Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.
There’s one test on side two that few copies do well on. The mostly instrumental section in the middle of Ride Like the Wind has a huge chorus singing in a wonderfully reverberant studio. Only the most transparent, most distortion-free copies let you clearly hear all their voices bouncing off the walls.
Take any two copies and listen for just this one effect and you will soon see that no two copies reproduce the reverberations identically, and many barely reproduce them at all.
The sound is full, rich, lively and even Tubey Magical in the best tradition of the glossy Pop Productions that were all the rage in the late-’70s. If you like Michael McDonald, Toto, The Doobies, Hall and Oates, The Bee Gees and countless other bands we have lovingly found a home for in our Hot Stamper sections you will no doubt find much to like here.
A guilty pleasure you say? When a record sounds this good there is nothing to feel guilty about!
Mega Mass Production — Not so Good for Sound
Let’s face it, this is one of those mega-mass-produced records that sits in every record bin in town for five bucks or less. It’s only when you get the average copy home that you realize you just flushed five bucks down the toilet. Veiled and smeary, stuck in the speakers, congested and compressed in the choruses — most copies make you wonder what you liked about the album in the first place. It’s the audiophile curse we all suffer from: bad sound has a tendency to ruin perfectly good music.
What to Listen For
Besides Michael McDonald’s amazing background vocals, listen for the contribution Michael Omartian (the producer) makes on the keyboards. The keyboards more than the guitars are really the driving force behind these songs. If you hear some Aja in his playing, that’s because he played on Aja too. He was also instrumental in many of the Direct to Discs Sheffield made, I’ve Got the Music in Me being probably the best known of the batch.