The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This early pressing was doing practically everything right, with both sides earning incredible Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) grades - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- A very hard album to find in this kind of audiophile playing condition - we must look at ten for every one we pick up
- Here is the Classic A&M Sound we love - big, rich and Tubey Magical
- On this copy you will find a healthy amount of the two qualities crucial to the sound of The Carpenters' music: present, breathy vocals
- "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close to You" are two of the better tracks here; perhaps you're familiar with them?
- 4 stars: "Close to You is a surprisingly strong album, and not just for those hits. Richard Carpenter's originals 'Maybe It's You' and 'Crescent Noon' are superb showcases for Karen Carpenter's developing talent, the latter a superbly atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful art song of the kind that Judy Collins was doing well at the time, and gorgeously arranged."
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These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top-quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" meaning relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
The classic Wrecking Crew rhythm section of Hal Blaine and Joe Osborn are here on practically every track. Where would the pop world be without them? (I highly recommend the 2012 book "The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret" for those who would like to know more about their contribution to pop music.)
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 The Best Sides Of Close To 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 1970
- 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 Close To 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 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.
- We've Only Just Begun
- Love Is Surrender
- Maybe It's You
- Reason to Believe
- (They Long to Be) Close to You
- Baby It's You
- I'll Never Fall in Love Again
- Crescent Noon
- Mr. Guder
- I Kept On Loving You
AMG 4 Star Review
Hurriedly put together in the wake of the success of the title song... and containing the follow-up hit "We've Only Just Begun," Close to You is a surprisingly strong album, and not just for those hits. Richard Carpenter's originals "Maybe It's You" and "Crescent Noon" are superb showcases for Karen Carpenter's developing talent, the latter a superbly atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful art song of the kind that Judy Collins was doing well at the time, and gorgeously arranged. There's also a Swingle Singers-style number, "Mr. Guder," showing off their paired vocal talents and more of Richard's arranging talents.