The song Valentine, the second track on side two, is a key test for that side. Note how processed Ferry’s vocals are. On even the best copies they will sound somewhat bright. The test is the background singers: they should sound tonally correct and silky sweet.
If Ferry sounds correct, they will sound dull, and so will the rest of the side. That processed sound on his vocal is on the tape. Trying to “fix” it will ruin everything.
You can be pretty sure that whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing has been made for this album that they tried to fix the hell out of it. Doubtless the result is not a pretty one. It rarely is.
On the top copies the lead on the very next track, Stone Woman, is tonally right on the money.
These two tracks, two of the best on the album, together make it easy to know if your copy is correct in the midrange.
Track two: background vocals.
Track three: lead vocal.
What could be easier?
Key Listening Test for Both Sides
The quality of the percussion is critical to much of the music here. There’s tons of it on Boys and Girls, even more than on its predecessor Avalon, and unless you have plenty of top end, presence and transparency, all that percussion can’t work its magic to drive this rhythmic music.
How About the British Pressings?
Bryan Ferry is British, as is bandmate David Gilmour and the recording and producing team headed by the amazing Rhett Davies. And yes, the recording was done at many studios, most of them overseas.
But the album is mixed by Bob Clearmountain at The Power Station and mastered by Robert Ludwig at Masterdisk, and that means the master tape was right here in America when it came time to get the sound of the tape onto vinyl.
The British pressings are made from dubs and sound like it.