- This superb pressing of Rainbow Bridge boasts Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from top to bottom – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- Rich, full tonality and good presence and energy throughout
- A surprisingly good sounding album, one of the best of his posthumous releases
- “‘Dolly Dagger’ is arguably one of the great pop songs of Hendrix’s career. Written towards the very end of his life, the song sounds like it was written years earlier, and it certainly has the same feel as many of the compositions on Hendrix’s debut, Are You Experienced?. Of course, Hendrix’s guitar work is inspired, but it doesn’t draw attention away from what is essentially a brilliantly crafted song.”
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
It’s beyond difficult for us to find killer copies of Jimi’s “real” albums, so I advise you Hendrix die-hards not to turn your nose up at this one!
Side one of this album features some amazing material, including “Dolly Dagger” and “Earth Blues,” two of the better songs from the later part of Jimi’s career. (Check out the insightful AMG track reviews near the bottom of this listing.) The instrumental “Pali Gap” is fantastic as well and pure audiophile gold — so spacious and sweet.
Side two features some good live material, including extended renditions of two great tracks — “Hear My Train A Comin'” and “Hey Baby.”
This vintage Reprise 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 Rainbow Bridge 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 Rainbow Bridge
- 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.
Room Full of Mirrors
The Star Spangled Banner
Look over Yonder
Hear My Train a Comin’
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
AMG Track Reviews
“Dolly Dagger” is arguably one of the great pop songs of Hendrix’s career. Written towards the very end of his life, the song sounds like it was written years earlier, and it certainly has the same feel as many of the compositions on Hendrix’s debut, Are You Experienced?. Containing a wonderfully funky guitar line, the song is not deep, and certainly containing none of the pretension that marred much of Hendrix’s later work, “Dolly Dagger” is a great, light, pop song, with a enormously attractive, even funny, lyric and a lovely, bouncy melody. Of course, Hendrix’s guitar work is inspired, but it doesn’t draw attention away from what is essentially a brilliantly crafted song.
Led by a Wes Montgomery-inspired riff that sounds like Curtis Mayfield on acid, “Earth Blues” is a fabulous soul-drenched rocker that potentially would have been a great single, had it been released as such. Lyrically, there is a string gospel feeling here, and crossed with the overall psychedelic vibe, it was perfect for the 1970 airwaves. Showcasing the feeling on the street at the turn of the ’60s, the song has a great urban feel and contains great energy.