The first three tracks on side 1 are the best reason to own this album, especially the first two (Wichita Lineman and Norwegian Wood), which are as good as anything the group ever did. I’m a big fan so that has to be seen as high praise indeed.
Let’s be frank: the average LP of this album is terrible. Shrill, aggressive sound is the norm, but compression and overly smooth (read; thick and dull) sound are also problems common to Ye-Me-Le. There’s also a “strained” quality to the loud vocal passages on almost every copy; only the best are free of it.
Our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale
This recording is quite Difficult to Reproduce, which means it ranks high on our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale (DORS). Do not attempt to play it using any but the best front ends. Unless you are using a very good cartridge and arm the vocals are apt to tear your head off when they get loud (which they do; this is a dynamic recording).
In a way, this is the perfect record to demonstrate how much progress you have made in audio. I remember playing these albums many years ago and hearing lots of harmonic distortion and other unpleasant sonic qualities. Those very same pressings sound DRAMATICALLY better today.
In-Depth Track Commentary
The best copies have out of this world sound on this track, every bit as good as anything Sergio Mendes ever did. This was the song that made me search out the best sounding copies. Even when I had mediocre copies, I loved the music and KNEW there had to be better sounding versions out there.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Love the arrangement. When the voices get loud, the sound can be painful. On the better pressings there is practically no strain whatsoever.
Some Time Ago
I love this song! It’s so relaxed and easygoing.
This is actually a pretty good arrangement of Moanin’. I’ve grown to like it.
Look Who’s Mine
The best copies have DEMO DISC QUALITY sound for this song.
Easy to Be Hard
One of the toughest tracks to get right on side two. Most copies are strained or badly compressed. When it’s right, it’s so good!
Where Are You Coming From?
Another lovely relaxed song.
What the World Needs Now
…along these lines can be found below.
This listing will help you to get The Most Out Of Your Records .
We have a large number of entries in our new Listening in Depth series.
You can find your very own Hot Stamper pressings by using the techniques we lay out in Hot Stamper Shootouts — The Four Pillars of Success.
Record shootouts are the fastest and easiest way to hone your listening skills, a subject we discuss often on the site and directly address in this commentary from way back in 2005.