On the better copies the title track has Demonstration Quality Sound – the soundstage is huge and the multi-tracked vocal parts are energetic, clear and free from congestion and distortion. If your copy doesn’t blow your mind on this song, try one of ours.
The next track, Rocket in My Pocket, kicks off with a big, fat drum sound that’s present and punchy on the better copies. The album finishes with the controversial jazz-rock fusion of Day at the Dog Races, a song the band used to open their live act with in order to get in the groove. If the band wants to stretch out a bit, we don’t have a problem with it.
On side two Old Folks’ Boogie rocks with the best of them; it’s a must for any Greatest Hits compilation. Red Streamliner has a strong Doobies vibe, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about that band. (We’re big fans.)
The fourth track, Keepin’ up With the Joneses, is some good funky Feat music, and the album finishes with Barrere’s “Willin”-like Missin’ You, a mellow but still strong finish for the last good Little Feat album (save for the often amazing sounding compilation Hoy Hoy).
What’s the Right Sound for Time Loves a Hero?
In our listing for Livin’ on the Fault Line we discussed some of the qualities we look for in a good Doobie Brothers record. Little Feat and the Doobies have something in common, two things in fact: the same producer, Ted Templeman, and the same engineer, Donn Landee.
You might imagine that their recordings have many similarities, and of course they do. We’re looking for most of the same qualities in the sound of both bands’ albums, which include:
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, 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.
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 (Donn Landee in this case) would have put them.
Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Credit DONN LANDEE (and Ted Templeman too) with the rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies. He’s recorded many of our favorite albums here at Better Records.
Most of the better Doobies Brothers albums are his; more by Van Halen of course; Lowell George’s wonderful Thanks I’ll Eat It Here; Little Feat’s Time Loves a Hero; Carly Simon’s Another Passenger (my favorite of all her albums); and his Masterpiece (in my humble opinion), Captain Beefheart’s mindblowing Clear Spot.
Time Loves a Hero
Rocket in My Pocket
Day at the Dog Races
Old Folks’ Boogie
New Delhi Freight Train
Keepin’ up With the Joneses