Up, Up And Away debuts on the site with stunning Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades throughout this original Columbia 360 Stereo pressing – just shy of our Shootout Winner
So hugely spacious and three-dimensional, yet with a tonally correct and natural sounding Johnny, this is the way to hear it
“Johnny Mathis’s return to the Columbia label purrs with the rich, romantic tones that suspend the very sensation of conscious listening … ‘Up, Up and Away’, ‘Misty Roses,’ and ‘I Won’t Cry Anymore’ are soothed and coated with Mathis’s seamless style – music running together like prefabricated daydreams padded with a feeling of luxury.” – Billboard Magazine
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Johnny Mathis singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
All copies have sibilance, some more than others. The best copies have the least amount and make the spit they do have much less gritty and objectionable.
We’ve known for decades how good a test sibilance is for tables, cartridges and arms. Sibilance is a bitch. The best pressings, with the most extension up top and the least amount of aggressive grit and grain mixed into the music, played using the highest quality, most carefully dialed-in front ends, will keep sibilance to an acceptable minimum.
VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate adjustments are critical to reducing the amount and the quality of the spit in your records.
A superb 360 Stereo pressing of Heavenly, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
This copy had all the Tubey Magical richness of the best coupled with the hardest thing to find on an old Columbia record: top end extension
Natural vocal reproduction is the sine qua non of a Johnny Mathis album – this pressing showed us just how good Columbia was back in 1959
4 1/2 Stars: “The tempos are slow, the strings swell, and Mathis’ vulnerable tenor, dripping with tender emotion yet never missing a beat, soars and swoops over all. The best track, a revelation when it appeared on this album, is “Misty,” a treatment of Erroll Garner’s jazz piano classic with a newly added lyric by Johnny Burke.”
*NOTE: On side one, a mark on the edge makes 3 moderate pops at the beginning of Track 1, Heavenly.
Mobile Fidelity remastered Heavenly back in 1984 (I think), and if you own one and want to know what the album should have sounded like, this is your chance. Simply play this original LP. It will help you understand why your copy is still sitting on the shelf in mint condition to this day. When you remaster something for “audiophiles,” you run the risk of ruining what made the original album such a joy to listen to in the first place. MoFi never had a clue how to get the midrange on their records right, but Columbia was doing just fine twenty five years earlier.(more…)
This early Columbia 360 pressing of Johnny’s Newest Hits (hey, they were new in 1963!) boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
The best copies demonstrate the big-as-life early Columbia Sound at its best – full-bodied and warm yet clear, lively and dynamic
Both sides here are clean and present with wonderfully full strings and rich vocals
“…a collection of his ‘latest hits, the ones that brought him back to the singles charts.'”
Finding clean Johnny Mathis records from 50+ years ago, on Columbia, in stereo, is no easy task, which is why you see so few come to the site. We would be hard pressed to find one good title to shootout in a given year — there are simply too few original pressings that have survived the turntables of the day.
One tip we can offer any Mathis fans who may be out there: stick to the Columbia era if you want audiophile sound. His Mercury recordings, at least the half-dozen or so we’ve played, were godawful sounding. (more…)
Mathis’ superb 1959 release finally arrives on the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
The All Tube recording chain at Columbia’s 30th Street studios allowed their engineers to make recordings practically unequaled in the decades since
An outrageous claim? Not really, because this very pressing backs up every thing we say
4 1/2 stars: “On this album, Johnny Mathis creates an atmosphere of fireside intimacy by dispensing with his usual orchestral accompaniment so that the purity of his voice entices the listener’s full attention… The enduring popularity of Open Fire, Two Guitars is attributable in part to its hypnotic aura of closeness and confidentiality…”
On side one, a mark makes a mostly light sandpapery sound for 1-2 seconds, then, at the end of track 1, An Open Fire, there are 2 moderate pops.
On side two, a mark makes 6 light ticks one-quarter inch from the end of track 1, When I Fall In Love.
Finding clean Johnny Mathis records from 60 years ago, on Columbia, in stereo, is nearly impossible, which is why you see so few come to the site. We would be hard-pressed to find one good title to shootout in a given year. These days it’s taking three to five years to bring any of the classic Johnny Mathis albums to market. There are simply too few original pressings that have survived the turntables of the day, and their owners.
Which is why we are so pleased to present one of Johnny’s most beloved albums, and one that is quite a bit more musically involving than most. If you like Dream With Dean, and who doesn’t?, this Mathis album should be right up your alley.
One tip we can offer any Mathis fans who may be out there: stick to the Columbia era if you want audiophile sound. His Mercury recordings, at least the half-dozen or so we’ve played, were godawful sounding.(more…)
Side one is killer sounding, with the All Tube Analog sound that Columbia was famous for. The vinyl is fairly quiet as well for a ’50s Columbia 6 Eye pressing. I don’t know how many unscratched, lightly-played Mathis records you’ve ever seen, but in our experience they are few and far between — hence the fact that this is the first one to make it to the site.
Johnny Mathis released Warm, his sophomore album, in 1957. The album is an example of the classic romantic mood that made Mathis a superstar. The lush, romantic Warm includes “My One and Only Love” as well as “A Handful of Stars,” “By Myself,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “Then I’ll Be Tired of You,” “I’m Glad There Is You,” and “While We’re Young.” A classic Mathis album with a title track that ranks, with “Misty,” as one of his best.