- The Bee Gee’s 1970 release makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
- Tubey Magical, with strong midrange presence, the sound here is worlds away from the dubby domestic pressings sitting in the bins at your local record store
- This album marked the musical reunion of the Gibb brothers, and the band returned with this “surprisingly hard-edged… more progressive” sound
- 4 stars: “…[with 2 Years On] the Bee Gees suddenly found themselves right back in the thick of popular music, and as close to the cutting edge of pop/rock as they’d ever been.”
Why does no one ever mention that the song Lonely Days that starts off side two, which is surely one of the best tracks these boys ever recorded, had its arrangement, structure and harmonies stolen and reworked by Jeff Lynne throughout the entire time he was fronting ELO? That’s his sound, but the BeeGees had it first!
This vintage British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely 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.
What the best sides of this original Polydor pressing 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 1970
- 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 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.
What We’re Listening For on 2 Years On
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt – John Stewart in this case — would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
2 Years On
Portrait Of Louise
Man For All Seasons
The 1st Mistake I Made
Tell Me Why
Lay It On Me
Every Second, Every Minute
AMG 4 Star Rave Review
The Bee Gees split apart in the wake of a dispute regarding the single to be released from their album Odessa, spent a year with Barry and Maurice Gibb recording together (and doing a television special) while Robin Gibb cut music on his own, and fighting a lawsuit in which their ex-drummer tried to claim the name “the Bee Gees.”
Finally, they regrouped with 2 Years On and surprised everyone with their biggest selling single to date, “Lonely Days,” and a surprisingly hard-edged accompanying album, on which the supposed Beatles influences of their earlier days were pushed aside (it also didn’t hurt that the Beatles were now history). The music is somewhat less fey and more progressive here, and at times they sound like a lighter-weight version of the Moody Blues of the same era, with sharper vocals.
The surprises on this album, apart from the overall tone and quality, include the sprightly title track, which was one of the first Bee Gees songs to feature surreal lyrics that weren’t downbeat, and “Back Home,” with the loudest guitar ever heard on a Bee Gees record. The quality of the recording itself was also improved over their earlier releases, with a much wider range and less compression, and between that and the song selection, the Bee Gees suddenly found themselves right back in the thick of popular music, and as close to the cutting edge of pop/rock as they’d ever been.