The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy with Double Plus (A+++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- Forget the dubby domestic pressings and whatever crappy Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - the UK LPs are the only way to fly on Seventh Sojourn
- Great sound isn't easy to come by for the Moody Blues -- it takes a lot of copies to find sound as good as this
- The Moodies' biggest success on the American charts - I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band) is the killer hit from the album
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This pressing is excellent on both sides. It has lovely vocals -- sweet and breathy -- so critical to the Moodies sound. It's also spacious and energetic, two qualities that the average copy simply has very little of. To top it all off, this copy rocks about as much as this album, in our experience, CAN rock. Most pressings are shockingly compressed, recessed and murky.
And the domestic copies are made from dubs; they're brighter but grainy and transistory as hell. They convey NONE of the Moodies magic.
Moody Blues records have a marked tendency to sound somewhat murky and muddy; that's obviously the sound these guys were going for because you hear it on every album they released.
Compound their "sound" with bad mastering, bad pressing or bad vinyl -- not to mention vinyl that hasn't been cleaned properly -- and you will find yourself trying to wade through an impassable sonic swamp. With anything but a Hot Stamper the result is going to be sound so fat, thick, and opaque that it will confound any attempt you might make to hear into it.
What the best sides of Seventh Sojourn 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 1972
- 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.
Achieving just the right balance of "Moody Blues Sound" and transparency is no mean feat. You have to be using the real master tape for starters. Then you need top extension, a very rare quality of these imports, and finally, good bass definition to keep the bottom end from blurring the midrange. No domestic copy in our experience has ever had these three qualities, and only the best of the imports manages to get all three on the same LP.
What We're Listening For on Seventh Sojourn
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- 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 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.
Lost in a Lost World
For My Lady
Isn't Life Strange
You and Me
The Land of Make-Believe
When You're a Free Man
I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band)
... it was with the release of this album that the Moodies achieved their great commercial success in America and around the world, with a "Grand Tour" that kept them on the road for much of the year that followed.
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