Emmylou Harris – Elite Hotel

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More Country and Country Rock

  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from top to bottom
  • The best sides are doing most everything right — they’re cleaner, clearer, with better bass, more energy, better midrange presence, and the list goes on
  • 4 1/2 stars: “While Emmylou Harris spent much of her career carrying on the legacy of Gram Parsons, Elite Hotel ranks among her most overt tributes to his genius, thanks to its covers of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ ‘Sin City’ and ‘Wheels,’ along with ‘Ooh Las Vegas’ from the Grievous Angel album.”

It is TOUGH to find great sound for this album, but this copy really nailed it. Emmylou’s voice, obviously the key element, is just wonderful here. Most copies we play have their fair share of problems, but when you get one like this the sonic issues fade into the background, letting you focus on one thing — the MUSIC.

The biggest problems with the typical copy of this album are grit, grain, and break-up on the voices. Every single copy we played had these unfortunate qualities to at least some degree, but the few Hot Stampers we managed to find did enough things right to let the music work well for us. The third track on side one is a good example of this — on just about any copy out there, Emmylou’s voice is going to break-up a bit when she gets loud. We’re used to this when dealing with especially dynamic vocalists such as Emmylou, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin. When these ladies start really beltin’ it out, it’s hard to get it on a record cleanly, particularly in the inner grooves.

This copy was cut much cleaner than many of them we played — less grit, less grain, and not too much break-up. As mentioned above, the third track on side one and the inner grooves are always going to be a little rough, but other than that the vocals sound lovely — breathy, sweet and present. The overall sound is clean and clear with good transparency and lots of energy.

The music here is wonderful, one of Emmylou’s finest. She knocks out a wonderful cover of the Beatles’ Here There And Everywhere on side two, and there are also great versions of songs from Gram Parsons, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the great Hank Williams. If you’re a fan of this music, it should be a real treat to hear a copy like this one!

What the Best Sides of Elite Hotel 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 1975
  • 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 Elite Hotel

  • 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.


Side One

Together Again
Feelin’ Single Seein’ Double
Sin City
One Of These Days
Till I Gain Control Again

Side Two

Here There And Everywhere
Ooh Las Vegas
Sweet Dreams
Satan’s Jeweled Crown

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

While Emmylou Harris spent much of her career carrying on the legacy of Gram Parsons, Elite Hotel…… ranks among her most overt tributes to his genius, thanks to its covers of the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Sin City” and “Wheels,” along with “Ooh Las Vegas” from the Grievous Angel album. In addition to the usual eclectic mix of covers — which includes the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” and Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” this time out — Elite Hotel offers renditions of the country perennials “Together Again” and “Sweet Dreams,” which were, respectively, Harris’ first two number one chart hits.