The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- A vintage UK import pressing with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them from start to finish
- This copy has the Glyn Johns big, bold sound we demand from this famous producer/engineer
- Forget the domestic pressings, forget the DD Labs half-speed, forget whatever lame reissues have come or will come down the pike - if you want to hear this album right, a Hot Stamper British pressing is the only way to go
- The title song sounds amazing on this killer Triple Plus side two - the dynamic power of the recording comes through loud and clear
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these Classic Rock records - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
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*NOTE: There is a mark that plays lightly for approx. 30 seconds about 1/2 way into track 2 on side 2, "Guitar and Pen."
Big, tubey and rockin', this copy has The Who sound we know from Who's Next so well. Huge and spacious, with lovely three-dimensional depth, the sound has that patented Live in the Studio quality that Johns' practically trademarked. Breathy vocals and great life and presence to every instrument -- this is the way to hear it!
This copy has the Glyn Johns Who Sound we demand from one of the most famous producer/artist collaborations in the history of rock music. (I would argue Johns' work with the Stones is even more legendary.)
This is certainly not the equal of the beyond brilliant Who's Next -- what is? It's an undisputed Masterpiece -- but the best songs here are certainly in that league. The title track is one I used to demo my system with twenty years ago and, with a copy like this, would be happy to again.
What The Best Sides Of Who Are You 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 1978
- 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.
Classic Rock is the heart and soul of our business. Finding quiet, good sounding pressings of Classic Rock albums is what we devote the bulk of our resources (time and money) to, and if we can be indulged a self-compliment, it's what we do best.
No one is even bothering to attempt the kind of shootouts we immerse ourselves in every day. And who can blame them? It's hard to assemble all the resources it takes to pull it off. There are a huge number of steps a record must go through before it finds itself for sale on our site, which means there are about twenty records in the backroom for every one that can be found on the site.
If the goal is to move product this is a very bad way to go about it. Then again, we don't care about moving product for the sake of moving product. Our focus must be on finding, cleaning and critically evaluating the best sounding pressings, of the best music, we can get our hands on.
What We're Listening For On Who Are You
- 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 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 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.
- New Song
- Had Enough
- Sister Disco
- Music Must Change
- Trick of the Light
- Guitar and Pen
- Love Is Coming Down
- Who Are You
Griel Marcus on Who Are You
And then there is "Who Are You," a far stronger single than "Squeeze Box," the hit from 1975's The Who by Numbers, and a song that, stretched out over more than six minutes on the LP version, is far more moving than "Won't Get Fooled Again," the band's certified Seventies masterpiece. The dynamics are much more subtle this time — and all the smugness is gone.
"Who Are You" was spun out of the night that Townshend, already drunk after hours of financial haggling, half-recognized two members of the Sex Pistols in a bar: that is, he thought either Steve Jones or Paul Cook was Johnny Rotten. Corrected, he felt even more confused: Why can't I see straight? Cook and Jones, supposedly arrogant young punks working out their rock & roll Oedipal complex, were thrilled to meet Townshend and horrified at what he had to tell them: the Who were finished, used up, wasted. The incident left Townshend passed out in a Soho street, which is where the song begins.
Townshend (in the voice of Roger Daltrey) wakes up with one enormous question: Who are you? It's addressed to Cook and Jones (Who are these upstarts, who would never have played a note had not Townshend picked up a guitar more than a decade back?); to the cop who, recognizing Townshend, sends him home without a bust (Who are the fans?); to himself (What does it mean to be a rocker? What kind of wreck has the life made him?); and, finally, to anyone who's listening. "Whooooooo/Are you?" hums the chorus. "I really want to know!" Daltrey shouts back, echoing Donovan's "What Goes On," but while Donovan communicated hippie certainty that all things would come, Daltrey is desperate, sure of nothing.