Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- This hard-to-find Dean Martin Classic of relaxed, intimate vocals returns to the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
- One of our all-time favorite male vocal LPs - the sound on both sides is both warm and natural, with excellent presence and transparency
- The early stereo tri-color label pressings are almost impossible to find in audiophile condition these days, but here's one, and it is a knockout
- "It sounds as if they tracked the album in one afternoon, and it is not only a very pleasant listening experience, it shows what a tremendous vocalist Dean Martin truly was."
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*NOTE: On side two, a mark makes 3 light ticks, followed by 2 moderate pops in the middle of track 3, Hands Across the Table. A second mark makes 11 light ticks one-quarter inch before the end of track 4, Smile.
An outstanding copy of the classic Dream With Dean!
This is my favorite Dean Martin record of all time; just Dean and a jazz guitar quartet (including no less than Contemporary favorites Barney Kessel and Red Mitchell) behind him doing standards. On the best copies the immediacy is absolutely mind-blowing. It's a shame that there aren't more Frank Sinatra records that sound like this.
This vintage reprise LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings cannot BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing any sign 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 Dean Martin 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 now 56 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 Dream With Dean 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 1964
- 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.
Testing with Dean
Dream with Dean is great for finding any traces of "honk" in your midrange. Getting Deano's baritone to sound tubey and rich, to get the sound that Bing Crosby could get just by opening his mouth, is not all that easy on some systems, mine included. Correctly set VTA is critical in this regard, but pretty much everything must be working at its best for Dean to sound as intimate and natural as I know he can.
Balancing the lower mids with the upper mids is the goal, and it's not as easy as it sounds. This album is great for testing, and guaranteed to bring practically any high-dollar system at a stereo showroom or convention to its knees.
What do the best pressings of Dream With Dean give you?
- 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 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 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.
Fools Rush In
I'll Buy That Dream
If You Were the Only Girl
Everybody Loves Somebody
I Don't Know Why
Gimmie a Little Kiss
Hands Across the Table
My Melancholy Baby
Baby Won't You Please Come Home
As Stan Cornyn's liner notes explain, "his longtime accompanist" on piano, Ken Lane, with "three of Hollywood's most thoughtful rhythm men" -- those being drummer Irv Cottler, bassist Red Mitchell, and guitarist Barney Kessel -- do create a mood, Dean Martin performing as if he were a lounge singer at 1:15 a.m. as the Saturday night crowd is dwindling. His signature tune, "Everybody Loves Somebody," is here in a laid-back style... It sounds as if they tracked the album in one afternoon, and it is not only a very pleasant listening experience, it shows what a tremendous vocalist Dean Martin truly was.
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