Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this import took top honors in our recent shootout
- Along with Ghost in the Machine, we think this album captures The Police at their songwriting and performing peak
- Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Copeland’s kick really come to life here - you won't believe how BIG and powerful the bass is on this record
- "Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, improving in almost every way upon The Police's debut album."
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NOTE: On track one, there's a mark about 1/3" in that plays lightly five times and then very lightly seven times. At the end of the track, there's a mark that plays eight times very lightly during the outro.
This A&M LP has PUNCHY LOW-END that really drives this rhythmically charged music! Though it lacks some of the midrange "prettiness" of the half-speed, it's obvious that this copy presents the music much more correctly. This is Reggae-Rock; it needs good tight bass and plenty of it to propel the music and keep the rhythm on pace, and half-speed mastered records almost never get the bass to sound deep, solid and punchy the way full-speed-mastered records do.
This and Ghost In The Machine are my two favorite Police albums. Reggatta, like Ghost, is consistently good from start to finish. It also has the distinction of being the only Police album that has a real Guitar Solo, heard on the song "It's Alright For You". With a seriously blistering guitar break that really kicks the song into high gear, you have to wonder why Andy Summers chose to play that way so rarely.
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 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 (and effects!) having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
What to Listen For
- 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 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 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.
Message in a Bottle
Reggatta de Blanc
It's Alright For You
Bring on the Night
Walking on the Moon
On Any Other Day
The Bed's Too Big Without You
Does Everyone Stare
No Time This Time
The Police’s second album, 1979’s Reggatta de Blanc, improves in almost every way upon their debut Outlandos d’Amour with catchy riffs and slick reggae grooves, coupled with superb instrumentation and lyrics. The classic opening guitar line in the single “Message In A Bottle” is enough to draw the listener in and keep them interested for the whole 42 minute album. The Police further mix their punk rock roots with reggae and jazz influences to create an album that has great variety in song structure and feeling while retaining the energy of their previous album.
The instrumentation by The Police is superb on Reggatta de Blanc. Stewart Copeland brings his drumming to the forefront on this album with his loose yet technically brilliant playing on songs like “Walking On The Moon,” “Contact,” and the title track “Reggatta de Blanc.” The cymbal work on “Contact” and “Walking On The Moon” is nothing short of extraordinary, as Copeland mixes complex rhythms on the cymbals and drum fills with his inherent metronome on the kick and snare drums.
“Reggatta de Blanc” won The Police the 1980 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and it is easy to see why when listening. Copeland pounds out intricate polyrhythms on the drums while Sting provides the driving bass line and vocal chant, and Andy Summers lays down echoic guitar chords overtop to create an amazing sound collage.
Reggatta de Blanc took a mere four weeks to record, and was entirely financed by profits from The Police’s debut album Outlandos d’Amour. This gave the band total creative control over the music on the album and it profits as a result. Some have criticized the lack of planning and organization that led to The Police using little new material and using elements of old songs to create new ones, but Reggatta de Blanc still shines despite the presence of a few filler songs. “On Any Other Day” and the last two songs “Does Everyone Stare” and “No Time This Time” specifically feel like songs that were intended just to fulfil the time requirements of the album, in fact “No Time This Time” was already used as a B-side for the single “So Lonely” off their first album.
However these gap-filling songs are forgotten in the presence of fantastic tracks like the single “Walking On The Moon,” a smooth reggae influenced track that became one of The Police’s best known songs, and “The Bed Is Too Big Without You,” which showcases each band member’s unique instrumental style.
Reggatta de Blanc is perhaps the best album by The Police; every song with a few minor time-filling exceptions is catchy and expertly performed. The album was a huge success, reaching number one on the UK charts along with its two main singles “Message In A Bottle” and “Walking On The Moon.”
The Police perfected their inimitable blend of reggae, punk rock, and new wave on this album and it was their last power trio album of the 1970’s before synths took over in the 80’s. Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, and rewards the listener time and time again.
By 1979's Reggatta de Blanc, nonstop touring had sharpened the Police's original blend of reggae-rock to perfection, resulting in breakthrough success. Containing a pair of massive hit singles — the inspirational anthem 'Message in a Bottle' and the spacious 'Walking on the Moon' — the album also signaled a change in the band's sound. Whereas their debut got its point across with raw, energetic performances, Reggatta de Blanc was much more polished production-wise and fully developed from a songwriting standpoint.
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