also receive a piece of art presented on a card with a pearlescent finish and an article on the flip side penned by Texes author Brad Buccholz about The Well. The box set includes the original album tracks plus three bonus tracks: “La Luna Brilla,” “Fool For the Look (In Your Eyes)” and a Bob Dylan cover of “Born in Time.” Sonically, the album has been mastered on an all valve-based system via Bernie Grundman, known for his long term work with the now defunct Classic Records label. Mastered onto 45rpm disks, the album has that valve “glow” that coats the music with a rich analogue warmth. A dynamic recording, the vinyl provides an appreciably low, powerful bass with detailed upper frequencies. Easily the best recording of the album out there.
DENNIS DAVIS, HIFI+, ISSUE 872
The first thing you notice about this box set is its museum quality packaging. Instead of cardboard, the box is constructed of wood and impeccably finished in the highest quality paper stock. It’s easily one of the most beautiful record boxes ever. Inside the box, an equally gorgeous booklet and photo insert provide lyrics and production notes. How can the audio live up to such gorgeous packaging, I wondered.
Best known for her standard Famous Blue Raincoat and her hit duet with Joe Cocker for the soundtrack to An Officer and a Gentleman, Warnes has had a wonderful and varied career. She originally released The Well on CD in 2001 and retained all rights to the masters, an in 2010 Impex released a [remastered and expanded] gold CD of the album. The title tune refers to Jacob’s Well, an artisan spring in Texas hill country. Warnes’ singing is captivating on each number, but her rendition of “You Don’t Know Me” with Doyle Bramhall stand comparison with Ray Charles’ classic version. The LPs were mastered by Bernie Grundman and the sound is to die for. If my usual scale goes up to 10, I’m giving this an 11. It’s so good sounding its hard to listen to anything else afterwards. A home run that gets my highest recommendation.