- An incredible early Atco pressing with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from start to finish
- Richness and plenty of tight bass are key to bringing the rhythmically challenging music of New Orleans to life, and here there is plenty of both
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl they’re making – for Tubey Magic and energy, this is the only way to go
- “As in In the Right Place, Mac has taken advantage of the specialized production talents of Allen Toussaint (at Toussaint’s own Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans), and has again used the fabled New Orleans band The Meters as his studio group. Each of the 12 cuts on the LP has been well-conceived, clearly thought-out, and reveals a new level of musical depth for the doctor.”
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot 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 do the best Hot Stamper pressings of Desitively Bannaroo give you?
- 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 1974
- 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 Desitively Bannaroo
- 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.
Quitters Never Win
What Comes Around (Goes Around)
(Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away
Let’s Make A Better World
R U 4 Real
Sing Along Song
Can’t Git Enuff
Go Tell The People
Zoo World Review (7/18/74)
To the cajun population of New Orleans, the expression desitively bonnaroo has come to mean “better than the best.” It supposedly originated among the inmates of South Louisiana’s dreary Angola Prison, located on an avenue called Bonnaroo. If you were on that street and not in the prison, it was desitively bonnaroo.
Desitively Bonnaroo is also the title of Dr. John’s seventh album, and at first glance, it seems to be just that — better than his best. Advancing in the direction of his successful last LP, In the Right Place, it is a balanced, commercially viable synthesis of his hoodoo and dixieland roots. Yet in light of Mac Rebenneck a.k.a. Dr. John’s twenty-year saga through the music biz and his hard-earned reputation as a legend in his own time, he seems to have taken the easy way out.
His gris-gris/gumbo mixture has been formularized into a spellbinding but predictable potion. And his stage act, which always featured outlandish Mardi Gras constumes and satchels filled with gittering gris-gris, has been hyped-up to capitalize on the currently trendy glitter-rock and rock theatrics. But his music still comes across with the integrity and potence of a master.
As in In the Right Place, Mac has taken advantage of the specialized production talents of Allen Toussaint (this time at Toussaint’s own Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans), and has again used the fabled New Orleans band The Meters as his studio group. Each of the twelve cuts on the LP has been well-conceived, clearly thought-out, and reveals a new level of musical depth for the doctor.
Perhaps the most ambitious numbers on the album are Earl King’s spirited “Let’s Make a Better World” and the soft-shoe “Sing Along Song,” both are similarly constructed with primary and secondary melodies skillfully fused into one. “Quitters Never Win” and “(Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away” are wildly compelling wails of song, “Mos’Scocious” is a dangerously infectious rhumba.
“Stealin'” is slightly reminiscent of Dr. John’s early style; each subtly sinister verse is capped by a growled punchline: “Stealin’ money from the blind… stealin’ food from the hungry… stealin’ medicine from the sick.” The haunting first verse of “What Comes Around Goes Around” floats in on eerie streams of mellotron, then bursts into a rocking refrain of creole philosophy.
The title tune, “Desitively Bonnaroo,” seems to have been patterned after “In the Right Place.” Done in a minor key, it changes beat midway for a stabbing electric guitar part played over thumping bass. Dr. John grunts out the spicy lyrics (“high steppin’ mama/better keep on foxin’ with your foxy self”) as his chick singers shriek “give me what you got for me.” The effect is downright evil.
And I’d be damned impressed if I didn’t know it was all so easy for him. But apparently Dr. John has grown tired of being perennially ahead of his time, and I can’t blame him. I wonder what he’ll pull out of his satchel of sound next time, now that he’s given us a chance to catch up.