I don’t know of another Who album with such consistently good sound — song to song, not copy to copy, of course. Just about every song on here can sound wonderful on the right pressing. If you’re lucky enough to get a Hot Stamper copy, you’re going to be blown away by the Tubey Magical Guitars, the rock-solid bottom end, the jumpin’-out-of-the-speakers presence and dynamics, and the silky vocals and top end. Usually the best we can give you for The Who is “Big and Rockin,” but on Tommy, we can give you ’60s analog magic like you will rarely hear in the decades to follow.
Acoustic guitar reproduction is key to this recording, and on the best copies the harmonic coherency, the richness, the body and the phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard in every strum.
What do high grades give you for this album? Silky, sweet vocals; huge weight to the bottom end; “you are there” immediacy; BIG drums, off the charts rock and roll energy, and shocking clarity and transparency.
No other Who album has all these things in such abundance.
The Tubey Magic Top Ten
You don’t need tube equipment to hear the prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic that exist on this recording. For those of you who’ve experienced top quality analog pressings of Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon, or practically any jazz album on Contemporary, whether played through tubes or transistors, that’s the luscious sound of Tubey Magic, and it is all over Tommy.
Ranked strictly in terms of Tubey Magic I would have to put this album on our list of Most Tubey Magical Rock Recordings of All Time, right up there with Sgt. Pepper (1967), Meddle (1971), Dark Side of the Moon (1973), the first Eagles album (1972), the first Dire Straits album (1977, and clearly the outlier in this group), the first Doors album (1967), Ziggy Stardust (1972), Tumbleweed Connection (1970), A Space in Time (1970), and a handful of others.
The Most Tubey Magical CD Ever
As hard as it may be for me to say anything nice about the folks at Mobile Fidelity, the CD you see pictured to your left is one of the best sounding I have ever heard. It actually has more Tubey Magic than the average British Track pressing, and certainly more than any British Polydor, Decca, or MCA LP, or any import from any country other than England for that matter. It blows my mind every time I play it.
Now some of you are going to have a hard time wrapping your heads around this next bit, but no two CDs sound the same just as no two records sound the same. Get together five identical copies of a CD and shoot them out yourself. At least one or two of them will tower over the others. I have done this experiment dozens of times and the results are beyond question. You can always blindfold yourself and check your findings if you have any doubts.
The Best of the Sixties and Seventies
This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted.
Big Production Tubey Magical British Rock just doesn’t get much better than Tommy.