- One of the best copies from our most recent shootout with a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two
- Julie is in the room with you – her voice is intimate, breathy and Tubey Magical like practically nothing you’ve ever heard
- Unusually clean surfaces, playing Mint Minus Minus (w/ caveats, see below), a step up from most of the copies we’ve been running into lately
- “Her subtle sensuality and lightly swinging style made for a potent combination.” – All Music
Thanks to superb engineering and vintage All Tube mastering, this 1957 LP is wonderfully rich and sweet, with a breathy, intimate Julie London performing live in your listening room.
This original Liberty Turquoise Mono pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot 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 Julie London 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 61 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 Make Love To Me 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 1957
- 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record. We know, we heard them all.
We’ve searched high and low for Julie London’s records and played them by the score over the years. We plan to keep a good supply on to the site in the coming years so watch for new arrivals in the Vocal section (linked to your left).
What We’re Listening For on Make Love To Me
- 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.
You may have seen Russell Garcia credited for the arrangements on one of the truly great recordings of the ’50s: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s Porgy and Bess (1959). Watch for copies coming to the site soon.
We’ve discovered some exceptional original and reissue pressings, as well as some that really do a disservice to the music and the engineers who recorded it. We wasted an awful lot of time and money finding out just how bad some versions of the album can be. I guess that’s what we get paid to do, but it doesn’t make it any less painful or expensive.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
If I Could Be With You
It’s Good To Want You Bad
A Room With A View
Nearness Of You
I Wanna Be Loved
Snuggled On Your Shoulder
You’re My Thrill
Body And Soul
Make Love To Me
AMG 4 Star Review
Julie London’s concise and melodic versions of standards were quite popular during the latter half of the 1950s. Her subtle sensuality and lightly swinging style made for a potent combination. This album matches London’s voice with an orchestra arranged by Russ Garcia on standards and a couple of newer tunes.