The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- Frampton's solo debut returns, now with Double Plus (A+++) sound on both sides and fairly quiet vinyl for an early UK pressing circa 1972
- This vintage British pressing is the very definition of TUBEY MAGIC, with sound so rich and sweet it will make you want to take all your CDs and dump them in the trash (now that record stores don’t even want them anymore)
- The best copies like this one keep what’s good about the recording while letting us hear into the soundfield with glorious transparency
- 4 stars: “The sound is crisp, the melodies catchy, and Frampton’s distinctive, elliptical Gibson Les Paul guitar leads soar throughout…“
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This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd, Elton John and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted.
The best song Peter Frampton ever wrote (and performed) is on this very record, in White Hot Stamper sound no less: All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side). It has the Tubey Magical sound WE LOVE here at Better Records.
However, the richness that makes British recordings from the era so good can easily go over the edge, turning the sound into a thick, mucky stew in which the individual sonic components become difficult to separate out. Think of the typically dull Who’s Next or early Genesis or Jethro Tull albums and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Only a select group of pressings are able to strike the right balance between Tubey Magic and clarity. This is one of those.
And as far as we can tell it’s the only version of the album that’s pressed from the master tape. The domestic A&M LPs are clearly made from dubbed tapes. They are as flat, small, smeary, veiled and opaque as any Heavy Vinyl pressing being made today, and we long ago gave up on them (i.e., domestic pressings of this album and Heavy Vinyl in general).
What the Best Sides of Wind of Change 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 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.
The Best Copies Rock
The best copies like this one keep what’s good about the sound — leaner and cleaner they are not — while letting us hear into the soundfield. They have the most transparency and the least amount of smear.
Extension up top is also key to the better copies, as well as the least amount of compression. There is some compression on these tracks — it is after all where some of the Tubey Magic comes from: tube compressors as opposed to the solid state kind.
The best copies balance all these elements in a way that allows the energy and power of this music to come through wonderfully.
What We're Listening For on Wind of Change
- 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 -- Chris Kimsey in this case -- would have 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.
Glorious Big Speaker Sound
A while back we discussed the kind of sound that Glyn Johns managed to get for the likes of Humble Pie and The Who: “But oh what a glorious sound it is when it’s working. There’s not a trace of anything phony up top, down low or anywhere in-between. This means it has a quality sorely at odds with the vast majority of audiophile pressiings, new and old, as well as practically anything recorded in the last twenty years, and it is simply this: The louder you play it the better it gets.“
This is without a doubt a big speaker record, one that requires the highest-resolution, lowest-distortion components to bring out its best qualities. If you have a system like that you should find much to like here.
I bought my first copy in 1972 when I was still in high school and it quickly became one of my favorite records. All these years later it still is. It’s records like this that shaped my audio purchases and pursuits. It takes a monster system to even begin to play this record right and that’s the kind of stereo I’ve always been drawn to.
A stereo that can’t play this record, or The Beatles, or Ambrosia, or Yes, or the hundreds of other amazing recordings we put up on the site every year, is not one I would ever want to own.
Some Famous Players
- Peter Frampton – guitar, organ, keyboards, drums, percussion, dulcimer, harmonium
- Mick Jones – rhythm guitar on “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)”
- Andy Bown – bass, organ, electric piano, mellotron, percussion, backing vocals
- Klaus Voorman – bass on “Alright”
- Billy Preston – piano, organ on “Alright”
- Ringo Starr – drums, percussion on “Alright” and “The Lodger”
- Del Newman – strings, arrangements, flute, marimba
- Jim Price – brass on “The Lodger”
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 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.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this album Peter Frampton's Masterpiece.
It's a Demo Disc Quality recording that should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Fig Tree Bay
- Wind of Change
- Lady Lieright
- Jumpin’ Jack Flash
- It’s a Plain Shame
- Oh for Another Day
- All I Wanna Be (Is by Your Side)
- The Lodger
AMG 4 Star Review
Peter Frampton’s solo debut after leaving Humble Pie (as they stood on the brink of stardom) spotlights Frampton’s well-crafted, though lyrically lightweight, songwriting and his fine guitar playing… The sound is crisp, the melodies catchy, and Frampton’s distinctive, elliptical Gibson Les Paul guitar leads soar throughout… With its mix of ballads and upbeat numbers with just enough of a rock edge, Wind of Change showed Frampton at his creative peak.