- A KILLER copy of Rock ‘N’ Roll boasting Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish – just shy of our Shootout Winner
- And if you think the best sounding pressings are imports, you’ve got another thing coming – they’re made from dubs, and they have the dubby sound to prove it
- These sides are doing almost everything right – rich, full-bodied, present and spacious with plenty of extension on both ends
- Lennon’s voice sounds JUST RIGHT with lots of texture and startling immediacy – you’re going to have a hard time finding better sounding versions of these songs anywhere else
- “Rock ‘n’ Roll, in fact, stands as a peak in his post-Imagine catalog: an album that catches him with nothing to prove and no need to try… Today, Rock ‘n’ Roll sounds fresher than the rock & roll that inspired it in the first place. Imagine that.” – All Music, 4 Stars
- If you’re a John Lennon fan, this title from 1975 is surely a Must Own.
We just finished a shootout for this fun album, and no other copy we played sounded remotely as good as this one. It’s got exactly the kind of sound we’d want for these old Rock & Roll classics — super lively, clean and clear, tonally correct, and natural. Most copies are edgy and gritty, but this one is smooth, sweet and very enjoyable.
You’re going to have a hard time finding better sounding versions of these songs anywhere else — excepting, of course, Be-Bop-A-Lula, which can sound amazing on McCartney Unplugged.
Credit must obviously go to the man behind the console, Shelly Yakus, someone who we freely admit, now with a sense of embarrassment, has never been one of our favorite engineers. After hearing a White Hot Stamper pressing of Damn the Torpedoes and a killer copy of Crack the Sky’s Animal Notes, as well as amazing sounding pressings of Moondance (his first official lead engineering gig) and Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, we realize that we have seriously underestimated the man.
What The Best Sides Of Rock ‘n’ Roll 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 1975
- 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 Rock ‘N’ Roll
- 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.
Mint Minus Minus 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.
Stand By Me
Rip It Up/Ready Teddy
You Can’t Catch Me
Ain’t That A Shame
Do You Want To Dance
Sweet Little Sixteen
Slippin And Slidin
Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’
AMG 4 Star Rave Review
Rock ‘n’ Roll, in fact, stands as a peak in his post-Imagine catalog: an album that catches him with nothing to prove and no need to try. Lennon could, after all, sing old rock & roll numbers with his mouth closed; he spent his entire career relaxing with off-the-cuff blasts through the music with which he grew up, and Rock ‘n’ Roll emerges the sound of him doing precisely that. Released in an age when both David Bowie and Bryan Ferry had already tracked back to musical times-gone-by (Pin-Ups and These Foolish Things, respectively), Rock ‘n’ Roll received short shrift from contemporary critics. As time passed, however, it has grown in stature, whereas those other albums have merely held their own. Today, Rock ‘n’ Roll sounds fresher than the rock & roll that inspired it in the first place. Imagine that.