- A stunning sounding copy of this Grateful Dead classic with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- Probably the last essential Dead album – this pressing has especially silky, sweet vocals, good presence and energy, punchy bass and a spacious soundfield
- “The Dead went into a state of latent activity that lasted until the spring of  when the band reconvened to record Blues for Allah… Obviously, the time off had done the band worlds of good, as Blues for Allah — more than any past or future studio album — captures the Dead at their most natural and inspired.”
This fun and funky mid-’70s Grateful Dead LP has two excellent sides. This album features the extended workout of “Help On The Way” into “Slipknot” into “Franklin’s Tower” — a fan favorite which remained a staple of Dead shows into the ’90s. On an energetic and tubey magical copy like this one, it’s a trip!
Shakedown Street and Terrapin Station have their moments but are certainly not as consistent as this album.
This original pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot 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 control room hearing the master tape being played back, or, better yet, the direct feed from the studio, this is the record for you. It’s what Vintage 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 less than one per cent of new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
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 1975
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments — electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars; bass and drums 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 above.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
- 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.
Help On The Way / Slipknot
King Solomon’s Marbles
Stronger Than Dirt Or Milkin’ The Turkey
Music Never Stopped
Sage And Spirit
Blues For Allah
Sand Castles And Glass Camels
Unusual Occurrences In The Desert
The Grateful Dead went into a state of latent activity in the fall of 1974 that lasted until the spring of the following year when the band reconvened at guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir’s Ace Studios to record Blues for Allah… Obviously, the time off had done the band worlds of good, as Blues for Allah — more than any past or future studio album — captures the Dead at their most natural and inspired.