- Stewart’s 1976 release finally arrives on the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- You get clean, clear, full-bodied, lively and musical ANALOG sound from first note to last
- 4 1/2 stars: “A Night on the Town isn’t a revival of Atlantic Crossing, it’s its inverse, with Stewart shining as an interpreter on the fast songs and writing the best slow ones, but it’s also its equal, proving that Stewart could still stay true to his open-hearted, ragged soul while on a big budget.”
*NOTE: There is some light inner groove distortion during the loud chorus at the very end of side two.
This original Warner Brothers Palm Tree pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of A Night On The Town Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1976
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on A Night On The Town
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Tonight’s The Night
The First Cut Is The Deepest
Fool For You
The Killing Of Georgie (Part I And II)
The Wild Side Of Life
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
In some ways, it’s easy to think of A Night on the Town, Rod Stewart’s second album for Warner, as a reprisal of the first, cut with many of the same musicians as Atlantic Crossing, produced once again by Tom Dowd, and even following its predecessor’s conceit of having a “Slow Side” and “Fast Side” (granted, this flips the two around, opening with the slow one first). Superficially, this seems true, but A Night on the Town has a crucial difference: despite its party-hearty title, this album finds Stewart folding folk back into his sound, a move that deepens the music tonally and emotionally, particularly in the case of “The Killing of Georgie (Pts. 1 & 2),” Rod’s most ambitious original.
A winding, sensitive narrative about the murder of a gay friend — a hate crime years before the term existed — “The Killing of Georgie” finds Stewart filtering Dylan through his own warm, conversational style, creating a remarkable work unlike anything else in his body of work, yet the song’s smooth synthesis of folk storytelling, soul, and incipient disco act as an appropriate conclusion to a side-long suite of songs of seduction, beginning with his classic come-on “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” running through his splendid reading of Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” and his fine original “Fool for You.” On the Fast Side, Stewart has only one original — the lewd, riotous “The Balltrap” — but he more makes up for it by spinning two country classics, Gib Guilbeau’s “Big Bayou” and Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side of Life,” into thick, Stonesy rock & roll, and turning Manfred Mann’s “Pretty Flamingo” into a rave-up.
With all this in mind, A Night on the Town isn’t a revival of Atlantic Crossing, it’s its inverse, with Stewart shining as an interpreter on the fast songs and writing the best slow ones, but it’s also its equal, proving that Stewart could still stay true to his open-hearted, ragged soul while on a big budget.