- Clean and clear, rich and natural, with good vocal presence and wonderful energy throughout
- The title track sounds amazing, but that’s just one of the great songs with excellent sound on the album
- The engineering team of Tom Dowd and Phil Iehle really worked their magic on this one
- 4 1/2 stars: “…Walker favored the country and folk side of folk-rock much more than the rock side.”
This is only the second title by Jerry Jeff that we’ve been able to do shootouts for. Most of the records we’ve played of his from the ’70s left a lot to be desired sonically and more often than not musically, so we gave up on them.
His Vanguard release from 1969 has superb sound, as does this Atco from 1968. There may be one or two more coming down the pike but that could be many years from now. His records never sold all that well, and not many of them can be found in Southern California.
And they are hard to find in audiophile playing condition.
This vintage ATCO 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 Mr. Bojangles 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 1968
- 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 Mr. Bojangles
- 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 — Tom Dowd and Phil Iehle in this case — 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.
I Makes Money (Money Don’t Make Me)
Round And Round
I Keep Changin’
The Ballad Of The Hulk
My Old Man
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Jerry Jeff Walker’s debut introduced his dry vocals and narrative songwriting style, with support from many session musicians, the most notable of whom were Ron Carter and David Bromberg. The influence of Bob Dylan and other singer/songwriters of the time is felt fairly strongly on this extremely low-key release (especially on the seven-minute “Desolation Row”-like “The Ballad of the Hulk”), but Walker favored the country and folk side of folk-rock much more than the rock side. The title track, taken into the Top Ten by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, remains his most famous song.