Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With an amazing Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two, this original RCA Orange Label is guaranteed to sound dramatically better than any copy you've ever heard
- Here's Elvis doing songs made famous by others, proving that he can still out-rock and out-soul practically anybody alive
- With ten million copies sold to date, this album's appeal has transcended its time and must be considered a true Elvis Classic
- 4 Stars: ""The Wonder of You" might not have been "That's All Right" or even "Heartbreak Hotel," but it was a towering performance by a singer who could, even then, run circles around virtually anyone in the business this side of Roy Orbison."
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Of the handful of Elvis albums to ever make it to the site in Hot Stamper form, this one may just be the most fun.
This vintage RCA LP has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern pressings rarely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is pretty much gone and it sure isn't showing any sign of coming back.
Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.). The music is not so much in the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable ELVIS PRESLEY singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings (this one is now 48 years old), 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 less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we've played can serve as a guide.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Copies with rich lower mids did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural ambience and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
What We Want from Elvis on Vinyl
- 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.
If you have five or ten 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 others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.
The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can't find on most copies. 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.
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.
See See Rider
Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
The Wonder Of You
Polk Salad Annie
Walk A Mile In My Shoes
Let It Be Me (Je T'Appartiens)
Elvis' second live album, partly cut at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in early 1970, is one of his most unfairly underrated releases. At the time, it did seem a bit cheap, offering ten songs that weren't necessarily associated with Presley.
By this time, he was adding covers of other artists' contemporary hits to his set, not to capitalize on their success but to keep his hand in contemporary music and show audiences of the era that he was capable of doing more than reprising his own '50s and early-'60s songs.
The critics failed to notice two things, however: Presley had the same first-rate band who had graced the previous tour, led by James Burton on guitar; when he performed Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie," and (most especially) Del Shannon's "Runaway," he did them extremely well.
"The Wonder of You" might not have been "That's All Right" or even "Heartbreak Hotel," but it was a towering performance by a singer who could, even then, run circles around virtually anyone in the business this side of Roy Orbison.
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