Before I get too far into the story of the sound, I want to say that this album appears to be criminally underrated as music nowadays, having fallen from favor with the passage of time.
It is a surely a MASTERPIECE that belongs in any Rock Collection worthy of the name. Every track is good, and most are amazingly good. There’s not a scrap of filler here. The recording by Bruce Botnick is hard to fault as well.
1970 was a great time in music. Tea for the Tillerman, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Moondance, Sweet Baby James, Tumbleweed Connection, After the Goldrush, The Yes Album, McCartney, Elton John, His Band And Street Choir, Deja Vu, Workingman’s Dead, Tarkio, Stillness, Let It Be — need I go on?
Even in such illustrious company — I defy anyone to name ten albums of comparable quality to come out in any year — Alone Together ranks as one of the best releases of 1970.
We struggled for years with the bad vinyl and the murky sound of this album. Finally, with dozens of advances in playback quality and dramatically better cleaning techniques, we have now managed to overcome the problems which we assumed were baked into the recording. I haven’t heard the master tape, but I have heard scores of pressings made from it over the years. I confess I actually used to like and recommend the Heavy Vinyl MCA pressing. Rest assured that is no longer the case. Nowadays it sounds as opaque, ambience-challenged, lifeless and pointless as the rest of its 180 gram brethren.
Clean and Clear Yet Rich and Sweet
This copy managed to find a near-perfect balance of the above four attributes. You want to keep what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of Rock while avoiding the pitfalls so common to them: poor resolution, heavy compression, thickness, opacity, blubber, inadequate frequency extremes, lack of space and lack of presence.
How’s that for a laundry list of all the problems we hear on old rock records (and classical records and jazz records; all records really)? What record doesn’t have at least some of these faults? Not many in our experience. A copy with few or none of these problems would have White Hot Stamper sound indeed.
This Copy Rocks
Punchy and surprisingly DEEP bass is one of the first things you will notice when playing one of these Hot Stamper copies. Huge amounts of ambience fill out the space the extends from wall to wall (and all the way to the back of the studio), leaving plenty of room around each of the players.
Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy; presence in both the lead and backup vocals (so critical to the presentation of this kind of folk rock); not to mention harmonically rich acoustic guitars that ring for days — these are the hallmarks of our hottest Hot Stampers.
Listen to how big and rich the dynamic chorus gets on the first track, World in Changes. What a thrill. Any shortcomings in the sound will be instantly obvious on this chorus. It managed to stay as clear and uncongested as any we had ever heard.