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Silver, Horace - Song For My Father - Super Hot Stamper

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

Super Hot Stamper

Horace Silver
Song For My Father

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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus Minus

  • This Van Gelder-mastered Blue Note reissue pressing (one of only a handful of copies to hit the site in years) boasts solid Double Plus (A++) grades from start to finish
  • Tubey Magic is the key to the sound of the better pressings, and we guarantee this one has the kind of Tubey Magic that no modern pressing of the last 40 years can offer the audiophile community
  • Energetic, clear and spacious, as well as relaxed and full-bodied (thanks, RVG!) - this pressing was a step up over most other copies we played
  • An incredibly tough album to find with the right sound and decent surfaces, but the music makes it worth all the time and trouble we spent finding this outstanding copy
  • 5 stars: "Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums…"

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The leading edge transients on the horns here are excellent, with the pinched quality you hear on some tracks kept to a minimum. The whole of the ensemble is transparently clear.

The drums on this record have a wonderful quality: they actually sound like hollowed out, three-dimensional objects that are being struck in order to make them resonate -- which is kind of what they are -- the opposite of the cardboard drums you hear on bad rock records. (We hear a lot of drums on old rock records that sound like somebody is slapping a corrugated shipping carton with a mallet. You lose a lot of points if you’re a record with that 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 Song For My Father 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 1964
  • 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

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.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top 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 air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.


The best sounding original copies we’ve picked up over the years have almost always been far too noisy and scratched to be acceptable to audiophiles, not to mention the fact that the originals were (and are) replete with mastering issues that seem to exacerbate problems in the recording itself.

Having said all that, every Hot Stamper copy we found had its own mastering strengths and weaknesses — the Tubey Magic and fullness in the best originals is hard to find on later pressings, but the later pressings have a clarity and freedom from obvious compressor and cutter-head distortion that makes them appealing in their own right. We should also mention the reissues often have much better brass sound, being both more dynamic and less smeary.

What We're Listening For On Song For My Father

  • 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, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight, full-bodied 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.

The Players and Personnel

  • Bass - Gene Taylor ("Calcutta Cutie," "Lonely Woman")
  • Bass - Teddy Smith
  • Drums - Roger Humphries
  • Drums - Roy Brooks ("Calcutta Cutie," "Lonely Woman")
  • Piano - Horace Silver
  • Recorded by - Ruby Van Gelder
  • Tenor Saxophone - Joe Henderson
  • Tenor Saxophone - Junior Cook ("Calcutta Cutie," "Lonely Woman")
  • Trumpet - Blue Mitchell ("Calcutta Cutie," "Lonely Woman")
  • Trumpet - Carmell Jones

Vinyl Condition

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.

A Must Own Jazz Record

We consider this album Silver's masterpiece. It's a recording that belongs in any serious Jazz Music Collection.

Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Side One

  • Song For My Father
  • The Natives Are Restless Tonight
  • Calcutta Cutie

Side Two

  • Que Pasa?
  • The Kicker
  • Lonely Woman

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

… Song for My Father is Horace Silver’s signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums… mainstream hard bop rarely comes as good as Song for My Father.

Horace Silver

From the perspective of the 21st century, it is clear that few jazz musicians had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the 50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the 60s and 70s.

Silver’s piano style — terse, imaginative, and utterly funky — became a model for subsequent mainstream pianists to emulate. Some of the most influential horn players of the 50s, 60s, and 70s first attained a measure of prominence with Silver — musicians like Donald Byrd, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, and the Brecker Brothers all played in Silver’s band at a point early in their careers. Silver has even affected members of the avant-garde; Cecil Taylor confesses a Silver influence, and trumpeter Dave Douglas played briefly in a Silver combo.

Certainly, no one ever contributed a larger and more vital body of original compositions to the jazz canon. Silver died in New York on June 18, 2014 at the age of 85.