- Incredible sound throughout for this original Warner Brothers pressing with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or very close to it
- These superb sides are doing everything right — clean, clear, full-bodied and musical with wonderfully present vocals and a lovely bottom end
- “Garcia is nothing short of a full-bodied artistic expression from one of rock & roll’s most multi-faceted musicians. Both initiated Deadheads as well as enthusiasts of the burgeoning early-’70s singer/songwriter movement will find much to cherish on this recording as Garcia redefines his immense talents and seemingly undiluted musical potential.” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
This vintage Warner Brothers pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of 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 the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all 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 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 1972
- 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.
What We Listen For on Garcia
- 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.
Late For Supper
To Lay Me Down
An Odd Little Place
This disc was a happy byproduct of the Grateful Dead re-signing with Warner Bros. It was mutually beneficial for Bob Weir (guitar/vocals) as well as Mickey Hart (percussion) and his criminally overlooked debut long-player, Rolling Thunder (1972). Jerry Garcia’s (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass, piano, organ, samples, vocals) simply titled Garcia (1972) is arguably the most solo of all these projects, as only he and the Grateful Dead’s Billy Kreutzmann (percussion) contribute instrumentally. That said, Robert Hunter’s lyrics should not be underestimated as all six of his co-compositions became staples in the Dead’s live songbook for the remainder of their concert career.
The infusion of new material can be attributed to the lack of any Dead-related releases since Workingman’s Dead (1970) over 14 months earlier. Although Garcia is the primary musician on the ten tracks, he has given each arrangement a wholly unique persona. These range from straight-ahead blues-based rock & roll (“Sugaree”) to the avant-garde (“Late for Supper”). Within those extremes are discerning renditions and solid performances of stone gems such as the noir folkie “Loser” as well as the lilting balladry of “Bird Song” and the cyclical psychedelia of “The Wheel,” the latter of which features some of the finest pedal steel guitar work to have come from Garcia’s brief infatuation with the twangy instrument. He brings an intimacy to the affective love song “To Lay Me Down” that was rarely equalled by the Grateful Dead. His prowess as an emotive pianist can be heard throughout not only that cut, but also on the trippy medley consisting of the previously mentioned “Late for Supper,” “Spidergawd,” and “Eep Hour.”
Ever the self-effacing artist, at the time of release the guitarist overtly downplayed the album as “overindulgent.” Time has rendered that assessment utterly false, as Garcia is nothing short of a full-bodied artistic expression from one of rock & roll’s most multi-faceted musicians. Both initiated Deadheads as well as enthusiasts of the burgeoning early-’70s singer/songwriter movement will find much to cherish on this recording as Garcia redefines his immense talents and seemingly undiluted musical potential.