Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series, with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Retrospective.
Here are some albums on our site you can buy with similar Track by Track breakdowns.
Extracting all the midrange magic from a legendary album and Desert Island Disc like this should be the goal of every right-thinking audiophile.
Who cares what’s on the TAS Super Disc List? I want to play the music that I love, not because it sounds good, but because I love it.
And if the only way to find good-sounding clean copies of typically poorly-mastered, beat-to-death records like this is to go through a big pile of them, well then, I guess that’s what we will have to do.
We’ve never heard a copy of this album that truly qualifies as a Demo Disc, but some of the songs can sound superb — Kind Woman and I Am A Child come immediately to mind. The recording, like so many from the ’60s, may not be perfect, but it’s so full of midrange magic, ambience and sweetness that the musical values of the recording are communicated effortlessly and completely — assuming you have a good copy.
For What It’s Worth
Almost all copies have surface noise issues at the start of this song.
The aggressive quality of the screaming crowd at the beginning of this track is a dead giveaway of the poor sound found on most pressings. When the screaming is clean, undistorted and extends well up top, you have a contender. Add bass, some tubey magic to the midrange and then you can call it a Hot Stamper.
How hot is another question entirely, but if you get this far, you are definitely in the majors. The typical pressing of this album is strictly bush league.
Sit Down, I Think I Love You
On the best copies the tape hiss is clearly audible and tonally correct; this is the first thing you will notice if you have a Hot Stamper. The second thing is how much the guitars “ring”. On the higher rez copies the guitars have some of the loveliest tone you can find on any Springfield album.
Listen especially for how rich and solid sounding the piano is on this track. When the piano is right it seems that most everything else falls into place the way it should. If the piano sounds thin or hard, you are in big trouble on side one.
On the Way Home
Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing
This track tends to be a bit harsh in the chorus.
The best copies give you very three-dimensional sound on this song, super spacious and open. The top end tends to be a bit soft, but in every other respect this track can sound wonderful.
Rock & Roll Woman
I Am a Child
The best sound on side two. Hot copies give you Master Tape sound quality on this track. How, I don’t know.
Go and Say Goodbye
Expecting to Fly
The quiet intro here is usually somewhat noisy, sorry. Crap Atco vinyl is the norm, not the exception.