Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- David Lee Roth's solo debut finally arrives on the site with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish - just shy of our Shootout Winner - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- The overall sound here is incredibly full-bodied, musical, clear and spacious with tons of energy and a solid bottom end
- 4 1/2 stars: "Few would argue that David Lee Roth's first solo EP was a complete comedy send-up, albeit a very successful one that gained him enough favor with the MTV peanut gallery to solidify his potential as a solo artist... arguably Roth's most legitimate piece of art ever."
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These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top quality sound that's often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers ("relative" being relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don't agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.
This vintage Warner Bros. pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even 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 Eat 'Em and Smile 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 1986
- 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.
Classic Rock is the heart and soul of our business. Finding quiet, good sounding pressings of Classic Rock albums is what we devote the bulk of our resources (time and money) to, and if we can be indulged a self-compliment, it's what we do best.
No one is even bothering to attempt the kind of shootouts we immerse ourselves in every day. And who can blame them? It's hard to assemble all the resources it takes to pull it off. There are a huge number of steps a record must go through before it finds itself for sale on our site, which means there are about twenty records in the backroom for every one that can be found on the site.
If the goal is to move product this is a very bad way to go about it. Then again, we don't care about moving product for the sake of moving product. Our focus must be on finding, cleaning and critically evaluating the best sounding pressings, of the best music, we can get our hands on.
What We're Listening For on Eat 'Em and Smile
- 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 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 vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt 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 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 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.
Ladies' Nite In Buffalo?
Bump And Grind
Few would argue that David Lee Roth's first solo EP was a complete comedy send-up, albeit a very successful one that gained him enough favor with the MTV peanut gallery to solidify his potential as a solo artist. When threat became fact, however, Roth was smart enough to know that show tunes set to flashy videos weren't going to cut it and wisely proceeded to surround himself with musicians of impeccable pedigree.
Thus armed, the "diamond" one set out to out-Van Halen Van Halen with his band's first effort, Eat 'Em and Smile, a more than adequate substitute for the overtly commercial tendencies of the "new and improved" original. Why mess with a winning recipe, indeed.
Guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan, and drummer Gregg Bissonette sound perfectly at home aping their boss' old cronies on such sizzling party anthems as "Shyboy" and "Elephant Gun." A fun-loving cover of "Tobacco Road" kicks off a very solid side two featuring the remarkably Fair Warning-esque "Big Trouble," and it doesn't get any better than first single, "Yankee Rose," where the squealing call and response between Roth and Vai reaches unparalleled comical heights. The glossy pump of "Goin' Crazy!" (originally conceived as the title track for Roth's botched movie project) hints at the pop excesses to come, and although two lounge pieces are knocked out for good measure, these are easily offset by the cool strut of "Ladies Nite in Buffalo?," arguably Roth's most legitimate piece of art ever.
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