Top Artists – Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson / Harry – Try the DCC, It’s Excellent

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Reviews and Commentaries for Harry Nilsson

We have not done a shootout for this album in many years, but the music is so good we think everyone deserves a chance to hear it, so pick up the Hoffman-mastered CD and enjoy the hell out of it until we can find you a killer Hot Stamper pressing of the album. Hoffmann did a great job, as he did on so many of the DCC discs. (The Heavy Vinyl LPs are another matter entirely of course.) The CD sound is excellent and it will probably cost you about a tenth of what we will charge for the vinyl.

This forgotten gem sank like a stone in 1969, but time has treated this album well; it still holds up. The production is superb throughout. Judging by this early Nilsson’s album, it appears he was already a pro in the studio, as well as an accomplished songwriter, and, more importantly, the owner of one of the sweetest tenors in popular music, then or now.

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Harry Nilsson – A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night

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Reviews and Commentaries for Harry Nilsson

  • A lusciously Tubey Magical Top 100 album with orchestral arrangements by the superbly talented Gordon Jenkins
  • One of our favorite Nilsson releases (of which there are many) – it’s The Ultimate latter-day standards album
  • If you could only have one album of standards from the Great American Songbook, wouldn’t it have to be this one?
  • “This is a must have disc pure and simple as it is the best standards album any contemporary artist has ever recorded. All the ingredients were woven together for a remarkable vision.”

After our first big shootout for this album many years ago we were so blown away by what a great copy could do that we immediately added it to our Rock & Pop Top 100 list and have never once regretted doing so. It’s the only Nilsson album to make the cut. Even more unusual, considering it was recorded in 1973, it’s actually one of the better sounding orchestra-backed male vocal albums that we know of. (more…)

Harry Nilsson / Nilsson Sings Newman – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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We’re huge Harry Nilsson fans here at Better Records, and it warms our hearts that many of our customers seem to be as well. We’ve been trying to track down great copies of this album for ages, but they are tough to come by in any condition and are often noisy and/or mediocre when we find ’em. This copy has the kind of rich, full, analog sound that we’ve been trying to find for years with so little luck.

Nilsson Sings Newman is the fourth Nilsson album, the one that came right before his masterpiece Nilsson Schmilsson. Harry is in fine form here, reinterpreting a dozen great Randy Newman songs with Newman himself accompanying on piano. We’ve enjoyed a number of Randy Newman’s songs over the years, but when you take his material and put a voice like Nilsson’s up front, the result is pure magic.

Many copies we’ve played were too gritty, grainy, and thin sounding to get excited about. This one’s got the richness, fullness and smoothness that we’ve been hoping for. The overall sound is lively and dynamic with excellent immediacy. The vocals are breathy, the piano has nice weight and the tonal balance is right on the money.

There’s some surface noise behind the music, pretty much always the case on this album (and also true for most old RCA vinyl on any album — it’s practically never quiet). I don’t think you could find a copy that sounds much better and plays any quieter no matter what you did. Most of the time the surfaces aren’t really a bother, but those of you who are fanatical about such a thing are advised to take a pass on this one. You’ll be missing some lovely music and wonderful sound however. (more…)

Harry Nilsson / Aerial Ballet

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A stunning “Triple Triple” copy with A+++ sound on both sides. Big, clear and full-bodied throughout; this copy is absolutely as good as it gets. A rare original pressing that includes Daddy’s Song, which is one reason it won the shootout – the original version, when it’s pressed right, just can’t be beat.

All of the elements are working here. You get silky vocals, punchy bass, breathy brass, silky highs, superb immediacy, exceptional clarity, and so forth. If you are a Nilsson fan, this copy is going to BLOW YOU AWAY.

Still Wild About Harry

Those of you who follow the site have probably gathered that we are huge Harry Nilsson fans here at Better Records. Many of us got a chance to check out the recently released documentary film “Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)” — it’s a lot of fun and I imagine most music lovers will get a kick out of it.

