The Rolling Stones – Between The Buttons on Decca

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  • An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish – one of the better copies from our recent shootout, and pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl to boot
  • This is classic ’60s Stones sound, courtesy of Dave Hassinger, working in L.A. (RCA) and London (Olympic + Pye)
  • If you’re looking for the ideal combination of Tubey Magical richness and transparency, this British Decca LP in stereo is one of the few that will show it to you
  • 5 Stars – Richie Unterberger hailed it as one of the Rolling Stones’ “strongest, most eclectic LPs” and, according to Robert Christgau, Between the Buttons was “among the greatest rock albums.”

This LP has the British track listing, so don’t pick this one up if you’re looking for great sounding versions of Let’s Spend The Night Together or Ruby Tuesday. A bummer, but the domestic copies sound AWFUL, so what can you do?

Tubey Magic Is Key

This vintage British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely 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 Between The Buttons 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 1967
  • 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 Between The Buttons

  • 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

Yesterday’s Papers 
My Obsession 
Back Streets Girl 
Connection 
She Smiled Sweetly
Cool, Calm & Collected

Side Two

All Sold Out 
Please Go Home
Who’s Been Sleeping Here?
Complicated 
Miss Amanda Jones
Something Happened to Me Yesterday

AMG 5 Star Review

The Rolling Stones’ 1967 recordings are a matter of some controversy; many critics felt that they were compromising their raw, rootsy power with trendy emulations of the Beatles, Kinks, Dylan, and psychedelic music. Approach this album with an open mind, though, and you’ll find it to be one of their strongest, most eclectic LPs, with many fine songs that remain unknown to all but Stones devotees.

More Reviews and Background

Between the Buttons, like many British long-players, differed between its UK and US versions. The UK edition (in the form Oldham and the Stones intended it) was issued on 20 January 1967 on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, “Let’s Spend the Night Together” b/w “Ruby Tuesday.” As was common in the British record industry at the time, the single did not appear on the album. Between the Buttons reached #3 in the UK.

According to Robert Christgau, Between the Buttons was “among the greatest rock albums”, and AllMusic’s Richie Unterberger hailed it as one of the Rolling Stones’ “strongest, most eclectic LPs”.

In a retrospective review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne called the album “a cheeky set of sardonic Swinging London vaudeville rock”, while Billboard magazine’s Christopher Walsh wrote that “it’s brimming with overlooked gems, the band delivering a captivating blend of folky, Beatles-esque pop and tough bluesy rockers.”

Tom Moon wrote in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) that the album was “lighter and thinner” than Aftermath and, “having belatedly discovered pop melody, Jagger and Richards were suddenly overdosing on the stuff.” Jim DeRogatis included Between the Buttons in his 2003 list of the essential psychedelic rock albums.