- Doc Watson’s superb sophomore release finally makes its Hot Stamper debut, boasting top quality sound and exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout
- We were specifically listening for richness, sweetness, warmth and intimacy on Doc’s vocals, and this pressing gave us all those qualities in abundance
- If you own the veiled, opaque, recessed, ambience-challenged Cisco remaster, you are in for a treat – our Hot Stamper has none of those problems!
- 5 stars: “Southbound was a pivotal record for Doc Watson… it demonstrated that Watson was capable of more than just dazzling interpretations of folk songs, but that he could also write excellent original material and rework new country songs in a fascinating manner.”
Folks, if you made the mistake of buying the Cisco Heavy Vinyl reissue of this album that came out in the early 2000s, you are in for treat. Instead of Doc and his band mates playing from behind a thick curtain at the back of your sound room, they can now be heard where they should have been all along: front and center between your speakers!
The difference between a truly outstanding vintage pressing and a modern mockery of analog could not be more striking.
Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Vanguard pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.
This vintage Vangard stereo pressing has the kind of Midrange Magic that modern records barely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it ain’t coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with Watson, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage All Tube Analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, 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 maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of Southbound 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 1966
- 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 above.
What We’re Listening For on On A Misty Night
- 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 for the guitars, horns and drums, 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. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Doc Watson – guitar, harmonica, vocals
Merle Watson – guitar
John Pilla – guitar
Russ Savakus – double bass
Walk On Boy
Blue Railroad Train
Sweet Georgia Brown
Windy And Warm
Call Of The Road
That Was The Last Thing On My Mind
Little Darling Pal Of Mine
Nothing To It
Never No More Blues
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Southbound was a pivotal record for Doc Watson. Upon its 1966 release, it demonstrated that Watson was capable of more than just dazzling interpretations of folk songs, but that he could also write excellent original material and rework new country songs in a fascinating manner. Southbound also marked the recorded debut of Merle Watson, Doc’s astonishingly talented son.