Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- A superb copy of the band's 1974 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally QUIET vinyl too
- This is the sound you want on Heroes Are Hard to Find - not midrangy, but rich and full-bodied, with an extended top end for sweeter, silkier vocals
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this wonderful album, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
- "... the album is one of their most cohesive yet diverse... Heroes is a minor gem that retains its effortless pop charms and contains some buried jewels in the extensive Fleetwood Mac catalog."
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If you're a fan and have never heard this album, you will find numerous gems that make it worth the price. The title track is excellent, as is Come a Little Bit Closer. (Practically everything Christine McVie does on these pre-Buckingham Nicks albums is good. On weak albums such as Penguin it's McVie's performances and songwriting that carry the day.)
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Heroes Are Hard To Find 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 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.
On side one, listen for the quality of the tambourine reproduction on the first track. If your copy has no top end -- most do not -- that tambourine will underwhelm and the brass that carries the song will probably lack the kind of harmonic extension and clarity that help distinguish the different horns from each other. They won't sound right individually or collectively.
Hard, midrangy vocals are far and away the biggest problem we ran into on copy after copy. The other problems we encountered are the ones common to all records: smear, lack of top or bottom end, opacity, etc.
What We're Listening For on Heroes Are Hard To Find
- 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 for the guitars and drums, 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 musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt 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 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 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.
Heroes Are Hard to Find
Come a Little Bit Closer
She's Changing Me
Prove Your Love
Although this was Bob Welch's last album with the band he had worked with since 1971, it sounds like he's at his peak. Pared down to a foursome for the first and (as of 2002) only time since the addition of Danny Kirwan, both Welch and Christine McVie contribute some of their finest songs. Bolstered by sympathetic self-production and imaginative, often aggressive arrangements that include brassy horns on the title track, the album is one of their most cohesive yet diverse.
Welch left soon after the album's release, and the group went on to bigger and better things, but Heroes is a minor gem that retains its effortless pop charms and contains some buried jewels in the extensive Fleetwood Mac catalog.
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