The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- An excellent Capricorn pressing of Jonathan Edwards' self-titled debut with Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- If you're a fan of superbly well recorded Acoustic Guitar Folk Pop (think James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg), this copy is guaranteed to deliver the goods
- 4 1/2 stars: "His brand of homespun tunes were perfectly matched to his emotive and soaring tenor... The acoustic and optimistic "Sunshine" struck a chord with listeners in the fall of 1971, climbing all the way to a lofty number four on the Pop Singles survey..."
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*NOTE: On side 2, there is a mark that plays 15 times at a light to moderate level at the end of track 4 ("Jesse") and into the beginning of track 5 ("Sometimes").
This is a longtime Better Records favorite for both music and sound. It may not be one of the more popular titles we do our unique shootouts for, but for those of you who love folky, acoustic guitar pop -- we often call it Hippie Folk Rock -- you should find a lot to like about this album.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).
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 Jonathan Edwards 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 1971
- 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 Jonathan Edwards
- 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 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 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 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.
- Everybody Knows Her
- Cold Snow
- Athens County
- Dusty Morning
- The King
- Don't Cry Blue
- Train of Glory
After a stint in the Boston-based combo Sugar Creek, Jonathan Edwards began his solo career with this 1971 self-titled outing. His brand of homespun tunes were perfectly matched to his emotive and soaring tenor. While he penned a majority of the album's dozen selections, Edwards reached back to former bandmates Malcolm McKinney -- author of both the upbeat lovesick lament "Don't Cry Blue" as well as the intimate "Sometimes" -- and Joe Dolce, co-writer of the happy, traveling "Athens County."
But it wasn't those standout tracks that would score Edwards his first and only Top Ten hit. The acoustic and optimistic "Sunshine" struck a chord with listeners in the fall of 1971, climbing all the way to a lofty number four on the Pop Singles survey before ultimately becoming a staple of oldies radio. (The self-affirming defiance in the chorus "He can't even run his own life/I'll be damned if he'll run mine," undoubtedly touched upon the remaining vestiges of the 'Us vs. Them' mentality that permeated the concurrent generation.)
The effort also includes several other excellent offerings, such as the pastoral mid-tempo "Cold Snow," with Stuart Schulman's hypnotic violin developing a hauntingly beautiful counter-refrain. "Emma" is a gorgeous ballad, sporting some affective rural-flavored piano licks from Jeff Labes. The celebratory "Shanty" wails as Edwards' harmonica brings a party atmosphere to the frolicking and energetic melody. There is a perceptible darkness running through the minor chord progressions in "The King," as Labes interjects a definite sense of drama complementing Edwards penetrating vocals. Of equal note is the guitar work of Eric Lilljequist, who provides a fuller sound in support of Edwards. The concluding "Train of Glory" serves up a final opportunity for a rousing round of the artist's emphatic mouth harp [read: harmonica] as he blows with the passion of an old-fashioned gospel revival.