Listening in Depth to Harvest

More Neil Young

More Harvest

Listening in Depth

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Harvest.

Many copies we played would work for the heavy songs and then fall short on the softer numbers. Others had gorgeous sound on the country-tinged numbers but couldn’t deliever any whomp for the rockers. Only a select group of copies could hold their own in all of the styles and engage us from start to finish; we’re pleased to present those exceptional pressings as the Hot Stamper copies of Harvest that so many of you have been begging for.

Harvest is undeniably one of the most beloved albums in all of classic rock. We get letters all the time from customers hoping to get their hands on Hot Stamper copies, but we’ll never have the supply to keep up with the demand. It’s a tough nut to crack, because a Hot Stamper Harvest has to get so many things right — the lovely pedal steel guitar on Out On The Weekend, the LSO on A Man Needs A Maid and There’s A World (engineered by Glyn Johns), Neil’s grungy electric guitar on Alabama, and so much more.


In-Depth Track Commentary

Side One

Out on the Weekend

We love the sound of the drums on Neil Young records — think of the punchy kick drum on After The Gold Rush and the punchy thwack of the snare on Zuma. On the best copies, this song should have the kind of BIG, BOLD Neil Young drum sound we’ve fallen in love with. The pedal steel guitar sounds out of this world on our Hot Stampers.

Harvest
A Man Needs a Maid

This song features the London Symphony Orchestra. The strings at the end of the track are a great test for texture.

Heart of Gold

We love this song, but it never has the kind of Demo Disc sound that you’ll find on some of the other tracks.

Are You Ready for the Country?

Side Two

Old Man

On the best copies, you’ll be able to appreciate the depth of the soundfield. The pedal steel guitar should come from the back of room, with Neil front and center.

There’s a World
Alabama

Grungy guitar rock a la Southern Man from After The Gold Rush or much of Zuma. Neil’s guitar has to be meaty with lots of texture for this song to really rock.

The Needle and the Damage Done

This live track can sound amazing — warm, sweet, and intimate with lots of immediacy to Neil’s vocal.

Words (Between the Lines of Age)



A Recent Shootout Winner

Side two of this copy has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND! It’s punchy and lively with some of the BIGGEST BASS we’ve ever heard for this album. You won’t believe the WHOMP on this record — just listen to how hard Alabama ROCKS! The overall sound is big, open, and spacious with amazing transparency and lots of extension up top. The vocals are Right On The Money — very present with loads of texture. We rate side two an A+++ — that’s Master Tape Sound, folks, As Good As It Gets!

Drop the needle on Old Man. On virtually every copy we audition the chorus vocals strain to the point of being unpleasant, but here they are smooth and sweet.

Side one is a heavyweight as well, rating A++, just shy of the best. From the opening moments of Out On The Weeknd to the last bars of Heart Of Gold, this baby is meaty, punchy, and ALIVE. The pedal steel sounds unbelievable, surrounded by lots of ambience. The warmth, clarity, and immediacy are all top-notch. We had this rated as a triple-plus until we found one copy that beat it by a nose. If we had never heard that copy, we’d have had no problem giving this our top grade — it’s that stunning.