- With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner – fairly quiet vinyl too
- The low end speed and energy on this copy are crazy good – it’s like a Cream concert in your listening room
- The best pressings, the ones that are full-bodied and smooth, let you crank the levels and reproduce the album good and loud the way it was meant to be heard – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- “The live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band.”
When you get a good copy of this album you’re sure to hear what we heard — that this is truly one of the great live rock albums (with a bit of studio material on side two as well). This copy has the Big Rock Sound that we go crazy for at Better Records. The best pressings, the ones that are full-bodied and smooth, let you crank the levels and reproduce the album good and loud the way it was meant to be heard.
When it’s all working, you’re front and center for a fiery Cream concert with these guys delivering one heckuva performance. And where else are you gonna get that these days?
This vintage Polydor pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 and/or live 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 the best sides of Goodbye have to offer is not hard to hear:
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
- 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 1969
- 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
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.
We’ve heard scores of the Cream albums over the last twelve years that we’ve been doing our Hot Stamper thing, and it’s clear to us now that their two best recordings are bookends: the first album (self-titled) and the last album, Goodbye. Don’t get us wrong, there are certainly excellent pressings of Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, but neither of those two albums at their best can compete with Fresh Cream and Goodbye at their best.
What We’re Listening For on Goodbye
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- 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 — Bill Halverson in this case — would put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
More of What To Listen For
Side one has two extended songs, with Politician being the standout sonically. It’s got the Big Live Rock sound, very spacious and transparent. The first track, I’m So Glad, is always a bit midrangey.
Badge is a great test for side two. If Clapton’s Leslie-speaker-processed-guitar solo is blasting away right in your listening room and approximately the size of your house, then you have a good copy.
When a copy is cut really clean, as the best ones always are, the louder you play them the better they sound. They’re tonally correct at loud volumes and a bit dull at quote audiophile unquote volumes. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Halverson Is The Man
This is one of Bill Halverson’s Engineering Masterpieces, right up there with Deja Vu and Steve Stills’ first album (now that’s a trio!).
Live Rock Music on record just does not get any better than side one of Goodbye on the best copies, and Badge is every bit as amazing sounding for studio work — if you are that rare individual fortunate enough to be able to hear it at its best.
I’m So Glad [Live]
Sitting on Top of the World [Live]
Doing That Scrapyard Thing
What a Bringdown
After a mere three albums in just under three years, Cream called it quits in 1969. Being proper gentlemen, they said their formal goodbyes with a tour and a farewell album called — what else? — Goodbye.
As a slim, six-song single LP, it’s far shorter than the rambling, out-of-control Wheels of Fire, but it boasts the same structure, evenly dividing its time between tracks cut on-stage and in the studio.
While the live side contains nothing as indelible as “Crossroads,” the live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band. It’s hard, heavy rock, with Cream digging deep into their original “Politician” with the same intensity as they do on “Sitting on Top of the World,” but it’s the rampaging “I’m So Glad” that illustrates how far they’ve come; compare it to the original studio version on Fresh Cream and it’s easy to see just how much further they’re stretching their improvisation.
The studio side also finds them at something of a peak. Boasting a song apiece from each member, it opens with the majestic classic “Badge,” co-written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and ranking among both of their best work. It’s followed by Jack Bruce’s “Doing That Scrapyard Thing,” an overstuffed near-masterpiece filled with wonderful, imaginative eccentricities, and finally, there’s Ginger Baker’s tense, dramatic “What a Bringdown,” easily the best original he contributed to the group.