Henry Mancini – Charade

More of the music of Henry Mancini (1924-1994)

  • An original RCA Victor stereo LP boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides
  • This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience — talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny
  • If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this outstanding copy may be just the record for you

This RCA Victor stereo LP gives you a healthy dose of the Tubey Magic we love here at Better Records. As is usually the case with Mancini’s records, some tracks sound far better than others.

“Charade” is a particularly good sounding song on side two, with superb reproduction of both female and male voices, rich and sweet in the best tradition of RCA from the Golden Age.

More good stuff on side two? Drop the needle on “Latin Snowfall” to hear exactly what I’m talking about.

As an added bonus, the last track, “Charade (Carousel),” has absolutely no IGD on the glockenspiel or Calliope. Few copies will not be groove damaged on that track — we speak from experience here.

For us audiophiles, both the sound and the music found here are enchanting. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy may be just the record for you.

This copy is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually IS a CD of this album, and YouTube videos of it too, but those of us with good turntables could care less.

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 Charade 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 1963
  • 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 Charade

  • 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.

High Fidelity

Mancini is lucky to have had the RCA engineers from the era on his team. We love to do these Hot Stamper Mancini shootouts but finding clean copies of his albums is getting harder every day.

What do we love about these Hot Stamper pressings? The timbre of every instrument is Hi-Fi in the best sense of the word. The instruments here are recorded with remarkable fidelity. Now that’s what we at Better Records mean by “Hi-Fi”, not the kind of Audiophile Phony BS Sound that passes for Hi-Fidelity these days.

There’s no boosted top, there’s no bloated bottom, there’s no sucked-out midrange. There’s no added digital reverb (Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, et al.). The microphones are not fifty feet away from the musicians (Water Lily) nor are they inches away (Three Blind Mice).

This is Hi-Fidelity for those who recognize The Real Thing when they hear it. I’m pretty sure our customers do, and any of you out there who pick this one up are guaranteed to get a real kick out of it!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Charade (Main Title)
Bistro
Bateau Mouche
Mégève
The Happy Carousel

Side Two

Charade (Vocal)
Orange Tamouré
Latin Snowfall
The Drip-Dry Waltz
Mambo Parisienne
Punch And Judy
Charade (Carousel)

AMG  Review

A great Mancini recording made during the same fruitful, early-’60s period that produced two other fine soundtracks of his, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther.