Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys

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  • Outstanding sound for this Robert Ludwig mastered Capitol Green Label pressing with each side rating a solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER
  • Tons of bass, smooth vocals, and an overall freedom from distortion characterize the sound of both sides, and that’s unusual because most copies of this record are just plain dreadful
  • Trust me on this one – you’re going to have a difficult and expensive adventure trying to find a great sounding copy of this one on your own
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Although he could be an erratic live performer, for these shows, Hendrix was on — perhaps his finest performances… not only an important part of the Hendrix legacy, but one of the greatest live albums ever.”

*CONDITION NOTES:

  • On side one, a mark makes 4 light ticks about one inch into track 2, Machine Gun.
  • On side two, a group of light marks makes 10 moderately-light ticks one-quarter inch from the end of track 1, Changes.

The Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing in Mono was a JOKE. Most of the regular pressings we’ve come across — Brit or domestic — aren’t worth listing on the site.

This vintage Capitol 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 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 Band of Gypsys have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • 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
  • 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 1970

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 Band of Gypsys

  • 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

Who Knows
Machine Gun

Side Two

Changes
Power to Love
Message to Love
We Gotta Live Together

AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review

The music was a seamless melding of rock, funk, and R&B, and tunes like “Message to Love” and “Power to Love” showed a new lyrical direction as well. Although he could be an erratic live performer, for these shows, Hendrix was on — perhaps his finest performances. His playing was focused and precise. In fact, for most of the set, Hendrix stood motionless, a far cry from the stage antics that helped establish his reputation as a performer. Equipment problems had plagued him in past live shows as well, but everything was perfect for the Fillmore shows… Band of Gypsys is not only an important part of the Hendrix legacy, but one of the greatest live albums ever.

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