Atlanta Rhythm Section – Champagne Jam

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this wonderful copy of Champagne Jam – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The size, clarity, presence and energy are superb – and talk about Tubey Magic, this pressing is overflowing with it
  • If all you know is the sound of the MoFi release from back in the day – compressed, with their penchant for sucked-out-midrange EQ – this copy will be a revelation
  • “… Champagne Jam is one of the group’s strongest releases: a seamless marriage of Southern rock muscle and uptown blues dress… fans will definitely want to make this the first title they consider from the band’s regular album catalog.”

This vintage Polydor 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 Champagne Jam 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 1978
  • 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 Champagne Jam

  • 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

Large Time
I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight
Normal Love
Champagne Jam

Side Two

Imaginary Lover
The Ballad Of Lois Malone
The Great Escape
Evileen

AMG  Review

Once part of Roy Orbison’s backing band and contributors to Georgia’s thriving studio scene, the members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section married their polished chops to the rough-and-tumble blues and Southern-fried rock of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. And while the Allmans themselves espoused a jazz-tinged style, the Atlanta Rhythm Section took their boogie swing to almost MOR levels.

Their slick style finally turned to gold with the 1976 hit “So Into You.” 1978’s Champagne Jam kept up the pace to an extent with minor successes like the Beatlesque pop side “I’m Not Going to Let It Bother Me Tonight.”

Chart concerns aside, Champagne Jam is one of the group’s strongest releases: a seamless marriage of Southern rock muscle and uptown blues dress… Beyond the few best-of discs available, fans will definitely want to make this the first title they consider from the band’s regular album catalog.