- A STUNNING Pink Label Island Label UK pressing of TFTT – an album we consider the Pinnacle of British Folk Rock – with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- The emotional power of the songs is communicated completely – we can assure you the experience will be like playing the album for the first time
- Here’s your chance to relive the experience of hearing this groundbreaking album for the first time, but with much better sound than you ever thought possible
- 5 stars on Allmusic, a stunning Demo Disc, and a permanent member of the Better Records Top 100
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best-sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing Cat Stevens music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Hearing this Hot Stamper is a PRIVILEGE that affords the listener insight into Cat Stevens’ music that is simply not possible any other way.
This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest Folk Rock records of all time, the kind of music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 40 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once tired of hearing it. I do get tired of hearing bad copies.
Cat’s mixes are full of subtle elements that may require many listening sessions over the course of years, even decades, to recognize and appreciate. Consider them an extra reward for having played the record so many times. I’ve played hundreds of copies over the last thirty-plus years and never tired of it once. As every music lover knows, the best albums only get better with time.
Tubey Magic Is Key
This vintage Pink Label Island 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 Tea for the Tillerman 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 1970
- 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.
This is a longtime audiophile favorite for both music and sound. For those of you who love folky, acoustic guitar pop — often known as Hippie Folk Rock — you should find a lot to like about the sound of this Hot Stamper pressing.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this album. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with the kind of richness, body, and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings — just play the 200-gram pressing put out by Analogue Productions to hear a version with virtually none of the three).
What We’re Listening For on Tea for the Tillerman
- 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.
Problems to Watch For
Some of the more common problems we ran into during our shootouts were slightly veiled, slightly smeary sound, with not all the top end extension that the best copies have.
You can easily hear that smear on the guitar transients; usually they’re a tad blunted, and the guitar harmonics don’t ring the way they should.
These problems are just as common to the Pink and Sunray Label UK Island pressings as they are to the Brown Label A&M domestic pressings. Smeary, veiled, top end-challenged pressings were regularly produced on both sides of the pond.
A Must Own Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious audiophile Popular Music Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
Tea for the Tillerman sounds best this way: