Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)*
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- This outstanding early British Apple pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
- If you want to hear the rich, Tubey Magical sound that was all over the Master Tape in 1973, these vintage imports are the only way to go
- 4 stars: "What Living in the Material World does show off far better than the earlier record, however, is Harrison's guitar work... it does represent his solo playing and songwriting at something of a peak. Most notable are his blues stylings and slide playing, glimpsed on some of the later Beatles sessions but often overlooked by fans."
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*NOTE: On side one, severly marks make 13 moderately light ticks at the end of Track 2, Sue Me, Sue You Blues, and 5 moderately light ticks at the end of Track 3, The Light That Has Lighted The World.
This vintage UK Apple 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 sitting in the studio with the band, 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 oustanding sides such as these 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 1973
- 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 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 Listen For on Living In The Material World
- 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 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.
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
Sue Me, Sue You Blues
The Light That Has Lighted The World
Don't Let Me Wait Too Long
Who Can See It
Living In The Material World
The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord)
Be Here Now
Try Some Buy Some
The Day The World Gets 'Round
That Is All
What Living in the Material World does show off far better than the earlier record, however, is Harrison's guitar work -- unlike the prior album, with its outsized contingent of musicians including Eric Clapton and Dave Mason on guitars, he's the only axeman on Material World, and it does represent his solo playing and songwriting at something of a peak. Most notable are his blues stylings and slide playing, glimpsed on some of the later Beatles sessions but often overlooked by fans.
Even in the summer of 1973, after years of war and strife and disillusionment, some of us were still sort of looking -- to borrow a phrase from a Lennon-McCartney song -- or hoping to get from them something like "the word" that would make us free. And George, God love him, had the temerity to actually oblige, to the extent of painting a few signs here and there suggesting where he'd found it and where we might, all with some great playing and some laughs.
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