The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this copy has a lot going for it - exceptionally quiet vinyl for the most part too
- These sides are rich and full, with punchy bass and plenty of rockin'-down-the-highway Doobies energy - thanks Donn Landee, you da man
- Contains contributions from such guest musicians as Maria Muldaur, Ry Cooder, and Curtis Mayfield
- Allmusic 4 1/2 stars: "The Doobie Brothers' rootsiest album to date, Stampede was virtuoso soulful countrified rock of a gritty nature, crossing over into blues as well as reaching back to a raw, traditional rock & roll sound..."
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*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes eleven very light ticks at the end of Track 4, Rainy Day Crossroad Blues.
The average copy of this album is compressed and congested, recessed and veiled, grainy and thin; in other words, it sounds like an old Doobie Brothers album. It takes a copy like this one to show you just how good the Master Tape must be.
And if we hadn't had plenty of copies to play with, we would never have found this one.
This vintage Warner Brothers 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 Stampede 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 1975
- 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 Stampede
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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.
- 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 (Donn Landee in this case) would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Credit DONN LANDEE (and producer Ted Templeman as well) with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of the best copies of Stampede. He's recorded or assisted on many of our favorite albums here at Better Records.
Most of the better Doobies Brothers albums are his; all of the good Van Halens of course; Lowell George's wonderful Thanks I'll Eat It Here; Little Feat's Time Loves a Hero (not their best music but some of their best sound); Carly Simon's Another Passenger (my favorite of all her albums); and his Masterpiece (in my humble opinion), Captain Beefheart's mindblowing Clear Spot.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better 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 later 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 originals.
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.
- Sweet Maxine
- Neal's Fandango
- Texas Lullaby
- Music Man
- Slat Key Soquel Rag
- Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me)
- I Cheat the Hangman
- Rainy Day Crossroad Blues
- I've Been Workin' on You
- Double Dealin' Four Flusher
AMG 4 1/2 Stars Review
The Doobie Brothers' rootsiest album to date, Stampede was virtuoso soulful countrified rock of a gritty nature, crossing over into blues as well as reaching back to a raw, traditional rock & roll sound that wouldn't have sounded too out of place 20 years earlier.
Not much doubt that this is headed for the top of the charts, for the Doobies have developed into one of our true supergroups. The sound they produce is a good-time feel which might be termed the California Music of the '70s, much like the Beach Boys' distinctive sound of the '60s.
Not that the Doobies deal with any specific West Coast phenomena, but it's a unique sound that seems appropriate to California. Here we get a variety, from "China Grove" type rock, with flowing guitars and harmonies, to more simplistic rock/soul, to covers of Motown hits, to production ballads. Use of horns, strings and backup voices does not interfere with the basic group sound. There's even a good, country blues cut in the vein of "Black Water."
Musically, the LP works better than anything the six have come up with in the past. Commercially, it comes at the high point in their career. Best cuts: "Sweet Maxine," "Texas Lullaby," "Take Me In Your Arms," "I Cheat The Hangman," "Rainy Day Crossroad Blues."