- An outstanding copy of These Foolish Things with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
- This UK Island pressing is bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, clearer, and with better bass – it knocked us out
- Outside of the first three Roxy albums, there is simply no recording by the band that’s as good as the first three Bryan Ferry solo projects
- 4 stars: “Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name… Wrapping up with a grand take on ‘These Foolish Things’ itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist.”
We had a nice stack of British copies to play and are happy to report that this one had an unbeatable Triple Plus (A+++) side two backed with a killer Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, both on very quiet vinyl. Anyone who digs Roxy Music or Bowie’s Pin-Ups is going to find a lot to like here. Check out the cool cover of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall that kicks off side one!
The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. There’s loads of Tubey Magic, big punchy drums, and depth to the soundfield.
We continued to find copies with no real extension up top, but this one has nice, sweet highs on both sides. It’s also clean, clear and transparent with real weight down low.
This vintage Island 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 this Modern (and Otherwise) Standards Album 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 1973
- 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.
Speaking of Roxy Music
Outside of their first three releases (1972 -74), there is simply no Roxy album that is as well-recorded as the first three Ferry solo projects: These Foolish Things (1973); Another Time, Another Place (1974) and Let’s Stick Together (1976).
They are the very definition of rich, smooth, Tubey Magical, natural sound. They also tend to have lots and lots of bass — thanks, we assume, to engineer John Punter (with Rhett Davies assisting) — and we love that sound!
What We’re Listening For on These Foolish Things
- 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.
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
River Of Salt
Don’t Ever Change
Piece Of My Heart
Baby I Don’t Care
It’s My Party
Don’t Worry Baby
Sympathy For The Devil
The Tracks Of My Tears
You Won’t See Me
I Love How You Love Me
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
These Foolish Things
AMG 4 Star Review
Much like his contemporary David Bowie, Ferry consolidated his glam-era success with a covers album, his first full solo effort even while Roxy Music was still going full steam. Whereas Bowie on Pin-Ups focused on British beat and psych treasures, Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name.
Just about everyone in Roxy Music at the time helped out on the album — notable exceptions being Andy Mackay and Brian Eno… All this said, many of the covers aim for an elegant late-night feeling not far off from the well-sculpted Ferry persona of the ’80s and beyond, though perhaps a touch less bloodless and moody in comparison. In terms of sheer selection alone, meanwhile, Ferry’s taste is downright impeccable… Throughout Ferry’s instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on “These Foolish Things” itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist.