Henry Mancini – The Mancini Touch – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

This original Living Stereo pressing had nearly White Hot Stamper sound on side one, earning a sonic grade of A++ to A+++, with the least amount of smear of any copy we played. (As you may know, smear and opacity are endemic to old Living Stereo pressings such as this.) The sound is SUPER 3-D. You’re not going to believe all the ambience surrounding this room full of musicians, especially on the drums! We LOVE that sound. The DEPTH that can be heard in this recording is almost hard to believe.

What do we love about these Living Stereo Hot Stamper pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments here are reproduced with remarkable fidelity. Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days. There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and any of you out there who pick this one up should get a real kick out of it!

Side Two

Side two is every bit as open and spacious as this amazing side one, but it’s not quite as lively and the overall tonality errs on the dark side. Side one is the side that can show you how dead on Living Stereo tonality can be. Call it A++; it’s still superb!


Side One

Bijou Burns
Mostly for Lovers
Like Young
My One and Only Love
Trav’lin’ Light

Side Two

Let’s Walk
A Cool Shade of Blue
Robbin’s Nest
Free and Easy
That’s All

AMG  Review

An entry in RCA’s Living Stereo series, The Mancini Touch is said to be Henry Mancini’s attempt to combine “modern jazz ideas” with big-band swing. The result is a carefully arranged album on which the soloists occasionally improvise. Mancini wrote “Free and Easy” for the Sal Mineo film “Rock, Pretty Baby,” which speaks to his popular focus in spite of the jazz trappings.