The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- Incredible sound throughout this vintage Capitol Stereo pressing of Lee's 1960 release, with both sides earning STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them
- Everything that's good about All Tube Vocal Recordings from the '50s and '60s is precisely what's good about the sound of this record
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- "The rhythms are not only authentically Afro-Cuban, but surprisingly strong and rarely watered down. The rest of the arrangements, though breezy and pop-slanted, support Lee's vocals perfectly."
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*NOTE: On side 1, alternating marks play 12 times lightly about 1/4" into track 3, "Till There Was You." On side 2, there is a mark that plays lightly and intermittently for about 1/2" at the start of track 1, "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top."
This vintage Capitol stereo 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.
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 Peggy Lee 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 over 60 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 Latin ala Lee! 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 1960
- 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. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
When the S&P pressing came out, I was knocked out by the sound. Here is what I wrote in my catalog at the time:
The Record of the Year for 2003. I know how crazy that sounds, but it’s true! If you don’t have a smile on your face fifteen seconds after playing track one, you better check your pulse, cuz, as the famous song has it: Jack, You Dead. Amazingly good sound, courtesy of a fabulous and painstakingly difficult remix by the mastering guru himself, Steve Hoffman. This is popular music for the previous generation — but why should we be denied these long forgotten treasures?
Now I would find much to fault in the sound of that pressing. I'm sure it has all the shortcomings typical of this era's records from Kevin Gray's opaque and ambience-free cutting system.
If you want to hear a copy with all the life, presence and space of a real record, you will have a hard time doing better than this very pressing.
What We're Listening For On Latin ala Lee!
- 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 note-like 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.
From the Liner Notes
When Peggy Lee brings her own special warmth to a song, it takes on a fresh, new glow.
Here she adds fire to twelve great songs that are already brilliant as only Broadway hits can be. Such fabled musicals as “My Fair Lady:’ “The Music Man:’ “Can-Can:’ “The Pajama Game:’ “Damn Yankees:’ “Oklahoma!:’ “Say Darling:’ “Bells Are Ringing:’ and “Flower Drum Song” contributed the impressive array of top tunes for this album, and the pulsating Latin backgrounds make them glitter as never before.
Peggy swings smoothly through a fascinating variety of rhythmic contrasts, a choice assortment of thrilling Latin tempos that make this a wonderful album for dancing as well as for listening. Such familiar tunes as C’est Magnifique, Heart, and Surrey with the Fringe on Top are done in the delightful and danceable rhythm of the cha-cha-cha, while on others it’s Peggy Lee at her soft and sultry best, breathing new meaning into tender ballads like the very lovely Til There Was You, done as a haunting bolero.
The genuine Afro-Cuban sound of Jack Marshall’s orchestral backing is no mere accident. The fine Latin instrumentalists who perform on this album were gathered from the vast pool of musical talent in the Los Angeles area, and they succeed in giving these great arrangements an authentic South of the Border flavor.
Trumpets, guitars, and an agile flute section create some really exciting effects, and all tracks feature the solid backing of four Afro-Cuban drummers, allowing Peggy to relax against the staunch rhythm contingent and concentrate her emotional fire on the musical and lyrical challenges present.
The tasteful use of male voices creates still another fine background effect that helps to provide a melodic magic carpet for this trip from Broadway to Latin America. It all adds up to Peggy Lee in a dazzling new setting, as she steps on stage to score still another singing and swinging triumph.
Viva Peggy Lee!
- On the Street Where You Live
- Till There Was You
- I Am in Love
- Hey There
- I Could Have Danced All Night
- The Surrey With the Fringe on Top
- The Party's Over
- Dance Only With Me
- Wish You Were Here
- C'est Magnifique
- I Enjoy Being a Girl
... Peggy Lee's mastery over a range of stylistic situations rescues any potential miscues, and the rugged backing of arranger/conductor Jack Marshall is a pleasant surprise. The rhythms are not only authentically Afro-Cuban, but surprisingly strong and rarely watered down.
The rest of the arrangements, though breezy and pop-slanted, support Lee's vocals perfectly. And though her voice isn't quite as strong as it had been during the '50s, Lee uses the cracks on her high notes to accentuate the songs.