Side One: Mint Minus Minus (w/ a mark that plays 8 times at a moderate level at the end of track 4)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An incredible sounding copy off this Love album from 1969 with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
- Both of these sides are super clean, clear and present with a solid punchy bottom end and lots of space around all of the instruments
- "Lee's lyrics and performances have been compared to Jimi Hendrix, certainly a compliment. This album is such a good example of these strengths that it rises above the garage band sound to communicate a sense of time and place as well as some truly sincere feelings." - All Music, 4 Stars
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This vintage Elektra 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 amazing 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 1969
- 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
What We're Listening For on Four Sail
- 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 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 originals.
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.
Your Friend And Mine - Neil's Song
I'm With You
Talking In My Sleep
Always See Your Face
From a retrospective point of view, this might be the first album in the career of singer and songwriter Arthur Lee that might have been received with more enthusiasm had it been released under his name, and not under the band name. Obviously, it must have been in his commercial best interests to retain the Love identity, but here Lee is the only member of the original band left. He is trying to recreate a Love-able identity with fewer players than he had before and a completely different sound.
... Lee's new lineup here does not have this kind of versatility. Guitarist Jay Donnellan plays a heavy lead guitar minus the impressive chops and gets lots of solo space in the arrangements. The rhythm section favors a more leaden sound as well, particularly drummer George Suranovich, who soaks the barbecue with Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell licks. Lee fills in on several different instruments, but his real strength is the set of ten original songs he has provided.
The tracks are deep in feeling and performed with an emotional fervor that sometimes approaches anguish. It is like going into a dark coffeehouse late at night and finding an electrically charged performer delivering messages about things familiar to one and all: love, memories, friendship, "Good Times," and even "Nothing." Lee's lyrics and performances have been compared to Jimi Hendrix, certainly a compliment. This album is such a good example of these strengths that it rises above the garage band sound to communicate a sense of time and place as well as some truly sincere feelings.
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