- There’s real Tubey Magic on this album, along with breathy vocals and in-your-listening-room midrange presence – don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along with “Song Sung Blue”
- “This album, and its follow-up live album Hot August Night, are generally acknowledged to be the two most important recording projects of Diamond’s career in terms of defining his signature sound for the future.”
- “There is nothing on this album that is not catchy, intelligent, playful, sentimental and incredibly likable.”
- If you’re a Neil Diamond fan, and who isn’t?, this 1972 superb sounding release belongs in your collection.
This vintage MCA 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 Moods 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 1972
- 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 Moods
- 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.
Credit for the superb sound naturally belongs with Neil’s go-to engineer, Armin Steiner.
He was also one of the engineers on Spirit’s first album (a truly phenomenal recording from 1968), assisted on Ram, recorded some of the best sounding, most Tubey Magical Chart Topping Pop Rock for Bread in the early ’70s, and, if that’s not enough, has more than a hundred other engineering credits.
When you find his name in the credits there’s at least a good chance that the sound will be excellent. You need the right pressing of course, but the potential for good sound should be your working hypothesis at that point. Now, all it takes is some serious digging in the record bins, tedious cleaning, and critical listening to determine if you’ve lucked into a “diamond in the rough” (no pun intended).
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better 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.
Song Sung Blue
High Rolling Man
Walk on Water
Prelude in E Major
AMG 5 Star User Review
There is nothing on this album that is not catchy, intelligent, playful, sentimental and incredibly likable. Two hits songs “song blue” and “play me” have been in Neil Diamond’s playbook since 1972. “Walk on water” is right in the vein of that gospel feel that Neil loves. “Porcupine pie “and “Gitchy goomy “in the wheelhouse of the lyrical fun that is typically Neil. “Captain sunshine”, “Morningside, “canta libre” are the eloquent, melodic songs that we’ve all come to enjoy. This album is very underrated and it’s probably one of the best, if not the best album made by Neil Diamond.
–Alan Shapiro, AMG User
Moods is the eighth studio album by Neil Diamond, released by Uni Records in 1972. It contained the second of his #1 songs, “Song Sung Blue”, and was something of a follow-up in style to the highly experimental Tap Root Manuscript.
Billboard praised Moods highly, saying it contained “brilliant, diversified material.” This album, and its follow-up live album Hot August Night, are generally acknowledged to be the two most important recording projects of Diamond’s career in terms of defining his signature sound for the future. Within the music industry and among music professionals this is considered one of Diamond’s better and more creative recordings. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year for 1972. Song Sung Blue was nominated for Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Lee Holdridge was the arranger and conductor of the orchestra.