- You’ll find superb Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from first note to last on this vastly underrated Rod Stewart classic
- One of the few to hit our site in the last four years, and for that we apologize – Atlantic Crossing should be enjoyed by everyone in Hot Stamper form
- This is some of the best Muscle Shoals rock- and soul-inflected pop from producer Tom Dowd we know of
- AMG raves that “Three Time Loser and Stone Cold Sober catch fire,” and on this copy we guarantee they do
The last consistently good Rod Stewart album? Atlantic Crossing definitely gets my vote.
The copies we liked best were the biggest and richest, the least thin and dry. Many of the brighter copies also had sibilance problems which the richer and tubier ones did not.
What do the best pressings give you?
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music? The best copies rock like only “The Memphis Horns and three-quarters of Booker T. and the MG’s” can. We’ve been playing this record (at least I have) since it came out in 1975 and love the way it can sound on the better pressings.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar notes, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Domestic Vs. British Vinyl
On some of the Rod Stewart albums that we happen to know well, the British pressings are clearly superior; the first two Rod Stewart albums come immediately to mind. After that, strange as it may seem, all the best pressings are domestic. This album is certainly no exception.
I remember bringing back a few Brit copies from England many years ago and being surprised that they were so thick, dull and dubby sounding. Of course, they were; the album was recorded right here in the good old US of A. The master tapes are here. The Brit pressings sound dubby because they are made from copy tapes.
If there is any doubt, the following is a list of the studios in which Atlantic Crossing was recorded.
- A&R, NY
- Criteria, Miami, FL
- Wally Heider, Los Angeles, CA
- Hi Recording and
- Muscle Shoals Sound, AL
Three Time Loser
Alright for an Hour
All in the Name of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Stone Cold Sober
I Don’t Want to Talk About It
It’s Not the Spotlight
This Old Heart of Mine
Still Love You
Atlantic Crossing wasn’t simply the moment when Rod Stewart left Britain for the greener pasture of America, it was the moment when he accepted his role as a full-fledged, jet-setting superstar. Stewart abandoned the formula of his first five solo records, as well as most of his folk-rock and hard rock undercurrents, trading them for a professionally polished, rock- and soul-inflected pop, courtesy of Muscle Shoals’ musicians and producer Tom Dowd.
The glossy production doesn’t obscure or trivialize Stewart’s talents — coming after the tired Smiler, the slickness actually accentuated his strength as an interpretive singer. “Three Time Loser” and “Stone Cold Sober” catch fire, and Stewart’s heart-wrenching rendition of Danny Whitten’s “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” ranks as one of his finest performances.
The Making of Atlantic Crossing
Atlantic Crossing is Rod Stewart’s sixth album, released in 1975. It peaked at number one in the UK (his fifth solo album to do so), and number nine on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.
The title indicated Stewart’s new commercial and artistic direction, referring to both his crossing over to Warner Brothers and on his departure to escape the 83 per cent top rate of income tax introduced by British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson for the jet-set lifestyle in Los Angeles (where he had applied for American citizenship at this time).
The album was divided into a slow side and a fast side, apparently at the suggestion of Stewart’s then-girlfriend, Swedish actress Britt Ekland. Stewart would repeat the format for his next two albums.
With Atlantic Crossing, Stewart ended his association with Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan and the stable of musicians who had been his core collaborators on his classic run of albums for Mercury Records, fusing soul and folk. Instead, he used a group of session musicians, including The Memphis Horns and three-quarters of Booker T. and the MG’s.
The album was produced by Tom Dowd, the famous engineer and producer on records by so many of Stewart’s heroes during Dowd’s time on staff at Atlantic Records. Following the success of the album, and his move to the U.S., Stewart announced his exit from The Faces by the end of the year.
“Sailing” was a number one hit in the UK in September 1975, and returned to the UK Top 3 a year later when it was used as the theme for the BBC series Sailor; both acoustic and electric guitars in the song were played by Pete Carr. In 1977, almost two years after the album was released, Stewart scored another UK number one from the album with the double A-side single “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest”.