This review was written in 2010. I doubt we would prefer the mono pressings to the stereo pressings were we to do the shootout this year, but you never know. (Don’t get your hopes up. We simply can’t find clean copies of this album anymore.)
That’s what shootouts are for, to give you the data to back up your opinions and your guesses. Without more current data, who can say which of the two we would prefer?
Our old review:
A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame, not for the best Hot Stamper stereo copies, but for this amazing MONO.
This killer pressing from 2010 has almost EVERYTHING you want from this ’60s Psych Pop Masterpiece — the energy, presence and sheer rock and roll POWER made a mockery of every stereo copy we played.
Want a glimpse into the kind of energy the band was generating in the studio? Drop the needle on Fresh Garbage, the opening track of this amazing mono pressing, and you will hear this band come alive in a way you never imagined you’d ever hear them.
It’s positively startling how immediate and powerful the sound is here.
That said, from an audiophile point of view, mono does involve a sacrifice — the huge three-dimensional soundstage of the best stereo copies is nowhere to be found here.
From a musical or performance point of view, this mono cannot be beat; it shows the band at their best, fired up and ready to show the world that The Doors are not the only SoCal rock band who have innovative ideas about rock music and the performing chops to pull off their conceptions, not to mention the studio wizards backing them to get it all down on tape.
If I had to choose between The Doors’ first album and Spirit’s, say for a nice drive up the coast with the top down, no contest, Spirit would get the nod. I had the album on 8 Track back in high school and played it to death. Doing this shootout, hearing the album sound so good after so many years, was nothing less than a THRILL. (I went right up to Amazon and bought a CD for the car. Might just take a drive up the coast.)
If you like Surrealistic Pillow and Revolver/Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles and early Doors albums, and you don’t know this album well, you are really in for a treat. This album is a classic of its day that still holds up forty plus years later. I cannot recommend any current album on the site more highly.
Sides One and Two
There is a bit of grit on the vocals as is often the case with mono records we’ve played in the past.
On side two the vocals get a bit hard in the loudest parts; at moderate levels the effect would not be noticeable, but we like to play our rock records loud here at Better Records, and the second track has a bit of a problem in the midrange at high volume.
To see our current selection of Hot Stamper pressings that we think sound better in mono, click here.
To see our current selection of Hot Stamper pressings that we think sound better in stereo, click here.
Here is a guide to the better sounding pressings reviewed on this blog: