Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides and fairly quiet vinyl, this was clearly one of the most enjoyable copies we played in our last shootout
- Relaxed, rich and tubey, yet clear, this is the kind of sound you always wanted from The Buffalo Springfield but had no way to hear, until now
- Some of the best songs the band ever wrote are right here: I Am A Child, Kind Woman and too many more to list
- If Buffalo Springfield Again deserves a Five Star rating then Last Time Around does too - it's equally brilliant, and a real Desert Island Disc for yours truly
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These two sides are relaxed, rich and tubey, giving you exactly what you would expect from a Top Quality pressing -- without the noise, veiling and distortion that you're used to hearing on the copies you picked up locally, or the one you mistreated back in the day (didn't we all?).
When you get hold of the right copy and know how to clean it right, you find that some of these pressings are a damn sight better than the most audiophiles think they are.
The kind of MIDRANGE MAGIC on this pressing let us hear into the music in a way we (and you too I'm guessing) never imagined was possible.
Most copies have no bass, no real top, and are compressed so badly they sound more like cardboard than vinyl. But not this copy -- it breaks the mold, revealing to the world (well, our world anyway, the world at Better Records) that those badly recorded Buffalo Springfield records from the '60s weren't so badly recorded after all.
What Hot Stampers of Last Time Around 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 1968
- 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
Within the limitations of the recording, there are still copies that are surprisingly DYNAMIC and TRANSPARENT. Listen to all that space around the guitars and voices -- who knew it was there?
Listen also especially to the vocal harmonies -- you can separate out all the parts much more clearly on the best Hot Stamper pressings. You can recognize in the harmonies and choruses who's in there and what part they are playing in the arrangement. THIS is what we audiophiles want -- to hear the MUSICIANS performing at their best.
Many of Their Best Songs
Some of the best songs the band ever wrote and performed are right here. I would put this batch up against their second album, Again, any day of the week.
Side one is killer practically from start to finish:
On the Way Home It's So Hard to Wait Pretty Girl Why Four Days Gone Special Care
And so is side two!
In the Hour of Not Quite Rain Questions I Am a Child Kind Woman
What We're Listen For on Last Time Around
Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in an Electric Folk Rock record from 1968.
Our hottest Hot Stamper copies are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.
The best copies have:
- Greater immediacy in the vocals (most copies are veiled and distant to some degree);
- Natural tonal balance (many copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; those with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);
- Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);
- Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);
- Tubey Magic, without which you might as well be playing a CD;
- And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sometimes simple, sometimes complex and sophisticated recording.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any pressing of this title will play. (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 analog magic that is a key part of the appeal 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.
On the Way Home
It's So Hard to Wait
Pretty Girl Why
Four Days Gone
Carefree Country Day
In the Hour of Not Quite Rain
I Am a Child