tom port

Letter of the Week – “The WHS made the music sound more natural and more involving.”

More of the Music of Steely Dan

Reviews and Commentaries for Aja

One of our good customers recently bought a Super Hot pressing of Aja, and wasn’t quite sure if he loved the music enough to keep it, so he wanted to try a White Hot Stamper pressing to see if that would win him over, the idea being that the better sound of the White Hot copy would communicate the music better and let him appreciate every aspect of the music, no matter how subtle. This is his story.

Dear Tom,

Probably my favorite thing to do in audio these days is putting on a record of yours for the first time. When the Aja White Hot Stamper came, I had to wait a few hours until after the kids were all tucked in. I listened with headphones for a change, and right away I could tell how clear and intricate this copy was. Knowing how my other copies sounded, I knew no shootout was going to be necessary.

I also really love doing mini-shootouts of my own. It’s a great way to really sink in to listening for a while. I don’t have 16 other copies of Aja, the way your other customer described, but I could still stack your WHS up against three other ABC pressings with identical-looking labels and nearly-identical deadwax, along with a MoFi and a Japanese pressing.

It proved to be the most beguiling shootout I’ve ever done. Each copy had merits, and among the ABC pressings, I was hearing clear similarities to the WHS. This is such delicate and full music, so obviously well-recorded, that I guess it’s hard for any pressing to completely muck it up.[1]

I’ve heard you say that a white hot stamper is a copy that just does everything right, and that was completely true in this case. The differences were subtler, but also more important, than they usually are in my mini-shootouts. The WHS made the music sound more natural and more involving. All those crazy details, present in the others if you really pay attention, came right up to the surface when the WHS played.

I really can’t claim it trounced the others, but I can certainly say that it had the best aspects of each of them, while in turn not being improved on in any aspect by any of the others. Sure, it would be fun to get to hear one of the sought-after pressings, like a Cisco, but with prices verging on hot stamper territory, it’s not like I’m going to go track that down. I’ll just content myself with your word that this one would beat one of those.[2] Since I’m not feeling anything lacking here, I have no reason to keep going.

After almost every purchase from you, I ask myself, “is it worth what I paid?” This was a funny one. I don’t love Steely Dan, even though all indications are that I should. I’ve always dug Aja, but not to the obsessive levels I know others to be (and that I am with other records). I was curious to own a WHS because I know it’s such a well-recorded album, I knew I’d love the sound, and as you suggested when I asked you about it, I wanted to see if a great-sounding copy could help me get into the music.

So far so good. I appreciate the virtuosity of the musicians, the touch they’ve got on their instruments, the clever wordplay (now that the vocals are so easy to make out), and the communication among them, like a great jazz session. Is it worth what I paid? Well, I’m not sending it back, even though I know you wouldn’t mind if I did. So, thanks for another gem in my collection.

Thank you,

Aaron

Aaron,

Thanks for your letter. A few thoughts:

[1] Yes, an early ABC pressing is unlikely to sound wrong or terrible in our experience. Of the hundred or more that we’ve played, a don’t remember one that did not at least sound good enough to sell, earning perhaps our lowest Hot Stamper grade.

You’ve recently upgraded your system quite a bit. If you keep going that way, in five or ten (or two!) years you may want to revisit the WHS copy relative to your other three ABC pressings (forget the others) and see what changes you have wrought, although I do not recommend you use Aja as a test disc, for the simple reason that extremely artificial recordings can often sound amazingly good, but when your system goes off the rails a bit from some new tweak or change, they will sound different, but not necessarily better or worse, more right or more wrong, and then you don’t know whether the change was a good one or a bad one.

Different means nothing. Things sound different all the time. More right or more wrong should always be your focus.

Test discs like the ones we recommend should make it easy to distinguish better from worse, right from wrong. Test discs that don’t are simply not good test discs and should not be used for that purpose.

[2] Don’t take my word for how bad the Cisco pressing is. We have letters from customers who say the same thing.

The Cisco is so bad we call it a Pass/Fail record.  We describe Pass/Fail records this way:

Some records are so wrong, or so lacking in qualities that are crucial to the sound — qualities typically found in abundance on the right vintage pressings — that the advocates for these records, reviewers and audiophiles alike, have clearly failed to judge them accurately.

Tea for the Tillerman on the new 45 may be substandard in almost every way, but it is not a Pass/Fail pressing. It lacks one thing above all others, Tubey Magic, so if your system has an abundance of that quality, the way many vintage tube systems do, the new pressing may be quite listenable and enjoyable. Those whose systems can play the record and not notice this important shortcoming are not exactly failing. Audiophiles of this persuasion most likely have a system that is heavily colored and not very revealing, but it is not a system that is hopeless.

