- Fifth Album finally makes its Hot Stamper debut here with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last on the Big Red E label
- These sides are exceptionally good, especially compared to most of what we played – only the best early pressings managed to get Collins’ voice to sound natural and real
- “… 5th Album, cut in late 1964, may very well be her definitive folk statement… A trio of Bob Dylan songs act as the album’s centerpiece, clearly showing Collins’ growth into more progressive songs. In addition to these, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” is given its classic reading, with Collins’ voice echoing the song’s melancholy and eerie but mellifluent precision and emotion. “
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them (this one included) will have at least some ringwear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG+.
This ’60s LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Judy Collins singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 55 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.
What the best sides of Judy Collin’s Fifth Album 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 1965
- 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 space of the studio
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 Fifth Album
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Pack Up Your Sorrows
The Coming Of The Roads
So Early, Early In The Spring
Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Daddy You’ve Been On My Mind
Mr. Tambourine Man
In The Heat Of The Summer
Early Morning Rain
Carry It On
It Isn’t Nice
… 5th Album, cut in late 1964, may very well be her definitive folk statement. A trio of Bob Dylan songs act as the album’s centerpiece, clearly showing Collins’ growth into more progressive songs. In addition to these, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain” is given its classic reading, with Collins’ voice echoing the song’s melancholy and eerie but mellifluent precision and emotion.
Aside from these recordings — which would have been the highlights on any other record — the album opens with perhaps its finest moment, Richard Farina’s “Pack Up Your Sorrows.” Led by Farina’s sprightly dulcimer runs, Collins renders the song her own, with a unifying, karmic message and a vocal performance that is irresistible.
The musical politics of the day, particularly concerning the entire West Coast/Byrds/folk-rock phenomenon, must have tempted Collins to approach this from a neo-folk-rock standpoint, and it fits the vibe and milieu perfectly. In the end, while not her farewell to folk music, this album is a graceful wave and a smile from Collins as she was about to conquer a new, more baroque direction in a matter of months.