Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (with a couple of crackly stitches at the start of track one)
- An excellent copy of the band's debut, with seriously good Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides and reasonably quiet vinyl, especially on side one
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
- 4 1/2 stars: "This might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience. There isn't a bad song here, and only the fact that the group did even better the next time out keeps this from getting the highest possible rating."
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This album has some of the ABB's very best music and on a copy like this, sonics, but man is it tough to find a good one. We've been picking these up for years and the fact that it took us until 2016 to get any copy at all on the site should tell you something.
Here's a perfect example of an album that's so mediocre on the average pressing that we had practically given up hope of hearing the record sound good. But we're not ones to run away from a challenge, so we kept picking up copies, figuring out a few things in the process. Eventually, we made real progress and today we can proudly post a copy that's beyond worthy of Hot Stamper status.
What the best sides of this uniquely Rootsy Blues Rock album from 1969 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
What We're Listening For on The Allman Brothers
- 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 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 vintage pressings.
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.
Don't Want You No More
It's Not My Cross to Bear
Black Hearted Woman
Trouble No More
Every Hungry Woman
This might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience. Some lingering elements of the psychedelic era then drawing to a close can be found in "Dreams," along with the template for the group's on-stage workouts with "Whipping Post," and a solid cover of Muddy Waters' "Trouble No More." There isn't a bad song here, and only the fact that the group did even better the next time out keeps this from getting the highest possible rating.
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