Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I

More Guns N’ Roses

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  • This killer double album finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on all FOUR sides
  • The sound is big, lively and clear, with a healthy dose of the all important Tubey Magical richness that only the best vintage pressings can show you
  • So hard to find these days – where did they go?
  • 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic, and Rolling Stone called it “a titanic mix of gritty ragers, passionate rock-opera ballads and decadent screeds…”

This vintage Geffen Records 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 Outstanding Sides 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 even as late as 1991
  • 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 We’re Listening For on Use Your Illusion

  • 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.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Right Next Door To Hell
Dust N’ Bones
Live And Let Die
Don’t Cry (Original)
Perfect Crime

Side Two

You Ain’t The First
Bad Obsession
Back Off Bitch
Double Talkin’ Jive

Side Three

November Rain
The Garden
Garden Of Eden
Don’t Damn Me

Side Four

Bad Apples
Dead Horse
Coma

Rolling Stone Review

… the imploding GN’R were in the midst of an artistic surge. One of the songs played at Farm Aid (in a version hampered by Adler’s inability to learn it) was “Civil War,” a sweeping epic that would eventually open the second disc of the massive 30-song, two-and-a-half-hour opus they were hard at work on throughout 1990 and ’91. Slash would later liken Use Your Illusion I and II to the Beatles’ White Album (though “maybe not as good”), a titanic mix of gritty ragers, passionate rock-opera ballads and decadent screeds – from the failed-relationship triptych of “Don’t Cry,” “November Rain” and “Estranged” to the rock-critic indictment “Get in the Ring” to the misogynistic double-header of “Bad Obsession” and “Back Off Bitch.” “Thirty-five of the most self-indulgent Guns N’ Roses songs,” Slash said. “For most bands, it would take four to six years to come up with this much stuff.” Like the White Album, it was brilliance created amid collapse…

When they were released in September 1991 – a week before Nirvana’s game-changing LP Nevermind – the Use Your Illusion albums were immediate hits, selling more than 14 million copies combined. “There’s a ton of material we want to get out, and the problem is, how does one release all of it?” Slash said of the unusual twin-disc offering. “You don’t make some kid go out and buy a record for $70 if it’s your second record.”

The gambit made history: No other artist had put out two records on the same day and claimed the top two spots on the Billboard album chart before. “We poured everything into those albums,” Sorum says of their creation. “The music was all that mattered.”

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