A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This WHITE HOT STAMPER Woodface fulfills the promise of this extraordinarily well-recorded album beyond all expectations. We have an expression that we reserve for this kind of record — Master Tape Sound. When you drop the needle on a record this good you feel like you just threaded up the master tape and hit play. The effect so totally immerses you in the musical experience that you forget you’re listening to a record at all.
In your mind you have the sense that you’re hearing the music exactly the way the musicians, producers and engineers intended it to sound. It’s perfection. The sound is everything you want it to be as you experience every element of the music seemingly without limitation. It only happens when the right record meets the right stereo, and that means rarely, but when it does the memory of the sound becomes fixed in the mind like no other, and it never leaves.
Music the Matters
Thankfully the care and effort that went into every aspect of the production of Woodface more than justifies the effort we put into finding this White Hot Stamper copy. Unlike some Hot Stamper piece of trash (Meatloaf anyone?), this is a record whose MUSIC demands to be heard under the best possible circumstances. That can only mean one thing: a Hot Stamper pressing playing on a Killer Stereo. (I’ll leave it to you to define Killer in this context. My thoughts on the subject are well known.)
This album easily meets the definition of a Desert Island Disc. I’ve played this album hundreds of times and enjoy it more with each play, which insures that on my desert island I’ll never get sick of it. To my way of thinking it contains some of the most original, melodic, hook-laden, sophisticated popular music recorded in the last twenty years. Astonishingly (to me, anyway) it didn’t even chart here in the states, a sad commentary about the state of the music biz, a state that only seemed to worsen as the decade wore on.
When people ask me what kind of music I like, a common question from non-audiophiles seeing my house full of records and a living room stuffed with stereo equipment, Crowded House is a band I can happily lay claim to as a favorite. Sophisticated Pop with Audiophile Quality Sound makes up a large part of my record collection, with Crowded House taking its place up near the top, not on the same plane as The Beatles, say, but not far below. This is a record that belongs no less in your collection than it does in mine.
Side one is perfection, head and shoulders above the rest, all British imports of course. (Never heard a domestic copy sound good.) No other copy came close; this one is A+++, and the next best was A+ to A++, a serious step down.
Same story on side two, although we feel that side one sounded a bit better, so we are giving side two A++ to A+++. There may be something better to come along some day. No other side two rated above A+, so again, this one is earned a grade far beyond the competition.
If you have any other copy of the LP, or the CD for that matter, and big speakers of course, take a moment out to listen for the deepest bass on this copy. It gets down the way no other copy did, and the CD only hints at what’s really going on down there. You rarely hear that kind of bass on a pop record. It’s pretty cool when you do.
As an aside, the best sounding copy and the worst sounding copy both had exactly the same stamper numbers. The other stampers were somewhere in the middle.
It’s Only Natural
Fall at Your Feet
Weather with You
Whispers and Moans
Four Seasons in One Day
There Goes God
All I Ask
As Sure as I am
She Goes On
How will You Go