Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus (with a noisy edge)
Side Three: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus (with a noisy edge)
Side Four: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- All four sides of this double album earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades for their Big, Bold Live Rock sound - mostly quiet vinyl too
- Mixed and mastered so that the guitar solos soar the way they do in live music -- what a thrill it is to hear them finally sounding the way they should
- A killer copy like this one is a potent reminder of why we all went so crazy for this album back in the '70s - I did anyway
- Allmusic agrees with us that many tracks here are "much more inspired, confident, and hard-hitting than the studio versions."
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*NOTE: On side four, a light stitch is audible intermittently during Track 1, Lines on My Face.
On the better copies, the guitar solos are the loudest parts of some of the songs, which, as everyone who's ever been to a rock concert knows, is exactly what happens in live rock music. Fancy that!
Not many live albums are mixed to allow the guitar solos to rock the way these do. Since Frampton is one of my favorite players, hearing his work get loud on this album is nothing less than a thrill. It's hard to turn up the volume on most copies -- they tend to get aggressive in a hurry -- but that simply doesn't happen on our hottest Hot Stampers. They sound right when they're loud.
What the best sides of this Classic Frampton 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 domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that Chris Kimsey recorded on tape in 1976
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the concert hall
It's ridiculously hard to find good sound for this record. Most copies are thin, dry and transistory. And it's time-consuming to clean and play as many copies of this double album as it takes to find enough Hot Stampers to make the endeavor worthwhile. When this album doesn't have the sonic goods it's nobody's idea of a good time.
A great copy like this one will remind you -- we hope -- what made everybody so crazy for this music back in the '70s. Click on the A Personal Story tab above to read more about how big a fan of Peter Frampton's I have always been.
What We Listen For on Frampton Comes Alive
- 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 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.
Show Me the Way
It's a Plain Shame
All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side)
Wind of Change
Baby, I Love Your Way
I Wanna Go to the Sun
Penny for Your Thoughts
(I'll Give You) Money
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Lines on My Face
Do You Feel Like We Do
The biggest-selling live album of all time, it made Peter Frampton a household word and generated a monster hit single in "Show Me the Way." And the reason why is easy to hear: the Herd/Humble Pie graduate packed one hell of a punch on-stage — where he was obviously the most comfortable — and, in fact, the live versions of "Show Me the Way," "Do You Feel Like I Do," "Something's Happening," "Shine On," and other album rock staples are much more inspired, confident, and hard-hitting than the studio versions.
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