Richie Havens – Alarm Clock

More Richie Havens

Some of the Records from 1971 We’ve Reviewed


  • An incredible copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last; the first to hit the site in over 8 years!
  • Both sides are super open and transparent with EXCELLENT bass and lots of depth to the soundfield; it had more top end and more vocal presence than every other copy we played it against
  • This one went all the way up to #29 when it came out in 1971, a far better showing than he ever had on the charts before or again
  • Side one kicks off with a great cover of Here Comes The Sun, and on a copy like this it sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD!

We played a big stack of these recently and most left us cold. Many copies suffer from poor vinyl, this album came out on Stormy Forest which was a subsidiary of MGM, and MGM is certainly not a label known for its quiet vinyl.

The typical copy of this album doesn’t sound all that hot. We heard copies with veiled vocals, sloppy bass, midrange congestion and a wide variety of other sonic issues. Fonrtunately that ain’t the case here. Both sides are MINDBLOWINGLY good!

Both sides here are super open and transparent with EXCELLENT bass and lots of depth to the soundfield. It had more top end and more vocal presence than every other copy we played it against.

What amazing sides such as these 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 Alarm Clock

  • 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.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.


Side One

Here Comes the Sun
To Give All Your Love Away
Younger Men Grow Older
Girls Don’t Run Away
End of Seasons

Side Two

Some Will Wait
Patient Lady
Missing Train
Alarm Clock