A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This domestic pressing has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND on side two! It’s the best we’ve ever heard the album — super high-resolution transparency coupled with amazing immediacy. And talk about energy — the sound here positively JUMPS out of the speakers!
This side two blew our minds with its distortion-free sound, transparency and its punchy, note-like bass. The recording space is wall to wall HUGE, with amazing depth and three-dimensionality that’s only hinted at by most of the pressings we played. It’s meaty and punchy down low and there’s plenty of extension up top.
As for the midrange, the vocals are breathy with real presence. This is the kind of sound you can expect from a White Hot Stamper. Folks, it doesn’t get any better — A+++ Master Tape As Good As It Gets Sound!
The song Valentine, the second track on side two, is a key test for that side. 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 and right on the money. 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. What could be easier?
Side two is excellent on this copy, rating a grade of A+ to A++. It was doing plenty right, with big bass and tons of space around all the instruments and singers. Its main area of weakness is a lack of richness and weight down low. When you flip the record over to side two you will no doubt hear exactly what we mean. There’s an energy down low on side two that is out of this world and missing to some degree on side one.
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 sound like it.
Overall Sonic Grade:
Side One – A+ – A++
Side Two – A+++
1) Mostly Mint Minus with a lightly noisy edge and some light noise between tracks.
2) Mint Minus with a lightly noisy edge.
Cover Grade: 8 out of 10
Slave To Love
Don’t Stop The Dance
Boys And Girls
As a whole, Boys and Girls fully established the clean, cool vision of Ferry on his own to the general public. Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his ’70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match…