The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- L.A. Midnight finally returns with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- Check out how cool the tuba sounds anchoring the bottom end on the opening track
- “The King is at his sly peak on ‘I Got Some Help I Don’t Need,’ uproariously humorous and hurt at the same time, with crazy wah-wah filigrees laced within, and ‘Can’t You Hear Me Talking to You' is also tight and right."
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We had the chance to sit and play a big stack of these recently and only a few copies sounded very good. This one was our shootout winner! Check out how cool the tuba sounds anchoring the bottom end on the opening track! Both sides here were bigger, fuller, more open and more transparent than any other.
This vintage ABC 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 the Best Sides of L.A. Midnight 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.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We're Listening For on L.A. Midnight
- 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, 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.
- I Got Some Help I Don’t Need
- Help the Poor
- Can’t You Hear Me Talking to You?
- Sweet Sixteen
- (I Believe) I’ve Been Blue Too Long
- Lucille’s Granny
This release comes straight from B.B. King's commercial peak (that is, prior to the unprecedented Top Ten success of Riding with the King in 2000). . . Using a freely eclectic mix of sidemen from Los Angeles, King strides to some sterling performances in certain tracks.
The King is at his sly peak on "I Got Some Help I Don't Need," uproariously humorous and hurt at the same time, with crazy wah-wah filigrees laced within, and "Can't You Hear Me Talking to You" is also tight and right. One of his best recordings of "Sweet Sixteen" leads off side two, where the lyric is updated to suit the times ("I just got back from Vietnam, baby/And you know I'm a long, long way from New Orleans") and band, singer and his guitar rise to an emotional crescendo down the stretch. . . Get this one second-hand for the outstanding disciplined stuff and don't sweat the rest; as per the nature of the beast, some jams don't yield pay dirt.