The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
- A Cool Water like you've never heard, with seriously good Double Plus (A++) Living Stereo sound throughout this vintage pressing
- These sides have a richness and sweetness that’s disappeared entirely from modern recordings yet they’re still incredibly clean, clear and spacious
- If you want to know why people love Living Stereo records, playing either side of this record should be all the convincing anyone would ever need
- Marks in the vinyl are sometimes the nature of the beast with these early pressings - there simply is no way around them if the superior sound of vintage analog is important to you
- "The original release, issued at the height of the stereophile boom of the late 1950s, was a vivid display of close, intimate presence and discreet channel separation."
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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a mark that plays 25 times at a moderate level about 1/2 way into track 3, "Wind."
*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.
This vintage RCA Black Label Living Stereo LP has two excellent sides, making this without a doubt one of the better sounding pressing we have ever had the distinct pleasure to play! We were as shocked to hear this copy as you will no doubt be (if you end up with it of course).
And the music -- sophisticated arrangements of western classics featuring the group’s trademark harmonies -- has maintained its charm remarkably well since 1959, more than sixty years after this All Tube recording was made. The orchestra and the male singers sound so natural you’ll wonder what the hell modern recording engineers think they’re up to. Engineers apparently knew how to make good recordings in 1959 -- this record is all the proof you need -- so what excuse can they possibly have for the dismal dreck they’ve been turning out for the last 30+ years?
The woodwinds here have that lovely airy, breathy quality that they do in real life. The singer’s voices are rich and full. The presentation is relaxed and involving. When’s the last time you heard a modern record with any of those qualities? Do you think the people recording Patricia Barber appreciate qualities such as these in a vocal recording? My ear tells me they don’t.
But there’s no point decrying the modern world and its manifest shortcomings. Let’s be thankful that these wonderful records, recorded with such skill and care, still exist! And that Better Records can offer you superb sounding pressings of them like this one.
What The Best Sides Of Cool Water 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 1959
- 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.
What We're Listening For On Cool Water
- 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 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.
- Cool Water
- Cowboy’s Dream
- Last Round-Up
- Ridin’ Home
- Twilight on the Trail
- Red River Valley
- Wagon Wheels
- Blue Prairie
- Way Out There
- Empty Saddles
- Teardrops in My Heart
- Blue Shadows on the Trail
- Ridin’ Down the Canyon
- Timber Trail
- Tumbling Tumbleweeds
… Cool Water, however, was the group’s first stereo release, cut in June of 1959 as one of RCA-Victor’s Living Stereo series, which encompassed artists ranging from Henry Mancini to Sam Cooke. The original release, issued at the height of the stereophile boom of the late 1950s, was a vivid display of close, intimate presence and discreet channel separation.
The Sons of the Pioneers are one of America’s earliest Western singing groups whose classic recordings set a new standard for performers of Western music. Known for the high quality of their vocal performances, musicianship, and songwriting, they produced finely-crafted and innovative recordings that have inspired many Western music performers and remained popular through the years. Since 1933, through many changes in membership, the Sons of the Pioneers have remained one of the longest-surviving country music vocal groups in history.