- A killer vintage copy of this exceptionally well-recorded Stones album from ’69, with superb Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- Clear, rich and lively throughout – the Tubey Magic of the best pressings is what has them sounding the way they should
- One of a select group of Rolling Stones Must Own records which we prize above all others – Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed round out the trio
- 5 stars: “Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: ‘Street Fighting Man’… was one of their most innovative singles, and ‘Sympathy for the Devil’… was an image-defining epic.”
Good pressings are certainly not easy to come by — this kind of rich, full-bodied, musical sound is the exception, not the rule. And there’s actual space and extension up top as well, something you certainly don’t hear on most pressings. This is a fantastic album, and excellent sides like these give it the kind of sound it deserves.
Raw Rock & Roll Sound
Of course, Hot Stamper Sound still only gets you what’s on the tape. In this case, it’s some rude, crude, dirty rock & roll. That’s clearly what the Stones were going for here. In terms of audiophile appeal, Tea For The Tillerman this ain’t. Nor does it want to be!
What sets the best copies apart from the pack is a fuller, richer tonal balance, which is achieved mostly by having plenty of bass and lower midrange energy. The copies that are bass shy — most of them, that is to say — tend to bring out more of that midrangy shortcoming.
Tubey Magic Is Key
This 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.
Two other qualities that the best copies have are
1): Transparency, so the ambience and subtle musical qualities are more audible, and
2): less smearing of the sound, which is especially noticeable as a lack of bass definition and a blurring or softening of the transients elsewhere.
One further note: this is a work of GENIUS. There are a select group of Rolling Stones records which I prize above all others: this one, Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed. They represent the peak of The Rolling Stones output. It would be hard to imagine three better records produced consecutively by any rock band from this, or any other, era.
Sympathy for the Devil
Street Fighting Man
Stray Cat Blues
Salt of the Earth
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
The Stones forsook psychedelic experimentation to return to their blues roots on this celebrated album, which was immediately acclaimed as one of their landmark achievements. A strong acoustic Delta blues flavor colors much of the material, particularly “Salt of the Earth” and “No Expectations,” which features some beautiful slide guitar work. Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: “Street Fighting Man”… was one of their most innovative singles, and “Sympathy for the Devil”… was an image-defining epic.
Switch on any classic-rock radio station, and it’s likely that within minutes you’ll hear the handiwork of producer and engineer Glyn Johns; over the course of a career which had its beginnings during the British Invasion, he assembled an extraordinarily impressive body of work including landmark recordings by such perennials as the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Eagles, Eric Clapton and the Steve Miller Band. Born in Epsom, England on February 15, 1942, Johns originally began his career as a performer, issuing a handful of singles on the Pye and Immediate labels during the early 1960s. The singles went nowhere, however, and soon he began pursuing a career as an apprentice recording engineer under the legendary producer Shel Talmy.
By 1965, Johns was engineering sessions by the Rolling Stones, with his credit later appearing on classic LPs including 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request and the following year’s Beggars Banquet. He also engineered material for Led Zeppelin and Spooky Tooth. Johns’ big break as a producer came in 1968, when he was approached to helm the Steve Miller Band’s Sailor; their collaboration also yielded several other LPs, including 1969’s acclaimed Brave New World. Johns quickly emerged as a sought-after producer, in 1971 alone lending his studio talents to classic records including the Who’s Who’s Next, the Faces’ A Nod Is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse and the Stones’ Sticky Fingers.
In 1972, he also began an extended affiliation with the fledgling Eagles, helping the group realize its laid-back West Coast sound over the course of their early recordings. Johns’ pace was relentless throughout the 1970s; among his other notable production and engineering jobs of the period were the Stones’ Exile on Main Street (1972), Joan Armatrading’s self-titled third LP (1976) and Eric Clapton’s Slowhand (1977) and Backless (1978).