More of the Music of Loggins and Messina
A recent White Hot Stamper pressing of L&M’s fourth release demonstrates pretty convincingly just what an amazing DEMO DISC this album can be. When Jim Messina rips into his mandolin solo halfway through Be Free your jaw is likely to hit the ground. On the best copies it positively LEAPS out of the left speaker.
I can’t recall another pop or rock recording that captures either the plucked energy or the harmonic nuances of the instrument better. To hear such a well-recorded mandolin on a copy of this quality is nothing less than a THRILL.
This copy showed us:
- a full-bodied piano
- rich, lively vocals, present between the speakers and brimming with enthusiasm
- harmonically-rich guitars, mandolins, dobros and the like
- as well as a three-dimensional soundstage that reveals the space around them all
What to Listen For
What typically separates the killer copies from the merely good ones are three qualities that we often look for in the records we play: transparency, speed, and lack of smear.
Transparency allows you to hear into the recording, reproducing the ambience and subtle musical cues and details that high-resolution analog is known for.
Note that most Heavy Vinyl pressings being produced these days seem to be quite Transparency Challenged. Lots of important musical information — the kind we hear on even second-rate regular pressings — is simply nowhere to be found.
Lack of smear is also important, especially on a recording with so many plucked instruments. The speed and clarity of the transients, the sense that fingers are pulling on strings, strings that are ringing with tonally correct harmonics, is what makes these L&M records so much fun to play.
The best copies really get that sound right, in the same way that the best copies of Cat Stevens’ records get the sound of stringed instruments right.
No two pieces of electronics will get this record to sound the same, and some will fail miserably. If vintage tube gear is your idea of good sound, this record may help you to better understand where its shortcomings lie.