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Letter of the Week – “I needed a day to fully pick up my jaw from the floor after hearing Revolver and Dark Side…”

Reviews and Commentaries for Revolver

Letters and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

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

Hey Tom, 

I needed a day to fully pick up my jaw from the floor after hearing Revolver and Dark Side…

Now that I‘ve given them both a few listens to fully absorb how revealing these recordings I thought I knew so well really are, I just have so many questions. 

How much better sounding can the respective White Hots really be?????

As far as Dark Side, I’m finding out for myself. Just ordered the white hot stamper. Most likely will be returning one of them, but I hope that after this, I will finally be able to stop looking for “the better sound” on this one….

Regarding Revolver, will the A++ side of my Revolver Super hot sound the same as the A++ side of the WHS? Or is the A++ grade on the WHS relative to its A+++ side, and still better than the SHS? What I am getting at is, will both sides blow me away in comparison to my SHS, or is it better to be patient and hold out for a two-sided A+++? Btw, regardless of your answer, you cannot have this copy back, it is simply fantastic!

I know these kinds of questions are quite relative to a number of variables, but any enlightenment you can provide is welcome…. I appreciate what you do, you have gained a very happy customer. (more…)

The Beatles / Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2 – Digital Remastering at its Worst

Hot Stamper Pressings of The Beatles Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of The Beatles

Hall of Shame pressing and another album reviewed and found to be perfectly suited to the Stone Age Stereos of the Past.

The late-’80s import pressings of this album are bright (the tambourine on Hey Jude will tear your head off, for example) and aggressive and very digital sounding.

Unfortunately, if you want better sounding versions of these songs, you’re gonna have to buy lots of pressings of the band’s albums and singles and EPs in order to find good sounding versions of them, which is exactly what I did back in the ’80s. It took me years to do it.

In the ’90s, when I was actually selling this awful record (because my system was just too dark and unrevealing to show me how awful it was), I wrote:

These are all the songs that aren’t on the original 13 British albums, so for those of you with the MoFi Beatles box, these 2 LPs give you all the tracks you don’t have.  

This was written so long ago that we actually refer to the MoFi Beatles Box as something an audiophile would own.

To be clear, in this day and age, no serious audiophile who loves The Beatles should have the MoFi Box Set or Past Masters in his collection.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

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Mingus / Pre Bird – Seeing into the Performance

More of the Music of Charles Mingus

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Charles Mingus

One of our good customers, Robert Brook, writes a blog which he calls A Guide of the Budding Analog Audiophile

Below is a link to the review he wrote after hearing a truly killer White Hot Stamper pressing of one of our favorite Mingus records, Pre-Bird.

He loved the used original pressing of the album that he had picked up recently, and wondered what our copy would sound like, so we loaned him one. Here are his observations after playing our Hot Stamper.

The W.H.Stamper of PRE BIRD Lets You “SEE” into the Performance!

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Falla / Turina – Nights In The Gardens Of Spain / Danzas Fantásticas

More of the music of Manuel De Falla (1876-1946)

More Classical and Orchestral Recordings

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this original UK import pressing of these wonderful classical works will be hard to beat
  • These sides are doing pretty much everything right – they’re rich, clear, undistorted, open, spacious, and has depth and transparency to rival the best recordings you may have heard
  • Soriano’s piano is especially clear, solid, and present throughout Danzas Fantásticas, with practically no trace of vintage analog tube smear

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Art Pepper – Which Is Better: Phil DeLancie Digital or George Horn Analog?

More of the Music of Art Pepper

More Jazz Recordings featuring the Saxophone

[This commentary was written many years ago.]

We’ve wanted to do Art Pepper Today for more than a decade, but the original Galaxy pressings were just too thick and dark to earn anything approaching a top sonic grade. Thirty years ago on a very different system I had one and liked it a lot, but there was no way I could get past the opaque sound I was now hearing on the more than half-dozen originals piled in front of me.

So, almost in desperation we tried an OJC reissue from the ’90s. You know, the ones that all the audiophiles on the web will tell you to steer clear of because it has been mastered by Phil DeLancie and might be sourced from digital tapes.

Or digitally remastered, or somehow was infected with something digital somehow.

Well, immediately the sound opened up dramatically, with presence, space, clarity and top end extension we simply could not hear on the originals. Moreover, the good news was that the richness and solidity of the originals was every bit as good. Some of the originals were less murky and veiled than others, so we culled the worst of them for trade and put the rest into the shootout with all the OJCs we could get our hands on.

