Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Fool on the Hill – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

EXCELLENT SOUND ON BOTH SIDES! It’s rich, full-bodied, and sweet, with super-low distortion and breathtaking transparency. Side Two rates A+++, As Good As It Gets! The vocals on this copy were as sweet as we have ever heard for this record.

The average copy of this record is thin, aggressive and irritating. What separates the best copies like this one from the typical bad sounding copies is more extension on the top end to balance out the upper midrange and lower highs, as well as more weight on the bottom end, to anchor and balance out the sound.

If you are familiar with this record, it’s easy to spot the good ones: as soon as you drop the needle on side one, you can hear that the tape hiss sounds correct. The high frequency content of the tape hiss is intact. On the bad ones, the tape hiss sounds dull, which means that the extended highs are missing, leaving only the painfully edgy lower highs.

Famously Bass Shy

The next thing you want to check for is that there is enough bass. Most copies are quite thin sounding. Even the best copies aren’t rich and full-bodied the way some of his other albums are, but the goal here is to find the best sounding pressing, not to find the perfect pressing, because there isn’t one in my experience. The bass on this copy is ahead of the curve with note-like tone and texture.

How About Those Amazing Cover Songs?

Two songs in particular make this a Must Own album: Scarborough Fair and The Fool On The Hill. Both of them are given wonderfully original treatments. These songs hold their own against the originals, and that’s saying something! Sergio took on many of the heavyweights of his day, and most of the time he succeeded in producing a uniquely satisfying version of well known material. Superb original tracks by The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell and others were given the Sergio Mendes latin pop treatment and were much the better for it.

The CD Sucks!

Those of you who have purchased some of their CDs may have noted that they do not sound particularly good. It seems as though little effort was expended in their mastering, no doubt the case. Almost any good original brown label A&M pressing will be dramatically better.