A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
THE ULTIMATE PSYCH ROCK DEMO DISC! Both sides are shockingly transparent with tight bass, silky highs, full-bodied vocals and TONS of Tubey Magic.
No CD ever made could compete with the amazing analog sound of a record like this, and after twenty five years of that technology failing to do its job I’m pretty sure no CD (or SACD, or any other digital media for that matter) ever will.
These stampers are different from the ones I used to think were the best about ten or twelve years ago. For a long time I didn’t play this record, and then a while back, when this whole Hot Stamper thing took off, I grabbed my personal hot copy and a bunch of others, cleaned them up and did a big shootout.
As is so often the case, I discovered that my previous conclusions had to be reexamined in the light of contrary evidence. (This is, after all, a science. Or is it an art? I can never keep those two straight.) The stampers I used to like were still wonderful, but these “new” stampers were even more magical. These particular pressings have a transparency and delicacy that my old system, as good as it was, simply wasn’t capable of resolving.
After even more upgrades to the room and the stereo (including the amazing EAR 324 phono stage that resolves at a much higher level than anything I had owned before), we couldn’t be sure that these magical stampers would still be the best. After shooting out nearly a score of top contenders, we checked out the dead wax on the champions and saw that our most recent favorite stampers were still the king. (As we noted before, the person listening to the record never knows which actual pressing is playing, which we feel helps to keep everybody honest. In audio you can convince yourself of anything if you want it to be true badly enough.)
You Don’t Have to Be High to Hear It
Side one here has INSANELY GOOD SOUND! This copy has it all — amazing transparency, breathtaking clarity, super low distortion, breathy vocals, uncanny immediacy and lots of life. Master Tape Sound is the phrase we reserve for A+++ sides like this. When you drop the needle on this record, all barriers between you and the musicians are removed. You’ll feel as though you’re sitting at the studio console while Crosby and his no-doubt-stoned-out-of-their-minds Bay Area pals (mostly Jefferson Airplaners and Grateful Deads) are laying down this emotionally powerful, heartfelt music. Laughing has OUT OF THIS WORLD sound — warm, sweet, rich, and full-bodied… that’s some real ’60s tubey magic, baby! And the best part is, you don’t have to be high to hear it. You just need a good stereo and the right pressing.
By the way, the first track has that “home recording” sound and always sounds weak compared to the rest of this album. Don’t expect any wonders, even from a copy like this. By one minute into track two, you’ll understand why we freaked out over this copy.
Side Two Is Right Up There With It
Side two is nearly as amazing! The highs are PERFECTION — silky, delicate, airy and sweet. The vocals are breathy with amazing presence and lots of texture. The acoustic guitars are super clean and clear with just the right balance of pluck and body. The overall sound is exceptionally dynamic and lively with tons of tubey magic. It’s so transparent, so spacious, and incredibly clear. We rate side two A++ – A+++, making this a knockout copy from start to finish.
(We all owe a debt of gratitude to the superbly talented recording engineer on this project, Stephen Barncard. We like his work so much we created a whole bundle for him, which you can see on the left. This album is probably his masterpiece. It fully deserves its standing as one of our Top Five Best Rock Recordings of All Time, which can also be seen on the left.)
Your Reward Awaits You
As you may have read elsewhere on the site, records like this are the reward for owning the right stereo equipment and having it properly tweaked. There is no way in the world I could have played this album 10 years ago remotely as well as I can now. It only makes me appreciate the music even more.