Humble Pie – Rock On

More Humble Pie

More Peter Frampton

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Hard rockin’ energy to spare, the kind you will be hard-pressed to find on any modern Heavy Vinyl reissue these days – Shine On is big and bold and simply amazing here
  • A classic Glyn Johns recording – we were knocked out by the full-bodied, Tubey Magical sound of these killer pressings
  • 4 stars: “The record has an undeniable live feel to it, due in part to Glyn Johns’ humble yet precise recording, framing the group as if they were a boogie version of the Band.”

Glyn Johns strikes again — this record is absolutely brimming with TUBEY MAGIC. It’s the sound we love here at Better Records, assuming the pressing in question still maintains some degree of presence, immediacy and transparency. Records like this can easily get thick and muddy; think of the typically dull Who’s Next or Sticky Fingers and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

But oh what a glorious sound it is when it’s working. There’s not a trace of anything phony up top, down low or anywhere in-between. This means it has a quality sorely at odds with the vast majority of audiophile pressiings, new and old, as well as practically anything recorded in the last twenty years, and it is simply this: The louder you play it the better it gets.

For that we must thank Glyn Johns.

What the Best Sides of Rock On 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 Rock On

  • 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.

Glyn Johns

It was only about fifteen years ago that I discovered what an amazing engineer and producer Glyn Johns is. A Hot Stamper of the first Eagles album blew my mind, produced by none other, so I quickly started looking around for other records he might have had a hand in. How about Who’s Next? Let It Bleed? On The Border (my personal favorite Eagles album)? Led Zeppelin’s debut? And of course, Sticky Fingers, a record that I’ve always known had great sound — you can hear it buried under all that bad vinyl and groove wear. Until the newest record cleaning fluids and machines were invented you could hear it; you just couldn’t enjoy it. Now, of course, you can.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Shine On 
Sour Grain 
79th And Sunset
Stone Cold Fever 
Rollin’ Stone

Side Two

A Song For Jenny 
The Light 
Big George
Strange Days 
Red Neck Jump

AMG 4 Star Rave Review

On this, their second album for A&M, Humble Pie proved that they were not the “minor league Rolling Stones” as people often described them. Led by the soulful Steve Marriot, the Pie was a great band in every sense of the word.

Although Peter Frampton elevated himself to superstar status in just a few years, this album proves what an excellent lead guitarist he was. The record has an undeniable live feel to it, due in part to Glyn Johns’ humble yet precise recording, framing the group as if they were a boogie version of the Band.

When all of these elements come together on songs such as “Sour Grain” and “Stone Cold Fever,” it’s an unbeatable combination.