- With a Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning side one and a Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy had some of the best sound we have ever heard on Nash’s underrated second album
- The sound is Classic 1973 Analog – smooth, rich, warm and tonally correct, with real energy and the kind of natural sound that’s a hallmark of the better Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recordings
- Filling out the band: Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Dave Mason, Neil Young, David Lindley and too many others to list
- “Nash speaks from his heart on Wild Tales and those that are willing to get past its sparse arrangements will be able to accept it for the masterpiece of folk-rock that it is.”
This is a criminally underappreciated album, and perhaps that has to do with just how poor the average copy sounds. When you get a copy like this one you cannot fail to appreciate how powerful and deeply emotional these songs are. Drop the needle on the title track or Grave Concern to see what I mean. To read what another fan, and much better writer, had to say about the album, click on the Rave Review tab above.
The sound has the LIFE and ENERGY of rock and roll. This is Graham fronting a band, and on the best copies the recording and the music both work together to make them sound like they’ve been playing together forever. This is not the Big Production that Nash’s first album was. Been there done that; who needs the headache?
Working Their Magic
This is an album where top players got together and worked their magic on a bunch of good songs, playing for the most part live in the studio, which is practically the only way to communicate the feel of a real band (cf. Almost Cut My Hair).
What happens when you clean and play a bunch of copies? You come to recognize what the best ones are doing that the average ones aren’t. And the effect of that understanding on this particular title was simply to recognize the nature of this project, that these are a great bunch of well-crafted songs played with energy and enthusiasm by a very talented group of top flight musicians, totally in sync with each other. This is what they were trying to do, and really, what more can you ask for?
This copy had the kind of transparency that allowed us to really hear into the soundfield and pick out every instrument and recording effect. If your stereo is up to it you can hear some of the band members talking during the music and before the songs.
What outstanding sides such as these 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 1973
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.
A Forgotten Classic
Like Nash’s first album, no one pays much attention to this music nowadays, but Better Records is going to try to remedy that situation by making available to the audiophile public numerous copies of this album, every one of which is guaranteed to turn you into a fan. This is not new music, but it may be new music to you, so “discovering” it will be every bit as much fun for you in 2019 as it was for me in 1973.
This is not an audiophile record. It ain’t never going to make the TAS List or get a mention by anyone in the Audiophile Press. This is a record for music lovers who care about good sound. If you’re reading this, that’s you. Us too, and proud of it.
From one audiophile to another, this is a great record that belongs in your collection.
What We Listen For on Wild Tales
- 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.
- 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.
Hey You (Looking at the Moon)
You’ll Never Be the Same
And So It Goes
Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)
I Miss You
On the Line
Another Sleep Song
Underground Record Shop Review
Its hard to imagine that a man who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice over could be considered underrated or unknown, but its the truth. Graham Nash is honored in Cleveland for his work in both The Hollies and Crosby Stills and Nash, however, his solo work is often overlooked by critics and the radio alike.
Many Nash penned songs became hits for the two bands, including “Marrakesh Express,” “Teach Your Children Well,” and “On a Carousel,” Nash’s solo work is far more introspective and personal than his collaborative efforts with his bands. His first solo effort, Songs for Beginners was a hit, it was pushed up the charts by its political lead single “Chicago.”
In comparison, Nash’s sophomore album, Wild Tales was worse than a dud, it not only didn’t explode up the charts, it never even caught a spark. Nash speaks from his heart on Wild Tales and those that are willing to get past its sparse arrangements will be able to accept it for the masterpiece of folk-rock that it is.
It opens with studio chatter and the chugging of muted guitar strings, soon a funky line from the bass kicks in, then distorted electric guitar, and finally the drums fill in. This first track is as heavy as Wild Tales will get, but its a great lead in, Graham uses it to introduce the “wild” stories that will soon follow.
There are only two types of songs on the album, political songs and love songs and both are performed earnestly and honestly. Dave Lindley’s electric guitar is only heard on a select few political tracks (“Wild Tales,” “Grave Concern,” and “And so It Goes”) as if to add some extra depth and weight to the song’s messages.
The cream of the album’s crop come back to back, “Oh Camil” is a simple acoustic protest song, searching for the meaning of war and consequences of the innocents involved. Its touching and will bring goosebumps with each listen. Following it is the heartbreaking lonely lament to an absent lover, ‘I Miss You.” The arrangement is simply Graham and his piano, its so stark that you can practically hear the tears in Graham’s voice as he wishes his love were with him.
There are no missed opportunities here, every track is solid and the album is a welcome companion for a lonely night. Its also fun to hear all the guest artists; Neil Young, David Crosby, Dave Lindley, and Joni Mitchell all make appearances. An open minded listen to Wild Tales will leave you wondering why this album hasn’t been sitting alongside your other CSN(Y) vinyls.