- Two excellent sounding early stereo sides, each rating Double Plus (A++) or better
- Tubey Magical, big-bottomed, punchy, spacious sound – what we’ve come to expect from Larry Levine’s engineering
- An excellent recording with a studio crew full of pros – this is a dynamite combo on a strong copy like this!
- Alpert’s most famous album, 5 stars on Allmusic: “Three Grammy Awards alone for the update of the Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow-penned theme “A Taste of Honey.”
We finally pulled together enough clean copies of this classic album with which to do a serious shootout. We soon found out that the better pressings can give you the kind of Tubey Magical, big-bottomed, punchy, spacious sound that we’ve come to expect from Larry Levine’s engineering for A&M. If you have any Hot Stamper pressings of Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66’s albums then you know exactly the kind of sound we’re talking about.
Listen to all the Tubey Magic and space on these recordings — wow! Both sides here were clean and clear, fuller and more solid, with more bite to the brass and separation between parts than practically any others we heard.
They’re rich, smooth and tubey, with none of the edge or hardness of the average pressing. This is a really enjoyable way to hear this fun music. In short, this copy has the kind of sound that really brings to life these funky Mexican-flavored pop tunes.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack the full complement of harmonic information.
In addition, when the top end is lacking, the upper midrange and high frequencies get jammed together — the highs can’t extend up and away from the upper mids. This causes a number of much-too-common problems that we hear in the upper midrange of many of the records we play: congestion, hardness, harshness and squawk. (Painstaking VTA adjustment is absolutely critical if you want your records to play with the least amount of these problems, a subject we discuss in the Commentary section of the site at length.)
Tube smear is common to most pressings from the ’50s and ’60s. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have little or none, yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Full-bodied sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins at least some of the fun, certainly at the louder levels the record should be playing at.
The frequency extremes (on the best copies) are not boosted in any way. When you play this record quietly, the bottom and top will disappear (due to the way the ear handles quieter sounds as described by the Fletcher-Munson curve).
Most records (like most audiophile stereos) are designed to sound correct at moderate levels. Not this album. It wants you to turn it up. Then, and only then, will everything sound completely right musically and tonally from top to bottom.
A Taste of Honey
Love Potion No. 9
Lollipops and Roses
With Whipped Cream & Other Delights (1965), they would take their momentum to new heights — including three Grammy Awards alone for the update of the Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow-penned theme to Shelagh Delaney’s play of the same name, “A Taste of Honey.”
The remainder of the material on the dozen-song album was chosen with food as the underlying thematic motif. Sol Lake — who provided Alpert “The Lonely Bull” and “Mexican Shuffle” returns, and this time he has custom-made the upbeat and, above all, catchy trio of “Green Peppers,” “Bittersweet Samba,” and “El Garbanzo.”
Allen Toussaint’s title composition “Whipped Cream” garnered significant attention, but not as a chart hit. Rather, it could be heard as bachelorettes were being introduced on ABC-TV’s The Dating Game.