Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- Johnny Nash makes his site debut with this SUPERB pressing of his Number One Album, boasting Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout - mostly quiet vinyl too
- When we first dropped the needle on a copy of the album, we were knocked out by just how RICH and SMOOTH the chorus was on the title track
- Here was a Top Quality Analog Recording to rival the best releases of 1972, one that we had practically never heard of - and of course, the shootout produced an even better copy that the one we'd auditioned
- 4 stars: "Nash's buoyant, breezy, optimistic classic proved to be a phenomenal record holding the number one pop position for four weeks... It's a tribute to its high quality that I Can See Clearly Now was in print almost three decades after its original release."
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- On side two, a mark makes 13 soft ticks in the middle of track 2, Comma Comma.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing Johnny Nash music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Produced in 1972, the best copies of I Can See Clearly Now are rich, smooth and sweet in the best tradition of the ANALOG record.
Less than ten years later the warm, rich analog sound we Old School Audiophiles prize would go completely out of style. Those later years were a difficult time for audiophiles who liked the pop music of the day but not the pop sound of the day. Heavy-handed processing, as well as the overuse of synthesizers and drum effects, with the whole of the production slathered in digital reverb, not to mention a puzzling lack of bass foundation, have resulted in many of the albums recorded after 1980 being all but impossible to enjoy on a modern high-end system.
For some reason, the '70s seems to get little respect from audiophiles, when in fact a high percentage of the best recordings we know of were made in that arbitrarily designated ten year period. A rough count leads me to think that more than half of our Top 100 Rock Albums were recorded in the years spanning 1970-79, which is very unlikely to be a statistical anomaly.
The pool of well-recorded albums was simply wider and deeper. Great sounding records like this one were made by the hundreds, their numbers falling off precipitously in the decades that followed. Fortunately for us hard core analog holdouts, we have easy access to the best of the '70s recordings, still widely available in their original format: the vinyl LP.
Like many of our favorites from the '70s, this one is not well known in audiophile circles, but we hope to change that with this wonderful sounding pressing. Both the sound and the music are worth your time, and if you find that you don't agree with us about the music or the sound, feel free to return the record, at our expense even.
What the best sides of I Can See Clearly Now 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.
What We're Listening For on I Can See Clearly Now
- 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, 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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.
Stir It Up
That's The Way We Get By
(It Was) So Nice While It Lasted
Ooh Baby You've Been Good To Me
You Poured Sugar On Me
I Can See Clearly Now
We're All Alike
How Good It Is
There Are More Questions Than Answers
Singer/songwriter/producer Johnny Nash's million-seller "I Can See Clearly Now" did more to bring the reggae music sound into the mainstream than any other single record up to that point. To be sure, there were previous reggae hits (Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop," Desmond Dekker & the Aces's 1969 hit "Israelites"), but Nash's buoyant, breezy, optimistic classic proved to be a phenomenal record holding the number one pop position for four weeks and going to number one adult contemporary on Billboard's charts in fall 1972. Houston,TX, native Nash had been recording in Jamaica for some years before having his biggest hit.
On the I Can See Clearly Now album, Nash used members of Bob Marley and the Wailers and recorded several Marley songs: "Stir It Up," the follow-up single, "Comma Comma," the smooth "Guava Jelly," and the Nash/Marley co-written ballad, "You Poured Sugar on Me." The tender album track "(It Was) So Nice While It Lasted" received radio play. Other standouts are the punchy horns-flavored "Ooh Baby You've Been Good to Me" and the lullaby-ish ballad "There Are More Questions Than Answers." It's a tribute to its high quality that I Can See Clearly Now was in print almost three decades after its original release.
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