The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of Honeysuckle Rose, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on all FOUR sides
- This surprisingly well recorded live album has the kind of smooth, rich, tonally correct analog sound we thought they had forgotten how to achieve by 1980, but here it is!
- 4 stars: "The soundtrack to Honeysuckle Rose is... a collection of songs by Willie Nelson and his Family band as well as a host of friends... Nelson's readings of his own tunes like "On the Road Again," and others are solid, inspired, and rollicking. His versions of tunes written by Kris Kristofferson ("Loving Her Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again"), Rodney Crowell ("Angel Eyes"), and Lee Clayton ("If You Could Touch Her at All") blow away the studio versions."
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This vintage Columbia stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Willie and 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 Honeysuckle Rose 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 even as late as 1980
- 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 Honeysuckle Rose
- 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.
On The Road Again
Pick Up The Tempo
Heaven Or Hell
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
Working Man Blues
Jumpin' Cotton Eyed Joe
Bloody Mary Morning
Loving You Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
I Don't Do Windows
Coming Back To Texas
If You Want Me To Love You I Will
It's Not Supposed To Be That Way
You Show Me Yours (And I'll Show You Mine)
If You Could Touch Her At All
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
I Guess I've Come To Live Here In Your Eyes
Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes)
So You Think You're A Cowboy
Make The World Go Away
Two Sides To Every Story
A Song For You
The soundtrack to Honeysuckle Rose is an anomaly in the genre. It is really a collection of songs by Willie Nelson and his Family band as well as a host of friends like Jody Payne, Johnny Gimble, Amy Irving, Hank Cochran, Jeannie Seely, Kenneth Threadgill, Dyan Cannon, and Emmylou Harris, all of it set in a concert-like atmosphere and performed live in front of an audience.
Now it's true that Nelson is the hero of the movie, but the movie hardly matters when it comes to the soundtrack because it stands so well as a document on its own. Cochran's performances are as inspiring as anything he ever did in his life. Nelson's readings of his own tunes like "Bloody Mary Morning," "On the Road Again," "Pick Up the Tempo," "Heaven or Hell," and others are solid, inspired, and rollicking.
His versions of tunes written by Kris Kristofferson ("Loving Her Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again"), Rodney Crowell ("Angel Eyes"), and Lee Clayton ("If You Could Touch Her at All") blow away the studio versions. And the duets with Cannon, Harris, and Irving are moving and direct. The sound is much improved on this LP with a real bass presence and far less crowd noise during the performances.
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