- An outstanding vintage pressing of Eldorado with solid Double Plus (A++) sound and vinyl that’s about as quiet as can be found
- This pressing showed us a big, lively, musically involving Eldorado, one of the toughest nuts to crack in the entire ELO canon
- There are some really awful UK pressings out there (and lots of bad domestics to be sure), so if you like the thrill of the hunt, make sure you have plenty of time and money to spend
- 5 stars: “Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not that it could ever have the same impact or be as distinctive, but it had its feet planted in so many richly melodic and varied musical traditions, yet made it all work in a rock context, that it did recall the Beatles classic.”
As a result of Jeff Lynne’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production approach, it’s the rare copy that provides enough transparency and resolution to bring out all the elements in the incredibly dense mixes — with strings! – that Lynne favors. But when you find a copy that does, what a THRILL it is.
This vintage UA pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 the best sides of Eldorado 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 1974
- 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 You Want
Like the better Moody Blues albums, the best copies of Eldorado are rich and full, yet still transparent, and not overly thick and murky, although thick and murky will always be part of the ELO sound in the same way that it will always be part of the Moodies sound.
Love those female background singers — their voices should be clear and separated in the mix, but even more importantly, on the best copies the singers are ENTHUSIASTIC.
This is the very definition of a Hot Stamper: ELO on this copy is full of life and energy. The average copy is just another ELO record, like most of them: Dead On Arrival.
What We Listen For on Eldorado
- 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.
Can’t Get It Out Of My Head
Poor Boy (The Greenwood)
Illusions In G Major
Eldorado – Finale
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
This is the album where Jeff Lynne finally found the sound he’d wanted since co-founding Electric Light Orchestra three years earlier. Up to this point, most of the group’s music had been self-contained — Lynne, Richard Tandy, et al., providing whatever was needed, vocally or instrumentally, even if it meant overdubbing their work layer upon layer.
Lynne saw the limitations of this process, however, and opted for the presence of an orchestra — it was only 30 pieces, but the result was a much richer musical palette than the group had ever had to work with, and their most ambitious and successful record up to that time.
Indeed, Eldorado was strongly reminiscent in some ways of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not that it could ever have the same impact or be as distinctive, but it had its feet planted in so many richly melodic and varied musical traditions, yet made it all work in a rock context, that it did recall the Beatles classic.
It was a very romantic work, especially on the opening “Eldorado Overture,” which was steeped in a wistful 1920s/1930s notion of popular fantasy (embodied in movies and novels like James Hilton’s Lost Horizon and Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge) about disillusioned seekers.
It boasted Lynne’s best single up to that time, “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” which most radio listeners could never get out of their respective heads, either. The integration of the orchestra would become even more thorough on future albums, but Eldorado was notable for mixing the band and orchestra (and a choir) in ways that did no violence to the best elements of both.