- An incredible sounding copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two
- This ’60s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce
- This vintage Plum and Tan label LP plays pretty darn quietly for an original Atco pressing – we’ve never heard one quieter
- “…any Otis Redding recordings should be considered welcome (if not mandatory) additions to all manner of listeners.”
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real person singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 50 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
Simply put, what won our shootout was the copy that had the least amount of grit and spit on Otis’s vocals, the most space, the most natural and immediate presentation of the singer with the most correct tonality.
What do the best Hot Stamper pressings give you?
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- 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, 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.
Picking the winner was not rocket science seeing as most copies in the shootout had quite a number of sonic issues. This copy is guaranteed to be head and shoulders better sounding than any other copy you’ve ever heard, or could ever hope to hear for that matter.
I’ve Got Dreams to Remember
You Made a Man Out of Me
Nobody’s Fault but Mine
Hard to Handle
Thousand Miles Away
The Happy Song (Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum)
Think About It
A Waste of Time
Champagne and Wine
A Fool for You
After the career of Otis Redding was cut tragically short in December of 1967, the tape vaults were plundered on several occasions to present fans with new product. The Immortal Otis Redding (1968) was the second posthumous long-player created from the artist’s backlog of material. Of the 11 selections, only the 45 rpm side “The Happy Song (Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum)” would have been familiar to enthusiasts of the late vocalist. As notated on the rear of the original jacket, these were among the last tunes Redding cut during what turned out to be a prophetic three-week stretch of sessions — concluding just days prior to his untimely passing.
On the whole, it can be argued that The Immortal Otis Redding wasn’t quite on par with the half-dozen studio albums that the vocalist cut during his lifetime. By the same token, it should be acknowledged that any Otis Redding recordings should be considered welcome (if not mandatory) additions to all manner of listeners.