Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- This insanely good sounding Vanguard pressing earned Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides; exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- The overall sound here is rich, full-bodied and lively, with solid and present vocals, as well as excellent clarity all around
- A very difficult record to find with good sound and clean surfaces, which is why we rarely have them on the site
- 4 1/2 stars: "Their full-length debut is their most joyous and cohesive statement and one of the most important and enduring documents of the psychedelic era ..."
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NOTE: Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in clean shape. Most of them will have at least some ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG, and it will probably be VG+. If you are picky about your covers please let us know in advance so that we can be sure we have a nice enough cover for you.
First, a little background on the general sound of Electric Music For The Mind and Body, the band's debut and an album that is widely considered a true psych masterpiece. Most copies of the album have an unfortunate tendency to be boosted in the midrange, and on top of that they are often veiled and lack space.
Both sides here do a much better job in these areas than most of what we played, which, frankly, was not too good. These sides may not be perfect but they communicate the music well and that counts for a lot in our world.
And to be fair some of the album is actually quite well recorded, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine being probably the best sounding (and best arranged) track on the record.
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 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
What We're Listening For on Electric Music For The Mind...
Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on this album.
A bigger presentation - more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. This is a psych record but it's also a ROCK record. It needs weight down low to rock the way the artists, engineers, and producers wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven't played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
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 originals.
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.
Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Death Sound Blues
Sad and Lonely Times
The Masked Marauder
Their full-length debut is their most joyous and cohesive statement and one of the most important and enduring documents of the psychedelic era, the band's swirl of distorted guitar and organ at its most inventive. In contrast to Jefferson Airplane, who were at their best working within conventional song structures, and the Grateful Dead, who hadn't quite yet figured out how to transpose their music to the recording studio,
Country Joe & the Fish delivered a fully formed, uncompromising, and yet utterly accessible -- in fact, often delightfully witty -- body of psychedelic music the first time out... this is one of the best-performed records of its period, most of it so bracing and exciting that one gets some of the intensity of a live performance.
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