- A STUNNING copy of Aretha’s 1973 release, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
- Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead on correct tonality, and wonderfully breathy vocals – everything that we listen for in a great record is here
- An album of deep introspective soul produced by none other than Quincy Jones!
- “… notable are a poignant cover of Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere,’ and a sparkling ‘Moody’s Mood,’ and the beautiful Carolyn Franklin composition ‘Angel.'”
This vintage Atlantic LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Aretha Franklin singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 46 years old), 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 out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What the best sides of Hey Now Hey 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 1973
- 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 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We’re Listening For on Hey Now Hey
- 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, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — 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. Aretha isn’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. She’s front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put her.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky)
So Swell When You’re Well
Sister From Texas
That’s The Way I Feel About Cha
Just Right Tonight
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) was just about Franklin’s last gasp before succumbing to disco… contains some gems — notable are a poignant cover of Bernstein’s “Somewhere,” and a sparkling “Moody’s Mood,” and the beautiful Carolyn Franklin composition “Angel.”