The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- This amazing copy of the Stones' 1980 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
- Dance (Pt. 1) and She's So Cold sound out of this world on this copy, and the title track, Emotional Rescue, is every bit as good
- An underrated Stones album -- too good to call a guilty pleasure -- and very well-recorded by Chris Kimsey
- Maybe it's good because "Mick Jagger sounds like he’s having a great time..."
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This amazing pressing delivers the kind of killer sound you surely did not expect from this underrated Stones album.
We had a great time shooting this one out -- we had forgotten how good the music was and were pleasantly surprised by how good the best copies can sound. It's tough to get great Stones sound, I'm sure most of you know that, but there's lots of it here and a bunch of good songs. She's So Cold, Summer Romance, Dance, the title track... not a bad line-up, and probably the last great album these guys put out.
As you might expect, we heard lots of dry, grainy, thinned-out sound on the copies that didn't make the cut. When you get a Hot copy with a punchy bottom end and some richness, it's an entirely different story. It lest a song like the leadoff track Dance come to life, giving you bigger, livelier, fuller sound than you ever expected to hear on this record.
What the best sides of Emotional Rescue 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 even as late as 1980
- 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 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 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.
What We're Listening For on Emotional Rescue
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars, keyboards and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Chris Kimsey in this case -- would have put them.
- 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 into 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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
Send It to Me
Let Me Go
Where the Boys Go
Down in the Hole
She's So Cold
All About You
Maybe it’s because Mick Jagger sounds like he’s having a great time. Maybe it’s just because it reminds of my youth. (I remember this title track being played on the syndicated TV show Solid Gold. A woman was interviewed on the street who said that the song made her think of how Ronald Reagan was coming to our nation’s Emotional Rescue. Imagine that.) Or maybe navigating the list made me crave something that wasn’t quite so focused on relevance.
I hear Emotional Rescue as less of a half-assed stab at dance music than a whole-assed attempt to meet current sounds halfway. Yes, Mick seems to be fully in charge here (as we’ve noted in the past, the story of the Stones seems to be a pendulum swing in the balance of power between Jagger and Richards), but there’s still a good bit of tangly guitars from Richards and Ron Wood to mitigate the four-on-the-floor beat. And not only are there dance echoes here, but the group also makes a few nods to pinkish new wave sounds (“Where the Boys Go” most notably), even if Charlie Watts can’t help but swing too much to provide the necessary primitivism.
I love “Send It to Me” precisely because the group plays reggae like the Rolling Stones. It sounds like Jagger is having a blast with his vocals — he might actually be making them up as he goes. (Also at the end, does he say that she could be “Boo-Berrian”? Because that is awesome.) Besides, reggae was so far infused into rock music in the ‘70s that I didn’t even hear it as an attempt, any more so than “D’yer Mak’er” or that middle bit in “Live and Let Die”.
It’s also to do with the group’s willingness to play around with those forms, and in the process mess around with people’s expectation of those forms. “Indian Girl” uses a ballad form to talk about Cuban intervention in Angola and the devastation that caused throughout the region — not exactly your standard rock fare. And the more directly blues-based “Down in the Hole” not only has really nice bits about bumming for cigarettes and nylons in the American Zone, but Jagger also sings the lyrics with a pronounced British accent instead of his fake-bluesman voice.
At any rate, the Rolling Stones have borne the brunt of ageisty attacks since about 1980, which also helps explain how Emotional Rescue gets the old Spanish elbow, even compared to the Stones albums right before and after its release. And while I understand that the Great List is a vast ocean liner that’s largely incapable of swift changes in course, I hold out the unreasonable hope that someday Emotional Rescue will get the reassessment that it deserves.
Eric Klinger - Counterbalance
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