- The Young Rascals’ self-titled debut LP hits the site for the first time ever with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades from start to finish
- We chanced upon an amazing sounding stereo original about ten years ago, and only ten years later (!) we finally have enough clean copies to do a proper shootout
- This shootout-winning bad boy was a long time coming, but we hope the lucky buyer will agree with us that it was worth the wait
- We often say that the average copy of Album X is no great shakes — here’s a title where almost no copies sound any good and the average pressing is awful
- Big, rich, energetic, with tons of Analog Tubey Magic, this Blue and Green Atlantic Stereo pressing has exactly the right sound for this music
- 4 1/2 stars: “The Young Rascals is that rare example of a genuinely great album that got heard and played, and sold and sold. [It] couples a raw garage band sound with compelling white soul more successfully than just about any record since the Beatles’ Please Please Me.”
This vintage Atlantic 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 The Young Rascals’ Debut LP 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 1966
- 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.
Pop and Rock Shootouts
What are the sonic qualities by which a Pop or Rock record — any Pop or Rock record — 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, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can hear a good many of the qualities mentioned above on the side we’re playing, we provisionally award it a Hot Stamper grade. This grade is often revised over the course of the shootout, as we come to more fully appreciate just how good some of the other copies are.
Once we’ve been through all our side ones, we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner. Other copies have their grades raised or lowered depending on how they sounded relative to the shootout winner.
Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match 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 The Young Rascals
- 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 — Tom Dowd, Phil Iehle, and Roy Cicala in this case — 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.
Baby Let’s Wait
Just A Little
Do You Feel It
Like A Rolling Stone
I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
In The Midnight Hour
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
The history of ’60s rock is littered with stories of great rock classics — the Savages’ album, the Thirteenth Floor Elevators’ first two albums, the first two Chocolate Watch Band albums — that should have been better known than they were.
The Young Rascals is that rare example of a genuinely great album that got heard and played, and sold and sold. Apart from the presence of a hit (“Good Lovin'”) to drive sales, every kid (and his girlfriend) in any aspiring white rock band on the East Coast in 1966 seemingly owned a copy. And it’s easy to see why — the Rascals’ debut couples a raw garage band sound with compelling white soul more successfully than just about any record since the Beatles’ Please Please Me.
The band had three powerful singers in Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, and Gene Cornish, and an attack honed in hundreds of hours of playing dance clubs on Long Island and New York City. The result is a record without a weak moment or a false note anywhere in its 35 minutes: “Do You Feel It” shows them crossing swords stylistically with Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; “Just a Little” and “Like a Rolling Stone” show off their folk-rock chops; and “Slow Down,” “Good Lovin’,” “Mustang Sally,” and “In the Midnight Hour” are all ’60s rock & roll classics in these versions. “Like a Rolling Stone,” in particular, now seems all the more compelling, pointing the way toward a future that included Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower.”