The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- An outstanding copy of Willie Nelson's wonderful 1979 release with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
- This is yet another amazing recording of one of the most recognizable and enjoyable voices in the history of popular song
- A superb collection of Kris Kristofferson favorites, including Me and Bobby McGee and For The Good Times
- 4 stars: "A return to country-rock after the smash success of Stardust the year before, this is one of Willie Nelson's best albums. . . As he demonstrated from the beginning, Nelson had one of the best interpretive gifts of any singer, and this album only strengthened that reputation."
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We’ve heard great copies of this one in the past, but after throwing one on just for fun last year and hearing pretty mediocre sound, we decided that we’d collect a bunch of them to find out just how good the best pressings could sound — and how mind-numbingly average the typical copy can be. It’s not easy to find a copy that gets EVERYTHING right, but this one does it all.
This is one of the better Willie Nelson records, not quite in the same league as Stardust (musically or sonically, I’m afraid), but certainly one of his strongest efforts from the period. Some songs are recorded better than others (when ain’t that the case?) but just about everything sounds great and the best stuff is out of this world.
What do the best pressings give you on a record like this? More space around all the instruments, more strength to the bottom end, wonderful immediacy and breath to the vocals (though at times Willie’s vocals are a bit low in the mix — an odd choice), weight to the piano, superb clarity, and lovely analog warmth.
What the Best Sides of Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson 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 1979
- 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.
Finding The Best Sound
This original Columbia stereo 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 We're Listening For on Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson
- 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 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.
- Me And Bobby McGee
- Help Me Make It Through The Night
- The Pilgrim: Chapter 33
- Why Me
- For The Good Times
- You Show Me Yours (And I'll Show You Mine)
- Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
- Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
- Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends
AMG 4 Star Review
A return to country-rock after the smash success of Stardust the year before, this is one of Willie Nelson's best albums. Admittedly, it doesn't withstand comparisons to Shotgun Willie or any of his earlier triumphs, but it holds up as one of his most enjoyable second-stringers. "Me and Bobby McGee" is given an exciting, thunderous performance and "Why Me" is terrific, but perhaps more memorable are Nelson's renditions of lesser-known Kristofferson treasures, such as the loping "The Pilgrim, Chapter 33" and the beautiful "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends." As he demonstrated from the beginning, Nelson had one of the best interpretive gifts of any singer, and this album only strengthened that reputation.