- For the first time ever on our site, here’s a Triple Triple (A+++) pressing of this Classic Bowie album from 1973
- Both Triple Plus sides are huge, clear and rich with phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic, thanks to Ken Scott
- A really fun listen, with Bowie running through covers of his favorite 60s hits in true Demo Disc sound
- Turns out he’s a great interpreter, turning in passionate versions of songs by The Who, Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds and more
- He brings a fresh perspective to this material, just as Bryan Ferry did so brilliantly on his first two solo albums
The music on this album is wonderful. Bowie puts a unique spin on tracks originally played by The Who, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and other British rockers. It’s a fun, intriguing album that stands up well to repeated plays. Bryan Ferry did the same thing in 1973 with some of his favorite pop songs. Oddly enough both albums entered the charts on the very same day in November of that year.
The sound is lively and full-bodied with nice transparency throughout. Bowie’s voice sounds correct and the bottom end is huge, as would be expected from anything Ken Scott recorded, and if you don’t believe me check out Baby You’re a Rich Man off MMT.
The bass here is deep and not nearly as sloppy as on most copies. Listen to the vocals, which sound just right and have lots texture to them. The harmonica on I Wish You Would is AMAZING. When has a harmonica ever sounded so rich and full? You’ll also want to check out the sax solo on Sorrow, which just plain ROCKS.
So what were some of the worst copies we heard? One was a British Original, believe it or not. They tend to be dull, thick, and lifeless — not a good match for this punky, energetic material. There are some very good sounding Brit originals but, having said that, to date they have never won a shootout.
On the other side, many of the other copies we heard were bright and grainy. It’s tough to find a copy that strikes the right balance, but this copy sure did. Triple Triple means it’s doing everything right and then some.
Ken Scott, Engineering Genius
You don’t need tube equipment to hear the prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic that exist on this recording. For those of you who’ve experienced top quality analog pressings of Ziggy Stardust or Dark Side of the Moon, or practically any jazz album on Contemporary, whether played through tubes or transistors, that’s the luscious sound of Tubey Magic, and it is all over Pin-Ups
The amazing KEN SCOTT (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century (all Top 100), as well as All Things Must Pass, Truth, Birds of Fire, Son Of Schmilsson, America’s debut and many more is the man responsible for the sound here. It should go without saying that this is one seriously talented guy! (He also co-produced the album.)
The kind of Tubey Magical richness and smoothness that he achieved at Trident in the early ’70s, not to mention sound that is remarkably spacious and practically free from distortion — qualities that are especially important to us Big Speaker guys who like to play their records good and loud –has rarely been equaled by anyone in the years that’ve followed (even by Ken).
As noted above, many of his best recordings can be found in our Rock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums, limited to the titles that we can actually find sufficient copies of with which to do our Hot Stamper shootouts.
In 2008 I had the opportunity to hear Ken speak at an AES meeting here in Los Angeles. I won’t bore you by trying to recap his talk, but if it ever comes out on youtube or the like, you should definitely check it out. The Behind-The-Scenes discussion of these artists and their recordings was a thrill for someone like me who has been playing and enjoying the hell out of most of his albums for more than forty years.
Bowie, writing in his own hand, describes Pin Ups this way:
These songs are among my favourites from the “64–67” period of London.
Most of the groups were playing the Ricky-Tick (was it a ‘y’ or an ‘i’?) – Scene club circuit (Marquee, eel pie island la-la).
Some are still with us.
Pretty Things, Them, Yardbirds, Syd’s Pink Floyd, Mojos, Who, Easybeats, Merseys, The Kinks.
A1 & B3: Originally performed by The Pretty Things
A2: Originally performed by Them
A3 & B4: Originally performed by The Yardbirds
A4: Originally performed by Pink Floyd
A5: Originally performed by The Mojos
A6 & B5: Originally performed by The Who
B1: Originally performed by The Easybeats
B2: Originally performed by The Merseys
B6: Originally performed by The Kinks
Rosalyn (Pretty Things)
Here Comes the Night (Them)
I Wish You Would (The Yardbirds)
See Emily Play (Pink Floyd)
Everything’s Alright (The Mojos)
I Can’t Explain (The Who)
Friday on My Mind (The Easybeats)
Sorrow (The Merseys)
Don’t Bring Me Down (Pretty Things)
Shapes of Things (The Yardbirds)
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (The Who)
Where Have All the Good Times Gone! (The Kinks)