- An outstanding copy of Infidels with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Big and rich, with correct tonality from top to bottom, strong bass and plenty of space, this copy sounded just right to us
- 4 stars: “… its writing is closer to Dylan’s peak of the mid-’70s, and some of the songs here… are minor classics, capturing him reviving his sense of social consciousness and his gift for poetic, elegant love songs.”
This is one of the better sounding Dylan records from the ’80s. It’s not exactly Blood on the Tracks, the only Dylan album we think is qualified to be on our Top 100 Rock and Pop List, but it sounds good for a record from this era.
This vintage Columbia 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 Infidels 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 even as late as 1983
- 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 Infidels
- 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.
Sweetheart Like You
License To Kill
Man Of Peace
I And I
Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight
AMG 4 Star Review
Infidels was the first secular record Bob Dylan recorded since Street Legal, and it’s far more like a classicist Dylan album than that one, filled with songs that are evocative in their imagery and direct in their approach. This is lean, much like Slow Train Coming, but its writing is closer to Dylan’s peak of the mid-’70s, and some of the songs here — particularly on the first side — are minor classics, capturing him reviving his sense of social consciousness and his gift for poetic, elegant love songs.
For a while, Infidels seems like a latter-day masterpiece, but toward the end of the record it runs out of steam, preventing itself from being a triumph. Still, in comparison to everything that arrived in the near-decade before it, Infidels is a triumph, finding Dylan coming tantalizingly close to regaining all his powers.
Infidels was produced by Mark Knopfler, best known as the frontman of the band Dire Straits. Dylan initially wanted to produce the album himself, but feeling that technology had passed him by, he approached a number of contemporary artists who were more at home in a modern recording studio. David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and Elvis Costello were all approached before Dylan hired Knopfler.
Knopfler later admitted it was difficult to produce Dylan. “You see people working in different ways, and it’s good for you. You have to learn to adapt to the way different people work. Yes, it was strange at times with Bob. One of the great parts about production is that it demonstrates to you that you have to be flexible. Each song has its own secret that’s different from another song, and each has its own life. Sometimes it has to be teased out, whereas other times it might come fast. There are no laws about songwriting or producing. It depends on what you’re doing, not just who you’re doing. You have to be sensitive and flexible, and it’s fun. I’d say I was more disciplined. But I think Bob is much more disciplined as a writer of lyrics, as a poet. He’s an absolute genius. As a singer—absolute genius. But musically, I think it’s a lot more basic. The music just tends to be a vehicle for that poetry.”
Once Knopfler was aboard, the two quickly assembled a team of accomplished musicians. Knopfler’s own guitar playing was paired with that of Mick Taylor, a former lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones. Having been introduced to Taylor the previous summer, Dylan had developed a friendship with him that resulted in the guitarist hearing the Infidels material first during the months leading up to the April sessions. In addition, the sessions benefited as well from Taylor’s ability as a slide guitarist.
Knopfler said about the instrument he plays on Infidels: “I still haven’t got a flat-top wooden acoustic, because I’ve never found one that was as good as the two best flat tops I ever played. One … was a hand-built Greco that Rudy Pensa, of Rudy’s Music Stop lent me. I used … the Greco on Infidels.”
Knopfler suggested Alan Clark for keyboards as well as engineer Neil Dorfsman, both of whom were hired. According to Knopfler, it was Dylan’s idea to recruit Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar as the rhythm section. Best known as Sly & Robbie, Shakespeare and Dunbar were famed reggae producers as well as recording artists in their own right.
“Bob’s musical ability is limited, in terms of being able to play a guitar or a piano,” said Knopfler. “It’s rudimentary, but it doesn’t affect his variety, his sense of melody, his singing. It’s all there. In fact, some of the things he plays on piano while he’s singing are lovely, even though they’re rudimentary. That all demonstrates the fact that you don’t have to be a great technician. It’s the same old story: If something is played with soul, that’s what’s important.”