Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.
Take five copies of the album, clean them well and then cue up Straight On. Now listen for how fat and solid the snare sounds. At least three will have a snare that doesn’t have the heft of the real thing. At most one will show you what it should really sound like.
Of course the copy with the right snare sound may have other problems, most assuredly does have other problems, which is why you need about ten to fifteen copies to really do a proper shootout.
The vocals were breathy and clear on this side two, and the overall sound was punchy and energetic. The main areas we took points off for were a lack of warmth and a bit of smear on the acoustic guitars. Most copies have trouble getting all the transient information to resolve properly. The acoustic guitars are the place where this is most easily heard.
Side one earned the full Three Pluses for sound, with some of the breathiest background vocals we heard on any copy. That is a key sign of transparency — the background vocals are clear and breathy behind the lead singers. Most of the time they will be audible but the texture of the voices will be compromised.
Rich full sound is of course key to any rock record; it’s a quality that we rarely find on Heavy Vinyl reissues these days. (Granted we play very few but the ones we do play don’t sound very good so why bother?)
Cook With Fire
Dog & Butterfly
Like their Magazine album, Dog & Butterfly peaked at number 17 on the charts, but the material from it is much stronger from every standpoint, with Anne and Nancy Wilson involving themselves to a greater extent. The light, afternoon feel of the title track peaked at number 34, while the more resounding punch of Straight On went all the way to number 15 as the album’s first single. With keyboard player Howard Leese making his presence felt, and the vocals and guitar work sounding fuller and more focused, the band seems to be rather comfortable once again.