- This UK Vertigo pressing of Rod Stewart’s debut solo album boasts seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- Rich, smooth, full-bodied and Tubey Magical, this copy has a lovely musical quality that was missing from most others we played
- Released as The Rod Stewart Album in the states, this is Rod the Mod’s acclaimed debut, but don’t waste your money on the domestic pressings, they are clearly made from dubbed tapes
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these classic rock records – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- 4 1/2 stars: “The music and the songs are so vivid and rich with detail that they reflect a whole way of life, and while Stewart would later flesh out this blueprint, it remains a stunningly original vision.“
- This is a Must Own Rod Stewart Classic from 1969, the first of many
- The complete list of titles from 1969 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
This vintage British pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down 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 1969
- 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 An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down
- 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 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.
Street Fighting Man
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Handbags & Gladrags
An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down
I Wouldn’t Ever Change A Thing
Dirty Old Town
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
On his debut album (titled An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down in Britain, and The Rod Stewart Album in America, presumably because its original title was “too English” or cryptic for U.S. audiences), Rod Stewart essays a startlingly original blend of folk, blues, and rock & roll.
The opening cover of the Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” encapsulates his approach. Turning the driving acoustic guitars of the original inside out, the song works a laid-back, acoustic groove, bringing a whole new meaning to it before escalating into a full-on rock & roll attack — without any distorted guitars, just bashing acoustics and thundering drums.
Through this approach, Stewart establishes that rock can sound as rich and timeless as folk, and that folk can be as vigorous as rock. And he does this not only as an interpreter, breathing new life into Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town” and defining Mike d’Abo’s “Handbags & Gladrags,” but also as a songwriter, writing songs as remarkable as “Blind Prayer,” “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down,” and “Cindy’s Lament.”
The music and the songs are so vivid and rich with detail that they reflect a whole way of life, and while Stewart would later flesh out this blueprint, it remains a stunningly original vision.