The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
- An outstanding pressing of this classic live Aretha album with solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Aretha's cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water is truly amazing, but really, there's not a weak track here - her covers of current material take those songs to another level entirely
- 4 1/2 stars: "The music here sparkles and crackles with the energy of a top-flight rhythm section — Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard Purdie on drums, and Jerry Jemmott on bass, with Billy Preston on organ, Curtis on saxophone, and the Memphis Horns... the most dramatic and deeply satisfying of Aretha Franklin's live recordings, and is a historical document that every soul fan should own..."
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*NOTE: On side two, a mark make 3 moderately loud stitches at the beginning of Track 1, Don't Play That Song.
Aretha's cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water has STUNNINGLY GOOD SOUND and check out how good Ray Charles's voice sounds when he guests on Spirit In The Dark!
Please note that there is some low-level stage buzz behind the music at times. It's noted in the liner notes, so it's obviously not a problem with this copy. It's mildly annoying, but it's certainly not a dealbreaker. The music and sound are still very enjoyable. One other note -- side two seems to be cut a little lower than side one, so give side two a little extra volume for best results.
This vintage Atlantic pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely 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 listening live in the audience, 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 this Must Own Live Soul Album have to offer is clear for all 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 1971
- 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 recording 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.
What We're Listening For on Live at Fillmore West
- 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 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.
- Love the One You're With
- Bridge over Troubled Water
- Eleanor Rigby
- Make It With You
- Don't Play That Song
- Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)
- Spirit in the Dark
- Spirit in the Dark [Reprise with Ray Charles]
- Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Franklin used King Curtis' band, the Kingpins, for these dates — after being persuaded by producer Jerry Wexler — in lieu of her regular road band. It was a solid call on Wexler's part. The music here sparkles and crackles with the energy of a top-flight rhythm section — Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard Purdie on drums, and Jerry Jemmott on bass, with Billy Preston on organ, Curtis on saxophone, and the Memphis Horns... the most dramatic and deeply satisfying of Aretha Franklin's live recordings, and is a historical document that every soul fan should own...