Thick As A Brick is surely the BEST SOUNDING ALBUM Jethro Tull ever recorded. Allow us to make the case.
- The better copies are shockingly dynamic. At about the three minute mark the band joins in the fun and really starts rocking.
- Set your volume for as loud as your system can play that section. The rest of the music, including the very quietest parts, will then play correctly for all of side one. For side two the same volume setting should be fine.
- The recording can have exceptionally solid, deep punchy bass (just check out Barrie “Barriemore” Barlow’s drumming, especially his kick and floor toms. The guy is on fire).
- The midrange is usually transparent and the top end sweet and extended on the better pressings.
- The recording was made in 1972, so there’s still plenty of Tubey Magic to be heard on the acoustic guitars and flutes.
- The best copies can be as huge, wide and tall as any rock record you’ve ever heard, with sound that comes jumping out of your speakers right into your listening room.
- Unlike practically any album recorded during the ’80s or later, the overall tonal balance, as well as the timbre of virtually every instrument in the soundfield is exceedingly correct.
That kind of accuracy practically disappeared from records about thirty years ago, which explains why so many of the LPs we offer as Hot Stampers were produced in the ’70s. That’s when many of the highest fidelity recordings were made. In truth this very record is a superlative example of the sound the best producers, engineers, and studios were able to capture on analog tape during that time.
Which is a long way of saying that the better copies of Thick As A Brick have pretty much EVERYTHING that we love about vinyl here at Better Records.
Furthermore, I can guarantee you there is no CD on the planet that will ever be able to do this recording justice. Our Hot Stamper pressings – even the lowest-graded ones – have a kind of ANALOG MAGIC that just can’t be captured on one of them there silvery discs.
We Play ‘Em
When we do these shootouts we play quite a few original copies of the record (the reissues are not worth the vinyl they’re stamped on) and let me tell you, the sound and the music are so good we can’t get enough of it. Until about 2007 this was the undiscovered gem (by TP anyway) in the Tull catalog. The pressings we had heard up until then were nothing special, and of course the average pressing of this album is exactly that: no great shakes.
With the advent of better record cleaning fluids and much better tables, phono stages, room treatments and the like, some copies of Thick As A Brick have shown themselves to be simply amazing sounding. Even the All Music Guide could hear how well-engineered it was (click on the Rave Review tab above).
We Love the Complexity
When you can hear it right, the music really comes to life and starts to work its magic. All the variations on the themes separate themselves out. Each of the sections, rather than sounding repetitive or monotonous, instead develop in ways both clever and engaging. The more times you listen to it the more nuances and subtleties you will find hidden in the dense complexity.
Just the number of time-signature changes on either side is enought to boggle the mind. Of course, if you listen very carefully you can hear that most of them are accompanied by edits, but it’s fun to listen for those too!
Simply put, the more you play it the better you will understand it and the more you will like it. This is of course true for all good music.
COMMENTARY FROM AN ESPECIALLY HOT SIDE TWO
This pressing of Thick As A Brick is CLEARLY one of the very best side twos we have ever played. It takes the recording to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. It has HUGE, room-filling, hi-definition sound with levels of Tubey Magic you simply are not prepared to hear. The transparency and the clarity are mind-boggling. It’s truly a White Hot Demo Disc of the highest order.
It’s got all the ROCK ENERGY and whomp of the best domestics coupled with the transparency, clarity, extended top end and Tubey Magic of the best Brits. And it’s QUIET on this side. White Hot and quiet? What are the chances? You could play twenty copies and not find one with this kind of sound on vinyl this quiet. (Fifty if you don’t clean them right, and cleaning fifty copies is a lot of work.)
I would have to say that this side two would easily rank as one of the ten best Rock Demo Discs ever made. This is the sound of COMPLEX ANALOG at its best.
To say this is a sonic and musical masterpiece practically without equal in the history of the world is no overstatement. But you have to have a copy like this for that statement to be true. This copy had us in the studio with Jethro Tull. It was nothing short of breathtaking. I will be thinking about this record for a long time, long after it has gone to a good home. You don’t easily forget this kind of sound.
As noted above, this pressing gets you the DYNAMICS, ENERGY and PRESENCE of the best copies we have ever played. The sound is jumping out of the speakers, tonally correct and fully extended from top to bottom, and just plain BIGGER and BOLDER than we heard on other copies.
This is the sound we spend our days looking for. If you’ve got the system that can play an album of this size and power, you will hear exactly what we mean.