Frampton’s first solo album, Wind of Change, was recorded by the well-known engineer Chris Kimsey, who worked with the Stones and others too numerous to mention. To say that the sound of his albums varies considerably would be the understatement of the year. The first album (British only, FYI) is as rich, sweet, and Tubey Magical as practically anything you’ve ever heard (as well as overly tube compressed, its biggest fault).
I unashamedly confess to being a huge Frampton fan to this very day. Wind of Change has been a Desert Island Disc for me ever since I picked up my first copy while still in high school. I bought the first Frampton album as soon as it came out, probably based on a magazine review. Think I paid $3.08 for it; that was the discount price for an album at the little record store I frequented back in those days. It was in Leucadia, CA, not far from where I went to high school.
(I specifically remember going into that store and buying the first Loggins and Messina album. On the store system they were playing Ziggy Stardust but I had no idea what the hell that album was all about and just basically ignored it (!). L&M record in hand, I proceeded to ask the guy at the counter whether it was stereo or not. He looked at me like the dumbass high school kid I was and said something along the lines of “of course it is, they don’t even make mono records anymore.” I forked over my $3.08 plus tax and filed that piece of info in my marijuana-addled brain under Lessons Learned.
I’m a Big Production Rock Guy as you may have guessed from looking at the records we rave about the most, and Frampton’s first album is a classic of Big Production Rock, in the style of Abbey Road, Dark Side of the Moon, Songs for Beginners and fifty others I could name. Make that a hundred others. Or two hundred.
Which also explains why I’ve had very large dynamic speakers since about 1975, when I was first able to scrape together enough money to buy a pair of the famous RTR 280-DR. (My mother had to co-sign the loan I took out shortly thereafter to buy an Audio Research SP3A-1 preamp and D-75 amp, if that tells you anything. And they were pretty cheap back then!)
The fourth Frampton album shown here may not boast the sound of his first, but it can have reasonably good sound, and musically it’s his strongest album after his debut, providing as it does much of the material for the blockbuster double live album that was to follow in less than a year, the one that broke the sales records set by Tapestry (and would be bested itself soon enough by a little number known as the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever).