The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (barely)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (barely)
- This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
- The sound is rich, sweet and open, with Judy's voice clear and breathy
- There is plenty of wonderful music on this album, including two of best songs Judy ever recorded (in our opinion), Michael from Mountains and Since You Asked, as well as two of Leonard Cohen's best-penned tunes
- "Soothing. Unique. Natural. These are clear adjectives used best when describing the style and grace of Judy Collins and her album Wildflowers. Her blend of folk and meditative music paints a tapestry of soft, nurturing colors that transcends the mind of the listener and seeks one's soul."
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This vintage Elektra 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 Wildflowers 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 1967
- 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.
Searching For The Best
We were surprised that so few copies sounded any good (present company excluded), that so few copies had the Tubey Magical qualities that we've come to expect from Elektra in 1967; the label was home to The Doors and Love at the time, what happened here? John Haeny, the engineer, worked on Waiting for the Sun, which is an amazing-sounding Doors album on the right pressing. Why so few great-sounding Wildflowers?
If that's a legitimate question to pose, then first answer me this: why so few great sounding Waiting for the Suns?
It's simple -- the 1967 Elektra magic of the tape did not make it to the 1967 Elektra vinyl with any consistency. That's why it's hard to find good sounding Judy Collins records or good sounding Doors records. This is our first big Judy Collins shootout for precisely that reason. We can find great sounding Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell records all day long; the site is full of them. Judy Collins, not so much.
What We're Listening For on Wildflowers
- 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 -- John Haeny in this case -- 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.
Both Sides Now, the Top Ten hit that finally put Judy on the map, is clearly made from a dub tape and doesn't sound as good as the songs that follow it on side two. Hey, it happens. Maybe it sounds right on the Greatest Hits? You could try one. We have trouble selling greatest hits albums so you'll have to do your own digging on that one.
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 into 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.
- Michael from Mountains
- Since You Asked
- Sisters of Mercy
- A Ballata of Francesco Landini
- Both Sides Now
- La Chanson des Vieux Amants (The Love Song of Old Lovers)
- Sky Fell
- Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
Soothing. Unique. Natural. These are clear adjectives used best when describing the style and grace of Judy Collins and her album Wildflowers. Her blend of folk and meditative music paints a tapestry of soft, nurturing colors that transcends the mind of the listener and seeks one's soul. Much of the material feels uplifting and full of spirit, or even spiritual to some degree...
Collins makes a well-earned statement in her original tunes "Since You Asked," "Sky Fell," and "Albatross," that deep, meditative, and subtle can be effective within the realms of music as an art form. She is certainly artistic with her approach, staying away from the clichéd folk and pop music that flooded much of the '60s radio-friendly airwaves. Collins also includes her favorite melodies from the songbooks of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. This can benefit one as a pleasant listen, easy to soothe the mind and body, and release the burdens of everyday stress in society.