- An outstanding copy of America’s 1975 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- Both sides have amazing clarity and presence, which is especially noticeable on the vocals
- THE BIG SOUND on both sides lets this Greatest Hits compilation hold its own against the originals
- “An essential collection for fans who like their ’70s folk with a pop sheen, loads of hooks, and top-drawer arrangements.”
THE BIG SOUND on both sides lets this Greatest Hits compilation hold its own against the originals. They have plenty of bottom end that drives these songs with energy and life. Listen for the bells on ‘Tin Man’; they have the correct transients and harmonics. You never quite get back all of the tubey magic of the originals, but the detail and richness are enough to make you fall in love with this high quality George Martin (re) production.
Is That A Master Tape In Your Pocket… ?
If we didn’t know better we’d say this had Master Tape Sound, something we wouldn’t normally say about a compilation album. But wait just a minute — it IS Master Tape Sound! George Martin remixed the original multitracks, creating a new master mix in the process. The double tracked vocals on ‘Ventura Highway’ are an obvious indicator of the difference between this and the original.
The separation of the instruments is astonishing. You wouldn’t expect a greatest hits record to have such textured, clear transients, but here they are, along with naturally sweet highs and nice tight bass, tighter than the originals in fact. Every cymbal crash and hi-hat hit sounds clear, free of the usual smear found on this type of compilation.
This album of gems is not your mama’s greatest hits record. Gone is the sub-generation sound of your typical hits comp. This record wasn’t made from a dub — the (new) master tape was definitely threaded up for this baby.
What the best sides of this Classic Collection have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl import pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on America’s Greatest Hits
- 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 these 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.
A Horse With No Name
I Need You
Don’t Cross The River
Only In Your Heart
Sister Golden Hair
Mirroring the cover art depiction of America’s dual life in England and the U.S., History: Greatest Hits perfectly spotlights both the polished and layered production of British studio legend George Martin and the West Coast tones of the band’s folk-pop style. Featuring the group’s many chart toppers from the first half of the ’70s, this definitive roundup includes Neil Young-style acoustic sides like “Lonely People,” the hippie MOR of “Muskrat Love,” and breezy acid rock like “Sandman.” And even though Martin didn’t produce the entire lot of songs here, his sophisticated and mostly subtle way with strings, keyboards, and multi-track guitars is in evidence throughout. Adding to the fun are additional highlights like the updated surf cut “Sister Golden Hair” and ingenious McCartney-esque pop like “Only in Your Heart” and “Daisy Jane.” An essential collection for fans who like their ’70s folk with a pop sheen, loads of hooks, and top-drawer arrangements.