John Lennon – Walls and Bridges

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  • This Shootout Winning copy was doing everything right — stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both of these sides are full-bodied, rich and Tubey Magical with lots of extension on both ends
  • These early British pressings are the only way to go – the domestic pressings are clearly made from dubs
  • “…the best moments come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on “Going Down on Love,” “Steel and Glass,” and the beautiful, soaring ‘No. 9 Dream.'”

Walls and Bridges may not be the high point of Lennon’s solo career but there are some wonderful songs on this album and it was quite a treat to finally hear them sound right. It’s tough to find Hot Stamper John Lennon albums so if you’re a fan I think you’ll be very pleased at what a serious step up in quality this copy represents over any other you might have heard.

Going Down On Love and Old Dirt Road (co-written with Harry Nilsson!) are especially lovely.

Some classic tracks that everybody knows are here as well: #9 Dream, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night and Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out).

What amazing sides such as these 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 1974
  • 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 Walls and Bridges

  • 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

Going Down On Love
Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
Old Dirt Road
What You Got
Bless You
Scared

Side Two

#9 Dream
Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)
Steel And Glass
Beef Jerky
Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)
Ya Ya

AMG  Review

Walls and Bridges was recorded during John Lennon’s infamous “lost weekend,” as he exiled himself in California during a separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon’s personal life was scattered, so it isn’t surprising that Walls and Bridges is a mess itself, containing equal amounts of brilliance and nonsense. Falling between the two extremes was the bouncy Elton John duet “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” which was Lennon’s first solo number one hit. Its bright, sunny surface was replicated throughout the record, particularly on middling rockers like “What You Got” but also on enjoyable pop songs like “Old Dirt Road.” However, the best moments on Walls and Bridges come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on “Going Down on Love,” “Steel and Glass,” and the beautiful, soaring “No. 9 Dream.”

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