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Super Hot Stamper - Dr. John - Desitively Bannaroo

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Super Hot Stamper

Dr. John
Desitively Bannaroo

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • This early Atco pressing was doing just about everything right, earning seriously good Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • Richness and plenty of tight bass are key to bringing the rhythmically challenging music of New Orleans to life, and here there is plenty of both
  • Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl they're making - for Tubey Magic and energy, this is the only way to go
  • "As in In the Right Place, Mac has taken advantage of the specialized production talents of Allen Toussaint (at Toussaint's own Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans), and has again used the fabled New Orleans band The Meters as his studio group. Each of the 12 cuts on the LP has been well-conceived, clearly thought-out, and reveals a new level of musical depth for the doctor."

More Dr. John / More Soul, Blues, and R&B

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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG

This vintage Atco 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 Desitively Bannaroo 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 1974
  • 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.

Standard Operating Procedures

What are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and so on down through the list.

When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of "contender." Once we’ve been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides matched up.

Record shootouts may not be rocket science, but they're a science of a kind, one with strict protocols developed over the course of many years to ensure that the sonic grades we assign to our Hot Stampers are as accurate as we can make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.

What We're Listening For On Desitively Bannaroo

  • 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.

Vinyl Condition

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.

Side One

  • Quitters Never Win
  • Stealin'
  • What Comes Around (Goes Around)
  • Me-You=Loneliness
  • Mos' Scocious
  • (Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away
  • Let's Make A Better World

Side Two

  • R U 4 Real
  • Sing Along Song
  • Can't Git Enuff
  • Go Tell The People
  • Desitively Bonnaroo

Zoo World Review (7/18/74)

To the cajun population of New Orleans, the expression desitively bonnaroo has come to mean "better than the best." It supposedly originated among the inmates of South Louisiana's dreary Angola Prison, located on an avenue called Bonnaroo. If you were on that street and not in the prison, it was desitively bonnaroo.

Desitively Bonnaroo is also the title of Dr. John's seventh album, and at first glance, it seems to be just that -- better than his best. Advancing in the direction of his successful last LP, In the Right Place, it is a balanced, commercially viable synthesis of his hoodoo and dixieland roots. Yet in light of Mac Rebenneck a.k.a. Dr. John's twenty-year saga through the music biz and his hard-earned reputation as a legend in his own time, he seems to have taken the easy way out.

His gris-gris/gumbo mixture has been formularized into a spellbinding but predictable potion. And his stage act, which always featured outlandish Mardi Gras constumes and satchels filled with gittering gris-gris, has been hyped-up to capitalize on the currently trendy glitter-rock and rock theatrics. But his music still comes across with the integrity and potence of a master.

As in In the Right Place, Mac has taken advantage of the specialized production talents of Allen Toussaint (this time at Toussaint's own Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans), and has again used the fabled New Orleans band The Meters as his studio group. Each of the twelve cuts on the LP has been well-conceived, clearly thought-out, and reveals a new level of musical depth for the doctor.

Perhaps the most ambitious numbers on the album are Earl King's spirited "Let's Make a Better World" and the soft-shoe "Sing Along Song," both are similarly constructed with primary and secondary melodies skillfully fused into one. "Quitters Never Win" and "(Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away" are wildly compelling wails of song, "Mos'Scocious" is a dangerously infectious rhumba.

"Stealin'" is slightly reminiscent of Dr. John's early style; each subtly sinister verse is capped by a growled punchline: "Stealin' money from the blind... stealin' food from the hungry... stealin' medicine from the sick." The haunting first verse of "What Comes Around Goes Around" floats in on eerie streams of mellotron, then bursts into a rocking refrain of creole philosophy.

The title tune, "Desitively Bonnaroo," seems to have been patterned after "In the Right Place." Done in a minor key, it changes beat midway for a stabbing electric guitar part played over thumping bass. Dr. John grunts out the spicy lyrics ("high steppin' mama/better keep on foxin' with your foxy self") as his chick singers shriek "give me what you got for me." The effect is downright evil.

And I'd be damned impressed if I didn't know it was all so easy for him. But apparently Dr. John has grown tired of being perennially ahead of his time, and I can't blame him. I wonder what he'll pull out of his satchel of sound next time, now that he's given us a chance to catch up.

Ellen Mandel