- Sammy’s Back On Broadway comes to the site with shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- Rich, smooth, and shockingly Tubey Magical, the sound on this 1965 Reprise Tri-Color Steamboat pressing is Hard To Fault (HTF)
- Some of the best sound and music we’ve ever heard from the man – this is an album that proves Sammy was more than a member of The Rat Pack
- 4 stars: “Although the 1965 album was filled with concurrently modern selections, the mixture of enduring classics and lesser-known material further exemplifies the artist’s impeccable taste and performance style.”
There are an awful lot of bad sounding Sammy Davis, Jr. records out there. We must have played at least a half dozen hard, honky, sour sounding copies before we ran into this forgotten gem. (Dean Martin’s albums are the same way; maybe one out of ten sound good and the rest are just terrible.)
What separates the best copies from the also-rans is more than just rich, sweet, full-bodied sound. The better copies make Sammy’s voice more palpable — he’s simply more of a solid, three dimensional, real presence between the speakers. You can hear the nuances of his delivery much, MUCH more clearly on a copy that sounds as good as this does
This ’60s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real person singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 53 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Copies with rich lower mids did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural ambience and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to pressings from every era and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What do the best Hot Stamper pressings give you?
- 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.
A Wonderful Day Like Today
Take The Moment
I Want To Be With You
Look At That Face
Do I Hear A Waltz?
A Room Without Windows
A Married Man
The Other Half Of Me
AMG 4-Star Review
Presumably the reference to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s return to the Great White Way correlates with his appearance in the lead of the musical adaptation of Golden Boy. The play ran from October 20, 1964, through March 5, 1966, at the Majestic Theatre and allowed Davis to emphasize his enormous gifts as an actor and vocalist. Under the direction of and in collaboration with conductor/arranger Claus Ogerman, Davis reinvents a dozen showstoppers.
Although the 1965 album was filled with concurrently modern selections, the mixture of enduring classics and lesser-known material further exemplifies the artist’s impeccable taste and performance style. What Sammy Davis, Jr. and/or Broadway collection would be complete without a nod to Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse? There are, in fact, a trio of tunes from their most recent offering at the time, The Roar of the Greasepaint…The Smell of the Crowd.