The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- Earning solid Double Plus (A++) grades for sound on both sides, this early 360 stereo pressing is outstanding from first note to last
- It's clean, clear, open and spacious with lovely breathy vocals and plenty of Columbia Tubey Magic
- You won't find this kind of transparency or clarity on the typical vintage pressing, and the red label reissues are completely hopeless
- Their one true Folk Duo album, featuring the original version of The Sound Of Silence
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*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 8 moderate pops half way through Track 3, Bleecker Street.
This vintage Columbia 360 Stereo 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 Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. 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.
Top Notch Sound
Bookends and Parsley Sage are obviously the big dogs in the Simon & Garfunkel catalog, but the sound on this album is top notch -- unbelievably warm and natural in a way that you just don't get on most copies of their later albums. Not only that, but top copies of other S & G albums will set you back an arm and a leg around here; you can take home a lovely copy of this one for much less bread.
We played a big stack of copies recently and ran into all kinds of problems. Some were dull, some were spitty, many were smeared, and far too many were gritty.
The later pressings didn't solve any of these problems. In fact, none of the Red Label copies we've ever played sounded good enough on either side to merit a Hot Stamper grade. If you want good sound for this album, stereo originals seem to be the only way to go. The mono pressings we played were painfully bad.
What We're Listening For Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- 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 punchy 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.
Mint Minus Minus 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.
- You Can Tell the World
- Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
- Bleecker Street
- The Sound of Silence
- He Was My Brother
- Go Tell It on the Mountain
- The Sun Is Burning
- The Times They Are A-Changin'
- Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Wednesday Morning, 3 AM doesn't resemble any other Simon & Garfunkel album, because the Simon & Garfunkel sound here was different from that of the chart-topping duo that emerged a year later.
Their first record together since their days as the teen duo of Tom & Jerry, the album was cut in March 1964 and, in keeping with their own sincere interests at the time, it was a folk-revival album. Paul Simon was just spreading his wings as a serious songwriter and shares space with other composers as well as a pair of traditional songs, including a beautifully harmonized rendition of Peggy-O.