Good things comes in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition vinyl pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, VMP operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives! With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month… in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (a 3-month membership will set you back about $119) and they send you one carefully selected album they feel is Essential to any record collection. Yes, it truly is as easy as it sounds. You even get FREE SHIPPING. Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with killer extras like original artwork and informative listening companion booklet.
You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP store too, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including their crate-diggery Essentials selection of Ray Barretto Acid – or choose from a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP is adding fresh new selections to their stock weekly. Do not miss out.
Word to the wise – while the store is open to the public, most of the covet-worthy stock is only available to subscribers. Members are privy to reduced “Members Pricing” as well, so joining the club has its rewards. If you’re wary of relinquishing control of your record collection to strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you’re not interested in for a past featured album from any track (including Essentials, Country, Classics, and Rap/Hip Hop). My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do your turntable a favor and sign up today.
As for November, I’ll be eternally thankful to VMP for tabbing Ray Charles’ live album In Person for the Essentials track.
For The Love Of Vinyl, Please DO NOT BEND
I’m not gonna pretend that Ray Charles needs any sort of introduction at this point as both the man and his music should be familiar to anyone with even a casual interest in pop music past. And I’ve enjoyed the man’s jams as much as any music lover on the planet over the years. Such it was that I surprised even myself that I wasn’t overjoyed when Vinyl Me, Please announced Charles’ live album In Person as the November Essentials pick. In fact, I came very close to swapping the album for something in the Classics track.
That’s because I felt the set was just too short, with Charles fronting a handful of soulful late-50s hits alongside a handful of his more jazz-forward compositions of the era. After listening to In Person the first time – admittedly done via Spotify – I was confident it was a swap-worthy selection as I didn’t feel the full breadth of Charles’ talent, or the power of his live show had been captured. But at the last minute, I decided to stay the course and give VMP’s Mono remaster a chance. And I’m happy to report I was legitimately blown away by what I heard from this gloriously punchy pressing of In Person.
In fact, after my first spin of In Person, my one and only complaint was that I wanted more music, with the seven-song set clocking in at an all too brisk 29 minutes and change. Brevity aside, Charles and his backing band burn through the seven tracks like a fever, with Marjorie Hendricks and The Raelettes bringing some serious backing-vocal heat to album opener “The Right Time” and closer “Tell The Truth.”
Those tracks are, of course, standouts in Charles’ astonishing songbook. They’re standouts here too, even as they’re slotted in alongside staples like “What’d I Say?” and “Drown In My Own Tears.” Those tracks take up more than half the runtime of In Person. While casual Charles fans and diehards alike may be moved to dance when they’re pumping through the speakers, the largely non-vocal tracks in between pack every bit as much punch. At the risk of repeating myself, I feel sincerely compelled to re-iterate just how amazing each track sounds here.
What makes that fact all the more incredible is that the live set was recorded in 1959 by a local DJ promoting the concert. Astonishingly, it was recorded with just a single microphone. And that makes the soundstage reproduced by Ryan K. Smith and the Sterling Sound team for this vinyl pressing nothing short of miraculous. Check it out if you don’t believe me.
In Person no doubt served as an introduction to Ray Charles’ music for many. So it’s only fitting that his smiling face should don the cover.
You’ll find some insider info about Charles and the album on the back cover, btw.
You’ll also find that ever important VMP Essentials foil stamp. This one is appropriately stamped in gold lettering.
The album’s hype sticker confirms this pressing of In Person is more than worthy of that stamp.
If you’re curious about In Person‘s place in the vast Vinyl Me, Please vaults, you can find the album’s catalog number on the OBI strip.
There’s also an excerpt from the listening companion on the back.
As for the booklet, there are loads of intriguing pearls of information concerning the recording of Ray Charles In Person. And it’s a breezy read to boot.
Every VMP Essentials pick, of course, comes with its own album-inspired art print. This month, team VMP chose an archive photo of Ray Charles at work. And that’s pretty damn fitting if you ask me.
As for the vinyl, it’s one of the simpler color ways VMP has done this year. But In Person hardly needs to be dressed up too much to impress.
Simplicity aside, that blue vinyl is still fit to dress up any deck lucky enough to display it.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
How does it sound? Like you were sitting front row center for the classic 1959 set from Ray Charles and Company. And I cannot overstate just how thrilling that is. That’s particularly true considering how skeptical I was of this release, which was fully erased halfway through Side 1 of my first spin through In Person. My love for this recording has only grown with every ensuing spin. I have no doubt that will continue to be true even as it’s destined to get some heavy play in my house moving forward. If you decide to give In Person a spin for yourself, you’ll no doubt feel the same.
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door every month! Be sure to check back next month to see what vinyl treasure Team VMP sends our way!