Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Blue. Here are some albums currently on our site with similar Track by Track breakdowns.
The best copies bring out the breathy quality to Joni’s voice, and she never sounds strained either. They are sweet and open, with good bass foundation and transparency throughout the frequency range.
The best pressings (and today’s better playback equipment) have revealed nuances in this recording — and of course the performances of all the players along with it — that made us fall in love with the music all over again. Of all the tough nuts to crack, this was the toughest, yet somehow copies emerged from our shootouts that made it easy to appreciate the sonic merits of Blue and ignore its shortcomings.
Hot Stampers have a way of doing that. You forget it’s a record; it’s now just music. The right record and the right playback will bring Joni’s music to life in a way that you cannot imagine until you hear it. That is our guarantee on Blue — better than you ever thought possible or your money back.
All I Want
This is a do-or-die song for side one. When Joni sings “traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling,” she really pushes on the last couple of them, and even the best copies have a hard time dealing with it. When a copy of this record comes in, that first line often tells me that there is no hope for side one.
If an LP can get through that first line properly, it’s at least a ‘B’ and often times a Hot Stamper.
My Old Man
The piano on this track needs to be solid and full-bodied. The sound of the piano tells you if there’s any real weight to the sound of the pressing you are auditioning.
Notice that Joni’s voice is much smoother on this track as well. If the whole album sounded like this it wouldn’t be so hard to find a good sounding copy.
This is a tough track for a number of reasons. Joni really pushes her vocal; it’s at the end of the record where inner groove distortion is at its most problematical; and her voice is quite naked. When you add up these three factors, you have some real hurdles to overcome.
The best copies “survive” this track. Everything before this song on side one can sound awfully good. This song we try to do the best we can with, but it’s the rare copy that won’t have problems of one kind or another.
This Flight Tonight
A Case of You
Something happens at the beginning of this track which is interesting from an audiophile/ recording point of view. See if you can hear it on the copy you own. If you think you know what it is, drop me an email. It takes an exceptionally good copy and exceptionally good equipment to bring it out. You can be sure that no one in the control room ever heard it.
The Last Time I Saw Richard