- Outstanding sound throughout for this fun live album, boasting solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides of this early UK press – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
- Allmusic: “Hendrix’s performances of Foxy Lady, Lover Man, Midnight Lightning, All Along the Watchtower, In from the Storm and Freedom are excellent and made Isle of Wight well worth the price of admission when it first came out in 1971.”
Superb live ROCK ’N ROLL sound. It’s so clean, clear and transparent with deep punchy bass. The guitars here sound excellent. And hey, let’s be honest, if the guitars don’t sound right on a Hendrix record. You’re in trouble!
Fortunately, that ain’t the case here. Everything sounds tonally right on the money. I can’t imagine this record sounding any better. It just sounds right. Just drop the needle on Freedom for a taste of that real Hendrix magic.
This vintage Polydor 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 Isle of Wight 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 1971
- 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 Isle of Wight
- 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.
All Along The Watchtower
In From The Storm
Jimi Hendrix’s August 8, 1970 set at the Isle of Wight festival in England resulted in two types of posthumous LPs in the 1970s: illegal bootlegs from various underground labels, and legal releases from Polydor. One of the legal releases that Polydor put out in England was Isle of Wight, a single LP that is consistently exciting…
Hendrix’s performances of “Foxy Lady,” “Lover Man,” “Midnight Lightning,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “In from the Storm” and “Freedom” are excellent and made Isle of Wight well worth the price of admission when it first came out in 1971.