The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- Exceptional Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this 1965 release of one of the man's most enjoyable albums -
- The sound here is bigger and livelier than most, and above all it's balanced, avoiding many of the problems we heard on other pressings
- Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) wrote the title song, which became a big hit for Adderley (and later The Buckinghams), and he plays on the album
- 5 Stars: "Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
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Don't worry about surface noise on this copy. With the audience making so much noise, you'll never get a chance to hear it. If you do it will be way, way under the music or crowd sounds.
I dropped the needle on a copy of this record a year or so ago and heard amazing you-are-there live jazz club sound, and, more importantly, a hot session from one of our favorite saxophone players of all time, the man who contributed mightily to the likes of Kind of Blue, Somethin' Else, Know What I Mean? and many more. For an Alto player Cannonball is just about as good as it gets.
Fast forward one year and we now have in our possession enough copies to do a proper shootout - originals and reissues on a variety of labels.
These were of course two of the best sides we played. They're big, rich and natural. The music does manage to sound like a live club, even though it's live in the studio, playing to an audience. (The AMG review has more on that.)
For mainstream jazz it's hard to think of any album on our site that would be more enjoyable.
What outstanding sides such as these 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 1965
- 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
What to Listen For (WTLF)
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 the full complement of harmonic information.
In addition, when the top end is lacking, the upper midrange and high frequencies get jammed together -- the highs can't extend up and away from the upper mids. This causes a number of much-too-common problems that we hear in the upper midrange of many of the records we play: congestion, hardness, harshness and squawk. (Painstaking VTA adjustment is absolutely critical if you want your records to play with the fewest number of these problems, a subject we discuss in the Commentary section of the site at length.)
Tube smear is common to most pressings from the '50s and '60s. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have little or none, yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
Full-bodied sound is especially critical to the horns; any blare, leanness or squawk ruins at least some of the fun, certainly at the louder levels the record should be playing at.
What We're Listening For on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!
- 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.
- 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 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.
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Sack 'O Woe
Cannonball Adderley's most popular album, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy wasn't actually recorded "Live at 'The Club'," as its subtitle says. The hoax was meant to publicize a friend's nightclub venture in Chicago, but Adderley actually recorded the album in Los Angeles, where producer David Axelrod set up a club in the Capitol studios and furnished free drinks to an invitation-only audience. Naturally, the crowd is in an extremely good mood, and Adderley's quintet, feeding off the energy in the room, gives them something to shout about.
By this point, Adderley had perfected a unique blend of earthy soul-jazz and modern, subtly advanced post-bop; very rarely did some of these harmonies and rhythms pop up in jazz so saturated with blues and gospel feeling...
Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.
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