The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Two excellent sides, each earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades, making this one of the better copies from our recent shootout
- Big and full-bodied with a lovely bottom end and a tonally correct and fairly natural sounding Linda, this is the way to hear it
- What engineer George Massenburg gets right is the sound of an orchestra, augmented with jazz musicians (Ray Brown, Tommy Tedesco, Plas Johnson, Bob Cooper), all performing live in a huge studio
- "...the best and most serious attempt to rehabilitate an idea of pop that Beatlemania... undid in the mid-60's."
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This vintage Asylum 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 What's New 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 1983
- 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
What We Listen For on What's New
That's easy on this album: the strings. When the strings are big and rich, not shrill and thin, that's a good thing. Rosiny texture means you have a copy with less smear and higher resolution. Harmonics up top means that the top end of your copy is extending properly.
Bottom line: If the strings are bad on this album probably everything else is too.
Having said that, this is an album of standards sung by a woman with a very recognizable voice. If Linda doesn't sound right, what's the point of the record? To hear Nelson Riddle's well-recorded strings?
The best copies have Linda sounding rich and breathy. Few managed to pull off that particular trick as well as we would have liked. We took major points off for those copies that had her sounding too thin or forced in her upper range.
We've criticized engineer George Massenburg on this site in the past, but with this copy we almost want to take it all back.
What he gets right on this recording is the sound of an orchestra, augmented with various jazz musicians (Ray Brown, Tommy Tedesco, Plas Johnson, Bob Cooper), all performing live in a huge studio. The sound stretches far to Linda's left, far to her right, as well as back far behind her in a huge semi-circle. She is of course singing in a vocal booth, with her vocal placed front and center in the soundstage.
As an aside, George Massenburg went on to record the Trio album with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. The analog sound he produced was shockingly rich, smooth and sweet -- and this in 1987 no less!
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 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.
I've Got a Crush on You
Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
Crazy He Calls Me
Someone to Watch over Me
I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You
What'll I Do?