The best stereo copies are rich, sweet and Tubey Magical — three areas in which the Sundazed reissues are seriously lacking. (If anyone still cares; we can’t be bothered with mediocrities such as this.)
And none of the Columbia monos we’ve played did much for us either. Congested and compressed, with no real top, who in his right mind could possibly prefer that sound?
5D (Fifth Dimension) Wild Mountain Thyme Mr. Spaceman I See You What’s Happening?!?! I Come and Stand at Every Door
Eight Miles High Hey Joe Captain Soul John Riley 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
… its high points were as innovative as any rock music being recorded in 1966. Immaculate folk-rock was still present in their superb arrangements of the traditional songs “Wild Mountain Thyme” and “John Riley”.
Every now and then we manage to stumble on one with some serious magic, and this is one of the best of those to ever make it onto our site. You won’t believe how much better this great country-rock material sounds when you have a copy that sounds as good as this one does.
Jesus Is Just Alright is the killer track here and it rocks like you will not believe! It’s one of the All Time Best Byrds tracks, especially for sonics, with Rock and Roll energy that shows just how good a band these four guys had become.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in an Electric Folk Rock record from 1969.
Our hottest Hot Stamper copies are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.
The best copies have:
Greater immediacy in the vocals (most copies are veiled and distant to some degree);
Natural tonal balance (many copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; those with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);
Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);
Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);
Tubey Magic, without which you might as well be playing a CD;
And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sometimes simple, sometimes complex and sophisticated recording.
This Columbia 360 label pressing has KILLER sound on both sides and the vinyl is about as quiet as any of these 360 Label pressings can be found.
It took us a long time, but we pulled together enough clean copies for a big shootout, and these two great sides were head and shoulders above the competition. The sound is natural, lifelike and realistic with serious immediacy and plenty of rock and roll energy.
That 60’s analog magic is alive and well here. This copy is far richer and fuller than the average copy and the silky sweet vocals are a sure sign that the top end was cut correctly. Jim McGuinn’s 12-string electric guitar sounds wonderful, free of that tear-your-head-off aggressive quality you normally hear on Byrds vinyl.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in a vintage Folk Rock record such as Turn! Turn! Turn!
Our hottest Hot Stamper copies are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.(more…)
Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on what you should be listening for when critically evaluating your copy (or ours) of the album.
Want to hear what the best copies of Mr. Tambourine Man can do? Play Chimes of Freedom, one of the best sounding tracks on side two, if not THE best. Listen to how breathy Jim (later Roger) McGuinn’s vocals are. Byrds records almost never sound like that.
I Knew I’d Want You is another one that sounds amazingly Tubey Magical on the best pressings.(more…)