- Superb sound from start to finish for this Columbia 360 label pressing with both sides earning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- One of our favorite ’60s Psych Rock albums, a true Demo Disc for three-dimensional space, and a Desert Island Disc for musical originality
- Full and rich, detailed and transparent, this copy is doing absolutely EVERYTHING we could ask it to do
- 4 stars: “It’s a Beautiful Day remains as a timepiece and evidence of how sophisticated rock & roll had become in the fertile environs of the San Francisco music scene.”
This vintage Columbia 360 label 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 It’s A Beautiful Day 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 1969
- 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.
An Undiscovered Gem
This isn’t an album most people are familiar with, which is a shame because the music is WONDERFUL. Unlike some of their contemporaries, this band had excellent songwriting and arranging skills. This album is good from first track to last, with plenty of time set aside for those “progressive” excursions that make this such a ’60s Psych Classic.
And a mostly undiscovered audio gem too. The sound is wonderfully spacious and Three Dimensional, with tight bass and real dynamics. Of special interest to audiophiles is the vocal reproduction. La Flamme sings lead with a female doing high harmony, and the best way to describe this sound is MAGICAL.
Add to this lovely sound the added benefit of having a violin as the lead instrument and you have a record unlike any other in your collection. Take the intro to White Bird as just one example: the plucking strings you hear at the opening are not those of an acoustic guitar, but rather the pizzicato playing of a violin. These unique sonic qualities can be found everywhere on the album, making it a real treat for audiophiles and music lovers alike.
What We’re Listening For on It’s A Beautiful Day
- 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.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this album a Masterpiece.
It’s a recording that belongs in any serious Rock Music Collection.
Hot Summer Day
Wasted Union Blues
Girl With No Eyes
AMG 4 Star Review
Although they are not one of the better-known San Francisco bands to have emerged from the ballroom circuit of the late ’60s and early ’70s, It’s a Beautiful Day were no less memorable for their unique progressive rock style that contrasted well with the Bay Area psychedelic scene. Led by David LaFlamme (flute/violin/vocals) and his wife, Linda LaFlamme (keyboards), the six-piece unit on this album vacillates between light and ethereal pieces such as the lead-off cut, “White Bird,” to the heavier, prog rock-influenced “Bombay Calling.” One of the most distinct characteristics of It’s a Beautiful Day is their instrumentation. The prominence of David LaFlamme — former violin soloist with the Utah Symphony and original member of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks — adds a refinement to It’s a Beautiful Day’s sound.
Likewise, the intricate melodies — mostly composed by the LaFlammes — are structured around the band’s immense virtuosity, a prime example being the exquisitely haunting harpsichord-driven “Girl With No Eyes.” The noir framework, as well as lyrics such as “…she’s just a reflection of all of the time I’ve been high,” point rather candidly to the hallucinogenic nature of the song’s — if not the band’s — influences. The same can be said of the languidly eerie “Bulgaria.” The almost chant-like quality of the track slowly crescendos into an hypnotic and dreamlike sonic journey — led by LaFlamme’s brilliant violin work. By virtue of being a Bay Area fixture in the late ’60s, It’s a Beautiful Day could also easily double as a hippie dance band — which they can also execute with great aplomb — as the wildly up-tempo “Time Is” amply proves. It’s a Beautiful Day remains as a timepiece and evidence of how sophisticated rock & roll had become in the fertile environs of the San Francisco music scene.