The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (mostly quieter)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner
- The engineering team of Eddie Brackett and Lee Herschberg provide the exceptional recording fidelity - they would go on to win the Best Engineering Grammy for Strangers in the Night the same year
- "Snow's I'm Movin' On rocks, and Little Richard's Good Golly Miss Molly clearly provided the blueprint for CCR's cover several years later. While they may not make you forget the Animal's version of the House of the Rising Sun, they do a fine version themselves. They were still struggling to find where they belonged on this LP, but they take us on enough highs through the trip to make it a worthwhile 37 minutes."
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For those who may not know the man's work, Eddie Brackett is the engineer behind the best sounding Dean Martin record ever made, Dream With Dean. His credits run for days.
This Gold Label Stereo original pressing (skip the mono by the way) has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real person (or persons in this case) singing live in your listening room. The best copies had an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 57 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we've played can serve as a guide.
What the Best Sides of this Everly Brothers Album 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the strings from becoming shrill) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information. Strings and brass with get shrill and congested without enough top end air to breathe.
Tube smear is common to pressings from and any era and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We're Listening For on The Hit Sound Of The Everly Brothers
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The Everly Brothers aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- the team of Lee Herschberg and Eddie Brackett in this case -- would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
One of the top guys at Warners, Lee recorded this album (with Eddie Bracket). You'll also find his name in the credits for many of the best releases by Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, The Doobie Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot and Frank Sinatra, albums we know to have outstanding sound (potentially anyway; you have to have an outstanding pressing to hear outstanding sound).
And of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention the album most audiophiles know all too well, Rickie Lee Jones' debut. Herschberg's pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. Won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night (with Eddie Brackett) even.
The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is Herschberg's as well: The Three (with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample).
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 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.
1."Blueberry Hill" (Al Lewis, Vincent Rose, Larry Stock) – 3:02
2."I'm Movin' On" (Hank Snow) – 2:28
3."Devil's Child" (Irwin Levine, Neil Sheppard) – 2:40
4."Trains and Boats and Planes" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 3:03
5."Sea of Heartbreak" (Hal David, Paul Hampton) – 2:22
6."Oh, Boy!" (Norman Petty, Bill Tilghman, Sonny West) – 2:47
1."(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time" (Don Gibson) – 2:47
2."Let's Go Get Stoned" (Josephine Armstead, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) – 3:07
3."Sticks and Stones" (Henry Glover, Titus Turner) – 2:48
4."The House of the Rising Sun" (Terry Holmes, Alan Price, Nicholas Ray, Josh White) – 4:36
5."She Never Smiles Anymore" (Jimmy Webb) – 3:19
6."Good Golly Miss Molly" (Robert Blackwell, John Marascalco) – 2:49
This LP was released at the nadir of the Everly Brothers popularity. After a promising start at Warner Brothers, a combination of fighting with their manager/publisher, a changing market (The British Invasion), and inept promotion by Warner Brothers, all combined to derail their career, particularly in the U.S.
Denied access to the Bryants songs, unmotivated to write their own songs because of the feuding with their manager/publisher Wesley Rose, their LPs became a hodgepodge of standards, show tunes, Country or British Invasion covers or rock'n'roll oldies. The bulk of this LP lies in the later three categories, but at least attempts to breath new life into them, and succeeds most of the time.
Snow's I'm Movin' On rocks, and Little Richard's Good Golly Miss Molly clearly provided the blueprint for CCR's cover several years later. While they may not make you forget the Animal's version of the House of the Rising Sun, they do a fine version themselves. They were still struggling to find where they belonged on this LP, but they take us on enough highs through the trip to make it a worthwhile 37 minutes.
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