The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This outstanding copy of Aretha's 1968 release on the early Green and Blue Atlantic label boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - reasonably quiet vinyl too
- The vocal reproduction of the uniquely gifted Queen of Soul is superb on this copy, with the presence, breath and resolution you would expect from a Hot Stamper pressing of this quality
- You'd need either a lot of copies, a lot of luck or both to come up with anything that sounds remotely as good as this LP
- 5 stars: "... 1968's Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke... an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music... "
100% Money Back Guarantee on all Hot Stampers
FREE Domestic Shipping on all LP orders over $75
We've been playing a lot of Aretha Franklin records lately, working our way through her catalog, but it's hard to find pressings that separate themselves from the pack to give you audiophile-friendly sound. Too many seem to be optimized more for the radio than for your hi-rez audio rig.
Every now and then, however, we luck into a copy that has the real soul magic in its grooves. On this album, that means Chain Of Fools and Aretha's great version of Natural Woman will sound just the way you want them to.
This '60s recording 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 Aretha Franklin singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now close to fifty 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 pressings of Lady Soul 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 1968
- 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 above.
Most of the Aretha records we've played tend to be a bit too bright, which brings out a lot of grit, grain and edge. I don't want to be presumptuous, but I can't imagine that's the sound the Queen Of Soul was going for. A copy like this gives you smoother, sweeter sound with a more natural tonal balance. It makes the music work much better -- the sound is easier on the ears and not nearly as fatiguing, plus it lets you turn up the volume good and loud without giving yourself a headache.
What We're Listening For on Lady Soul
- 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, horns 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 vocals 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 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.
- Chain of Fools
- Money Won't Change You
- People Get Ready
- Niki Hoeky
- (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
- Since You've Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)
- Good to Me as I Am to You
- Come Back Baby
- Ain't No Way
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Appearing after a blockbuster debut and a sophomore set that was rather disappointing (in comparison), 1968's Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music...
And just as she'd previously transformed a soul classic (Otis Redding's "Respect") into a signature piece of her own, Franklin courageously reimagined songs by heavyweights James Brown, Ray Charles, and the Impressions...
Powered by three hit singles (each nested in the upper reaches of the pop Top Ten), Lady Soul became Aretha Franklin's second gold LP and remained on the charts for over a year.