The Rolling Stones – Between The Buttons on Decca

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  • An excellent copy with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – one of the better copies from our recent shootout
  • This is classic ’60s Stones sound, courtesy of Dave Hassinger, working in L.A. (RCA) and London (Olympic + Pye) 
  • If you’re looking for the ideal combination of Tubey Magical richness and transparency, this copy is one of the few that will show it to you
  • 5 Stars: “… one of their strongest, most eclectic LPs, with many fine songs that remain unknown to all but Stones devotees.”

This LP has the British track listing, so don’t pick this one up if you’re looking for great sounding versions of Let’s Spend The Night Together or Ruby Tuesday. A bummer, but the domestic copies sound AWFUL, so what can you do?

Tubey Magic Is Key

This vintage British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

Ladies and Gentleman, The Rolling Stones

What the best sides of this Classic from 1967 have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl import pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Yesterday’s Papers 
My Obsession 
Back Streets Girl 
Connection 
She Smiled Sweetly
Cool, Calm & Collected

Side Two

All Sold Out 
Please Go Home
Who’s Been Sleeping Here?
Complicated 
Miss Amanda Jones
Something Happened to Me Yesterday

AMG 5 Star Review

The Rolling Stones’ 1967 recordings are a matter of some controversy; many critics felt that they were compromising their raw, rootsy power with trendy emulations of the Beatles, Kinks, Dylan, and psychedelic music. Approach this album with an open mind, though, and you’ll find it to be one of their strongest, most eclectic LPs, with many fine songs that remain unknown to all but Stones devotees.

More Reviews and Background

Between the Buttons, like many British long-players, differed between its UK and US versions. The UK edition (in the form Oldham and the Stones intended it) was issued on 20 January 1967 on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, “Let’s Spend the Night Together” b/w “Ruby Tuesday.” As was common in the British record industry at the time, the single did not appear on the album. Between the Buttons reached #3 in the UK.

According to Robert Christgau, Between the Buttons was “among the greatest rock albums”, and AllMusic’s Richie Unterberger hailed it as one of the Rolling Stones’ “strongest, most eclectic LPs”.

In a retrospective review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne called the album “a cheeky set of sardonic Swinging London vaudeville rock”, while Billboard magazine’s Christopher Walsh wrote that “it’s brimming with overlooked gems, the band delivering a captivating blend of folky, Beatles-esque pop and tough bluesy rockers.”

Tom Moon wrote in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) that the album was “lighter and thinner” than Aftermath and, “having belatedly discovered pop melody, Jagger and Richards were suddenly overdosing on the stuff.” Jim DeRogatis included Between the Buttons in his 2003 list of the essential psychedelic rock albums.

Dave Hassinger – Engineer

As a staff engineer at RCA’s Hollywood studios in the 1960s, David Hassinger worked on a number of important and classic recordings. The most famous of these, perhaps, are mid-’60s tracks that the Rolling Stones recorded in Hollywood, including the entirety of their 1966 album, Aftermath. They also include, however, the first two Jefferson Airplane albums, along with efforts by Sam Cooke, Love, the Monkees, the Byrds (their first attempt at “Eight Miles High,” re-recorded later for official release), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and others. Hassinger also attempted to establish himself as a producer in the late ’60s, with limited success, most notably with the Electric Prunes and the first Grateful Dead album.

Hassinger’s work with the Rolling Stones was probably pivotal in expanding his musical and professional horizons. The Stones liked working in American studios, and during their mid-’60s tours in the States, they would often record in that country, including sessions at RCA in Hollywood. Hassinger first worked with them at the end of 1964, and did engineering on tracks that appeared on Out of Our Heads and December’s Children. He did all of Aftermath, even writing the liner notes. The palette of sounds and instruments on the record — marimbas, dulcimer, sitar, harpsichord, and fuzz bass — was a challenge for both the Stones and the producer (Andrew Oldham) and engineer.

Allmusic

(RCA) wasn’t as funky as Chess obviously but it was more commercial. And (Dave Hassinger) really… he had a good ear, he’d get good sounds, and we experimented with more instruments… And he’d always get good sounds so we’d always get a good take at 3 or 4 shots at a song.

Bill Wyman