More Emmylou Harris
More Country and Country Rock
- Old Timers like me remember the ridiculously bright and phony-sounding Mobile Fidelity pressing of the album as being one of their much-too-frequent embarrassments from back in the day
- Our Hot Stampers will of course sound dramatically different, with tonally correct mids and highs and none of the blobby bass that is the unavoidable sonic signature of half-speed mastering
- 4 stars: “Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town is a transitional effort that bridges the curveballs of Emmylou Harris’ earliest solo work with the more traditional country albums that comprise the bulk of the second phase of her career.”
- If you’re a fan of Emmylou’s, this one from 1978 is surely one of her better albums
The sound that Emmylou and her producers were going for here is clean, detailed and low distortion, which is exactly what the best pressings like this one deliver! What really sets the good copies apart, though, is the natural, relaxed quality of the vocals. Emmylou sounds like a real person, with none of the harsh, sterile sound that ruins so many pressings. Check out the duet with Willie Nelson on “One Paper Kid” — both vocalists sound wonderful. That’s the sound you want.
This vintage Warner Brothers 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 Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town 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 1978
- 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 Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town
- 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.
Easy From Now On
Two More Bottles of Wine
Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight
I Ain’t Living Long Like This
One Paper Kid
Green Rolling Hills
Burn That Candle
AMG 4 Star Review
Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town is a transitional effort that bridges the curveballs of Emmylou Harris’ earliest solo work with the more traditional country albums that comprise the bulk of the second phase of her career. For the first time, she covers no Gram Parsons tunes or pop music chestnuts, relying instead on newly exited Hot Band member Rodney Crowell for two songs (“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” and “I Ain’t Living Long Like This”) and Dolly Parton for another (the devastating “To Daddy”); the highlight is a gorgeous cover of Jesse Winchester’s “Defying Gravity.”