Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- Both sides of this copy are outstanding, earning Double Plus (A++) grades for their Tubey Magical '60s British sound - fairly quiet vinyl too
- Lady Jane, Under My Thumb and Mother's Little Helper are three of the best sounding tracks on side one - all are lively and solid here
- 5 stars: "... the group began incorporating the influences of psychedelia and Dylan into their material with classics like "Paint It Black," an eerily insistent number one hit graced by some of the best use of sitar (played by Brian Jones) on a rock record. Other classics included the jazzy "Under My Thumb," where Jones added exotic accents with his vibes, and the delicate Elizabethan ballad "Lady Jane," where dulcimer can be heard..."
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*NOTE: On side two, a bubble makes 3 moderate to loud thumps at the end of track 8, What To Do.
The sound of this pressing is going to be very hard to beat. Until just recently it had been ages since we'd found a copy of Aftermath with sound quality of this caliber to list on the site. It's surprisingly clean, clear and smooth, with prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic, which is the kind of sound that lets you play the album at the appropriate volume -- LOUD.
Although some songs sound amazing, not every track is well recorded. We just have to accept that the Stones are not The Beatles when it comes consistent quality for their earliest recordings. However, a strong copy like this one paired with the great music on the album will certainly deliver a lot of pleasure to audiophile Stones fans.
What the best sides of this Stones Classic from 1966 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 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
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 listed 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.
Finally! Top Sound for the Stones
This is our favorite of the early Stones records. You can't argue with Lady Jane and Under My Thumb, two of the best tracks this band ever put down on tape.
Lady Jane, Under My Thumb and Mother's Little Helper are three of the best sounding tracks on side one. On side two Out of Time and I Am Waiting are especially well recorded
Credit must go to the engineering talents of Dave Hassinger. You can read more about him in the link above.
What We Listen For on Aftermath
- 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 -- Dave Hassinger in this case -- 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.
Mothers Little Helper
Superb! On the best copies this track is so transparent you can feel the cool air of the studio.
Somewhat dark and compressed as a rule.
Wow! On the best pressings this one is killer. You won't hear too many better sounding Stones songs from this period.
Under My Thumb
On the best copies this song has amazing bass. It's what makes the song work, check it out.
Doncha Bother Me
Very nice sound as a rule.
High and Dry
Out Of Time
Wow -- on the best copies the intro to this song is Demo Disc Quality (all things considered) but it gets compressed and harmonically distorted as they keep adding layers of tape.
It's Not Easy
Listen to that tape hiss -- if it's correct all the highs will be there.
I Am Waiting
This track can have especially sweet guitars.
Take It Or Leave It
What To Do
The Rolling Stones finally delivered a set of all-original material with this LP, which also did much to define the group as the bad boys of rock & roll with their sneering attitude toward the world in general and the female sex in particular.
The borderline misogyny could get a bit juvenile in tunes like "Stupid Girl." But on the other hand the group began incorporating the influences of psychedelia and Dylan into their material with classics like "Paint It Black," an eerily insistent number one hit graced by some of the best use of sitar (played by Brian Jones) on a rock record. Other classics included the jazzy "Under My Thumb," where Jones added exotic accents with his vibes, and the delicate Elizabethan ballad "Lady Jane," where dulcimer can be heard...
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