- An incredible copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two
- Big, present and lively, with good weight to the bottom end, this is clearly the right sound for this music
- A copy sure to make you a fan of Joe Walsh’s grungy guitar artistry – turn up Walk Away on this Shootout Winning side one and it will blow your mind
- 4 Stars: “… Walsh was being hailed as a guitar hero to rank with the best rock had to offer… Thirds quickly earned a respectable chart position and eventually went gold…”
The copies that did well in our shootout managed to keep the grit and grain in the sound under control without smothering the top end or smearing the upper midrange. Clear, breathy vocals that don’t strain when loud were tough to find, but some copies did a whole lot better than others, and those are typically the ones we preferred.
Plenty of tight bass and lively rock energy are every bit as important of course. Nobody wants a leaned-out or boring James Gang record.
Although this record will never be a demo disc, at the very least the best copies should make you a fan of Joe Walsh’s grungy guitar artistry, and we think this copy does just that.
What outstanding sides on Thirds 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 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 to Listen For (WTLF)
Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on Thirds.
A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Bill Szymczyk wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
One Tough Album (To Find AND To Play)
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain’t too easy to play ’em either. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area — VTA, tracking weight, azimuth, and anti-skate — in order to play this album properly. If you’ve got the goods you’re gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart/table/arm and you’re likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Things I Could Be
Dreamin’ In The Country
It’s All The Same
White Man / Black Man
Live My Life Again
AMG 4 Star Review
……At a time when Walsh was being hailed as a guitar hero to rank with the best rock had to offer… Thirds quickly earned a respectable chart position and eventually went gold, it was not the commercial breakthrough that might have been expected.