- Rita Coolidge’s third album arrives with superb Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
- Fans of Linda Ronstadt’s ’70s music are going to find a lot of Tubey Magical sound to like here – this is a simply wonderful example of the kind of album that makes record collecting fun
- John Haeny, the principal engineer for Rita and hubby Kris Kristofferson during the ’70s, in fact worked on some of Linda’s albums, as well as those by Judy Collins, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Little Feat and many others
- “… a fine mixture of covers and originals that manages to showcase her fine vocal abilities as well as show off an impressive array of friends.”
This vintage A&M 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 outstanding 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 1972
- 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.
Produced in 1972, the best copies of The Lady’s Not For Sale are rich, smooth and sweet in the best tradition of the ANALOG record.
It would only be a half-dozen or so years until warm, rich analog would go out of style. Those later years were a difficult time for audiophiles like me who liked the pop music of the day but not the pop sound of the day. Heavy-handed processing as well as the overuse of synthesizers and drum effects, with the whole of the production slathered in digital reverb, have resulted in many of the albums recorded after 1980 being all but impossible to enjoy on a modern high-end system.
For some reason, the ’70s, the decade before, seems to get little respect from audiophiles, when in fact a high percentage of the best recordings we know of were made in that arbitrarily designated ten year period. A rough count leads me to think that more than half of our Top 100 Rock Albums were recorded in the years spanning 1970-79, which is very unlikely to be a statistical accident.
The pool of well-recorded albums was simply wider and deeper. Great sounding records like this one were made by the hundreds, their numbers falling off precipitously in the decades that followed. Fortunately for us Old School Audiophiles — hard core analog holdouts — we have easy access to the best of the ’70s recordings, still widely available in their original format: the vinyl LP.
Like many of our favorites from the ’70s, this one is not well known in audiophile circles, but we hope to change that with this wonderful sounding pressing. Both the sound and the music are worth your time, and if you find that you don’t agree with us about the music or the sound, feel free to return the record, at our expense even.
What We’re Listening For on The Lady’s Not For Sale
- 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 –– John Haeny in this case — worth his salt would have 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.
Bird On The Wire
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
A Woman Left Lonely
Everybody Loves A Winner
Inside of Me
The Lady’s Not For Sale
Rita Coolidge’s third album is a fine mixture of covers and originals that manages to showcase her fine vocal abilities as well as show off an impressive array of friends.
Booker T. Jones contributes not only his fine flute skills, but also two songs. Noted guitarist and songwriter Marc Benno also lends his impressive, laid-back guitar work all throughout the album. His “Donut Man” adds an air of lazy funk to the proceedings. Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” probably gets the most soulful reading, with Coolidge’s take on Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” following close behind. Kris Kristofferson is represented at the tail end of the album with the title track. She may not have had the most distinctive of voices, but Coolidge definitely captured the sort of laid-back energy and approach associated with early-’70s country-rock.
If Rita Coolidge’s voice and stellar class of backing musicians aren’t enough to sway you, consider the cover that shows her bedecked in what looks to be several pounds of turquoise, or the gatefold in which she appears pensive, with Stonehenge not too far in the background.