March 26, 2016

Ghulam Hussein Khan: [CLVLX 260] Musique Classique Indienne (1968)

This recording on the Disques Vogue label from France is somewhat of a curiosity. Recorded during the "golden age" of the sitar in the West (1967-68) I imagine that more bloggers than dedicated Indian Classical music aficionados own this album.

Also, this is the only LP that I am aware of which starts off with a Thumri and then proceeds onto the ragas.

The liner notes reveal that Ustad Ghulam Hussein Khan was born in 1927 in Indore, so he would have been 19-20 years old at the time of Independence. He was a disciple of Ustad Bande Ali Khan.

side 1:
Panchamse Giara (a dadra, which is a form of thumb)
Raga Priti Hindoli

side 2:
Raga Jhinjoti

Tabla is performed by Nizamuddin Kahn and Tampura was provided by Pratima S Parekh.

This copy is in reasonable visual condition; certainly no less than VG+ by Goldmine grading standards. I found it unusual that there was what appeared to be a Braille plastic label on the back cover. It was meticulously cleaned. There were maybe 30-40 clicks per side which were easily but tediously eliminated using Audacity's "repair" tool. Much harder to reduce or eliminate was the low intensity, "grinding" type of surface noise found in the grooves, especially in the alaap sections.

Although I resisted the temptation to use the "noise removal" tool,  I did utilize some subtle equalization; specifically: a 3-5 dB boost in the 40-50Hz range to bring out the lowest registers of the tabla and a 6 dB decrease above 15kHz. I'm happy with the results I was able to achieve.

A different transfer is available here:

Finally, for those who simply must own this album, a used copy is available here.

Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in water, followed by a quick vacuum drying with a VPI 16.5 cleaning machine
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/44.1kHz resolution
Software: Audacity to normalize and carefully remove multiple clicks per side. No change in EQ was made. Conversion to 16/44.1 took place in Audacity. xAct was used to convert to FLAC and mp3. So-called "noise removal" was avoided in order to best preserve the dynamic nuances and tone quality of the original sound.

Up soon will be a pair of LPs on the greatly missed World Pacific label, featuring Lakshmi Shankar and Ashish Khan respectively, as well as several LPs my friend Nels loaned me to transfer.

I don't often mention it, but I truly do appreciate my readers and those other bloggers I know, who are trying to keep this spectacular music alive. 

Please note: there are no ads on this blog and as far as I can tell, no ads at the adrive hosting service. The time I spend on the blog is my gift back to the wonderful musicians I know who make their living producing this music. The more this older music is listened to, the better educated the listeners will be, especially in the West. This in itself is one of the things that will be needed to sustain the genre into the future. I am definitely not trying to negatively affect the incomes of either musicians or record labels. I hope the reverse is true. In fact, oddly enough, I happen to own a record label myself and will be issuing my first release (featuring an excellent session recorded in Mumbai by a talented Hindustani vocalist as well as superb tabla and harmonium players) late next month.

Until next time!


  1. Thanks a lot Richard for this LP and I can't wait the Lakshmi Shankar and Aashish KHan ones!

    Your blog is really great, it's a real pleasure to read you and listen to your LP transferts.

  2. Thanks Richard. I always look forward to reading your blog.

  3. Thanks a bunch for this! Please note that the .jpg filenames are slightly wrong, the [prefix] contains wrong references (260 -> 250, CLVLX -> CLXLV).