The growl of the cello on Rainy Night House can clearly be heard behind Joni, with the wood of the instrument sounding real and correct. The kind of You Are There immediacy and transparency of the best copies has to be heard to be believed.
Listen to the piano Joni plays throughout the album: this is not the thin and hard-sounding instrument that accompanies her on practically every LP you have ever had the misfortune to audition, hoping against hope that someday you would find that “elusive disc” with sound worthy of such extraordinary music. No, this piano has real weight; it has body; and it’s surrounded by real, three-dimensional studio space.
This side two is warm, rich, and sweet in a way that we’ve only heard on a handful of other copies in the past. Joni’s vocals just couldn’t sound any better; they’re full-bodied, breathy, textured, and shockingly present. This is the copy to play if you want Joni Mitchell singing to you right there in your listening room. What could be better than that?
With the transparency of the better copies comes the sound of Joni’s right foot on the pedal. It’s clearly audible through most of the takes, something the engineers no doubt never heard. (Of course they didn’t have the kind of high-res equipment we take for granted today. $5k phono stages have a way of bringing out these things.)