Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- This vintage Reprise pressing boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
- Ladies of The Canyon is a very strong album for Joni, with some of her most well known, seemingly timeless songs: "Morning Morgantown," "For Free," "Big Yellow Taxi," "Woodstock," "The Circle Game" and more
- We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you've heard, and that's especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
- 4 1/2 stars: "Yet another essential listen in Mitchell's recorded canon."
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*NOTE: On side 2, there is a very light but audible swoosh for the first 1/8" on track 1 and a mark 1/4" from the end of the track that plays 3 times at a moderate level.
The best pressings have revealed nuances to this recording -- and of course the performances of all the players along with them -- that made us fall in love with the music all over again. Of all the tough nuts to crack, this was one of the toughest, yet somehow copies emerged that allowed us to appreciate the sonic merits of LOTC and ignore its few and mostly minor shortcomings.
Hot Stampers have a way of doing that. You forget it's a record; it's now just Music.
The right record and the right playback will bring this music to life in a way that you cannot imagine until you hear it. That is our guarantee on Ladies of the Canyon-- better than you ever thought possible or your money back.
What The Best Sides Of Ladies Of The Canyon 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 1970
- 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 Ladies Of The Canyon
- 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 -- Henry Lewy in this case -- would have 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.
What You Should Listen For
Joni's vocals ideally should be full-bodied, breathy and immediate.
On the better copies, the growl of the cello on "Rainy Night House" can clearly be heard behind her, with the wood of the instrument sounding real and correct. The kind of You Are There immediacy and transparency of the best copies has to be heard to be believed.
Listen to the piano Joni plays throughout the album: this is not the thin and hard-sounding instrument that accompanies her on practically every LP you have ever had the misfortune to audition, hoping against hope that someday you would find that "elusive disc" with sound worthy of such extraordinary music. No, this piano has real weight; it has body; and it's surrounded by real, three-dimensional studio space.
With the transparency of the better copies comes the sound of Joni's right foot on the pedal. It's clearly audible through most of the takes, something the engineers no doubt never heard. Of course they didn't have the kind of high-res equipment we take for granted today. $5k phono stages have a way of bringing out these things.
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 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.
- Morning Morgantown
- For Free
- Ladies Of The Canyon
- Willy The Arrangement
- Rainy Night House
- The Priest
- Blue Boy
- Big Yellow Taxi
- The Circle Game
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Songs here take many moods, ranging from the sunny, easygoing "Morning Morgantown" (a charming small-town portrait) to the nervously energetic "Conversation" (about a love triangle in the making) to the cryptically spooky "The Priest" (presenting the speaker's love for a Spartan man) to the sweetly sentimental classic "The Circle Game" (denoting the passage of time in touching terms) to the bouncy and vibrant single "Big Yellow Taxi" (with humorous lyrics on ecological matters) to the plummy, sumptuous title track (a celebration of creativity in all its manifestations). This album is yet another essential listen in Mitchell's recorded canon.