John Cougar Mellencamp – Uh-Huh

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on this copy of Mellencamp’s 1983 release
  • The sound is HUGE – wide, deep, and open, with a solid bottom end and rhythmic energy to spare
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… the first half — with the dynamic rocker ‘Crumblin’ Down,’ his best protest song, ‘Pink Houses,’ the punky ‘Authority Song,’ the melancholy ‘Warmer Place to Sleep,’ and the garage rocker ‘Play Guitar’ — makes the record his first terrific album.”

This vintage Riva 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 Uh-Huh 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 even as late as 1983
  • 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 Uh-Huh

  • 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

Crumblin’ Down
Pink Houses
Authority Song
Warmer Place To Sleep

Side Two

Jackie O
Play Guitar
Serious Business
Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
Golden Gates

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Since American Fool illustrated that John Cougar was becoming an actual songwriter, it’s only proper that he reclaimed his actual last name, Mellencamp, for the follow-up, Uh-Huh. After all, now that he had success, he wanted to be taken seriously, and Uh-Huh reflects that in its portraits of brokenhearted life in the Midwest and its rumbling undercurrent of despair.

Although his lyrics still have the tendency to be a little too vague, they are more effective here than ever before, as is his music; he might not have changed his style at all — it’s still a fusion of the Stones and Springsteen — except that he now knows how to make it his own. Uh-Huh runs out of steam toward the end, but the first half — with the dynamic rocker “Crumblin’ Down,” his best protest song, “Pink Houses,” the punky “Authority Song,” the melancholy “Warmer Place to Sleep,” and the garage rocker “Play Guitar” — makes the record his first terrific album.

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