Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Boasting excellent Double Plus (A++) Master Tape sound throughout, this vintage Columbia pressing rocks with all the energy that L&M’s super-tight band is capable of - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Spaciousness, richness and freedom from grit and grain are key to the better pressings, and here you will find all three
- These sides are bigger, more natural, warmer and more solid than those of any other copy you've heard or your money back
- So many of the band’s best songs on one LP make this a Must-Own
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The best news we have to report concerning this compilation is that it does not sound at all like a compilation, and by that we mean that the better copies don’t sound "dubby," flat, small or compressed. The better copies, in fact, rock, with all the energy that the band is capable of.
You may have noticed that we do very few Greatest Hits albums here at Better Records, for the simple reason that most greatest hits albums don’t sound very good. This is one of the few exceptions to that rule that we’ve come across in our record playing travels over the years.
This vintage Columbia 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 The Best of Friends 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 1976
- 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.
What We're Listening For On The Best of Friends
- 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.
More of What To Listen For
If you have good weight on your side one, the place you can hear it most clearly is in the toms on "Angry Eyes," the first track. They are big and solid and really punch through the mix, staying in the lower part of the soundfield below the vocals. The lightweight pressings make the toms sound anemic. The copies with poorly defined bass will make the toms sound fat and blobby.
No two copies of the record should have the toms sounding the same; they don’t on our system and they shouldn’t on yours.
You want Kenny Loggins to be front and center. Ideally his voice will be both sweet and breathy (and heartfelt of course). If your copy has its high end intact, and is cut clean, the sibilance from the master tape will be much less gritty on your side two than it is on other copies. This is where you can hear how present, tonally correct and distortion-free your copy is.
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.
- Angry Eyes
- Be Free
- Peace of Mind
- My Music
- Thinking of You
- House at Pooh Corner
- Watching the River Run
- Danny’s Song
- Your Mama Don’t Dance
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
The Best of Friends contains ten of Loggins & Messina's best-known songs, not only including all of their big hits ("Vahevala," "Your Mama Don't Dance," "Thinking of You," "Watching the River Run"), but also key album tracks like "House at Pooh Corner," "Danny's Song," "Peace of Mind" and "Angry Eyes."