Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of this wonderful 1965 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Tubey Magical, punchy, spacious, natural sound - this copy has what we love about Larry Levine's engineering, with special emphasis on the HUGE amounts of deep bass that Herb liked to put on his records back in 1965. (Quick question: Where did that sound go?)
- It's almost impossible to find clean copies of this album nowadays, which is why our last shootout took place in 2016 - the next one is scheduled for 2024(!) if we can find enough good stereo originals to play
- Alpert's most famous album, 5 stars on Allmusic: "Three Grammy Awards alone for the update of the Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow-penned theme 'A Taste of Honey.'"
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We finally pulled together enough clean copies to do a serious shootout of this classic album, our first since 2016. We quickly discovered that all these years later the album still holds up, musically and sonically. The better pressings have the kind of Tubey Magical, big-bottomed, punchy, spacious sound that we've come to expect from Larry Levine's engineering for A&M. If you have any Hot Stamper pressings of Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66's albums, then you know exactly the kind of sound we're talking about.
Listen to all the Tubey Magic and space on these recordings -- wow! Both sides here were clean and clear, fuller and more solid, with more bite to the brass and separation between parts than many other copies we played.
Both sides are rich and smooth, with practically none of the edgy hardness on the horns that compromises the sound of the average pressing. Here is the kind of sound that really brings to life these funky Mexican-flavored pop tunes.
This vintage A&M 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 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
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 Whipped Cream and Other Delights
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 Vertical Tracking Angle adjustment is absolutely critical if you want your records to play with the least amount 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.
The frequency extremes (on the best copies) are not boosted in any way. When you play this record quietly, the bottom and top will disappear (due to the way the ear handles quieter sounds as described by the Fletcher-Munson curve).
Most records (like most audiophile stereos) are designed to sound correct at moderate levels. Not this album. It wants you to turn it up. Then, and only then, will everything sound completely right musically and tonally from top to bottom.
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.
- A Taste of Honey
- Green Peppers
- Bittersweet Samba
- Lemon Tree
- Whipped Cream
- Love Potion No. 9
- El Garbanzo
- Lollipops and Roses
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
With Whipped Cream & Other Delights (1965), they would take their momentum to new heights -- including three Grammy Awards alone for the update of the Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow-penned theme to Shelagh Delaney's play of the same name, "A Taste of Honey."
The remainder of the material on the dozen-song album was chosen with food as the underlying thematic motif. Sol Lake -- who provided Alpert "The Lonely Bull" and "Mexican Shuffle" returns, and this time he has custom-made the upbeat and, above all, catchy trio of "Green Peppers," "Bittersweet Samba," and "El Garbanzo."
Allen Toussaint's title composition "Whipped Cream" garnered significant attention, but not as a chart hit. Rather, it could be heard as bachelorettes were being introduced on ABC-TV's The Dating Game.