Journey – Departure

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  • Insanely good sound throughout for this Journey classic from 1980 with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades 
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl with both sides playing Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus (for the most part)
  • “In the past, the group’s good moments came when Neal Schon and Dunbar took off on extended jams, but now Journey works best as a band. And they’ve never rocked harder.” – Rolling Stone

This vintage Columbia pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, 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 maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

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 1980
  • 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 Departure

  • 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.


Side One

Any Way You Want It
Walks Like A Lady
Someday Soon
People And Places
Precious Time

Side Two

Where Were You
I’m Cryin’
Line Of Fire
Good Morning Girl
Stay Awhile
Homemade Love

Rolling Stone Review

Departure offers ample proof that the Seventies hard-rock genre so many people have been trying to bury for the last few years just doesn’t want to die. Journey may well be the best American band in this idiom, which is ironic, because, stylistically, they’ve always seemed to struggle with it, as if hard rock were a new shirt they had trouble fitting into. For an Aerosmith or a Ted Nugent, no such difficulties existed – hard rock was their only option. But Journey could have gone in any number of musical directions. Founding members Gregg Rolie (keyboards) and Neal Schon (guitar) came from Santana, Aynsley Dunbar from his own groups and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, and Ross Valory from the Steve Miller Band.

For years, Journey appeared torn by conflicting interests that were only temporarily pacified by the hard-rock compromise. The addition of megalomaniac producer Roy Thomas Baker and lead vocalist Steve Perry further confused the issue. Nevertheless, the group slowly managed to improve, making albums that were extremely commercial. Journey reached their recording peak in 1978 with Infinity and then proceeded to burst apart at the seams. Dunbar left, disgusted by the lack of a clear-cut musical direction, while Baker was told in no uncertain terms that his time was coming to an end. The band had never liked his production, and the last LP they did together, 1979’s Evolution, showed it. Evolution also suffered from the growing pains of adding drummer Steve Smith to the lineup.

All of these problems have been resolved on Departure. The most conspicuous absence is that of Roy Thomas Baker, whose meddling isn’t missed. Engineer Geoff Workman has been promoted to producer, which places the group’s musical direction in its own hands. Not surprisingly, a real leader has emerged for the first time in Journey’s history: Steve Perry, a fine singer with a penchant for snappy melodic hooks, is currently calling the shots, writing or cowriting all but one of the songs and keying the sound around his vocal arrangements. “Any Way You Want It,” “Where Were You,” “I’m Cryin’ ” and “People and Places” demonstrate the band’s new approach. Steve Smith’s steady, unspectacular drumming has proved to be an addition by subtraction: goodbye to Aynsley Dunbar’s virtuoso technique. In the past, the group’s good moments came when Neal Schon and Dunbar took off on extended jams, but now Journey works best as a band. And they’ve never rocked harder.