Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

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  • Lionel Richie’s third album makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl for the most part too
  • This copy has real depth to the soundfield; full-bodied, present vocals; plenty of bottom end weight; and lovely analog warmth
  • Filled with quintessential Richie favorites, including Say You, Say Me, Love Will Conquer All, and of course, the title track
  • 4 stars: “…He adds a bit more dance to this album, and while the grooves are funkier than anything since the Commodores… Dancing on the Ceiling is a solid, enjoyable affair…”

CONDITION NOTE: *A stitch at the beginning of track one plays nine times at a moderate level.

This vintage Motown pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records 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 Lionel and 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 Dancing On The Ceiling 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 even as late as 1986
  • 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’re Listening For on Dancing On The Ceiling

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dancing On The Ceiling
Se La
Ballerina Girl
Don’t Stop

Side Two

Deep River Woman
Love Will Conquer All
Tonight Will Be Alright
Say You, Say Me

AMG 4 Star Review

Lionel Richie wasn’t necessarily emboldened by the success of Can’t Slow Down — after all, he had experienced huge success since the Commodores — but there is nevertheless a sense of swagger on its 1986 successor, Dancing on the Ceiling.

…He adds a bit more dance to this album, and while the grooves are funkier than anything since the Commodores… Dancing on the Ceiling is a solid, enjoyable affair…

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