Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An amazing sounding copy of this 1974 release, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
- Both of these sides are incredibly full-bodied, present and Tubey Magical with plenty of extension on both ends
- This inspired collection reflects Morrison's Irish roots, with Celtic, acoustic influences, and the same introspective quality found on Astral Weeks
- 4 1/2 stars: "Veedon Fleece is every bit the creative equal of its more famous predecessors... If any album reflects a real period of transition for an artist, it's this one. It's brilliant."
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Both sides of this original Warner Brothers pressing have excellent energy and presence with nice extension up top. There's plenty of weight to the bottom end and the piano sounds just right. Most copies weren't nearly this rich, warm and sweet.
This vintage Warner Brothers 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 1974
- 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 Veedon Fleece
- 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.
- Fair Play
- Linden Arden Stole the Highlights
- Who Was That Masked Man
- Streets of Arklow
- You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River
- Cul de Sac
- Comfort You
- Come Here My Love
- Country Fair
AMG 4 ½ Star Rave Review
The final album of Van Morrison's remarkably prolific and innovative 1968-1974 period (followed by three years of silence), Veedon Fleece brings the singer full circle, returning him to the introspection and poignancy of Astral Weeks. Composed following his sudden divorce from wife Janet Planet and subsequent retreat from the U.S., the songs are subtle and Spartan, the performances deeply felt; though less tortured and cathartic than Astral Weeks, it's a record fraught with emotional upheaval, as evidenced by such superior moments as "Linden Arden Stole the Highlights," "Who Was That Masked Man," and "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push the River."
That said, this is one of those -- and there are several -- forgotten classics in the Morrison catalog. Because it followed hot on the heels of his universally acclaimed double live album It's Too Late to Stop Now..., released only a month previous, this effort, like its likewise unheralded -- but equally wonderful -- studio effort Hard Nose the Highway, which was issued only six months before, the album suffered from a lack of exposure because of saturation in the marketplace rather than any lack in quality.
Veedon Fleece is every bit the creative equal of its more famous predecessors. With its elegiac tone and deeply autobiographical lyrics, this was a Morrison who didn't so readily associate himself with the feel-good, peace, love, and rhythm & blues sound American audiences were used to. If any album reflects a real period of transition for an artist, it's this one. It's brilliant.