- Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second for this White Hot 2-pack
- The overall sound here is incredibly rich, full and Tubey Magical with excellent clarity and a wonderfully extended top end
- An incredibly tough album to find without condition issues; they’re usually beat
- “Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate… as is the musicianship.”
This original Atlantic stereo pressing is a MONSTER, one of the best we’ve ever played. You will have a very tough time finding a copy with even one side this good, let alone two.
The music, of course, is top notch, and it’s even better when you don’t have the bad sound and groove distortion of the average copy getting in the way. I imagine the Queen Of Soul herself would be very impressed with the way she sounds on this White Hot Stamper pressing.
So many copies are smeary, recessed and lifeless you’d think you were playing a heavy vinyl reissue, not a real Atlantic original. But when you get a lovely copy such as this, the music comes to life in front of you and the shortcomings quietly recede into the background (assuming you can handle the surfaces).
This is the way of all good pressings. We’ve played thousands of them.
Why These Sides Are The Best
The most tonally correct vocals for one. The brass is solid and smooth, not sour, gritty or honky. And the transparency and clarity are first rate.
Four Men with Beards cut this record many years back. When it came out I was still selling Heavy Vinyl at the time, and liked some of the titles they had remastered. This one however sounded terrible to me and I refused to carry it.
Our Famous 2-packs
Our 2-pack sets combine two copies of the same album, with at least a Super Hot Stamper sonic grade on the better of each “good” side, which simply means you have before you a pair of records that offers superb sound for the entire album.
Audiophiles are often surprised when they hear that an LP can sound amazing on one side and mediocre on the other, but since each side is pressed from different metalwork which has been aligned independently, and perhaps even cut by different mastering engineers from tapes of wildly differently quality, in our experience it happens all the time. In fact it’s much more common for a record to earn different sonic grades for its two sides than it is to rate the same grade. That’s just the way it goes in analog, where there’s no way to know how a any given side of a record sounds until you play it, and, more importantly, in the world of sound everything is relative.
Since each of the copies in the 2-pack will have one good side and one noticeably weaker or at best more run-of-the-mill side, you’ll be able to compare them on your own to hear just what it is that the Hot Stamper sides give you. This has the added benefit of helping you to improve your critical listening skills. We’ll clearly mark which copy is Hot for each side, so if you don’t want to bother with the other sides you certainly won’t have to.
Today I Sing The Blues
Crazy He Calls Me
Bring It On Home To Me
Tracks Of My Tears
If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody
Gentle On My Mind
I’ll Never Be Free
One of her most overlooked ’60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”
Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.