A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
TWO SUPERB TRIPLE PLUS SIDES, with the kind of ’50’s Tubey Magical Analog Sound that’s been lost to the world of recorded music for decades — decades I tell you! Nobody can manage to get a recording to sound like this anymore and it seems as if no one can even remaster a recording like this anymore, if our direct experience with scores of such albums counts as any sort of evidence.
Steve Hoffman is the guy that can get the closest in this regard, but the difference between The Real Thing and even the best of his Remasters is not the slightest bit hard to hear.
A Shocking Finding
We recently noted that the red label Columbia reissues of most of their catalog leave much to be desired. Here is an excerpt from a listing for The Byrds’ Greatest Hits.
One might assume that the later label copies would be the ones that would most likely have been cut with lower distortion equipment, the way the later Kind of Blues are cut so much cleaner than the earlier ones.
On The Byrds’ albums this is almost never the right approach. The Tubey Magic of the earlier pressings is absolutely crucial to the sound of these albums. It is the sine qua non of Classic 60’s Rock sound. Without it you might as well be playing a CD.
It turns out that some copies of Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs on the later red label can actually sound amazingly Tubey Magical, especially on side two. In fact we heard a red label side two that was even more rich than the best 360s.
Since the person listening to the record has no idea what the actual label is of the record being evaluated — which is about as close an approximation of the Scientific Method as we can manage around here — it was very surprising to hear such glorious Tubey Magical Richness and Sweetness come from such an unexpected source.
A good reason not to avoid later pressings and reissues absent any evidence of their inferiority.
And a good reason to judge your records by playing them whenever possible. (more…)