Ray Charles – Love Country Style

More Ray Charles

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) Shootout Winning side two and a side one right up there with it, this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • This early pressing has killer Hot Stamper sound on both sides – here’s the midrange magic that’s surely missing from whatever 180g reissue has been made from the tapes (or, to be clear, a modern digital master copied from who-knows-what-tapes)
  • Another of Ray’s albums in the style of Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music – maybe not the equal of those classics, but not far from them either
  • All the Amazon User Reviews give the album a Five Star rating – hard to do better than that!

*NOTE: On side one, about an eighth of an inch into track five, a stitch plays lightly on and off about 15 times.

Nothing unusual for ABC vinyl from 1970!

This vintage LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings rarely 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 in the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Ray Charles 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 50 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 Amazing Sides Such as These 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 1970
  • 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 Love Country Style

  • 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.


Side One

If You Were Mine
Ring Of Fire
Your Love Is So Doggone Good
Don’t Change On Me
Till I Can’t Take It Anymore

Side Two

You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart
I Keep It Hid
Sweet Memories
Good Morning Dear
Show Me The Sunshine

Amazon 5 Star Review

Love Country Style is my favorite album of all time. The whole ”of all time” sounds a little silly I know but I think everyone has an all time favorite everything if they think – or in some cases – don’t think about it.

This album Ain’t ”Country”. I expect that was a title bestowed upon this work by some music exec who either retired long afterwards rich or very soon after, poor. Rather than break down the work song by song imagine the whole piece as one that croons, that pops with occasional horns and timely background vocals.

Some traditional titles (I know I said I wouldn’t break it down) morph into a slower jazzier genius that must have surprised writers such as June Carter Cash. Ray’s particular style can’t betray the fact that he is singing through pain we curiously hear but (years later) find we don’t want to identify with. Later, on Side Two the songs are more hopeful but the album as a whole must come full circle.