- An incredible sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last – reasonably quiet vinyl too
- If you want to hear just how good an All Tube Capitol recording, in mono, from 1957 can sound, this record is guaranteed to do the trick
- All the top West Coast Cool School jazz vets are here: Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, and the arrangements are by the wonderfully talented Pete Rugolo
- “… the cool-toned singer is the main star. Highlights include a definitive “I Want to Be Happy,” “Imagination,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” and “It’s Always You.” All of June Christy’s Capitol dates are well worth picking up.”
This ’50s 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 June Christy 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 62 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 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 1957
- 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 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 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.
The Midrange Is Key
Copies with rich lower mids 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 ambience and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to pressings from every era 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 Listen For on Fair and Warmer!
- 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.
I Want To Be Happy
I’ve Never Been In Love Before
Better Luck Next Time
Let There Be Love
When Sunny Gets Blue
The Best Thing For You
Beware My Heart
I Know Why (And So Do You)
It’s Always You
This Capitol LP, one of many that June Christy cut during the 1950s, features her soft but swinging vocals accompanied by a 12-piece group arranged by Pete Rugolo. While the backup musicians include trumpeter Don Fagerquist, trombonist Frank Rosolino, altoist Bud Shank, and tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper (all of whom are unidentified in the very brief liner notes), the cool-toned singer is the main star. Highlights include a definitive “I Want to Be Happy,” “Imagination,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” and “It’s Always You.” All of June Christy’s Capitol dates are well worth picking up.
Though she was the epitome of the vocal cool movement of the 1950s, June Christy was a warm, chipper vocalist able to stretch out her impressive voice on bouncy swing tunes and set herself apart from other vocalists with her deceptively simple enunciation.
Christy’s debut LP for Capitol, 1954’s Something Cool, was recorded with Rugolo at the head of the orchestra. The album launched the vocal cool movement and hit the Top 20 album charts in America, as did a follow-up, The Misty Miss Christy. Her 1955 Duet LP paired her voice with Kenton’s piano, while most of her Capitol LPs featured her with various Kenton personnel and Rugolo (or Bob Cooper) at the head of the orchestra.
She reprised her earlier big-band days with 1959’s June Christy Recalls Those Kenton Days, and recorded a raft of concept LPs before retiring in 1965. Christy returned to the studio only once, for 1977’s Impromptu on Musicraft. [An album that is best given a miss.]