The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An original pressing (only the second copy to ever hit the site) with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish
- Side one was very close in sound to our Shootout Winner - the overall grades for this copy are only one half plus lower than our $450 WHS presing that sold
- Both of these sides are relatively rich, yet still clear and highly resolving - the boosted midrange, the biggest problem with most of the copies we played, is under much better control here than it was on most of what we played
- Analog gets this music to sound right, although the long out of print DCC CD that Steve Hoffman mastered is excellent if you can find one
- 4 stars: "Especially at this stage of his career, Harry Nilsson was uniquely suited for writing and recording children's music, given his sweet melodicism and love of whimsy. The tale is fantastical enough to be of interest to children (and the moral is strong enough to reassure them and their parents), but the songs and music are so strong that the album continues to be a source of wonder, even as those children become adults."
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This vintage RCA 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 The Best Sides Of The Point! 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 1970
- 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.
Learning the Record
For our shootout for the album, we had at our disposal a variety of pressings that had the potential for Hot Stamper sound. We cleaned them carefully, then unplugged everything in the house we could, warmed up the system, Talisman'd it, found the right VTA for our Triplanar arm (by ear of course) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so playing copy after copy on side one, after which we repeated the process for side two.
If you have five or more copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what's right and what's wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the other pressings do not do as well, using a few carefully chosen passages of music, it quickly becomes obvious how well a given copy can reproduce those passages. You'll hear what's better and worse -- right and wrong would be another way of putting it -- about the sound.
This approach is simplicity itself. First, you go deep into the sound. There you find a critically important passage in the music, one which most copies struggle -- or fail -- to reproduce as well as the best. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.
It may be a lot of work but it sure ain't rocket science, and we've never pretended otherwise. Just the opposite: from day one we've explained step by step precisely how to go about finding the Hot Stampers in your own collection. Not the good sounding pressings you happen to own -- those may or may not have Hot Stampers -- but the records you actually cleaned, shot out, and declared victorious.
What We're Listening For On The Point!
- 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 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.
- Everything's Got 'Em
- The Town (Narration)
- Me And My Arrow
- The Game (Narration)
- Poli High
- The Trial & Banishment (Narration)
- Think About Your Troubles
- The Pointed Man (Narration)
- Life Line
- The Birds (Narration)
- P.O.V. Waltz
- The Clearing In The Woods (Narration)
- Are You Sleeping?
- Oblio's Return (Narration)
AMG 4 Star Review
The Point! is the soundtrack to a cartoon feature originally aired on ABC TV in 1971. Especially at this stage of his career, Harry Nilsson was uniquely suited for writing and recording children's music, given his sweet melodicism and love of whimsy.
As it happens, The Point! worked out better than anyone could have expected, not just because "Everything's Got 'Em," "Me and My Arrow," "Think About Your Troubles," and "Are You Sleeping?" are songs strong enough to have been on a proper Nilsson record. There's also an intangible quality to this record, a warmth and generosity that really wasn't on any of his other albums, quite possibly because his humor is never sardonic or reliant on in-jokes. It's gentle and loving, as is the music.
The tale is fantastical enough to be of interest to children (and the moral is strong enough to reassure them and their parents), but the songs and music are so strong that the album continues to be a source of wonder, even as those children become adults.
About the Album
The Point! is the sixth studio album by American songwriter and musician Harry Nilsson, released in late 1970. It was accompanied by an animated film adaptation directed by Fred Wolf, which aired in early February 1971 on the ABC-TV network. Its lead single, "Me and My Arrow", peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Point! is a fable that tells the story of a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everyone and everything must have a point. Nilsson explained his inspiration for The Point!: "I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's [still] a point to it.'"
The round-headed Oblio has had to wear a pointed hat since birth to conceal his "pointless" condition from his pointy-headed peers. However, Oblio is accepted in the town despite his nonconformity, until one day, when the son of an evil count is unwittingly dishonored by Oblio. The count's son challenges Oblio to a one-on-one game of Triangle Toss, where participants catch triangles on their heads. Oblio wins with the help of his dog Arrow. In a fit of rage, the count, who wants his son to rule the land one day, confronts the good-hearted but timid king to reaffirm the law of the land, which states that those who are pointless must be banished from the kingdom and into the Pointless Forest. A jury reluctantly convicts both Oblio and Arrow, leaving the king with no choice but to send the pair away.
Oblio and Arrow are sent to the Pointless Forest, but soon discover that even the Pointless Forest has a point. They meet curious creatures like giant bees, a "pointed man" pointing in all directions who proclaims "A point in every direction is the same as no point at all", a man made of rocks, three dancing fat sisters, and a walking, talking tree who helps Oblio see that everyone has a point, though it might not be readily displayed.
Oblio and Arrow spend the night in the Pointless Forest, then awaken to a large stone hand with the finger pointing to their "destination point". They take the road indicated by the hand and make their way back to the Land of Point, where they receive a hero's welcome from the land's citizens, and the king. Oblio begins to tell his story but is interrupted by the furious count, who is then silenced by the king.
Oblio tells the king and the people of the land that everything has a point, including the Pointless Forest, and himself. Angered, the count pulls off Oblio's pointed hat, but is taken aback when he sees a point on top of Oblio's bare head.
Upon this revelation the points of everyone else in the land disappear and pointed buildings become round.
The Point! album, unlike the later film, features Nilsson himself telling the story directly to the listener, providing all the characters' voices as well as the narration.
A small comic book was included with the vinyl record when it was first released. The comic was illustrated by Gary Lund, who was also the production designer of the animated film.