The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- The sound is relaxed, full-bodied and lively, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1957 and 1959 recording dates of these sessions
- Skip the stereo pressing on this title - none of the copies we played could hold a candle to this killer mono LP
- "The album focuses on well-known songs not included in Fitzgerald's epic Songbooks project, and several of the songs are tunes that she had recently recorded in duet with Louis Armstrong."
- 4 stars: "A fine gem among the diamonds of Ella Fitzgerald's late-'50s period with Verve... Wrapped in the strings of Frank DeVol's orchestra, Fitzgerald is a bewitching presence singing these dreamy standards..."
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*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 5 moderate to loud pops two-thirds of the way into Track 1, I've Grown Accustomed To His Face.
This vintage Verve pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.
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.).
Hot Stamper sound is rarely about the details of a given recording. In the case of this album, more than anything else a Hot Stamper must succeed at recreating a solid, palpable, real Ella Fitzgerald singing live in your listening room. The better copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we've played over the years can serve as a guide.
What the best sides from Hello Love 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 1959
- 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich
What We're Listening For on Hello Love
- 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.
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.
For other records that sound best in mono, click here.
- You Go To My Head
- Willow Weep For Me
- I'm Thru' With Love
- Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
- Everything Happens To Me
- Lost In A Fog
- I've Grown Accustomed To His Face
- I'll Never Be The Same
- So Rare
- Stairway To The Stars
- Moonlight In Vermont
AMG 4 Star Review
A fine gem among the diamonds of Ella Fitzgerald's late-'50s period with Verve... Wrapped in the strings of Frank DeVol's orchestra, Fitzgerald is a bewitching presence singing these dreamy standards: "Tenderly," "You Go to My Head," "Willow Weep for Me," and "Stairway to the Stars." DeVol's charts are dynamic as well, allowing space for expressive players such as trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Pete Candoli or tenor Ben Webster. A few of the titles are solo versions of songs she had recently sung on her Louis Armstrong duets