The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- You'll find solid Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides of this original Columbia pressing - fairly quiet vinyl too
- The sound here is rich and Tubey Magical, two qualities the CD made from these tapes surely lacks and two qualities which are crucial if this music is to sound the way Sir Paul intended
- These sides are bigger, more natural, warmer and more solid than those of any other copy you've heard or your money back
- "'Say Say Say' [featuring Michael Jackson] hits hard, sounding as funky as anything on Thriller, and 'Pipes of Peace' achieves an earned grace. Perhaps Pipes of Peace doesn't have the gravitas of Tug of War but it offers something equally valuable: a portrait of an impeccable craftsman at play."
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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
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 Pipes of Peace 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 1983
- 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.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are sonic qualities by which a record -- any record -- should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.
Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.
Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.
It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For On Pipes of Peace
- 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 -- Geoff Emerick in the case, working with producer George Martin -- 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 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.
- Pipes Of Peace
- Say Say Say
- The Other Me
- Keep Under Cover
- So Bad
- The Man
- Sweetest Little Show
- Average Person
- Hey Hey
- Tug Of Peace
- Through Our Love
Styled as a conspicuous companion piece to Tug of War, Pipes of Peace mirrors its 1982 cousin in many ways: its title track holds up a mirror to its forefather -- and, if that weren't enough, Paul McCartney serves up the knowing "Tug of Peace," an almost-electro collage that twists the songs into McCartney II territory -- it serves up two showcases for duets with a former Motown star along with a cameo from fusion superstar Stanley Clarke and, most importantly, it is also produced by former Fab Four ringleader George Martin.
Some of that production occurred during the sessions for Tug of War, with roughly half of the record culled from outtakes from that album, but Pipes of Peace has a distinctly different feel than its predecessor, seeming fleet, adventurous, and modern, almost as an accidental riposte to the consciously classical Tug of War. Sometimes that whimsy slides right into silliness ... but that lightness allows McCartney to indulge in an instrumental funk collaboration with Clarke ("Hey Hey"), a super-slick bit of yacht pop with Jackson ("The Man"), a bit of confession disguised as a synthesized soft rock lark ("The Other Me"), and a galloping revision of Red Rose Speedway with "Keep Under Cover."
If McCartney gets a little sticky on the ballad "So Bad," his melody saves him and the album's other two hits have aged exceptionally well: "Say Say Say" hits hard, sounding as funky as anything on Thriller, and "Pipes of Peace" achieves an earned grace. Perhaps Pipes of Peace doesn't have the gravitas of Tug of War but it offers something equally valuable: a portrait of an impeccable craftsman at play.