Emmylou Harris – Roses In The Snow

More Emmylou Harris

More Country and Country Rock

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  • Roses in the Snow finally returns to the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The immediacy of the vocals is startling — Emmylou is IN THE ROOM with you, belting out these heartfelt, emotional songs. If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will!
  • We’ve done several shootouts for this album now, and we’ve completely fallen in love with both the music and the sound – when you hear a copy like this, it’s easy to see why
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Combining acoustic bluegrass with traditional Appalachian melodies (and tossing one contemporary tune, Paul Simon’s “The Boxer,” into the mix), Roses in the Snow ranks among Emmylou Harris’ riskiest — and most satisfying — gambits.”

Both sides have wonderful clarity and transparency. Emmylou’s vocals are breathy with lots of texture, the stringed instruments have the proper amount of pluck and twang, and the bass is Right On The Money. Yee-haw!

This original Warner Bros. 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.

I’ll Take This Over Alison Krauss On MoFi Any Day

The sound is INCREDIBLY rich and sweet, with none of the transistory grain so common to WB albums from this era. It blows the doors off of a record like the MFSL Alison Krauss. In fact, this record is the perfect example of what’s wrong with that pressing. Listen to the quality of the voices and acoustic instruments on this album, then compare them to your Krauss MOFI. I am hoping that you will hear that there is a world of difference between the two, because there is.

What the Best Sides of Roses in the Snow 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 1980
  • 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.

Amazingly Good Warner Brothers Sound

If you like the sound of the best Warner Brothers recordings from about the same timeframe — think Ry Cooder’s Jazz and Rickie Lee Jones’ debut to name a couple — you’ll find much to like about the sound here. It’s incredibly detailed but not at all phony — just what you need to appreciate the sound of the various stringed instruments, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, archtop guitars, mandolins, fiddles, autoharp and more.

What We’re Listening For on Roses in the Snow

  • 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.

And The Music Is Wonderful

The song Jordan is superb. How can you go wrong with Johnny Cash on background vocals? Play Wayfaring Stranger and Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn for some of the best sound — talk about three-dimensionality!

The album features an all-star line-up of guests, including Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Skaggs and more. I’m not qualified to say that this is the one country album that you must own, but it’s a darn good one!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Roses in the Snow 
Wayfaring Stranger 
Green Pastures 
The Boxer 
Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn

Side Two

I’ll Go Stepping Too 
You’re Learning 
Jordan 
Miss the Mississippi and You
Gold Watch and Chain

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Combining acoustic bluegrass with traditional Appalachian melodies (and tossing one contemporary tune, Paul Simon’s “The Boxer,” into the mix), Roses in the Snow ranks among Emmylou Harris’ riskiest — and most satisfying — gambits.