The Rolling Stones / Love in Vain

This is, IMHO, the second or third best record the Stones ever made. (Sticky Fingers is Number One, and either this or Beggar’s Banquet comes in a strong second.) With this pressing we can now hear the power and the beauty of this superb recording.

Love In Vain on a copy like this is one of the best sounding Rolling Stones songs of all time. In previous listings I’ve mentioned how good this song sounds — thanks to Glyn Johns, of course — but on these amazing Hot Stamper copies it is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want sounds amazing here — the breathtaking transparency allows you to pick out each voice in the intro. The vocals are present, full-bodied and textured.

There’s lots of deep, tight bass which is crucial for a song like Monkey Man, which is wonderful here. Gimme Shelter is pretty tough to get right but it sounds excellent here as well.

This copy does not have the typically warned-over, smeary sound that we’ve come to expect from import pressings of the album. We stopped buying them years ago. The ones we’ve played are clearly not made from the master tapes, which is immediately apparent the moment you drop the needle on the right domestic copy, of which this is of course one, and one of the best.

Love In Vain!

This is our favorite test track for side one. The first minute or so clues you into to everything that’s happening in the sound. Listen for the amazing immediacy, transparency and sweetly extended harmonics of the guitar in the left channel. Next, when Watts starts slapping that big fat snare in the right channel, it should sound so real you could reach out and touch it.

If you’re like me, that Tubey magical acoustic guitar sound and the rich whomp of the snare should be all the evidence you need that Glyn Johns is one of the Five Best Rock Engineers who ever lived. Ken Scott, Stephen Barncard, Alan Parsons and a few others are right up there with him of course. We audiophiles are very lucky to have had guys like those around when the Stones were at their writing and performing peak.