If you’re looking for a big production pop record that jumps out of your speakers, is full of TUBEY MAGIC, and has consistently good music, look no further. Until I picked up one of these nice originals, I had no idea how good this record could sound. For an early ’70s multi-track pop recording this is about as good as it gets (AGAIG as we like to say). It’s rich, sweet, open, natural, smooth most of the time — in short, it’s got all the stuff we audiophiles LOVE.
This copy was our shootout winner with A Double Plus sound on side one (no copy rated higher) and A++ to A+++ sound on side two. We did hear one copy with a better side two that really knocked us out, which we called A+++, and since no side one could match it, we kept our highest grade for side one at A++ just to be stay on the safe side.
Most copies lack the top end extension that makes the sound sweet, opens it up and puts air around every instrument. It makes the high hat silky, not spitty or gritty. It lets you hear all the harmonics of the guitars and mandolins that feature so prominently in the mixes.
This copy gives you that sweet smooth open sound on side one, and on side two it gives you even more: those lovely highs and super punchy tight bass. Believe us when we tell you, this copy is a knockout.
The Sound of Tubes
This record has the sound of TUBES. I’m sure it was recorded with transistors, judging by the fact that it was made after most recording studios had abandoned that “antiquated” technology, but there may be a reason why they were able to achieve such success with the new transistor equipment when in the coming decades they would produce nothing but one failure after another. In other words, I have a theory.
They remember what things sounded like when they had tubes. Modern engineers have forgotten that sounds. They have no reference for Tubey Magic. A similar syndrome was then operating with the home audio equipment manufacturers as well. Early transistor gear by the likes of Marantz, McIntosh and Sherwood, just to name three I happen to be familiar with, still retains much of the rich, natural, sweet, grain-free sound of the best tube equipment of the day. I have a wonderful Sherwood receiver that you would swear has tubes in it when in fact it’s simply an unusually well-designed transistor unit. Anyone listening to it would never know that it’s solid state. It has none of the “sound” we associate with solid state, thank goodness.
And, of course, when you can hear a record sound this good, it makes you appreciate the music even more. I’ve always liked this record, but now I consider it a classic. I could listen to it every week for a year and not get tired of it. Don’t write these guys off as some Top 40 blue-eyed soul popsters from the ’70s that time has forgotten. They are all of the above, but they don’t deserve to be forgotten, if only on the strength of this album.
Without question this is their masterpiece. We also consider it a Desert Island Disc and a Demo Disc.Next time we evaluate the Top 100 I think it will join the list. Changing the list is a pain so our plan at this point is to update it annually.
[Done, it’s on the list now.]