The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- A wonderful copy of Ella's excellent 1972 release with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish - just shy of our Shootout Winner
- This copy is balanced and natural, with the kind of rich, full-bodied sound that no one seems to know how to achieve anymore
- Fitzgerald's second artful collection of Cole Porter masterpieces, arranged by the great Nelson Riddle
- The legendary engineer Val Valentin put this one on tape, brilliantly - he's the man behind some of our All Time favorite albums on Verve and Pablo
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NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 12-15 very light ticks at the beginning of Track 1, My Heart Belongs To Daddy.
These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" being relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
This vintage Atlantic LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings barely 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 Ella Fitzgerald singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
What the best sides of Ella Loves Cole 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 1972
- 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 space of the studio
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.
Lower Mids Are Key
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top 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 heard them all.
We're glad to report this copy was doing more of what we wanted it to do than any other we played.
And we know a fair bit about Ella's recordings at this point. We've searched high and low for her records and played them by the score over the years. As of today we've done commentaries for more than a dozen different Ella Fitzgerald albums, and that's not counting the sixteen (yes, 16!) titles we put in our Hall of Shame.
What We're Listening For on Ella Loves Cole
- 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 vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Val Valentin 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.
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 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 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.
I Get A Kick Out Of You
Down In The Depths
At Long Last Love
I've Got You Under My Skin
So Near And Yet So Far
All Of You
My Heart Belongs To Daddy
Love For Sale
Just One Of Those Things
I Concentrate On You