Now, it’s indisputable that Phil DeLancie is credited on the jacket, but I see George Horn‘s writing in the dead wax of the actual record, so I really have no way of knowing whether Mr Delancie in fact had anything to do with the copies I was auditioning. They don’t sound digital to me, they’re just like other good George Horn-mastered records I’ve heard from this period.

And of course we here at Better Records never put much stock in what record jackets say; the commentary on the jackets rarely has much to do with the sound of the records inside them in our experience.

And, one more surprise awaited us as we were plowing through our pile of copies.

When we got to side two we found that the sound of the Galaxy originals was often competitive with the best of the OJCs. Which means that there’s a good probability that some of the original pressings I tossed for having bad sound on side one had very good, perhaps even shootout winning sound, on side two.

This is a lesson I hope to take to heart in the future. I know very well that the sound of side one is independent of side two, but somehow in this case I let my prejudice against the first side color my thinking about the second.

Of all the people who should know better…

Dave Brubeck – Well Recorded Pointless Music

More Direct-to-Disc Recordings

Reviews and Commentaries for Direct to Disc Recordings

“Well Recorded Pointless Music” – the very definition of the Bad Audiophile Pressing. In 2010 or thereabouts we wrote the following:

This Direct Disk Labs Double LP is an exceptionally WELL-RECORDED Direct-to-Disc. The bass is punchy, the piano sounds tonally Right On The Money (ROTM) and the recording overall is lively and immediate. It’s one of the better sounding Direct-to-Discs we’ve played lately.

The music goes nowhere however, hence the grade can only be F for Failing.  

Do you buy records to hear good sound or do you buy records to listen to good music? If you’re on this site, hopefully you want both.

There are many records with music that I personally do not care for. As an unabashed systematizer — hence the hundreds of categories and tags of every possible sort on this very blog — I am naturally inclined to have a section for those records, and it can be found here.

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Chicago – Chicago Transit Authority

More Chicago

  • An outstanding Columbia 360 Stereo pressing of the band’s 2-LP debut with Double Plus (A++) grades on all FOUR sides
  • These sides boast some of the best sounding, boldest arrangements for a horn-based rock band we’ve ever heard
  • “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” “I’m A Man” and “Questions 67 and 68” are simply incredible here
  • “In April of 1969, the four sides of Chicago Transit Authority unleashed a formidable and ultimately American musical experience… an unheralded synthesis of electric guitar wailin’ rock & roll to more deeply rooted jazz influences and arrangements.”

It’s difficult to find copies that do this big production music justice, but we got hold of a hot one here. If you’re a fan (and we think you should be, of the early band at least) you won’t believe how good this album can sound on the right pressing. All four sides here are rich and full, punchy and solid, with great energy and dynamics.

Huge Sound Can Be Yours

We love this album here at Better Records. It’s amazing that this hard-rockin’ band from 1968 could be the same band that gave us “You’re The Inspiration” and other power-schlock ballads in the ’80s. Have they no shame?

Fortunately, this isn’t your Mom’s Chicago. Here, with their freshman effort, the band stands on the threshold of becoming True Rock Legends. Even today the album still sounds fresh. Who can argue with the brilliance of tracks such as “Beginnings,” “I’m a Man” and “Questions 67 and 68”? This is as good as the band ever got, man! It’s all here.

All four sides boast some of the boldest arrangements for a horn-based rock band ever. These boys have no problem standing toe to toe with the likes of Blood Sweat And Tears. If you don’t find yourself turning the stereo up during “Beginnings,” this music is not for you. The energy they bring to their cover of Spencer Davis’ “I’m A Man” positively puts the original to shame. They jam its rock and roll groove, then take it places nobody else would even think to go.

What The Best Sides Of Chicago Transit Authority 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 1969
  • 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 these records are 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 pressings that sound as good as these two do.

Kath’s Guitar Wizardry

The late Terry Kath was a Master of the Guitar, way ahead of his time in both songwriting and technique. In a VH1 interview with founding member and horn player Walter Parazaider, the world discovered that none other than Jimi Hendrix was a huge fan of Kath’s. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has heard Kath’s solos on ‘I’m A Man’.

The meaty tone and nuanced texture of his sound are evident all over this album. It’s also a precursor to so many other players that followed him in the four decades since his debut, many of whom would be nowhere without his genius.

What We’re Listening For On Chicago Transit Authority

  • 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.

Peter Cetera and Big Bass

Not many musicians qualify to be placed on the list of Most Underrated, but if there were any justice in this world Peter Cetera’s name would be found right up at the top. His bass playing alone — forget his singing, which is as good as any pop singer of his generation — qualifies him for Most Talented (but for some reason) Most Overlooked Musician. The huge bass sound Peter got out of his axe is the meat and potatoes of this album.

