- A stunning copy of Cash’s 1963 release, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from top to bottom – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Both sides here are just about AS Good As It Gets — full-bodied, Tubey Magical and super present with plenty of extension on both ends
- “The delivery is plain, simple, and never overly sentimental, but the thing that makes the record really work is the fact that the album consists almost entirely of first-rate material, without much of the unintentionally corny history lessons that weigh down most of Johnny Cash’s Americana records.”
This vintage Columbia 360 Stereo 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 legendary Man in Black, 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 1963
- 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 Blood, Sweat and Tears
- 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.
The Legend Of John Henry’s Hammer
Tell Him I’m Gone
Another Man Done Gone
Nine Pound Hammer
Waiting For A Train
Where Ride This Train was about railroads and how they shaped America, Blood, Sweat and Tears is not only about the folklore of trains, it’s about the fables of the American working man. That means there are classic ballads like “Casey Jones” and “The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer,” but also relatively recent blues like “Busted,” the field song “Pick a Bale of Cotton,” and the worker’s lament “Tell Him I’m Gone.”
The delivery is plain, simple, and never overly sentimental, but the thing that makes the record really work is the fact that the album consists almost entirely of first-rate material, without much of the unintentionally corny history lessons that weigh down most of Johnny Cash’s Americana records.