- All four sides of this double album earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to it for their Big, Bold Live Rock sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Mixed and mastered so that the guitar solos soar the way they do in live music — what a thrill it is to hear them finally sounding the way they should
- A killer copy like this one is a potent reminder of why we all went so crazy for this album back in the ’70s – I did anyway
- Allmusic agrees with us that many tracks here are “much more inspired, confident, and hard-hitting than the studio versions.”
On the better copies, the guitar solos are the loudest parts of some of the songs, which, as everyone who’s ever been to a rock concert knows, is exactly what happens in live rock music. Fancy that!
Not many live albums are mixed to allow the guitar solos to rock the way these do. Since Frampton is one of my favorite players, hearing his work get loud on this album is nothing less than a thrill. It’s hard to turn up the volume on most copies — they tend to get aggressive in a hurry — but that simply doesn’t happen on our hottest Hot Stampers. They sound right when they’re loud.
What the Best Sides of Frampton Comes Alive 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 domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that Chris Kimsey recorded on tape in 1976
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the concert hall
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 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.
It’s ridiculously hard to find good sound for this record. Most copies are thin, dry and transistory. And it’s time-consuming to clean and play as many copies of this double album as it takes to find enough Hot Stampers to make the endeavor worthwhile. When this album doesn’t have the sonic goods it’s nobody’s idea of a good time.
A great copy like this one will remind you — we hope — what made everybody so crazy for this music back in the ’70s. Click on the A Personal Story tab above to read more about how big a fan of Peter Frampton’s I have always been.
What We Listen For on Frampton Comes Alive
- 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.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back into the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic that is a key part of the appeal of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Rock Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Show Me the Way
It’s a Plain Shame
All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side)
Wind of Change
Baby, I Love Your Way
I Wanna Go to the Sun
Penny for Your Thoughts
(I’ll Give You) Money
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Lines on My Face
Do You Feel Like We Do
AMG 4 1/2 Stars Review
The biggest-selling live album of all time, it made Peter Frampton a household word and generated a monster hit single in “Show Me the Way.” And the reason why is easy to hear: the Herd/Humble Pie graduate packed one hell of a punch on-stage — where he was obviously the most comfortable — and, in fact, the live versions of “Show Me the Way,” “Do You Feel Like I Do,” “Something’s Happening,” “Shine On,” and other album rock staples are much more inspired, confident, and hard-hitting than the studio versions.
A Personal Story
Not that anyone should care, but I bought the first Frampton album (1972’s Wind of Change) when it came out, probably based on a magazine review. Think I paid $3.08 for it; that was the discount price for an album at the little record store I frequented back in those days. It was in Leucadia, CA, not far from where I went to high school.
(I specifically remember going into that store and buying the first Loggins and Messina album. On the store system they were playing Ziggy Stardust but I had no idea what the hell that album was all about and just basically ignored it (!). L&M record in hand, I proceeded to ask the guy at the counter whether it was stereo or not. He looked at me like the dumbass high school kid I was and said something along the lines of “of course it is, they don’t even make mono records anymore.” I forked over my $3.08 plus tax and filed that piece of info in my marijuana-addled brain under Lessons Learned.
Anyway, I’ve been in love with that first Peter Frampton record for more than forty years and still play it regularly (now mostly on CD in the car, the turntable is tied up all day as you might imagine).
When the live album came out I ran down to Tower and picked it up immediately, not knowing a thing about it but knowing that anything Frampton did on record was at least worth a listen. His previous album, 1975’s eponymous Frampton, was a favorite of mine and most of my friends’ as well.
What a listen Frampton Comes Alive turned out to be! A real game changer for an artist working in obscurity that I had revered for years.