Talk about beefy bass; this album is the poster boy for rock solid bottom end. When you have a copy of this album with a hot side three, you have a Rock Bass Demo Disc LP par excellence.

Again, it’s hard to believe this is the same guy that sang and played on “Hard To Say I’m Sorry.” His jazz-rock chops anchor the rhythm section with the kind of energy a band with as many pieces as this one simply cannot do without. Chicago boasts seven top players, but Cetera’s brilliance cuts through on practically every song. People may not be able to appreciate his playing because they have bad records or bad stereos, but we’re here to rectify that situation, as least the record part of it.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

A Must Own Rock Record

Chicago Transit Authority is a Demo Disc Quality recording that belongs in any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Introduction
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

A tough one right off the bat. If you have an aggressive sounding copy you’ll know it pretty quick. Grit and grain in the vocal on this track will have you running for the nearest exit. Conversely, you still need presence without smear or the brass won’t have the bite of the real thing, and a Chicago album without good brass is pretty pointless.

They really put their best foot forward with this cut — a true sing-along anthem.

Beginnings

THE best Chicago song of all time! Pop music just does not get any better. The one-two punch of that amazing trombone solo followed by the equally amazing trumpet solo still knocks me out.

Part of what makes Chicago’s brass so distinctive is the infrequent use of saxophone in the brass section. The Chicago brass is darker and heavier than, say, that of Blood Sweat and Tears, and that Heavy Brass Sound was never better than on this, their first album.

Side Two

Questions 67 and 68

When the chorus comes in the bass had better be tight or the whole thing will turn to mud. The best copies have tons of energy and life on this song. Though not a hit, it still stands as one of the best tracks on the album and a real highpoint for early-period Chicago.

Listen
Poem 58

Side Three

Free Form Guitar
South California Purples
I’m a Man

Not the typical audiophile’s first choice in a Demonstration Quality track, but if you have the right kind of stereo (a big one, natch) and a top quality pressing (for side three anyway), watch out.

This track has the power to knock you right out of your socks. The bass part that Cetera opens the song with has an unbelievably solid tone. At the same time it’s harmonically rich and has subterranean power that must be heard to be believed. Holy Smokes does it ever sound good!

Side Four

Prologue
Someday
Liberation

AMG 4 Star Review

Few debut albums can boast as consistently solid an effort as the self-titled Chicago Transit Authority (1969). Even fewer can claim to have enough material to fill out a double-disc affair. Although this long- player was ultimately the septet’s first national exposure, the group was far from the proverbial “overnight sensation.”… In April of 1969, the four sides of Chicago Transit Authority unleashed a formidable and ultimately American musical experience. This included an unheralded synthesis of electric guitar wailin’ rock & roll to more deeply rooted jazz influences and arrangements. This approach economized the finest of what the band had to offer — actually two highly stylized units that coexisted with remarkable singularity.

CBS Studios

CBS 30th Street Studio, also known as Columbia 30th Street Studio, and nicknamed “The Church”, was an American recording studio operated by Columbia Records from 1949 to 1981 located at 207 East 30th Street, between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan, New York City.

It was considered by some in the music industry to be the best sounding room in its time and others consider it to have been the greatest recording studio in history. A large number of recordings were made there in all genres, including Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (1959), Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (Original Broadway Cast recording, 1957), Percy Faith’s Theme from A Summer Place (1960), and Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979).

Recording studio

Having been a church for many years, it had been abandoned and empty for sometime, and in 1949 it was transformed into a recording studio by Columbia Records.

“There was one big room, and no other place in which to record”, wrote John Marks in an article in Stereophile magazine in 2002.

The recording studio had 100 foot high ceilings, a 100 foot floorspace for the recording area, and the control room was on the second floor being only 8 by 14 feet. Later, the control room was moved down to the ground floor.

“It was huge and the room sound was incredible,” recalls Jim Reeves, a sound technician who had worked in it. “I was inspired,” he continues “by the fact that, aside from the artistry, how clean the audio system was.”

Musical artists

Many celebrated musical artists from all genres of music used the 30th Street Studio for some of their most famous recordings.

Bach: The Goldberg Variations, the 1955 debut album of the Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould, was recorded in the 30th Street Studio. It was an interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), the work launched Gould’s career as a renowned international pianist, and became one of the most well-known piano recordings. On May 29, 1981, a second version of the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould was recorded in this studio, and would be the last production by the famous studio.

Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis recorded almost exclusively at the 30th Street Studio during his years under contract to Columbia, including his album Kind of Blue (1959). Other noteworthy jazz musicians having recorded in this place: Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck.

In 1964, Bob Dylan and record producer Tom Wilson were experimenting with their own fusion of rock and folk music. The first unsuccessful test involved overdubbing a “Fats Domino early rock & roll thing” over Dylan’s earlier, recording of “House of the Rising Sun”, using non-electric instruments, according to Wilson. This took place in the Columbia 30th Street Studio in December 1964. It was quickly discarded, though Wilson would more famously use the same technique of overdubbing an electric backing track to an existing acoustic recording with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”.


Check out more of our Hot Stamper pressings made from recordings engineered at the legendary CBS 30th Street Studio

 

Steely Dan / Katy Lied – Our Favorite Dan Album of Them All

More Steely Dan

Reviews and Commentaries for Katy Lied

  • An outstanding early ABC pressing with Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Our pick for the best Dan album of them all, a Masterpiece of Jazzy Swing Pop that is sure to reward hundreds of plays in the decades to come
  • Take it from The Dan: “The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible, and special care is taken to preserve the band-width and transient response of each performance.”
  • Problems in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings – there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you, especially for this title, which is almost never quiet
  • 5 stars: “Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos.”

The covers for these original Katy Lied pressings on ABC always have at least some edge, seam or ringwear. We will of course do our best to find you a cover with the fewest problems, but none of them will be perfect, or even all that close to it. It is by far the hardest Steely Dan album to find good covers for.

This copy has the all-important rock energy we look for, although rocking is not quite what Steely Dan are up to here. Cameron Crowe calls it “…absolutely impeccable swing-pop”, a four word description that gets to the heart of the music far better than any combination of adjectives and nouns containing the word “rock.” (more…)

Bad Company – The Making of Straight Shooter

More of the Music of Bad Company

More Recordings Engineered by Ron Nevison

FROM THE BAD COMPANY WEB SITE

Heartened by the response to Bad Company, the group hired Ronnie Lane’s mobile studio and had it installed at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, England in September 1974. “That was an interesting place to record,” states Rodgers. “Where next after Headley Grange but an old haunted castle! We had been touring very hard but we were still able to come up with the goods in the end. By comparison, we hadn’t done any touring before our first record.”

Bad Company followed up their initial success with the 1975 release of the triple-platinum album Straight Shooter which contained the Top Ten smash ballad “Feel Like Makin’ Love” which also won a Grammy Award. “I loved Straight Shooter” says Kirke. “Quite a few of the songs on that album came along during the first year of our existence. A lot of the songs on the first album had been done in 1973 before we really had started, so we were always playing catch-up with new material. We wanted to record a follow up album that really validated what we had done on Bad Company.” Other tracks form the album, such as “Shooting Star” have long since become concert and radio staples. “I remember Paul was singing a few of the verses for that song in the airport as we were going over to America to start our second tour,” remembers Kirke. “He had taken his guitar on the plane with him and was tinkering around with the song on the flight over.”

”I just started singing that lyric, ‘Johnny was a schoolboy…,’ and I was thinking, that’s a good song,” continues Rodgers. “Where had I heard that? Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t heard it anywhere before. I quickly grabbed a pen and paper and wrote it all down. The song just flowed out of me. It wrote itself. I was thinking, wow, where did this come from? Since then, people have asked me who it is about including whether it’s about (former Free guitarist) Paul Kossoff. Actually, with hindsight, the song is about all of the casualties of rock music because there have been way too many.”

”Paul’s ability to come up with good lyrics have always enabled us to have rock songs with class,” says Ralphs. “I tend to write more simplistic songs, but believe me, it’s very hard to write a simple rock song on guitar that has something special without sounding ordinary.”

Eagerly anticipated by the group’s fans. Straight Shooter enjoyed international success, reaching number three on both the UK and US album charts. The ecstatic response to the album accelerated the group’s momentum and their standing as one of the most popular concert attractions in the world. “In 1975, we were able to come back and tour America as a headliner,” recalls Kirke. “It had been an amazing year.”

”There was quite a bit of pressure on us being the first artists signed to Zeppelin’s Swan Song label,” states Rodgers. “Behind the scenes, we did take the mickey out of each other mercilessly. We would stand on their side of the stage and yell ‘Rubbish!’ and the like at them. We never did shows together, but we did jam quite a bit. There was a real rapport between the two bands.”

”There is no doubt in my mind that without Peter Grant we would not have reached the level of success we achieved,” echoes Ralphs. “His clout and insights were essential to our elevated status. He was a great manager and a lovely man.” 

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