Janis Ian – Between The Lines

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  • A stunning sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last 
  • Ian’s biggest international hit, At Seventeen, sounds right on the money on this killer side one
  • 4 1/2 Stars “This is Janis Ian’s second album from her re-emergence in the early to mid-’70s as one of the genre’s most inspired and original singer/songwriters… a recommended starting point for potential enthusiasts, as well as a touchstone to be repeatedly revisited.

Take this one home and check out how warm and natural the acoustic guitars sound throughout, free from the grain and edge that plague the typical copy. Play At Seventeen and listen to how clear and present Ian’s vocals sound, with the kind of breath and body that you’d hear in a live performance.

The typical copy of this album has that ’70s Red Label Columbia sound I imagine most of you know pretty well by now — dry, grainy and flat. If you’ve been in this hobby for a good amount of time you know as well as I do that there are magical pressings from this era to be found, but they are few are far between. You’d have to get your hands on quite a few copies of this album to have a decent chance of finding one with two sides this good.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Between The Lines

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

When the Party’s Over
At Seventeen
From Me to You
Bright Lights and Promises
In the Winter
Watercolors

Side Two

Between the Lines
The Come On
Light a Light
Tea & Sympathy
Lover’s Lullaby

AMG  Review

This is Janis Ian’s second album from her re-emergence in the early to mid-’70s as one of the genre’s most inspired and original singer/songwriters. While this title houses Ian’s biggest international hit, the confessional “At Seventeen,” the entire effort combines her honest and confessional lyrics with an equally engaging blend of pop/rock and definite jazz and blues. This album is a recommended starting point for potential enthusiasts, as well as a touchstone to be repeatedly revisited.