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
- An outstanding copy of Simon's third solo album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- The sound is big, warm and full-bodied - it's present and clear, never harsh or gritty the way so many are
- Great songs including Kodachrome, Loves Me Like a Rock, Was a Sunny Day (and you probably know most of the other 7)
- 5 stars: "Retaining the buoyant musical feel of Paul Simon, but employing a more produced sound, There Goes Rhymin' Simon found Paul Simon writing and performing with assurance and venturing into soulful and R&B-oriented music."
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Most pressings don't have anywhere near this kind of openness and transparency -- and they don't have this kind of richness or warmth either. It's a real treat to hear these great songs finally get the sound they deserve.
On most pressings, Simon's voice is a spitty, gritty mess -- sure it's present, but where is the sweetness and warmth? Well, as a copy like this proves, more of those qualities made it to the tape than you might
This vintage Columbia 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 Simon, 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 There Goes Rhymin' Simon 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 1973
- 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 There Goes Rhymin' Simon
Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on There Goes Rhymin' Simon.
A bigger presentation - more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. The album needs weight down low to rock the way Jerry Masters and Phil Ramone wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it -- assuming you haven't played a pile of these yourself -- balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain't easy to play 'em either. You're going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area -- VTA, tracking weight, azimuth, and anti-skate -- in order to play this album properly. If you've got the goods you're gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you're likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any original pressing will play, and since only the right originals 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 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 imports, later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't sound good.
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.
Take Me to the Mardi Gras
Something So Right
One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor
American Tune was recorded in England with help from Paul Samwell-Smith. Along with Cat Stevens he produced some of the best sounding rock records of all time.
Our guess is that a dub for that song and not the master tape was sent back to the States to use here -- you don't get all the clarity that you hear on the other tracks, but the song can still sound excellent on a good copy.
Was a Sunny Day
Learn How to Fall
St. Judy's Comet
Loves Me Like a Rock
There's always at least a touch of grit to the vocals on Loves Me Like A Rock; it's practically unavoidable. Other that that, Paul's voice sounds just right on the best copies.
Retaining the buoyant musical feel of Paul Simon, but employing a more produced sound, There Goes Rhymin' Simon found Paul Simon writing and performing with assurance and venturing into soulful and R&B-oriented music.
Simon returned to the kind of vocal pyrotechnics heard on the Simon & Garfunkel records by using gospel singers. On "Love Me Like a Rock" and "Tenderness" (which sounded as though it could have been written to Art Garfunkel), the Dixie Hummingbirds sang prominent backup vocals, and on "Take Me to the Mardi Gras," Reverend Claude Jeter contributed a falsetto part that Garfunkel could have handled, though not as warmly.
For several tracks, Simon traveled to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios to play with its house band, getting a variety of styles, from the gospel of "Love Me Like a Rock" to the Dixieland of "Mardi Gras." Simon was so confident that he even included a major ballad statement of the kind he used to give Garfunkel to sing: "American Tune" was his musical State of the Union, circa 1973, but this time Simon was up to making his big statements in his own voice.
Though that song spoke of "the age's most uncertain hour," otherwise Rhymin' Simon was a collection of largely positive, optimistic songs of faith, romance, and commitment, concluding, appropriately, with a lullaby ("St. Judy's Comet") and a declaration of maternal love ("Loves Me Like a Rock") -- in other words, another mother-and-child reunion that made Paul Simon and There Goes Rhymin' Simon bookend masterpieces Simon would not improve upon (despite some valiant attempts) until Graceland in 1986.
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