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White Hot Stamper - Gordon Lightfoot - Cold On The Shoulder

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

White Hot Stamper

Gordon Lightfoot
Cold On The Shoulder

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)

  • Cold on the Shoulder makes its Hot Stamper debut here with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side one mated with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
  • The vocals are exceptionally breathy, smooth and sweet here - this recording is the very definition of Midrange Magic, thanks to the engineering of Lee Herschberg
  • "Every single song on this album is extremely well written, sung and arranged, from the opening 'Bend In The Water' to the very popular hit 'Rainy Day People...'"
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This vintage Reprise pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Cold On The Shoulder 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 1975
  • 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.

Lee Herschberg

One of the top guys at Warners, Lee recorded (with Gary Brandt) and mixed this album along with a number of others by Gordon Lightfoot. You'll also find his name on many of the best Ry Cooder, Doobie Brothers and Frank Sinatra album credits, albums we know to have potentially excellent sound -- not to mention an album most audiophiles know all too well, Rickie Lee Jones' debut. His pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. Won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night too.

The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is on the list as well: The Three (Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample), along with most of the other Direct to Disc recordings released on Eastwind.

What We're Listening For on Cold On The Shoulder

  • 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Lee Herschberg in this case -- would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

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 later 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.

Side One

Bend In The Water
Rainy Day People
Cold On The Shoulder
The Soul Is The Rock
Rainbow Trout

Side Two

A Tree Too Weak To Stand
All The Lovely Ladies
Fine As Fine Can Be
Cherokee Bend
Now And Then
Slide On Over

This is one of Lightfoot's best and most popular albums, produced when he was at the height of his incredible popularity in the mid 1970s. For a while Lightfoot, like his fellow troubadours James Taylor, John Denver, and Van Morrison, could seemingly do nothing wrong. In fact, over a fifteen period, Gordon Lightfoot produced so many superior albums populated by such uniformly outstanding songs that we've become inured to the fact that he is such a singular, talented and singular talent.

Every single song on this album is extremely well written, sung and arranged, from the opening "Bend In The Water" to the very popular hit "Rainy Day People", which saw a lot of air-time, as did the title song, "Cold On The Shoulder". Yet this isn't just an album put out with filler surrounding a couple of hit songs. None of Lightfoot's albums is anything but an eclectic but lovely collection of very memorable and quite accomplished songs.

My personal favorites here are "Rainbow Trout", "A Tree Too Weak To Stand', and "All The Lovely Ladies". I also like "As Fine As Fine Can Be" and have to admit there isn't a single pooch in the passel of songs offered here, and all written by Lightfoot himself.

The truth of the matter is that Gordon Lightfoot is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter who has already left us a dozen or so terrific albums for our continuing entertainment and edification. This is certainly one of the best of them. Enjoy

Barron Laycock, Amazon Review