The song Valentine is a key test for side two. Note how processed Ferry’s vocals are; on the best copies they will sound somewhat bright. The test is the background singers; they should sound tonally correct and silky sweet. If Ferry sounds correct, they will sound dull, and so will the rest of the side. That processed sound on his vocal is on the tape. Trying to “fix” it will ruin everything.
On the top copies, the lead on the very next track, Stone Woman, is tonally correct. These two tracks, two of the best on the album, together make it easy to know if your copy is tonally correct in the midrange. Track two: background vocals. Track three: lead vocal. Easy enough.
Key Listening Test for Both Sides
The quality of the reproduction of the percussion is critical to much of the music here. There’s tons of it on Boys and Girls, even more than on its predecessor Avalon, and unless you have plenty of top end, presence and transparency, all that percussion can’t work its magic to drive this rhythmic music.
How About the British Pressings?
Bryan Ferry is British, as is bandmate David Gilmour and the recording and producing team headed by the amazing Rhett Davies. And yes, the recording was done at many studios, most of them overseas.
But the album is mixed by Bob Clearmountain at The Power Station and mastered by Robert Ludwig at Masterdisk, and that means the master tape was right here in America when it came time to get the sound of the tape onto vinyl. The British pressings are made from dubs and clearly sound like it.
Slave To Love
Don’t Stop The Dance
Boys And Girls