- A tough record to find in audiophile playing condition these days – the import vinyl was never all that quiet even back in 1991 when I was selling these as brand new
- The sound here is airy, open, spacious, and transparent – this may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like this
- Tonally correct, clear and present – here’s a copy that can put a living, breathing Enya right between your speakers
- 4 1/2 stars: “Shepherd Moons does have one key factor that’s also carried over from Watermark — it’s quite good listening…Enya shows herself to still have it, to grand effect.”
The vinyl on these pressings from the ’90s often had problems like these. I was selling them as brand new imports at the time and they often came with noise issues of one kind or another.
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
This vintage import 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 Shepherd Moons 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 even as late as 1991
- 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 Shepherd Moons
- 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 and maybe a bit better 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.
AMG 4 1/2 Stars
AMG gives this album 4 1/2 stars and it’s easy to see why. Even if it’s not your thing, there’s no denying that Enya is an artist at the very top of her field. If you are going to own one New Age album, you can’t do much better than this (unless you already have a Hot Stamper copy of Watermark).
How Can I Keep From Singing?
No Holly For Miss Quinn
Book Of Days
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Calling Shepherd Moons a near carbon copy of Watermark puts it quite mildly. Like Watermark, Shepherd Moons opens with the title track, a calm instrumental, has another brief instrumental titled after a Dora Saint book smack in the middle (“No Holly for Miss Quinn”), and concludes with a number incorporating a striking uilleann pipes solo, “Smaointe….”
In general, Enya’s own musical style and work remains the same, again assisted on production by Nicky Ryan and with lyrics by Roma Ryan. Shepherd Moons does have one key factor that’s also carried over from Watermark — it’s quite good listening. Though the total continuity means that those who enjoy her work will again be pleased and those who dislike it won’t change their minds, in terms of finding her own vision and sticking with it, Enya has increasingly polished and refined her work to a strong, elegant degree.
With her trademark understated drama in full flow many other places, especially on the wonderful “Book of Days” (replaced on later pressings with an English language version done for the film Far and Away), Enya shows herself to still have it, to grand effect.