Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of Beach Samba, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from top to bottom
- The soundstage is huge, and the overall quality of the recording is big and bold like you will not believe
- Creed Taylor (the CTI man) produced, Don Sebesky and Deodato did the arrangements, and Val Valentin engineered - what's not to like?
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl ripoff is on the market - the Tubey Magical intimacy of this exceptional vintage pressing cannot be equaled by any mastering engineer working today
- "This 1967 Verve LP has the breezy bossa novas and sambas Astrud was famed for, but also a Lovin' Spoonful duet with her young son and some seriously impressive scatting, too." - Amazon
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This '60s LP 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 Astrud Gilberto 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 53 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 sides of Beach Samba 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 1967
- 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
What We're Listening For on Beach Samba
- 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.
Val Valentin's list of credits runs for days. Some high points are of course Ella and Louis and Getz/Gilberto, two records that belong in any audiophile collection worthy of the name.
Recently we played a copy of We Get Requests by the Oscar Peterson Trio that blew our minds. And we have been big fans of Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley for more than a decade (but only on the reissue, not the original. Go figure).
Pull up his credits on Allmusic. No one I am familiar with other than Rudy Van Gelder recorded more great music, and in our opinion Valentin's recordings are quite a bit more natural sounding than Rudy's, especially with regard to the piano.
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.
The Face I Love
I Had The Craziest Dream
My Foolish Heart
Dia Das Rosas
You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
Não Bate O Coração