Top Engineers – Steve Nye

Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together

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  • For material and sound I consider this to be the best of Bryan Ferry’s solo albums – it’s a blast from start to finish
  • The energy, presence, bass, and dynamic power (love that horn section!) place it well above his other side projects
  • 4 Stars: “The title track itself scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry’s delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power.”
  • If you’re a Roxy fan, this title from 1976 is surely a Must Own
  • The complete list of titles from 1976 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here
  • We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” but with less of an accent on morbidity and more on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Bryan Ferry’s third solo album is a good example of a record many audiophiles may not know well but should get to know better.

We shot out a number of other imports and this killer copy is As Good As It Gets. The presence, bass, and dynamics place it head and shoulders above the competition. It has what we like to call Master Tape Sound — right in every way.

As for material, he covers some early Roxy songs (brilliantly I might add); Beatles and Everly Bros. tunes; and even old R&B tracks like ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’. Every song on this album is good, and I don’t think that can be said for any of his other solo projects. Five stars in my book. (more…)

Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things

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  • An outstanding copy of These Foolish Things with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • This UK Island pressing is bigger, richer, more Tubey Magical, clearer, and with better bass – it knocked us out
  • Outside of the first three Roxy albums, there is simply no recording by the band that’s as good as the first three Bryan Ferry solo projects
  • 4 stars: “Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name… Wrapping up with a grand take on ‘These Foolish Things’ itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist.”

We had a nice stack of British copies to play and are happy to report that this one had an unbeatable Triple Plus (A+++) side two backed with a killer Double to Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, both on very quiet vinyl. Anyone who digs Roxy Music or Bowie’s Pin-Ups is going to find a lot to like here. Check out the cool cover of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall that kicks off side one!

The sound positively JUMPS out of the speakers and fills the room. There’s loads of Tubey Magic, big punchy drums, and depth to the soundfield.

We continued to find copies with no real extension up top, but this one has nice, sweet highs on both sides. It’s also clean, clear and transparent with real weight down low. (more…)

The Pretenders / Self-Titled

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  • An outstanding UK pressing of the band’s debut studio album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • Here are the full-bodied mids, punchy lows, and clear, open, extended highs that let this Pretenders Classic come to life, and beat the pants off the dubby domestic pressing, and anything else you care to put up against it
  • One of engineer Bill Price’s better efforts behind the boards, and Chris Thomas’s production is State of the Art
  • 5 stars: “Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders’ eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude.”

Forget the dubby domestic vinyl, these Brit pressings are the only way to go. (more…)

The Pretenders on Nautilus Half-Speed – Ouch!

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Top Producers – Chris Thomas

Top Engineers – Bill Price

Top Engineers – Steve Nye

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing reviewed and found wanting.

This pressing is completely lifeless. Nautilus took all the rock out of this rock and roll band.

Another ridiculous joke played on a far-too-credulous audiophile public.  

But look who’s talking? I bought plenty of Nautilus pressings in the ’70s and ’80s, some good ones, some not so good. And some of them I liked well into the 2000s. What’s my excuse?

Even as recently as, say, fifteen years ago, I still had yet to achieve much of the progress in audio I would need to achieve in order to get past the last of the audiophile pressings I still clung to.

And there’s still one that just cannot be beat, even now.

Keep in mind I had been heavily into audiophile equipment and high quality records for thirty years at that point.

Which is simply more proof that audio is hard and that your progress in audio is most likely going to be slow, the way mine was.

 

Bryan Ferry / The Bride Stripped Bare – A Personal Favorite

  • A strong copy, with a Double Plus (A++) side two and a side one that’s nearly as good
  • These two sides show us just what a monster rocker this album can be when it’s mastered and pressed right
  • I’m a big fan of the record – it’s as original and as moving as practically anything the man ever did
  • Bryan Ferry owned the ’70s as much as David Bowie did; they’re both artistic giants in my book
  • This is a Personal Favorite of yours truly
  • This is also a Well Recorded Album that Should Be More Popular with Audiophiles

It’s been years since I last played this album, and I’m happy, ecstatic even, to report that it sounds way better than I remember it. In the old days, I recall it sounding dry, flat and transistory. Now it’s BIG and BOLD, revealing a band that’s on fire in the studio.

These two sides show us just what a monster rocker this album can be when it’s mastered and pressed right. The reviews were mixed when the album was released in 1978 but time has been kind to it — after hearing the killer copies I would rank it up at the top with the best of Ferry’s and Roxy’s bodies of work.

We were a bit surprised to find that the domestic copies we played were clearly better sounding than the UK imports. It may be counterintuitive but these are the kinds of things you find out when doing shootouts. We have little use for intuitions (UK recording, UK pressing) and rules of thumb (original equals better). Hard data — the kind you get from actually playing the records — trumps them all. (more…)

Bryan Ferry – In Your Mind – A Real Puzzler

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This British original pressing caused me a great deal of consternation. I’ve always been a big fan of this album — so much so that I even have the CD of it in my car — and I was under the impression that the sound was quite good. But playing a few British originals like this one caused me to have my doubts. The sound was aggressive and hard. I suspected the absolute phase might be reversed, and sure enough it was. But even after correcting for the improper phase the sound is not what I would have hoped for. It’s a bit “grungy” and lacks the extreme highs that would sweeten the overall presentation. 

So if you can put up with less than state of the art sound you may find yourself thoroughly enjoying this one. Side one rocks hard from start to finish, more than any other Ferry album. (more…)