A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
Side two of this White Hot Stamper June Christy record on the original Capitol Turquoise label is AMAZING, both musically and sonically. It has all the TUBEY MAGIC we know these old records are famous for, but this copy gives you something you may never have heard on a vintage pressing before: real frequency EXTENSION, both high and low. Who knew an old record could have extended highs like these and such deep bass?
I can honestly say I have never heard any June Christy record sound as good as this copy does.
(We had a fantastic Something Cool a while back but that was all pre-upgrades. The sound is far better now than it was then, making comparisons all but meaningless.)
OFF THE CHARTS A Triple Plus Sound from start to finish. Rich and sweet and present like no copy we have ever heard. No copy out of the four originals we played earned more than a grade of A++, so this side two is a big step up over everything and the best sound we have ever heard for ANY June Christy record.
Not as tubey magical as the best we heard but earning lots of points for being present and clear. It has some of the top end you will hear on side two, which is also rare in our experience. With more richness and fullness, the kind side two has in spades, this would have been a real contender for side one. No side one earned a higher grade than A++ so this copy was actually not that far off the best we played. It’s this side two that had us gobsmacked and forced us to set a higher standard for the other copies.
Musically this album is right up there with the best female vocal records we have ever played, the creme de la creme, albums on the level of Clap Hands and Something Cool and Billie’s Music for Torching. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
What to Listen For
There is what sounds to us like a contrabassoon on the second track on side one, When the Sun Comes Out. It’s so real sounding it will give you chills!
From the liner notes:
This album illustrates the great and long-standing musical rapport between June and arranger-composer Pete Rugolo. Pete uses three distinctive instrumental groupings here — a large string orchestra, a smaller string and woodwind group, and a third ensemble that features trombones, rhythm, vibes and xylophone. His backing complements to perfection these performances by Miss June Christy — who, for an enchanting interlude, has locked the door and Gone For The Day.
A Word or Two About Vintage Pressings
For those of you who have tried 50s Capitol pressings in the past, such as those by Frank Sinatra perhaps?, you know that finding clean copies with audiophile sonics and surfaces is almost impossible. There are three major hurdles that any pressing has to survive, and they are:
Groove damage caused by old turntables with heavy arms, worn cartridges and no anti-skate device to prevent inner groove distortion. (None of the copies in our shootout were completely free of at least some inner groove damage. The best of the best have it only lightly on the last track of either side.)
Scratched and noisy vinyl. Most of these records were pressed on bad vinyl to start with, then played when they were dirty, a deadly combination. Cleaning helps but no amount of cleaning can fix bad vinyl or surfaces that have dirt ground into them.
And finally, bad mastering. Many early pressings — most copies of Something Cool just to take one example — have no top end whatsoever, topping out about 8k I would guess. Not such a problem for an old console stereo with a coax whizzer for a tweeter, but a big problem for a modern full-range stereo like I and many of you own.
It’s So Peaceful in the Country
When the Sun Comes Out
It’s a Most Unusual Day
Love Turns Winter to Spring
When You Awake
When the World Was Young
Gone for the Day
Lost in a Summer Night
Give Me the Simple Life
Though she was the epitome of the vocal cool movement of the 1950s, June Christy was a warm, chipper vocalist able to stretch out her impressive voice on bouncy swing tunes and set herself apart from other vocalists with her deceptively simple enunciation.
Christy’s debut LP for Capitol, 1954’s Something Cool, was recorded with Rugolo at the head of the orchestra. The album launched the vocal cool movement and hit the Top 20 album charts in America, as did a follow-up, The Misty Miss Christy. Her 1955 Duet LP paired her voice with Kenton’s piano, while most of her Capitol LPs featured her with various Kenton personnel and Rugolo (or Bob Cooper) at the head of the orchestra. She reprised her earlier big-band days with 1959’s June Christy Recalls Those Kenton Days, and recorded a raft of concept LPs before retiring in 1965. Christy returned to the studio only once, for 1977’s Impromptu on Musicraft.