Offered for sale is a scarce half speed mastered pressing of Mike Batt’s 1979 LP, Tarot Suite.
Mike Batt isn’t well known, but this obscure 1979 LP, featuring Chris Spedding, Rory Gallagher, Mel Collins and Colin Blustone is a nice piece of progressive rock. It’s also one of the harder to find titles in Columbia’s short-lived half speed mastered series of audiophile pressings.
AllMusic.com gave the album 4 1/2 stars:
Mike Batt’s second solo release on Epic, Tarot Suite, was inspired by the 22 major arcana trump cards of the tarot deck. If the listener wants to make sense of the concept of this album, the insert provides a handy description and explanation of the various cards and how they relate to the music. If not, Tarot Suite certainly holds its own as an artfully and literate collection of orchestrated rock & roll. Joining Batt is an impressive assemblage of musicians, including guitarists Chris Spedding, Jim Cregan, Rory Gallagher, and Tony McPhee and saxophonist Mel Collins.
The copy offered for sale has a cover that’s VG, with some ring wear and a promotional stamp. The record is M- and looks nearly unplayed. The original custom insert and the Columbia half speed mastered insert are included.
A nice copy of a hard to find album.
This particular pressing was part of Columbia Records’ short-lived (1980-1983) audiophile series, in which they released a number of then-new and vintage titles in high-quality, half speed mastered editions in order to compete with Mobile Fidelity and Nautilus. These records were mastered with both the tape deck and the cutting lathe running at half speed, which produces deeper bass and better imaging than standard pressings. In addition, these records, which sold for a substantial premium over the regular pressings of the album, were pressed on high quality virgin vinyl. Mobile Fidelity’s audiophile pressings are better known than those from Columbia, but Columbia’s half speed mastered pressings are, for the most part, exceptionally good ones, and this album is no exception.