A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This copy had a side one that could not be beat. The vocals were especially clear and breathy.
Speaking of stampers, all our best copies had the same numbers and letters in the dead wax, which — contrary to popular opinion — doesn’t happen all that often but does from time to time.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
This copy has the kind of sound we look for in a top quality Folk Rock record: immediacy in the vocals (so many copies are veiled and distant); natural tonal balance (most copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; ones with the right balance are the exception, not the rule); good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful); spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space); and last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sophisticated recording.
Here is a more comprehensive breakdown of what we were listening for when evaluating a Folk Pop/Rock album such as Summer Breeze.
Clarity and Presence
Many copies are veiled in the midrange, partly because they may have shortcomings up top, but also because they suffer from blurry, smeary mids and upper mids. Dull, dead sounding Seals and Crofts pressings can’t begin to communicate the musical values in this superb recording.
With a real Hot Stamper the sound is TOTALLY INVOLVING, and so is the music! You hear the breath in the voices and the pick on the strings of the guitars — these are the things that allow us to suspend our disbelief, to forget it’s a recording we’re listening to and not living, breathing musicians.
Top End Extension
Most copies of this album have no extreme highs, which causes the guitar harmonics to be blunted and dull. Without extreme highs the percussion can’t extend up and away from the other elements. Consequently these elements end up fighting for space in the midrange and getting lost in the mix.
Although this quality is related to the above two, it’s not as important overall as the one below, but it sure is nice to have. When you can really “see” into the mix, it’s much easier to pick out each and every instrument in order to gain more insight into the arrangement and the recording of the material.
Seeing into the mix is a way of seeing into the mind of the artist. To hear the hottest copies was to appreciate even more the talents of all the musicians and producers involved, not to mention the engineers.
Funny Little Man
East Of Ginger Trees
Fiddle In The Sky
The Boy Down The Road
Summer Breeze offered an unusually ambitious array of music within a soft rock context — most artists tried to avoid weighty subjects in such surroundings (except, of course, CSN or Simon & Garfunkel, who could pretty much get away with anything).
The title track is one of those relentlessly appealing 1970s harmony-rock anthems, in the same mode as the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music” and appropriately ubiquitous on the radio and in the memory; the guitar (electric and acoustic) and vocal hooks are all well-nigh irresistible…
Summer Breeze was the most highly regarded of all of Seals & Crofts’ albums…”