More Los Lobos
- This original Slash pressing was doing just about everything right, earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER from start to finish – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Both sides are rich and smooth like good ANALOG should be, with plenty of energy and rock and roll drive
- Guaranteed to be a huge improvement over anything you’ve heard, this copy is big, punchy, and full-bodied with excellent presence
- 4 stars: “While the soundtrack album to the movie La Bamba, released the same year, captured Los Lobos at their most carefree and high-spirited as they called up the spirit of Ritchie Valens, By the Light of the Moon showed the other side of the coin as the group looked into the hearts and souls of themselves and the community around them, and if it’s a harder album to enjoy than those that preceded it, its depth rewards repeated listenings.”
This original Slash 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 By the Light of the Moon 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 1987
- 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.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and so on down through the list.
When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of “contender.” Once we’ve been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides matched up.
Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they’re a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to ensure that the sonic grades we assign to our Hot Stampers are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.
What We’re Listening For On By the Light of the Moon
- 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.
Don’t Worry Baby
A Matter Of Time
Our Last Night
I Got Loaded
I Got To Let You Know
Lil’ King Of Everything
Will The Wolf Survive?
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Los Lobos spent years playing parties, wedding receptions, restaurants, bars, and anyplace else where someone might pay them for a gig before landing a deal with Slash Records, and their first full-length album for the label, How Will the Wolf Survive?, is the work of a band that had learned how to play something for everyone while still maintaining their own musical personality in the process.
How Will the Wolf Survive? swings back and forth from straight-ahead rock (“Don’t Worry Baby”) and potent R&B grooves (“I Got Loaded”) to country-accented blues ballads (“A Matter of Time”) and Mexican traditional numbers (“Serenata Nortena”), with the band’s exemplary taste, musical smarts, and road-tested maturity in evidence on every cut.
While rarely flashy, even a casual listen offers all the proof you might need that Los Lobos were a band of world-class musicians, with David Hidalgo’s guitar work especially impressive throughout. Just as importantly, How Will the Wolf Survive? was the first album where Los Lobos showed how much they had to say as songwriters, especially on “A Matter of Time” and the title cut, two songs that offered a moving and compassionate look at the lives of illegal aliens in America. On …And a Time to Dance, Los Lobos showed the world that they were a great dance band, but How Will the Wolf Survive? showed they were a great dance band, and a lot more besides.