- Excellent sound throughout for this original Tomato LP with both sides earning Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER
- The overall sound here is rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with plenty of energy and bottom end weight
- No one does beautifully spare and gut-wrenching country music quite like TVZ – this set contains two of his best songs — Tower Song and Nothin’
This vintage Tomato pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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.
What amazing sides such as these 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 pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
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 qualities we discuss 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 Listen For on Delta Momma Blues
- 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.
Delta Mama Blues
Only Him Or Me
Brand New Companion
Where I Lead Me
On Van Zandt’s fourth album his voice hasn’t yet attained the weary gravitas that made his later albums so shattering, but his dark, skewed visions of life are already in place. “Tower Song” is one of the minor key laments Van Zandt did so well, delivered with sparse guitar and subtle classical harp. The singer is leaving behind his wife and child, blaming her for the break up, although he admits he’s a drunk and unable to communicate with her, except in song.
“Where I Lead Me” is a dark folk-rocker that takes another jaundiced look at relationships with his characteristic bleak humor. “Rake” has the feel of a British folk song, the familiar story of an old soul adrift looking back on his youth with longing and regret. It has an epic feel augmented by the string section and a lone French horn. “Nothin'” is a bitter kiss off, a guy who doesn’t want nothin’ from a departing lover who he says gave him nothin’, but there’s more than a hint of revenge and rage in the lyric, and Van Zandt’s flat, dry singing makes the tune chilling.
The title track, a country blues, is more lighthearted, and sounds like a ragged jug band tune. “Turnstyled, Junkpiled” is in the same vein, a Jimmie Rodgers’ style love song; you almost expect to hear Van Zandt break into a yodel, but instead he starts talking like a drunken roadside philosopher. “Only Him or Me” and “Come Tomorrow” could be commercial country songs, but Van Zandt’s hopeless poetry and aching melodies make them sound so blue they’re hard to listen to. “Brand New Companion” is a boozy 12-bar blues, but something of a throwaway compared to the more chilling tunes on the album.