The Beatles’ Favorite American Artist

It’s well known that The Beatles were also huge Nilsson fans, and it’s pretty easy to see why. I can’t think of too many other artists who have created so many sophisticated, yet catchy, pop songs. And that voice! It’s a shame Nilsson blew out his vocal chords in the ’70s, rockin’ and rollin’ with John Lennon, but his masterful voice is in fine form here. (more…)

Harry Nilsson / Nilsson Schmilsson – A True Masterpiece

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Reviews and Commentaries for Harry Nilsson

  • A KILLER copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides for Harry Nilsson’s indisputable Masterpiece of Bent Rock
  • Both sides are exceptionally good sounding, and the recording is brilliant thanks to the skills of Phill (That’s Two L’s) Brown
  • A Better Records favorite (we give it Five Stars) that really comes to life on an amazingly good pressing such as this one
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…it’s a near-perfect summary of everything Nilsson could do; he could be craftier and stranger, but never did he achieve the perfect balance as he did here.”

Big production pop like this is hard to pull off. Harry did an amazing job, but the recording is not perfect judging by the dozen or so copies I played this week and the scores I’ve suffered through before. Let’s face it: Jump Into The Fire will never be smooth and sweet; neither will Down on side one. But other tracks on this album have DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND. (more…)

Letter of the Week – “…you turn me on to albums I would never have even thought to listen to.”

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I was totally blown away by the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 album you sent me. The lovely, sweet female vocals and the awesome percussion was to die for. For a supposed easy listening album, I was getting very excited! In fact, I cannot stop listening to it. My only compliant is it is too short in duration. When it is over, I want (need?) more! Do his other albums sound like this? If so, I will be buying more.

This is what I love about you guys, you turn me on to albums I would never have even thought to listen to. For example, on your recommendation, I ordered Harry Nillsson’s A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. This is an album I would never have given a second look at, yet, as soon as the needle hit the groove, I was floored. The vocal presence is startling. It is like Harry is in the room singing to me. It reminds me a lot of one of my other favourites I bought from you a while back – a White Hot copy of Willie Nelson’s Stardust. 

Willie, Harry and Sergio as demo discs…who would have thought!

Jody S. 

 

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Letter of the Week – A Little Touch of Schmilsson and Its “Meltingly Sweet” Strings

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Reviews and Commentaries for Harry Nilsson

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,   

I played the A Little Touch Of Schmilsson White Hot Stamper and loved it. The strings on side one are meltingly sweet, especially on You Made Me Love You. Anytime you get a hot Nilsson stamper please keep me in mind.

All the best,
Phil

 

Harry Nilsson – Pussy Cats

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  • A superb sounding copy with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish; exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are incredibly rich, full-bodied and Tubey Magical yet still clean, clear, open and spacious
  • Produced by John Lennon, Nilsson’s partner in crime, it’s a really fun album, with an appealingly ragged and spontaneous vibe
  • “It may not be as wild as the lost weekend itself, but it couldn’t have been recorded at any other time and remains a fascinating aural snapshot of the early days of 1974.” – All Music

The soundstage is huge and open, there’s some real richness and body to the vocals and, perhaps most importantly, you get all the energy and presence required to bring this wild album to life.

John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were notorious partiers during Lennon’s “lost weekend” away from Yoko, and the album basically plays like all that excess playing out in the studio. The vibe is loose and spontaneous, and Nilsson’s voice is at its most ragged. That looseness and raggedness results in some startlingly emotional peaks — Many Rivers To Cross and Don’t Forget Me are positively spine-tingling — and some good-natured romps through classic covers like Subterranean Homesick Blues and Rock Around The Clock. It’s a whole lot of fun — especially when you have a copy that sounds like this! (more…)

Nilsson / A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night – The Video

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Reviews and Commentaries for Harry Nilsson

For those of you who’ve never chanced upon it, here is the ‘live’ version of the album in five parts.

Nilsson was way ahead of his time. Rod Stewart recently made an album of classic popular music that went to number one and revived his career. Harry Nilsson understands this music SO MUCH BETTER and sings it SO MUCH BETTER than Rod Stewart that one can only come to that conclusion. Either that or the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate Nilsson as much as I do. Probably both I guess. Too bad. This album is better than all the “also rans” albums put together. (more…)