The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- A Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated to a seriously good Double Plus (A++) side one makes this a consistently good sounding pressing, and it also boasts relatively good vinyl, with no marks that play
- Our pick for the best sounding CCR recording - when you have a copy that sounds like this one, and, trust me, a copy as good sounding as this one is tough to find
- 4 1/2 stars: "All the songs add up to a superb statement of purpose, a record that captures Creedence Clearwater Revival's muscular, spare, deceptively simple sound as an evocative portrait of America."
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It's beyond tough to find copies that aren't bright, gritty, grainy or edgy -- that's how most Creedence records sound I'm afraid -- but here's a Bayou Country that's fairly smooth, exceptionally lively, mostly transparent and just plain rockin' enough to make your day.
Both sides were Tubey Magical with surprising resolution and freedom from smear, easily heard on the clean, clear and present guitar transients. On side two you can even pick out the piano in Good Golly Miss Molly, which is hardly even audible on most pressings.
What the best sides of this CCR Classic 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 1969
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the horns, guitars, drums and percussion having the correct sound for this kind of record
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
Tough Sledding with Bayou Country
The average copy of this album is an unmitigated disaster. Let's start with the vocals. I'm not sure who's idea it was to have John Fogerty's vocals processed to sound like an old Johnny Cash album, but every copy we played had at least a slightly edgy quality to Fogerty's voice just the way The Man In Black's do. On some copies the edge is bad enough to render the copy completely worthless sonically.
Furthermore, most copies are badly congested and not especially transparent. Years ago, after dropping the needle on the first few copies and hearing the muddy music and gritty vocals, we were sorely tempted to give up. I'm glad to say we stuck with it long enough to find the few copies that could do the job of conveying the energy and joy of this classic of Swamp Rock.
After playing a handful of copies we started to identify which specific qualities we would need to look for in a Hot Stamper. It was only then that we decided to take John Fogerty's advice and, uh, keep on chooglin'. We realized that the vocals were never going to sound amazing, but they certainly don't need to sound blatantly irritating either.
We soon realized that even though Living Stereo spaciousness and transparency was never going to be in the cards, on the better copies you can actually pick out the musicians in the studio and make sense of their contributions.
And while you're just not going to get Dark Side of the Moon bass from this album, there are certainly copies that offer much better definition to the bottom than others.
What We're Listening For on Creedence's Classics
Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on Bayou Country.
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 fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way the engineers 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.
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain't easy to play 'em either. You're going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area -- VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate -- in order to play this album properly. If you've got the goods you're gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you're likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any original pressing will play, and since only the right originals 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 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 imports, later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't sound good.
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.
Born on the Bayou
Good Golly Miss Molly
Keep on Chooglin'
Opening slowly with the dark, swampy "Born on the Bayou," Bayou Country reveals an assured Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band that has found its voice between their first and second album... "Born on the Bayou" is a magnificent piece of swamp-rock, "Penthouse Pauper" is a first-rate rocker with the angry undertow apparent on "Porterville" and "Bootleg" is a minor masterpiece, thanks to its tough acoustic foundation, sterling guitar work, and clever story.
All the songs add up to a superb statement of purpose, a record that captures Creedence Clearwater Revival's muscular, spare, deceptively simple sound as an evocative portrait of America.
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