- Pete Townshend’s 1977 collaboration with Ronnie Lane finally returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
- The sound is big and rich, yet still wonderfully clean, clear and open with fantastic energy – you will not believe all the space and ambiance here
- 4 stars: “Rough Mix… combines the loose, rollicking folk-rock of Lane’s former band, Slim Chance, with touches of country, folk, and New Orleans rock & roll, along with Townshend’s own trademark style… Rough Mix stands as a minor masterpiece and an overlooked gem in both artists’ vast bodies of work.”
This vintage MCA 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 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 Rough Mix 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 1977
- 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.
What We’re Listening For on Rough Mix
- 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, horns 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, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
My Baby Gives It Away
Nowhere to Run
Keep Me Turning
Street in the City
Heart to Hang Onto
Till the Rivers All Run Dry
AMG 4 Star Review
Rough Mix, Pete Townshend’s 1977 collaboration with former Small Faces and Faces songwriter and bass player Ronnie Lane, combines the loose, rollicking folk-rock of Lane’s former band, Slim Chance, with touches of country, folk, and New Orleans rock & roll, along with Townshend’s own trademark style.
Lane’s tunes, especially the beautiful “Annie,” possess an understated charm, while Townshend, with songs such as “Misunderstood,” the Meher Baba-inspired “Keep Me Turning,” and the strange love song “My Baby Gives It Away,” delivers some of the best material of his solo career.
Rough Mix stands as a minor masterpiece and an overlooked gem in both artists’ vast bodies of work. Eric Clapton, John Entwistle, and Charlie Watts guest.